I have internet back!

I am so glad to be back on a full-size (more or less) keyboard. The fix was so annoying, it wasn’t the interface board that was out, the µP controlling the interface board needed a hard reset, as in push a button on the board to send s signal to the µP to do a hardware reset. Now I’ve done some hardware back in the day, but I have never seen a µP that didn’t do a hardware reset when coming back from a power loss, but then again my last work with µP was back when the Zilog Z8 was cutting edge and I connected a TI speach processor to one for a prototype toy for the toy company I was a co-owner for. You could also use the speach processor for sound FX. But anyway for the online tech remote accessing the situation it was impossible to tell the µP stuck in the POST (Power On Self Test) loop from a fried interface board. The return signal is the same, nothing. Unfortunately the reset button is behind a cover fitted with tamper-resistant screws and they have to send a tech out to push the button or replace the fried board.

Anyway, this left me with lots of time to do the most dangerous thing I can do: think without interruptions. And what I thought about was the Sprint T frame, Subaru engine edition. I had previously dismissed using the square front hoop design as ugly but as I had nothing but time these last few days I used the actual body and some 2 by 4s I had lying around to do a mock up of sorts, combined with a little basic math and trig to calculate important stuff like will the tires hit the frame at full bump, full lock, or full droop or any combination of non-conflicting parameters. And it looks a little “off” to have the legs of the front hoop so far away from the body, but it’s something I could get used to because you would not believe how much that increases the torsional stiffness, and it also improves the beaming stiffness slightly.

Anyway, verbal description since I still haven’t figured out how to get the drawings out of my head and into the computer. The front and rear hoops are the same size and profile but have different bracketry hanging off them the diagonal from the top of the rear hoop is straight, but the opposite diagonal from the top of the front hoop to the bottom of the rear hoop isn’t. That diagonal makes a detour to collect the front mount for the swing arm that locates the rear axle and also connects the coilover to the rear suspension. That then continues forward until it intersects with the diagonal from the top of the rear hoop, and the diagonal from the top of the front hoop connects to the intersection of the rear hoop diagonal and the lower half of itself so that everything triangulates. The top of the coilover for the rear axle connects to the rear hoop below where the locating rod from the brake floaters connects, or maybe they are co-located, because I still don’t know how long the reaction arm is on the floater. It might be long enough that it sticks up higher than the coilover, but then again it might not. Moving on, there are two forward-running members from the front hoop per side, one from the top and one from the bottom, to the front spring mount, and another from the bottom to the front crossmember/diaphragm. Now I’m still trying to figure out which way I want the front diaphragm to connect to the rest of the frame. One way would to continue the body mount forward to pick up the engine mounts and steering box mount, which simplifies packaging, but adds weight because I would have basically two frames, one for the body and engine, and the other for carrying the suspension loads. The other way would be to have the front rails go from the lower corners of the front hoop to the center of the front diaphragm, and stretch the engine mounts sideways to meet the rails. Both methods have points that increase weight, in that the longer engine mounts will weigh more by sheer size and may need to be made from thicker material because of that, and extending the body mounts to meet the front diaphragm adds 2 extra chunks of metal that wouldn’t need to be there except to collect the engine and steering box mounts. And speaking of the steering box mount, either way it’s going to be a mess, less of a mess with the two parallel rails from the body mount, more of a mess with the rails that meet at the front, but either way a mess. Looking at it without getting into fine details the two rails that meet at the front diaphragm is lighter basic structure but may be heavier after the mounts and brackets are added in, compared to 4 rails with two parallel spaced the same as the body mounts and two running from the bottom outside corners of the front hoop, and a more complicated front diaphragm. all with more material.

And while I was sitting here thinking about how to describe this frame in words I came up with a simpler and lighter way to mount the body. But it’s getting late and I have a lot of e-mails to catch up on. Not as many as I would if I hadn’t been burning my cell phone data keeping up with it, but enough that I really don’t have the time to pound out another 500 or so words describing what I just came up with.

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Update on the internet situation

Still trying to compose with the smart phone on-screen “keyboard”. The timeline for restoring internet is still about a week out because it blew up a major component and it’s backordered. The thing that really annoys me is I won’t get cable back in time for the truck race at Eldora. I look forward to watching the race all year long, because the trucks are not designed to be raced on dirt, and so far the Goodyear tires are more wets than dirts so the trucks slide around like they are trying to drive on a wet paved track and the driver is a much bigger part of the picture than usual. This year Tony Stewart got personally involved with the tires so the trucks can get a bit more sideways, but because of the suspension design they won’t be like your typical Saturday night stock car and will still be mostly trying to stay straight.

But because of the outage I won’t get to see it.

And I have hit my tolerance for hunting and pecking on my phone. I will try to make further updates later.

Up but back down

Well we had internet for a few hours, but then someone hit a transformer and the voltage spike took out the interface box. So Casa de El Poeta is cut off from the outside world again, and last report from the cable company is that the thunderstorm the other night damaged a bunch of the interface boxes and they are running out of replacement parts, so the first day they can get here is the 24th. And the composition window for my phone won’t let me categorize or tag this post. So, I’m outta here. Y’all stay safe out there, and mind the heat.

Incommunicado

This is a little weird. We lost all wired communication with the outside world and I’m composing this on my phone so I am doing hunt and peck on a tiny screen. I haven’t been able to contact the cable company to fix it yet, so I don’t know how long it will be out.

This has happened before and is due to rain incursion in the outside interface box that converts the fiber optic cable signal to electronic signals for Internet, cable TV, and telephone. This has become more frequent lately and I think the enclosure may have degraded with age.

So anyway I will be silent for a while until I get internet back.

This might be a little short

I’m beset by Writer’s Block. See?
Dan Shive's character Writer's Block

Seriously, there’s nothing going down lately. I have been eating a lot of popsicles to keep cool, hydrating regularly, listening to music on my phone, reading webcomics, eating ramen with veggies and sometimes with boiled eggs. Just nothing worth writing about more than once. My life has become repetitious like that book by Solzhenitsyn, where he told the entire life story of a political prisoner by relating just a single day, because one day was pretty much identical to every other day.

There’s nothing to relate on the T-bucket either. No new ideas, no new parts, and as always no money. Well, nothing big, but I have been thinking about the details, like where to route fuel lines to prevent them from dragging off over speedbumps, ditto brake lines and wiring, keeping everything neat and tidy and away from possible damage. As you do when you build hotrods.

Annnnnd I’m just babbling at this point, so this is a good spot to stop.

It was suggested I should keep the Subie transmission

And the AWD drivetrain that comes with it. And as with anything else with this car, this would solve a few problems while creating a bunch more.

The main problem solved would be getting a transmission on the back of the engine that connects to the rear axle. The first problem this creates is added weight, the Subie transmission is about 50 pounds more than the T5. Second is width, the Subie transmission has the FWD drive spuds hanging off the side behind the bellhousing that extend beyond the width of the bellhousing, which restricts how far the engine can be offset if I stay with the RWD. Or if I decide to use the full capabilities of the transmission I can’t offset at all because of using the FWD portion of the system requires centering the transmission between the front wheels. Basically if I do that everything that can be moved to the right side of the car gets moved to try to get the car balanced left to right.

Now the reason I was thinking about this is the starter for a Subie mounts to the bellhousing, not to the engine. This makes making a bellhousing to use a different transmission a problem as the starter is designed to mate to a machined surface of a casting or forging. This is outside my abilities as a fabricator, because making a casting requires making an oversize pattern first to make the mold, and everything has to be just slightly bigger than the actual part because of shrinkage when the metal cools from liquid to solid, and I lack the skills to do that. Make the pattern, that is, to the required degree of precision. I know where to find the shrinkage rate and how to calculate how much larger to make the pattern, that’s just brain work, but converting those measurements to wooden patterns, that’s woodworking, something I have only been so-so at. I did OK at birdhouses and whirligigs in middle school shop class, but anything more complex just turned to garbage. On the other hand I can pull a mold off the original bellhousing and use that to hydroform an adapter housing except for the stupid starter mount. Hydroforming is easy-peasy compared to doing a casting. I take the OE bellhousing and cut it off at the right depth for the input shaft to mate to the pilot bushing in the crank then weld or glue a plate or board to make it solid across the back, and then bolt the housing to a piece of flat plywood about 5 inches taller and wider than the housing and add more plywood to make a box with an open top and the housing as the bottom. The bottom board and housing is sprayed with a mold release agent called form oil. Then a single layer of hardware cloth gets formed loosely around the housing so that it surrounds but doesn’t touch the housing and sits evenly against the bottom board. After that a thin mix of cement and sand is poured in until the mold is filled completely and allowed to set. Now if I was doing a mass production run I would then carve the concrete mold out by the thickness of my production mold material, and use that to form the production mold which would then get stiffeners welded to it so it would hold shape while turning out countless production parts. But for this project I would just make one or two out of the concrete mold and toss the concrete mold.

But because the starter has to mount to a machined surface precisely aligned to the engine I can’t make my own housing that way. So at this point it looks like modifying the OE bellhousing is my best bet.

And I got wrapped up in answering e-mails instead of finishing this post before midnight, so I’m wrapping it here and going to bed.

Interesting RPG group session yesterday

Yesterday’s RPG session almost didn’t happen, because my back was acting up and because grocery day got postponed because of my ride getting an invite to participate in a play test of the next edition of Magic the Gathering card game. So after getting groceries I was asked to log into the Discord server to participate remotely.

But first, groceries. I picked up a whole bunch of frozen things for keeping cool, store brand obviously, because I need something to cool me off and I don’t have ice cube trays to make my own cheaper. I got the store brand popsicles, and ottr pops, and also a gallon of the store brand ice cream. If I don’t get crazy there should still be some left when Mrs. the Poet gets back from Upstate NY. I also got a coupon for 3 free 2 liter store brand soft drinks. I also picked up a couple more cans of veggies for mixing with my ramen noodles for a more authentic ramen experience. If you don’t know how that works, it’s easy. Just drain a 14-16 oz. can of veggies into a measuring cup and add enough water to get the 2 cups needed to cook a typical package of ramen noodles. pour the veggies over the noodles before adding the liquid, bring to a brisk boil for 3 minutes then add the flavor packet and maybe a little soy sauce, and voila, dinner. I really enjoy a hard boiled egg on the side, too.

And now the game. The mission was invasive species control in a large park. A predator called KillDeer (not to be confused with the bird that does not have the “Deer” capitalized) was decimating the deer population of a park outside Ft. Worth, to the point that the park rangers decided to call runners to “take care of it”. As described by the GM, KillDeer are essentially carnivorous deer, and the two are very difficult to differentiate from each other. The two primary visual differences are the antlers on KillDeer have needle-sharp tines, and the lower jaw is larger with carnivore dentition and the lips open further back like a dog or wolf. They hunt in packs like wolves and they aren’t picky about prey, opportunistically attacking anything remotely edible by their standards.

Since they also scavenge carcasses we “borrowed” a small hog carcass from the Solstice Bar-b-que my character holds as a peace meeting for the orc and troll gangs whose territories converge at my house. But that’s a different plot line, along with the bit that I have a side gig collecting the bounties on feral hogs and keep the kills except for the parts required to prove the bounty, so I currently have about 3 tons of pork in the freezer waiting for this shindig. So one big pig would hardly be missed. We planned on setting up a blind downwind of the bait and shooting the KillDeer when they approached the dead pig. That didn’t work because the pig was still mostly frozen and not very smelly and not attractive to the KillDeer or any other scavengers. So we used our astral plane sensing person to locate animals and they were about 5 miles from our camp. So we went to where the animals were in hopes that at least some were KillDeer. On the way to the place where our astral sensor detected animals we came on a fresh kill, an unfortunate hiker who was still twitching as the KillDeer ate his head. So still alive, but not for much longer and not that we had a chance to save him. Since we had been walking upwind and not making much noise the KillDeer had not been alerted to our existence yet. The idea was we would do the same thing with these KillDeer as my character does with feral hogs, kill them, remove the bounty parts, then add the rest to the big bar-b-que in a couple of weeks. So our mage cast invisibility on me and I took my katana up as close to the pack as I could, about 10 feet. Then our mage launched a stun attack against the pack from cover and I would rush the pack and slit as many deer throats as possible and get back out without getting attacked. I got two, but not deep enough to kill instantly. It slowed them up, but the rest of the pack managed to cut off my escape route and started trying to eat me. Long story short, I blew completely through my damage pool and deep into overflow. Technically dead, but because my character is The Old Man and lived through The Crash as well as what I lived through before the start of the game, I can’t die dead. I die and depending on the damage I regain consciousness a few seconds to several hours later. When I caught the grenade in the Battle of Central Expressway I was really messed up with both legs removed immediately and my left arm was too damaged to save. That’s why my character has two artificial legs and an artificial arm that has a shotgun inside. But anyway, I died there but was semi-conscious by the time help arrived so I got the repair parts I needed. This one was much longer, about 5 hours. I don’t know if this time was so long because my character is 117 years old in-game now, and was only about 80 during the Battle of Central Expressway. Anyway, the fact that I self-resurrect is only known by the people who were in the team that went on the KillDeer hunt.

Another wild idea about the Sprint-T

I was looking at the shifter location on the T5 transmission and I was thinking I would have to use the furthest aft shifter mount and extend the handle back and to the left by about a foot to be able to reach top gear at the far top right of the shift pattern. Then I started thinking that mounting the engine further back would help, but that I would need to cut the body for clearance. Then I let my imagination go wild and tried to imagine the entire engine mounted behind the original firewall and sticking out the side of the cowl on the right, moving everything 28″ to the rear from the ahead-of-the-firewall position. This position would allow installing the shifter in the middle mounting point as far as fore-and-aft positioning, and only slightly longer than the Camaro/Mustang short shifter to reach 5th gear because of the radical engine offset.

Now the body modification needed to get that much rear mounting are pretty severe what with the right side cylinder head sticking out about 2″ from the passenger side door. I know I had posted a much further extension in a previous post but my calculations used an erroneous premise that doubled the offset for right side measurements and subtracted double the offset for left side. That was a mistake. The correct way is to add on the right side and subtract on the left side only once. But be that as it may, the body will basically be cut away from the left side of the firewall to the base of the windshield and level across the base to the right side and about 20″ behind the original firewall to clear the cylinder and exhaust pipe. The parts of the intake system that stick up higher than 20″ are basically the intercooler and ducting that guides the outside air into it, so following the upper flange of the body at 22″ will clear all the intake runners. As far as the internal sheetmetal is concerned there would be a shelf above the bellhousing that would give footroom for the driver while leaving room for the intake plumbing. The offset leaves over 8″ of foot room on the left of the engine behind the cowl pinch and almost 5″ ahead of the pinch. That leaves room to get to the master cylinders for fluid checks and fills, which also applies to the car with all of the engine ahead of the firewall.

On that, seriously the engine offset with the Subaru leaves a ton of room between the engine and the body for access to the master cylinders no matter which place I put the engine. With the huge space behind the engine because of the intake plumbing combined with the offset there is an acre of empty real estate between the firewall and the left side of the engine block and head for master cylinders. This is great, I love it when packaging problems solve themselves.

All said and done, I think I would go with the option of mounting the entire engine in front of the as-molded firewall on the body and work with the long shifter handle rather than cut up the body and fabricate a ton of interior sheetmetal, because the engine is so light it doesn’t put much weight on the nose of the car and also because the large offset leaves room for the master cylinders. Now all I need to do is win the lottery so I have the $$ to buy an engine and transmission to install.

What I did this 4th of July

Well I went out and did some shopping as depicted in the photograph.
It needs a name

This is my new exercise weight and car repellant. I needed something heavier than my 2 pound hand weight but was not comfortable with buying 5 pound weights which was the next step up, plus I only have the one free hand when walking. It needs a name, but I’m not comfortable with naming it after Thor’s Mjolnir, because number one it can’t live up to the name, and two I’m not Heathen or Asratu, I’m Eclectic Wiccan and I follow (sort of follow) a Greek forge god. Actually I look to Hephaestus as more of an inspiration than a focus of worship. But that still leaves me with a nameless hammer.

I also got some nut driver sockets for use with my drill, and some 12″ by 12″ (cut size) wash cloths that were free with the coupon. And on the way home I redeemed a coupon for 2 Ultimate Cheeseburgers for $5 and added small fries and a small drink, and now I’m stuffed. I ate an actual pound of meat, plus cheese and buns, small fries and a Coke Zero, and I was still able to walk the half-mile from the convenience store where I bought the Lotto ticket to my house, but I think I’ll skip the ice cream tonight.

Also, I got the installed measurements for the Subaru EJ engine in an Impreza wagon and I have to say it’s looking pretty good. The height and width are slightly more “as installed” but the really good number was the firewall to front pulley number. This is the installed distance between the two points and allows for 11″ of clearance for the intake and the intercooler and is all behind the rear face of the block. This is longer than the input shaft on the T5 which will handle the output from the 2.5l turbo engine just fine. And that means I can move the engine even further to the right because the bellhousing will be clear of structure. That’s a 250 pound engine mated to a 80 pound transmission for a total powertrain weight of 330 pounds. The offset has to balance my weight of 225 pounds in driving suit and helmet that has an arm of 11.25″ or 2531 inch-pounds or engine offset of 7.67″. That’s going to hang a lot of the right side of the engine out from under the hood. When I started on this project I was looking at a 545 pound engine bolted to a 125 pound transmission that only put out 100 more HP. I went from 1700 pounds without driver to 1360 and lowered the CofG significantly and I only need to tune an additional 15 HP to get the same power-to-weight ratio. That’s a tank of E85 and a few minutes on a dyno adjusting boost. Seriously, at this point I have to say I think I have found the closest thing to a perfect engine for this beast, if I can find one to install.

Role playing game yesterday was fun, but it made me cancel my trip today

I was doing pretty good on the back pain issue until I caught the bus home from yesterday’s game session. There was a hole in the grass that the mower just skimmed over disguising it as a perfectly flat surface, and of course I stepped in the hole. What causes me the most pain is not the uneven surfaces I know about, it’s the sudden drops into places I can’t see. Stairs are usually no problem unless the surface I’m stepping on is not the surface I will be walking on, like a loose stair that is actually sticking up that I expect to take my weight immediately instead of the milliseconds it takes the stair to bottom out. Well hidden holes in grass are the same thing, I expect the solid surface to be in one place and it’s an inch or so lower so my back is not properly set up for the landing, which then really hurts.

On the T-bucket front, someone suggested another engine family that would work, the Subaru EJ. It’s compact, about 28.5″ wide and about 15″ long for the 4 cylinder versions, about 22″ long for the sixes, and has dual overhead cams and 4 valves per cylinder, and later versions have VVT (Variable Valve Timing) and some 4 cylinder models had factory turbos. Now the best combo for the GoodGuys events is the VVT and the turbo, which has good low RPM torque combined with high RPM horsepower. That’s because VVT adjusts intake and exhaust events for best power at each RPM point and the Subaru engine lets the computer adjust intake and exhaust separately for even better low speed power and response. This lets the turbo spin up quicker which improves mid-range and upper RPM breathing and power. Engine weights are reported to be about 200 for the 4 and about 300 for the 6 NA engines with the factory turbo adding about 50 pounds to the 4, and not available on the 6. There is an active aftermarket for both versions but biased towards the 4 cylinder, so light weight and lots of power can be had. The stock NA and Turbo versions do very well in SCCA Solo racing, so GoodGuys in the bucket will be mostly matching gear ratios and transmission ratios so the engine is in the best part of the power curve when power is needed. Most of the engine weight is at crankshaft height which helps keep the CG low which aids handling. The debate is does the low RPM grunt from the 6 offset the higher weight and reduced power because of no turbo? There are kits to install the turbo from the 4 on the 6 that are reputed to retain the low end grunt while exceeding the power available from the 4. And there are kits that purport to give the turbo 4 the same low-end grunt as the 6, without increasing the weight over the factory turbo or reducing ultimate power produced. But in any case the main advantage is the low center of gravity offered by the horizontally opposed cylinders of the Subaru engine.