Prepping for HPDE

The 924S944.com 924S race car has been in mothballs for well over a year.  This weekend is the Florida Citrus Region PCA HPDE event at Roebling Road in Savannah, so we are in Full Prep Mode (FPM) here at our DeLand Headquarters.

Our initial assessment was pretty simple – will it start?  Miraculously the battery showed 11.8 volts!  A quick charge and while that was happening we checked fluids.  All good.  A little cranking and it started right up, although running a bit rough.  (We removed the idle air control circuit a while ago, so a rough idle was expected.)

Now it’s time to do a bit of a cleanup and then pull it into the shop and get to work, but the clutch pedal went straight to the floor and stayed there.  To the computer to order a clutch master and slave (we have a new clutch line in stock.)  Push the car to the lift…

Complete fluid change is next.  Drain the old nasty fuel, change the gearbox oil and engine oil.  We run straight water in the cooling system with a little Water Wetter per racing regs, but we will drain and refill with fresh H2O.  Siphon off the  brake fluid to replace the master and slave.

This is where old age and experience comes into play.  The brake fluid looked pretty nasty – enough to fail the clutch hydraulics.  What about the brakes?

Failure of the brakes at 125mph going into Turn One at any race track isn’t fun.  At one of our events at Roebling we watched a Miata loose brakes at the end of the front straight, prance across the runoff area and into the “wall of dirt” a few years ago.  Totaled the car with no injuries, but still…

We have a brand-new master cylinder on the shelf.  Changing the master is a good insurance policy, but that also includes using compressed air to completely flush the lines and calipers.  A quick rebuild of the calipers isn’t a bad idea, either.  We don’t like messing around with brakes and side with safety every time.  With new Hawk pads, we will be ready to go.

Tires are also a concern.  There is a new set of Toyo slicks in the tire storage area, so we will mount and balance them for the event, bringing a set of older Toyos as backup.  We will also consider taking a set of rain tires if the weather forecast dictates that level of caution.

We are installing a new VDO temp gauge and voltmeter in the car, and there are a couple of little things that need attention, like the non-functioning tachometer.  The fuel gauge is also not working, but that isn’t a big concern at this point.  The old stock muffler sounds like a coffee can full of marbles, so that will also be replaced with something from the storage bin.

Our 924S is one of the ugliest race cars you will ever see.  Black with varying degrees of paint quality begs for a refinish, but that won’t happen this time.  The goal here is to get back on track and evaluate the state of the car on track – and the state of the driver.  Make everything work properly, and have a little fun.  We have the materials and equipment to 1) repaint the car in one of several colors on hand, 2) wrap the car with bright yellow vinyl, or 3) plastidip the car in Grabber Blue.  That will happen over the winter since temperatures and humidity are normally pretty perfect for body refinishing.  (We don’t have a paint booth!)

The trick to getting ready for any HPDE is to make certain that fluids are good, the engine runs well, the suspension is right, the tires are good and the brakes are excellent.  That means taking the time and the care to do it right.  Going to the track for the weekend and never opening the tool box is a seemingly unattainable goal, but when you prepare properly, it is possible.  Yes, we have done it in the past.

We are looking forward to a big weekend in Savannah!

Author: Kevin Duffy, Author and Chief Geek

Kevin Duffy is a retired Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at Daytona State College in Florida and a dedicated car guy. He now spends his time with Porsche 924S, 944's and 968's in his backyard shop. He is active in the Porsche Club of America, and he concentrates on 924S and the 924S Special Editions, doing rescues and restorations.

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