2014 DSM Shootout – What Went Wrong?

This is about the 2014 DSM Shootout. Or, more specifically, about how the car didn’t make it down to the 2014 DSM shootout. I know, it’s 7 months late, but what do you do? For starters, we rewind back to DSM shootout, 2013:

As you may have read in other posts on the site, I blew stuff up at the 2013 DSM Shootout. While this was fun and all (you should sense the sarcasm there,) I needed to get a new engine together. So, over the winter of 2013-2014, I went to work. The condition of the car was kind of a mess, but I was fortunate in that the engine failure only caused damage to the hard parts in the engine itself.

The head even fared relatively well. It was clear that there was piston contact on #4, the cylinder that lost the piston, but otherwise, the head was in relatively good shape. I did, however, find a few slightly bent valves and a number of cracked guides. The guides probably weren’t from the engine failure, at least, not those in #2, #3 cylinder in the head. Thankfully, none of them disintegrated and sent shards of guide bits into my turbo, but I wasn’t taking any chances – it was time to replace them all. While I had a new block out for machining, I went to work cleaning that up. I polished up the intake and exhaust ports, then replaced all the guides. And then replaced all the valves with stainless valves. In lieu of having a shop do all this work, I decided to do it myself. And yes, I even honed the valve guides. What a pain :-)

Next up was the waiting. Forever. Align hone the mains, bore and hone cylinders, balance the crank. SEVEN WEEKS. It should never take that long, I don’t care which shop you take it to – these are all simple operations that should only take a few hours each for an engine machine shop. This pretty much F’d the start of my season. After waiting almost two months, I finally got my block back and got to work. The crank? Great, if not a little snug on the thrust main and rod bearings. So, I ordered up a set of “race” bearings with extra clearance, and was mostly happy with those, except for that main thrust. The thrust bearing has .0025″ of taper in it, which is crazy for those. It ended up netting me <.00015″ of end play on the crank thrust. So, I spent a lot of time with very fine grit sandpaper on a sheet of glass to correct the taper. Afterward, .007″ of thrust clearance. Technically, this is on the large side, close to the factory limit, but this is a racecar, so whatever :-)

So, Head, Block, Rods, Pistons, bolt it all up and go. Sort of.

I took the car to the dyno to break in the engine and to check on some tuning changes that I made. And I ended up popping the head gasket on the dyno. This was due to hitting boost cut, I think. Hard to say, but the second to last pull I made it started pushing coolant. We made another pull, and it started pushing more coolant. That was it, it was done.

Tore into the car, trying to make it to the shootout. Just ran out of time and parts, really. I ended up working my butt off from Thursday through Saturday, and just gave in. There were other things going on, too – logistics, tires, fuel, all sorts of stuff. So, I called it, and went down and had fun hanging out with my friends at Summit Motorsports Park. I got to pit and cook food for two good friends, and it was something I don’t normally get to do so it was a lot of fun.