View Full Version : Disaster at Mid-Ohio

07-08-2002, 02:20 PM
I started experiencing some overheating problems in the race on Saturday...got hotter than normal...but cooled back down quickly. By the way I ran all water with only Water Wetter in a stock radiator.
The last few laps of Sunday's race, I was tied up in a great battle with a fellow competitor and didn't notice until the cool down lap the temp gauge PEGGED on the hot side !! I'm guessing it went WELL OVER 250 http://Forums.ImprovedTouring.com/it/frown.gif. I didn't want to stop the car and stop airflow, so I drove gingerly back to the pits where it died before I got all the way into the pits. I let the car sit for about an hour, and was amazed to see the temp gauge was still high in the hot zone. I haven't had much of a chance to check the car out since I didn't get home until very late. I did try to start it...it turns, but sounds labored but won't fire.

Unfortunately I now don't know what caused the overheating...after Saturday's race I had to add quite a bit of water to the radiator. I saw no signs of vapor in the exhaust. For all I know, the overheating was a symptom of a different problem...

My front grill opening bottom got slightly bent in a incident last year...but that couldn't be enough to cause such a drastic overheating, could it? Also last year I had to have a small leak in the radiator fixed...is it possible that significantly affected the cooling ability?

My main question is, If I really fried it big time, what is the most likely damage components? Warped housings? Will it still crank but not start with warped housing?

I'm guessing I'll need a whole new engine...and guess what may need a new tranny as well....didn't have fifth gear all weekend!

All in all a very expensive weekend!

Finally, a sincere "get well" soon to fellow WOR region driver Rex Gunning! Rex was injured in a scary accident in FC. Not life threatening but had an upper A-Arm impale his leg. Word is he is doing well...

07-08-2002, 05:30 PM
What car were you driving. I was running a bit hot as well (73 black with silver lettering). Saturday was really bad. Sunday temps were getting a bit high, but maintained. I pressed on. I am running the stock radiator as well as the stock oil cooler. I need to do some rework in this department.

As for your engine, warped rotor housings is most likely cause, although you may have fried a bearing in the process. Easiest way to check for warped housings is cranking the car with the Rad cap off and see if it bubbles to fires out.


07-08-2002, 06:31 PM
My car was running a hotter than normal also (210 water temps), and it seemed most everybody else was running higher than normal temps. Not sure why; it didn't seem exceptionally hot. Do you know what the air temp was? I thought it was in the mid 80's, but maybe it was hotter.

Also, the track seemed really slick to me.

Rich (ITA 31)

07-08-2002, 06:34 PM

I was in the black #87. Started off pretty good qualified 13th in ITA at 1:51, but went backward from there. I think I have a few too many races on the old Hoosiers as well.


07-08-2002, 06:56 PM
If you were to close to the car that you were racing with then you might have been blocking your airflow to the radiator. I raced in Colorado (Second Creek)this weekend and was leading overall until I caught some traffic and got stuck behind them for too long. I was to close to them trying to get around them and my oil and water temps went way high and after I got around them I had to slow down to let the car cool down. My oil temp jumped up to 275 for a brief period before coming back down to 255-260.

07-08-2002, 07:10 PM
I was running in the ITS group. I'm almost embaressed to mention what my temps were. Needless to say they were awful high. I was having too much fun on Sunday to back off though http://Forums.ImprovedTouring.com/it/smile.gif


Dave Damouth
07-08-2002, 09:00 PM
Where in the heck were you pitted Larry? Tried to find you several times, couldn't.

You're times were looking good. Hope its not the same deal I had last year, where it only runs fast just before it blows up....

I overheated the original motor probably a dozen times, always survived. Always started ok afterwards though. Check for the bubbling radiator and check for compression. If it still turns hard with the plugs out, then its bad.

I ran terrible this weekend. Thinking the tires were gone, but maybe I need to go back to smoky junkyard engines.....

Good luck. Let me know if you need anything. I know of at least one person with a used motor for sale if you need it.

07-08-2002, 10:52 PM
Okay, so haw did everyone do at Mid-O this weekend? Interested in whether Rich Miller or Frank Dombroski ran the event.

07-08-2002, 11:52 PM
I was probably the car or one of them you were having fun with on Sunday. ITS #41 RX-7. I was trying to get by you to keep my friend in the 240SX behind me. I was having cooling problems as well all weekend. Onc I got by you into 1 Ihad to start short shifting to maintain temps. I think I have the right parts, I just need to get the air where it will do the most good. Although I am still toying with the idea of the Fluidyne 80000 BTU water-oil heat exchanger

07-09-2002, 08:26 AM
I finished 3rd and 5th in IT7 and Frank finished 2nd and 3rd. Really nice weekend, on and off track. You really should try to make it to one Mid Ohio IT7 Road Racing Championship event this year.

07-09-2002, 10:13 AM

That was some fun we were having, especially when the 240 spun out of the keyhole.

If you want an inexpensive alternative to a aluminum radiator, C&R racing is in the process of making one to fit second gen RX-7's. I already had them come over for the first test fit. I'm waiting for a second try. The rad will be in the mid $400 range. A lot cheaper than Mazda Comp, Fluidine or anyone else for that matter.


07-09-2002, 10:45 AM
Mark me up for high temps as well. Saturday I had temps above 250 water and 300 oil. Pulled her off on the second lap to keep from having a melt down. Thought the problem was a bad radiator cap, however Sunday's race temps was still high water 230 and oil 250. In traffic they would increase 10 degrees more. Did anyone have normal temps? If so what kind of setup are you running ?

Roland ITA #6

[This message has been edited by Hahn63 (edited July 09, 2002).]

07-09-2002, 02:08 PM
Dave D,

I was all the way back in the upper paddock area farthest from the track. My trailer was turned to where my car was parked on the side not visible to the road, so it would have been tough to find. I actually was near you a couple of times in the paddock over the weekend, but never got a chance to say hello. I was the one bugging Susko Sunday morning getting some advice on how to dial out understeer (yes you heard right, UNDERSTEER! I can tell I'm going to love the TriLink and GT Panhard set-up when I get it all dialed in!...and figure out how to drive a car that isn't oversteering.)

I thought the track was a bit slick as well, but I attributed it to my overdriving the tires and a few too many heat cycles. Since two of those [email protected] CRX's bettered the track record, I think it was me.

I still haven't had a chance to thoroughly investigate what might have happened. While it may be blamed on a combination of things I have a hunch that my fanbelt may be to blame. I always found that if I kept the fanbelt(s) very tight, the temperatures stayed down...but I'd eat a belt every other session. If i loosen the belts a bit, they last longer, but the temps rise. I have the two belt pulley, but ended up with only one belt for the weekend :0...and that one is right now hanging far too loose. I checked water level in the radiator....it was about a gallon low and the overflow tank lid had blown off. I'm guessing the water pump was being turned fast enough, the water boiled out and it just got progressively hotter. My plan is to go to an aftermarket radiator. A new (used or rebuilt) engine and a new waterpump should be a safe bet.

Dave, I like the looks of your radiator and electric fan set-up! Can I get your source and/or specs? As for the new engine (still assuming this one is cooked) I doubt that I'll be able to get lucky enough to find another low mileage '84-'85 scrap yard unit like I did the last time...I actually like the dependability of the stock motor and seems to provide plenty of HP. But if I can't find a good scrap yard specimin, I'll be looking at the various sources for IT built motors. So guys, who has the best value in IT prepped motors? (My definition of value defined as optimum mix of price, dependability, and performance)

Now for the Tranny...any idea what would cause losing 5th gear? The shifter would go into the position but there was no gear there...at any speed? Should I rebuild or replace? I have no idea what kind of shape the synchro's are in, and the rear seal is leaking quite a bit in storage. I've got an extra scrap yard unit, but have been burned once before on a scrap yard tranny. Does anyone offer a good deal on an IT rebuild/t tranny?

All help/sources/suggestions are appreciated! I'm guessing I won't get all this done in time for Brat Bash http://Forums.ImprovedTouring.com/it/frown.gif My racing manager (aka spouse) thinks I spent to much time working on the car already this spring and summer...a new engine, tranny and radiator pales in comparison to the cost of a divorce http://Forums.ImprovedTouring.com/it/wink.gif

07-09-2002, 03:25 PM

Would be interested in talking about your understeer issue. I had the same issue also, particularly in the carousel. I had to slow to a crawl to get out of there, and that's where most folks were eating my lunch.

ITA #31
[email protected]

07-09-2002, 05:33 PM
As far as built motor's go. In my slightly biased opinion. Mazsport 727-530-9960. Scott, does great work, prices are very reasonable (compared to some figures i've heard from other builders) There are few other guys on this board that use him. Ask around. If you run in the SE he's usually at the track for help. He can also point you in the right direction for tranny work.

IT7 #88
PowerTrip Racing

Dave Damouth
07-09-2002, 06:36 PM
I was running warmer than normal also. 220 oil, 180 water. Usually run 200 & 160. Both are downstream of cooler, returning to engine.

Rlekun- Its a custom built. I'll scan the drawing and send it to you. It was around $320, delivered. Only took a few days to get it once I had a drawing they could build. You can figure out how many fans you want. I've got 2- 8 inchers and a 10 inch on there, set to come on at 195 inlet temp. Big diameter fans are too thick to clear the pulleys. Sometimes in heavy traffic (ok, bump drafting for several laps) they'll come on for a minute. Usually come on entering the pits on hot days if I forget to turn them on during cool down lap. But I can let it sit and idle until it runs out of gas without overheating, and after all the overheating I had before I wanted to make sure it was cured forever. Its a double pass 2 row, would probably keep a Nascar engine cool.

07-09-2002, 06:45 PM

Can I get a copy of that setup too? I sure would like to get my temps down. Thanks in advance!

My email is [email protected]

07-10-2002, 02:02 PM
Dave, Thanks for the offer to send the design. Your set-up sounds like a great insurance policy. If emailing, send to [email protected]

RichG, I don't know how much help I'd be to you on understeer issue, but lets talk. I was "pushing" everywhere...I surprised I managed a 1:51 in Sat qualifying. I was all over the place, never felt like I could run on the line and go fast enough. I got passed several times in the carousel as well when I went wide. I'm sure the corner workers (and a few competitors) had a good laugh at my widely varying racing line. My wife even noticed I was taking the keyhole wide all the time. I thought about checking to make sure I was still in a 1stGen RX-7! But I'm really not complaining. Clearly the TriLink/GTPanhard set-up fixes much of the inherent rear-end woes....now I just need to dial out some of the understeer. Susko gave me some ideas. He's a great knowledge base, although candidly he's speaking over my head most of the time. I thought I might have fixed the understeer a bit by dropping the Panhard rod to the bottom and increasing the rear tire pressure a couple of pounds (post race on Saturday, the rears were only at about 39 lbs hot. I run only 200# rear springs and Tokico Illuminas set full hard (5). Fronts are 300# springs and Tokico Illuminas set full hard and a huge roll bar. Of course Jim suggest double adjustable dampers (I'm guessing big $$$) and much stiffer spring rates. Since I'm buying a new drive train, that may need to wait.

Would still appreciate leads on ITA engines and trannies...otherwise I'll be visiting Sanford and Son.

07-10-2002, 02:27 PM
Also, does any body have the name and/or website of the shop in the Cleveland area that Tony Duncan uses (or at least I know he uses some of their suspension stuff)?

Dave Damouth
07-10-2002, 05:47 PM
I will resist the urge to make any humerous or strange comments. Tony uses SDJ stuff, somewhere in South Carolina I believe. I have heard nothing but good things about his motors. I'll scan the drawing tonight if possible and get it to you and Roland. Geo46 has a motor in Michigan, don't know age, cost or anything.

You wouldn't happen to have a stock front bar around? That could help. Couple different things you can do.....

07-10-2002, 11:21 PM
RacinRich: Yea, sounds like you guys had some fun. Where there [email protected] did Frank suddenly find all this speed? http://Forums.ImprovedTouring.com/it/eek.gif As far as running Mid-O, Il'd love to, (BTW, I am finally back to work full time), however, the race budget still screams to be Mr. Consistancy at WHRRI and see how the points pay out. Not only do I have to worry about you and Frank, if Eric continues running the 00 car that's another issue. Not to mention Scott Biggers in the ex-Cross car, watch for him as well.

Dave D., If you're gonna scan the prints anyway, I wouldn't mind having a copy sent to me. [email protected]

As far as the engine that I have "for sale", It was a running engine that I pulled from an 85, (12A), that I was building before I bought my current 83 racer. Stock, was a runner when I pulled it, but high mileage, (100,000+ if I recall right). Sat in my garage, covered for about 8 months, recently moved to my storage facility. Price is probably a little steep for a used/stock engine, but baby needs a new set of shoes, (ie, a set af Hoosier 225/50/13 tires). Generally speaking, I'm in the Detroit, Mi. area. More specifically, Pontiac/Waterford area. 15 Mins. from WHRRI. If anyone is interested, you can contact me at the above email addy.


07-13-2002, 09:08 PM
Paulydee, I already have avery good aluminum radiator that SDJ has builtby Ron Davis Racing Radiators. It is a bolt in and is a very nice piece. I think it is around 425. I had just installed a Setrab com oil cooler on Friday and did not have air ducted at all to the cooler. This is why I had the high temps on the oil. I am thinking about installing a Fluidyne oil-water heat exchnger instead though. Any thoughts on this would be appreciated.

07-14-2002, 03:22 PM
I had thought about doing a oil to water as well. I am a little reluctent to do one since I haven't seen or heard of anyone else using one and being sucessful with it in an RX7. I'm sure someone has tried it, would really like to know how good it works.It would be really nice to do, then you only have to work on ducting to the radiator and not splitting air flow to go to a cooler.

On the Ron Davis radiator: Is it a dual pass? I had been looking at one from them in a gt car, looks like they do nice work.

[This message has been edited by Hahn63 (edited July 14, 2002).]

07-25-2002, 09:57 PM
Well, I finally got an opportunity to check out the engine. Added water to fill the radiator to the top, left the cap off, and cranked the engine. Neat fountain. Bad engine. Still not 100% sure what caused it, suspect bent grill valence reduced airflow, combined with loose fan belt (and only had one on at time). New (junk yard) engine on way, tranny already here, new clutch shipped today, radiator on order. Now my Visa card is as cooked as my engine.