As stated in the previous blog, the AE86, for reasons unknown at the time, decided to restrict its own forward motion. Imagine driving along your favourite section of roadway. You are doing your best Vettel routine. You are possibly on the streets of Monaco blasting through the tunnel – full speed ahead! That is what you had in mind, but, the machine you spent your last dollar on to ensure a gratifying experience, had other plans and despite your brain confirming that your foot did bury the throttle way beyond fifty per cent, the machine is barely creeping along at an embarrassing 10- 15 km!
Essentially that was the experience with the Ae86. Marvin, the chief engineer and mechanic suggested that the brakes were ‘binding’ – doing its own thing. Now we knew what was wrong, so we started the process of elimination, to identify the problem. Easier said than done!
We went through brake lines/hoses – nothing changed! Someone suggested that we look at the brake equalizer (junction). Somehow – don’t ask why, we thought we found the problem. We changed the brake equalizer, but race weekend at Dover was approaching, so we did no testing and went to both work (for me) and spectating at Dover.
Incidentally, while we were at Dover we were in Marck Carey’s pit area and they were having a brake problem. I overheard crew member, ‘Turbo’, saying the brakes were binding and he had changed almost everything and still had the problem. Because we were having a similar experience and being brilliant students of the craft, we suggested that he should look at the brake equalizer. He didn’t dismiss the idea, but he responded by stating that he had pulled one apart and (based on its design) he did not see how the equalizer could cause the brakes to bind. As I listened to his argument I reflected on my internet search for the brake equalizer and I didn’t feel good!
We left Marck’s pit, but I brought the doubt, re the equalizer solving our problem, along. In traditional Jamaican speak – so said so done. When we eventually got a chance to test the Ae86 we were expecting freedom to reign at all wheels. It wasn’t meant to be and just like before, the machine would crawl along like a stunned crab, despite being fed generous amounts of fuel.
Marvin concluded at this stage, that the only other aspect of the brake setup we had left to remove and replace was the booster and master cylinder. We located a used, but not abused replacement. After the components were changed we went testing again. The difference was like night and day! Pedal to the metal – the machine responded as directed – happy days returned!
Cecil Munroe Gleaner On-Line Writer