Thursday, December 31, 2009

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tire Choices

I posted a build thread for our car over on the forum

After informing us we picked the wrong engine for our car, the conversation drifted off to talking about tires. It seems the general thought there is that we stick with the 14" rims since they are lighter and go to a wider lower profile tire. By lowering the profile we can lower the car which improves handling and also give the car a bit more pick up and improve breaking. The down side is it would slightly lower top speed (I really doubt we would ever hit the theoretical top speed of the car), and the speedometer would end up being off which really isn't a big deal.

The default is 185 75 14, the ones we were looking at were 205 70 14, the ones that the a-body were suggesting were 205 60 14 or 215 60 14. Anything with lower profiles ended up being racing tires.

So here are the sidewall heights of the various tires

Tire size ----- Sidewall(mm) ------- Sidewall(in)
185 75 14 ----- 138.75 ---------------- 5.46
205 70 14 ----- 143.5 ----------------- 5.63
205 60 14 ----- 123 ------------------ 4.84
215 60 14 ----- 129 ------------------- 5.08

We also have to figure out how wide we want the tires. While we can go out to 215 on our rims, the width will add rolling resistance and eventually hurt the cars pickup, also in snow or rain wider tires have less force to go down to the ground making it harder to make contact. So more to think about.

Monday, December 7, 2009

More pics

Here are a couple more pics from sunday

Why is Duffy taking a nap on the engine? He said because it was warm from when we had run it a few hours earlier.

Or maybe he was trying to remove the Temperature Sensor

Can't see the sensor? Look for the green wire and follow it down the the sensor, there you can see him trying to remove it, maybe. I was there and saw it happen, and I can barely see it.

Although this last picture I believe shows signs of the work being finished for this year.

Stupid Winter

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Working in the Cold Picture Gallery

They say that a picture is worth 1,000 words, so here is about 10,000 words worth of pictures;











Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Flags

Last night I had a thought about the flags on the side of our car. Knowing the ones I did off hand I started to wonder if they were the NATO countries. Although I soon found out while most are in NATO not all (I wasn't sure what to do with a NATO theme anyway) but I still wanted to find out what they were so from left to right as best as I can figure since I think some of the colors have changed over the years

United states
Italy(although it might be Ireland)
United Kingdom
Maybe Spain? (might be but it is a really old flag if it is one that hadn't been used since the late 70s)
Ireland(although it can be Italy, they are really really similar looking after years of fading)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thrill of Victory

Here is a picture of a triumphant Pete and Duff having freed a oil cooler from an old 4x4 pickup.

Of course shortly after this we were quickly defeated by bolts that were larger than anything we had with us. Since then the guys at have been good enough to tell me that we need a 24mm socket.

On a side note we really should fix their link on the side bar so it actually works. Update the link has been fixed.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Trip Up North

Since Pete lives up in Lake County, Bob and I took off to the north, but not to the Great White North even though it is a beauty way to go.

We visited two Junk yards and came away with a radiator that we will use as and engine oil cooler, and looked for some newer front struts. We discovered that before we can get some new front struts we need some larger sockets and/or wrenches, since the bottom bolts on the front are quite large.

We also put the numbers together on where we are on our $500 limit and found we still have a nice chunk of money we can spend on upgrades.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

More Pictures and Work Update

So since we have a lot of new pictures to share, we will updated on this last weekend and then get to the pictures

So on Sunday we installed the new beefy sway bar and replaced the rear shocks, that gets us through most of the parts we picked up so far. We still need to install the new temp sender, and the transmission cooler, but most of the suspension upgrades are done. Though after we installed the rear shocks, we are going to look in to doing the front since they are now not as good as the rear.

Now for the Pictures: 

So here are the old rusted lug-nuts that were a pain to get off the car.

Here is the new beefy sway bar

Here is the new beefy sway bar sanded and painted


Here is the new beefy swaybar and the old swaybar


The old rear shock and the newer rear shock

 Some Pictures of Bob and Duffy working on the car


The new and old upper motor mount or dog bone

The front tires with the car badges on them

And lastly our new favorite parts maker

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Leaf Blower Forced Induction?

So in one of the many e-mails the team has sent back and forth some how a leaf blower came up. We briefly talked about doing some sort of ghetto-charging using a leaf blower and how we could most-likely could get one for cheap at Harbor Freight (They seem to have just about everything).

I did a little googleing and found this video;

I also found a product called the e-ram that is an high powered electric fan that activates at WOT (wide open throttle) providing about 1psi of boost.

The e-ram is way out of our budget, and what fun is it to install some pre-made system like that when you can try and build your own.

There are then two options that I have come up with;

1. find a cheap leaf blower and find a way to power it.
2. find a high powered DC fan that would fit in the existing air system.

I'v not ever opened up an electric leaf blower but I don't imagine that the motor inside is a DC motor so we would need a transformer.  Not that big a deal but would increase the cost of the project. While the leaf blower would be cool and we might even need to cut a hole in the hood for it. The DC fan solution I think would be easier.
Since the car electronics are 12v DC a 12v fan would be the easiest to wire-up, but we could make or buy DC to DC up converters to get us to 24v or greater.  PC case fans might be the best place to start looking for 12v DC fans,

The problem might be finding one that creates enough air flow to make a difference.
So something like this;

Might be better and provide enough air flow, and still require us to make a hole in the hood to get it to fit.

Getting the whole system to work electricly in the car is something  I will get into in a later post.


Monday, November 2, 2009

Some Forward Progress

So we made some steps forward this weekend. Saturday we removed the rusted out power steering line, Bob cleaned up the new beefy swaybar, we removed all of the bad lug nuts, and cleaned up some of the rust under the car.
Sunday, with the assistance of Pete we installed the new power steering line, filled and bleed the system and luckily didn't create and new leaks. We also removed the existing wimpy swaybar, and put some new lug nuts on the tires.
We also got the parts we need to install the new beefy swaybar, and the temp sender, so the gauge on our new cluster will work. Hopefully we should be able to install the beefy swaybar, the temp sender, and the rear shocks next week.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pick n Pull - Picture Pages Edition

Because Duff's post were full of only words and therefore boring and because Bill Cosby rocks, the never asked for Picture Pages Racing 4 Nickels Blog Entry

So we went to the summit Pick n Pull and saw lots and lots of cars

Some of course were picked over more than others

Some would make great LeMons cars by name alone, let alone the fact that they look goofy and even though branded as a Pontiac is actually a Daewoo.

So we went to work in this wonderland of cars, starting at white Cutlass

Where we quickly went to taking the rear shocks, and the 43 cents we found inside.

Then we went to visit the little blue wagon we had taken the instrument cluster from the week before.

Where you can see our handy work with the vice grips

Then we went to see a celebrity wagon

But not just any type of Celebrity Wagon

Where we took its front sway bar, the beefy f41 kind. Since a couple nuts would cooperate, Mr Duffy went a bit nuts with the hammer

And then we went home with our new parts.

The End?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Return to the Pick N Pull

So Bob and I ventured back to the Pick N Pull Sunday morning to get some more parts for our car. Armed with a breaker bar and an assortment of other tools we were able to get a few more of the parts we needed, like the larger front sway bar from the Celeberity Eurosport and some like new looking  rear shocks from a 90's Ciera SL.
We also came away with a transcooler that we should be able to connect right up to the existing transmission lines. It is hard to tell how many passes the transcooler is but I believe it is still leaking out trans fluid as I write this.
We looked for a temp sender so we can get the temp gauge working but it looks like we may have to get that new since it was only on our engine for 2 model years. We are also still looking for an engine oil cooler but those seem harder to come by.

After we were done at the Pick N Pull we stoped at O'Reilly auto parts a got the part we need to fix the power steering leak.

Over all it was a good day of parts gathering and we are now about $260 in to the $500 car parts budget.

Some bonus things we came away with from the Pick N Pull were an old police billy club, some 2.8L badges off of the Eurosport and about $0.36 we found when removing the back seat of a Ciera SL so we could get to the shocks.

Bob did take some pictures and we will get those posted sometime soon.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pick N Pull

So Bob and I went down to the local Pick N Pull on Sunday just to check it out.  We asked if they any any cars with parts for our '89 Ciera and the computer told them no. We decided to go wander the lot anyway so we paid the $2 each and wondered out in to the yard.

It was strange to see all of those cars up on blocks, there to donate their parts before going to the big scrapyard in the sky.

We did endup finding some potential parts cars, Most of them were early 90 Ciera's, we also found an old Celebrity Eurosport.  The Eurosport has the front sway bar that we want but the bolts were so rusted we couldn't get it removed. We did end up spraying it with penetrating oil and plan to go back with some better tools to try and remove it.

One thing we did come away with was an upgraded gauge cluster, that has a temp indicator. We removed it from a 92 Ciera.  When we got back we installed in in our '89 and every thing except the temp gauge is working,  we think we may have to get a different temp probe to send the correct info.

There were alot of GM cars with oil and trans coolers, we hope to pick up one of each when we go back. 

Over all it was a good experience and we have a better understanding of what is available. Hopefully we will go back next week and return with more parts.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

2010 LeMons Races

The Races for 2010 have been appearing and disappearing off the the LeMons page today. As Jay and Nick taunt us. An official e-mail is expected soon.

One of the races is right in our back yard;

23-24 October 2010: Rod Blagojevich Never-Say-Die 500 (Chicago IL)
Autobahn Country Club, Joliet IL

Look for us to enter this and maybe one of the other Midwest races this year.

You may or may not be able to see the full 2010 list here;

Update: it is now Official see the link above for the full schedule

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Power Steering Leak

Today Duffy and I looked for the leak. The good news is that we found it. The bad news is that it left a puddle all over my driveway.

As a bonus with the video you both get to see the leak and hear the awesomeness that is the 2.8L engine in its non-muffled beauty.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Dangerous Banned Racing Tech:Solar

I came across a group of solar panels at harbor freight like this one

Some are meant to offset slow drains on the car battery which really wouldn't be that big a deal, well as long as the alternator is working. However free power is free power, so I figure if you can hook the solar panel up to a fan which would give us some extra thrust.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cutlass Ciera history

Here is a summary from the greatest source of modern knowledge (wikipedia) about the Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera.

The Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera was a mid-size car produced from 1982 through 1996 by the Oldsmobile division of General Motors. Production began September 28, 1981 at Doraville Assembly in Georgia. It shared the front-wheel drive A platform with the very similar Buick Century, Pontiac 6000 and Chevrolet Celebrity. The Cutlass Ciera was a modern redesign of Oldsmobile's famous Cutlass line. Sales were strong and the car enjoyed many factory specialty models including Holiday coupe, GT, and International models, the latter of which had a stock body kit. For 1996, the Cutlass name was dropped and the car was simply called the Ciera. This generation was exported to certain countries in Asia. Throughout much of the 90s, it was ranked as the most stolen vehicle.

During its run, the Cutlass Ciera was Oldsmobile's best-selling model. It consistently ranked among the highest rated vehicles by J.D. Power and Associates; it was ranked the "Best in Price Class" on July 30, 1992 and the "Top-Ranked American-Made Car" on May 28, 1992. It was also named "Safe Car of the Year" by Prevention Magazine on March 6, 1992.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

So we have a car

We went back to look at the Cutlass Ciera again. This time we were able to put in a battery and it started right up, well it did after we finally screwed the battery in well enough, and with the hole in the exhaust even sounded like a race car. Drove it around the block, well a couple blocks, and everything seemed ok. So we bought it.

Have a little work to do on it but nothing to bad so there shouldn't be a problem getting it ready to race. Now to figure out a theme.

Well here are some pics of our little race car, where it will sit for a while, atleast until we buy a battery for it.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Wartburg Contest has a Winner!

So they picked a winner of the Wartburg and a few runner-ups

Follow the link to see the results.

btw none of our entries won.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Pete's Win-A-Wartburg Entry

Deep underground, built 6 miles within the Earth, an underground fortress was built with the sole purpose of acting as the last bastion of the United States government in times of emergency. The fortress is used by a small staff, whose purpose, nonetheless, is to monitor the events of the world, and to act as the guardians against any evil to befall humanity. Their leader, a solitary war-grizzled general, is sitting in one of the semi-darkened rooms, a single ceiling source providing a harsh fluorescent lights from which he can read the latest reports of the dangers that befall mankind. Behind him lie a dozen television displays, a military officer watching each of the displays, reading, attempting to determine the next world emergency. Damning the regulations, the General chain-smokes while reading the reports given to him by the officers, every one a new and expected danger that may befall the world.

His focus this hour is on a particularly thick report across his desk, complete with satellite photos, pictures of sketchy-looking individuals, engineering schematics, and diagrams of chemical reactions. For once, the General seems genuinely worried - his hand shakes as he holds his battered zippo light to light his hundredth cigarette today. This report, the General says to himself, may be a problem.

On the far wall of the darkened room, a door slides open with an audible hiss of pneumatic compressors working overtime to move the honeycombed steel-carbon composite door, designed to survive a direct hit against a mortar shell. The bright light on the other side of the door silhouettes a small team of individuals walking through the door, walking purposefully forward towards the General. A few feet in from of the desk, the all stop and salute in unison. "At-ease," the General growls, and again simultaneously, the team all clasp their hands behind their backs.

"Team," the General again growls, as he puts out his unfiltered cigarette out on a well-used ceramic ashtray, "... a situation as arisen. Dr. Wolfgang Kirchner, at the University of Zurich, has isolated an isotope of Palladium, 0.1 grams of Palladium-175 to be exact, which makes it one of the rarest synthetically-created isotopes in the history of man. His intent was to create a new form of catalytic converter, but it also has the unique property to instantly create a liquid-crystal lattice from pure water that will allow it to hold an electrical current. Long story short, the Good Doctor has potentially found a way to create a free-energy power source from nothing more than simple water. The world's energy problems have been solved. However, our old nemesis, Professor Zeno has attempted to make a grab for the isotope. He had sent some of his henchmen to try to make a grab for the isotope... Kirchner ended up dead, but not before he was able to save the isotope from Zeno's clutches. Kirchner and his scientists were able to inject the Palladium-175 into a copper-nickel-zinc alloy containment system, cut to shape to resemble a standard United States nickel."

"And now, here's where the story gets strange," The General says, lighting his one-hundredth-and-first cigarette of the day.

The General continues: "The intent was that one of his junior scientists was to smuggle the nickel through customs to be safely delivered to the United States. That didn't happen. Upon entry into the United States through La Guardia, the scientist put his coins into one of the change containers to go through the X-Ray machine. But, the TSA officer accidentally knocked over the container, spilling the coins all over security. We don't know what happened then, but we traced the coin to soda machine, and from there it was lost. We know that the contents of the soda machine were eventually delivered though the banking system, and eventually were sent to the Wells Fargo bank branch in Southwest Los Angeles."

"For security reasons, we cannot break into the bank. We had sent a team to pose as a group of armed criminals to attempt a robbery, but they were liquidated by Zeno's men. Apparently, Zeno knows the location of the nickel as well as we do. Until that nickel moves, we cannot make a move."

"And team, that's where you come in."

"Our Intel group reports that our special nickel containing the Palladium-175 will be one of several thousand nickels that will be distributed in an automobile race, called the "24 Hours of LeMons." Your mission, gentlemen, is to enter this race, and recover that nickel at any cost. That is, within the rules of the race, of course."

One of the team members steps forward, "General, can we expect that our automobile will be fully equipped with the latest gadgets from the R&D branch, assuring our win?"

The General hesitates and slaps his fist on the desk. "Hell no! Those gadgets will cause too much of a disruption to the race! What, we're going to explode this race in a fury of gunfire? No, no, and again no! You are going to do this the old-fashioned way... cleanly. To do otherwise would be to play into Zeno's hand.... no, we have to do this per the rules of the race. Using your own funds."

Another team member steps forward, "Sir, we're on government paychecks. We only make money on our sweet government pension, but get paid peanuts now."

With that, the General shakes his head, "Bunch of losers... back in my day, we had to commandeer equipment ourselves, dammit! There is a contest to win a vehicle, a 1958 Wartburg 311. It's just the car to take you to the winner's circle, if you've got the GUTS," the General says through gritted teeth.

"Of course, if any of your team get caught or killed, I'm disavowing your asses. Good hunting."

With that, the team left the room, knowing full well of the weight on their shoulders. To retrieve the Palladium-175, they had to use their cunning, their courage, and their greasy hands to win that race, and win it cleanly.

The fate of the world rests in their hands... in my hands. And this is why , as a member of that team sent on this very important mission, I need that Wartburg.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

So We Looked at the Car

Bob and I went out to Naperville to look at the '89 Cutlass Ciera. It had been sitting for about a year and was rusting in all the usual places. The battery was dead, we tried to jump it with a battery charger and with my car, but it was to far gone. We tried to remove the battery as well, but you need to get the air filter assembly out of the way or remove the stability bar that runs over the top of it. We were unsuccessful on both counts. The seller said he would try and figure out how to get the battery out, and if he is successful he will let us know and we will go out with a working battery and see if we can get it started.

One thing that Bob and I did notice is that the interior smelled like our old Celebrities, it must be a GM A-body thing.

We will need to remember to bring a camera to take pictures if we go looking at more cars

Friday, August 28, 2009

We may have found a car

So thanks to the 24 Hours of LeMons forums Bob has been in contact with someone in Naperville that has a '89 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera that he is selling on the cheap.

Bob and I are going to go take a look at it this weekend, and will report back on what happens. Of course if we buy the Ciera one of us will no doubt win the '58 Wartburg.

Stay tuned for updates.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Win A Wartburg Contest

So the People over at the 24 hours of LeMons are giving away a 1958 Wartberg 311.

Details here:

Bob and I have entered, Pete is working on his submission.

Here is what Bob submitted;

This fine example of East German automotive engineering is exactly what I need to bring my dream of making a sequel to the greatest automotive film of all time, Driving Me Crazy, into reality. As I’m sure you already know, Driving Me Crazy ( ) is a film of an East German inventor who builds a car to allow him to escape to freedom. Of course by the time he finished the car he no longer needed to jump over the wall since it was torn down. So he brings it to LA where the movie quickly turns into a commentary of the corruption of the auto and oil industries. The car is stolen and only with the help of Billy Dee Williams can they retrieve the car from the evil mob boss Mr. K, played by Dom DeLuise, and show the world the virtues of his potato based fuel. This message is so true and important that I believe the auto industry and oil companies have made sure that no mention of this fine film will be made in Wikipedia, and even IMDB if you search for it by title will come up with a different movie.With this car in my possession I will surely be able to finally convince Mr. Billy Dee Williams to sign on to the sequel and then my only problems will be the Car and Oil Industry conspiracy and bring Dom DeLuise back from the dead to play the Zombie Mob Boss Mr. K. I really feel that the Zombie Mob Boss will broaden the appeal of the sequel.Of course if the Car and Oil Industries are able to stop production, Billy Dee Williams refuses to act in the movie again, or I am unable to bring Dom DeLuise back from the dead, I’m sure I can use the Wartburg in a race or something.

Bob Chinn

This sounds like a great movie with an all-star cast to boot. Wonder why I haven't heard of it--Nick

Here is my submission,

So I see you have gotten a lot of Give me the Car! and one I'm going to remake a Movie that no one has heard of.
I didn't see any that offered you something in exchange for the privilege of taking this fine example of East German engineering off of your hands. But what can I offer you may ask? I offer 2 bottles of homemade lemon cello, I'll also let the one guy use the car to remake that movie and of course bring it to race in the Glory that is the 24 Hours of LeMons.

I'm sure others will start to offer you other varied alcohols or their first born sons, but hopefully I'm the first to have made an offer, but if not I wish you luck in reading all of the entries and making your decision.

Jonathan Lattyak

We will post Pete's entry when he gets it written up, stay tuned and wish us luck

Monday, August 3, 2009

Another car to look for

Yesterday while taking the old convertible for a drive I started thinking that it might not make a bad race car (well for Lemons).

As for reliablity, the v6 atleast hasn't given me any problems in all the years I had it, it is the same engine that Pete has in his 3000 gt, so he might share any he has had. The only thing I've had problems with was the master brake cylinder had to be replaced twice. Weird but not the hardest thing to replace or the most expensive(and since it is brakes exempt from the $500 rule)

the engine part is a bit of a mess since they have a 2.2 L, a 2.2 Turbo, 2.5 L, 2.5 Turbo four cylinders and a 3.0 V6. Plus I would be willing to pay for parts off a convertible if it works in mine.

Shedding weight would be fairly easy since just taking off the top windows and the electric motors for them should take off some decent weight. Add in the airbags, power seats, cent console, spare tires etc, we could probably drop 500lbs without to much effort. Also work on the cage and anything interior will be easier since we don't have to work around the roof.

Finally I have a couple themes in mind already and from what I've learned themes are probably the most important thing to getting a car into the races.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Blame it on Duffy

Duff sent me an email of a Celebrity for sale
This of course had me looking for other cars on craigslist like this Cutlass in Oak Park for $150
Of course I also found this little beauty, a turbo'd grand am.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Dangerous Banned Racing Tech: Jet Engine Part 3

Ok this one isn't really a jet engine, Actually it is really considered a rocket but its close enough for LeMons.

ANyway the 3rd engine is the Overheated Water Rocket. This one isn't as easy to find detailed instructions on, however the theory makes it that you really don't need instructions on any of it except the nozzle.

This is the theory of how it works. You put some water in a sealed pressure tank. You then heat the water up. As the water heats it expands, however since it can't expand since it is sealed in a tank it increases the pressure inside, as the pressure increases the boiling point of water increases which allows the water to try and expand more which increases the pressure which increases the boiling point which.. well you get the point. So once you get all this extreemely hot water at a high pressure you open a nozzle and the water shoots out the back. Once this water gets out of the tank were the pressure is back to normal it instantly turns into steam.

This rockets most famous use is in the Evil Knieve Sky cycles in his jumps over snake river canyon. Although there is also a video of the current speed record holder in a overheated water rocket car of 214 mph in 2.5 seconds.

Below is an article explaing how this works and the youtube video of the record breaking car.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

24 Hours of Le Mans

So I watched some of the 24 Hours of Le Mans yesterday. It was not as fun as watching the Movie Le Mans, and not nearly as fun as going to watch the 24 Hours of LeMons.

I didn't realize that Patrick Dempsey had a Le Mans team, and that he was a driver.