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Last Post 02 Oct 2013 10:03 AM by  Scootin159
F-mod: how much pain?
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JCN
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20 Aug 2013 01:22 PM

    Hi guys and gals, can anyone give me some perspective on how much pain I'd be in for running F-mod?  Weather, dirt, heat and vibration, I get.  But how much pain in breakage, rebuilding and risk of out of town failures?

    I've been hanging out in Stock classes due to ease of prep and reliability of vehicles, but with all the stock-street shake up, I was thinking of F-mod.  Assuming that the car is prepped already and I'm a mid-pack driver that isn't chasing every last tenth (i.e. I wouldn't adjust carb jetting and the like for each temperature).  Would this be something that I would be rebuilding on site between days or just a few times per year?

    I went for SCCA Club Racing over ChumpCar because I couldn't stand going to events and breaking at them.  I'm wondering if I'm in for too much pain in trying F-mod in the future.  And note: I'm excluding Formula Vee from this discussion....

     

    Any and all opinions welcome!  Thanks!

    gshumaker
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    20 Aug 2013 02:36 PM

    Hi,

     If it is a fairly sorted and well maintained car, I would say you it isn't that much.  Unfortunately, I am a bad example because I am missing driving FM at nationals due to car issues.  But I ran over a year (probably a good 16 or 18 events) with a co-driver without missing a single run due to issues.  We just ran into some things due to the design of the car and our need to go to shorter gearing, convert to chain drive, etc and then some fuel delivery issues this past weekend... but other than that, the car has ran flawlessly.

     Main things are to probably clean the carbs once in a while.  The clutches need cleaned more often probably.  We have been bad about our maintenance on the clutches, but to be honest, you can tear them down, clean them, and re-lubricate them in an hour.  And I'd say maybe do this every 4th event or so and before big events.

     Of course, if you are seeking every last speed tweak, like dealing with tuning the clutches, and running the jetting on the ragged edge, etc.... there are lots of things to try and that can be time consuming.  But if you are happy with a car that is close and can get you into the trophies with the right driver, then there isn't that much to do.

    Oh yeah, and they are an absolute blast to drive. It more than makes up for the fact that everyone hates you for running a two stroke engine that blows smoke everywhere and revs to 8k and stays there.

     For more opinions, try posting on formula500.org or f500.us....hope this helps.

    racingfool
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    Posts:177


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    20 Aug 2013 04:27 PM
    Is F600 an option? Those 4-stroke sport bike engines sound wonderful and I would think would be reliable.
    vreihen
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    Posts:180


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    21 Aug 2013 08:41 AM
    How about a Formula Ford in C-Mod? At least they come with working suspension.....
    Markwrx
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    Posts:247


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    01 Oct 2013 11:06 PM
    Posted By vreihen on 21 Aug 2013 08:41 AM
    How about a Formula Ford in C-Mod? At least they come with working suspension.....

    If you want lots of fun and pretty good reliability, FF is a good bet.  Mine has an occasional need for attention, but it is good for 35 to 40 events a year with co drivers for maybe 1/2 the events.  And, I beat the FM car at the last event

    Mark


    Scootin159
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    02 Oct 2013 10:03 AM
    FF/CM is not a bad place to be, if you don't mind spending twice as much to go slower :-p.

    I think the F600 option (run in FM) is much the same at this point as well - they cost more just because you need to buy a F500 and then pay to convert it, but in a few years when there are good "used" F600's on the market the price will probably be about the same. At this point F600 is (hopefully) slower than F500 as well at autocross, just because until there's good comparison data, they're carrying a pretty hefty weight penalty. Of course, just because nobody's really done it yet, doesn't mean you can't be the first.

    In either case, I'd expect FF/CM and F600/FM to be much the same in terms of maintenance concerns. All of them need maintenance and setup work, it's just that you're doing different stuff based on the classes.

    I've been running FM for about 5 years now, about 10-12 events a year, and I can think of only one run at one event that I missed due to a broken car (and that's just because it was at a Pro and the car was left at a worker station until the end of the heat). I do carry a lot of spares and tools.... but I rarely need them - maybe two or three times out of the last 5 years I've had to pull something out of the spares bin at an event.

    Between events is where most of the work is - for regional events though I normally just charge batteries (I'm up to five now: onboard battery, pit battery, camera, start beacon, finish beacon), and top of fuel and tires. I'll also give the car a good visual inspection, and torque check some critical bolts, but unless I'm making changes, I'm spending 30 minutes of prep work for regional events. Every second event or so I'll pull the car out of the trailer and spend an hour doing a few other things, like clean & oil the chain, etc. Unless I'm specifically testing something, I never really make any setup changes event to event (same alignment, gears, clutching, and jetting) - with the exception of one variable that I'll use to adjust balance for surface grip.

    For bigger national events, the car gets a full nut & bolt (putting a wrench on every bolt in the car - 30min), and the clutches get removed and cleaned (1hr), but that's mostly it. It generally takes me longer to mount up the set of new tires than everything else (and even that I can do in an hour with a helper).

    In short, given the assumptions in your original post (bought a good car, looking to be mid-pack), I'd expect to spend a weekend getting the car "fit" for you when you first get it, another weekend every spring getting it ready for the season, an hour getting it ready for each event, and a day "winterizing" it in the fall.

    At the event you'll want a small toolbox (set of sockets, wrenches and screwdrivers is about all you need), a tote full of spares, an air supply (tires) and a fuel can. You'll need about 30 minutes of prep the morning of the event, about 10 minutes before each heat, and about 30 minutes post-event to pack up.
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