I’ve spent every dry weekend day this month (admittedly, that isn’t that many) getting the kart sorted for our first outing of the year. Cleaning, checking seat fitting, replacing worn nuts and bolts, new axle, new sprocket carrier, replacing tyres on rims, changing the brake fluid – it looked like we were set for a potential return to the track this week. That was until a friend confirmed that the crack in the paintwork around the engine side bearing hanger was actually a crack in the chassis and would need welding 🙁 It is in a common spot for TKM karts, maybe I paid the price for running the engine stop bolt too close to the engine mount – because of my early problems with engine mounts, I had always backed the bolt off by 1mm or so but, as one of the other Dads pointed out, the vibration alone will likely negate that. The fact that my stop bolt was just a bare hex bolt, with no plastic head to dampen any vibration may not have helped. Or maybe it was just one of those things with a 5-year old chassis.
Anyway, that necessitated taking a half day to get the weld done at Brightweld – it doesn’t look *too* bad and I need to rub down the paintwork and paint the repaired area. Whilst I was there, I stopped off at Hobzie Motorsport to pick up a better engine stop bolt and he also delivered the good news that my 2009 EVR looks more like a 2008 EVXX!!! Great news, huh? :S
The icing on the cake was, of course, the inevitable rain that soaked the kart less than a mile from my house. Still hoping to make it out this weekend. The engine stop bolt might be a tad looser too…
Leaving home with this in the rear view mirror normally gives me a buzz. It’s a shame we were going to the welding shop. In the rain.
Total spent this year: £244 – new axle £72 (funded by my finding a wodge of cash in Junior’s money tin courtesy of Junior’s Nan!), weld £10, engine stop bolt £2
Total spent so far: £5,668
You know you are still operating as a noob mechanic when, having spent only five weeks away from karting, you spend 5 minutes looking at your sprocket carrier wondering which way around it goes on the axle!!! :S
It was good to start getting the kart ready today – we aren’t quite there yet as I still want to bleed the brakes, clean the exhaust cans and change lots of tyres. Really wanting to get out there now – eagerly looking forward to testing in a few weeks time 🙂
This month is proving to be one of those where the costs keep mounting. I have decided that I’ll buy new tyres from now on – I still have several sets of used slicks that we will race on although the two sets of used wets we bought in the summer have obviously degraded a fair bit and I wanted to get hold of a new set to give us something more suitable for a very wet track. I picked up an unused set of wets from one of the forums for £120. I also bought some brake fluid and replacement seals ahead of my bi-annual bleeding of the brakes and a new sprocket carrier from eBay in a bid to finally rid my chain of that tense spot (the reality is that it could still turn out to be the axle, which I’ll replace when funds improve, and I’ve probably stretched my nice Panther chain by now anyway).
Still to be funded are the engine rebuild, the MSA licenses (don’t start me on the rip-off PG license again – I will email my feelings on this to the MSA when I get a chance!), the club membership and track loyalty card.
Total spent this year: £160 (unused wets – £120, brake fluid/replacement seals – £25, sprocket carrier – £15)
Total spent so far: £5,424
After we raced at the start of December, the plan was to strip the kart, clean it and wrap it up for 6 weeks or so. Because I really don’t have the room (or the lighting) to make a proper job of this in the garage, the ability to do this depends entirely upon the weather. Factor in Christmas and a holiday period that consisted of exactly one dry day spent repairing storm damaged trees and I have to confess the kart has been untouched in over a month. Until yesterday.
The kart was dirty but I didn’t think it was wet and I didn’t expect to find quite so much rust on the axle, with spots forming on the bumper and seat supports. Worse, my expensive Panther chain was starting to rust also! With the wife working the weekend and two kids to entertain/taxi around, I wasn’t able to spend more as much time as I would have liked on it but I was able to strip the back end and clean most of it up. Wire wool and T-Cut got rid of all but the toughest rust spots on the axle; I could probably have gotten rid of the remainder had I not been working to a ‘pick up the wife from work’ deadline. To make myself feel a bit better about the neglect, I polished the chassis and bumper 🙂 Just need to do the same for the front half of the kart and change the brake fluid and we’ll be in a better position to consider karting again!
Happy New Year!
We had an interesting Christmas this year (ok, last year) in so far as the kids normally still manage to come up with a long list of things they would like despite reaching or being near teenagers. This year was different – for the first time Junior had a list with next to nothing on it: an engine and Gran Turismo 6!
I had been considering getting another engine for some time – I wanted the reassurance of the backup engine should things go pear-shaped on race day and, if I was going to get another engine, I wanted one with a CNC barrel; the majority of racers have them, several engine builders had recommended them so I had decided that would be what we would aim to get. If I am honest, it wasn’t essential and you could make a strong argument that we may have been better off investing the money in more track time. I should point out that I am not assuming the engine will suddenly close the gap between us and the pack (honest!!!) and I know that most of the time remains in his lines and consistency (although there’s likely a big chunk in my setting up of the kart for wet conditions) but you pay’s your money as they say…
Junior was just expecting some money towards his engine – I had pretty much drummed into him that, if we were to get an engine, he’d be getting cash and very little else. He had some money left over from the Great Star Wars sale of 2010, when we had sold off the Star Wars toys he had been collecting since he was 6 on eBay just before Christmas and made £1,000. Advice: always take the boxes of collectable toys from your kids and put them straight in the loft! He still had half of this remaining and my wife had agreed to let him put this towards an engine with Santa donating the remainder 🙂 Between Santa, ourselves and the extended family, Junior got the engine and also a kart trolley (we picked up one of more sturdy folding variants with tray and tyre hangers in very good condition for £50), some long front and rear hubs and a new nassau and front spoiler (ahead of his birthday in March when he’d like new decals).
So, in the absence of any new toys (isn’t it a shame when they stop wanting toys for Christmas?), Junior spent most of Christmas playing GT6 (it is pretty good, by the way, although he mostly kicks my arse royally when we compete in the time trials!) and I am hoping the new engine does prove to be quicker than our current one. I have to admit, I’ll be more than a little disappointed if it is not!
Total spent so far: £5,264