Piston Slap: Hella Sweet Engineering at The 24 Hours of LeMons
Aside from the great friendships [s]forced via encouraged bribing[/s] that naturally occur when like-minded people congregate, the 24 Hours of LeMons is a fantastic opportunity for those wearing a Judge’s robe. Take last month’s race at Eagles Canyon Raceway: when stupid (yet purposeful) things like this Flavor Flav clock on the dash of this Mitsubishi Eclipse arrive, I can’t help feeling like I’m hosting “ Pimp My Ride LeMons” edition…
While Xzibit makes hilarious faces/comments as the kids talk about their hooptie’s general crappiness, I just snap a photo and begin judging them…so click the link to see more hilarity.
So what is a rotary tool doing on the firewall of this Honda product? That was my question…and the answer is astounding.
Apparently Honda’s EFI system uses a VSS (vehicle speed sensor) that is rather expensive to fix. And fix it you must! When the VSS fails to report vehicle speed, Honda’s computer freaks out: going into a reduced performance, limp-home mode. An inconvenience for most folks on the street, but a killer for a race car. So what’s the fix on a $500 budget? Attach a Dremel-style rotary tool to the firewall, turn it on and let it spin the VSS’s cable instead!
Wanna know what makes this even funnier? The re-engineered, V2.0 implementation of this VSS workaround includes an ON/OFF switch on the dash! Get in the car, put your helmet on, strap yourself in, fire up the motor…and wait for it…don’t forget to turn on the Dremel!
Re-engineering a brilliantly half-assed workaround is a fantastic notion. Such is the beauty of the $500 race car!
This is the alternator of a Fox Body Mustang with the “ twin spark” 2.3L four banger. Said motor emitted a horrible shriek on occasion. Upon closer inspection, the Mustang’s owners decided that zip ties were an adequate substitute for a proper nut and bolt. Which apparently was lost at some point in the car’s life.
Surprise, surprise: the shriek went away after installing the correct hardware. What would Xzibit say at this moment?
This V6 Mustang is designed-owned by a pair of unbelievably intelligent engineers. Very nice dudes who “get” the concept of a LeMons car, to boot. These engineers, in the spirit of a $500 car, avoided the easy route of buying fancy shocks, painting them black and hoping we didn’t notice their performance on the bounce test.
The engineers said they had two good street shocks, and two horrible ones. Combine the two (on a completely unnecessary Ford 9″ rear for what reason?) and you get adequate race dampers on the rear axle. Also note the adjustable panhard bar mounting points: very cool, but not very funny.
The shocks are completely in the spirit of LeMons, so I’m suitably impressed. Laughing, but still impressed.
Say you got a last-gen Mazda RX-7 turbo (FD bodystyle) for $500 after it caught on fire and became essentially worthless to any street going Rotary fan. Say you spent a ton of money making it into a legit race car. You probably don’t have much more left in the kitty for necessary body items to make an FD worthy of an endurance race. (And trust me, it wasn’t. Don’t fill the comments section with BS about how this car isn’t a worthy LeMons car)
This RX-7 was assembled in a matter of days, not months. I was blown away at the “quality” of work, including this awesome home HVAC intake grille being used at a cooling grate for the RX-7’s turbo mill. I mean, why not use one of these if you have it lying around?
Conversely, you need to block off the gaping hole where the FD used to sport its trademark pop up headlights. One can assume the lights were stripped to help make this into a credible $500 purchase. Vinyl flooring makes for a great headlight alternative…especially at only $1.50 a headlight!
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- ToolGuy CXXVIII comments?!?
- ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
- Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
- Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
- ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂
Man, our car is BUILT with zip ties. Can't wait for September!
Wouldn't some sort of mechanical solution involving, I don't know, a rubber sanding drum (part of every Dremel accessory kit)rubbing on the spinning brake disc, or even the serpentine belt solve the problem with less room for fail than a Dremel?