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Old 02-17-2012, 07:24 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Team NAXJA/Petty Cash Racing stock class KOH XJ build and race report

This project started out with an XJ that already had a good lift and good axles and beadlocks with good 35" tires. Put in a cage, fuel system, seats and other various parts and go racing. Right.

Out came the seats and interior panels. Gotta lighten it up, don't need the HVAC stuff, so out comes the dash. Somewhere along the line someone thinks we have a chance to win with this car. The build gradually changes from a wheeling rig that can compete competently to a full on race car. Oh, we'll just rewire the whole thing, out comes the wiring harnesses. Russ from Bishop-Buehl Racing Engines is going to build a new bad ass motor, and Russ has an Atlas, out come the motor, trans and t-case. It has a perfectly good front axle, a strongly trussed D30 with 30 spline axles hub to hub and WJ knuckles and brakes. We're afraid of the D30 ring and pinion, Solid Axle donates a D44 center section and Yukon donates a Grizzly locker, so out comes the front axle assembly. It has a perfectly good front suspension with drop brackets, but Full Traction donates a front suspension system, so out comes the front suspension. We are left with nothing but sheet metal and a 35 spline rear D44 with an ARB.

The car is brought to my shop, G&G Auto Repair in Bakersfield, in late Sept and we start working on the cage. We'll be ready by Goatfest in late Nov. Right.

We work every weekend except Goatfest, Thanksgiving and Christmas. We finally get the cage, frame and body tie ins, suspension, new front D44, body armor, seats, dash, bumpers, etc, etc, done by the end of New Years weekend. The car is hauled back down to Cal's house in Fullerton to get the motor and ton's of other stuff installed. We have a good crew of SoCal NAXJA folks working every weekend, and whoever can is working evenings during the week. The new motor fires the Sunday before the race. The wiring is being done the week before the race. The car drives under it's new power the first time to get onto the trailer on Thurs before the race. But, we stopped for 3 days to give Cal and James a rest and to get the car painted, so it looks good. NAPA donates the paint since our colors are blue and yellow. Plenty of running changes, upgrades, and set backs, but we're committed to building a good quality race car.

The car gets to Johnson Valley on Thurs, race is on Sun. We still need to finish some wiring and get the shocks tuned, and get some seat time in the car, plus things I can't even remember. James and Kris are working on wiring up the lights, ARB compressor, and other things. Everyone in the crew has something to work on. We want to be ready to pass tech, and we want some seat time in the car and get the shocks tuned. Cal and I run the car a little Thurs evening, feels good but the front shocks are too soft. Shocks go to Joel from Bilstein for some changes Fri morning, while the crew works on getting some leaking brake fittings around the line locks fixed and a leaking fitting on the Atlas resolved. Carol makes one of her many runs into town for parts and the brakes are back together. We get over to tech and we pass with flying colors, no issues. James is really happy. We get out with Joel for another round of shock tuning, the car feels good but the front needs more work. Shocks come off, more work on brake fittings and Atlas fittings. Ride height is a little low in the back, so longer shackles are installed. The car is ready to go and we take it out for a spin after dark Fri evening. Feels pretty good but on the way back to camp we break a rear driveshaft.

Sat morning we install the spare driveshaft, and the brake fittings are still leaking. We pool parts for another spare driveshaft. Since we added the longer shackles, now we need limit straps in the rear. Forgot our assortment of limit straps, so Cal gets them from ORW and we get them installed. We get the car out for a test midday and almost immediately break another rear driveshaft. WTF? Now the rear yoke is toast. Cal is able to buy a pinion yoke from ORW and some degree shims to fix the pinion angle problem that we suspect is causing our drivelines to break. First set of shims installed isn't enough, second set of shims are installed. Still working on the brake fittings, want to bypass the line locks but we need them to meet the rules. We figure out another driveline and another spare, and with the correct shims installed and the brake lines finally not leaking, we take it out for another drive Sat evening well after dark. No broken driveline, the car feels pretty good, shocks are plenty good enough to race. James had just hooked up the volt meter, but I guess we didn't look at it. Final pit crew meeting, the last checking of bolts and fittings. Looks like we're ready to race.

Sunday morning the car starts fine and is driven to the starting line up. All cooling fans are wired to be on all the time, as are all the lights. No time to do it any different. I get in the car to move it into our starting position and it won't start, battery is dead. WTF? We get a jump from one of the other competitors and we have low voltage, alternator isn't charging. Kenyon and someone run back to camp and pull an alternator off of his XJ (our spare was the wrong kind) and run back and install it on the car while the rest of the field is taking off. We're running and good to go, only 15 minutes behind everyone else. Cal and I are in the car, Matt is going to switch with Cal at the 2nd pit. We decide to run reasonably quick but conservative and let's see what happens. We don't pound over anything and don't push the car, and we've done virtually no pre-running. The car is feeling pretty good. Around mile 11 we catch and pass our first car, we pass a few more heading to the first dry lake bed, we pass another one or two on the lake bed. We get into some fast whoop stuff and pass at least three more cars, a couple of them are a challenge to get around but once we pass them we're gone. We pass another car or two heading into Martel. The car is feeling really good and we're getting our confidence up about how the car is handling and about the race. I'm still driving conservative, leaving the trans in D and letting it shift where it wants, not pushing the motor hard. We have passed quite a few cars by this time, both running and broken down, and we're about race mile 26 about to hit a small trail called Martel.

We get into Martel, get over a couple of rocks, then climb a steep loose section to a very big rock with a tight right hand drop, and we can't get passed the rock. WTF? We back back down, and can't get going again, something is wrong. We don't have 4wd. Now we're sort of blocking the trail, the first car squeezes around us with some slight body damage. Cal gets out and we winch ourselves sideways and out of the way. We have no front wheels engaging. All the cars we passed are now passing us. Bummer. We replace both front locking hubs but don't see anything wrong with the hubs we're taking out. The hubs were new with 300m drive gears, but evidently are not working correctly. Thankfully the spare hubs work fine, but we've lost over an hour. We decide to be conservative and go for a finish, and enjoy ourselves. We don't go slow, but we don't push the car at all. We make it to the first remote pit around race mile 35 and stop for a scheduled quick inspection. The rear end is a little loose so I want them to take a few pounds of air out of the rear tires. Everything else looks good, except that James tells us to take it easy, we have a slightly bent rear axle housing. Crap. We pull out of the pit and now drive pretty conservatively, wanting to make it to the finish line.

We get to the top of Elvis, around race mile 48, and a Toyota truck is stuck on the trail. He winches off and we head down the trail, but the car isn't turning well and we get hung up on the same big rock. Cal gets out to winch us and sees that we have a flat right front tire, no wonder it didn't turn well. We also have a trans fluid leak. We winch off the rock and drive down the rest of Elvis with the flat and stop at the bottom to check the leak and change the tire. Trans leak is no problem, Cal tightens a fitting. We change the spare tire. We also get a good look at our "slightly" bent rear axle housing. James didn't tell us how bad it was. In a few more miles we're going to head over Fissure Mtn Trail and start into the real rock trails. Cal and I seriously doubt that the rear axle is going to hold together as bent as it is, and we don't want to create a bad recovery situation, so we decide it's best to call it and head back to main camp. As badly as we want to finish, our race is over. We made it back to camp and parked the car in the pits. A little while later we fired it up to drive over closer to the finish line to visit and let people look at the car and it wouldn't move in 2wd, the rear end was gone. Looks like we made the right call.

The first race of a new season for a new class in a new car, bummer the first race is as important as King of the Hammers and we're not able to finish. Lot's of should have's and could have's, but we're happy we made it and the car runs really well. We'll get another rear axle in it, finish a few more things, work out a couple of bugs, get some testing time, and be ready to race at Glen Helen in July.

So many people and companies to thank. This really was a team project. Many, many people helped on the build and worked in the pits. Even with all the hours and the stress, it was a fun project to be involved in, mostly because of the people. Good times.
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Ultra4 Stock Class Team NAXJA /Petty Cash Racing 4643

Thanks to NAXJA, Falken Tire, Ten Factory, Brown Dog, Hooker Harness, Raceline Wheels, G&G Auto Repair, WARN, Yukon Gear and Axle, [COLOR="Red", Full Traction, Viking Winchline, Black Magic Brakes
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Old 02-17-2012, 07:26 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Richard Gauthier
Ultra4 Stock Class Team NAXJA /Petty Cash Racing 4643

Thanks to NAXJA, Falken Tire, Ten Factory, Brown Dog, Hooker Harness, Raceline Wheels, G&G Auto Repair, WARN, Yukon Gear and Axle, [COLOR="Red", Full Traction, Viking Winchline, Black Magic Brakes
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Old 02-17-2012, 07:26 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Richard Gauthier
Ultra4 Stock Class Team NAXJA /Petty Cash Racing 4643

Thanks to NAXJA, Falken Tire, Ten Factory, Brown Dog, Hooker Harness, Raceline Wheels, G&G Auto Repair, WARN, Yukon Gear and Axle, [COLOR="Red", Full Traction, Viking Winchline, Black Magic Brakes
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Old 02-17-2012, 08:13 AM   #4 (permalink)
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hey budy that not a sligthly bent axle for sure, you may need to instal a lot beafier tubes (i dont know if truss its allowed in your class, but if permited , go for it)

im thinking you give some real air time or speed bumps to have tha rear axle bent that bad

good decision to call it done at the rigth time
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Old 02-17-2012, 08:14 AM   #5 (permalink)
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We've been lucky to have lots of help from some great companies. In no particular order, our sponsors:

Goodyear Tire-



SOLID Axle Industries-





Bilstein Shocks-



Hooker Harnesses



Big thanks to Infectious Off-Road Club for donating our custom PRP Seats-



Full Traction Suspension-



Warn Winches-



Yukon Gear & Axle-



Brown Dog Motor Mounts

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Ultra4 Stock Class Team NAXJA /Petty Cash Racing 4643

Thanks to NAXJA, Falken Tire, Ten Factory, Brown Dog, Hooker Harness, Raceline Wheels, G&G Auto Repair, WARN, Yukon Gear and Axle, [COLOR="Red", Full Traction, Viking Winchline, Black Magic Brakes
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Old 02-17-2012, 08:18 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I'm still too tired to even think about walking into the garage and looking at the car..

But let me thank everyone who had any involvement in this project. It really is amazing what was put together, particularly in the time tables that it was done. Putting the car itself aside.. we walked away from this build with an *awesome* team, and I'm looking forward to working with them for the next several seasons.

Anyone who's interested in checking out the build, full photos availble here;

http://s72.photobucket.com/albums/i186/naxja/KOH2012/


Cal

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Old 02-17-2012, 08:24 AM   #7 (permalink)
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JKS Manufacturing, SBS and Upper Shock Mounts-



Raceline Wheels-



G&G Offroad for physically putting it all together-



Viking/Winchline.com-



Bishop-Buehl Racing Engines-



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Richard Gauthier
Ultra4 Stock Class Team NAXJA /Petty Cash Racing 4643

Thanks to NAXJA, Falken Tire, Ten Factory, Brown Dog, Hooker Harness, Raceline Wheels, G&G Auto Repair, WARN, Yukon Gear and Axle, [COLOR="Red", Full Traction, Viking Winchline, Black Magic Brakes
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Old 02-17-2012, 08:32 AM   #8 (permalink)
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We did the roof halo exo mostly for head room and safety. There's just not much head room with an interior cage in an XJ. Since this is an Ultra4 car, and so a rock racer, we figured we could get away with it. We might put it on it's lid now and then.






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Richard Gauthier
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Thanks to NAXJA, Falken Tire, Ten Factory, Brown Dog, Hooker Harness, Raceline Wheels, G&G Auto Repair, WARN, Yukon Gear and Axle, [COLOR="Red", Full Traction, Viking Winchline, Black Magic Brakes
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Old 02-17-2012, 08:39 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Not exactly the best place for a bump pad.



I am guessing the next axle will be trussed.
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Old 02-17-2012, 08:39 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Great job on the car guys and thank you for trusting the shock work to Bilstein. I look forward to doing more tuning when the car is going to be used in anger once again.
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Old 02-17-2012, 08:43 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I am guessing the next axle will be trussed.
It was entirely a time thing. We ran down to the wire on time.

When I tried to load the car on the trailer departing for KOH, I discovered we hadn't put trans fluid in it yet so it wouldnt move.. with that little time to spare, a lot of things were left until 'later', like redoing the rear end.

I did think the housing would hold up to one single 90 mile race without a full truss. I guess I was wrong..

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Old 02-17-2012, 10:27 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Black Magic Brakes hooked us up with an awesome brake setup. We also run this brake setup on the Petty Cash Racing road race XJ, and these brakes WORK!! We pretty much out brake every car on the track with these brakes, in an XJ. Since I was driving it's hard to tell how good the brakes are working in the dirt, but in the co-x seat Cal said the brakes worked really well.







Blaine at Black Magic did a very nice custom caliper mount on the WJ knuckles, and that is a big caliper. He also had to figure out what rotor to use with our WJ knuckles and Warn hub kit. Thanks a ton to Blaine for the work, on both this car and the road race car. The brakes couldn't work any better.
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Thanks to NAXJA, Falken Tire, Ten Factory, Brown Dog, Hooker Harness, Raceline Wheels, G&G Auto Repair, WARN, Yukon Gear and Axle, [COLOR="Red", Full Traction, Viking Winchline, Black Magic Brakes
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Old 02-17-2012, 10:51 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Great write-up.

I'd say you bent that axle too much to finsh too...

Time crunches suck, but I bet it was still a great time.

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Old 02-17-2012, 10:54 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Hooker Harness provided us with by far the best harnesses we've ever used. Because of the ability to ratchet down the belts, the belts are easy to get properly tightened. We've all said we've never felt so secure in any other belts, not even close. Even the mechanism on the shoulder belts is so much better than the normal ones, they don't loosen at all and are always easy to operate.









The history of these belts is that they were originally designed for aerobatic pilots who needed a way to be more secure than standard belts could do. This system definitely works. I would highly recommend them.
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Ultra4 Stock Class Team NAXJA /Petty Cash Racing 4643

Thanks to NAXJA, Falken Tire, Ten Factory, Brown Dog, Hooker Harness, Raceline Wheels, G&G Auto Repair, WARN, Yukon Gear and Axle, [COLOR="Red", Full Traction, Viking Winchline, Black Magic Brakes
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Old 02-17-2012, 10:57 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I haven't really posted up a lot about my experience in the race.. but for what its worth, at 80+ MPH through the desert i literally sat with my hands on my lap totally comfortable in these harnesses. Absolutely no tensing up, holding on or bracing myself.

If you try these harnesses one time, you will NEVER USE ANOTHER PRODUCT AGAIN.
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Old 02-17-2012, 11:06 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Hooker Harness provided us with by far the best harnesses we've ever used. Because of the ability to ratchet down the belts, the belts are easy to get properly tightened. We've all said we've never felt so secure in any other belts, not even close. Even the mechanism on the shoulder belts is so much better than the normal ones, they don't loosen at all and are always easy to operate.









The history of these belts is that they were originally designed for aerobatic pilots who needed a way to be more secure than standard belts could do. This system definitely works. I would highly recommend them.
This harness system with some neck protection sounds just like what I need.

I'm just recovering from the last round of surgurys and such. I'm think going crazy lately...

Scratch that... I remember my crazy posts I made in years gone by....

I think crazy set in a long time ago...

.
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Old 02-17-2012, 11:09 AM   #17 (permalink)
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We both wore R3's and neck donuts with the Hookers.

I can tell you that I have never felt as safe in my life.
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Old 02-19-2012, 02:43 AM   #18 (permalink)
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I can tell you that I have never felt as safe in my life.
I'd be worried about the d30 sized ball joints failing and the steering knuckles falling off.
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Old 02-19-2012, 09:53 AM   #19 (permalink)
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I'd be worried about the d30 sized ball joints failing and the steering knuckles falling off.

Well, I guess you'd have to talk to all the Jeepspeed guys about that, since nearly all are running the same thing. Doesn't seem to be a common problem. Additionally, we're using the new Poly Performance/Synergy upgraded ball joints, which are supposed to be stronger.
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Ultra4 Stock Class Team NAXJA /Petty Cash Racing 4643

Thanks to NAXJA, Falken Tire, Ten Factory, Brown Dog, Hooker Harness, Raceline Wheels, G&G Auto Repair, WARN, Yukon Gear and Axle, [COLOR="Red", Full Traction, Viking Winchline, Black Magic Brakes
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Old 02-19-2012, 10:25 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Well, I guess you'd have to talk to all the Jeepspeed guys about that, since nearly all are running the same thing. Doesn't seem to be a common problem. Additionally, we're using the new Poly Performance/Synergy upgraded ball joints, which are supposed to be stronger.
I don't know anything about Jeep Speed...but KOH, well, I don't really know about that either, but from what I've seen here, on Pirate (live coverage) d30 outers are not going to cut it. I don't know, maybe he could make the finish line. Maybe, I'm completely wrong, but its a competition, and to win, I would want to push it, in the desert, as well as the rocks. Further more, I think the rear axles truss did more harm than good.

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The first race of a new season for a new class in a new car, bummer the first race is as important as King of the Hammers and we're not able to finish. Lot's of should have's and could have's, but we're happy we made it and the car runs really well. We'll get another rear axle in it, finish a few more things, work out a couple of bugs, get some testing time, and be ready to race at Glen Helen in July.

So many people and companies to thank. This really was a team project. Many, many people helped on the build and worked in the pits. Even with all the hours and the stress, it was a fun project to be involved in, mostly because of the people. Good times.

I wish the best of luck for the NAXJA team future endeavors. I was honestly bummed when I seen the XJ's rear axle and that you guys didn't get to finish.
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Old 02-19-2012, 03:22 PM   #21 (permalink)
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I don't know anything about Jeep Speed...but KOH, well, I don't really know about that either, but from what I've seen here, on Pirate (live coverage) d30 outers are not going to cut it. I don't know, maybe he could make the finish line. Maybe, I'm completely wrong, but its a competition, and to win, I would want to push it, in the desert, as well as the rocks. Further more, I think the rear axles truss did more harm than good.




I wish the best of luck for the NAXJA team future endeavors. I was honestly bummed when I seen the XJ's rear axle and that you guys didn't get to finish.

Not much can be done about the ball joints unless we're going to run D60 outers. Old style D44 knuckles don't have much bigger ball joints, if they're bigger at all, and we can't run the 30 spline stub shafts with old style D44 knuckles. Newer D44, TJ/JK style, are the same as D30 knuckles and ball joints, so not really much choice. The Jeepspeed guys pound their cars through the desert for much longer distances than we will in an Ultra4 race, so we figure if they run them successfully then we should be able to. Plus, we have the stronger aftermarket ball joints. Can't really compare to the unlimited cars, since they run mostly 40-42" tires and we're running 35's.

The rear axle was one of the bonehead things we did. Sort of a comedy of errors, except in the end it was no comedy. The D44 was the only piece of original equipment left on the car from the build we started with. We had the assumption that those older XJ and waggy D44's were 1/2" tube, but we figured out later that they are 1/4" tube. We knew the truss on it wasn't good enough, but it was too far down the list of things to deal with when we were worried about getting the car to the starting line. Also, until a week before the race the bump stops hit on a very thick plate on top of the leaf springs, but in an effort to adjust the bump stop height the stops were made like you see in the pic, which made the risk of bending the axle worse. Admittedly we should have thought it through better, but we were so rushed for time it just didn't happen. We had serious fears of not being ready at all. At one point we thought it would be a success if we just passed tech and left the starting line.

We're happy the car turned out nice, and it runs pretty well. KOH is a pretty good shake down run, so now we'll deal with some mistakes and needed upgrades, and finish what didn't get done, and go race at Glen Helen.
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Ultra4 Stock Class Team NAXJA /Petty Cash Racing 4643

Thanks to NAXJA, Falken Tire, Ten Factory, Brown Dog, Hooker Harness, Raceline Wheels, G&G Auto Repair, WARN, Yukon Gear and Axle, [COLOR="Red", Full Traction, Viking Winchline, Black Magic Brakes
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Old 02-20-2012, 09:19 AM   #22 (permalink)
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I'd be worried about the d30 sized ball joints failing and the steering knuckles falling off.

Richard more or less covered it. I am absolutely unconcerned about the balljoints. I'm more concerned about breaking driveshafts and transmission outputs.
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Old 02-20-2012, 01:55 PM   #23 (permalink)
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hearing that motor makes me want to know the 1/4 mile time on some different tires..
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Old 02-20-2012, 03:31 PM   #24 (permalink)
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I would like to know what front bump stops you used. I used the daystar bump stops and bent the rods. Also new at motor builds could you tell me where you got your motor built. Thanks. And sorry you DNF also. We DNF after the first lake bed. The old motor could not take 6700 RMP across the lake bed. Are trans would not down shift. So we ran in low range. But it was a fun 18 miles.
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Old 02-20-2012, 09:08 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goatman View Post
The rear axle was one of the bonehead things we did. Sort of a comedy of errors, except in the end it was no comedy.
It is comedy for me. Total dipshit move there.
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