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Preparing for 2006 Corsa Convention

By carmerjr - Posted on 25 June 2006

Hello everyone, Scott Trunkhill and I spent about 9 hours today going over all the mechanicals of #112 in preparation for competing at Mosport and the autocross at Buffalo. For those of you who don't know, #112 has completed 333 runs in practice or competition over a period from August 2003 thru March 2006.

We have experienced no mechanical failures and other than routine maintenance and safety inspections we have
had to replace only ULTRA tires which we wore out on the track or courses.

Today was to be a complete inspection of everything and in the process we discovered several previously unnoticed items that required immediate resolve. By far the most dangerous was a very recent problem that arose while I was test driving. Upon hard braking and cornering, followed by immediate strong acceleration, The whole front end of the the car shook violently and was almost uncontrollable for a very brief but frightening time. I thought it was a braking issue but
found that I could not again duplicate the incidence. The brakes had been pulling strongly to the right but only on soft application. When really braking hard everything felt right and the car would stop quickly and straight.

We first got the car in temporary Group Red status ( 4 jack stands ) and removed all four wheels and brake drums. The rear shoes and drums were fine but both front shoes and drums were not.I am sure that part of the problems arose because "Beef" is an outside car and as such is exposed to all of our southern heat, humidity and rain. It was obvious that rusty drums had an impact but in addition the driver's side wheel cylinder was leaking and this was fairly recent as we had no problems at St. Augustine during the SECC autocross. So the drums were sent off to be turned, new shoes were purchased ( aaarrgh ULTRAS were available ) new Clark's spring kits ( both axles ) and a new wheel cylinder were installed. While all this was going on, we continued our inspecting. The engine oil and filter were changed. Since all the wheels were off it was easy to inspect the suspension and also service all the grease fittings with chassis lube. Scott was greasing the upper ball joint on the passenger's side when he suggested that he might have found the cause of the incidence. Well BOY he sure did discover the problem.

The rear bolt and bushing cover for the upper A arm were GONE. The nice blue HD bushing was 1/2 way out of the bushing hole in the A arm. This could have been a catastrophic failure during a track event or a spirited autocross. Fortunately we were able to compress the bushing back to the proper depth and install an ULTRA bolt and end washer. After the rest of the chassis lube we checked every bushing bolt in the chassis, sway bar, steering assembly and drive train. The only other loose, snug but not tight, bolts we found were in the other upper A arms. We are still not sure if the cause is the new higher durometer bushings or if the bolts were not torqued down tight enough on our initial installation.

The brake system was bled after the new front brakes were installed and a hard, harder brake pedal check was done. We then checked the shifter, lubricated the shifter ball, shifter tube, all pulleys in the tunnel pan, the emergency brake cable guides and the accelerator crank rod ends. All these areas were okay but had not been serviced and inspected for over two years and we were going to check all this BEFORE the suspension problem was noticed.

So in closing, all who plan to race, autocross or travel to the convention, remember to give your car the time and attention it needs to be safe whether you are on the highway or in competitive moving events.

Chuck Armer aka
FrontMan WTBRT PR #112 aka
da Chuckster