Boost Leaks Make You Slow

After a disappointing trip, scratch that – trips, to the racetrack a few weeks back we were stumped as to why. Ever since the motor swap (read about my over rev that resulted in spun bearings) a few months back I lost about six mph on the top end. Previously, even if I bogged the launch I could trap 130ish in the quarter mile. Now I haven’t been able to get above 124 mph. We thought we had the timing off – nope. I’ve been staring at my ECMLink logs comparing old good runs to the ones now – couldn’t see anything that jumped out. So we hit the track again.

This trip to the track I kept rolling out of the lights before the green. Clutch in, car rolling out of the beams. Next, I wasn’t able to get it into third gear. Seriously T. Talon?!? (her name, yes my car has a name) you’re going to be parted out like your many sisters before if you keep it up. Back in the pits my male BFF (BFF version of Jet Snow Moody only hairier) Travis noticed there was no fluid in the clutch master. Well fill her up! But where is all the fluid going? Never mind that now, my class is up! Filled and bled I repeated the same issue as before; rolled through the beams and couldn’t shift into third. Maybe my used (yes, used clutch – this was a budget build remember?) Act 2600 and six puck was done for.

Needless to say, T. Talon went on the trailer for the night. That was a disappointment because we had a handful of UTDSM’ers coming to run the midnight drags with me.

The next day we started looking her over trying to diagnose my two new issues. A good eye by the husband caught the clutch master rubber hose cut. Weird but we never saw any fluid anywhere. Fixed that and bled the crap out of the system. One problem down, now what about my mph?

We figured it was time to go back to the basics and start with a good old-fashion boost leak test. As soon as the air started filling the system we heard a huge bleed off of boost. After some feeling around we found the air coming out of the HKS BOV (it’s not recalculated back into the intake). Now from what I understand the great thing about the HKS is the more boost you make the tighter that baby gets. That wasn’t the case right now. I’ve wanted one of those fancy limited edition flat black versions so here’s my chance. Ordered one from my favorite one stop shopping site – ebay and two days later she was at my door. Installed and boost leak free, I took T. Talon out for a test drive.

That’s my girl! She felt like she had her umph back! But that umph would be short lived. We pulled back into our shop and the check engine light popped on. If you’re familiar with ECMLink you know that you can disable all the boring CEL’s that hinder your go-fast umph. When this one didn’t go away quickly (sometimes I see a quick flicker of the light with phantom knock) I got concerned. While waiting to grab the laptop to check the code, we heard bubbling from the overflow bottle. The light ended up being from the car overheating. Hmm, that’s weird. Yes, it was hot out but I’ve never had any issues with overheating. Head gasket? A boost leak test didn’t produce any bubbles in the coolant but a hand checking if the fans were blowing . . . Bingo. One of the fans wasn’t kicking on – Fixed. Now where is that huge puddle of oil under the car coming from?!?

There has always been a small leak we’ve been unable to pinpoint since the new motor went in, but that drip turned into a puddle. When you’re finally able to push that 30 psi through the motor without a boost leak, all that pressure made the leak worse.

The driver’s side of the motor is coated in oil. Since we can’t see the leak we assumed it was coming from the front case. Guess what we’re in the process of right now? That’s right – oil pan dropped, front case off. Looks like a gasket used for the front case was leaking right below the water pump.

Right now T. Talon is still stripped down showing her bare block, but she’ll be back together by this weekend and ready for Rocky Mountain Raceway on the 6th (cross fingers).

I need no reminder of why I named her project “What was I thinking“. She’s doing a good job reminding me!

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