It is difficult to clean and...
It is difficult to clean and regrease the torque tube in tight quarters. There is not a large amount of room available for your hands, let alone tools, to get the job done. This is an area that many weekly racers do not work on every week. It is, however, a high-maintenance area that needs constant attention.
The maintenance process starts with a checklist of the tasks that are the most critical to making sure the car is ready to race in the next show. This ranges from making sure the engine is ready to making sure the brakes are in top condition. Each system of the car is examined, and the parts that support each specific system are examined, reviewed, and checked for integrity and the ability to perform in the next race.
Next to each specific task on the list, there is a line where the person who performs the task writes his or her initials. In addition to providing a way of knowing if the task has been completed, the initials link the responsibility for a specific task to a specific person. This isn't done to assign blame. Rather, it gives everybody a bit more ownership in the overall process.
The checklist goes beyond just areas of the car to be examined; it also covers the support equipment. Fuel cans are filled, the generator is maintained, the quad is serviced, tires are measured and marked, the trailer is cleaned, and the tools are inventoried. In short, every mechanical component is examined and readied for the next time at the track.
Once the torsion bars are...
Once the torsion bars are removed, they are inspected for any damage. If they are deemed serviceable, they are reinstalled after they have been greased. At this point, you may want to change to a different bar if you are going to a different track or your baseline settings require a different set of bars.
From an engine perspective, the oil is changed and the oil filter is replaced. The old oil filter is cut open and the filter element is visually inspected for any metal (which indicates a problem that needs to be rectified). The fuel system is serviced from the tank to the injectors. The nozzles are removed and cleaned. All of the fuel filters are cleaned or replaced.
Fuel lines are cleaned and inspected. The valves are adjusted and the engine is leaked down. All the spark plugs are inspected and a general check is performed to look for any leaky or damaged gaskets. While all this is being accomplished, a crew member is cleaning, washing, and re-oiling the air filter.
From a chassis perspective, all of the torsion bars are removed, cleaned, inspected, regreased, and reinstalled. The shocks are inspected for any damage or leaks, and the cables that allow the driver to adjust the shocks from the cockpit are cleaned and lubed as required. The torsion bar and the shock adjusters are returned to the baseline settings from the settings that were made on the last race day.
The frame is checked for any obvious damage from any past on-track altercations. This includes the consumable frame items, such as the nerf bars and bumpers, and this inspection continues through the entire maintenance process. We are always looking for cracks, broken tubes, or damaged welds when working on the car.
More cleaning and oiling....
More cleaning and oiling. This is part of the rod end checking process. Every rod end on the car is inspected, cleaned, and lubricated. Any rod ends that are suspect are replaced.
All suspension points are cleaned as required and relubricated. The birdcages are inspected, and the bearings are lubricated and adjusted as required. The quick-change gears in the rearend are removed and inspected along with the bearing races on the cover.
This check was added recently because the team discovered a bearing cage that was coming apart. Had they not caught this, the cage would have caused a bearing failure and the metal that would have been circulating through the rearend would have caused even more damage.
This is another classic example of a $12 part failing and causing thousands of dollars in unnecessary damage due to being overlooked during routine maintenance. This is now a standard part of Jeremy's routine inspection process. All fluid levels are replenished, too.
Every Heim joint on the car is cleaned and inspected. The bearings are inspected, and any sign of excessive looseness in the joint, either from the bearing or the threads, is cause for replacement. This is done on every joint on the car, from suspension to throttle linkages. The front wheel bearings are also inspected and repacked with grease.