Friday, April 27, 2012

Rear Trunk Hinges Found!

After many weeks of trying to find replacements for the body-shop-lost rear trunk hinges, I was given a pointer to a pointer to dc Automotive, a massive Porsche salvage operation that had them in stock, along with the small bracket and associated hardware.  There is apparently only one new one left on the planet, at Porsche in Germany, so I had to go into the used parts market.  $133 later, these golden magic parts showed up at my house.

I dropped them off at the body shop today.  They will blast, prime and paint them and get them back to me next week.  I have the car entered into the Warbirds, Wings and Wheels car show at the Paso Robles airport on May 14, so I have a pretty tight timeline to get the hood mounted and the J1772 connector and step-down autotransformer integrated into the charging system - more on this later!

New Rear View Mirror

I haven't attached my rear view mirror to the new windshield yet so I was thinking about buying a special unit where the mirror mount is integrated into the center sun visor bracket.  After a recommendation by a commenter on the blog, I decided to go ahead and order it.  You can only buy them on eBay from mack914-6 for $49.95.

Here it is:

I'll take another picture once I get it installed in the car.  I'm hoping it will help with the problem of the visors drooping down too.

Update: No, the visors still droop down.  Damn.

Earth Day 2012

I was invited to bring my Biodiesel VW Beetle down to the Earth Day event at El Chorro park in San Luis Obispo.  Next year I'll take the 914 down...

I was part of the Central Coast Clean Cities Coalition (C5) alternative fuel vehicle area.  We had a Nissan Leaf, but by way of FunRide, a green by-the-hour car rental service.

The local Honda dealer brought an Civic Hybrid.  He had planned to bring the Compressed Natural Gas version that they had in stock, but someone bought it a couple of days before the event.

The owner of this car brings it around to every event.  He's chopped it and removed a lot of weight and gets between 60 and 100 mpg.

This Arro Autogas van runs on Propane.

Aaron and his father brought these two factory-built electric Ford pickup trucks.  Ford only made 1500 of them, so they're very rare.  They were reconditioned by a specialty company, bringing the Nickel Metal Hydride battery pack back up to spec.

This is the main C5 booth, handing out literature about alternative fuel vehicles.

And here's the Beetle.  I also had pictures of the 914 so I talked about both of my non-gasoline cars with folks.

It was cloudy in the morning but cleared up and was beautiful and warm.  Of course I was facing the sun and got a little burn on my face, but it was worth it.

Porsche Club Autocross

When Porsche introduced the new 2012 911 (Codename 991) to the world's press, they did it on an unused runway at the Santa Maria, California airport.  Porsche spent a lot of money repaving the track, then "donated" it to the airport, but asked that it be made available for use by motorsports clubs.

The inaugural event was our local Porsche Club's autocross.  Since my 914 was still under construction I volunteered to be a track worker.  I was assigned to security, checking cars and people in and out of the track, and because it's an airport under TSA security regulations, I had to do a TSA background check and get a badge issued.  Unfortunately by the time the event came around, all TSA badges came back except for mine!  I didn't want to be sent to Guantanamo Bay for violating TSA regulations, so I switched over to timing which was a blast.  We borrowed timing equipment to give everyone accurate information on their runs, and we were able to run two cars on the track at once to keep the cars flowing through.

While there were a lot of Porsches, including a couple of screaming GT3s, the event was open to anyone with a vehicle.

 Even this sleeper of a pickup truck with a tremendous launch off the line.

Corvettes were well represented.  I found it interesting with all of that power that they were the slowest cars off the line.

Professional racer and local boy Townsend Bell showed up.  He told us that this was where he started his racing career, racing go-karts as a kid.  He drove a stock BMW M5 and came in with some of the fastest times of the day, of course.

The rain managed to hold off for us, but began pouring as we were picking up the cones and packing up.  Next time I'm definitely bringing the 914 to see how it compares!

K1 Speed Electric Go Karts!

I was up in the San Francisco Bay area with a day on my hands, so of course I went to Fry's and then I discovered the K1 Speed electric Go Kart location in San Jose.

The building is cavernous, with a pit area and a great track with some nice chicanes and hairpin turns.

The karts are remotely manageable - they can halt them, put them into slow mode, a little faster mode and balls-to-the-wall mode.  The acceleration and handling of these cars is nothing short of spectacular.

It's a very popular place on a Saturday afternoon, with groups of people coming in to race each other and a series of birthday parties.

Of course I was interested in the electric nature of the cars and the charging systems.  The karts have 20 HP DC motors and can go up to 60 mph.  Here's the charger, it can handle one kart on each side.

The charger has 3 charging phases, and it keeps track of current, voltage, battery capacity, battery energy absorption and charging time.  I was in trickle charge mode at this point.

It's a DC charger, using an Anderson connector with a large handle, dumping power right into the batteries.  The pit crew was very skilled at guiding drivers into the pits, flipping the power switch, and plugging in the charger.  When a new group of drivers is belted in, they pull the plug, flip the switch and guide them out onto the track.

I did the 3-session deal for I think $50, including helmet rental.  Each session is 7 laps and I was pretty wiped from the G-forces.  I placed 2nd and 3rd in my sessions, would have had 1st in the final session except for some douchebag that ran me up into the guardrail!