Schumacher Taxi Service
It's faster if you let us drive.
Journal Entry 10/23/07 – Dave
Bought a piece of crap car and drove it off road. More fun than a barrel of monkeys! Something about this car just makes you laugh, whether you’re driving it or just watching it. The car had an exhaust leak somewhere. I think we made it worse today.
Journal Entry 12/6/07 – Dave
Saw a post on the forums about some 24 hour race. Sounds fun. Apparently, you have to have a cheap car. I think I have a car that would fit the bill perfectly. I was the first to reply with, “I’m in!”
Journal Entry 1/6/08 – Dave
Well, we’ve somehow managed to find six people who will risk their lives in a $500 piece of crap to drive around turns at 80 mph in heavy traffic. The build started today. Everyone agreed to meet at 10 AM at Rob’s place. Since I spent last night getting plastered out of my mind at the local Irish pub, I got there at noon. Apparently four guys can strip the entire interior out of a car in two hours. Damn, I was looking forward to that bit. Oh, and the alternator crapped out last night. Rob set the car on fire - twice.
They did leave me the HVAC system to pull out. Got out the cutoff wheel and went to town on the A/C and heater core piping.
The car won’t start anymore. We checked the spark (ok) and decided it must be a fueling problem. Tabled the issue because we’re all beat and its time for beer. Put the entire interior back into the car for storage. Somehow it takes up a lot more space this way.
Rob bought a bunch of stuff from Harbor Freight, including a pipe bender. We can save a buttload of money by fabricating our own cage.
Journal Entry 1/12/08 – Dave
Rob set the car on fire. Apparently no one told him that plastic door handles will burn when you point an acetylene torch at them.
Replaced the clutch. I hate clutch jobs. I hate them even worse on front wheel drive cars. The transmission only fell on me once, so I guess I can't complain too much. Did I mention I hate clutch jobs?
Cage prep is getting more complicated. Apparently Harbor Freight sells tubing crimpers. We may look into renting a different type of bender.
The car runs again. After spending 45 minutes under the dash trying to find where the blue and black wire went, we had a short conference and just wired the fuel pump to a switch. Turned over and ran great once we actually had fuel. We started on the seat mounting and ran into a couple of snags. We rigged the seat up with only the back two bolts in and it was WAY too high.
Anyway, aside from the fact that you have to sit on the floor and the hood doesn't latch, the car is driveable again. Next up is removing the A/C compressor, and replacing the alternator and serpentine belt.
Journal Entry 1/27/08 – Dave
Wiring. Lots and lots of wiring. I also fabbed up our new switch plate and prayed that it would work. Once I cut the wires off the ignition switch there was no going back.
On Saturday I drove 45 minutes to Jimmie's Auto for an alternator that wasn't there (they told me on Thursday that they had it). I was talked down to by some Casey Affleck-lookin mother****er like I was a freakin idiot for even asking about the thing. I'm still pissed off.
We made some suspension modifications to the car. Since we took the interior out we got a little extra ride height, so this should fix it. We replaced the brakes and got the wrong pads shipped to us by our oh-so-helpful parts guy. Yet another redo.
We had a shop bend the main hoop for us; Rob and I got it and the rear supports welded into the car. Rob set the car on fire.
Journal Entry 2/2/08 – Dave
WOO HOO!! Our new tubing bender is here! It makes much nicer bends than the Harbor Freight crimper. Nevermind that it cost us as much as a pre-fabbed cage. We’ll break even by the time we do the Audi.
Lots of bending and welding today. I fabbed up and welded in the seat mounting hardware, which required some delicate reshaping of the floorpan with a BFH. Rob set the car on fire.
Journal Entry 2/10/08 – Dave
We’re leaking brake fluid. I found the leak on the line to the left-rear wheel, quite close to where I had been beating on the floorpan with a BFH. Whoops. I cut it out, bent up a section to replace it, and attached it with some compression fittings.
We got the cage finished today. I welded in the door stays. I think Rob finally got tired of welding. We also got our seat belt mounting points welded in and did some test-fitting of drivers. This thing is starting to look suspiciously like a race car.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ - Rob set the car on fire Rob vvvvvvv
On a second look, I don’t think the BFH had anything to do with the brake line failure.
Journal Entry 3/29/08 – Dave
We haven’t worked on the car much for a while because it didn’t really need anything. Rob has slowly put some finishing touches on the car (hood pins, stripes, taxi light), but today it saw its first action and the NNJR test & tune! Rob took three runs, I took one (we were both also running the Solstice and trying to knock the rust off from the offseason). Rob spun the Taxi three turns into his first run, so it’s been broken in the right way.
When I drove it (after Rob knocked the mold release off the tires) it was nice and oversteery on turn entry. There’s lots of body roll, and the further it rolls the more drift angle you get. The nice thing is, when you want to recover, you just point the wheel the other way and punch the throttle and it comes right back. We’re contemplating welding stuff to the swaybars to try and stiffen up the body roll a little bit.
Journal Entry 7/13/08 – Rob
OK, I've had a little bit to drink (the 15yo Scotch at my side might be a little upscale for this crew but beggars can't be choosers and all that) - But with the LeMons race in SC in two weeks, I think an update is in order.
So this weekend, Dave, Jer, and I set about doing the last minute jobs that always get pushed off to the end. We drained the antifreeze and filled the car with water. We replaced a leaking exhaust pipe and removed the cat. We put in rollbar padding everywhere that we could touch the metal. The seat came out and we painted the seat belt brackets and ground off the suicide brackets - I though that the harness was a bolt in on all six belts, so I put on brackets behind the seat). We installed a rear brake light inside the car. I really don't want to get hit from behind. Last and least we installed a little mesh up where the grill used to be so that a rogue rock doesn't end our day by hitting the oil cooler or radiator. We also grabbed new lugnuts. These ended up being too deep (hub centric wheels) and each needed to be ground down about 1/8th of an inch. The Taxi meter is in and works. It starts with a charge of $1.90 and is $0.30/minute. I wanted to get the distance part working, but it would appear those parts were not included.
On a separate note, we snagged some UHF radios from our local SCCA region. We still need a couple of helmet mics but those can be bought.
On yet another separate note, I'm going to be taking the Corolla to a track day at Pocono on the 21st. I instruct for a couple of track groups and we need the car to have a little shake down drive and make sure everything is bedded and can stand ~10hours of abuse.
Journal Entry 7/24/08 - Rob
Leaving for South Carolina today. I can't believe the amount of shit that we are taking.
Anyway, the track day was a lot of fun. I got to beat the snot of the car in the name of testing. It not only survived but it was damn fun and much faster than I thought it would be. But then again, it's more fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow. Throughout the day I dogged many faster cars including this BMW who would not wave me by on the straights. I had this guy in my windshield all day.