Friday, September 18, 2009

Gearing up for October

The team has been a busy bunch this summer, preparing things for the next Houston-area 24 Hours of LeMons race in October. Making major repairs to two rusty neon racecars wasn't challenging enough, so Ramon & his son have started building out a third car. Our unofficial motto: "Gluttons for punishment (and beer)."

As I mentioned in the post-Louisiana entry, due to some rollover incidents at other LeMons races the tech inspections have gotten very thorough about roll cages. Upon close inspection of the cage in our original TetanusNeon we found some bends that would probably not pass tech inspection again, so the cage has been removed and a new one goes in this Saturday.

In addition to needing a new cage, Lockjaw needed work to the lower radiator support. Yep, the roof of this fine motoring machine isn't the only part with rust, and the lower support was so perforated that the engine shifted several inches when we revved it.

If this happened to a normal car, one would go find a new support, or perhaps a full donor front end, and replace the poor perforated beastie with metal of the size and shape that Dodge intended. That, however, is not The LeMons Way (especially as interpreted by SNAFU Racing). Our way? Take a brief 4-hour workshop on welding, buy a reconditioned welder, and start tacking in whatever metal can be scrounged from everyone's garages and workshops. Hammer whenever needed, repeat as necessary. Here I am making my first weld that isn't part of a class. Let's just say it was not a textbook example.

We did find two metal chunks of about the right size and it's all together now, with radiator held near where it once lived, a less-shifty motor mount, and even a tow hook now (may it never be needed). P.J. got the hang of welding very quickly, so unlike my work, the side he did doesn't look like it was done by a monkey with shaky hands.

Up next for Tetanus Neon: new cage, then we try to spruce up the visuals on the car.

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