News, events and Rallybucket Blog-o-sphere

Baselining and the "best laid plans"

posted Jul 10, 2010, 6:54 PM by DAVID ZAJANO

First things first... the body and driving issues and concerns. the paint is in epically terrible shape. lots and lots of sanding, surface rust removal and paint prep will be occuring in the coming weeks. The suspension mounting points and strut towers have been spared from the rust so outside of the roof, left front fender hood and a very very samll spot on the right fender it's just a comestic concern, but it's to be stopped before it spreads. This means photos and a write up on body work and paint prep, then the experiment of spraying on rustoluem paint. I'll be buying a cheap gun from harbor freight for the paint job as i don't want to potential gum up my buddies good paint gun.
The hood and grill will be replaced with the hood off of the protege lx donor car that was purchased for $400. I'm also working on sourcing a roof scoop for added airflow, as the a/c is going to be removed. Using I located someone in florida parting out their 1.8l Escort GT, $675 netted me stainless stell brake lines, an aftermarket front sway bar upgrade, a poly suspension bushing kit, short shift kit, modified VAF intake flapper and oh a t3/4 turbo kit with intercooler, upgraded injectors, plumbing, manifold, tapped oil pan and lines.
Ok now rally build plan of attack. Upon researching manufacturers that produce a limited slip for the G series transmission I also discovered one the makes a 4.926 ring and pinion. So the next step is to blow the budget out of the water. The reason being is that turboed BP motors make in the neighborhood of 200-230whp. This makes turbo BP powered escorts run in the mid to high 15 second ETs, with the stock gearbox. Shorten the gears with a 4.926 ring and pinion and toss in the .71 5th gear from a Mazda 626 or Ford Probe and you suddenly have a powerplant and delivery that when tossed into a 2200lb car warrents the prep for potential stage rally. So add $1100 to the budget for a cage, $1200-1500 for a proper gravel suspension, $1000 for the before mentioned limited slip and ring and pinion, $450 for an upgraded clutch kit and we haven't even started talked about freshening up the BP before the swap...(Or engine management, cams, port and polishing the head while having it off to replace the headgasket), upgrading the motor mounts, swapping 1st gen subaru legacy turbo 4 pot calipers on the front, the ignition system, an anti-lift kit to help the front suspesnion under acceleration, switching the intake setup over to a more modern system using a map sensor, fabricating fender and under chassis braces, and skid plates, making our own mud flaps and whether to run the car in hillclimbs as well as rally once completed.

We have a Bucket!!

posted Apr 9, 2010, 4:48 PM by DAVID ZAJANO   [ updated Jul 10, 2010, 6:52 PM ]

On April 8th series organizer purchased a 1993 Mazda 323 for the sum of $100.
Pictures will be coming with the next 2 weeks, early issues on the car to be addressed are maintenance and wear items, paint; as it's nearly stripped in portions surprisingly the body has been spared of rust, and an exhaust leak behind the cat.
Other plans for the car include swapping out the 1.6L for a BP-ZE 1.8L 16v motor from a 1990-1994 Protege LX/Escort GT, along with the 4.11 ring and pinion found in the G series gearbox that accompanies the BP-ZE.  The 125hp of the BP-ZE doesn't sound like much, but in a 2200lb car with short gearing it should provide all the power that the car can handle without a limited slip differential. The swap can be sourced for about $400 including complete donor car with harness.
While the engine is removed the chassis will be either seam or stitch welded, which takes a lot of time, but is inexpensive to do and a great way to learn how to weld.
The remains budget will likely go towards suspension components unless a used limited slip can be sourced. Other potential build options involve use of a used megasquirt setup (which can be frequently found on craigslist). OEM 2 or 4 pot front brake options may be explored, stainless steel brake lines are definitely planned.

Taking the current automotive temperature

posted Mar 14, 2010, 5:55 PM by DAVID ZAJANO   [ updated Mar 15, 2010, 10:22 AM ]

The corporate automotive landscape is currently an interesting one. GM is seemingly trying quite hard, but has a lot of eggs in one little electric basket. Toyota is dealing is quality issues stemming from a lethal (no pun intended) combination of electronic programming and parts vendor errors. Ford is enjoying a resurgance and looks to have a very solid product line with more promising models to introduced within the next 24 months. Honda seems to have given up on R&D and is playing things very close to the vest, the company that brought variable valve timing to the masses has seemingly shunned comman rail direct injection and low displacement turbo charged engines. Which is ashame because engineering great fun to drive small cars that got class leading fuel economy and were entertaining to drive all while being dead nuts reliable is what got Honda where they are. The Koreans ,Hyundai and KIA, are now making cars that match the class leaders in terms of features, power, economy, safety, materials and fit and finish.
What am I getting at with all of this? Well I have a theory and more importantly a question.
Once manufacturers gain market share they become complacent and delevopment and then overall quality suffers. True it is easier, and more cost effective,  for the "up and comers" to copy rather then innovate but someone has to foot the bill for further automotive development, whether it be content/feature related or engine technology development. The manufacturers appear to have not learned from history, thus it is repeating itself. Throughout the 1950s and 60's US auto manufacturers dominated the market. Development was so quick that models seemingly lasted only a single year before a re-fresh or overhaul was performed. Engine displacement and resulting power kept going up and up, visually the cars of the era were beautiful. Then the 1970s came...
The gas crisis and economic turmoil openned the door for cheaper more effeicent Japanese imports. The US manufacturers struggled with design (Mustang II anyone?) and had even greater struggles wrapping their brain around the fact that people wanted smaller fuel sipping cars opposed to big block V8s. The Japanese had created a niche in the market, which they in turn cornered and then took a strangle hold on.  Nobody could have foreseen the oil crisis and political crimate at the time, but if the US manufacturers had maintained the vehicle quality fewer buyers would've been willing to jump ship and purchase the cruder rough around the edges early imports.

Vehicles to consider

posted Oct 19, 2009, 10:41 PM by DAVID ZAJANO   [ updated Mar 14, 2010, 5:55 PM ]

Where to start? Well you're need a car. There are some things you're want to consider when selecting a car to compete in. Reliability, availability, price, cost of parts, ease of repair and maintence and even insurance expenses (hey this is a budget series!) It's best to leave yourself open to considering several types of cars within the budget guidelines then selecting the vehicle in the best condition.
Vehicles that I'd target to use:
1st gen Plymouth/Dodge Neons
Mazda 323's and Proteges
MKII and MKIII Volkswagens
Honda Civics and early Preludes
Acura Integras
Toyota Celicas, early Supras, MR2's even Tercels and Corollas
Plymouth/Dodge Sundance/Horizon
Subaru Impreza
Ford Escort, or Focus if you can find a bargain or one that needs some work
Nissan B13 Sentra
Hyundai Accent/Excel
Ford Police Interceptor (ok it's big and lumbering so it's not going to happen, but at elast we'd all know whether or not to take to the offroad if we're ever in "trouble" for some unknown reason!
Think outside the box on where to find these cars, the obvious places to search are craiglist and ebay. open yourself off to searching on, (the auto insurance auto auctions), forums and on local rallycross group boards and forums.

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