69. I got squished! And other updates

I came across @SquishMyRide’s instagram account and was really impressed with Eric’s work.  I commissioned him to Squish the SLC and I think it turned out great!

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Going so fast, the SLC started shrinking due to Relativistic Contraction!

OK, so when last we met I was feeling a bit down about the fuel system.  I’d gotten burned a few times and was feeling pretty beat up about the whole thing.  Going to the legit Bosch pump with the Radium Engineering surge tank seems to be the answer, the fuel system’s been running perfectly since.  After thinking back through the whole episode I think there was a perfect storm of some messed up wiring on my part, some dodgy quality from knock off pumps and FiTech, and just bad luck that all came together.

The local Audi Club (SDAC) was holding a get-together and drive through one of the local backroads and I decided I’d bring the SLC out to join them.  If you’re in the San Diego area and are looking for some cool folks to hang out with, check out their Facebook page!  The day started great, getting the SLC out into the twisties is where it’s most at home.  The group made a pit stop half-way through the drive for a break and a photo op which is where things started going sideways …

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One of these cars doesn’t belong …
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Thanks to James, @Food4Audis for these awesome photos!

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So after a short break we all hopped back into our cars and the SLC just did NOT want to start up again.  On the surface it seemed just like my fuel issue except this time fuel pressure was all good.  The battery seemed fine and the starter motor sounded strong, I just couldn’t light the engine.  I suspected some type of heat soak/electronics issue at the time (I shut the car down while it was at full temp after spirited driving, hadn’t done that before).  A couple of the SDAC crew had noticed I was having starting issues and stayed back to give me a hand.  With a push, we were able to push start the car.  I decided to beat a hasty retreat and head back home before I had any other issues.

Here’s a video of that adventure: YouTube link

Fast forward a week and I had some time on my hands before needing to do some Family Stuff.  I decided to hop into the SLC for a drive around the area, just hitting a few freeways and not pushing it at all.  Temps were locked in right where my water and oil thermostats open so the engine wasn’t being pushed at all.  I wanted to get some more time on the fuel system to make sure all my changes were OK.  On my way home I checked my fuel gauge and it was reading on the low side, about 4gal.  Knowing that the gauge is basically useless once I hit 2.5gal I decided I’d stop to fuel up before heading home – apparently the SLC gods thought that was a bad idea.

After topping up I hopped into the car and to my surprise, it didn’t want to start AGAIN.  Same symptoms as in the canyons the week prior; good crank, good fuel pressure, but the engine didn’t want to light off.  One of the locals was walking by and happened to catch me poking around the back of the car and came over to chat me up.  I asked him if he’d be willing to give me a hand with a push start and he was happy to oblige …

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Pushing the car back so we could get more runway space for a push start!

Try as we might, we could NOT get the car started again.  OK, at this point I’m really scratching my head.  I didn’t think I’d driven the car all that hard but I decided to push the car over to the side of the road to let things cool down.

30 minutes later and the engine was cool enough to touch … but no cigar.  NO START.

I was starting to get desperate so I used one of my Lifelines – I called my wife!  I asked her to grab our jumper cables and to meet me with her car.

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With the battery buried inside the SLC, it’s actually difficult to get to it with standard length jumper cables.  Luckily I have a +12V junction block near the top of the engine that’s more accessible.

BOOM.  First crank with my wife’s car latched on and the SLC fired right up.

So at this point I’m thinking there’s a starter issue or something to do with the main positive cable connecting my battery to my kill switch.  Either the starter is causing the voltage to drop too much or I’ve got a cable problem and the ECU isn’t getting enough voltage during cranking to fire off the ignition system.  The real kick in the pants is I haven’t been able to get the car to repeat this issue since it last happened.

While I had the car out I also shot a few segments so I could wrap up my walk-around video series on the car.

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Here’s the YouTube link to the video.

In the meantime I’ve installed my tow hook so I never forget it at home and I’ve purchased a portable jumper pack to keep with me in the car.  Between these two items I should be able to get the car back home or pulled up onto a flatbed if this issue rears its ugly head once again and I’m caught away from home.  I’m also keeping a voltmeter in the car with me so I can run a voltage drop test in case this should happen again.  That’ll isolate whether it’s a starter or battery cable related issue.

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The NOCO GB70 is relatively compact and packs quite a charge!  I stress tested this unit and was very impressed.  It was able to start the SLC after I’d drained the battery down to ~9.5V.

On a lighter note, I’ve been published!!  Well – actually, I had 2 books printed for myself using an online printing service ;).  I used IntoRealPages.com to print THIS BLOG!  Crazy enough, there’s so much content that I had to split it into 2 books as it exceeded their maximum print capacity for the size of book I wanted (and I stopped at post 60!).  The pages are super high quality with great color, gloss, and weight to the paper.

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370 pages and almost 10 lbs of coffee table reading material!

More recently, I attended the La Mesa Cars & Coffee event.  This takes place just a few blocks from me and is just starting out so it’s pretty small.  If you’re in the San Diego area and want to check out the SLC, come to the next LMCC and I’ll likely be there!  Check out @CarsAndCoffeeLaMesa for more info.

The first time I hit up the LMCC, weather reports were predicting rain and there wasn’t much of a turnout … about 3 cars in total maybe, and I didn’t even know which ones were there for the event!  I was about to take off when I met a nice lady named Jackie who asked me if I could give her a ride in the SLC.

What could go wrong?

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YouTube link to the video.

What’s next?  Keep driving!  We’re officially into summer and every opportunity I can find to drive the SLC I’m going to take it.  I’m semi hoping I can recreate my non-start issue so I can diagnose and address it once and for all, otherwise I’ve got trust issues with the car that I’d rather not have.  I knew this was all a part of having a custom car so I’m not sweating it.  My father-in-law routinely takes his restored cars cross-country and he prefers to take his least reliable ones, saying the breakdowns are opportunities for the best experiences and stories.

That seems to be holding true for the SLC as well, like it or not!  A thanks goes out to all those who’ve inadvertently joined me in my adventures!  😉

 

 

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