What's all this about?
Armed with a team of barbeque and
automotive experts and a 1989 Saab 900
purchased for $400, Team Carbeque is a
unique racing team determined complete the 24 hours
of LeMons... all while making barbeque under the hood.
Find out more: >> Click here to read our mission statement
The Carbeque Smokes Thompson Speedway
Posted by Captain A-Dam on April 11, 2016, 10:07 pm CST
Its been awhile since the last time the que hit the track. Last spring, the car was involved in an incident that left the front end in shambles. The splitter had been broken off, as well as the front air dam, grill, headlights, and the entire frame was bent. The car sat for awhile, and was eventually rebuilt using the corner from a donor car. About a week before the race, the final coat of paint went on over the fresh welds, and the BBQ box was installed, caressing the exhaust manifold. Front end work had to be done to make sure too much airflow didnt interrupt the cooking process, so a new style of airdam was built to cover most of the bottom, and the headlight holes were sealed up. The EBC Bluestuff brake pads still had a considerable amount of meat on them from last race, so we would run em.
With the car on the trailer, and the ribs in the cooler, we headed out to Thompson, Connecticut for the inaugural LeMons race there, a series for very cheap cars to compete over the course of the entire weekend. With about 16hrs of on track time, its the perfect opportunity to get some serious manifold cooking done. The cars motto is Low n Slow, which describes the race cars performance, as well as the cooking technique, but for this race a few things changed. The new front aero work was much lighter than the outgoing affair, utilizing sheets of plastic rather than metal.
Much of the car was also "skinned", a term used to describe cutting unnecessary support structure out of all possible areas of the vehicle. This includes the hood support ribs, hatch, and doors. Where you once had a strong, heavy piece of Swedish steel, you are left with a flimsy skin that requires you to pin down to the body, because they are no longer strong enough to support their own weight on hinges. With the removal of headlights, associated wiring, metal front aero…total weight loss was over 100lbs.
With the addition of a set of wide wheels with 225 width tires, The Carbeque was now Low n Fast, which doesnt rhyme, or describe the meat cooking process. Even with high ambient temperatures and closed off airflow, we had trouble keeping enough heat in the BBQ enclosure to cook. This forced us to extend cooking times, and low n slow was still in place for that.. We painted the stripe on the airdam on Friday, because to be a true LeMons car, it has to be finished at the track.
Day one went well, with only a few problems.
Around 2 oclock, Josh radiod in that he had lost all drive. When he was dropped off of the tow strap in our paddock space, we hustled to look around the drivetrain and see what it could be doing. I had him put it into gear to unleash the horrific grinding, rattling noise that happened in place of forward momentum. When I noticed the axle turning and the wheel was not, we quickly confirmed an outer CV Joint had failed and we immediately wrangled up our spare and got to it. In about 20min we were strapping in the next driver and back on track.
For the next pit stop, the car refused to start back up after refueling. We pushed the car out of the hot pitlane, since there is to be no work done on the car there, and yanked the hood off as soon as we cleared the wall. Immediately we noticed that the Crankshaft Position Sensor had rattled out of the engine block, and with a quick clearance calibration, the car was once again on track, with minimal time lost.
We switched racks of ribs during this hasty service as well, and shared it with fellow eEuroparts.com sponsorees in their Mercedes 260E. One of the team members mothers described a book we love, Manifold Destiny. If you havent heard of it, check it out. Its full of recipes for manifold related culinary adventures. The one good thing about being stopped in the pits is that the ambient temperatures of the manifold and engine seep into the BBQ, giving the cooking process a quick turbocharge. The car got back on track with good meat temperatures.
Towards the end of the day we realized that we were in 2nd place in our class, and was tracking down the leader already, even after our equipment failures. When the car came in at the end of the day, Dan forgot to hit the manual cooling fan, which ended up blowing a thermostat gasket and causing water to spill onto the ground as it came to a stop. Whatever, we made it, and had spares. The meat coming off was perfect.
Everyone cracked open their beers and got ready for dinner, supplemented with coleslaw, chips, and potato salad. Even one of the Mod Squad guys came over and said hi. We put the car on jack stands to change the brakes out, discovering a few of the EBC Bluestuff pads were down to the metal, and the rest were pretty thin. Still pretty amazing that we got 1.5 endurance races out of this set, or about 24 straight hours worth of combined on-track abuse. Definitely got our moneys worth.
Day two started late due to local noise laws (noon), so with only 5.5hrs of on-track racing, Zak and Dan gave up their driver stints so that we could limit the day down to 2 pit stops. This would allow us to save around 15 minutes, which would be enough laps to give us a significant advantage. The car currently in first place was a Toyota MR2 Spyder, expertly wrapped in a VW Vanagon. The #78 car of Mod Squad Racing was running good laps and never ever seemed to break, so we would have to run a perfect race in order to win.
The first stint went without a hitch, save for a really pathetic hickup that resulted in going 4-wheels off. With over 2hrs into the stint, and a long night previous (Zak brought a bottle of Tequila we couldnt find in the morning), we can chalk it up to driver fatigue. This was our only black flag for the race, and they let us right back out. With about 2 hours left in the entire race, a few us had eyeballs plastered onto the race monitor app. It told us that the Mod Squad lap times had begun to fall off, and a long pit stop of theirs to refill engine oil put us right on their bumper. We clinged to the fence as the white stripey SAAB glided up behind the orange bus, got alongside, and slid into the lead.
Now all we had to do is stay there to secure our first ever class win. We decided that because Josh was pushing so hard, we should bring fuel to the pit lane just in case he began to sputter out in the closing laps. While there, with about 50 min left in the race, we caught a panicked radio transmission from Josh, saying that the car was hesitating on throttle and needed fuel. Even though this went against all of our previous fuel calculations, we were already right there. We hastily finished putting our gear on and ran into the hot pits to put a splash in. Josh strapped back in and attempted to start the car, but there was nothing.
Let The Chaos Ensue
I ran back to the Mercedes garage to get a few tools for the CPS, which we thought had come loose again, only to find that once the hood was off behind the wall, the CPS bracket was tight. We looked around, pulling, poking, jiggling, and prodding everything we could see. When turning over, there was a horrendous rattle coming from the engine, we feared the worse. Josh slumped down in his seat, knowing we had lost. When we approached giving up, after trying everything, I saw something. One of the cables was out of place, my eyes followed it down to the starter motor, under the intake manifold (SAAB), and suddenly realized where there should be a throttle position sensor, there was just a shiney nub sticking out of the throttle body.
The noise was the custom
fabricated cobbled together bracket rattling against the starter as it cranked. In order to access it, I started ferociously pulling hoses off and emptied the water line to the throttle body in a huge geyser. With only a slight burn (!!!!), I was able to get the throttle position sensor back onto the throttle body, and "secure" it on with a zip tie to get it back to the paddock. Around this time, we realized there was only about 14min left in the race. Instead of finding appropriate hardware to fix it back into its proper spot, we ziptied it on tightly and sent Josh back out. He quickly radiod in that the throttle was sticking open, and the car "wasnt safe to drive". Define..."safe".
We asked if he was coming back in again, to which he replied with something like "I think I can make it". Every time he pushed in the clutch, the car would rocket to the rev limiter, but he was out there turning laps and giving the brakes a supreme workout. The car was stressing to its absolute limit, but suddenly the checkered flag came out, and the car made it back to the paddock spot after a completely ridiculous stop and go parade back to the pits with a stuck open throttle. Taking the hood off, I noticed one of the zipties had slipped over the throttle linkage, keeping it from closing. Doh.
Even after this debacle, we somehow salvaged second place, the Qs best ever class finish. Overall finish was 23rd. The Mod Squad guys did an amazing job, kudos to your fantastic reliability in such a strange machine. The meat coming off was perfect, and the whole B paddock came over to have dinner with us on the hood of our $400 SAAB 900. A short time later, we got yelled at over the intercom for being too slow to pack up and leave. We finished eating and took the front off the car, heaved it onto the trailer, and buggered out before sundown with one of our most epic weekends under our belt.
We finished around 12 laps back from the class C Leader, but we still felt like we won. It is now obvious that the only way to win is to run a perfect race, so as we try and get the car to the point of mechanical perfection, its important to realize that we are just there for fun, and if we ever begin to abandon this cause, we need to take a step back and realize why we are here. To drive a race car for a long time, and to have an amazing BBQ at the end of each day without having to bring a grill.
Check out the photo gallery [here]
Smashy Bashy Weldy Painty Racey
Now with less distracting punctuation
Posted by Adam Gorilla on August 2, 2015, 9:15 pm CST
Because of a problem in the code, I cant use apostrophes. Get over it. Moving on.
Its been a little while since things got crunchy in Jersey, and now that theres a race coming up, it seemed like a good idea to fix it. Again. This time we resorted to slightly more conventional methods, although that is not to say using a dump truck to sit on a SAAB isnt conventional. First we plucked the motor out. Notice the word pluck. See how easy it sounds? Yea, thats how good we are at pulling SAAB 900 drivetrains. You can see below how far over the front of the car was rearranged, and the angle that positioned the drivetrain. The stage left engine mount was totally rocked, so we are going to see about putting a solid one in, since we manage to break it every race.
Second, we measured our angles to acheive relative squareness and used a hydraulic ram to squish the frontal zone back into position. Because of the way the metal stretched, the ram had to extend the front subframe a good deal past where it was stock, just to get it to return to shape in the right place. It was a symphony of crackling metal and rust.
The new radiator support fits! The bearded one is Josh, btw. He has signed on for this wackyness for Thompson. Apparently because racecar.
Then we slow cooked some meat because we were having addiction fits. The image below is purely illustration. We have no idea whos kid this is.
With everything looking like it was back to where it should be horizontally, it was time to cure the vertical misalignment as well. For this, large flying hammerkicks were applied liberally, and before you knew it, the shape was more or less where we wanted it.
The end result was a cracked and bruised frame that is now sitting about where it should be. The next step was to weld in a new corner to replace the gnarliest of the mangled metal with something from a donor car, because when youre a SAAB guy that comes across a car getting junked, sometimes its ok to sawzall the corner off and keep it...just in case. Luckily we knew that guy.
Everything we take off this corner is covered in BBQ grease...
We took a deep breath and started welding in additional reinforcement plates, and pieced together what we had off of the other car to create one working Carbeque.
Gotta be happy with the way it turned out, lightyears better than when we got the car and probably even stronger than stock now. With only a little massaging, the engine found its home again in the freshly rattlecanned engine bay. It was degreased this time, so maybe the paint will stick. Probably not, but at least we look like pros for this short time.
This weekend was spent putting the rest back together, including painting and installing the new radiator support and Nissens radiator that got totally destroyed in Jersey. The markings came off all the main wiring harness connections, so it was just kind of assumed where all the plugs went. The only two that remained were fuel injector number 1 and 3. 2 logically had to be somewhere in between, and 4 was most likely the long one. The blue connector probably went to the coolant temp sensor, and the gray one to idle air control. The long one with a separate harness...probably intake air temperature, and we guessed on the two misc three prong plugs.
With all the fluids in and the harness plugged in, it was time to give it a go. Ignition on, fuel pump primed. Ok good signs so far. Here we go.....crank crank crank crank crank crank crank crank crank. Hm..nope, try again. Crank crank crank crank crank crank crank crank crank crank crank crank crank crank crank. OK lets switch those two plugs for the MAP sensor and CPS. Crank crank crank Bam! Started right up! Huzzah, we have a running car again. Now we have 3 days to install the BBQ box, put new aero on, get an alignment (we replaced a good portion of the front end afterall), get the spares parts and spare ribs together, and go racing!
The race will be August 7-8-9 at Thompson Motorsports Park, a brand new road course that opened this spring. If you can make it out, definitely give it a try. Its in a beautiful area, and we are going to win this one for sure!!
Do you smell that?
Posted by A massive Ape on July 4, 2015, 11:16 am CST
Smells like BBQ...what? That other smell? Best not to ask about that OTHER smell. BBQ is the important p....nevermind.
Triumph and Tragedy
Is this the end?
Posted by Captain A on December 7, 2014, 10:00 pm CST
Breathe in, get ready...it's the first race of the 2014 season, and paired with the powerhouse of crapbox racing eEuroparts.com it was time to DOMINATE! We were headed to New Jersey Motorsports Park, specifically Thunderbolt raceway, which is a fast, semi flat, treeless race course in the NICE part of Jersey. OK well, I suppose the only thing that made these few acres 'nice' was the lask of seething projects. Luckily, we got to pass some on the way to the hotel, so the experience was genuinely realistic.
Usually I say something like, this wasn't just any normal race...but no race is a normal race. Every single one (look through the backlogs) was a unique challenge with supremely memorable...uh...memories. right.... Well, this race the CBQ was graced with the privalege to race with some of the coolest guys you can meet, Full Nelson racing.
Full Nelson Racing's brilliant SAAB 96, powered by a supercharged and water injected Geo Metro three cylinder engine, is a sight to behold. It's a little brown lump of win that seems both completely unlikely and extremely rare. When you stand next to it, you really know you are in the presence of something you've never seen before, and will probably never see again. This is what makes LeMons racing so ridiculously entertaining, and we were right at the bleeding edge of awesomeness. There were other cars too, but they didn't have hood mounted floating water injection pressure gauges. Science.
After tech and BS inspections, the cars were classed in B and C respectively. Class A is reserved for the fastest cars, usually BMW's and Volvo's that can build up some very high speeds. Class C is where the weird, kooky, and often much slower cars are relegated. Class C is everyone's favorite class, as it often has the most obscure showing of race cars. It is also the one with the most prize money, as encouragement from The 24 Hours of LeMons to build a C Class car. The Full Nelson 96 fits in perfectly.
The Q was being driven by its owner, Me, Adam from eEuroparts cataloging, as well as Zak from customer service, My dad Dan, and Alan Camyre from the west coast division. The Full Nelson 96 was being driven by it's owner Eric Nelson, Jordan Pagano from product development, Kip Moncrief, Josh Meinke, and SAAB Fanatic Bruce Turk.
We enrolled in the Friday test day to work on the CBQ's freshly installed Trionic system tune, and to scrub the tires. The new Bilstein HD's transformed the handling of the car. The 96 had a few drivers that had never driven the car before, so it's test session was primarily for familiarization with the interesting handling and power dynamics of the car. Friday closed without much event, and a slightly rich but overall solid tune for the 900. The 96 was having slight issues with blowing the fuse for the water injection pump, but they were resolved when a wire was found to be pinching in a door hinge and shorting.
Saturday morning. 10AM. Both cars roll out of our space to take the green flag, coasting in first gear through the paddock past several cars that suffered failures on Friday and were still busy working to get out on track. When the flag fell, everything seemed right. All the hard work was paying off. Both engines revved happily to (and past) the redline, and after we settled into the flow of navigating traffic. Cars like the 'Sorry for Party Racing' Firebird and the fox body Mustang of the 'Near Orbital Space Monkeys' were fast. Very fast. When they appeared in our mirrors, we got out of the way. This is endurance racing after all, and we had 14 hours of racing still to do. Other cars, like the Super Grover Rover P6B 3500 and the 3-Pedal Mafia Ford Cortina were easy work for us, arriving in front and disappearing in our mirrors in only a matter of seconds.
About an hour in, the front splitter on the 'Q started to rattle and shake as the result of a jarring off-track excursion in practice while learning the track (Zak). The hardware that held it on was weakened, and eventually broke from the stress of being on track. After a few laps it was clear something was very wrong, and the car pulled in to yank off the stricken bodywork. Only losing 5 or 6 laps, we put the car back out and started climbing the ranks once again.
The 96 came off and went back on periodically to check the water injection system. Without it, the engine would overheat and melt. An ongoing problem with the brake master cylinder was getting worse, and caused the car to have very long pedal throw and extremely squishy feel. Regardless, it was surprising everyone except for it's owner due to is speed. It was a class C car, but definitely kept up with much of the higher classed competition. At some point, the always fabulous Soggy showed up to hang out with us, and cook bacon. Look at all of it. LOOK AT IT.
As the day went on, problems commonly associated with endurance racing cheap cars stayed few and far between. Both teams were able to relax as the laps ticked by. With 6 o'clock rapidly approaching, we came back to greet the cars after the day one checkered flag, only to see The Carbeque 900 in shambles. In the closing laps, an overzealous group of very fast cars threw caution to the wind while battling each other and our final driver got caught up in it. The Q was pushed wide and then tapped in the rear, causing a spin back on to the track to get summarily clobbered by passing traffic. The entire front subframe was very bent. Headlights shattered, hood mounts broken, front engine mount relocated to the left, and bumper dislocated by a good seven inches. The ribs cooking on the engine were…..still good actually. Quite good in fact, and served as a bittersweet dinner as we tried to pull together what had just happened. It seemed that it was all over at this point.
This wasn't the only accident of the day, just like New Hampshire, this race gained a reputation early with having an extremely aggressive field of drivers. Several teams spent Saturday night, like us, repairing their busted up race cars.
We tore all the dangling parts off the 900, took the hood off, and hooked it up to our tow rigs. One to anchor, one to pull, we gently pulled and yanked on the bent up car, which squealed, creaked, and cracked back into shape like a child complaining in a doctor's chair while getting his broken arm reset. A crowd gathered to witness the frame pulling, expecting some kind of accident. Fortunately we couldn't satisfy their lust for epic failure, and the straightening went exactly as planned. Special thanks to friend of eEuroparts (and Full Nelson Driver) Kip Moncrief who spearheaded the effort himself, he's not new to the process after running several high contact racing series in the past. Once completed, and after a brief test drive, we settled into the party that had erupted all around us. The 96 only needed a wheel bearing at the end of day one next to the brake master cylinder, and it was done quickly.
The dance music turned up, the spirits began to flow, and even after such an accident we had a great time. The entire paddock was a blend of flying sparks, whirling angle grinders, and the hilarious antics of alcohol fueled shenanigans.
Sunday morning came early, and at 8:15am the paddock was assigned a tongue lashing from series organizer Jay Lamm due to the high number of contact related incidents on Saturday. The 15 worst offending teams were called up and had their cars start the race, parked, engine off, in the penalty box for one full hour, effectively dropping them out of contention. We put our suits on and warmed the engines on our racecars.
Strapping in, someone noticed the radiator on the Q had an accident-related leak that didn't show up earlier. This caused us to be late for the morning green flag, and once again set us back early in the day. The 96, after having a new master cylinder put in overnight, felt much better. IE not as scary barreling into turn one at nearly 100mph, staring directly at the wall in front of you with no pedal feel at all.
Fuel stops all went as scheduled, and just as we like it, both cars kept circulating all day. Near the end of the race, the Full Nelson 96 pulled off track, sputtering out of fuel. The on-facility fuel pump had been drained over the course of the weekend so they had to run into town to fill a couple jugs shortly beforehand. They lost very little time and was able to get the car back out on track for the final checkered flag. The feeling was all kinds of epic. Both cars ran fantastically, and besides a serious accident (no one was hurt, the car took the brunt), we were able to rise above the tribulation and finish much higher than anyone could have anticipated. The historically fragile 900 transmission held together all weekend, the Red Line MT85 fluid worked fantastically.
The final standings went as follows. Team Carbeque: 8th place in class and 36th overall, while the Full Nelson SAAB 96 achieved an AMAZING podium finish, 3rd in class and 43rd overall out of over 160 total entries. Unfortunately the ribs couldn't cook all the way through because of all the new open space on the front of the car after the crash. This would be the Q's last race, and what a finale it was. The 96 will be back to die another day, until then stay tuned for coverage for all of our races right here on eEuroparts.com. Check out the complete photo gallery HERE.
Say goodbye to the historical Carbeque front valence, you will be missed.
2 Weeks Left, The Q Lives!
Posted by Adam1 on April 27, 2014, 8:25 pm CST
Sorry for lack of updates, putting the car back together has taken precedent, and it really shows! The car started after it's long surgery and is now driving. The engine is now controlled by Trionic 5, a SAAB developed self adapting ignition and fuel injection computer. Woohoo, the members are all getting their things together and we're about to go racin! This has been a LONG winter.