Friday, June 25, 2010

Track Day #13 -- 2010/06/24

So it's time for another track day. I came prepared for this track day with one change to the car -- I installed a front lip spoiler to see if I can generate some additional front downforce to help through turns 4, 6 and 10-12.

Unfortunately, things didn't go well for me today. In the very first session, after two laps to warm up my tires and brakes I got way out of shape in turn 2 (chicane). I gathered it up OK and figured I'd just gotten in too hot, but that wasn't the case. As I as going through turn 4 the front of the car started making this truly awful rubbing noise.

I thought perhaps it was a tire that went down and I was rubbing the spoiler, but interestingly the car was tracking mostly straight. Then I thought it might have been the spoiler itself broke and was rubbing under the car. In any case, I brought it around nice and slow to the pit lane.

Here's video of what it looked like from the driver's perspective:

Once in the pits, I went over the car and immediately saw that the spoiler was OK and all tires were inflated normally. There wasn't anything out of place under the car -- nothing rubbing, etc. So I had to start pulling wheels off. First comes the front right wheel, and everything seems nice and tight -- nothing. So I move to the rear tire and same result, everything is good.

It wasn't until I moved over to the left front wheel that I noticed that the entire wheel was a bit wobbly. It didn't take much to diagnose that I'd blown out the left front wheel bearing. Dang!

So, two hours later I'm at the dealer (couldn't think of where to tow the car to other than the dealer near my house), and another couple hours later I hear the bad news. The bad bearing allowed enough movement of the axle for the tie rod and hub to get damaged (had to be replaced). The cost was just a bit over a thousand dollars; and the shop mentioned that my brake rotor and caliper got damaged as well, so I'd have to look at them on my own (dealer won't touch after-market brakes).

Sigh... so that means I spent a little over $1300 for two warm-up laps! Definitely an expensive hobby.


I inspected the brakes over the weekend (the shop didn't lock-tite the bolts, so I had do do that anyway) and discovered nothing really wrong with the caliper or rotor. There's a little scratch that goes around the top-hat on the rotor, but that's it. Everything is buttoned up properly; ready for the next track day -- whenever that is...

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