By on June 17, 2013

Aside from the great friendships forced via encouraged bribing 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.

photo 1 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!

photo 3

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?

photo 4

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.


photo 5

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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14 Comments on “Piston Slap: Hella Sweet Engineering at The 24 Hours of LeMons...”

  • avatar

    One of these days I *must* go watch these guys race .


  • avatar

    Did they run a power inverter to plug the dremel into? I thought those usually have 110AC plugs to plug into a wall socket.

  • avatar

    Looking at the rear suspension of that mustang, but before reading the copy, I tought the same thing, “These guys get it”. THe adjustable panhard with 7! different slots for adjustment proves those guys will stop at nothing to get that solid axle handling right.

    • 0 avatar

      Yup, too bad they still can’t complete a race. There’s always that punch line in LeMons. Always.

      • 0 avatar

        I just don’t get all the crap enthusiasts heap on the Fox Mustang’s rear suspension. Our Fairmont (same chassis) is 100% predictable with 0% snap oversteer from the 4 link bind. Sure we only have maybe 150hp, but thru the corners we’re just as fast as any of the other 4 or 6cyl Fox cars. Out rear shocks are some sort of red Gabriel units installed by the previous owner ten years ago.

  • avatar

    this was our awesome fix at “doing time in Joliet” when we discovered a broken mount for our alternator tensioner bracket. parachute cord. and it lasted all day sunday!

  • avatar

    I admit I’ve done some odd, just get me home, improvised fixes. Like using a locking vice grip and a boot string on my motorcycle to replace a shifter that had snapped off. But the Dremel tool is true genius.

  • avatar

    We used a household grounding clamp to hold a rocker in place on our BMW M30 motor:×540.jpg

    We figured it’d either fail instantly or last all weekend. Luckily it was the later.

    That 9″ is probably hella-cheaty. I’m guessing low gears and a limited slip out of a truck or bronco or something.

    • 0 avatar

      Hell, you can get Ford 9″ rears in any junkyard. Ford only made like a billion of them over the years. Only nicely finished ones with aftermarket bits in them are expensive. This one likely came from under a Granada, or something.

  • avatar

    Man, our car is BUILT with zip ties. Can’t wait for September!

  • avatar

    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?

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