Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Barry's Car is Hot!

At least I wasn’t the only one having problems. Our friend Barry Broussard from Morgan City seemed to be snake bit.

He had purchased a good looking auto cross car which already sported wide tires mounted on light weight aluminum rims and a1600 CC engine. It seemed to be a killer combination which should have given him an edge in our class. It didn’t work out that way.

He had run the car during the last race of the previous season but had DNF’ed by the simple mistake of running out of gas. Most of us have done that at one time or another. We are not proud of it but it makes us sympathetic. In my very first race I died when I was running second and closing in on the leader. It makes you feel sort of dumb. It’s embarrassing and you don’t often tell people about it.

As great as Barry’s car looked it had built in booby traps. The car had been set up to run Autocross where the cars ran hard for a minute and a half and shut down to cool off. That is different that from the stresses put on a motor by running hard for fifteen or twenty laps without a stop.

When you only run one lap at a time you don’t have the extreme heat buildup you get on longer runs. In Vee racers we compensate for that by ducting large amounts of air over the heads, cooling fins and the oil cooler. These are “air cooled” engines after all. Barry’s car wasn't set up that way.

Barry was out for the first race of the season and ran well. For three laps. Then the engine seized up. DNF. (Did Not Finish)

Since, like most of us, Barry is not a trained mechanic, he took his car to an engine builder in Baton Rouge.

After the builder had torn the engine down he reported that it had a cracked case and a host of other problems. He suggested building a complete new engine and Barry agreed to it.

It took him almost three months to dawdle his way through the over priced job he did. Half the season had passed before Barry could get back on the track again.
This time it lasted two laps before the engine seized up.

Barry called the engine builder who informed him that they did not warranty racing engines and he would require an up front payment to even tear it down to see what the problem was, not to mention what he would charge to correct his own mistakes. I guess there are thieves every where. I have deliberately not mentioned the builders name. But if you are in the Baton Rouge area you might want to check with Barry for references on engine builders. He knows at least one not to recommend.

A saving grace turned out to be a friend of Barry’s named Oren Deupre who is a mechanic and a boat racer. The two of them got together and decide to rebuild the engine themselves. Well, Oren is doing it while Barry learns.

When they tore the engine down they found lots of brass in the strainer and all the indications of spun bearings. The original engine builder had not seated them properly and they failed.

At present they hope to have the car out for the charity race. With luck I’ll join them.

The up side of all of this is that Oren is getting interested and may want to shift his racing from boats to cars.


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