Rice Vigeant Newsletter for June 10th , 2009

The two day meet in May resulted in two rather disappointing runs: A 177 mph run on Saturday, and a 171 mph run on Sunday. No matter what we tried, the turbo was just not building pressure over 7 lbs.

After returning home, Mark did a compression check, and found a moderately bad cylinder. We decided we needed to re-build the motor. We had been slowly gathering many of the pieces during the winter, but hadn't gotten around to actually doing the work, since it didn't seem that we needed to.

When we pulled the motor out of the car, a made an interesting discovery. One of the exhaust pipes was completely blown out of the head. (They were held in by springs). That explained why the turbo wasn't working as expected. As the boost went up, the exhaust pressure would leak out one or more of  the gaps between the head and the exhaust pipes.

To speed up the motor re-build we had Bob Moreland’s shop built the lower end of the motor for us, and Mark did most of the rest.

Sunday morning, still lots of work to do.

With only a week to go before the next race, time was running out fast, so Sunday we put in a marathon work day that started with Mark still assembling the rings and pistons. By the time Alan and James arrived, the head was on and the cams were going in. Once the motor was complete, it was time to fix the exhaust problem. All the slip joints got welded solid. Then we dropped the motor into the car and began re-attaching everything. That took quite a while. A modern turboed race motor has a lot of sensors and wires and plumbing. It took a long time, but everything got hooked back up including the chain. Finally, at about 7:15, we’d double and triple checked everything, and were ready to try and start it.

The engine installed and running

In the past, we’ve discovered a direct correlation between how long it takes to first start a motor after a re-build, and how good a job was done. If it took days, that was bad. If it took hours, that was average, If it only took a few minutes, that was good. This time it took less than 4 seconds, and except for a little smoke from the outside of the exhaust pipes, (a very normal occurrence after a rebuild), everything  looked and sounded great.

Our next race is this coming Sunday, June 14th . We’d like a run in the low 190s. Stay tuned to see how we do.


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