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Old 03-16-2004, 01:07 PM   #1
whitenoise77
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Default questions about service crew for a low budget rally team

This is going to be my first rally event and I'm trying to find a few guys to be my service crew for a regional rally. One of them asked me what is involved at the service station. Then I realized I had no idea what the service people do. I know there is refueling, and repair any damage I have done. I've seen Richard's team change brake fluid, but I don't know what a low budget team like me should be doing. Can anyone give me some advice?

Thanks
Kevin
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Old 03-16-2004, 02:21 PM   #2
thechickencow
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I'm in the same situation.

Hopefully I'll be driving the car into service in one piece. I'm expecting to pop the wheels off at service, check brakes and suspension, check fluids, top of gas, and stuff like that. Swapping wheels/tires if they're worn/flat (if i've got spares).

If the car is in one piece it should be easy I'm thinking.
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Old 03-16-2004, 02:37 PM   #3
rallynutdon
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Clean windows, check tires/wheels for chunks missing, clean mud off wheels and other spots, have food/drink ready for driver and co-driver, check fluid levels in engine compartment, mount lights (if next stage is night stage), be prepared with jack and jack stands to cut down on time in service (some services are very short, 20 minutes), fuel car if needed. Have other common tools readily available. Those are some of the basics I can think of. And before and after your crew is there, look to help neighboring teams if they can use tools, parts or assistance. It will pay back.
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Old 03-16-2004, 03:50 PM   #4
Subie Gal
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what they do is really up to the team boss/driver.

we have a complete chart/breakdown of things to check at service...
additional items would depend on what occurs on stage

typically we would do the following:
remove tires/clear debris from wheels
check brakes
bleed brakes if necessary
swap tires if needed
torque wheels back into place

check tire pressures

check fluids
washer/power steering

check gas - fuel up

wipe down the car (clear the numbers - organizers get upset when the numbers on the car are no longer visible)

wipe off head/tail lights/windows/glass

and yes, it's key to have the service area set up and ready for the cars to come in (tarps down, tents up, jacks out, tools handy)

food/drink should be kept nearby (cooler?)

Jamie - www.subiegal.com
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Old 03-16-2004, 03:56 PM   #5
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don't forget this one!

torque wheels back into place

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Old 03-16-2004, 04:01 PM   #6
Robin2
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Make sure the crew know where they're going.... at the regional events, there's usually only 1 service area..... tell the logistics and when you want them there.... and already set-up.

Absolute basics....
- a good jack and 4 jack stands.....

Remember, you'll probably going to be in the middle of gravel lot or even a field.... so buy a sheet of plywood. Cut 4 pieces to 12x12" so each jack stand can go on it.... and then cut another piece by 4 feet by 2 feet..... so the jack can go on it.... and not sink down!

Tools....

It really depends on what you have or your crew has... Is one of the member of the crew a mechanic?

Will you run a small generator? Is the event during the day only? If yes, work lights aren't required.... CDN Tire sells these for a good price....

WIth the generator, you could buy an electrical impact gun..... we use 2 on our team (ACP, Evo4)... 1 per side.... really effective... and cheap .... CDN tire are selling them at $160CDN each...

For fuel, you need to buy some 5 gallon containers... what type of fuel are you running? 94 octane or race fuel (103 or 110)?

Buy a tarp..... 10x20'... it sure beats lying in crap all the time... and a broom....

Robin
www.musketeerracing.com
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Old 03-16-2004, 05:22 PM   #7
whitenoise77
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thanks for the help everyone!!!

I just remember to also bring a HUGE roll of duct tape, so I can tape any panels coming off.
The regionals I want to run doesn't have any night stages. I cant remember if Rocky have any night stages.

I know what you mean by helping your neighboring teams. 2 years ago, this new driver rolls his Datsun, and luckily, they set up right their tent beside Richard and McGeer. He was able to limp back to service. The entire service crew from Subaru Canada helped repair (with a great big slug hammer) put the suspension back into place.

Now I need to go to Can-Tire and buy a few stuff.
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Old 03-16-2004, 07:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Subie Gal
[b]and yes, it's key to have the service area set up and ready for the cars to come in (tarps down, tents up, jacks out, tools handy)
It'd probably be a good idea to make sure at least one person is up to speed on what needs to be done for service setup & keeping everything clean. They've been getting more stringent with the rules regarding service areas (and thats a good thing).

Put someone in charge of your crew.

You can decide how much you want them to do. At a minimum, jack the car up, remove all the wheels (and clean them from layers of dirt), examine the underbody for signs of damage, remount the wheels, torque them, etc. etc.. Clean the windows. Provide nourishment for driver/codriver. Keep tabs on the codriver (who should be keeping tabs on the server & time left).

Oh yeah.. Make sure they understand they can be sitting at one spot for a very long time at a rally. Especially if you get 2 services at the same location. Usually the other cars coming in/out is enough to keep everyone's attention in the meantime.
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Old 03-16-2004, 11:14 PM   #9
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EZ-Up is handy too (canopy).

I like to get the engine oil checked, and also a quick look under the car for damage.

We have a Honda 2KVA generator, halogen lights (for night service).

Glenn
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Old 03-17-2004, 09:54 AM   #10
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I wish you guys were farther down south... I would love to crew for a team or two sometime!!! I had a blast Volunteering at the SandBlast Rally in South Carolina this year... Next I want to crew and actually contribute to a team's success!!! If any of ya are down south at some rally's let me know!!! I'm in the Marines so advance warning is always good since I have to take leave to get there... thatnks!!!
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Old 03-17-2004, 09:55 AM   #11
akuhner
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SubieGal's list is good, but I'd add checking under the car to make sure there are no stray fluids and that all the suspension bits are in place. Check CV boots, stuff like that.

Don't forget, always use jackstands, even if they are just sitting under the car while you change the tires. And never fuel up with out another person holding a fire extinguiser right there (it's an SCCA rule and just plain common sense). Get the high jack stands and a big jack, have a spare floor jack too. Don't forget the BFH - a 6 to 8 LBS sledge hammer has it's uses, as do large prybars.

You could have a crew without any real mechanical experience as long as you know your car inside out. But I wouldn't waste money on the entry fee only to be sidelined by something that could have been fixed.

Here was our service at Sno*Drift, everything out and ready to go: http://www.ncrally.com/index.php?&pid=3046 and here:


Our next step towards becoming a really efficient crew is to work on communication, individual responsibilities and plans for each type of issue. At Tall Pines we had to duct tape 1/4 of the windshield, all of the rear windshield and the rear side windows before they'd let us back out.

Alex
NC Rally
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Old 03-17-2004, 10:37 AM   #12
Subie Gal
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Quote:
Originally posted by Porsche914boxer4
don't forget this one!

torque wheels back into place

oh it's been missed...

amd when that happens... it aint pretty
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Old 03-17-2004, 11:20 AM   #13
wrxinfx
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In addition to service, you should brief your crew on the "movment plan" for the the weekend, as well as responsabilities in times of emergency. Also - crews have to abide by SCCA rules as well - like speeding between services etc.

Christian Edstrom who is a top N.A. navvie has some good words here on his site:

http://www.christianedstrom.com/codriver.html
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Old 03-17-2004, 08:21 PM   #14
RB5 Clone
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Cool raadio contact w/service crew

A BIG help is to have radio contact between rally car and service crew.

We use 50-watt HAM radios, each crew member has ham license. Car can call into service and alert crew about what's necessary, radio range is 10 to 20 miles depending on terrain.

"We just finished STage 6, no probs. We'll need the usual--fuel, fresh tires, and a general check. Dave says he wants a cheezeburger with ketchup and onions"

or

"We went off hard on co-driver side, lost a wheel back there. We changed to spare, and car is going OK but feels Very Bent and is wandering all over the road. And oh, yeah, we got NO BRAKES!!!" (Actual Radio Conversation, Maine Forest ProRally 2003)

or

"we went off on co-driver's side, I think we're gonna need a control arm and some duct tape to put the front bumper skin back on. Oh yeah, we managed to miss one of the factory Subarus on its roof in the middle of the road. I hit a tree in the process, but it wasn't a big tree, and we're OK." (Baie des Chaleurs Rally 2003)

or

"the bad news is that there's smoke coming from right rear. The good news is that there's less smoke than there was!" (another actual conversation after yet another minor off, Maine Forest ProRally 2002)

This helps service crew get thru hardest part...wondering what has befallen their car and drivers. They can get ready to deal with a certain repair, or at least start borrowing parts from other teams....

In general, the level of service available depends on the expertise and inventiveness of the service crew, as well as the tools and resources at hand---generator, lights, welder, air tank, spare parts, MacGuyver widgets, etc.

Cheers,

Dave G
Last Ditch Racing
Co-Pilote and Chief Suspension Damage Diagnostician
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