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Racing, and stupid mistakes

Subject: Racing, and stupid mistakes
From: Bill Babcock <>
Date: Sun, 18 Apr 2004 09:30:51 -0700
First weekend racing this year for Peyote at Pacific Raceways in Kent, WA.
What fun. I had problems all weekend but the car still did great. Had a
slipping clutch that I finally diagnosed as hydraulic fluid on the disc. I
think the coaxial release I installed is traveling too far and squirts fluid
when it over travels. I put in a pedal stop and that seemed to help. It's
still slipping a bit. I'm going to try to avoid pulling the engine--I'll
just spray a bunch of brake cleaner up there while it's turning over with
the clutch disengaged. Worth a try. I'll run it at a test and tune day
before I commit to a race, so I'm not being totally stupid. 

I also had this mysterious miss above 6000 RPM. I'd enter the long sweeper
at the end of the straight and it felt like it dropped two cylinders. It
would stay flat all the way down the hill, and pick back up when I entered
the right turn at the bottom. I assumed I had a float problem, or some kind
of carburetion demon, and spent hours fiddling with the float levels and
testing pump pressure. Finally it got really bad during the first race--but
I could see it on the tach, it went wild when it started missing. It's an
electronic tach and that's a clear indication of ignition problems. I still
managed to finish second behind a really fast Lotus 11. 

In the pits I pulled the distributor apart expecting to find bad bushings. I
discovered the Pertronic unit had no clearance between the sender and
trigger. The plastic was rubbed slightly, and I thought it might have
overheated the electronics or something. I have a spare (though it turned
out not to be the correct unit) so I started to replace it--and found the
primary wires on the coil were finger tight. I kicked myself around the
pits. Put everything back together, tightened the wires, and blew the doors
off the Lotus in the second race. 

Aaargh. I know better. Check sparks first, dammit. 

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