April 13, 2021

PROJECT LOG: #PoisonIvy [10-11-16] Farewell 2016

Poison Ivy recently developed a clutch problem. Allegedly, a spring on my pressure plate either popped out or got damaged. I believe the whole thing stemmed from my transmission bolts backing out. Of course I didn’t catch it until it was too late and started making a slight metallic noise when engaging and disengaging the clutch. Eventually, I lost my clutch completely. But, I couldn’t let that stop me from playing in the snow before putting the car down for the winter.

Words by AJ Hunsinger // Images by AJ Hunsinger

I finished building Poison Ivy at the tail end of last winter, but we didn’t get hardly any snow last winter so I didn’t get an opportunity to have any snow drifting fun. This winter, however, has been the opposite and has been netting some pretty decent snowfall accumulations.

When I started this day, I didn’t intend on going out with the car. But, because i have been dailying the race car for the last several months and the fact that i needed to at least run down for some smokes, I couldn’t resist. Once I warmed the car up and got on the road, I quickly found myself slightly Hooning on the snowy roads. Once I picked up a couple packs of cigarettes, I went to my favorite snow drifting spot that is out of town and always empty.

It wasn’t easy though. Remember, I have absolutely no clutch. So you might be asking yourself, “how did he drive the car with no clutch?”. Well, it’s not fun. Shifting with no clutch is easy and virtually harmless if you perfectly rev match every shift and don’t do it on a regular basis, but stopping and going SUCKS. Not to mention, it makes me cringe; especially with my Avid Racing solid motor mounts. The transmission and starter is being asked to do a lot of work to get going. But, I am pretty good at timing red lights well enough that I don’t have to stop. Same with stop signs to an extent, while remaining safe.

At the end of the day, it was a relief to have one last night out in the DSM. Over this winter, I am pulling the engine and transmission to inspect the clutch and figure out what all I need. I will be replacing the Fidanza 4.3 clutch regardless while I am in there. I also plan on freshening the engine up. Maybe some new bearings, rings, gaskets, etc. I am not sure exactly what all I will be doing yet. Could be just doing some engine maintenance or I could be doing a full rebuild, or even a complete build with new internals.

If I end up doing a rebuild/build, I will probably have my spare engine sent to the machine shop and use that for my build. The spare 6 bolt has been sitting on the engine stand in my living room for the last year. Whatever I do, it will depend on when I can actually get the time to pull the engine and transmission out. When I built the car, I did every thing out in the driveway, in the cold winter, and with a broken leg. This time, I am taking the car to my dad’s garage. The only downside is that it is 45 minutes from my house. So I can’t just go out and work on it when i want. I may try to use a friends garage here in my town if he has the space.

Along with the engine and drivetrain plans, I will also not be reusing the little Evo III turbo. I will be going with an HX35 (or similar) and an actual T3 manifold (no BEP housing BS) and an external wastegate. And….recently I began playing with the idea of swapping to auto. We shall see what the future has in store.

Snow Drifting Video: