After finally losing it and getting so p***ed off at Works about their inability to give me a functional car, I decided to start parting the car out and then vented my frustrations on the Evolutionm.net forums. This started quite a brouhaha (which you can see for yourself at the site), but it also brought a bit of a surprise.
At the risk of embarrassing him, I have to put out a BIG thank you to Mike Warfield @ GST Motorsports. Mike is a well known shop owner, tuner and racer in the Subaru and Mitsubishi world. He runs an absolute MONSTER of a Subie in time attack, doing very well against some high dollar machines. After Mike read about all of the issues I was having with the Evo, and he reached out to me via e-mail and offered to look at the car and try to diagnose what was going on — all at no charge, with no strings attached.
As a paying customer and sponsored driver, I couldn’t get Works to help me resolve the issues with the motor they built, but Mike and GST Motorsports offered to look over the car for free given how frustrated and overwelmed I was. How is that for a class act?
Mike took a couple of hours with the car, and was able to quickly diagnose what’s been going wrong:
- He discovered that the leakdown on the new motor was poor (ranging from 7% to 17%), with air pushing past the rings. The likely cause of this is that the motor did not get broken in completely enough, which should get resolved be re-breaking it in on the dyno.
- The overheating problem wasn’t completely traced down, but it does seems like a small leak in the system somewhere, likely at the hoses for the heater core. My guess is the factory spring clips, which Works re-used when they re-assembled the motor (these are a poor design, and really should be replaced by standard hose clamps on any track car).
- Lastly, the tune itself appeared to be less than ideal for the motor, with some parameters (like MIVEC control) clearly not matched to the parts on the car.
Mike not only took time out of his own projects to help me out, but then even hooked me up with a few gallons of race gas when I (like a total dumbass) left my house with less race fuel than the round trip from my home in the North Bay to the city of Hayward really required.
My experience today, albeit short, is what I’ve been missing with this car since I bought it back in ‘06. It was great to be able to talk to a competent mechanic who services these cars, races them, and approaches the work like an engineer and not a monkey looking to throw parts at the car and hope they work.
Mike convinced me not to give up on the car just yet. GST Motorsports is going to fix the outstanding issues, re-tune the car, and get me back out on track for one last try at road racing the Evo. My heart is still telling me that the Evo should get torn down and turned into a gravel-spec rally car, but at least I now know who is going to help me race it either way.