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So it's been a while but I'm finally back in a position to focus on getting back into car stuff again. Long story short, got medically discharged from the army and forced to complete a career change. Now that all of that is settled, it's time to get back into the seat. I'm leaning to just keeping the the car as a track day/CAM-C autox car for the next couple of years. Then, once I get a truck, I can get more aggressive. That's the good news, the bad news is my confidence in the status of the car isn't. Some issues came up right before I got out with the car that I never got sorted. So, let's get started.

The biggest issue that came up with the car prior to the discharge was it eating valve cover gaskets. Three to be precise in just 12 months and all at track days. All leaks were occurring around the driver side (specifically around the back side towards the firewall). The first thought was they were worn out, but after changing them out it started leaking again at the next track day. Changed it again and installed a bigger catch can in the event it was due to insufficient catch can setup (original setup was jlt passenger can). The next event, it did it again. This time I ordered new valve covers which also required an update to the oil dipstick tube. I have had one track day since and it held up, but I was also not going anywhere close to my normal pace so I'm not sure if it's actually fixed. Has anyone else dealt with something like this?

Next issue is with still having issues with pulling timing at high rpm (> 7200 rpm). I've installed the CJ pulse ring, had it custom tuned, done all the warranty fixes, and even had the original motor replaced after it blew up. Still no dice as two tuners have said it seems to pull timing up top. The last one said it seemed like it wasn't getting enough fuel but the only things done are exhaust and CAI. At this stage, I've just been short shifting to avoid over heating anyway, but it makes me concerned seeing as I've lost one motor once before. Anyone got any ideas what might be causing this?

Last real issue is cooling and temps. This issue I'm addressing this month when I put in a new sandwich plate to relocate my temp and pressure sensors to get better readings. Currently, the temp gauge only moves when in traffic in the middle of summer. Otherwise it won't move (even on track it'll stay at 140 or jump around). Once I get a better baseline of what my temps look like, i'll figure out what i'll do next. My plan is eventually new radiator, water pump, fan, and expansion tank. The oil cooler is a setrab 172 but I'll reevaluate the cooler once I know what my temps actually are.
 
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ArizonaBOSS

Because racecar.
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I have *never* heard of a VC gasket failure on these cars, especially not MULTIPLE VC gasket failures. I'd look at the mating surface on the head and see if it has any grooves/gashes/deformities on it in that area.
The oil that is getting on the firewall--is it spatters or dribbles? A VC leak should generally be dribbles, I would think. If the spray looks pressurized, maybe an oil galley freeze plug is backing out on the driver's head? Gravity is your friend here to diagnose further.

High RPM timing...not sure on that one. Make sure you don't have exhaust or bolts or other things grounding out against the unibody and causing false knock signal. Who is doing the tuning on your car? You should be able to datalog this and pinpoint what is triggering the timing pull. Could it be fuel-related?

You will need a much larger oil cooler once you start getting comfortable with the car and pushing your own limits. I wouldn't sweat that one until you get the other issues solved and have a chance to put some real track time in.
 
I have *never* heard of a VC gasket failure on these cars, especially not MULTIPLE VC gasket failures. I'd look at the mating surface on the head and see if it has any grooves/gashes/deformities on it in that area.
The oil that is getting on the firewall--is it spatters or dribbles? A VC leak should generally be dribbles, I would think. If the spray looks pressurized, maybe an oil galley freeze plug is backing out on the driver's head? Gravity is your friend here to diagnose further.

High RPM timing...not sure on that one. Make sure you don't have exhaust or bolts or other things grounding out against the unibody and causing false knock signal. Who is doing the tuning on your car? You should be able to datalog this and pinpoint what is triggering the timing pull. Could it be fuel-related?

You will need a much larger oil cooler once you start getting comfortable with the car and pushing your own limits. I wouldn't sweat that one until you get the other issues solved and have a chance to put some real track time in.
The mating surfaces were cleaned and didn't appear to have any issues when the shop tried to figure it out. It's not splattering, just dribbling out. It hasn't done it since the new valve covers, but I also haven't pushed it since they were installed and I got the correct oil dipstick.

Pro-Dyno out of Charlotte are the ones who've been doing the tuning. Unfortunately, the only time it does have the issue is at the top of the rpm band, which I can only get on track so the only chance to datalog will be later this year.

Do you think putting the stock oil cooler back on and keeping the 172 would be enough. Cooltech's kit keeps the stock one but I haven't read from others if it was enough. One of my main concerns was making sure the majority of the cooler had access to moving air and not be blocked by the bumper. It won't take long to get back up to pace so I want to avoid getting lulled into a false sense of security about the temps.
 

ArizonaBOSS

Because racecar.
Moderator
8,574
2,444
Arizona, USA
The mating surfaces were cleaned and didn't appear to have any issues when the shop tried to figure it out. It's not splattering, just dribbling out. It hasn't done it since the new valve covers, but I also haven't pushed it since they were installed and I got the correct oil dipstick.

Pro-Dyno out of Charlotte are the ones who've been doing the tuning. Unfortunately, the only time it does have the issue is at the top of the rpm band, which I can only get on track so the only chance to datalog will be later this year.

Do you think putting the stock oil cooler back on and keeping the 172 would be enough. Cooltech's kit keeps the stock one but I haven't read from others if it was enough. One of my main concerns was making sure the majority of the cooler had access to moving air and not be blocked by the bumper. It won't take long to get back up to pace so I want to avoid getting lulled into a false sense of security about the temps.
You need to get an in-person dyno tune done so you can get all the RPM range. You are probably going to be spending more money than the average customer on this since it sounds like you will be troubleshooting (and thus taking up more dyno time).

RE: Oil Cooler---I can't say for certain on that. I think there are a lot of historical posts on here noting that the stock "Cooler" is really more of a heater and helps the car get to equilibrium temperatures faster from cold start as opposed to having any significant cooling ability. FWIW I run a Setrab 948 on my car and would consider going to a 960 in the future. You don't need to rush headlong into this, I'd say just keep it as-is and get a temperature probe installed so you can datalog before spending more money.
 

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