Daily Archives: March 16, 2014

On being hedonistic on St. Pattie’s Day, on Wreck-Free Sunday

Mrs. The Poet and I went to the Greenville Ave. St. Patrick’s Day Parade yesterday to celebrate our Irish Heritage. And have fun watching drunk people screaming for beads…

Photographic proof we were there.

It was a trifle crowded there. Since I can’t see what is in the frame with my $5 phone Mrs. the Poet was a little hidden behind my head. And I have no idea who any of the rest of those people are. But you can see how crowded it was, as Mrs. the Poet did not get any closer to me to get in the picture. And at 1030 the people in the picture (some of them, anyway) had already begun their alcohol consumption. And by the end of the parade the garbage container next to us was nearly overflowing with empties.

You might have noticed I have nearly achieved maximum fuzziage in this picture taken a week and a day prior to out annual “Shearing of the Flock” celebration at church. At this point it looks like the ritual will be after the Sunday morning service next week. Since this will be daylight I hope to get better pictures this time than last year. That would mean a late post with lots of pictures and short on text. We have been doing this particular ritual for quite a while, and the one thing we can guarantee is that the weather will be weatherish. The precipitation has varied from snow to bright sunshine with a couple of rainy days in there, too. Temperatures have ranged from below freezing to nearly 90°F. Or in other words typical “Texas Spring” weather.

I’m watching the Sprint Cup race from Bristol, or I would be if it wasn’t raining again. This has not been a good weather year so far for NASCAR with at least 2 of the first 4 races with rain delays, Daytona and Bristol. The other 2 races were in the deserts of NV and AZ, not much rain there.

Joey Logano has lost his power steering which they were trying to diagnose when the red flag came out for the latest rain delay which is a major problem with the way the cars are set up today. Back when I was working on stock cars they used something called “caster stagger” with different caster settings on the left and right sides to make the cars turn left pretty much all by itself. Turning right was next to impossible so the hot setup was to put a trace of understeer in the car so that drivers never had to turn the wheel past center to the right. Then they could use a fairly quick manual steering box without exhausting the driver too much. But caster stagger reduces the available grip in the front end. The way the front end is set up now the car doesn’t automatically turn left, but it does have more grip when the wheels are turned to the left so they use the power steering to make up the difference for the drivers’ not being Superman. That’s something I don’t have to worry about with street cars, but wide tires and quick steering ratios also call for a little power assist.

And that makes for a segue to the next paragraph. The bucket was initially designed for a Vega steering box and cross steering but the Vega box has a 20:1 steering ratio and 5 turns lock to lock. That’s too slow for autocross racing, or SCCA SoloII as it used to be called. Now it’s Solo if it’s in a parking lot with only cones marking the course, or Time Attack if they’re on a regular track. But either way, the stock Vega box won’t cut it, and the quick ratio power steering boxes available are wider than the Vega box and won’t fit the narrow T Bucket front end. I’m building my own frame, but it still wouldn’t look right with a big steering box hanging off the left side of the front end, but I have a possible solution for that. One of the things I was planning on was having a very deep section near the front end and additional triangulation and stiffness from running downtubes from the roll cage to the front shock hoop. And what I’m thinking as a possibility is to mount the quick ratio power steering box to the inside of the outside vertical web of the left frame rail, with gusseting and additional vertical supports to make up for the missing parts of the inside web. This will move the box 1.5″ to the left to clear the engine block without making the nose any wider. After I check this with the CAD (cardboard aided design) I might bulge the frame rail a bit to the left to clear the engine and for the frame rail to clear the steering arm at full right lock (the steering arm on the box moves left to turn the front wheels right).

On a programming note, I need to make a trip to the pharmacy way out in Carrollton which means I will be spending several hours riding the bus to and from the store. I will be back somewhere around 1600 to 1700, and then I get to filter the Feed which has already gotten pretty big, so I may be pushing midnight to get posted.

PSA, Opus