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Craftsman : Craftsman 2011
54 RAEMECRAFTSMANWinter2011 54 CFN G’s involvement with the Targa Tasmania 2011 started when he was approached by SGT M after he returned wounded from a deployment to Afghanistan SGT M had been injured when the Bushmaster he was travelling in hit an IED. This meant he had a lot of time to think during his rehabilitation, and it was during this time that he came up with the plan to raise funds for the newly formed Commando Welfare Trust and Legacy by building a car to race in Targa Tasmania 2011. The car he wanted to use was his silver (rust) coloured 1972 Datsun 240Z. Straight away CFN G thought he was in way over his head but he told SGT M that he was glad to give it a go. After all, how hard could it really be to build a performance race car? Straight away the 240Z was sent to Andy’s Restoration to remove the cancer which was slowly destroying its body and to provide a base for the roll over protection system to be fitted. During this period, the team removed the engine to get an early start at getting all six cylinders firing instead of the four it used then. With the roll cage fitted, it was back to Andy’s for the Legacy Blue paint bringing new life to the once tired Datsun. While the interior was stripped, CFN G spent hours removing the sound deadener from the entire floor pan, reducing weight from the car however exposing enough rust to require new floor panels. Once repaired, the interior was sprayed black and dash cut to fit around the newly installed cage. The 2nd Cdo Regt TSP’s resident Public Servant Vehicle Mechanic (also a Datsun nut) played a large role at this stage of the process with a rather keen OJT helping him out along the way. The aim at this point was to get the car looking like a Targa Tarmac Rally car for the launch of the Commando Welfare Trust Fund, in the hope of obtaining some major financial support through sponsorship for the Trust. The hard work paid off with CEO/Owner of HM/GEM engines Bruce Parker donating labour, expertise and the parts required to build a strong and reliable engine. This was great news for the crew, as it took a lot of weight off their shoulders. In no time the engine was rebuilt and brought back to the specifications of its original glory with some much stronger and better quality internal components. With CFN G and LCPL S returning from course in late ‘10, and a substantial donation from a member of 2nd Cdo Regt TSP, it was full speed ahead. Expert advice was sort from SW Motorsport at Windsor whose reputation is renowned throughout the Nissan motorsport world. The team could sense some scepticism from SW of how a rookie team could build a Targa Tasmania capable car on the limited funds and experience on hand. By the time the crew took the near finished car to SWM’s workshop for Dyno Tuning, he had realised how determined the team was to get the 240Z over that finish line. With a plan to use the Christmas stand down period to complete most of the work, suspension was first with Koni ‘Yellow’ adjustable shock inserts and height adjustable King Springs fitted. SGT M tackled the rear suspension, checked carefully by the mechanics while he wasn’t looking. Every fastener inspected, repainted, loctited and torqued for peace of mind ensuring nothing was going to fail during the event. The driveline improvements included an R31 Skyline gearbox, overhauled LSD between the rear wheels to increase drive. Brake mods included 4 pot callipers with slotted and cross drilled discs and Ferodo Racing pads up front, with rear drum brakes being overhauled and competition linings added. A reliable combination for such a light car also suiting the limited budget the team had to work with. Not even a hint of brake fade, not the same happy story for the Hiace service van however. The wiring was inspected and required upgrading and relocating of the fuse box and numerous add-ons and upgrades to the rest of the components required for competition. These included Navigators Panel with Rally Computer, Isolator Switch and an upgraded ignition system, Tacho, and intercom with UHF interface. This was all on top of the 35 years of backyard mechanics “fixes” which had to be investigated and repaired. After three months of solid work and late nights, the car was starting to take shape. The engine was ready to go back in and the machine was finally ready to be displayed at Martin Place to raise money and awareness for two great organisations. Surprisingly only a few people noticed the set of triple OER Race Carburettors and manifold SGT M was impatiently waiting for. Nonetheless it proved to be a successful day in the city. Once the carburettors arrived, the manifold runners were polished and carefully bolted to the aluminium head with a few modifications and sent to SWM again for Dyno Tuning, wheel alignment and critiquing by the experts. All was going great until the run in procedure with the engine spinning the No.5 big end bearing within 1 hour of driving after getting off the dyno. This baffled everyone including the engine builder, but with no time to waste the crew pulled the engine back out and sent it to be stripped and the problem investigated. While the engine was out the team upgraded the fuel system. Speedflow fittings and – 6 aluminium tubing for supply and return was routed from the fuel tank , through the cabin and through the firewall to the carbs to prevent fuel starvation and vapour lock. The tank received new pickup and return lines for the same reasons. With the engine back in and running smoothly, it was time for the driver to bed the rings in and get some time behind the wheel. After a change of oil and filter it was off to Wakefield Park Raceway for some serious track time to iron out any bugs and adjust the shocks and tyre pressures for the Kuhmo V700 race tyres, generously donated by Kuhmo. One more track day and a few more bugs ironed out saw the team in good stead for the race which was now only a couple of weeks away. SW Motorsport offered to lend any spare parts needed for the race which was a great help. With the ‘to do’ list whittled down to nearly nothing, the crew were ready to head south to Tasmania. After a couple of sponsorship commitments along the way at HM/ GEM HQ and ANSVAR Insurance in Melbourne the Datto and trusty Hi-Ace were loaded onto the Spirit of Tasmania for the journey to Devonport and onto Launceston. 12/40 RTR in Launceston allowed the crew to roll their swags out in their boozer area and also the use of a two bay garage for the Datto. It was around this time that any race mechanic’s worst nightmare was realised. After some minor brake adjustments the team took the car for a short test drive only to find the engine come to a grinding halt as the crew drove back into Launceston. CFN G called SGT M driver to give him the bad news. The sump was straight off as soon as the car was back at 12/40 and it was obvious what had happened, the very blue number 5 connecting rod and bearing material all through the sump meant there was no doubt the same big end had gone again. With time running out SGT M was on the phone to Bruce at HM/ GEM to see if anything could be done with such short notice. In true professional fashion, Bruce organised for his best engine builders to be waiting for the RAEME Support Crew in their Melbourne workshop. All the team had to do was get the engine out and back to Melbourne, this proved to be harder than they thought. Luckily 2 CDO – Team Legacy Assist unit jottings