Monthly Archives: August 2007

The Week Leading up to The 2007 DSM Shootout

Okay, so it’s been a week since the shootout, so it’s about time to get a new post up on the
site ;-) I’ve had an entire week to get some other non-car-related things, and so now I’m
ready to post all about the shootout. This one should be a long post ;-p

I’ve spent about the last six weeks working on the Talon, and the week before the shootout was about the most intense period of time in which I worked on the Talon in a very long time. Mark has been in Oregon since the beginning of June, so it would be a little hard to get help from him ;-) Thankfully, Rick has been around and willing to drive out here to Howell a few times each weekend over the last two or three weeks. Rick has helped me tear the car down, clean it up, and put it back together, so I need to thank him for that. Without his help, there’s no way the car would have been nearly as done as it was.

Two weeks before the shootout, the car was bare. And, I mean *bare* – no engine, no suspension in the car, no doors, no plumbing – nothing. So, Rick and I got to work putting things in the car. We started out getting a bunch of painting done on the car. Between putting new color on the cage, getting unpainted portions of the car completed, and getting the gas door cleaned up, we spent a lot of time getting that stuff squared away. That weekend, the car was still bare, but ready to put back together. Mostly. Oh, yeah, and I got the seat mounting done by the end of Sunday night.

I’m realizing more and more that as I type this out, the two weeks before the shootout is a little fuzzy. So much stuff has happened, that things may be a little out of order ;-p

Anyway, through that week, I spent time cleaning up the car, and doing a bunch of other things that I don’t remember. By the time Friday had come, the car was still missing it’s suspension, driveline, and everything else substantial. It was a good thing Rick was coming out to help ;-)

Saturday we started putting the car back together, in any sort of substantial measure of “putting together”, anyway. So, we started by getting the front and rear suspension in the car. Once that was done, I wanted to make some measurements in order to do a rough alignment on everything. Well, I should say I wasn’t expecting to have to align anything, but once together, there were some weird measurements, so we [i]needed[/i] to get the suspension more-square than it was. So, off to work, right?

Rick and I measured suspension points from the rear of the car to the front, to verify that the chassis itself was square. Thankfully, it was dead on. Sure, years ago when this stuff was being fabricated, it was measured, and was built as square as we could, but years later you forget about actual values and figures, and you end up not knowing that the car is, in fact, square. That was a nice relief. After that, we started measuring front suspension components. Measurements on the front control arms and suspension points did not line up. So, after about two hours of working on this stuff, Rick and I got the front suspension *square*. And I mean *square* – to within less than 1/32″ from rear suspension points.

After that, it was time to get the four link set up. We bolted the four link into the car, and set that up. It was uneventful, compared to the front end ;-) So yeah, the car now rolled. After that, it was time to put the plumbing back in the car. After the plumbing, the engine and transmission went into the car. Over the next few days, I would revamp the wiring harness, install the driveshaft, and did everything else that needed to be done – I can’t even list it all there was so much stuff put on the car. (it’s hazy ;-p)

In the end, Mark and I ended up spending about 5 more hours on the car than I originally inmagined. I took almost the entire night on Friday, the day before the shootout, to get the car ready to show (not even ready to race!) – We didn’t even get weatherstipping on most of the car, which would come back to bite us in the ass a little later, but we did get the car together, started, and then rolled it up onto the trailer. We strapped it down, loaded up the truck, and then drove down to Norwalk – we left at 11:30pm on Friday, arrived around 1:45am Saturday morning.

2007 DSM Shootout Recap

After a very brief night of sleep, I awoke at 6:45am the next morning. Actually, I had set my alarm on my cell phone, but I had forgotten to enable it. Even still, my body naturally awoke. I think I was excited about it.

There’s always something about the shootout that makes you a little bit apprehensive. Sure, you may have a nice DSM, but there’s still someone else who has dropped money more than you have; or they have a nicer car than you do. There always will be – it happens in anything. Anyway, There’s excitement, suspense, and a thrill that you get when presenting something to your peers. And, that’s what I Was doing.

Three years ago, I brought the Talon down to the shootout. It was nowhere near as done as it is today – and it was missing… everything. We had the backhalf done, and the engine and transmission in the car. Other than that, it was bare. No manifolds, no tin work, no bumpers, and not very much else. Sure, Saturday wasn’t *the shootout*, per se, but this year it ended up being the only shootout that was had. And this year? It was as crazy as ever. Dave posted in this thread that there were over 300 cars present, with over 1000 people attending the car show / dyno portion of the shootout. Needless to say, it was a little nuts at times during the day.

So, we got there in the morning, said hello to Dave, and then after getting some crap from him about *still* not having a running vehicle, we rolled the Talon off the trailer. Then, we pushed it around until we got it into a parking spot. We ended up in the grass right across Dave’s driveway from the Dyno. So, if you got the chance to see a dyno pull, chances are good that you also got a chance to see the car.

As I was pushing the car into place, it occurred to me that I knew there was something up with the car that we should have been able to fix easily. The night before, we had flooded the engine trying to get the car to move under it’s own power. It didn’t really move up onto the trailer, but we were simply out of time, so we pushed it instead of driving it. Anyway, now it was the next morning, and there was no reason the car shouldn’t be running under it’s own power. So, we tried to start the car. It ran like crap, and then stalled. Hrm… I pulled the plugs out of the car, and sure enough 2,3 and 4 were drenched with gas. So, Mark went and got a new set of plugs for the car, while I checked out some other things, and got the laptop to adjust some settings on the the Haltech. Mark came back with the new plugs, I pulled fuel out of the coolant temp maps of the Haltech (it was still quite cold outside) and we started the car up. It started right up, but was very lean. And it ran like crap. It totally wasn’t running on all 4 cylinders. Thankfully, it was still early in the morning, and there weren’t too many people there standing around while we were trying to get it running, so it wasn’t too embarrassing ;-)

So, we started troubleshooting. First, we thought that it may be spark, so I borrowed a power transistor from Daniel Buschur to see if I had inadvertently fried the one on the car. This turned out NOT to be the issue. Okay, what next? We pulled the plugs again. 2,3 and 4 all had carbon on them – they were firing. Number 1? It was completely white – you could still see the porcelain. Crap. Okay, well, it should have been getting spark, but may not have been getting fuel. I poked around a little bit, and found the problem. My #1 injector plug had come un-crimped. Yeah, how does that happen? So, I sent Mark on another wild goose chase to look for an injector pigtail. While he ran across the street to the local Wakeman auto parts store, I went into Dave’s shop to return the power transistor to Daniel, and also managed to pull the sloppy pin out of the injector pigtail from the Talon. I also managed to borrow a crimp tool from Daniel, which was cool, but I also got crap from him about not knowing how to crimp connectors ;-) It was okay, I deserved it. So, I crimped the #1 injector properly, and put the harness back together.

Finally! All four cylinders were firing. It was great to finally have the car running properly :-)