Bunny Rabbit Racing (working title)

pink piranhas

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So, did the fluffy bunny survive Chump Car? Inquiring minds want to know..
 

ninjacoco

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Well, it appeared to be in one piece, but I don't know about the particulars.

ChumpCar? This one's a 'LumpCar!
 

equiraptor

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Fluffy Bunny, Eater of Souls, (automotive edition) did survive Chump.

In the weeks before Chump, the bunny received some replacement engine/engine management parts. Her Fluffiness (as Bo has called her) had the valves, etc. reworked. Various parts related to delivering the electrical charges to the spark plugs were replaced. This resolved a lot of the issues we had seen in Houston. Power delivery was vastly improved, especially after high lateral load. Additionally, we've started keeping more oil in the engine. As the engine has hydraulic lifters, this helps. A special note on this: The dipstick for this engine is a homemade, modified dipstick. It turns out our preferred "full" mark is about an inch above the "full" mark on the dipstick. As the engine does not have a dry sump, it does experience some oil pressure loss under cornering load. With the oil at this level, the lowered pressure is still within a reasonable range for this engine.

Her Fluffiness also received a new lexan windshield last week. We trimmed the lexan down to size and then screwed it into the windshield frame on the car. The car's previous windshield was cracked, and this new windshield is cheap, lightweight, and functional. We also put on new (supposedly superior) front brake pads and some rear "coilovers" (damper & spring, adjustable spring stiffness, no adjustment for damper stiffness or ride height). Unfortunately, these are designed for a Type 1, not a Type 3, so they may require additional modification to get the handling we want. The car was doing well on Friday.

However, Saturday was a rough day for Her Fluffiness. First, she stripped the splines from her hub. We had no spare hubs - we had no reason to suspect a failure - so we had to go to San Antonio to get new ones. We did, however, pick up some spares. Diagnosis took some time, then getting the parts from San Antonio took some time, so the Bunny was out for a lot of the day. Once the new hubs were on, our second driver took the car out. Yet again, Her Fluffines needed to be towed off the track. This time, we discovered metal shavings in the distributor. They had knocked the cam follower off the points, so the points were no longer gapping as needed when they reached the cam lobes. The metal shavings were cleaned out (source unknown) and the points replaced. By now, we were well into the afternoon, and neither Bo nor I had driven yet. Bo sent me out in the car, and about 4 laps in to my session, the clutch pedal snapped to the floor as I shifted (not to the firewall, to the vehicle's floor - where the clutch pedal should never go). At this point, the clutch cable snapped off the clutch pedal, so I had no clutch. While I could have tried to put the transmission into gear without using the clutch, given our lack of run time that day, I just let the car stop and got towed in again. Rather than simply reattaching the clutch cable, the guys rigged a new stop on the clutch pedal that would prevent it from sliding all the way to the floor again.

Sunday was much better. The car only had two issues. First, Her Fluffiness tore the splines off another hub. A friend of our team replaced the stripped hub with one of our spares in record time and we were back out on track. Shortly after my stint, the car stopped yet again. This time, the coil had come loose and was no longer delivering power consistently. The coil was reattached (creatively and quickly) and the car was back out. Her Fluffiness completed the race, and even paused on the final lap to finish with a friend.

The car is stripping hub splines because of the added stiffness from the new shocks/springs. Bo already has some plans to correct things and get the tires gripping properly again (avoiding the excessive stress on the splines). Other than that, the car was running splendidly (well, for it) on Sunday!
 

Punisher Bass

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Well at least you didn't have a wheel fall off. :p
 
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ninjacoco

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"Her Fluffiness." That = win.

What else were we calling her? Fluffy Bunny, Eater of Clutch or something?
 

equiraptor

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I'm fond of "Sloppy Bunny" rather than "Fluffy Bunny," honoring *cough* her soft, flexible chassis.

I've created a site for those of us who will be working with the car, whether we be drivers or mechanics. The site is at http://equiraptor.com/fluffybunny/index.php, and if you're interested in driving or helping us keep the thing running, please let me know and I'll create an account for you. Contact me in PM with the email address, username, etc. you'd like your account to use. Thanks!

General public discussion will stay here. :)
 
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equiraptor

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As I have a few minutes, I thought I'd post a bit about the car and its driving character. The character has changed significantly since I first drove the car in September. The power delivery has improved significantly and the handling is somewhat improved as well. However, there's only so much one can do with a chassis this old. The chassis remains soft and flexible, whatever we do. There's also a significantly worn component in the steering, so the dead zone is rather large.

I've started to say the car handles like an old, drunk 911. An old 911 because the engine is in the rear - and significantly rearward - with very little weight over the front tires. The car has a lot of momentum back behind those rear tires and responds very well to weight transfer, much like a 911 (and with the severe weight bias, air cooling, and carbs, it's more like an older 911 than a newer one). However, between the soft chassis, the worn steering, and the VW (rather than Porsche) engineering, the inputs are vague, numbed, as though drunk. The car also has issues keeping all four tires planted on the ground - it stumbles around like a drunk who just got kicked out of the bar.

This makes cornering an entertaining experience in the thing. The car has more grip than the feel suggests. However, I was on a relatively open track. If I overestimated the car's abilities, I'd just go collect some grass - there were no walls to hit. And this car has a relatively high ride height, so it'd clear any bumps if I did take it off roading. So I started throwing the car into corners, using just a touch of trailbraking to ensure I had enough front grip to turn in, and then rolling on the throttle to plant the back. A couple of times in the hairpin, I used a bit too much throttle and ended up throwing the car into a drift. I'd come out of the hairpin giggling like a madwoman, as I drifted an old, old family car around a track. This caused a lot of problems for the cars around me. We were the only rear-engined vehicle on track, and I was definitely using rear-engined line and driving style - heavy braking coming into the corner, strong rotation in the beginning, followed by a significantly late apex and heavy throttle use. This... annoyed my fellow racers. If they followed me into a corner, they'd find themselves forced to "overbrake" (for their car and their driving style), and though I'd swing out heavily, by the time they'd start to try to come around me on the inside, I was already moving in.

I'm an experienced driver at Harris Hill Road. Not only do I know the track, I know the mistakes people new to the track make. Between the visibility restrictions (hills are fun), the different layout, and the off-camber curves, the track will fool first-timers into taking the wrong line. I saw driver after driver choosing an earlier apex than the should have. As a result of this, if someone tried to pass me on the outside coming into a corner, when they'd try to turn in, they'd find there was still a big white blob there, blocking the path. Hi! Stop turning in early! (And I mean "early for the front-engined car line, not early for the R/R line)

The car is definitely a different beast than it was back in Sept, and it's significantly better to drive now. :D
 

ninjacoco

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Okay, then: on a scale from one to ten, how terrible is it to drive now? Let's say ten is like when the Failtima's faulty oxygen sensor would decide at random not to let me accelerate above ~20 mph and I'd think I was about to get squished and killed. Aaaaand one would be something that's not terrible (though I don't have much experience with strange things like THAT!). ?

A couple notes about the Puffalump herself, then: Fluffy had an altercation with a ChumpCar statue that left her somewhat covered in brake dust and/or whatever else kind of automotive goo they didn't wash off of those brake rotors.

If anyone knows how to get black brake dust out of parachute material, let me know.
 
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equiraptor

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Okay, then: on a scale from one to ten, how terrible is it to drive now? Let's say ten is like when the Failtima's faulty oxygen sensor would decide at random not to let me accelerate above ~20 mph and I'd think I was about to get squished and killed. Aaaaand one would be something that's not terrible (though I don't have much experience with strange things like THAT!). ?
If 10 is the Failtima at its worst, and 1 is, say, the GT3 RS in Hoosiers, it's... Oh, I dunno, a 7? an 8? If 10 is the Failtima at its worst and 1 is, say, that '88 Camry you drove, it's around a 2. Better shifter than the Camry, but also more likely to damage itself by being driven aggressively. Note for those not familiar: The '88 Camry is a manual transmission vehicle, with 299,992 miles (when Coco parked it). Being a Camry, it's actually in very good shape for the miles and age. It drives fine, and though it's not "fun to drive" compared with a proper sports car, it's much better than a current model Camry.

Unfortunately, I have no idea how to get brake dust out of Fluffy Bunny (Eater of Souls). :( Have you tried that "pillow case in the washing machine" trick you mentinoed, or is that not an option for you? A trip through the washing machine has always gotten the brake dust out of my shirts. If you can't send her through a washing machine, a hand washing with a lot of agitation might help...
 

Punisher Bass

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If Ivory soap won't take it out, nothing will.
 

ninjacoco

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I don't have a washer and dryer in my apartment. I might have to wait 'till I go to my parents' house for Lamesgiving to send her through the washing machine. :(

That Camry was lulz. It reminded me of driving a tractor.
 
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equiraptor

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Her Fluffiness got some exercise this weekend. Saturday was an HPDE, and my car wasn't up for a track event so I didn't have it. Instead, I put the battery back in the Bunny, checked tires, oil, etc., and took her out in an Instructor session. First the Spec Miata twins caught up to me and passed, then the Boxster almost-twins (one a Boxster Spyder, one not, but same color, etc.) caught me. Later, the owner of the Boxster Spyder asked me just what the Bunny could do. "You've seen it," I responded. "That was it?! I thought you were sandbagging!"

Yes, Her Fluffiness really is that slow.

On Sunday, Coco spent some time driving Bo's old Autobianchi A112 to work on her manual skills, and after some good practice, hopped in the Bunny. Coco, the original Fluffy Bunny (Eater of Souls), and Her Fluffiness tore around the track! Coco can drive stick! She can also quite effectively block a turbo Miata. *cough*

Tell us all about driving Her Fluffiness, from your perspective, Coco! :D
 

ninjacoco

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(Sorry, Miata. I didn't know you were out there and couldn't see you in the OMGSHAKY rear-view mirror.)

The smaller cupholder effectively holds a Puffalump in place, and somehow, the airflow through the VW kept Fluffy the Puffalump's ears from flopping into oblivion. Awwwwww. (No, I'm not leaving my prized Eater of Souls in the car for the race. Sorry. Eek!)

What was quite floppy was the car under braking. It wallowed and flopped all over the place. The shifter was kinda confusing, but I think I could get used to it. It's so hard to stall! :D I think it might actually handle the turns and such a LOT better than the Failtima, which is lulz.

The other interior bother I had was...the seat's a tad low and the padding that stuck out further than the seat wasn't quite working for me. The visibility just sitting on the seat itself was a little less than desired. If it's going to be shared among a bunch of shorter chicks, could we maybe raise the seat (...and secure the mirror in place a little better)?
 
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equiraptor

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What was quite floppy was the car under braking. It wallowed and flopped all over the place. The shifter was kinda confusing, but I think I could get used to it. It's so hard to stall! :D I think it might actually handle the turns and such a LOT better than the Failtima, which is lulz.
When you drive it again, try to pay attention to how it flops as it relates to how hard you brake. The car is a little sloppy under medium braking because of the worn tie rod end and the worn steering box. Under hard braking, it'll dive to one side or the other. That's a result of the rear drum brakes. It's really, really difficult to precisely adjust them equally, so one side will be a bit tighter than the other. The car will pull to whichever side is tighter. The good thing about this is it's very predictable - it's essentially the same every time (until the brakes are adjusted again).

The other interior bother I had was...the seat's a tad low and the padding that stuck out further than the seat wasn't quite working for me. The visibility just sitting on the seat itself was a little less than desired. If it's going to be shared among a bunch of shorter chicks, could we maybe raise the seat (...and secure the mirror in place a little better)?
That seat was originally mounted on the OEM rails. Mark didn't fit that way, so Bo removed the OEM rails and mounted the seat lower. However, none of us are as tall as Mark, so we don't need the lower seat, so Bo's reinstalling the OEM rails. So... yes, you should see some improvement there. The seat will also be a bit more stable relative to the rollcage, which is something the LeMons techs wanted. :)
 

ninjacoco

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Flopped left, IIRC.

As in, "not the direction I want it to go on turn 7" or (more specifically) "HOLY CRAP, IT'S HOPPING TOWARDS THE RUTS IN THE GRASS!" :lol:
 
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equiraptor

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Hahahahahaha, yup! That sounds about right! And yeah, since it was a consistent flop in a single direction, that means you were getting to the drum brakes - Yay, hard braking!
 

pink piranhas

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This made me think of my experience with the special handling characteristics of the Type III.
I was driving it on a late August day, and it was starting to rain. Now, this may not seem significant, but in Seattle we usually have a drought during the summer months (The summers are great, but the rest of the year is grey moistness). What this means for drivers is that all the oil that?s been building up on the road during the dry spell becomes slicker than snot until it rains enough to wash most of it away.
I lived on a hill at the time and was driving uphill on a two lane arterial of moderate steepness with a couple of gentle curves in it. As I turned to the right to go thru the second curve, suddenly it seemed as if I was on an ice rink with bald tires. I can?t remember if I did any of the things that you are supposed to do if you are sliding; I think I just sat there with my mouth hanging open. I do remember being amazed at how the rear end was now sliding UPHILL. While the car was spinning around, I was looking at all the cars parked on either side of the street going by as if I was on the carousel at the fair, and bracing for an impact (and worrying about how mad my Dad was going to be about me wrecking a bunch of other cars in addition to his).
Amazingly, the car stopped in the middle of the street after having done a 180 and not hitting anything.
You know how a cat looks around after it?s done something like fall off a ledge by accident? It?s like it wants to see if anybody saw it do something stupid. Then, before it slinks off, it attempts to regain some of its composure as if to say ?well, I did that on purpose?. Well, I know how the cat feels. I looked around, hoping no one had seen what had just happened and since the car was now pointed downhill, I drove back down the way I had come and found another way home.
 

ninjacoco

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Heh. During that time of year, that steep 21%? grade up the hill that goes from Tukwila/Southcenter to the airport is pure lulz. I distinctly remember a Jeep Cherokee making it a little bit up and then sliding right back down. Haha.
 
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