Yep, look out you two birds, there’s some superstar with one stone looking to take you down via a single update. Or just a lazy person. Could be that also.
Our run at the Lanark Highlands Forest Rally went well for 9⁄10 of the day. The roads were great, the weather was great, and the car was running well. We even had good coffee in service.
Sadly, we were that tiny bit short at the end. Or as The Queers put it, a day late and a dollar short. At the start of stage 10 we were running about 7th overall and looking to podium in Prod4, because despite the usual challenges and not seeing as much boost as we would like the car was going well.
With one small exception; at one point we had shut it off and it didn’t want to re-start. There was no power to the dash lights, fuel pump, etc; just nothing. We suspected a short and after a few tries it found power and we vowed not to turn it off again. This right here is called foreshadowing.
At the start of the last stage we were avoiding black flies and trying to help Gary figure out why the Juggernaut Focus was running badly. Then it was not running at all, so we pulled up and hooked up the jumpers. The Focus didn’t improve. Then Gary tested the ground and The Manchurian stopped. Completely dead. So now we had two dead cars. We attempted to get the Talon going and eventually, at almost max late, it decided it knew what electrons were again and started. However, as we put the face plate with the kill switch back in place it died and that was that.
While we waited for Ryan and Mike to come get us we messed around with the electrical connections, swatted black flies, and took selfies. Sometimes all at once.
The high point of this was when the kindly neighbours told us they were leaving but we could help ourselves to a beer from their house at the end of the long driveway. We split up and on the walk back with beer The Manchurian came to life. We shared the beer while we tried to figure out the cause. It was a good beer.
Our best guess is that the MPI relay was toast and, when it got hot, it wasn’t completing the circuit which provided power from the battery to the rest of the car. We knew it had issues and had already zip tied the fuel pump side of the relay closed (because that’s normal right?) so that important component would always have power. AND we’d put it in the cabin in case we needed to get to it. Also totally normal. However we figured that the sudden ground of the jumpers had shorted the electrical which caused the car to stop and then the MPI wouldn’t let us start it until it cooled. Then when it did cool enough to let power through the metal studs on the back of the electrical face plate contacted the metal bracket and shorted, which blew the fusible link under the hood. That had also happened before. Again, nothing to see here. However, the combination of all of those made it tough to diagnose on the spot However, the time it took to walk for a beer the MPI cooled down enough that swapping the fusible link let The Manchurian start and run just fine.
So, we have replaced the MPI with another and will modify the electrical face plate so we don’t short anything if we have to open it, and that should hopefully resolve the issue. Although we have no way to test that, so we’ll see! Oh, and we found at least one issue with the boost, which was that the gauge wasn’t reading quite right. Probably due to the below. So the boost is close, but we still need a new intercooler to finish off the boost/vacuum system. Soon, hopefully.
And where we will see is at the RallySprint in Bancroft on June 25. We were at the first one last year and won round one; you’ll recall we finished round 2 but didn’t win because of…an electrical issue! Yes, it’s true. Alternator in that case. So hopefully better luck this time. Stay tuned for whether that’s true or not!
Gratuitous rally car shot goes here.