So, 2022 was a thing.
From a racing standpoint, it sucked. No wins. Broken stuff. Embarrassing track oildowns, and general carnage. I started with a disappointing finish at the Pine Mountain Hill Climb, followed by the explosion of the clutch in the RX-8 at the SCCA Time Trials Nationals.
Then a few local events where the Buick failed to run properly.
The SCCA CAM Challenge went well enough, but the power steering hose bursting was a challenge.
Then we got to VIR and didn’t even make it past lunch on the first day.
But there’s a lining. We’ve done some work towards building a foundation for future success. Going forward, it will be easier to get work done faster. Reliance on external vendors will be reduced, and time to recover from mishaps will be dramatically reduced.
The biggest news is our total failure at the Optima event at VIR. The car was smoking for the morning autocross session, and eventually had an oil cooler line disintegrate. That happened during a run, and we oiled the course down much to our embarrassment. We did get a few awesome pictures out of it, though.
The Buick elected to have its power steering pump rip itself out of the bracket, sidelining it for what will likely be almost two months. That repair is going to require welding the old bolt holes closed and drilling new ones, and getting the bracket off basically requires tearing the front of the engine down to the timing cover. Not complicated, but time consuming.
Normally I’d thrash and have this fixed in a week, but we’ve been pre-empted by some property work. I ran off and bought a new place.
I bought a couple of garages with a nice little detached house about ten miles south of the old place. Upgraded from a 24 foot square concrete block garage on an alley with a 2200 square foot 101 year old multi-story house to a 24×36 foot workshop plus a 24×28 garage, and an 1800 square foot ranch. More shop, less house. The kid graduates high school in three years anyway. I had too much house and not enough shop. That’s been remedied. I’ll miss my old neighbors, though.
Both garages have 100amp electric service. The house needed some work, and my old house needed a lot of work before it went on the market, so it’s been a thrash. Even getting to VIR was ambitious, looking back.
Once we have the old house sold and all the finances settled, I’ll be looking for good deals on tire machines and permanently installed lifts. I need to run a couple of 220v outlets for the welder, too.
But with this much space, I’ll be able to get more work done faster. Just shuffling stuff around and out of the way to work on one car or the other consumed hours. That time sink is gone. I can basically have two cars completely apart in this workshop. This speeds everything up. When I get to a stopping point on one, like a parts delay, I can pivot right to the other one. Additionally, the one that’s working can go in the other garage and not be at risk of getting damaged because I tripped on something. Both garages are essentially level with the driveway, too. So pushing stuff that doesn’t run around is going to be much easier.
I also have enough space to load the truck and trailer inside the property with everything on concrete. I’ll be able to load up the day before leaving for big trips without worrying about somebody ransacking the truck overnight. I can get a good night’s sleep, jump in the truck, and go.
On top of all of that, both garages have HEAT. I can work year round now. Though I worked year-round before, but I was gassing myself with a kerosene heater and often had to heed a CO alarm and vent the garage, wasting hours. Both garages have electric heat. No fumes.
As if all that wasn’t awesome enough, my new neighbors are car people, and the property backs up to a farm. The plywood square on the back wall is a blocked in window that’ll turn into a vent. Next time I paint or plasti-dip a car, the only effect on the community will be some woozy squirrels.
The initial project list is not trivial:
- Repair some oil leaks on the truck
- Find and fix the oil leak/smoking issue on the Probe
- Repair the accessory mount bracket on the Buick and get the power steering pump back where it should be
- Plasti-Dip the Buick to protect the paint?
- New Camber/Caster plates on the Probe
- More appropriate turbocharger on the Probe
Just that list is likely going to get me to the end of February. Then we need to find local events to thoroughly shake down the Probe before the Optima season begins. We’re shooting to get a Probe to SEMA next year and do a full season with the Appalachian Hill Climb Series. The Buick may make some trips, too.