Advanced Track Day Preparation
Towards the middle and end of last year’s track season, I was dealing with high water and oil temperatures. To address the heat/cooling issues, I ordered the third radiator kit from Suncoast for $689. While I was going to have the front bumper assembly pulled a part, I thought it might be a good time to add Rennline’s radiator protection grill screens. I picked those up for $300. With nearly $1000 already invested in parts, I thought it might be a wise to do the work myself and save some money, for another track event or two. After 4 days, I had parts in-hand and was now trying to figure out how to do this work. After a quick search on Rennlist.com, I found user Plenum’s front bumper removal walk through. It was an excellent guide of step by step instructions, complete with pictures of every screw and clip, to remove. Things went smoothly as I breezed through removing the trim around the frunk area and the screws. However, there were a couple of missing items on Plenum’s walk through that could be improved. I ran into trouble removing the bumper retaining clips. My clips felt like they were welded in place. I was able to free them up after I pushed on the front of the bumper towards the rear to the car, to relieve whatever tension was on the clips. With a little more effort, I was able to dislodge them using a hose pick tool. The steps for removing the headlights wasn’t covered in Plenum’s walk through. So to help with that bit, I’ve included a small walk-through and photos below:
You’ll want to open the front trunk (aka frunk) and remove the tool kit on both the left and right sides of the trunk area. It will reveal the access area though which you’ll remove the headlights.
With access to the area, you open the tab and expose a service hole where the headlight tool will be inserted. You’ll find the headlight removal tool in the right-hand side toolkit, in a rectangular black case. The tool looks silver and has lever about it. You’ll insert it into the service hole as shown below.
Once the tool is inserted into the socket, you should feel it “bite”. To loosen the right side headlight for removal, you’ll rotate the lever in a clockwise fashion. You’ll hear a click and the headlight will begin to move forward and come out of the bumper/quarter panel. To loosen the left side headlight for removal, you’ll actually rotate the lever in a counter-clockwise fashion. You’ll then follow the rest of Plenum’s removal instructions. The headlight assembly lifts out and must be disconnected from the power. I spread the parts out across a movers blanket to keep it organized and protected from damage. The end result in my case looked like this:
Next up was actually installing the radiator kit. Fortunately, a fellow enthusiast (YOLOfotos) had already been down this path and had documented it will in a youtube video. The only caveat to his assembly video instructions (as well as Porsche’s own kit) is that the pressure clamps used to secure the hose lines to the third radiator, I feel, in retrospect, are insufficient. After re-assembling everything, purging the coolant, I took the car out for a break-in run.
After smelling something abnormally sweet coming from the car, seeing the dash warning displayed, and almost immediately seeing splashes of some liquid on the windshield, I put two and two together and figured something had gone afoul with the new radiator. Being less than 2 miles from home, I was able to limp the car home (not advisable). I had to pull everything a part all over again. This time though, I made a small adjustment in the clamps holding the hoses in place. Instead of the pressure clamps supplied with the factory kit, I replaced them with worm gear hose clamps. Problem solved. With all the maintenance work complete, I started focusing on the event itself. The hardest part of this mini-project was pulling the bumper – like royal pain in the ass. Though start to finish, minus the set back during testing, it was about 2 hrs of work. Not too bad considering all things.
Once all back together, I scheduled my technical inspection with the qualified mechanic. I’d like to think with the amount of experience I have, that I’m “qualified”. Clearly if I’m dropping coolant all over the road, I still have some experience to gain.
Track Day Schedule Fiasco
I was running this event with the one of the PCA clubs. I had registered for the event at ClubRegistration. While technically a Porsche event, cars of every make and model are welcome. I ran with this same club in 2018, and they were a warm, friendly bunch. As every event, the schedule was emailed a couple of days in advance. Some clubs send color coded excel spreadsheets, some send PDFs. The rest of the paper work is also send out to be printed. For example, the technical inspection form is sent in either word or PDF to be printed, completed by the mechanic, to be handed back to the tech guys at check-in. The schedule though is subject to change. It can change due to circumstances with the track owner, the club/event organizers, or due to on-track incidents like crashes. The thing is, the schedule is your bible for the event. You constantly check the schedule to see when you’re supposed to be at the drivers meeting, in the classroom learning more about racing lines or safety, or when your run group is due to be on track next. When you’re not looking at it, you’re trying to find where you placed the piece of paper. In the course of the June event that I was at, there was an accident.
It was no small accident and therefore, required everyone to pit-in, clear the track, and wait for the safety crew to check for the well-being of the occupants of the car, then clear the track of debris and fluid. Both of which were time consuming. It had a domino affect on the schedule for the remainder of the day for the run groups. So now, the paper schedule is completely useless. The stress starts to mount, because now you’re trying to do the mental math of when the next time you’d be on track, plus 18 mins. On top of that, I couldn’t even hear the announcements made on the PA system. The other drivers back in the paddocks were equally lost. So we started chatting on how things could be different and an idea took hold. There should be an app for digital schedules. If the schedule changes for any reason, the drivers should receive notifications, the schedules for the run groups should automatically update. You should be able to set reminders for when you should be preparing to head to grid. In 2019, it’s crazy to think this doesn’t already exist, so now I’ll make sure there is one.