AWD Turbo Parts and Performance

Marc S – Carlsbad in June – 12.20, but bye-bye clutch

Lots of mixed Carlsbad news… This will be lengthy.

Twas a very hot day which sucked for getting good times… On the positive
side it wasn’t too crowded, I got 5 runs in between 2pm and 4:15pm before
my car called it quits :(.

Run 1. First run had me really, really worried. 12.75 @ 105, w/ a 1.77 60
foot time. The car was hot & one or two of my shifts wasn’t quite as fast
as usual but that time was really off!… Checked peak EGT… 810 degrees…
Ok, running too rich. Leaned things out a couple notches.

Run 2. 12.34 @ 110. Phew, getting better, new personal best. 1.71 60
foot time. MPH still has me worried though. Was already getting 110 at
Pomona, before the cams, and the cams definitely have the car pulling
harder. Checked EGT’s… Still low. Leaned things out a touch more.

Run 3. Off to a decent start. 1.75 60 foot time, 7.89 ET in the 1.8th,
and 1/8 mph is almost 1 MPH higher than Run 2… Go to shift from 3rd to
4th… I don’t think I had my clutch pedal in all the way in time as I jam
it to 4th… But the *shifter* goes into 4th anyways but feels like it has
no weight when it gets there. Step on the gas but I’m not in gear, the
engine just revs. No 4th gear. For that matter, no any gear, the shifter
moves into all the gears with almost no resistance & I’m “in neutral”.
$h!t. Now I’ve done it! I coast through the 1/4mi – 12.98 @ 85mph!
What a run that woulda been if I had 4th gear :) My MPH in the 1/4 was
less than my MPH in the 1/8 and it was still a 12 :). I come to a stop at
the entrance to the return road (end of the strip), put on the hazards, but
the lazy Carlsbad officials just stare at me… So I think about it as I
move the shifter around… Ok, no resistance at all, & always in neutral…
Almost as if… The shifter ain’t attached to the cable no more! I yank
the plastic panel off under the shifter & look down there… Yep! The
cable came off. (It lost the cotter pin). I put it back on, get it in
gear & am on my way. Later I rigged a new pin by bending a key ring…
Problem solved.

Run 3 gives me time to think… Why are my EGT’s still so low, and what’s up
with the MPH (1/4 MPH for Run 3 was unusable but 1/8mph showed very minor
gains)… Then it dawns on me… My boost is low. Never raised it on the
way to Carlsbad. I had set it late the night before when the air was very
cold. I was probably running 18-19psi in the heat!… Up the boost a
touch… Time for run 4…

Run 4. Got a decent launch, but had a bog problem which to be honest
plagued me on all the runs… I’d get off the line quick w/ spinning tires
but would then hook up early, have a quick bog, and then take off. This
likely affected all my times that day. Gotta do some tuning, the cams
changed a lot of things. 1.73 60 foot time. 1/8th: 7.78 @ 88.35. 1/4
mi: *12.20* @ 109! I’m excited about the ET but still puzzled about the
MPH. For comparison, I ran 86-88mph in the 1/8th at Pomona in my 12.4 –
12.5 runs & always 110mph in the 1/4. I up the boost a little more (it was
probably still a little low, 19-20) & lean things out a little more in
preparation for Run 5. Looks like I will get several more runs in so I
have time to tune in small increments.

Run 5… Disaster strikes. The run was bad from the very start. For the
first time, my less-than-happy-to-disengage-when-hot clutch has a very
noticeable impact at the track. I try to shift to 2nd & it doesn’t wanna
go in. Wait for it to drop in (the run is totally blown now) and I
continue on… The rest of the shifts ain’t feeling too good. Cross the 1/4
at 13.3/107.5 & the shifter doesn’t wanna come out of gear. I manage to
get it out & am barely able to force it into a lower gear to get back to
the pits. Park the car, figure I’ll let it cool down while I grab lunch &
hope it’ll get back to normal like it usually does once it cools.

No dice this time. I go start up the car. With the clutch pedal pressed
to the floor & feeling “normal”, the shifter will NOT go into ANY gear no
matter how hard I press. Shut off the engine & it will go into the gears
but no chance while it’s idling. I put it into gear while the engine was
off & THEN started the car with the clutch pedal fully to the floor… Sure
enough, the car starts moving immediately as if my foot is barely on the
clutch pedal. Can’t get the thing to disengage at all.

Thank god Corey Dennen showed up today :)… Felt great not to be stuck
there alone!  After finding out how insanely expensive it
would be to flatbed the car back to RRE, we decide to try to drive it there
by starting the car up in gear. My poor starter motor :) but yeah the
starter gets the car moving, and I make it out of the track w/o the ability
to disengage my clutch :). Stops were an absolute hell as I tried to gas
the engine to make it slip the clutch, while keeping my foot on the brake
to stop the car, & keeping the clutch in to at least slightly disengage it.
Got to hear lots of scary noises coming from the engine compartment. :)
Fortunately this only occurred a few times. We got more & more ambitious
(started in 1st at the beginning, then started in 2nd ’cause driving slow in
1st was unbearable, and finally said what the hell, started it from 3rd
gear & got on the freeway). Corey drove his car & escorted me the whole
way to RRE. Thank god there was little traffic & it was practically a
normal drive… 70mph/5500rpm in 3rd gear the whole way there :). Dropped
the car off at RRE, & Corey dropped me off at my home some 40+ minutes
away… I owe Corey big time! Corey, thanks for being there for me!

That’s pretty much the tale, time will tell what the culprit was. One thing
seems pretty certain- this was just the end result of a problem that’s been
plaguing me since having the clutch first installed. I’m very interested
in finding out the “why”… If the problem is specific to the Clutch Masters
clutch, they’re soon going to find that there aren’t any DSM’ers left who will
run one of their clutches– so many people have switched to ACT already &
have been telling me to do the same.

Performance notes… 12.20 was nice, I think the car is 12.0x capable
though. I have confidence that these cams added nice horsepower.
Considering they were installed less than 24 hours ago with 1 minute of AFC
tuning, I think there’s some serious AFC tuning work to be done to get the
car running more optimally. That, combined with more boost (21-23) & some
real gas instead of 100ish octane should hopefully shave a couple tenths
off. Time will tell. For now I’ll worry about having an operational car
:).

On the bright side… Those low 12 second runs really had people talking
about DSM’s at Carlsbad & admittedly it’s nice to get the attention :)…
Lots of people coming by to ask what the hell was done to the car & to
offer their congrats. It was great overhearing a conversation some guys
were having- “Did you see that? 12.2! I’m not talkin 12.6 or something…
This was a 12.2! He was just GONE!” :)- Some Mustang guys were
actually belittling how slow their cars were in comparison – wish I coulda
got that on video tape. Ok, “big-head” mode off. Thanks to Scot G for
making those Club DSM cards a few months back. There was a modded turbo
DSM guy there in need of the right parts/advice who didn’t know about Club
DSM/Socal DSM. The card came in very handy! I sent him Mike’s way since
as we all know, Mike @ RRE has too much free time on his hands & needs more
customers to bug him. :)

Sorry for the rambling… Am tired/drained & not looking forward to the
rental car expenses/inconvenience. But, it coulda been a lot worse so I’m
kind of thankful.

Oh, that reminds me… Here’s a good piece of info I hope you never have to
use- a good Carlsbad towing service. I fortunately didn’t have to get
towed, and it was the cost of towing that had us looking for every possible
alternative- Between $2-$8 per mile! AAA basic membership only has 7 free
miles! Call La Costa Towing – 760-730-0348. They normally charge
$35/hookup + $2 mile, but they said they’d give me a deal & charge me $150
complete to flatbed the car all the way to RRE/Huntington Beach. May be a
good chunk of change but that’s a good deal given the usual rates.

Hope everyone did well & stayed in 1 piece at Buttonwillow.

G’nite,
Marc

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