However a few days later at the dyno, things went a bit…worse. We used very thin wall tubing for our crossmember and it did not agree with the torque loads going through it. The tube buckled at full throttle and shot the whole diff towards the front of the car. This took out the two rear tubes (the lower and upper tubes had a vertical brace which crushed the lower tube), as well as the forward lower tube in the rear box. Before all hell broke loose, we made 65 horsepower at just under 11,000 RPM and 35 lb-ft of torque at 6000 RPM. Mind you, this was with a prototype intake and was not a final tune. Redline for this engine was set at 14,500. Keep the motor over 6 grand and it pulls hard.
This is the lower tube after being cut out of the car. You can see just how much this got mangled in the diff mount failure. If you read our last installment, you’ll remember the swaybar also goes through this tube. The swaybar actually prevented further damage as it stopped the engine mounts from puncturing the tube. Had it failed completely, the diff would have slammed into the back of the engine! This would have destroyed the diff case, sprocket, and probably done a number on the engine itself, which would have ended our year. Instead, we only had to replace three frame tubes, the swaybar, and the chain. Sometimes, we amaze even ourselves with our genius.
To make matters worse, we had an appointment with a powder coater to paint our frame and suspension three days after the rear end failure. AND our TIG welder had begun to puke coolant everywhere and was sent out for repair the day before the tube failure. We fabbed up repair parts and tack welded them in place with a MIG welder.
The night before our big fab and paint adventure, we spent a few hours hand sanding the frame to get off all the anti-corrsion coating and any surface rust that popped up. It's as gross as it looks.
Calling in parental favors, we were able to get a local fabrication shop to do the final welding the morning of our powder coating appointment. We then ran the still hot chassis to our powdercoater and waited a week while they sandblasted and powdercoated everything. This was all happening during Finals week, so it was very important to make this deadline so we could study while someone else had our car. We loaded up the two halve of the chassis, along with a box of control arms into the back of my trusty CR-V, and ran our errands. How did it turn out? Did we get the car back together in time? Did the whole thing explode the first time we turned it over after thrashing to get it all back together? You'll just have to come back for our final installment to find out…