thewheelerZ

'98 626 Chump Racer!

350 posts in this topic

On 6/7/2017 at 9:50 AM, thewheelerZ said:

Ok, thanks.  We actually have a spare now too just in case.  If ours dies, Im tempted to do the HEI mod, or even just go to an aftermarket ignition system.  With the new rules, it is doable within our points remaining.

What are you guys at as far as points total?   We think we are going to be in the low 400's

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13 minutes ago, InActiv Motorsports said:

What are you guys at as far as points total?   We think we are going to be in the low 400's

Currently running around 350 points.  What all do you have included into that 400 points?  Cams would be a big one, but you should be able to get away without charging for springs right?

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2 hours ago, thewheelerZ said:

Currently running around 350 points.  What all do you have included into that 400 points?  Cams would be a big one, but you should be able to get away without charging for springs right?

Our cams are oe factory to the motor.   We are going to do an oil cooler, we have an oil pan, header, ignition, pullies, some suspension stuff, etc...   

 

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We just successfully finished another 8+8 hour race this past weekend!  It was Canada's 150th birthday too on Saturday, so what a way to celebrate!

The weekend went well from most accounts.  Everyone had fun, each of the drivers set new PB lap times and we were racing fairly competitively for most of the weekend.

I started on Saturday morning in the rain.  Was somewhere around 30-35 place when the green flag dropped and I proceeded to put the hammer down!  I don't mind the rain and slippery stuff and was having a blast doing it.  Picking cars off one by one and ran as high as 2nd place (out of 45 starting cars).  Heck yeah, showing everyone else what a Mazda can do!  At around 1:45 while running in 4th place there was a Full Course caution, so we pitted and changed out drivers. 

The car ran well until my mother got in.  Yes you read that correctly, my 69 year old mother drove her first race this past weekend!  She did really well and brought the car home safe and sound which is rule #1.   Over the radio it sounded like she was getting pretty tired, so we brought her in after about 40 mins.  Until that time she was looking to be getting more comfortable and was bringing her lap times down.  She had called in over the radio that she ran something over but didn’t know what.  A big bang under the car while going down the back straight.  Car seemed to be running ok though, no worries.  When she came in it was fairly clear that there was an exhaust leak somewhere around the reader header or flex pipe.  Nothing we could do so we soildered on for the rest of the day.

I got in the car to finish off the final hour or so.  I started to notice that the car had developed what I think is a failing front left wheel bearing.  It wasn’t too bad, so kept pushing on.  There was a fairly strong vibration and noise in all right hand corners and it would disappear altogether in left hand corners. We ended up finishing in 10th place overall, qualifying us for the year end Championship race which was a bonus.  All in all, I think we did pretty well too, very happy to be top 10.

So on Saturday night we tried to do a bit of trouble shooting.  First off, we had no spare wheel bearing and couldn’t find one as all stores were closed for our national holiday Canada Day long weekend L.  Also, I tried to get a set of used spindles from a wrecker last week, but when I went to pick them up on the way to the track on Friday I found that they weren’t from a 626. So we had no backups ready.  Jacking the car up, we can find no end play in the wheel.  The wheel feels solid when trying to wiggle it.  It also seems to make no noise when spinning (straight or with steering wheel cranked) from either the bearing or CV joint.  At this point we decided to just run it the following day and see how far it would make it.  Amazingly it made it the entire 8 hours.  Again I finished off the race and seem to feel like the vibration hadn’t really got any worse.  Weird.  So now we can get into the tear down process and see if we can find the issue.  Any thoughts?

Now, to the exhaust leak.  I started by check the bolts and gaskets on the headers and exhaust.  All good.  I started looking around a little bit more and found what can be seen in the picture below.  It is hole, approx just smaller than a quarter, blown out of one of the exhaust header tubes.  I would almost think it was the bung for the O2 sensor, but the sensor is actually further downstream and still attached.  So that would explain the bang that my mom thought was the car running over something.  It didn’t seem to effect performance all that much, but was sure causing a whole bunch of back firing when lifting off the throttle!  Blowing flames every time too.  At least it looked cool! 

I have no idea why this would have happened (cheap Chinese steel?) or how we are going to go about fixing it.  Hopefully once it gets pulled off, we can get a patch welded on and not have to replace the whole thing.

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So we raced the remainder of Sunday without real incident until my final stint.  It began to rain quite hard and I was again having some fun in the slippery stuff.  I ended up going around the outside of T9 when a yellow CRX decided that it wanted to be in the lane I was in…. Not sure how he didn’t see me, but such is life I guess.  He gave me a pretty good dent on the rear driver’s side door and spun me around.  Luckily no other cars picked me up in the process and I was able to drive away.  He also managed to miss the rear wheel altogether so the car ran strong and didn’t have any alignment issues post hit.  I ran the rest of the race and was pushing hard until a few spins made me rethink how fast I really needed to go!  I backed off and just brought the car home from that point on.  We ended up in 13th place overall, not bad all things considered.

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Reposted from the post above to highlight:

I got in the car to finish off the final hour or so.  I started to notice that the car had developed what I think is a failing front left wheel bearing.  It wasn’t too bad, so kept pushing on.  There was a fairly strong vibration and noise in all right hand corners and it would disappear altogether in left hand corners.

So on Saturday night we tried to do a bit of trouble shooting.  Jacking the car up, we can find no end play in the wheel.  The wheel feels solid when trying to wiggle it.  It also seems to make no noise when spinning (straight or with steering wheel cranked) from either the bearing or CV joint.  At this point we decided to just run it the following day and see how far it would make it.  Amazingly it made it the entire 8 hours.  Again I finished off the race and seem to feel like the vibration hadn’t really got any worse.  Weird.  So now we can get into the tear down process and see if we can find the issue.  

Any thoughts?

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Congrats on finishing 2 races back to back.   Since you said the wheel bearing seemed ok the next thing I'd check would be the ball joints. 

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Congrats on the on the great showing and lots of track time yet again. Yay, for Mom!

The 626 will make you feel like a hero in the rain. Mine was the same. It was easily a top ten/five car in the rain.

Funny, I am chasing a similar problem in the Integra. It has developed a nasty howl in left turns. Obviously coming from the front of the car and getting worse. At the last race, it was getting very noisy so I ended up parking the car early. It exhibited the same symptoms. Wheel bearings seem fine, ball joints were still tight (fresh), and I changed both front axles over night between Saturday and Sunday in the paddock. But, it didn't fix the problem. I started to suspect the differential but haven't gotten any further diagnosing it. I need to get 3rd and 4th gear replaced in the transmission anyway. So I'll have the transmission guy check out the diff too when I get around to pulling it and taking it in. Work has been brutal this year.

Are you sure there wasn't another O2 sensor bung on the header there or a tap for the exhaust gas return to the intake? That hole looks exactly like some sort of welded bung broke off. Most of these cheap headers are designed for a couple different cars. For instance, was that a O2 bung or EGR tap for a Probe?

Too bad about the dents in the doors.  But, those are easy to fix with a trip to the junkyard and some more paint/vinyl. Or, just bang them out the best you can and consider the car pre-dinged now.

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1 hour ago, InActiv Motorsports said:

Congrats on finishing 2 races back to back.   Since you said the wheel bearing seemed ok the next thing I'd check would be the ball joints. 

Yep. We were thinking that too and will definitely do. But, it was definitely a rotational noise/virabtion? I.e gets faster as the car gets faster. 

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1 hour ago, RacerX said:

Congrats on the on the great showing and lots of track time yet again. Yay, for Mom!

The 626 will make you feel like a hero in the rain. Mine was the same. It was easily a top ten/five car in the rain.

Funny, I am chasing a similar problem in the Integra. It has developed a nasty howl in left turns. Obviously coming from the front of the car and getting worse. At the last race, it was getting very noisy so I ended up parking the car early. It exhibited the same symptoms. Wheel bearings seem fine, ball joints were still tight (fresh), and I changed both front axles over night between Saturday and Sunday in the paddock. But, it didn't fix the problem. I started to suspect the differential but haven't gotten any further diagnosing it. I need to get 3rd and 4th gear replaced in the transmission anyway. So I'll have the transmission guy check out the diff too when I get around to pulling it and taking it in. Work has been brutal this year.

Are you sure there wasn't another O2 sensor bung on the header there or a tap for the exhaust gas return to the intake? That hole looks exactly like some sort of welded bung broke off. Most of these cheap headers are designed for a couple different cars. For instance, was that a O2 bung or EGR tap for a Probe?

Too bad about the dents in the doors.  But, those are easy to fix with a trip to the junkyard and some more paint/vinyl. Or, just bang them out the best you can and consider the car pre-dinged now.

Hmmm. Wonder how a diff issue would be diagnosed without pulling it apart? Maybe a good opportunity for a LSD anyways!

Extra bung... I was thinking that too since it was so perfectly round looking.  Will get a better look once they come off the car.

Im not too concerned about the dents.  Will probably just bang them out. It was such a nice looking car before that though! :(

 

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A bit of decent video. Here is me starting on Saturday. Went from around 32nd taking the green to as  high as 3rd. Handed the car off in 5th after nearly 2 hours. 

and here is another one in the rain of me finishing on Sunday. Was having fun and pushing hard. Maybe too hard!!  I backed off after my 2nd spin. Fun to watch at least!

 

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We finally got around to tearing the car down a bit. Found some good stuff.

After a bit of a look at the exhaust headers and comparing to some pics on the internet, I am fairly certain that it was the EGR bung blowing out.  That would coincide with the big noise when it failed.  The driver (my mom was in the car at the time) radioed in saying she ran something over but didn't know what.  On the video, you can hear a bit of a bang and the exhaust note changes right away.  All good though, it was fairly easy to get off once the transverse subframe is taken off, and $20 for our exhaust guys to weld a little patch over it (man, we need to learn to weld!).  Our car wont sound like a tractor anymore!

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Then we about tearing apart the front suspension to see if we could find the noise/vibration.  There was still no end play in the wheel bearing.  Though, after crawling around under the car we could see the ball joint wiggling around as we were trying to shake the tire/wheel.  After getting the struts and spindle off you could definitely tell that the ball joint had gone.  So pretty sure we have found the problem.

After looking around, we weren't able to find any standalone ball joints for a decent price.  So our plan is to simply replace the entire lower control arm with a new part.  Is there a better way to do this?

While the spindles are off, we are also going to go ahead and replace the wheel bearings.  They have around 70 race hours on them, so Im a bit surprised they haven't failed yet as it is.

A few other items we have on the list are not imperative, but we are getting at them now as there is plenty of time before we race again in September.

 -  Relocating the surge tank to the rear wheel well from its current location in the engine compartment.  It may be a bit more susceptible to a rear end collision back there but should be pretected well enough.  It does get it, and all the additional fuel lines, away from heat sources though, so I think safer in the end.  We will move the battery box to the far passenger side trunk area to make room for the surge in the spare wheel well.  Then plan on covering it over with a thin sheet of aluminum.

 -  Make a hanger for our steering wheel.  We are finding drivers tend to push it up towards the windshield and it has broken a couple of the defroster lines.  So want to get away from doing that.

 - Adding additional venting to the fuel tank as we still have trouble dumping a 5 gallon jug in less than 20 seconds without it overflowing.  I am hoping this time we will finally get enough venting, otherwise we may need to look into a dedicated bung/fitting welded into the top of the tank to solve it.

 - We want to block off the hole under the fenders that goes from the front wheel well into the cabin.  We are getting a bunch of rubber in the car, and at times hot rubber flying into your eyes.  Im hoping that blocking this area will solve that, or at least cut it down a bit.  We are planning to cut and push in the rear part of the fenders.  This should give a bit of venting to the tires/wheel wells and also block off that hole.  Any remaining gap we should be able to get pretty easily with some Coroplast and gorilla tape.

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I always replaced the entire control arms. They are made of some pretty flimsy stamped steel. When you press out the old ball joint and press in a new one, the integrity of the whole unit is compromised. Some welding around the ball joint can help. But, I preferred not to heat up the ball joint like that.

Patch those holes in the front fender wells. Bits of rubber are the least of the problems. The super heated brake dust from the front pads is some very nasty stuff to be breathing for 2 hours at a time.

I also drilled some holes in the back side of the front fender to let that air out and improve air flow across the brakes.

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Cool, yeah, Ive heard that about replacing just the ball joint.  Good to know.

Hahaha, I didn't even think about the brake dust. But yes, good point! 

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Well... its been a while since I posted any updates on here.

We installed some nice little LED daytime running lights.  Replaced the control arms (ball joints) with new.  And we moved the surge tank to the rear.

We went to race the final race of the year at Calabogie Motorsports Park.  A great little circuit with some really tricky technical turns and some plat out 4th gear high speed stuff too.

The car was really loose for some reason.  (RacerX, similar or more so to how it was on the Sunday at Watkins when running the Nankang tires on the rear).  I have no idea why, our alignment settings should have been the same as normal.  Maybe the rear shocks were going?  I personally like it to drive more neutral with more of a tendency to push.

Anyways, doesn't really matter now.  My dad went out and had a solid stint.  Not the fastest, but he improved his lap times significantly over the first half then settled in to run very consistent laps in the 2nd half of his stint.

Our second driver went out, and one hour in lost the rear end in T1.  T1 is a fairly flat out 4th gear corner with only a slight lift before going back to full throttle through the apex to drive out of it.  Car spun, went straight to the inside wall.  Front right bounced off of a tire wall immediately sending the rear right into the concrete wall directly beside it (its actually a temporary tire wall backed by concrete blocks to guard the lower pit/paddock entrance).

Car is looking like a complete write-off at this point.  not sure if anything will be salvageable from shocks at all corners, to engine mounts, headers, surge tank, etc).  Belts will go in the garbage, same with drivers helmet, still looking into whether or not the seat need to go in the garbage too.

Good news is that the driver walked away without even a scratch.  Says he doesn't even really feel stiff this morning.  Checked out for concussion at track and later at hospital and was given full go ahead both times.

We are all pretty bummed about this one.  All really loved that car. But all VERY happy driver walked away.  No idea what we will do in terms of building a new car as life and funds aren't looking all that kindly upon that prospect at the moment!  Eventually I hope.

Will give a more detailed run down of the accident and "learning points" of where we could improve our build as we get into tearing down the car.IMG_3088.thumb.JPG.8b1e47767376ac331ecf125cf0ab4e32.JPG

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Terrible news, I'm very sorry to hear this. Amazing with all of the damage the driver was fine.   Hope to see you guys back soon with another 626.  Btw- you guys seem talented and learning to install a cage yourself is a great way to save money and allow for the building of all kinds of things.  If my team could do in no doubt you guys can.  Worst case I may  have a race ready X-Type I could possibly let go at a good price.

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4 minutes ago, 626lemons said:

Terrible news, I'm very sorry to hear this. Amazing with all of the damage the driver was fine.   Hope to see you guys back soon with another 626.  Btw- you guys seem talented and learning to install a cage yourself is a great way to save money and allow for the building of all kinds of things.  If my team could do in no doubt you guys can.  Worst case I may  have a race ready X-Type I could possibly let go at a good price.

Yep, we are really happy he walked away.

Haha, a racing Jaguar!  I will see what our plan is.  Still really like the 6262  and not sure if we are ready to give that up just yet.  But also not sure we are ready for the time, money and effort of a new build.  We will see.

BTW, I saw you guys get an honourable mention in a Lemons wrap up video the other day.  Nice work!

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Lol, yea we won the "I got screwed" award.  Our primary car had issues on practice day so we went to our backup car as it was running great.  

We starting running Saturday,  but the transponder wasn't working. We flagged him to come in, instead he was coming in via wrecker with blown bearings.   Fortunately we found a yard motor that was FWD, ours is RED, did the conversion only to have the belt break with 5 minutes left.  At least we got a trophy and a spot in the video lol.

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Just got back from vacation and saw the latest update and pics. That was a scary hard hit. I am glad to hear the driver is alright.

Coming home with that crumpled heap after all the work to date has got to feel a bit overwhelming. I am sure you'll find a way to get back on the track. You've been bit by the bug already. No turning back now.

Buying an already built car is a very cost effective way to get back on the track, even if it's just a chassis and you need to replace motor and suspension. But, you'll probably have to give up on the 626. Not many of those properly race prepped up for sale.

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WOW!!   Really sorry to see this.     Glad the driver was able to walk away with no injuries.  That looks like a HUGE hit.   Hope you guys can find something and get back out on track soon. 

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I figured I would post a bit of this info up to help close out this thread.  It looking like our Mazda days have come to an end (at least for now) as we have bought another marque for a new build race car.  First off though, thanks to everyone here on the forum, all have been very helpful and have a great little community going.  The 626 has been an amazing little car for us and we are sad to see it go.

It appears that I never posted up video of the crash, so here it is:

Mostly driver error in that he was too timed in corner entry and didn't get back on the gas hard enough after turn in to keep the rear planted.  All small correction near the apex with maybe a slight breath off the throttle and the rear came around.  Not fast enough with some countersteer and not enough opposite lock on the wheel either (should have steered harder and further) and he basically gives up once he passes the point of no return. 

In the aftermath we stripped out what we could and tried to take some pics of the remains for learning purposes.  The cage held up reasonably well and certainly did its job of creating a safety cell around the driver.  The seat mounts were woefully inadequate though and the seat was too far away from the back brace to do any good at all (no pics of that).

Entire rear of car crumpled an pushed into the gas tank.  You can see the seam weld is very close to "tearing" completely and opening up the tank.  Luckily it didn't as exhaust was pressed up against that spot.

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The side mounts for the seat were bolted to the OEM sliders.  The sliders stayed mounted well to the floor, but the bolts pulled right through the metal.  No washer was able to fit within that inner part of the slider, we always assumed that if that is how they bolt the OEM seats, then good enough for us.  Definitely not adequate.  We will be going to a proper racing slider for our next build.

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This is looking in through the passenger door, rear is toward the top.  The hole in the middle is the trailing arm doing a can opener impression.  Base plate held.

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This is the right rear shock tower.  Obviously did not hold and was ripped clear at the base plate weld.  Can see the seam pulling apart as it crumpled.

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Looking down through rear passenger window.  Front towards the bottom.  This is the main cage hoop and base plate.

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Finally, here is the front shock and spindle.  The front right too a decent hit apparently.  Broke the shock mounting to the spindle.  We also noticed (though forgot to take pics) that the transmission had cracked at the rear mount (where it attaches to the firewall area.  Some decent force doing a lot of damage that is for sure.

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And, here is us trying to get the rear wheel off so we could salvage brakes and such.  Even though it was already broken and garbage, it was still pretty tough to cut up an Enkei RPF1 to get it out!  Never did come out, was crushed into fender too much and we gave up.

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So...  what are we going to race next?  Similar idea, just way more power.  Family sedan.  Japanese. 2002 Nissan Maxima.  3.5 L V6, 6 Speed manual.  255 hp.  I suspect it wont handle like the mazdas do, but it certainly will not be in need of horsepower!

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Again, thanks to everyone for the help over the 3-4 years we have been hanging around on this forum.  Im firmly in the Mazda fanboy camp now, daily drive a Mazda 6 Wagon and am firmly rooting for the IMSA Prototypes to run strong next year.  Hopefully can be back in a Mazda race car again soon!

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I love the new car. Lighten it and stiffen it the best you can and take it racing. You already know all the tricks to make that happen.

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