Prawn and BigAls A3 Track Car

Prawn

My other car is a MINI!!!!
A few things have happened in the last week.

I noticed looking at a picture that there was evidence of rubbing on the rear tyres, you can just see it around the outer edge of the tread:

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On investigation, it wasnt too hard to find out where this contact had occured:

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A very minor scuff on the inside of the leading edge of the rear arches. Both sides were the same.

I fitted the 10j wheel with 265 slick to one side on the rear to test fit, and removed the rear springs so I could lower the car right down to simulate compression:

dScCOVp.jpg


This left them pretty close on the front edge:

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With loads of room at the rear:

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And it was obvious to see that the same point the road tyres rubbed would be a bigger issue on the slicks:

9kEgavG.jpg
 

Prawn

My other car is a MINI!!!!
told ya (asked about this before)
knowing what i needed to do on my ibiza..
more room required

robin, you have some skills there fella. nice one.
prawny, the leading edge of the rears, far enough from the tyre on full load?

You *******, so you did :laugh: haha

Metal work wise we have plenty of room still, I'm confident of that. It's just the finer points of the covering arches that need a small amount of attention.

Being forced to work with what's available in terms of arches has it's limitations. I've tried a few things this week that have partially worked, but also given me a more clear idea of what I'm going to do going forward :)
 

badger5

www.badger5.co.uk
Site Sponsor
You *******, so you did :laugh: haha

Metal work wise we have plenty of room still, I'm confident of that. It's just the finer points of the covering arches that need a small amount of attention.

Being forced to work with what's available in terms of arches has it's limitations. I've tried a few things this week that have partially worked, but also given me a more clear idea of what I'm going to do going forward :)

thats what cutting disks and welders are for - haha,,
:)
 

Prawn

My other car is a MINI!!!!
Nick you need a pair of these! This should sort out your issue.

https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https://www.ebay.co.uk/ulk/itm/253114526153


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Well.....

Funny you should say this!

dB8jn4t.jpg


ta da!

Calipers show the holes are offset by 15mm:

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Pre install measure up:

About 57mm on the leading edge on road tyres.

Installation in progress:

IsrRrJc.jpg


Done!

GwgkZpy.jpg



Post install check: 75mm now. so an 18mm shift. The extra 3mm is due to the thickness and angle at which the plates sit.

KXjSAfR.jpg


Before above. After below:

5z8Xkrt.jpg


In terms of wheel position I'm happy with that. The tyres now clear and have loads of room all round. Time for a test drive.

Quick test drive and it all FEELS ok.

Happy?

Well, No.

KNxgIuf.jpg


Would you be happy with a spring that sat at that angle?

*sigh*
 
Well.....

Funny you should say this!

dB8jn4t.jpg


ta da!

Calipers show the holes are offset by 15mm:

7G7u3KH.jpg


Pre install measure up:

About 57mm on the leading edge on road tyres.

Installation in progress:

IsrRrJc.jpg


Done!

GwgkZpy.jpg



Post install check: 75mm now. so an 18mm shift. The extra 3mm is due to the thickness and angle at which the plates sit.

KXjSAfR.jpg


Before above. After below:

5z8Xkrt.jpg


In terms of wheel position I'm happy with that. The tyres now clear and have loads of room all round. Time for a test drive.

Quick test drive and it all FEELS ok.

Happy?

Well, No.

KNxgIuf.jpg


Would you be happy with a spring that sat at that angle?

*sigh*

I’ve liked this because great minds think alike, that and your car is generally AMAZING! I dislike like this because..... ouch them springs?! I reckon if you got some air, or went round a very sharp corner to fast they might want to..... disembark let’s say!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

antwan64og

Registered User
For aethestics Stick the perch on a belt sander to get the base at an appropriate angle....

Regardless I can’t see the spring coming off however you abuse the car since the shock limits travel
 
For aethestics Stick the perch on a belt sander to get the base at an appropriate angle....

Regardless I can’t see the spring coming off however you abuse the car since the shock limits travel

I was thinking more of the spring being under pressure at that angle or crashing hard on it. Wary of it snapping rather than falling out.


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Prawn

My other car is a MINI!!!!
Sanding the base isn't an option sadly. The Gaz are quite a nice design which locates through the beam rather than sitting on it.

The main concern is that the spring is lapsed so unevenly. It'll be compressed so much more on one side before the other side even comes into play. It'll alter the way it behaves, and long term could even lead to an early failure. Not to mention sitting on one side of the Ali spring seat heavily which I can't see doing it any good.

Theyre being removed this weekend and a return has already been agreed as they're not fit for purpose sadly.
 

Rainbird

Registered User
Better in this case to move things slightly at the hub end I think. Something similar to scene drop-plates but moving rearward, if it doesn't move things outboard too far . Can always add scene camber too and bring the top in a tad, but will depend on available clearance and current camber as to whether it's a viable option on current wheels.
 

Prawn

My other car is a MINI!!!!
bags next

Everyone knows 'Bags are for Fags' :laugh:

Can always add scene camber too and bring the top in a tad, but will depend on available clearance and current camber as to whether it's a viable option on current wheels.

No! Bad 'Bird!

Camber has been as is for a while now and works well with the balance of the car, adding more would upset things. additional width isn't something I've got to play with, so it'll remain unchanged at the hub end for now.

Whilst the relocation plates are a bit of a scene thing, they're not being used as such here. The concept of moving the beam backward is a fairly sound one. lengthening the wheelbase will only add to high speed stability, so if the spring angle wern't an issue there would be no downsides to it.

They're removed now anyway and the return accepted on ebay, so they'll be boxed up tonight and on their way back to the seller tomorrow morning.
 

Prawn

My other car is a MINI!!!!
In lighter news, Seeing as everything appears to work, I've booked onto the Track Obsession day at Rockingham on September 3rd!

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It's a whopping 6 years (and 200bhp :laugh:) since the A3 was last at Rockingham!

With the recent sad news that the venue is closing down at the end of 2018, this seemed like an ideal opportunity to get on track at Rocky one last time before it shuts.

It's a full day open pitlane, for £180 with garages included. There is also tuition available from BTCC and Clio Cup driver Mike Epps!

https://www.trackobsession.co.uk/product-page/rockingham-trackday-3rd-September

My old sun strip has been on the car for about 4 years now and was looking pretty tired, so this seemed like a good excuse to freshen it up:

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With the BMW in for MOT, Today seemed like a great excuse to take the A3 to work and brighten up an otherwise dull looking thursday!

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It's currently parked up outside the office waiting for a fun blast home later on!

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And here's a little pull on map 2 (17psi) on a recent trip to Mexico:

D5DN7pt.mp4
 

sparrow

Registered User
These are different. They move the hub on the outside of the beam, not the actual beam itself.
Therefore these won't affect the spring angles.
 

Rainbird

Registered User
From your link:

657044_x800.webp


For the record, I agree that a plate at the hub end of the beam is a good solution - Nick's not happy with axial clearance which this would only make worse though - believe plans may be afoot to fix the issue via alternate means :)

Edit; something like this, but tweaked to only move things backward and not adjust camber:
vw_mk4_gti_golf_jetta_idf_drop_camber_plate_1.jpg
 

sparrow

Registered User
Ah, I didn't see the link to click through. You're correct.

I thought they were the same as the second item you've posted above.
 

Prawn

My other car is a MINI!!!!
So, Rockingham!

This turned out to be a pretty tiring day!

Mowgli came round on Sunday night and we packed the car, ready to set off at 0530 Monday morning.

Monday came, and off we went in high spirits! I had heard rumour that the fuel on site may not have been high octane stuff, so we repacked the car to fit 3x 20l fuel cans too. I can confirm that 4x 265 slicks and 60L of fuel, plus tools, jack, and a few spare parts is REALLY tight in the back of a caged A3!

We stopped at Towcester for fuel, car looking good:

iK993UX.jpg


It wasn't too far from Towcester before we arrived at Rockingham where we had our own garage with my name on it. This was an enjoyable change dyer usually looking around for a place to park!

Mowgli opened up the garage and I went off to have the car sound tested. I'd left the loud straight through centre section on the car as they wernt being strict on the noise testing as Rockingham is sadly closing down at the end of the year :(

I was pretty pleased to hear that the car tested at 92dba at 4500rpm. Even quieter than I'd thought!

Back to the garage and we unpacked before the briefing:

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We had the briefing, and headed out for some sighting laps!

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The track went green, and we headed out for a few laps on the Ad08s just to see how they felt.

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They felt pretty good! The car handled on track exactly as I'd found it on the road. Everything felt nicely balanced and nothing appeared to rub

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Sadly we only got an out lap and 2 laps before the red flag appeared due to a car stopping on the start line! We had just passed the pit entrance when the red appeared, so we took the opportunity to do a full lap of the oval track, seeing as we wouldn't get the chance again!

We came back in at 0930 from the red flag. I had some tuition booked with Ben Rushworth at 1030, so I decided to get the slicks on early to get some heat into them and get pressures etc worked out.

Slicks on, and I must say they looked awesome!

NyFHndW.jpg


I need to say a massive thanks to @Golfyste for lending me these wheels! It's such a shame Rimstock couldn't deliver the 10j rims in time, we've only been waiting since January :laugh:

qGF5oNl.jpg


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Prawn

My other car is a MINI!!!!
We headed back out onto the track with the slicks at 24psi all round, eager to see how these would work.

Having been planning the swap to BTCC stuff for a good few years now, this was actually a pretty big moment for me! All the work and effort that had gone into getting the car running on btcc wheels, tyres, and brakes had finally come together. Was it going to be a success? Who knew!?

We headed off down the pit exit and joined the end not the famous Rockingham banking.

Twitching the wheel left and right immediately painted a picture....

Despite the tall sidewall height, these were SHARP :scared2:

Really, REALLY sharp! The steering wheel has never felt more connected, the tiniest input saw the front end dart side to side like nothing else, and that's just at low speed down a straight!

We arrived at Dean hairpin going fairly slow, knowing that the slicks were stone cold.

I turned in cautiously at about 25mph, and off it went :laugh: literally NOTHING from the rears, and the slowest drift known to man. It was a hilarious. Easily controlled, just such an odd feeling sliding at such low speed :racer:

We pushed on gently, weaving around and accelerating and braking to build some temperature in the slicks. Turning cautiously right through Yentwood and then Chapman Curve, before the never ending combo of lefts through Pif Paf and Gracelands.

It felt like we were getting some temp into the rears now, so we gave it a bit more power on the run down to Tarzan, before braking and turning in to the right hand hairpin, and round went the back again :laugh:

This was brilliant fun! Properly 90 degrees to the track this time. 1st gear and a bucket load of throttle stopped it from going round completely. Luke and I were laughing hysterically.

3NxPSAC.jpg


We continued weaving and accelerating for the next lap, and by the end of it it felt like we definitely had some decent temp in them.

bPBBdaY.jpg


Sadly, on the start of our 3rd lap, on the exit of Dean Hairpin I noticed the Civic of Will Casswell had stopped just after Yentwood.

Sadly this was the second red flag of the day at 10am:

Mb2ymdu.jpg
 
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Prawn

My other car is a MINI!!!!
Nice to see it is all coming together as you wished/planned!!
So next upgrade will be tire-warmers, I quess?? :p


I don't think tyre warmers are on the list just yet! Haha

For trackdays these are great. Knowing that they need some heat and taking the time to build up is fine.

If we were racing the car I think we'd almost certainly use the soft compound on the rears and mediums on the front though.
 

Stuart B

Registered User
What did you get from your tuition?
Was it in your own car?
I did enjoy watching the Guy Martin tuition in the stock Astra in 'speed'
 

Prawn

My other car is a MINI!!!!
So, the story continues!

Back in from those 2 laps and the tyres hadn't warmed up enough to change any pressures yet, so we rejoined the que ready to head straight back out when the track went green.

We sat and waited patiently until we heard the Claxton sound to tell everyone the track was open. On hearing the claxton sound the lights went green, and within 30 seconds we were shooting off down the pitlane again :racer:

Lots of the heat in the slicks had gone due to sitting in the pitlane for nearly 15 mins, so the outlap was again spent weaving, accelerating, and braking to get some heat back in.

It's during this weaving that you REALLY feel the difference the slicks bring.

Whilst over all outright grip may not be THAT different to a brand new modern semi slick such as an AR1 or an 03g, the way they feel is just so different. It almost feels like the steering is broken it's SO sharp. the front of the car darts from side to side at the slightest steering input, and you really have to change the way you make steering inputs. it takes a bit of getting used to, but it really is a joy to drive once they're up to temperature.

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At the end of our second lap I noticed as we came through the chicane at the end of the lap that the steering felt a little notchy. I've experienced this before at Thruxton through the chicane and initially put it down to some geometry oddity when suddenly loading the car up heavily one way then another.

I carried on around turn 1 and into Dean hairpin and it all felt ok, but as we came through the infield section it started to feel more and more notchy.

hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Suspecting I had boiled the fluid I backed off and begun a cool down back to the pits.

Turning the wheel further to come round Tarzan hairpin we heard the pump groaning, which is usually a sign of low fluid.

With nothing visible behind the car and just 100 yards to the pit entrance, we pulled RIGHT off line and carefully made our way back to the pits to investigate.

Back in the pits and it was pretty obvious at low speed that the steering was REALLY struggling.

Into the garage and bonnet opened, and there was a LOT of fluid on the splitter.

I have just recently secured some oil absorbent matting fixed to the splitter for situations like this, and thankfully this had caught all the fluid meaning none was dropped on track.

It looked like the junction of the hard line to the pump had been leaking, so we suspected crush washers to be leaking. I checked the fittings were tight, but sadly didn't have any more fluid to test it.

Olly Beaumont was there spectating for the day, and thankfully he had the use of his mate Lukes van.

Luke was out on track lapping in his BTCC kitted Astra VXR:

LjOXWWa.jpg


We looked on google and found a halfords nearby. We bought 2 litres of PSF, but annoyingly they were out of stuck of the multi packs of crush washers.

Back onto google and we found another motor factors a few miles away, so off we went in search of crush washers.

Back to the track and I fitted the new crush washers and filled the system with fluid.

We fired the car up and let it idle, and all seemed well. There was no fluid leaking visibly. Woop.

I then raised the revs and turned the wheel from side to side to bleed the system. Looked back under the front, and to my dismay there was a fresh pool of fluid beneath the pump!

Argh.

I cleaned it all up with brake cleaner so the whole area was 100% dry, put a drop more fluid in, and got Mowgli to start the car whilst I filmed the fitting to see exactly where the leak was starting from:


ohps! That explains that then!
 

Prawn

My other car is a MINI!!!!
Annoyingly with all the buggering around and trips out to get fluid etc, by this time it was mid day.

Olly said he had a spare high pressure line back at his unit, which was around 60 miles away. far from ideal, but we reckoned we could be back by 3pm and get some laps in before the day ended.

Do off we went, once again in Lukes van:

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Leaving the car like this:

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Photo very much blurred by oil all over my phone!

An hour and 20 minutes later we arrived at Ollys unit, only to find he didn't have the right keys because the locks had recently been changed!

Olly had a 'spare' golf parked up, but he didn't have the keys to that either!

A bit of wizardry and Mowgli managed to force the drivers window down from what started as about a 3mm gap at the top. This let us pop the bonnet and Olly and I Must have stripped the line out in less than 2 minutes.

Back in the van and off we went towards Rockingham once again!

We arrived back at the track at 1520, and by 1545 the new line was in and everything connected again:

JvhAo3N.jpg


We cleaned up the oil on the splitter, and fired it up again, only to find it was weeping now from the reused crush washers! Argh.

I stripped it down AGAIN and installed fresh crush washers from the multi pack we had bought that morning, and it seemed to seal up OK.

Whilst we were doing all this the photographers managed to get some awesome garage shots:

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So, after our mini road trip, it was time to hit the track again!

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iqXsDgt.jpg
 

Stuart B

Registered User
We looked on google and found a halfordsnearby. We bought 2 litres of PSF, but annoyingly they were out of stuck of the multi packs of crush washers.

Back onto google and we found another motor factors a few miles away, so off we went in search of crush washers.

Back to the track and I fitted the new crush washers and filled the system with fluid

Just a tiny point but I thought you could just heat up the old washers? Or is that only copper?
 

Prawn

My other car is a MINI!!!!
Just a tiny point but I thought you could just heat up the old washers? Or is that only copper?

You can Stuart, very good point.

if you heat them with a blow torch and quench them in cool water they can be reused, but we don't take a blowtorch to trackdays and new washers cost pennies so id always opt for new washers where possible
 

Prawn

My other car is a MINI!!!!
So, time for another chapter!

Back out on track, this time with Olly as passenger. It was only right that he came out for a spin in the car having driven me 120 miles to get the pipe, let us break into his car, and provided the transport :laugh: (what a hero!)

Knowing that time was against us we left the pitlane and immediately tried to build some pace. Knowing how the slicks behaved when cold from the short morning stints made this a little easier, as I knew how I could treat the car to get as much heat in as possible. Accelerating whilst weaving on the straights would make the car lean on it's rear tyres without fear of inducing a slide, then I was quite purposefully throwing it aggressively into each bend to get it moving around.

These slicks are quite strange when they slide whilst cold. Because there is so much contact area to them, rather than slide smoothly they almost do a little judder as they slide and try to bite. oddly, I found this quite helpful.

Purposefully inducing a slide whilst the tyre was cold gave this small judder feeling, whilst purposefully inducing a slide once they were warm they behaved like any other tyre you'd expect, so as I was building pace, a little judder from the rear end moving was almost like a confirmation that they wern't quite there yet. This is the closest I've felt to the explainations I've seen for the designed 'glass point' of a tyre, where there is a noticable change in characteristic when they reach a certain temp. You can almost see this at ~37s in the video where the rear just breaks away a tiny bit to let me know they're not quite there yet. Next time I'm going to set up the camera between the seats so you can see the steering input, as there's a lot more opposite lock going on in this video than the footage would suggest :laugh: :racer:

I know it's a crop of one above, but I absolutely LOVE this image:

R3PHNen.jpg


Olly and I pressed on, and on the second flying lap I felt the tyres were just about there already.

Usually at a trackday it takes a a few sessions to really find a rhythm and get dialled into the track, especially if its one you havn't done much before. I'd only done Rockingham once 6 years ago, so I was really still learning the circuit, as well as learning the car with all the changes and new tyres.

You join us here, at the start of our second flying lap. A bit of traffic cleared on this lap, then the following lap was fairly clear aside from catching Matt West in his gorgeous megane after turn 1. I always back off for turn 1 if theres any chance of catching a car on the banking, because having to let off at that speed (around 115-120mph) on the banking would almost certainly end in tears! So i let off early, then power through to try and catch them before turn 2. I think this is what gives it the sling shot type effect :racer:


Laps on the video, in order that you see them are 1:35, 1:32.1 (clear lap), then 1:34 and 1:34 with traffic.

here's a little clip from the outside, filmed on a Potato but you get the idea! haha


Look to around 50s to see just how awesome the brakes are!

Not really having anything to compare to, I had a little search around and was pleasantly surprised to find that the lap times actually seemed like a pretty respectable!

At this years Thunder Saloons meeting, it would have put me 3rd on the grid, in BARC saloons it would be 2nd on the grid, and both those series are totally free on engine, brakes, suspension, and all run on slicks!

I know that's no hard and fast comparison, but those reference times were all set on a clear dry day, in series that the car is totally eligible for in it's current state, so it shows that even with very little seat time it's got some serious potential once I get everything dialed in and a little more seat time.

So, did we get any more seat time?

No. Of course not :laugh:

After those few laps with Olly in the video above, I noticed the battery light pop on. D'oh!

As I slowed down to cruise back to the pits, We both heard the steering groaning AGAIN. ARgh! WTF was going on?

Back into the pits, and there was nothing obvious causing the battery light. The belt was still intact, I checked all the connections as well as the engine earth and all seemed well, but with the Multi meter on the battery there was zero charge as expected. Dammit!

To add insult to injury, there was also NO power steering fluid left in the system, yet no signs of leaks!

With no spare alternators, and very little track time left, we decided that was enough and it was time to pack up and try and head home.

By this time the garages were getting pretty empty!

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(streaky phone pics from the oil explosion!)

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Getting 4x 265 slicks, 3 fuel cans, tools, spares, and us in the car is getting pretty challenging too! It wasn't so bad with 235/17 slicks, but the 265/18's take up SO much space.

Somehow we managed it though!

RFmnLaI.jpg


So, not the MOST successful track day I've ever had, but certainly an entertaining one!

Obviously I'd missed my tuition with Ben Rushmore in the morning, which was a huge shame, I'd also missed my afternoon tuition session which had been booked with BTCC Driver Mike Epps! Dammit!

Still, not all bad. the car was in 1 piece, if a little wounded, and the day was what you might call character building :laugh:

All that was left was to embark on the 131 mile journey home in a car with no power steering and no alternator. Simples!
 
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