Monthly Archives: May 2017

Still thinking about that dang car

I had another thought about the Thunderbolt Grease Slapper 2 to get better balance and more consistent handling. Instead of putting the gas tank in the front, move the driver forward and put the tank sorta in the middle, between the engine and the driver. This would do two things that could be beneficial to the performance of the car: 1) Put more weight on the front end by moving my fat ass closer to the front and 2) Put most of the weight that changes while the car is driven in the middle where it won’t drastically alter the weight balance of the car as it changes.

Doing this does create its own set of challenges. First is I will have to create some kind of metal enclosure between the gas tank or fuel cell (explosion-resistant gas tank, not the kind that you spray fuel and air in one side and get electricity out the other) and the driver’s seat, second is I will have to create some kind of enclosure in front of the firewall because I’m going to stick my legs through the one molded into the body. This brings the secondary question of seating position, sprint go kart or stretched out?
This is a guy sitting in a sprint go kart, notice the high and splayed-out knees

Lay back a little in this and it won't let you fall out.

If I go with legs together and just leave enough room for the steering between my feet (like in the front-engine Sprint-T) I don’t need to make a big hole in the factory firewall and have additional support for the steering column. If I go with the sprint go kart seating position most of the firewall will need to “go away” and I’ll need to add structure to support the cowl and the steering column, but I will be able to sit several inches closer to the front axle reducing my arm and moment and moving the CG closer to the front. Not to mention all that structure will add weight right behind the front axle helping move the CG forward. And there we get the major drawback to the go kart driving position, added weight. The car is already almost 100 pounds over the initial target weight, and adding more structure will not help that situation in the slightest. So to maximize straight-line performance I think the legs together position. And I just fell outta my chair while typing again, so I’m going to bed now.

Don’t take any wooden nickels while I nap.

Working on the look of the front of the car

I have been looking for smaller headlights for the Mid-Bucket (aka Thunderbolt Grease Slapper 2) because the standard 7″ round headlights make the poor car look like it has a bad case of the Girly-Eyed Measles . A standard T grill and radiator look normal with the 7″ headlights, probably because the stock model T had 10″ headlights. But for some reason they are just too big when I put them on the TGS2. I would like to be able to just install a single high-low LED projector unit in a bullet housing but they don’t seem to be available as single units, and I lack the tools needed to spin a sheet into a bullet housing.

Getting smaller lights in a configuration that is street legal is not hard, but not cheap either. This is the best bang for the buck I have found so far. Drag Specialties 5 3/4″ LED Headlight Assembly . As you can see compared to a standard 7 inch sealed beam in an aimable housing it’s rather pricey, especially since I can go down to the local autoparts store and buy a sealed beam for under $10 (the previous link was just for the bucket but add $10 for the light and you see what I’m saying).

What’s really annoying is there are 4½” LED spot and fog lights available that look like the larger 53/4” lights but are either spot or fog not high/low. The manufacturer even calls them “headlights” in the part description, but they’re not, they’re just driving and fog lights.

Well I have to get up early for another trip to the Lab Rat Keeper in the morning so I’ll end this now.

Walking and thinking

As I take my daily walks I think about things. Politics, sexual fantasies, how to run a Cox TD .049 on FAI fuel (been working on that one for almost 30 years now and still haven’t solved it satisfactorily, the last attempt set the model airplane on fire and me, too), RPG characters… Anywho I was thinking about making the blog better. One thing I could do is write better posts, but alas I’m writing at the best of my ability as it is. Another thing I could do is change the graphics theme for the blog, but I wouldn’t want to do that without input from my current readers. So I will put a poll up and see what you want.

Happy (?) Memorial Day

The interrobang is because Memorial Day isn’t really supposed to be a happy day. Today is the day we remember those who have died in the service of our country. This isn’t for those currently serving, that is Armed Forces Day, or the ones who have served and come back, that’s Veteran’s Day. Back when I was a kid Armed Forces Day was like my third favorite holiday because I got to play with tanks and machine guns. In fact there is a picture of me somewhere in the Army Times archive of a 6YO me sitting behind an M60 that I had field stripped and reassembled at Schofield Barracks on AFD. But today we remember those who didn’t come back, and they are numerous. About 57K didn’t come back from Vietnam, my generation’s Big War. And since then we have had the interminable Iraq/Afghanistan conflict that is still consuming men and material, and it looks like we are about to start another meat grinder in Syria. I was born into the military, and I understand the need for war. But I am also smart enough to understand that of the wars we have been involved in since the turn of the century only Afghanistan might, might, have been justified. Everything else was rich men ordering poor men killed in order to make them richer.

But the fact that the war was not a just or justified war does not make the soldiers, sailors, and airmen killed any less dead, or less deserving of honors due those killed in conflict. They didn’t get to make the choice of going to war, but they served and paid the ultimate price. And we must honor those who paid the ultimate price in unjust wars, even more than those who died in just wars. Because they did not die in service to their country, their country killed them for the avarice of already wealthy men. I wonder, when warriors get to their final rewards, do those who died to make wealthy men even more wealthy get different rewards than those who died in noble causes like freeing slaves or preventing world dictatorships? I’m not assuming there is an afterlife, because I have been there and got tossed out sent back with a frequent customer card. I’m just wondering about the differences in accommodations for those who died in different causes.

And I have no doubts about those who died for civil rights having an equal claim on a warrior’s reward in the afterlife. They died fighting for a noble cause even if they died an ignoble death, they get their equivalent to Valhalla. AFAIK they all go to Valhalla and get to “play” for different teams in the mock battles that nobody dies fighting, between feasts. In fact I think those who were killed fighting for civil rights are equally deserving of being honored on this day, even if they were never a part of the Armed Services.

Enjoy your holiday, but remember the etymology of “holiday”, it is a Holy Day even if no religion claims it.

This will be a long day

I’m posting this right before midnight local time after finishing my walk(s). Technically I took two walks as recorded by my workout tracker because instead of pausing I ended the workout when I was getting stuff from the store and started a new one after I left. There are contests I’m entered in that count up to 2 workouts a day at least 20 minutes long and no more than 4 hours long, and walking back from the store is right at 25 minutes depending on how I catch the lights. I just qualified for the drawing in the one contest, but still have a ways to go in the other. One gets me free Subway food and some other stuff, the other gets me Red Bull, and a bunch of other stuff, and I just qualified for the Subway drawing.

Anywho, getting to why Sunday will be a long day, there are 3 world-class races spread over the day tomorrow. Starting at 0700 tomorrow is the Monaco Grand Prix, and about the time they get through the podium festivities there, the pre-race for the Indianapolis 500 starts at 1000 local. That runs through 0200 scheduled and we have a break until 1600 for the pre-race for the Coca-Cola World 600 from Charlotte NC, and that race is scheduled to run until 2100. That’s 12 hours of racing spread out over 14 hours of the day. And it starts about 5 hours before I normally get up. Fortunately we have coffee after I did my walk to the store. I have the feeling I will be drinking most of a pot trying to stay awake if the races are boring.

Of the races the only one I don’t know the pole sitter is Monaco, the only news I got was that Lewis Hamilton is not on the pole for the race. For Indy Ed Carpenter will lead the field to the green, and Kevin Harvick will be leading the zeroth lap at Charlotte.

Happy Memorial Day.

I need a recipe

I need something to graze on. Requirements are high fiber, low fat, moderate carb, salty or sweet depending on preparation, And simple enough for a guy who can use a slow-cooker and a rice cooker and hates complicated prep work. Crunchy if possible, but I could also go for chewy, but not mushy. Scalable so I can make 50 pounds at a time if I want, or a single serving. And it has to keep for extended periods of time for when I don’t feel like grazing right now.

And it has to be cheap to make. I don’t have tons of money for snack foods even if they are healthy enough to eat all the time instead of meals. Basically we are looking at creating Bachelor Chow from the TV show Futurama, Now With Flavor.
This is my goal.

Opus the Unkillable (but hungry)

I am disapoint

My book finally got here yesterday. Hundreds of pages about fuel injection… for other kinds of car than the donor vehicle for the Thunderbolt Grease Slapper 2. For the make of the donor vehicle it had 3 pages, none of which applied to the year my car was made. So basically I spent $9 and a week of waiting for some interesting light reading and a bunch of stuff I already had elsewhere (on my computer).

I think the local library will be getting a donation.

Something I have been looking at very hard lately is the Holley HydraMat fuel pickup and pre-filter for fuel injection systems. What it amounts to is my car will never run out of gas as long as there is gas still in the tank. Also the pre-filter on the donor vehicle is basically a screen to keep large debris out of the pump, while the latest permutation of the HydraMat is a 30 micron filter that is way better than the 100 micron post-filter on the donor vehicle. So in theory I could install a HydraMat and just plumb from the pump directly to the injectors without additional filtration. I won’t of course, because the pump could break down sending junk down the line to the injectors, but I could if all I was concerned about was the gas in the tank. Now there is the competing parameters of maximum size to allow minimum fuel for racing and minimum cost. The cheapest one is the 8″ X 3″ that for this application would mean I could get maximum fuel endurance on the highway between fill ups. If I was running a tiny tank like a 3 gallon this would make sense. Even the 10 gallon tank could use this, but for anything larger than that it doesn’t make sense. For the larger tanks the mat acts as an extended pickup to allow racing with just enough gas for the course, so it has to be large enough to catch most of the fuel slosh. The largest mat that fits the tank I have selected is the 24″ X 15″, and the cheapest that will work is the 15″ cross. How this is good is I can use a large gas tank/fuel cell for getting there, offload almost all the gas to another container when I get to the race and only have enough gas to complete the run in the car while I race, further reducing the racing weight of the car without the bother and expense of multiple tanks/cells and support systems, or finding a place to put them.

On other parts I just found out the smallest adult-length seat I can buy is gonna be too big for my backside. I think I mentioned a long time ago I did some width measurements to see about buying a streamlined shell for the Stratus and basically the only way I would fit would be removing an arm or two to make my shoulders narrower. Well I also measured my butt width, and to fit the 14.5″ wide seat on my build list I’m going to have to fill 3/4” on either side of my butt with firm foam of some kind. I think maybe the seat insert kit will fill the gap? It may have to because smaller seats are pricy and will still need the insert kit for things like back support. Although it would be nice to not have to buy the insert kit, the fact that selling the car will become necessary at some time means a removable insert to fit me can be removed for a prospective buyer to see if he or she fits. Otherwise a new seat at $300-500 for a home-built car could be a deal-breaker. I know the seat I had in my last car was too tight for most people but gave me a lot of wiggle room on long trips.

And it’s getting late and I still need to take my walk so I’ll see you later dudes.

A minor breakthrough

Still thinking about making the TGS2 lighter and simpler to build and I had a minor revelation. If I lower the 3″ tube until it is on the axle centerline that will reduce the bending moment enough to not need any bracing other than what is provided by the double-shear spring mounts (that’s a plate on either side of the coilover heim with the mounting bolt going through both plates) welded to the top. That unloads the top radius rod on the 4 link allowing for higher loads from restraining the brake rotation etc.

Someone asked me IRL how I know there is going to be so much weight in the back of the car. That one is simple: The engine and trans combined weigh 620 pounds with the CG about 10″ in front of the rear axle centerline on a car with a 100″ wheelbase that will weigh about 1600 pounds. I’ll let you do the math yourself, after I set the equation up for you. The arm for the drivetrain is 90″ and the weight is 620. The arm for the rest of the car is going to be 40″ if we are incredibly lucky, probably real close to 50″ split the difference and call it 45″ and the weight is 980. Moment is weight times arm. Add the moments together and divide by weight. That is the total arm of the car, between 63 and 65.5 and since we used the front axle as zero datum and we have a 100″ wheelbase that makes the rear percentage equal to the momentarm, I.E. between 63 and 65.5 percent. I learned this one when I was taught weights and balances for flying. Yes, I used to be a pilot before the wreck. Sioux this one was for you 😀 Math IRL for your students. Oh and the reason I don’t know the exact arm for the rest of the car is there are a bunch of parts I don’t know the exact weight for nor where they will go on the car when it’s finished. So I had to use a SWAG for the arm of the car without engine.

Excuse me I zoned out for a moment listening to an old piece from the ’70s on YTM; Mike Oldfield’s “Tubular Bells (Pt.I)”. They had just gotten to a part of the piece I call “The Procession of the Instruments” that starts about 17:00 into the piece, and continues to the end of Side One of the LP. This was one of my first experiences listening to polyrhythmic music, which my mind finds very relaxing. Anyway, Mike says the name of the instrument and they bring it up in the right channel then mix it over to the center front then over to the left and back but still up enough to hear if you focus on the sound. I didn’t know this at the time but polyrhythmic music has a calming effect on people with ADHD and PTSD. At the time there wasn’t any such thing as PTSD by that name, it was “Shell Shock” and didn’t happen to kids (that they knew), but I had been diagnosed with “something” tied to my high IQ, that we now know as ADHD. Anywho, when I listen to polyrhythmic music I zone a bit and get real calm.

Back to the car, I’m really feeling torn between totally enclosing the roof and windows and saving weight. Putting a roof and windows on it will make the car look more complete, but will need A/C in the summer. Or I could figure out some other way to keep dew and rain off the instruments and save about 50 pounds, most of it off the back of the car, by leaving the A/C in the donor vehicle and cooling the car by leaving the windows off. That would save even more weight but lower the gas mileage on the Interstate a bit. Basically all I really need is something to cover the cluster and seat when I’m not driving. I could make a snap-on cover like old hot rods and sports cars used in the ’40s and ’50s, called a tonneau. These days a tonneau is basically the thing that goes over the pickup bed when it’s empty, but back then it kept the interior clean and dry when the roof was down or if there wasn’t any roof at all. I bet I could make something with the HDPE sheet and some Velcro™ and get the same effect and roll it up inside the car when I was driving.

And I think I have meandered across the screen enough for today.

How do I make this interesting?

I’m trying not to sound like a whiney, self-absorbed blogger here. But every try so far at describing this problem comes out exactly like that. Well it’s a real problem, just not a real big problem.

It appears I am losing another source of spending money. The mobile game I play has cut way back on points payouts. The costs in points to redeem for items has not gone down at all. I’m still clearing enough to collect my weekly $1 certificate, but I’m not clearing enough to buy anything else. I’m beginning to feel a bit like a teen on an allowance I have to earn that is shrinking in buying power. It’s the early ’70s all over again, only instead of massive inflation in the things I buy it’s reduced payout. Same effect, just a different way to get there. The net effect is I’m losing about $50 a year in income or basically about half what I was making from the game. By this time of year I would have already bought several $5 certificates and so far I haven’t had the points to buy even one yet.

And nobody seems to be using the PayPal button on the sidebar to send money directly. Raw stock metal doesn’t buy itself, if you want better content I need to be able to build something rather than just talk about building something. Or just buy the metal online and have it delivered to Casa de El Poeta, address on request. Speedway Motors also has my addy if you want to get something through them. I think other people can look at my Build List to find the parts. Nope, just checked with Speedway and the only people who can see my build list(s) are me and them.

Seriously, I need some help here. Money, parts, raw stock, it all helps.

Opus the Unkillable

Finally a positive message about self-worth

Something Positive “Someone” in my case is Mrs. the Poet and my credit union account. Yes, my credit union account is listed as the beneficiary of my credit union life insurance policy when Mrs. the Poet dies. That way I don’t have to update the paperwork as relatives die off, whoever gets control of my finances after I die gets the money. Whoo hoo! big money. I think I’m up to $10K now. After the cremation that leaves about $7K for the beer bash.

I got the locks sheared and am now sporting a fresh flat top haircut with the little bits of hair still going everywhere. I think I will need to take a quick rinse under the shower before bed tonight to get a good sleep. I was upset to find out the stylist who has been cutting my hair the last couple of years is quitting the end of this week. Now I have to find another stylist/barber that knows how to do a flat top. I tried the #1 all over and it makes me look like I’m on my last week on death row with the shape of my skull. Or that someone is getting ready to break the rack (cueball). I think between the flat top and my winter beard I do a pretty good job of disguising the shape of my head most of the time.

I was thinking about the front axle, that if I have the ability to make it I could have saved a bunch of weight. I ran the numbers and the 2″ X 0.25″ wall tube is massive overkill for my application. Emphasis on “massive”. The whole unit less brackets weighs 28 pounds, the bare tube just over 23 of that. With the coilovers mounting as close to the ends as I plan I could build a 6000 pound front end and it still wouldn’t overstress the axle. That’s about 4 of my whole car sitting on the front end and no damage. If I had the tooling to make an axle I could make mine from the same tubing as my roll bar and still not bend it. That would weigh right at half of the one I bought, but nobody else could use it if it didn’t get put in a Mid-Bucket. There would be plenty of safety margin for a car with only 500 pounds on the front end, considerably less for a front-engine bucket, and none at all for a fat-fender rod. Now if I really wanted to go light I would swap the 2″ steel tube for a same size one in a weldable aluminum alloy and get an 11 pound axle instead of 28 pounds. But it wouldn’t last long with the forged steel spindles because of dissimilar metals corrosion.

It has been a long day today, I’ll write more later.