When it’s hot and muggy and the race goes on all through the night, some teams pack up and go home when something big breaks on their car. Others, however, keep thrashing; such teams become potential Heroic Fix winners (or, if the repair doesn’t work, I Got Screwed winners). We’ve got some of each type here at the 2011 Cain’t Git Bayou 24 Hours of LeMons.
This Porsche 944 was smoking pretty badly during afternoon practice. This is fairly common in LeMons racing, and many cars survive all weekend while pouring out smoke. However, cars that burn out their clutches don’t do so well, and that’s what happened to this Porsche.
Anyone who has ever done a 944 clutch job will agree: this task is a nightmare. The 944 has a rear transaxle, torque-tube driveline that requires near-total disassembly of, well, just about everything. Most shops charge for something like 15 hours of labor when they replace a 944 clutch (the theory is that the 944 assembly line started with a clutch and built the car around it). The team managed to scare up an allegedly good used clutch, and then they got to work. That was about 5:00 PM; it’s now 1:30 AM and they just took the Porsche for a tentative test lap around the paddock. Will the fix hold? Who can say?
Then there’s the Swamp Shack Maniacs and their ongoing Prelude engine-swap saga. As of last night, they had spun a bearing in their engine and purchased a $200 Ford Tempo with the idea of swapping the Prelude cage into it. But they managed to find an automatic-equipped ‘89 Prelude engine-donor car today, and they are now attempting to drop that engine into their 5-speed ‘86 Prelude.
Both cars are non-Si models with twin sidedraft carburetors, but the accessories and emission devices are totally different. The donor car didn’t exactly run right (note the air cleaner’s horribly scorched condition), and so the Swamp Shackers need to remove both engines, remove both transmissions, swap all accessories and the complete intake/carb/ratnest-o-hoses assembly from one long block to the other, then drop the supposedly good engine into the ‘86 and hope for the best.
They’ve got IOE-winning Brandon of the B League Film Society ‘67 Mercedes-Benz 190 on their team, which helps a lot, but there’s still endless work to be done. Either one of these teams could take home the Heroic Fix (or the I Got Screwed)… or perhaps some other team will outdo both of them.