Yesterday was a complete flop for pretty much everything as I tried to catch up from spending pretty much the entire day playing Shadowrun on Sunday, with a needy (and kneady) cat in my lap most of yesterday. I have decided today is Bean Day, so the crock pot is full of simmering vegetarian goodness, and I’m caught up on everything except posting to the blog.
Some time this week I need to wander by an auto parts store with my calipers and measure the oil filter for my engine so I can scale that picture of the engine, since it doesn’t look like I will have access to my donor vehicle any time soon. The current possessor of the minivan hasn’t shown much inclination towards delivery and until I can find an engine hoist somewhere I don’t have much I can do with it if I had it. But once I know the diameter of the oil filter (which doesn’t seem to be a common piece of data) I will be able to scale the picture I have of the engine and transmission.
That grey and silver thing to the right of the oil filter (the white thing on the front of the engine) is the forward engine mount and roughly on the CG of the engine/transmission combined. There’s another one behind the engine in this picture and they are supposed to carry most of the weight of the assembly. What I have to determine is how much of the accessory drive and transmission are going to stick out from the bottom of the body. That measurement will determine where I put the bucket body in relationship to the rear axle and engine.
I was also thinking about things like the engine cover and the driver compartment. These will change depending on where the bucket part of the body sits in relation to the engine if the wheelbase stays the same, and what I really want to do is keep the wheelbase as short as possible. Because of the physical size of the engine and the fuel tank and yr fthfl srvnt in the driver’s seat about the shortest I can make the wheelbase is 97-98″ without reducing the “ferry” range of the car. Since I plan on converting the engine to full-time E85 consumption and there is a lack of E85 west of TX to CA I have to either detune the engine for 91 octane premium gas or buy a really big gas tank to bridge the gaps between stations. The limitation here is once the compression ratio has been raised to use all of the antiknock of E85 the tune to run 91 premium is pretty gutless and uses more gas than if I could run E85.
And I have been researching the costs of reprogramming the factory computers to work in the TGS2 vs using a standalone controller that has to be programmed, and the costs are shifting back in favor of the standalone, but only just. Just about any tuner in town can program a MegaSquirt controller, and I can do the MegaShift transmission controller by myself with the free software, but the 22YO factory computer is fast becoming a specialist-only orphan that requires a cost premium for programming that exceeds the savings of using existing equipment. One thing I’m being told is the software to reprogram the OE controller is no longer available or that the version available will not run on current laptops. I’m more inclined to believe the latter statement is the actual truth, especially legacy code like you would expect for a 1996 ECM. I mean when the controller was built Win95 was replacing 3.2 and laptops were the equivalent of tens of thousands of today’s dollars and people using them had to have mobile computing. The laptop I’m doing this post on was $200 after tax as a point of comparison, and I’m using it because it’s faster than my old desktop. So, it’s extremely likely the software is for a version of Windows that is no longer supported by Microsoft.