Big Problems, Great Triumphs – Ending The 2016 Rally Season With A Bang

Rally? Rally, never ends. The notion of an “offseason” is almost a laughable measure of time. Even at top level, WRC, there is only about a month and a half till the next event, it’s the result of an innately all-weather type event. While most types of racing take an extended break, we are still thinking about the next event. This year the car made it out pretty well after Black River Stages and the New England Forest Rally (both huge events).  With Rally-crosses monthly, ice racing, and possible winter stage rallies such as Sno*Drift coming up, I did not have major upgrades planned after the 2016 rally season….

But many things needed to be addressed after the car’s first year of serious abuse. I had a few fixes and upgrades planned. Upgrades like a steering quickener and a lot of reinforcement were planned. Angle Iron on the sills, more protection underneath, and most importantly installing re-enforced trailing arms. Mine have around 2.5 extra degrees of camber from the beginning of the year. With that comes some more serious bushings for the sub-frame and the arms themselves.

Outta wack

Other maintenance items like a timing belt kit, various fluids, and possibly a new lug stud kit as they take alot of abuse.

The car had other plans. About 2 weeks ago now we had a major failure. Driving home after a simple oil change at the weekly Banchwerks team hangout night, the motor up and seized on me. Getting out I found a cold and empty oil filter. Meaning zero oil had been pumping through the engine. A Big problem.

I have got the motor out now after borrowing a engine crane and believe I found the issue. Somehow, when I put the motor in the car originally and put the oil pan on it I managed to drop some of the old pan gasket into the baffles in the pan. These two chunks somehow have laid dormant for nearly 3 years, until now. This particular oil change must have finally released them into the main pan. When I got the pan off and looked in the oil pump they were right there on the screen easily blocking the intake of oil. Pump spins and seems to work fine.

Needless to say there is metal everywhere. Rod and crank bearings totally wasted.

M20 Rod Bearing

Rings splattered everywhere. It’s gone, it served me well over the three years only to be let down by something so simple. Maybe someday I’ll build this block and head into a screaming ‘stroker’ with all new stuff. With some messing around and new bearings, rings, head gasket, crank, and rods. A very torquey 3 liter M20 can be made.  I have another m20b25 engine in the works and will be able to easily do all sorts of gaskets, timing belt, and water pump type things while it is out of the car. Hopefully to have it in and back running by just after the new year. Some of the other upgrades will be put off but I still hope to have it in better shape than before this year. Ready for anything.

The 2016 rally season has been amazing year for me. From caging the car, to entering my first stage events. Working all the bugs out…  and sending a crappy dodge to Valhalla on my way to my dream event. Many events, some wins, and excellent times. Was certainly a roller coaster year but certainly all worth it. Hoping 2017 will have even more good with less huge fireballs.


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