Toyota 4×4 Friends

After exploring and getting stuck alone, I figured next time to bring my off road friends. Just incase if something happens we all have help. I’m getting more comfortable with recoveries and a better understanding of recovery. During the exploration, only 3 out the 7 rigs got stuck. We all had a great time out and looking forward to more adventures.

City Escape

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My wife and I took a day trip, escaping the city life. We just wanted to explore, and look for new spots to chill in the future.

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Houston isn’t an area known for outdoor parks but we do have a couple. We went to Sam Houston National Forest, and about 1hr drive from Houston. Close enough to the bayou but you are surrounded by dense trees.

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We had a little picnic by Lake Conroe and wasn’t too humid, in May. Besides us, I only saw a couple people exploring, probably because the corona virus is still going on. Traveling is limited. But with that in mind, getting help might get difficult.

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Which happened to us exploring a forest loop road. It rained the night before, and some trails was boggier then others. I was stuck for good. Thankfully, I had my winch and able to self recover out.

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It was a good test, but next time, I think it would be a better idea to have another buddy. I do see the importance of a winch and should be one of the first mods when getting into wheeling or exploring off road trails.

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If we didn’t have that which, we might be stuck in the trail a lot longer till someone arrived. Once we winched ourselves out, we called it a day and heading back into the city. That was enough exploring of one day.

Project AE86: Proper Preload

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Driving my 86 since the beginning of this year, I have noticed my ride has been very bouncy. During my track session I noticed it, and also happens during corner acceleration. I didn’t enjoy the bouncing, and initially thought it was because of my aggressive spring rates.

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Houston streets are not smooth compared to tracks. Street driving, the bouncing gets severe to the point the car would hop and start skipping over the bumps.  There were some moments the car handling would get very unbalanced from the bumps. Street driving was not enjoyable.

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I thought it was the spring rates being too aggressive for the streets but someone on facebook commented it could by preload was set incorrectly and set me this link:

This video helped me a lot and figured what I did wrong when I installed my rear suspension. I figured I’ll make another video and talk more detail about preload.

Initial impressions, and it’s a massive improvement. I drove around the city, and no bounciness. The car didn’t feel over springy. I didn’t have the bouncing on hard acceleration. The car still felt stiff over the bumps but it didn’t hop over them. The dampening seemed more smooth absorbing the bumps.

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As tracks are starting to open up, I’m looking forward to another shakedown test. Stay tuned.

Catalina Wednesday

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Met this owner of this sick white 80 series. On a 4″ OME lift, with 35″ tires. This rig is also triple locked, which is very rare. We share the same ARB bumper, and is an iconic classic like Volk or BBS wheels.

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Project AE86: Better Venting

Last track event, I was having serious blow by issues. People were telling me the piston rings might not have been seated in correctly or my head wasn’t sealed correctly. The motor felt strong and fine, but after 3 laps my oil catch can would fill up to the top. No smoke from the exhaust either. I would only get this issue at the track. Street driving, I had no oil in the catch can.

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I did a compression test just to make sure it wasn’t something too serious. I got 190 psi on all 4 cylinders! That means my motor is healthy. My motor is creating a lot of crankcase pressure and oil surges. The cause is ventilation issue with the constant high RPM and high g forces at the track.

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The 4age came stock with two valve covers. One valve cover wasn’t vented. The other valve cover came with a small 1/4″ fitting that I connected to the catch can, then vented to the atmosphere. This setup wasn’t doing enough to relieve pressure at the track. I had to make the crankcase breathe better and decrease pressure. I did this by adding a 1/2″ barb fitting on each valve cover.

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I had my friend Danh come by to weld my barb fittings. The problem was welding aluminum. Apparently, its more difficult to weld aluminum and the welder we had wasn’t equipped for such a task. It wasn’t getting hot enough to melt the aluminum to form a bond.

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Danh pointed me to a shop called Prospeed Autosport. They welded my barb fittings, and did a good job too. Kinda expensive, but I can see why. With aluminum you need argon gas and a aluminum welder, which isn’t cheap. Welding aluminum is a lot more trickier then steel.

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I went up a significant size from stock. I figured a bigger diameter will help the crankcase breathing and pressure. Its kinda like breathing from a straw. Larger the straw, the easier to breathe and less pressure.

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The previous oil catch can was too small. I upgraded to a Cusco oil catch can. The Cusco version has increased capacity, and a visible dipstick. I also routed bigger hoses to the catch can.

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Another thing that can be causing increased crankcase pressure at the track are the stock windage tray and eBay baffle pan. The eBay trap doors and stock windage tray isn’t doing a good job with oil surges. I recently bought the MRP racing baffle pan. The part is well baffled with, and has a built in windage tray that is better then he stock unit. https://www.mrpltd.co.nz/product/4age7age-baffled-sump/. eBay parts not cutting and I talked about it in my previous post.

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If I didn’t track the car I wouldn’t have to address the issues. Street driving isn’t as stressful on the motor, like it is at the track. Hopefully next track day I’ll have better results and really push the car without filling up the catch can and improve crankcase ventilation.

Project AE86: eBay….

For the most part of the build I have been using name brand or OEM parts. But I had some few items I figured I could save money on. Unfortunately some of those eBay items are fail.

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I bought this eBay universal oil cooler kit, and for the first 3 weeks it was good. Till the sandwich plate decided to pop off and spay oil all over the header. Which cause a massive smoke and my oil pressure warning light to go off. Lucky I set my low warning to go off at 15 psi and immediately turned off the car.

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This happened one block from my work, and thankfully it wasn’t at the track. I first thought if the tread on the block was stripped, and cause the sandwich plate to pop off. Thankfully the tread was good, and was sandwich plate issue. The diameter on the sandwich plate was slightly bigger and didn’t make a very good seal.

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While I was waiting to the tow truck, I ordered the MRP sandwich plate. Its a lot more expensive then eBay, but MRP is proven brand and they also build race 4age motors. I had have to wait for shipping since they are located in New Zealand. In the mean time I put new oil filter to the engine block. This bypassed the oil cooler, so I can still drive the car if I needed to.

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The next day, I had the car on because I was buying off the oil. But then it caught on fire!!!!! Bad move on my part for trying to burn off the oil. Thankfully I had fire extinguisher in the car, and put out the flame quickly. I had an “oh shit moment”. No serious damage. Some paint came off, and part of my gold tape got burnt. If I didn’t have that extinguisher, this would have been a total loss. After that mishap, I removed the header and the oil burnt wrap. I cleaned the engine bay from the exhigurisher residue. I found some spare exhaust wrap and was just enough to re wrap the exhaust. Sooo no oil reside issue anymore.

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But their was another issue. The eBay baffle pan. I had a another leak on the oil pan weld. I tried to JB weld it ,but unfortunately it didn’t work and kept leaking oil. Soo I ended up ordering a baffle pan from MRP. Its a legit baffle oil pan, with a built in windage tray and trap doors to avoid oil surges common at the track. Hopefully it arrive before they open the track again.

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Lesson learned. You can’t cheap out on products, and get what you pay for. If you pay for the knock offs hoping to save some money, in the long run, you’ll run into issues. Then end up paying more to fix or replace the items.

Link to the MRP website: https://www.mrpltd.co.nz

Project AE86: Video Update

Figured I should do a little video doing this quarantine time. On the bright side, I am getting more time work on the 86 and finish up the kinks. The 86 drives good but I want to fix the small issues, before next track day. Thanks for watching!

Social Distancing

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A majority of events are canceled well into the summer, including track days, because of the corona virus pandemic. I understand why, and it’s to slow the infection rate of the virus.

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The corona virus doesn’t show symptoms up to two weeks after being infected. The person might not even have symptoms but still pass it on to other people. The virus spreads though infected droplets of the person. A droplet can travel as far as 7 feet. If a person coughs or even speaks directly to you, then you have chance of getting the virus yourself.

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Another way is though indirect contact. The infected droplet can land on an inanimate object and survive for hours or days. A person can touch that object, then touch their eyes, nose, or mouth afterwards. That person can get infected.

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The last way is when the virus gets arosolized. Meaning the virus can become airborne. That happens in large groups of people in close quarters talking or shouting. The droplets are bigger when a person shouts. The bigger droplets tend to evaporate in the air, and makes the droplet lighter. That means the virus suspended in the air longer. Or in the hospital setting when a patient is on nebulizer treatment or on a bipap machine. The the forceful air evaporates the droplets and makes it airborne.

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The general public can reduce the chances of infection and slow the spread. A face mask wont protect a person from inflating the virus but instead contains droplets when a person talks or coughs. This help reduce the infection because a person can be asymptotic and the mask will help contain the infected droplets. Always wash or get a new mask when the mask feels wet. Good hand hygiene and avoid touching the face is another good practice to do. You can get the virus from an intimate object and not know about it. The skin is a proactive barrier from the virus but once you touch your eyes, mouth or nose the virus can enter though the mucus membrane and infect you. Make sure to wash hands before touch your face and wipe down areas to kill the virus.

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What about if the virus is airborne? The virus isn’t airborne by nature, people make it airborne. Only happens in large gatherings in inclosed spaces. That’s why a lot of events, stores and shops are closed. In the hospital setting, the medical professionals are wearing the proper PPE and patients placed in negative pressure rooms to prevent spread aerosolizing the virus and containing other rooms or workers. You can go out and exercise, like in a park, and not get infected because very few people are close to each other and it is an open space.

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If you do get infected, their isn’t a cure or vaccine. You hear about deaths on the news. Kinda scary. If a person immune system is weaker, the virus can overwhelm the body. Virus are not bacteria, so antibiotics wont work to kill the virus. Antibiotics might be given because the virus can cause a 2nd infection, which is a bacterial infection. The only way currently to defeat the virus is you body’s own immune system. In a healthy immune system the body will recognize the virus and starts to produce antibodies. The antibodies will then attack the virus and kill it. Thus, the person will recover and systems will go away. Just takes time, and could be days or weeks before a person feels better. If a person symptoms become worse, then its best to be evaluated at the hospital for additional support. Be it extra oxygen or fluids or additional labs.

 

I think, if the person is generally healthy with no medical issues, the greater chance of recovering without hospital admission. I work in the ER, and yeah, I’m worried. I might get infected and pass it on to other people. I learn from what I read, hear and see from other medical professionals. I do my best to keep good hygiene and wear a mask. Practice social distancing. This isn’t our first pandemic and history has shown that. With modern medicine, I’m sure we’ll be able to ride this one out.

Project AE86: Updates

Since January, the AE86 has been up and running. I have have been driving the car on the streets and at the track. For the most part, not much issues, and it’s drivable. With this corona virus pandemic going on, I have a lot more free time to do some finishing touches and address some issues from last track day.

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One of the things I did was change my eBay killswitch. There are some things you can cheap out on, but this killswtich wasn’t working properly. The car would still turn on even with killswitch hooked directly to the battery. I bought the QuickCar master disconnect, and feel more heavy duty then the eBay one. Best of all it, actually works!

Next I did was install electronic oil pressure sensor. I wanted to hook up all my sensors to the ECU. I did this for two things: one I wanted a cleaner look, and second is to set up parameters for limp mode if something bad did happen before I cause major damage.

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I bought my sensor from Amazon. I later found out the pinout wiring that was on the picture was different then the one that was actually written on the sensor. The red wire goes to the 5v connection, the black wire is the sensor ground, and green wire is the analog volt channel. The custom engine harness I had made came with the connections.  I just had to make sure I wired it correctly. Then I configured the sensor via ECU. I told used one the spare analog volt channels and told the ecu 0v is 0psi, and 5v is 150psi. Works perfectly. If anyone is interested in my sensor here it is: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00NIK98O8/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o07_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Next on the list was install my AiM MXn dash. First track day in the 86 I didn’t have any vitals hooked up except my AFR. I wanted to make sure I was ready for the Driven and Blessed event and had to put a dash. My stock dash was incompatible with my custom wring and Link ECU. I thought ahead of time and had custom harness made with the ECU for a CAN BUS connection.

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I chose the AiM MXm because its a dash and data logger all in one. Other AiM dashes was too expensive, and didn’t have data logging capabilities. The owner would have to pay extra to get data logging features. All the AIM dashes can hook up to OBD2 or, in my case, ecu via CAN BUS. The wiring was pretty easy. I had one chassis ground wire, one 12v power wire, and the CAN negative and CAN positive wire. The CAN pos and neg wires I connected to the engine harness I had made. Next is set up the AiM dash to read the Link ECU. Once that is all done, you can change pages on the dash to see the info you want, and custom make the screen and warnings to your preference. Nice and seamless.

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AiM products comes with extra auxiliary outputs for expansions, or a smarty cam. I could have gone with other dash but this one cost less then $1000 which serves as a dash and data logger, all in one. There are cheaper options but I didn’t like the style or look of those.

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With the corona virus pandemic going on, the world is definitely a different place. There is social distancing, events/venues canceled. Bars closed with restaurants open only for take out, or delivery. People are either working from home, or have no jobs. The only places where people allowed to come to work are essential businesses only. Hopefully this virus will pass, and life will return back to normal. Stay safe y’all.

Driven and Blessed Track Day

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Last month, I had my 2nd track day testing the 86 hopefully worked out the kinks. The previous test and tune track time showed I had blow by issue and sprayed oil all over my engine. I added a oil catch can prior to this event and putting it to the test.

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Well turns out, my oil catch overfilled after a couple laps and sprayed oil all over my engine bay. Not sure what is causing it, but my motor runs and sounds healthy. I only get this issue at the track. I’m thinking the constant high rpms and higher speeds in the corners is causing this issue. I have to look deeper, but I hope its nothing too serious.

One a good note, she does handle very well and feels good. The 4.77 gear ratio for the rear end is well suited in the back rhythm section. Feels like a short gear transmission. No more whine!! One post test mod that worked.

Stay tuned.