Anyway, since I was in St-Eustache early, I decided to stop at Canadian Tire and get a Torx T30 scredriver bit so I could remove the airbag, which would allow me to remove the steering wheel with a 19mm socket (same as my lug nuts, so I had the right tools in my bag) and put it back on straight. This worked pretty well, although it's still a tiny bit off from being dead straight.
|Civic at rest|
By the time I got to the track, it was hot... like 34 degrees. I checked the tire pressures and waited for my session.
When I finally hit the track, the first thing I noticed was that the new steering ratio was slow... 4 turns lock to lock instead of 3.6 is noticeable. All my steering inputs had to be modified to take this into account, so it was hard for me to establish whether I liked the improved feel of the manual steering rack. I took it easy in the first session, and just barely dipped into the 1:03's at the end of the session... not great as fas as beating my goal of 1:02.7, but at least the car felt solid and predictable. Also, I wasn't the slowest car out there, far from it. Maybe everyone's lap times were affected by the heat? One positive is that the exhaust seems a bit less loud now that it's got a nice coating of carbon in it. It's annoyingly loud, but not deafening anymore. No one mentioned anything about the car being near the sound limit, and it doesn't knock anywhere on the chassis.
I was called in a bit before the end of the session to instruct a student. This was his car:
|One of three on hand that evening!|
I got to drive this beast for a couple of laps to show the student around. It is lovely: smooth power delivery, very confidence inspiring, sounds amazing, even when you shift at only 6000 rpm. The student liked to rev higher than that. He was doing pretty well by the end of our session. The car is really fast, even on a small technical track. The steering ratio was very quick, which made it tough to get back to the Civic!
I did get back into my car and went a bit quicker, with a 1:03.6. I couldn't imagine shaving off another second in these conditions. I was getting more used to the steering rack, although I had to plan my inputs for the really tight corners and really move my hands a lot. I don't know if this will have been the right choice of steering rack. At least I still have the old one if I change my mind. I noticed that on some occasions, the engine would sputter when I got on the gas. I think it's an electronic issue, since the check engine light has been on since I got the car back from Pat's (in the past, it came on once in a while, but mostly stayed off).
In my last session, things were going well and I think I would have improved on my lap time had the sputtering issue not worsened. At one point, the engine would not rev at all past a certain RPM. I don't know if the extreme heat was an issue... Anyway, the best I managed was a 1:03.5.
I'm trying to figure out a way to see what the electronic issue is, but it's unlikely I can fix it before my next track day at Tremblant in one week. Hopefully it won't hurt the car's performance too much.
|Ready for the drive back home|