Hooniverse Goes 24 Hours of Lemons Racing – Again

2001 Buick Regal 24 Hours of Lemons 2013

To date, there have been several race entries from the writers of Hooniverse into the fabulous series that is the 24 Hours of Lemons. There was Tim and Jeff with Der UberBird, and then there was Blake and Jim with their ’63 Corveir. And now it’s my turn to race, at the October Halloween Hooptiefest 2013 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Gulp.

The team consists of my friend Andy and his boss, Justin, me, and some other dude from Florida who I have never met. Andy and Justin are doing all the hard work of building the car and bringing it to the track. Due to my time constrains and 90-mile distance from Andy’s garage our team headquarters,  I am handling the logistics issues and other random BS. We are still looking at one or two more drivers (waiting on commitments from people).

Our racecar is a 2001 Buick Regal with a naturally aspirated 3800 Series II. We purchased the car off some mechanic, who got it off some old lady, for $350 after she hit a tree or a pole of some kind with it. The odometer broke at 150,000 miles, but we assume it has less than 200,000 on it, so it’s well broken in. It ran when parked, and it ran again better once we installed a junk-yard radiator in it.

2001 Buick Regal 24 Hours of Lemons 2013 interior

The craziness of my personal life is preventing me from getting too involved with the race car build, but here is where we stand:

  • Theme, we have one. Sort of. Since the old lady hit a tree, we will re-install a small tree in the front (if allowed), where the dent is. In the back we’ll have a park bench as a spoiler. Sitting on our bench will be an old guy who will be fishing in the pond that is the roof of the car. We will be dressed as park rangers. This needs more details, but you get the idea.
  • Car: As you can see from the above picture, it’s gutted and the cage is almost done. We installed a transmission cooler too, as I think that’s where the powertrain’s weakness is.
  • All race fees are paid.
  • We bought a set of Mustang wheels as a spare set. Need tires. OEM wheels will be our rain wheels.
  • We got some F-body brakes too.
  • Suspension is staying stock. I think.
  • We got a battery box in the trunk and fancy kill switch wired.
  • Justin has an enclosed trailer and a big truck. Justin is the man!
  • Junk yard transmission cooler installed.

Here is what we need:

  • A plan… because the guy who is handling the logistics sucks, what is being written here, during my lunch hour, is the plan.
  • Sponsors! I didn’t reach out to anyone yet, but the awesome BlipShift guys will be there with some t-shirts! They’re racing too, with SpeedyCop, so that will be fun.
  • List of spare parts to bring to the track. Hoons, help me with this!!!
  • Get the spare parts.
  • Another driver. Or two, if part-time.
  • Sponsor!! Anyone out there? ANYONE?!?!
  • Probably a million of other things.
  • Can we remove exhaust and emissions air pump without affecting the car’s performance? Hoons, help me with this!!!
  • Race suits, shoes, etc.
  • Radios.
  • HANS?
  • Team tattoos.
  • Secret team hand shake.
  • Hotel, gas, food, drinks, etc.
  • Convince Jack Baruth to be our team manager.
  • Beer.
  • Hooniverse windshield banner and other stickers. 

Really, I just slapped this post, and this list, at my lunch hour. There are a million things that I need to take care of, and add to the above list. Any help or advise would be appreciated, especially for those who have raced a similar car, and/or those who have raced Lemons.

We are all rookies and we want to have fun out there. We’re not even dreaming of winning but we don’t want to come dead last either. We want a reliable car, as much race time for all drivers as possible, no penalties, no break downs, no BS. We want to have fun, and we want to get our monies worth, and hopefully come home in one piece and with a car that can be raced again. Wish us luck!



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34 responses to “Hooniverse Goes 24 Hours of Lemons Racing – Again”

  1. Tanshanomi Avatar

    Please post updates, so I can live vicariously through your racing exploits.

    1. OA5599 Avatar

      …or mock them.

    2. Kamil_K Avatar

      Will do. I wanted to write this very post about two months ago and be making these progress updates all along… but… oops.

  2. Mechanically Inept Avatar
    Mechanically Inept

    Is it a bad thing that this Buick looks to be in better condition than any of the daily drivers I've ever owned?

  3. jake Avatar

    My friend Stuart autoxed his supercharged 3800 and broke the motor mounts within 5 runs Might be wise to upgrade or build solid motor mounts for your ride . those cars also spill coolent out of the overflow when tossed around corners I will try and get him to give you guys some ideas on upgrades to help the car survive.

    1. Stu_Rock Avatar

      Hey that's me!
      This W-body is a little different than the C-body that I have, and I think some of the issues I've dealt with aren't so big here. I think the torque strut design on the W-body is less failure-prone than the lower front (engine left) mount in the big cars. I can't comment on the cooling system here.
      Looking at the list above, here are some more thoughts.
      The plastic coolant elbows between the engine and alternator bracket are prone to failure. Dorman now sells metal ones. You'll want to RTV the o-rings or get higher-quality ones from McMaster.
      The 4T65-E transmission will indeed be a weak spot. A -HD from a supercharged car would be nice.
      Those Mustang wheels are not 115 mm bolt circle; please don't use them on a racetrack. They're 114.3 mm–that's 0.35 mm of misalignment of a 12 mm stud.
      I have done the F-body brake swap, and it's totally worth it. Don't wait until the last minute to do it, because you may have issues with brake hoses that will require some extra purchases. Maybe the W-body community has it all figured out, but I had to do some hunting for my C-body.
      The suspension in a Regal is probably pretty good already. There might be racier springs and stabilizer bars available from Impala SS, Regal GS, or Grand Prix GTPSXGP6GT models.

  4. Eric Rood Avatar
    Eric Rood

    Make the priority getting everyone seat time since you're all rookies and out to have fun. At my first race, we ran 30-minute stints, which almost worked until the motor exploded after 75 minutes on the track. But it made for a good story and everyone eventually got behind the wheel.
    Always have: duct tape, zipties, hose clamps, sheet metal (and something to cut it with), a large assortment of nuts and bolts, fluids of all manner, a BFH, and every tool you can carry to the track (even though the one you will inevitably need will not be one you brought). Have a paper list (phone reception frequently sucks at race tracks) somewhere with the locations of the nearest junkyards, auto parts stores, gas stations, and grocery stores.
    For spare parts, the things you don't expect to break will break, but IIRC, these cars go through wheel bearings like crazy. Always have a spare radiator and, if possible, the associated plumbing for it. Take some time Friday to stroll through the paddock to make friends; this can also double as reconnaissance for knowing which teams have welders and engine hoists, both good things to know.

    1. ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
      ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq

      Another idea is to start two hours late, less traffic by then, so more likely everyone gets some seat time. During that time schmooze the judges and ladies, you know stuff like put kitty litter on spills, help other teams, share some food, make it look like you are tinkering something with the car, and be close to the judges so that they notice. Also, bring a flat drip pan, like for BBQ even is fine, for pit stops.

      1. mdharrell Avatar

        We've always used a metal paint roller tray to catch drips while fueling. It's sturdier than many styles of flat drip pans, small enough to pack easily, and deep enough also to serve, in a pinch, for draining radiators, transmissions, and the like.

        1. ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
          ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq

          Oh wait, now we're giving helpful good advice? Well then in no way should you enlarge or unobstruct the gas filler and tube to improve pit times. Also, having one person whose task is to verify that the hood is properly shut and hood pins flipped (and inserted even) after pitting really is not key at all either.

          1. mdharrell Avatar

            Ah, don't mind me. I'm still confused by Kamil's point about having "an enclosed trailer and a big truck." For what, exactly?

  5. muthalovin Avatar

    Secret handshake, you say…
    <img src="http://1d4chan.org/images/0/0b/Secret_handshake.jpg&quot; width="600">
    I think it's the extended pinky that really sells it.

      1. Tanshanomi Avatar

        I've seen that photo so many times, I have to wonder what the context was.

        1. BЯдΖǐL-ЯЄРΘЯΤЄЯ Avatar

          The finger photo itself was shot at a Cash concert in 1969 at California’s San Quentin prison by photographer Jim Marshall. The pose was the result of Cash’s response to the request: “John, let’s do a shot for the warden.” http://www.savingcountrymusic.com/johnny-cashs-fa

  6. mdharrell Avatar

    I don't know much about the various types of Kirkey seats, but if that one doesn't have enough upper reinforcement to prevent someone from folding the headrest forward by pushing heavily on the top of it from behind (as in really trying to bend it, not just leaning against it), then it won't pass LeMons tech. From the factory, some models do and some don't. It's come up as an issue several times on the LeMons forums.
    If it isn't adequately reinforced, you don't necessarily need to find a different seat as long as you properly reinforce it yourselves. This is covered by rule 3.2.4, by the way, so it is a separate concern from the seatback brace rules (3.2.1 and 3.2.2) which of course must also be followed.

  7. octavspot Avatar

    As a former owner of a 2000 Chevy Impala LS (same car underneath as the Buick) I feel there are a few things worth mentioning:
    The 4T65-E four-speed autobox: Was never able to handle the torque of the 3800 properly, causing the torque converter to fail prematurely and slip out of gear. I'd say check junkyards for a 4T65-HD trannie (heavy duty version used in the W-body Regal GS, Impala/Monte SS, Pontiac GXP) – it includes a beefier differential too, so it's a better fit for the job, imo.
    The 3800 II n/a: Be careful when removing/altering the exhaust system – not only you'll lose a lot of torque, but can cause your mass airflow sensor to mess up and stall the engine without warning (though the engine still runs without the MAF plugged in, but at significantly reduced power.) Either way, you'll have to do some reprogramming – stuff like how much oxygen enters the engine, how much exhaust exits.
    Or- find a junked out W-body SS, GS or GXP and strip the supercharged 3800/hd trannie and do a swap – if you're allowed to that of course…
    Hope this helps, good luck!

  8. Sjalabais Avatar

    Looks good. Considering the car and the need for a sponsor, isn't there some geriatric company willing to fork out demographic specific sponsor money? Remember big letters.
    And good luck! 🙂

    1. Devin Avatar

      A local arborist might also be thematically appropriate.

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        Quickest print of a rhododendron ever.

  9. FuzzyPlushroom Avatar

    "Suspension is staying stock. I think."
    This should be fun. See you guys there, barring cataclysm.

    1. Stu_Rock Avatar

      The Regal LS was about mid-range on the sloppy-to-sporty continuum, so I would think the stock suspension should be pretty capable. You might be thinking of the other W-body Buick of the era, the Century.

      1. FuzzyPlushroom Avatar

        That's a good point… the Regal wasn't bad for what it was, from what I've heard.
        That said, the only W-body I've driven was a worn-out '03ish base Impala, which was a miserable waterbed, so I'm judgin'.

  10. ninjacoco Avatar

    Needs more lilac paint!

  11. dan Avatar

    You're gonna wanna change that suspension or do what you can to stop the body roll…I have an identical 2001 regal and there is A LOT of roll trust me….its a grandpa car soft and squishy….rolls like a boat

  12. Hopman Avatar

    I'll be there on Saturday as a spectator, but will be tossing a few tools in the back of my Focus. (just look for the grey 5-door with a blipshift sticker on the window and a big fat "car climbed Mt. Washington" sticker on the bumper.

    1. Kamil_K Avatar

      Sweet! Stop by, BlipShift guys will hook you up with a t-shirt.

  13. engineerd Avatar

    This is the worst idea ever. It's perfect.

    1. Kamil_K Avatar

      I wish we had a Corveir.

      1. ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
        ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq

        Oooh Shevy Corveir Folkskaiser Garts would be a great theme!

  14. HTWHLS Avatar

    Well, if you are anything like me..(and likely aren't)..you'd go with this list..throw it all together the night before, have too much beer getting psyched up and oversleep, get to the race late and scramble to get set up with all the crap you forgot and then break something within 10 minutes of getting there.
    Sounds like a freakin' blast!!!

    1. Kamil_K Avatar

      Yea, that's plan B.

  15. Stephan Avatar

    I don't think radios are worth the expense. They might have utility if you're intent on minimizing pit time, but I think it's arguable.
    I'd take that money and put it toward a HANS instead. Video is fun, though.
    (My friends & I have 2 cars that have done a combined 20+ races. We have 2 HANS devices & 0 radios.)

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