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Project350z Garage WorkSo what did you do this weekend? Did you spend two days under your car? I basically did, well more like 1 day, but it was broken up over an afternoon/evening and then the following morning after I ran to get a new “nut” that I needed to finish things up.

Why was I under the 350z? Well, removing the fun parts of course. I planned to remove the front and rear Hotchkis sway bars, along with the TrueChoice Phase 4 Konis (front) and the off the shelf Koni Sports (rear) along with springs/perches. Though in order to deal with the rear sway bar I also ended up pulling the Injen Super SES exhaust system off the car as well and put the OEM exhaust back on.

Read the whole blog post for the time lapse video

A week ago I posted a “question” on Facebook to see what color we should wrap the 350z in.

Well it looks like the final tally is 31/13/13

31 for Matte Black
13 for Matte Green
13 for Don't Do It!

So Matte Black it will be! Time to order the vinyl! I would hope to have it done by the end of the month, but realizing we are moving before then, we’ll set a goal of the end of June to have this completed. Of course we’ll have a time lapse video of the process!

So the car is naked, well about as naked as it can be.

Saturday evening I took it to the car wash and removed all of the vinyl. I plan to put it back on, but it’ll be a while before that happens. I figured it was a little too much right now to attract attention. I’d post photos, but there really isn’t much point, right now the car is just a blue 350z that is a little lower than normal.

In honor of the occasion here’s some President’s of the United States of America, with Naked and Famous

Today was a practice day at the San Diego National Tour. This morning I took part in the Evolution School advantage program, basically you get a ton of seat time in the morning before the practice course opens up for the rest of the entrants for the National Tour. My r-comps were on a truck otw to the tour, so I ran my street tires for the morning session. I also had the car set at full soft (bump/rebound), most definitely not the configuration needed, and my evo instructor Brian let me know.

He knew me (not to be cocky, a lot of autocrossers do because of my involvement with SCCAForums.com and announcing at events throughout the years), but he made the mistake of assuming I knew what I was doing Open-mouthed smile. He assumed I knew about suspension setup, I corrected him, and asked for help! He was very helpful and provided me some guidance to try things out.

In the morning sessions on street tires (Azenis 615s, decent tires) I got down to 30.0*, not bad, but nothing near the 27.* that a SS Z06 was running.

I also had a horrendous knocking coming front the front end of the car, though that wasn’t new, it was happening all week. When I put the new bushings in I failed to apply any grease to them (other than when they went into the control arms).  My father is here in town to watch me run at the tour, so we headed over to autozone to get some white lithium spray grease to try to help with the knocking. I thought, there was no way that it would help, but geez, it’s amazing how much quieter the car is now.

When the tires showed up I got them put on and adjusted the Konis a bit, then went back out and ran a few more practice runs to see how the car felt.

I got faster on each run, finishing with a 28.555. Still not up to snuff against that Z06, but definitely better than I had been doing in the morning.

I ended up going with the following settings on the Konis

Front Double Adjustable Truechoice Coilovers
Rebound:
1 full turn from soft (2.5 turns is full stiff)
Bump: 6 clicks (12 or 13 clicks is full stiff)

Rear Koni Sports (single adjustable)
Rebound:
2.5 clicks (10 clicks available)

I’m still trying to get the time lapse video from drive down to San Diego yesterday together. I can’t get Windows Live Movie Maker working very well on my laptop. I’m hoping it finishes up here soon.

The night before an autocross, and I’m stoked for tomorrow, even if it rains (as forecasted). I got a replacement GoPro HD camera today in the mail.

For those of you who don’t know, I had a problem with my GoPro camera, which I use a LOT! I use it for autocross videos, and time lapse videos of working on the car. A few weeks ago I was working on the car doing a standard time lapse, but the camera freaked out. I came to find out that there was a bug in the camera software that would show up with time lapse mode after 10k (I think) photos were taken. It was a known bug though, and there was a firmware update for the camera to fix the bug.

So I applied the firmware update, but something during the process failed and the camera ended up “bricking” which basically means it wouldn’t work. You couldn’t power it on, you couldn’t use it, nothing, it was as useful as a brick. Since I got the camera for xmas it was still under warranty so I contacted GoPro about getting it fixed, while it took a bit of back and forth via email with their customer service reps, they provided me with an RMA number to send it in.

This was a couple of weeks ago, right before a 2 day autocross and right before we were heading out of town for vacation, so I didn’t get the camera mailed out until Tuesday of this week. On Thursday I got an email from them saying that they had a replacement camera ready to mail out, but I hadn’t included a return address. I replied with our address, and then on Friday I got an email saying it would go out. It is nice that we live about 15 miles from their headquarters because the camera showed up today via USPS.

I’m not positive that the firmware fix has been applied to this camera yet, but I’m going to leave it as is for now. I want to use it at the autocross tomorrow, so I don’t want to run the risk of bricking it again!

How was today?

COLD AND WET!

Hard to see but there is snow on them thar hills #autocrossBeyond that? Very cold and very wet. I went to Great America today for the SFRSCCA Divisional Autocross. I got there around 7am and put the Kumho tires on the car, big mistake! I was sort of drying out, the sky was almost clear, but the drive down there was rainy, and there was snow! You can’t see it very well in this picture, but yes, there was snow in the “hills” around the Bay Area.

So I installed the wheels/tires and walked the course a few times. The driver’s meeting got delayed, then the start of the event got delayed. Then the rain started back up Sad smile

Let me tell you this, Kumho V710s don’t work well when it is <40 degrees and raining. My first run I went out and it felt horrible, I turned a 66.*, I wasn’t too thrilled about that. Here’s a video of that run.

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But I was too lazy to go get my street tires (freshly mounted the previous night mind you). Big mistake, I went out on my second run and decided I would take things slower, expecting to actually go around the course faster. I slowed down and ran a 69.*. That broke this camel’s back, I ran off to get my street wheels, drill, and jack so that I could swap to the Falken Azenis RT-615s.

Thankfully Grant (in a Nismo 370z) followed me over and helped me bring 2 of the tires back to my grid spot. I don’t think I would have gotten them changed in time had he not helped! Thanks for the help Grant!

The Falkens were MUCH better, not perfect, but way better than the V710s in the rain. I managed to run a 60.*, a big improvement over the first two runs, though I just wish I had put them on before my second run, or even to begin with!

Here’s a video of the third run

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So what’s gone on so far in 2011? Let’s recap on this 33rd day of the year.

So far I’ve kept up with my blogging commitment, every day, You can find a list of all the blogs at http://www.chrishammond.com/

I’ve managed to post 33 photos of myself for #Flickr365 and 33 photos of Jacqueline for #Baby365. The baby is growing! She’s up to 13lbs 13oz last time she was weighed and in the 95th percentile for height at her age, a jump from her last measurement.

I’ve managed to autocross the 350z once already this year, and have at least 2 more events coming up this month, with a possible 4th as well.

The Super Bowl is coming this weekend, I’m ready for it, we’re going to finally get up to Fairfield and see some friends we haven’t seen in probably 8 months!

If you followed the blog post earlier this week you already know that Injen came through and got me the replacement midpipes for my Super SES Exhaust which I removed late last year.

Today I took the OEM exhaust off the 350z and put the Injen exhaust back on. The job itself is easy, probably could do it all in about 25 minutes if I really pushed it, but I didn’t. I took my time, cleaned up in the garage a bit, cleaned up the exhaust a bit as well. I also managed to weigh both the Injen exhaust and the OEM exhaust to see what the difference was. I was hoping it would be more!

Read the full blog post for photos and video!

It's been a long few weeks for me. It all started with the St. Louis region driver's school three weekends ago and culminated today with the Walnut Ridge ProSolo. The driver's school went well, the Walnut Ridge National Tour went even better. The Walnut Ridge ProSolo though was far from good. The event itself was great, organized and run very smoothly. The 350Z's B-Stock performance however was far from desired. It's late, and I have a lot of things to catch up on, but in short the Z's drawbacks were most apparent this past weekend. The two drawbacks being the very flakey ABS, resulting in ice mode too many times to count this weekend, and the lack of a real LSD in the Z. What is Ice Mode? Well, it's hard to describe, but once you hit it you know exactly what it is. Basically if the Z isn't completely level when you hit the brakes the brake peddle gets rock hard and the car doesn't want to stop. It doesn't pulse like ABS, it can be quite disconcerning, luckily for me I've only hit it once or twice on the street, but it's a frequent problem on the non-brembo 350Zs, made prior to the 2006 model year. As for the lack of LSD, the 350Z models above the base model are equiped with an LSD, limited slip differential, which is supposed to limit the amount of wheelspin in the rear tires. The problem the Z has is that on corner exit with the throttle pressed for acceleration the car spins the inside rear tire in a nice smokey haze. A limited slip should actually transfer that force properly to keep the tire from spinning. At least, that is my understanding of how a LSD should work. It would be lovely in the Z had this feature, but it's something we must drive around. As you can see, nothing really good to say about the weekend. Andy finished 4th, myself in 6th, the three trophy positions were all filled by Mazda RX-8s.  I came home from Walnut Ridge this weekend and started looking at RX-8s on the Mazda website to see how much one would lease for..... Not likely that Andy and I will be switching, but I will be looking for an RX-8 at a local event to flog around the course and see what the competition feels like. I'll have some video of our runs up later this week. I've now gotta pack. I'm headed to Boston Monday afternoon for Opening Day at Fenway on Tuesday! posted from...
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Chris Hammond is a father, husband, leader, developer and car guy. Chris has long specialized in ASP.NET and DotNetNuke development, so you will find a variety of topics here on the website. For more information check out the about me page.

If you are looking for DotNetNuke consulting please visit my business website at https://www.christoc.com/