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BRS 2015 review: Brief version (wheel bearings were not kind)

Posted by Josh Wimpey 
Josh Wimpey
Josh Wimpey
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BRS 2015 review: Brief version (wheel bearings were not kind)
September 21, 2015 03:53PM
Thursday Sept 17. Find worn left front wheel bearing during loading process and frantically try to find replacement. Rally community comes through and delivers two spares to the event Friday afternoon.

Friday Sept 18. Arrive just south of Ontario Canada for rally and install new upright/hub/wheel bearing assembly and re-align car. Test drive reveals that replacement parts also fixed the darting steering and soft initial brake pedal as the wobbling bearing was kicking the brake pads back into the caliper. Bonus!

Saturday Sept 19. Attempt to drive car in a swift but (mostly) controlled manner. Learn that you are actually going really fast. Eventually go a bit too fast in the dark & rain and end up cleaning a ditch. This leads to a broken axle at the stub. The stub holds the wheel bearing together. Yes, the same wheel bearing you just replaced. But this time it really comes apart and car is undriveable… Stand in the cold rain and the very dark woods with dedicated spectators for 2 hours waiting for the trailer to come. We even managed to get it onto the trailer somehow without a come-along.

Sunday Sept 20. Decide to head home rather than thrash all night and morning with no service crew as we had to drive home immediately after the rally anyway and planned to drive shifts through the night. This was a good plan as about 7 hours into my drive, the trailer had a braked-axle bearing failure that quickly turned into a brake fire. Even with a Good Samaritan’s assistance, it took nearly 3 hours to get back going. Spent a lot of time with a small hammer, a cold-chisel, and a hacksaw blade wrapped in tape getting the axle stub ready to accept the replacement bearings…. In the dark. By myself. Again…

Besides the curse of 3 damaged wheel bearings we learned a few other important things:

1) The TDI is competitive. We set the fastest stage time (tied with Gary Donoghue in his Evo9) on the very first stage and set a bunch of fast times on the remaining stages as well.

2) The TDI is easy to drive. We had worried that the torque would cause issues with putting down power in a controlled manner on gravel. The car makes approximately 160hp and 300 lb-ft with the torque available from 1800rpm to 4500rpm. Wheel-spin could prove a challenge but was not an issue. I am sure it would be awful on snow and ice but on hard packed dirt, gravel and sand, each with and without heavy rain, it proved to be no problem at all.

3) It is hard to tell how fast you are going in the TDI. Unlike the 7300rpm gas motor, the TDI does not give you the visceral experience of screaming speed. It makes nearly the same chugging noises and pulling feelings at 2500rpm as it does at 5000rpm but you are going twice as fast. And the car feels about the same too. So, in 4th gear, you can be running anywhere between about 52mph (at 2500 rpm) and 104mph (5000 rpm) and not feel much difference. I have been calibrated to the gas motor so I never have to think about this but found myself approaching corners quite a lot faster than I had expected in the TDI. I will probably acclimate quickly and sub-consciously to this.

4) There is still a mystery source of water intrusion (beyond the water coming in the roof vent seen in the video). Multiple garden-hose and pressure washer tests of the firewall and outside of the car have failed to turn up a substantial leak. Water still fills the floors during even modest rain events…

5) Don’t clean ditches. You will break stuff.

6) Charge camera battery & adjust settings before event... Only got one stage of footage.

Park expose interview
www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHsSj24x5X4&feature=youtu.be


Stage 1 (the stage referenced in point #1 above)
www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4GB_YuYvRA



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Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 09/21/2015 04:52PM by Josh Wimpey.
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BobOfTheFuture
Rob Russo
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Re: BRS 2015 review: Brief version (wheel bearings were not kind)
September 21, 2015 06:22PM
Josh,

It was great to meet you and your crew, and I was bummed to see you out early.

That car was fun to see as well, Wish I got to see it at speed.




Rob Russo



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Dante
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Re: BRS 2015 review: Brief version (wheel bearings were not kind)
September 22, 2015 08:06AM
Any estimates on fuel mileage with the diesel?


And awesome job on the return! Y'all were flying!



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Josh Wimpey
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Re: BRS 2015 review: Brief version (wheel bearings were not kind)
September 22, 2015 08:32AM
Quote
Dante
Any estimates on fuel mileage with the diesel?


And awesome job on the return! Y'all were flying!

I clocked 50.5 mpg on the highway a couple weeks ago (steady 75-80mph)
We averaged about 38mpg in combined mountainous back roads and gravel testing
Not sure of mileage on stage but I would guess it is around 20mpg stage only...

Thanks,



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Re: BRS 2015 review: Brief version (wheel bearings were not kind)
September 22, 2015 08:46AM
too bad that bearing didn't last long. we were hoping for a good run but our ring and pinion ate itself (after 16 stage events): not sure why, might have hit a rock, can't imagine the 2.2 is making too much power for it. Went home early as well.



-KTurner
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Josh Wimpey
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Re: BRS 2015 review: Brief version (wheel bearings were not kind)
September 22, 2015 10:33AM
Eric Langbein lost the R&P at BRS last year in our other VW after about 40 events....

Rocks & jumps can generate quite the driveline shock...



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Re: BRS 2015 review: Brief version (wheel bearings were not kind)
September 22, 2015 04:56PM
Quote
BobOfTheFuture
Josh,

It was great to meet you and your crew, and I was bummed to see you out early.

That car was fun to see as well, Wish I got to see it at speed.

Rob Russo

Couldn't say it better - was great to meet & talk to you. Was surprising how many cars out at BRS had come from a long distance like we had, and had run in the midwest before (100AW).

I'm not as social as a lot of the other rally folk, so it's rare I meet and talk to people who run at the top. You, Greg, and Gary were all absolutely flying out there.
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Re: BRS 2015 review: Brief version (wheel bearings were not kind)
September 23, 2015 12:00AM
It was interesting to watch you grab the shifter a couple of times and then decide not to shift. I know I sort of use the gear/rpm to figure what the approach speed should be - a 3+ is generally low third, a 3- is second, and so on. Since the notes vary from event to event depending on who's making them, it usually takes me about a mile or so of the first stage to calibrate myself but it happens pretty quickly.

Jimmy bitches at me if I ditchhook too much. Maybe Jeremy should bitch at you more.

I was wondering if those axles would hold up under that kind of torque. Sounds like they did, but don't have much room for extracurricular activities.



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Re: BRS 2015 review: Brief version (wheel bearings were not kind)
September 23, 2015 12:22AM
How are your emissions tests on the diesel?



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Re: BRS 2015 review: Brief version (wheel bearings were not kind)
September 23, 2015 02:22AM
Quote
wvonkessler
How are your emissions tests on the diesel?

Yeah!
Noticed any black helicopters hovering over the garage?



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Mike Ball
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Re: BRS 2015 review: Brief version (wheel bearings were not kind)
September 23, 2015 12:55PM
Yes Herr Winterkorn let the cat out of the bag.

Now we know why you're so fast Josh.

Handy hint-when that letter comes in the mail that says you need to bring your car into your local VW stealership
for them to "upgrade" your ECU... just throw that letter away!
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Re: BRS 2015 review: Brief version (wheel bearings were not kind)
September 23, 2015 02:18PM
Quote
RALLYRS
Yes Herr Winterkorn let the cat out of the bag.

Now we know why you're so fast Josh.

Handy hint-when that letter comes in the mail that says you need to bring your car into your local VW stealership
for them to "upgrade" your ECU... just throw that letter away!

I give it 6 months before craigslist ads tout "recall not performed" in an effort to gouge more money out of the buyer.
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Josh Wimpey
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Re: BRS 2015 review: Brief version (wheel bearings were not kind)
September 23, 2015 02:20PM
Our TDI is from a 2001 Golf so it is unaffected anyway.

Plus, it is registered as antique so no yearly inspections



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Re: BRS 2015 review: Brief version (wheel bearings were not kind)
September 23, 2015 05:14PM
Quote
Josh Wimpey
Our TDI is from a 2001 Golf so it is unaffected anyway.

Plus, it is registered as antique so no yearly inspections

But post-76 cars are still required to meet their applicable emissions standards under U.S. Law.



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Josh Wimpey
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Re: BRS 2015 review: Brief version (wheel bearings were not kind)
September 23, 2015 05:26PM
I am sure it meets the 1986 standard just fine :-)



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