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Our BRS 2015 (long)

Posted by hoche 
Michel Hoche-Mong
Senior Moderator
Location: Campbell, CA
Join Date: 02/28/2006
Age: Possibly Wise
Posts: 1,139

Rally Car:
Golf, Golf, RX-3

Our BRS 2015 (long)
September 22, 2015 10:19PM
Our BRS story actually starts at Sandblast. I was codriving for Paul
Oerlich in an Eagle Talon that he bought used and only had a little bit
of time to check over before the event. It was in pretty good shape, but
the clutch started slipping right away, and just got worse and worse.
We sort of limped through the event by pouring Coke into the bellhousing
(which was either Josh or Jeremy's suggestion), and managed to finish,
but only just barely.

After the event Paul pulled the transmission to change the clutch and
decided to have it rebuilt. It turns out that the dogbox was some
unknown variety and parts were unavailable. This took several months
to sort out, but the end result was that about a week before the event
Paul ended up putting in a street box. There were some issues with that
too, and he really didn't get the thing back together until a day before

In the meantime, the yellowtop battery had run down. Paul had put it on
a charger and it was kind of holding a charge, but it was weak. We figured
that it'd charge up by driving the car to tech and and back, but that
turned out not to be the case. So Friday night, we called around and
found a place that could get a replacement, but it wasn't going to be
be in until late Saturday.

So Saturday we send one of our crew off to go get the battery and we
head out to go do the first couple of stages. Everything seems to be
going fine, but Paul is having trouble getting it into 2nd and 4th. We
figure it's just a linkage adjustment problem left over from the hasty
transmission install.

We also notice a little bit of clunking coming from the left rear strut.

We finish the stages and come back to service. It's a pretty short
service, so Paul adjusts the linkage and then finds that the nuts on
the left rear shock top are a little loose, so he tightens those up. In
the meantime, our crew starts installing the battery. It turns out this
is easier said that done - the battery has big screw-down posts and the
car's cables have small hole ends so they don't fit directly, and the
previous owner has put on those lead posts that convert it to the
normal-clamp on style cables, and then from there it's got adaptors to
convert that back to the small screw-in type, and all that stuff has to
be transferred over and then somehow made to fit under a battery box lid
that only fits in one particular way, and on and on. We end up getting
it done, but check out of service 7 minutes late.

So we head out and do some more stages. On the transit the transmission
is fine, but as soon as we hit the stages the 2nd/4th gear problem
comes back. Sometimes it works, some times it doesn't, and we spend
a lot of time coasting while Paul is trying to coax the transmission
into behaving.

We get back to service again and take a look at it and it turns out
it's not an adjustment problem at all. The shift cable is a solid
core surrounded by wire braid, and the solid core has broken. This means
that while we can "pull" the linkage into 1st/3rd/5th, we can't "push"
it into 2nd/4th/Rev. We have no replacement and neither does anyone
else, nor do we have time to replace it if we had one.

So we go out and do the last few stages in the pouring rain. Paul winds
it out in first on the launches and then we just drive the rest of the
stages in 3rd. This turns out to work pretty well, and we actually set
some pretty reasonable stage times - not top ten or anything but enough
that we're pretty happy with them.

So Saturday night we go back to the hotel in a pretty good mood. We know
what the problem is and we can just drive around it.

Sunday dawns and we head out to do the day's stages. On the first stage,
the left rear strut clunk comes back. We look at it after the stages and
the nuts are all the way down but it's loose. I don't really know the
design of the shock, but I figure there's a rubber bushing on the strut
top that must've disintegrated. We can't really do anything about it there
so we just sort of drive to minimize impacts and make do.

We get back to service and the crew jacks up the car and yep, the bushing
is gone. It's short service and we don't have any way of fixing it so
we just figure we'll limp on it and check it regularly. We're mostly
concerned with the tower deforming, but it's been pretty well reinforced
so...on we go.

About a mile in to the next stage we hear a kind of weird squealing noise
coming from that side. Paul says to me "huh, it's never made that noise
before." I reply with, "Yeah. Left 5 into..."

We get to the end and head down to the turnaround and as Paul's making
the U-turn, the left rear completely locks up. At first we thought it
was a broken axle, but then we realize that's it's just a rock wedged
between the brake and the rim. Unfortunately, there's an aluminum wheel
scraper in there that's preventing it from coming out. We can back
up and get it loose, but as soon as we roll forward it just jams
right up again. The only way to get it out is to remove the wheel.

So Paul gets the jack out...and then we find that the jack is locked up
solid. It won't move. After some hammering on it and bang it against rocks
and so on, it stays jammed. I decided to run up and ask one of the
other competitors if we can borrow a jack (it's a turnaround, see). I
run into Rob (BobOfTheFuture here) and he says, "sure!" and pulls out
his jack. I hoof it back down to where our car is and we pull off the
wheel and punch the rock out and I bend the wheel scraper back so it
won't trap rocks again, and then we drive up and give Rob his jack back.

Another problem solved.

That stage runs and then we transit to the next, and as we arrive, one
of the workers says "you know your right rear is low?". Great. No time
to change it, and no jack anyway. We do the stage and at the end the
tire is completely shredded. We ask the control workers if we can borrow
a jack and just get a funny look.

It turns out, the next car is Rob, and I ask if we can borrow his jack
again, and once again he says, "sure!". So we change the right rear.

We give him his jack back again, and he takes off and we buckle up and
head out and now there's a horrible squealing noise coming from that side.
We stop and I get out and look, and the flap from the shredded tire must've
banged the wheel scraper on that side out of alignment and now it's hitting
the rotor. It's just aluminum so I'm not too worried about it, but I sort
of hammer at it through the wheel spokes and get it off the rotor some. I
get back in and it's still squealing but not as much, but now we've eaten
up our transit time so there's no further stopping.

We make the transit but only just barely. I mean, it was *close*. We drove
the speed limit the whole way, and rolled in about 20 seconds into our
proper minute. *whew*.

We do that stage, and it's another turnaround so we have some more time
to look at the left rear shock. Paul has the brilliant idea of using one
of the bungee cords we're using to hold stuff down in the trunk as a sort
of a bumpstop. We rearrange things back there so they're secure and then
he cuts off the hooks, wraps it around the shock inside the tower a few
times, pulls it tight, and then zipties it off.

Back to service. Nothing really to do, but we take the service jack and
strap it down in the back and put in the one remaining good tire as a

The last two stages are relatively uneventful. The shock is still clanging
around, but at least it's not hammering up against the tower.

We ended up finishing once again, 11th overall. We didn't win any awards
or anything, but we finished.


Self-righteous douche canoe

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/22/2015 10:23PM by hoche.
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Michel Hoche-Mong
Senior Moderator
Location: Campbell, CA
Join Date: 02/28/2006
Age: Possibly Wise
Posts: 1,139

Rally Car:
Golf, Golf, RX-3

Re: Our BRS 2015 (long)
September 22, 2015 10:21PM
If it's not clear from the above tale, we owe Rob at least a case of fine beer.

Rob rocks.

Self-righteous douche canoe
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Anders Green
Anders Green
Ultra Moderator
Location: Raleigh, NC
Join Date: 03/30/2006
Age: Midlife Crisis
Posts: 1,476

Rally Car:

Re: Our BRS 2015 (long)
September 23, 2015 11:28AM
Exciting times! smiling smiley

Grassroots rally. It's what I think about.
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Grant Hughes
Godlike Moderator
Location: Denver, CO
Join Date: 01/11/2006
Age: Settling Down
Posts: 6,749

Rally Car:

Re: Our BRS 2015 (long)
September 23, 2015 04:23PM
Well done! Sounds like a fun and eventful rally!

Grant Hughes
Denver, CO
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Rob Russo
Mega Moderator
Location: West Babylon, NY
Join Date: 09/25/2010
Age: Settling Down
Posts: 624

Rally Car:
240 wannabe, And suddenly out of nowhere, A VW.

Re: Our BRS 2015 (long)
September 24, 2015 06:16AM
Rob rocks.

I do.

I thought that quick tire change we did was pretty spiffy, We were cheering for you guys as you pulled up and straight into the control!

Edit- also I only realized after the event in my dispair that I missed my chance to reference the douche-canoe thing grinning smiley

Enablers, All of you.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/24/2015 06:17AM by BobOfTheFuture.
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