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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
As always, HOD (Hooked On Driving) put on an EXCELLENT event -- these guys/gals really are top notch and extremely well organized. They also keep the car counts low (cost is higher but well worth every penny) -- I hope they keep it that way.

Unfortunately my day ended early -- only two sessions, not an engine failure this time, just a loose radiator clamp (thank you Lotus assembly line) on the driver side causing fluid to flow down the undertray and onto my rear tires (and ultimately lost rear end at T 8a and hit the wall).
 

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:( I'm glad you are okay....
 

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:( I'm glad you are okay....
+1,
glad you are OK Rob.

Yyou do track your car ALOT, so maybe its not lotus' fault on this one.
this should be part of a nut and bolt "pre flight" check before you go track your car. its a PITA, but it will prevent this type of stuff from happening.
99% of the time you find nothing loose, but the 1% of the time you do, it makes it all worthwhile.

car prep;
hopefully others who track their cars alot will use this as an example of why you want to do a thorough going over on the car you track. there is an awful lot of vibration going on when you rev the crap out of any car.

I had something give way on me in the 944 a few races ago that was an oversight on my part. something just worked itself lose, that i didnt put a wrench on and check with enough frequency.
I was able to still bring the car home, but it showed me that i was not as diligent as i need to be with the car.
 

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Ouch Rob, that sucks badly. :(
Care to explain the right arm?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Right arm is from being hit by a car (drivers fault, illegal U turn) while biking down Mt. Diablo (local state park road) 4 days prior to the event. Doc gave me the all clear to drive, nothing broken, just slight tear in one of three shoulder ligaments.

I must admit, I have not pulled apart the front end of my car (until now), guess I shouldn't have trusted Lotus assembly for something like radiator hose clamps -- even though I've never had a problem like this with any other car I've tracked/raced. But yeah, if your advice is to check EVERY bolt, then I agree, cause I officially don't trust a single part assembled by Lotus. But hey fishguy, if it makes you feel better to blame me for NOT checking every single bolt, clamp, nut, screw, fastener on the car, then go for it.

I'll post video of the one of two sessions I got later.

Rob.
 

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I must admit, I have not pulled apart the front end of my car (until now), guess I shouldn't have trusted Lotus assembly for something like radiator hose clamps -- even though I've never had a problem like this with any other car I've tracked/raced. But yeah, if your advice is to check EVERY bolt, then I agree, cause I officially don't trust a single part assembled by Lotus. But hey fishguy, if it makes you feel better to blame me for NOT checking every single bolt, clamp, nut, screw, fastener on the car, then go for it.


Rob.
not trying to blame you, but its not fair for you to try to blame the lotus assembly line.
it doesnt make me feel better to do so, i did it so that other may learn from your misfortune and potentially avoid the same result you just had by simply checking everything on the car.

whos responsibilty is it for a car to be prepped for track usage?

yeah, every bolt.
With the amount of engine overhauls (3 IIRC)and stuff you have done to the car, it sounds like you have had ample opportunity to become very familiar with all the systems on the car.
i guess it will just be the stuff you dont verify that will be what ends up falling off.

I do attempt to go over every bolt on my car before it goes out on the track. it is part of the racing routine.
stuff gets past all of us, i wasnt attacking you, but to make it out like its the fault of the lotus assembly line is BS, and (in your heart)you know it.

again, glad you are ok.
 

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Sorry to hear about that Rob. Glad you are ok. I guess we are supposed to pull the clams off of our cars before every track day.

I was there with my silver Carrera as my Exige is still out of commission.

Infineon claimed a couple of other cars this weekend as well. The beautiful white Ford GT hit a wall fairly hard near the end of Saturday and was taken away via flatbed. And, on the last session today, a red M3 hit a tire wall hard after going wide into Turn 6. The added bummer about the M3 is that the driver told me just before the session that she was probably going to skip it and leave.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Fishguy,

Search this forum and you'll see that others report front radiator hose clamps coming off and losing coolant -- and these folks have NOT tracked their cars. So who tightens the clamps on my car then prior to sale? I know it wasn't me. So I guess Lotus should just deliver the parts and leave assembly to the customers??

To suggest everyone that tracks their Lotus in an HPDE type situation should check EVERY single bolt, nut, and fastener on the car prior to doing any event is ludicrous and completely unrealistic. And it still wouldn't save their motors. I agree they should check the items listed in their tech sheets and/or get tech'd, but not every bolt. And given that this particular clamp isn't even visible unless the front clam is removed...

I am now familiar with the last part of the car, that until yesterday I had never touched, the front.

And for the record, this is only the 4th track event I've attempted with this Lotus. I've had failures in 3 out of 4 events - spent most of my time finding cures for problems and fixing them. Compare this with my 04 STi, 0 out of 14 events. Or my 99 Cobra 1 out of 45 events (events being HPDE or TT type events not races). And considerably less money was spent on these cars and they survived the track just fine.

I'm not trying to bash Lotus, but I'm gonna call BS when I see BS and Lotus have delivered a BIG bunch of BS. I wish it were a one off situation and I was the only one to have problems, but like I've said before, I've had enough PMs to know I'm not alone. I'm certainly NOT in the majority, but I'm not rare. But have you thought that perhaps, just perhaps, the piss poor Quality Control from Lotus is why Lotus have almost gone under many times.

I suppose because I did find the passenger side hose clamp loose a few months ago, I should have realized the same assembly line bonehead that tightened that one up probably did the driver side clamp also. I'll admit to my failure in having too much trust in Lotus.

And I've never, ever, ever had a hose clamp vibrate loose on any track or race car or even on my 125cc shifter Kart (which is KING of vibration).

Deddie,

I heard about the Ford GT, but was too busy trying to get my car fixed that I never got time to check it out -- major bummer, that was a beautiful car (I have it on my 2nd session video). Assume driver/passenger were not hurt?

Sorry to hear about the red M3, hope she is ok.

Cheers, Rob.
 

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And for the record, this is only the 4th track event I've attempted with this Lotus. I've had failures in 3 out of 4 events - spent most of my time finding cures for problems and fixing them. Compare this with my 04 STi, 0 out of 14 events. Or my 99 Cobra 1 out of 45 events (events being HPDE or TT type events not races). And considerably less money was spent on these cars and they survived the track just fine.

Cheers, Rob.
Yikes. I've track the Exige 4 times since I've gotten it in Nov. I haven't had a single problem. Sorry man....

Hsin
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hsin,

I envy you, but am also glad you haven't run into any issues.

Rob
 

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no need to envy... I'm checking as much as I can to be safe from now on... sorry it this happening to you for me to consider checking stuff... What are you going to do with the car now?
 

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Hey Rob sorry about your mishap. I thought the worst when you said you hit the wall. I did more damage when I closed the garage door on my Elise, twice.

I had the front clam off recently but didn't think to tighten anything up.

I like the way you dive right in and remove the clam at the track. I barely feel like adding air to my tires when I'm at the track.

My wife got hit on her bike last Saturday. Same deal, a guy made a u turn.

She hit the hood and windshield but walked away.

I'm sure you will get the car sorted.
 

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Deddie,

I heard about the Ford GT, but was too busy trying to get my car fixed that I never got time to check it out -- major bummer, that was a beautiful car (I have it on my 2nd session video). Assume driver/passenger were not hurt?

Sorry to hear about the red M3, hope she is ok.

Cheers, Rob.
Both were ok. The Ford GT damage appeared as if the car pushed in turn 1 (I am purely speculating on that) as the right side had a lot of damage, but the front and rear were fine. Ford driver was fine and in as good of spirits as someone in that situation could be. The M3 driver broke her thumb. I was a bit worried when the ambulence went out on the track for her (that was the first time I have seen an ambulence run at a car track day), but it was more precautionary.

Your coolant issue made me think that it may be a good idea (if you are tracking these cars and live in non-freezing climates) to run water wetter, instead of coolant. I run this in my sport bike that I track (which all riders are required to do) to prevent incidents that could occur if a rider's tire(s) were to hit a coolant spill. Before today, I never thought about putting the water wetter in the Lotus.

Again, sorry to hear about your current issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Deddie,

Broken thumb -- was she holding the wheel on impact? Major bummer for her but glad it wasn't too serious, how much damage to the M3? I heard the GT40 looked pretty bad, hopefully no chassis damage -- dang that was a nice car, I remember passing him on the track wishing I were in it -- think he was on bone stock street tires.

Toyota coolant is definitely slippery stuff, but I think (have not confirmed) the 2ZZ motors require some "lubricant" mix in the coolant to keep the water pump happy. BUT, I could be wrong -- I've had the water pump off a few times and from the design it doesn't look like it needs any lubricant at all. But if anyone knows otherwise please fill me in as I completely agree that going with a non-slippery coolant is a better option for me (and those I share the track with).

Jim,

So sorry to hear about your wife's accident -- wow -- kinda freaky similar too. Glad she's ok.

Any advice of fixing fiberglass? Is it cheaper/better if I remove the rear clam and just transport it to a body shop for patch and paint? I'm clueless on body work stuff, so any info you can provide is much appreciated.

We actually got the hose clamp fixed and front clam back on pretty quick, certainly within time to make the last session of the day, BUT ... the front reverie splitter just wouldn't line up to the holes and was a MAJOR PITA to get back on and secure. Finally got it, but too late for the last session. With my arm/shoulder injury I wasn't exactly enjoying working on my car, thankfully my buddy was a lot of help.

I'll try to get some video up tonight, didn't get to finish it last night (messin' around with some new video editing toys).

Hsin,

My plan is to pull the car apart again and go over everything with a fine tooth comb - probably fix the resistor pak, AC, turn signal lights (laughable how these things are "attached" to the car) that just popped out when washing the car, and whatever else is broken/loose. Most likely remove rear clam and take it to a body shop -- might have them paint the rear wing or at least the wing supports, and then get a new diffuser (aluminum one from Sector 111), oh and I'll add the V2 arms from sector 111. I'll photoshop my rear wing in the car's color to see if I want to paint it or not.

Rob.
 

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Sorry to hear of your misfortune Rob. I've tracked my car a few times with no issues as well. But I think I'll spend an intimate weekend in the near future with a socket set. I just wish I had more room in my garage, lol. I've heard too many stories of various things coming loose.

Good luck with your shoulder injury. I also had a driver make an illegal u turn, but I was on a motorcycle. It was a year before I could lift the same weights before the accident w/o causing me serious pain in my left shoulder.
 

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Deddie,

Broken thumb -- was she holding the wheel on impact? Major bummer for her but glad it wasn't too serious, how much damage to the M3? I heard the GT40 looked pretty bad, hopefully no chassis damage -- dang that was a nice car, I remember passing him on the track wishing I were in it -- think he was on bone stock street tires.
M3 had a lot of damage on the right side. I did not see the car (they were still loading it on a flatbed out at turn 6 and fixing a tire wall that it went through when I left at 5 pm), but it was not drivable. The broken thumb was on the left hand, so the impact on the right must have sent her thumb into the steering wheel. I had to look away after seeing the damage to the GT 40. It was painful to look at.
 

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Deddie,
by no means am i suggesting to remove the front clam before every weekend, but I am suggesting to do it and have a baseline to know that all it tight, and check stuff on a routine basis of your chosen time increments.

there are some things that i check every weekend on my car, some every few events, and some every session. different maintenace schedule for different items.


Never (checking), is a pretty bad strategy, dont you think?

since robains has said that he has heard of these clamps just falling off in the past on other cars, that in itself would seem to beg for at least a check to verify that all is good. same thing with the rear toe end links, when i heard that they were coming loose on other cars, i made it something that i was diligent about checking every day. learn from the info that others share on this forum, and prevent things from happening.


I have a list, for each car of what i have checked(and when) what I will check before next race, and what i need to keep an eye on in the future.
being organized makes it easy, and you can even make notes as to what size wrenches are needed etc......

Robains,
water wetter does have lubricants for the water pump, and is what i use in my cars. I also ran bikes years ago, and they would pull our radiator cap as part of the tech inspection each event to verify that no anitfreeze was in the system. that stuff is more slippery than oil when dumped on the track.

I wish that they would not allow it to be used in cars on track, but i just follow the rules, not make them. even still, i dont use antifreeze in my track cars for the same reason as what happened to robains.

also, I dont want to know how it would feel if my antifreeze was the cause of someone else wadding their car.
not a good way to make freinds at the track.
 

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If you don't trust the car anymore get rid of it and get something you feel comfortable with. Life is too short to make fun things stress full.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Steve,

Just one more foot of runoff and I could have kept it off the wall.

FishGuy,

I do know someone that totalled his NSX because of someone else's coolant leak (at Infineon going into T1), I've also crashed my 125cc shifter at Infineon because someone blew a head gasket right in front of me (that was painful in T6) -- I agree, I wouldn't want that on my shoulders -- and fortunately I do check my car after every session (the obvious stuff) and hence how I noticed the problem -- clues where the long streams of coolant flowing directly back to my left rear tire.

I'll switch over to water wetter because Toyota coolant is indeed VERY slippery.

But do understand, I'm not driving my Lotus as I would a race car -- I drive a race car VERY differently.

DeanG,

I agree and I'm very close to being done with this car as I am missing a very key reason as to why I got it -- to have fun. I'll give it one more chance to complete a track event without drama -- just one more.

agirls,

Being a motorcycle rider for 25+ years I can sympathize with you -- I used to ride bikes before CA adopted motorcycle helmet law. I've had my share of spills, some my fault, some not -- all very painful. Glad you're back to good health. Of course then we have MotoGP riders like Lorenzo who dislocates his shoulder in a highside after taking pole, comes back the next day to race, and finishes a close 3rd to Rossi - amazing!
 

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