It happened again!

I was thinking while walking again, and I wondered if a single 3″ OD 0.120 wall tube weighed more or less than the complex truss of half-inch tubing I designed for the de Dion suspension that still needed more work to actually support putting a spring on it. So when I got home I looked up my truss calculations and found I was putting just shy of 15 pounds of tubes in the version that just kept the rear wheels pointed in the right direction.

Then I ran a quick bending load calculation on the 3″ tube and it won’t need any extra support aside from the gusseting action of the spring mount (I mount coilovers in double shear mounts and tie them with bulkheads). Then I looked up how much it would weigh…18 pounds for just the bare tube, 20 with the brackets to make the upright adjustable.

Five pounds, I spent hours with a calculator, and paper and pencil for a design that saved 5 pounds and still needed more work to get right. Five freaking pounds, at minimum wage those pounds cost me about $20 each, maybe more. Probably more. A classic case of over-design. Now granted it would take a huge shunt to make a rear wheel point in the wrong direction and there is a good chance the tire would get knocked off the rim or the rim bend or break first, but the fact remains I couldn’t mount a spring anywhere except the upright or trailing arm without redesigning the truss, and adding weight, when I discovered that there was no way to balance the handling without moving the rear springs inboard. Now the fun part is moving the spring mounts on the frame inboard to prevent frame flex.

There are a couple of ways I can move those mounts in to get the springs off the ends of the axle. One is just change the mounting point to the crossmember and make that a truss to handle the bending load. Or I could continue to mount the springs to the heavily triangulated intersection of the upper frame rail, lower frame rail, center top hoop of the roll cage to upper frame rail brace, crossmember, lower crossmember to watt’s link center mount brace and taillight mount (that’s the intersection of 5 tubes in 3 different planes triangulating the mount to kingdom come) and move that complex intersection inboard a few inches as needed. Right now that intersection exists only on paper, not in steel, so moving it is just a matter of changing a drawing. This would also have an effect on the engine mounts as the tubes they mount on get moved inboard an as yet to be determined amount.

Now I’m going to open up a beer and eventually go to bed.

Opus the Unkillable


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