How-To Roundup: Grassroots Motorsports Edition

For the moment, many are still in a holding pattern that's just a little longer thanks to coronavirus. Once local, state and federal mandates sort out, we’ll all get back to having #funwithcars. Certainly, be sure to review SCCA’s extensive set of Event Guidelines detailing commitments to be made as far as keeping members, participants and staff safe when we get back to competition. But in the meantime, here’s another “How-To” roundup that we hope helps.

In this go ‘round, we’ve compiled some great stuff from Grassroots Motorsports. For nearly 40 years, Grassroots Motorsports has been producing helpful tutorials on all sorts of garage and shop work. Need to work on brakes? Corner-Weight balance a car in your garage? Insight on welding, drilling and use of grease? We've got something for all of you below because eight informative and very colorful issues a year, Grassroots Motorsports gives car nuts the nuts-n-bolts about working on cars.

So, here you go. Enjoy!

Dial in Clutch Action for Faster Laps

In this Garage Project: Is Your Clutch Pedal Slowing You Down? article, Grassroots Editorial Director David S. Wallens asks, “Want lower lap times? Right now, you can spend a few minutes dialing in the action of your clutch pedal. It’s an easy garage project.” Yes, we want lower lap times. And yes, we’ve got a few minutes to spend on that right now.

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Maximize Brakes

Got your clutch action figured out for faster laps? Now it’s time to review how to slow your roll thanks to this Grassroots piece on brakes penned by Carl Heideman. Review this 10-item list to make sure your #funwithcars concludes in a safe, sure manner.

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Freeing Rusty Fasteners with a Blow Torch

It’s not unlikely that many SCCA competition cars have sat around in garages a little longer than normal this year. Vehicles that sit idle for a while, especially in cold or moist climates, have a way of “tightening up” mechanically. This Grassroots article offers advice on how to “free” rusty fasteners. It involves a blow torch, so that’s kind of cool and worth the read.

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Corner-Weight a Car at Home

“One of the most important aspects of car setup is the static weight distribution and the cross-weight percentage,” states David S. Wallens in this Grassroots article. “Picture the following: Your car is really fast in right-hand turns, but understeers in left turns. If you get the car neutral in left turns, it oversteers in right turns.” Obviously, this situation is frustrating. And while several different setup parameters could cause such consternation, one source may be excessive cross-weight. Read this article, titled Understanding Corner Weights, to gain some insight on a solution.

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Chassis Welding Etiquette

When it comes to welding work on a chassis, this article is almost like a picture book — offering plenty of photos on what to do and what not to do. Perhaps this Grassroots Motorsports article can provide some guidance for those building — or repairing — a racecar.

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Grease: It's the Word

“The main problem with grease is that it is so messy. As a result, most people don’t take advantage of it,” author Carl Heideman says in this Grassroots piece. “However, if you buy a standard tube of grease, cut it in half, and use an acid brush to apply it sparingly, you’ll eliminate 95 percent of the mess and gain a valuable tool.” If you like valuable tools, check out this popular “shop” piece from Grassroots Motorsports.

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Drill Holes Accurately

Want to save yourself a lot of time and aggravation? Well, Grassroots Motorsports found that a common set of dividers — a simple tool that usually costs less than $20 — can be a real time-saver when it comes to accurately locating holes while minimizing the need to take measurements. Read this story to see how a divider can be used to quickly locate three holes in a custom bracket.

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Keep it Tight

Split, Wave, Serrated, Tab, Nylon, Slotted, Wedge, Jam — these terms refer to fasteners that are both fascinating and essential when it comes to working on cars. This Grassroots Motorsports article, authored by J.G. Pasterjak, can help you secure some useful knowledge on the subject.

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Bracket Art

In 2020, March Madness “brackets” weren’t a “thing.” But Grassroots Motorsports offers some of its own “bracketology” when it comes to cars. In this article, author Carl Heideman opens with a Bob Riley quote from the book The Art of Race Car Design. “There are a lot of brackets on a race car … whether a bolted-on piece or a welded-on piece. I want all the pieces to flow instead of having jagged edges.” Making every bracket just right offers satisfaction of quality craftsmanship, and yields homemade hardware that simply works better. Want a winning bracket? Check out this online how-to.

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Go from Spectator to Participant

Want to learn how you get started in racing, how to become a race car driver or how to get involved in motorsports? It’s not that hard, especially with this guide from Grassroots Motorsports. If you know someone who wants to get involved with SCCA and have #funwithcars, this article is definitely share-worthy!

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Lawnmower Yard-Kart

Does this Grassroots Motorsports article have anything to do with prepping competition cars? Nope. Does it have anything to do with Sports Car Club of America®? Nope. Does it offer a “how-to” for fashioning a yard-kart out of a lawnmower? Yup. Are you going to read this article? Probably.

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Built for the true sports car enthusiast, Grassroots Motorsports has one mission: Be a personal guide to the sports car world. Whether it’s online, in print, or in person, Grassroots Motorsports takes readers behind the scenes and shows how to make a car better. Along the way, they give a taste of everything else this hobby has to offer, from 1000-horsepower track monsters to cool street cars built in driveways. They also maintain a collection of staff-built project cars, because hands-on technical articles aren't typed behind a desk–they're scribbled down in the garage. Don't just be a car enthusiast: Be a fan of Grassroots Motorsports.

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