I had the front end re-aligned after I fixed that loose inner tie-rod end. The great folks at the Les Schwab store in Arlington, WA even did it for free since it was just a minor touch up and I had already paid for the complete alignment a few weeks before. The same tech did the job as the last time. You can see him in the mirror above. Jesse is his name… Thanks Jesse!
The car runs great now. Solid as a rock. No more wobbles in the front end.
Next I had to change my brake pads. I spent the weekend searching for some, and was unable to find any locally. I finally found a set online at Summit Racing. I paid for overnight shipping just to make sure they arrived on time. I went to install them last night, and of course, as is my fate with all things mechanical (ie: my steering rack that took all summer to sort out!) a two-minute-per-side job turned into a 2 hour epic struggle! The driver’s side had a pad that was unevenly worn, and one of the pots of my Wilwood calipers was stuck slightly off-kilter. No amount of wedging and struggle would get it to compress fully into the caliper housing. I finally gave up and disassembled the caliper itself and pressed it back in. Once that was done the other three pads went in relatively painlessly and quick. I’m very impressed with the design of the Wilwoods when it comes to changing pads. next time I won’t wait so long! I also will probably buy a small stock of pads as they seem, to be hard to find.
Of course the above work required draining a lot of the brake fluid from one side of the system, so they’ll need to be bled. I took a few laps up and down the driveway to test the brakes and other than a bit of sponginess (which will go away with bleeding) the brakes felt great. I’ll try and get the bleeding done as soon as possible and go bed the new pads in good later today.
The only prep work that remains is some packing and camera work. I bought two new lenses which hopefully will arrive today. Stay tuned.
I’ve also been chatting with my co-pilot for the rally, Shaun Redmond, who flies out tomorrow. You’ll meet him soon. We booked a room in Lewiston, Idaho for Friday night, and expect to be in Helena, Montana Saturday afternoon. I can’t wait to get underway!