Friday, September 18, 2009

As for car #2...

The Margarita neonMargarita Neon race car in pits at Laissez les Crapheaps Roulez, Louisiana event in 24 Hours of LeMons race series had a pretty rough time in Louisiana during "Laissez les Crapheaps Roulez"-- our rush-job engine rebuild (top-end) after the Gator-O-Rama race wasn't up to snuff, so it spent way more time in the pits than on the track. We're hoping to change its luck by renaming and redecorating it: now the vehicle will be known as the Fancy Lawnmower. (If St. Arnold's Brewery approves of the homage to their beer, we hope to get a sticker for it. If they disapprove, it will become the Rusty Lawnmower.)

Last weekend the team finally got around to pulling out the motor to see how bad things were going to be repair-wise. Bear in mind that the sparkly goo in the green panoil from MargaritaNeon race car with many small metal shavings in it pictured here was the oil from the car mid-race in Louisiana, and during my final lap with the car it let out a very impressive cloud of smoke, steam, and chaos before expiring. We knew things would be bad.

Once Andy started draining the oil pan of the car we knew it would be very very bad indeed. The Sludge: 2 gallons of ick from our engineThe oil, water from the cooling system, and oil treatment (added to try to quiet the knocking con-rod for a few more laps) had been churned into a grayish, thick goo that took ages to drain from the engine. Rob dubbed it "The Sludge." With all that tasty water, oil, and metal shavings, I declared it a suitable salad dressing for robots.

I left the engine pull to others while I did my hack-job of welding on Lockjaw, team members attaching hoist to pull out race car enginebut once it was done I joined in the laughter at the poor motor.
Here's a closeup of cylinder 1: badly mangled piston in our race car engineit didn't move at all when the crank was moved, the piston is rotated, cracked, and the cylinder wall has been punched through completely. Needless to say, we have about six people making calls and emails to try to locate a new motor in a junkyard. We already have a junkyard block but it's from a later-model SOHC and we're not sure if it will work with the DOHC head from the car. So if anyone knows of a cheap (or even free) motor from an early Neon, please let me know.

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