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S197 JDMac's Autocross GT Build Thread Profile - S197 Mustangs

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This was my first Solo National Tour. I am fortunate and have many experienced and helpful people in my local region, and they gave me a lot of good pointers before and during the event. The main things that they emphasized was to prioritize the course walks and go into your runs with a plan. With only 3 runs per course, there wasn't much room for error.

Saturday was HOT! We were dealing with 90°F temps with +60% humidity. I had walked the course 3 times the night before and 2 times that morning. It was the most serious that I've taken course walks, but I had a detailed plan in my head that I was confident in. My very first run was okay. There were a few spots where the line that I wanted to take wasn't what others were taking. I entered into one turn and about ate it because of all the gravel being pushed onto my line. Luckily I was able to stop for a downed cone and got a rerun. On my next run I took what I thought would be the more common driving line and there was significantly less gravel and it worked. Once I had the line figured out I increased my aggression and got a good time on my last run. I really liked this course once I figured it out. CAM-C class was extremely close all day. There was less than a half second split between 1st and 5th place. I ended up finishing the day with a 0.064 second lead. It was anybody's game.

Sunday was wet! The rain started as we were driving to grid and the workers were making their way out on course. From grid, it looked like there was standing water on the course and that it would be pretty slick. I was too cautious on my first run and lost the lead by a lot. Everybody came back grid and had the same feeling that there was way more grip than expected. My second run I drove with much more aggression. The front of the car was doing okay but I was fighting the rear in the turns. I noticed that the course seemed dry(ish) in spots where we were accelerating or decelerating, but that the turns were still slick. I softened the rear shocks a few clicks and wanted to focus on taking a good line on my last run. I feel like I executed that plan pretty well except for the end of the slalom. I carried more speed through the first and middle part of the slalom than I did before and the car got upset when I had to scrub speed at the end. I was able to catch it without losing much time and was able to put down a decent time.

Like I said earlier, CAM-C was a very close class all weekend, but I pulled off the victory by 0.053 seconds! I have raced with most of the people in my class before and they whooped me. I feel like my driving has improved a lot, and I'm extremely happy about this victory! Time to see if Hawk will actually pay for their contingency.
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I love TireRack but I personally do not recommend heat cycling 200 TWR tires because in most cases the cars are driven on the street some as well as to the track. Getting that initial molding release gunk off is great , but the extra bucks can be saved with many folks. If going directly to the autocross course it might be helpful , but this is one item I have not found very beneficial with street tires over the years, imho.
This was the first set that I opted for heat cycling. I would agree with you that it can be done by driving, but I liked the idea of it being a calculated heat cycle with a proper cool-down time. It worked out well for me because I waited longer to get these tires than expected. I didn't get a good chance to drive the car much before the first time that it saw "racing" conditions. The first time that these saw significant temperatures was the Friday at 2pm when I had to run the next morning at 8am. I believe that they call for 24 hours of cool-down after the first heat cycle, so that wouldn't have worked out. I had instant grip and they felt the same during the Test and Tune as they did during the first competition runs.

Will I do it again? I'm not sure, but it worked well this time.
I just finished a time trial where I saw a lot of improvement in lap times, but more on that later.

At the end of the last session, I parked my car and let it idle to cool down and that's when I noticed a tapping noise coming from the engine at idle. It sounded like it stayed the same volume but increased in frequency with engine speed. It has great oil pressure, great power, and no weird vibrations or misfires. Here is the video that I took right as I noticed it.

The general consensus from everybody at the track is that it's not bottom-end noises and likely something with the valvetrain. I didn't trailer the car to the track and decided to drive it home. Nothing notable happened on the drive home. I was easy on it, but everything felt perfectly normal.

After I pulled into my garage I noticed that the tapping was now more noticeable on engine decel. Again, I'm seeing the same symptoms but the noise is more noticeable; however, that might be because I'm in a garage for this second video.

After doing some digging through this forum I found another thread with a similar situation and the same sound. He ended up replacing his timing set to solve the problem. I'm going to dig into mine tonight and pray that I find something simple. If not, any tips or recommendations would be much appreciated.

The other thread:
I pulled the valve covers last night to see if anything was obvious. All of the cams felt fine and follower arms and valve springs looked good to my inexperienced eyes.

The passenger side timing chain was very tight but the driver side had a little bit of play in it. I was able to lift a link up about 1/16" with my hand and rock it side to side which made a familiar noise. Here is the not-so-great video:

I thought that might have been the culprit until I spun the engine over with a ratchet a few times until I heard oil coming out of the tensioners. I rechecked the chains and they all felt like the driver side, so that might not be the problem. Damn.

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