Monthly Archives: January 2019

I woke up too early today

And yesterday too for that matter, and the one led to the other. I had to get up early to catch the bus to the Lab Rat Keeper to get there by 1130 which required leaving the house by 0930. Which in turn required getting up about 0800, which is roughly 20 minutes after I finally got to sleep Tuesday night. So running on caffeine and adrenaline all day yesterday and going shopping and navigating the bus system I finally started to shut down about midnight instead of when the school bus picks up the kids across the street. And I didn’t sleep soundly so Mrs. the Poet accidentally woke me up early this AM instead of letting me sleep until I normally get up.

Also I was supposed to go pay my cell bill today, but I felt wonky all day and I was also still a little leg and foot sore from all the walking I did yesterday. So I’m going to go pay it tomorrow instead, but that means nobody will be able to contact me until I get it paid. I won’t be getting constant text spam and phone calls, what will I do? /s (official internet designation that the entirety of the previous sentence was snark). Actually I felt so wonky that I didn’t do a lot of things until Mrs. the Poet reminded me, like eating. I got breakfast on my own but after that I got a little at a loss, and would have missed eating completely without getting a reminder to consume mass quantities (70s media reference there, 25 culture points to the house of the reader who can name it).

Also I got another e-mail about that dyno test I linked to last week with the 494 torque at 4000 RPM and only 405 HP at only 4900 RPM. The people who made the manifold say that the 224°@0.050″ lift is about the lower limit on getting air through the manifold at higher RPM and that normal cams for the usual dual-plane manifolds will stop producing power about 4500 RPM, and that it takes a lot of duration to get through the acoustic ram tuning inherent in the manifold to get power above 5000 RPM. And that because of that acoustic tuning the low RPM torque wouldn’t drop off either, much, especially with a 383 making the acoustics ring. Another Bad Idea was using Tri-Y exhaust manifolds with this combination unless I’m making a car or truck to pull stumps out of the ground. Seriously, using this manifold requires a re-think of every component because of the strength of the acoustic tuning below peak torque and the way it interferes with airflow above the torque peak, including things that reinforce low end torque, like small diameter long-tube headers or Tri-y headers.

And I “rilly” need to wrap this up before my brain turns to oatmeal, yum, oatmeal…


Got the gas, got two of three bolts

And also got the drills to put the bolts in the board when I cut it later. Good news is I don’t have to take the torch back to the store, it works fine. I didn’t take a picture because everybody has seen fire and just about everyone has seen the blue flame of a butane torch. More good news, the rod bends smoothly around the bolt when I heat it and holds its shape after I pull it away from the heat.

Bad news, I still haven’t got those rod ends from Dirt Modeller and there was no tracking information on the web site to tell me where they are now. It has only been a week, even though it seems longer because of the politics of the age. And I just face-planted into the keyboard again. another post tomorrow.

Update on the mystery of the manifold

Right after I posted before going to bed last night I finally got an e-mail from the guy who built the engine in that YouTube video I posted. He went with more duration until he put a cam in so big he couldn’t get the ECU to calibrate and still couldn’t get any power above 5000 RPM. The engine in the video had a cam with a duration of 224°@ 0.050 lift (a standard way of determining useful duration) as that was pretty much the limit for an engine that would have a streetable idle he could get the ECU to work with. Maybe this issue would not be a problem these days with the more sophisticated ECUs that we have available now.

Or I could just get the EFI version of the BluePrint 383 and not worry about it. But the issue seems to be fighting the acoustic tuning of the manifold, not the available airflow. 🤷‍♂️ Also, why can’t my spellchecker handle plurals of words it knows how to spell? 🤷‍♂️

Y’all have a good day now.

Change of plans

I still haven’t made it to buy the butane and bolts. For some reason I just haven’t been able to get myself over there even though I have been able to get out of the house for other things. It’s even within walking distance, or what used to be walking distance until recently. What with the problem I have been having with my hip, and the problems I have been having not falling on my face when I get tired. So I don’t know what the problem is in getting butane and a few bolts. I plan on making a loop to the Lowe’s Wednesday after the Lab Rat Keeper to get the stuff, so no excuses.

I’m still tracking down why that one 383 build with the FIRST TPI manifold had such a steep drop-off of the torque curve. The data I have so far indicates the cam might be to blame because the guy that sells the manifold says the manifold does exactly what I saw in the video, but it can still make power at high RPM with even more displacement normally aspirated, and the heads were aftermarket aluminum so they should not be the source of the problem, either. That leaves only the cam in the Otto cycle (suck, squeeze, bang, blow) power equation unaccounted for. As I said in an earlier post the power output is fine, but the lack of power above 5000 RPM isn’t. So, more research on the cam specs is in order, and if it is a lift or a duration issue, or a combination of the two. Because head design does figure into it, how the intake port flows at low lift compared to high lift can dictate the cam specs. A combination that has relatively lower flow at low lift but greater flow at high lift (compared to another port design) requires spending less time at low lift and more time at high lift, so getting a cam with really high lift to get through the “bad” part of the flow as quickly as possible would be better than a longer duration cam with lift that wasn’t as high, Or given this manifold uses acoustic tuning for ram effect, maybe leaving the intake valve open longer would allow more ram effect and more air in the engine. Engines, like life in general, are a series of compromises.

I still don’t know what engine I will use on the Sprint-T, but I don’t seem to be able to let this problem go. I might end up with a Pentastar still, or a Subaru, or whatever I find that I can afford and get to the house. But right now I want to solve this mystery.

And I also need to get my fuzzy butt in a bed right now, so time to put the post to bed, unintentional pun.

This has been bothering me

And keeping me awake at night.

Remember that dyno test video I linked to last week? The one that had 490 Ft-lbs of torque but only 405 HP? I keep going back to the graph that could be seen near the end and wondering why the power graph just went flat above 5000 RPM. A flat power graph usually indicates maximum airflow has been reached and no matter how high you twist the engine T*RPM/5252 just isn’t going to get any better because torque is falling as fast or faster than RPM is rising. You just can’t burn any more fuel because you can’t get any more air in the engine. And what has been keeping me awake has been where is the restriction? The possible sources are the manifold, the heads, and the camshaft profile not allowing the other two to work above a certain RPM. If it’s the cam or the heads then that means just a different choice of parts during the expensive part of the build, but if it’s the manifold I might be able to crutch around the problem with gearing.

Because that torque number is freaking ridiculous. This is a normally aspirated build that had higher torque numbers than some supercharged or turbo builds, meaning the ram effect was taking the engine to >100% Volumetric Efficiency (VE) at torque peak. And looking at the torque graph in the video the peak torque was on the second torque peak, there was another peak at much lower RPM that was almost as high. For a NA engine that would be a torque number more natural for a much larger engine, the engine was taking in way more than its displacement without the use of mechanical assistance. Now all I need to do is figure out how to keep that up well past torque peak or I’m going to be stuck with a power band that is only about 1000 RPM wide, the space between peak torque and peak power. I’m still talking about installing a crazy cam profile, probably stupid high lift, to keep the airflow up well past the torque peak, and adjusting the gearing to put the power higher in the vehicle speed range, which would be fantastic for fuel economy. I mean the gears in the transmission are set in the factory, so the only thing I can change would be the final drive ratio to a higher (lower numerical) ratio. And because I don’t have room for a clutch pedal with a SBC that means if I set the final drive to hit redline in first at 40-60 MPH the cruise RPM would be ~4.6:1 lower than that. Which would mean very low cruise RPM and pretty good fuel economy.

Now I need to get ready for game.

Back to the bike stuff temporarily

I was reading some of the online newspapers like Gothamist and BikePortland, and the same old anger that made me quit writing about wrecks a few years back came bubbling up, mostly about people in cars making life dangerous for cyclists just to save a few seconds or a few steps. Gothamist was talking about towing cars from bus lanes (but not from bike lanes), and BikePortland was talking about right hooks in general and an injury wreck that appeared to be a right hook in specifics. Basically it was all about cars in bicycle infrastructure and not getting penalized for it. I don’t want to go down that road again, because the eventual destination is not good for me, but I do want to make a statement: If you see a car parked in a bike lane you should put down road flares to direct bike travel around the car and car travel around the car, and the tow truck, and bikes that will have to move into the general travel lane to get around the car. And if the flares happen to get too close to the car and maybe cause a tire to blow up or the gas tank to catch fire, well that’s just one of those things that “happens”, you know? Kinda how cars hitting cyclists “just happens”. Because putting down flares to direct traffic around an illegally parked car is all for safety, not to “accidentally” give the entitled driver an extra-judicial “traffic ticket” and fine. And if a bunch of illegally-parked cars catch on fire or blow up the left rear tire, they shouldn’t have been parked illegally, right?

Because traffic enforcement should never have to be a DIY project.

Shopping take two

I didn’t get out to buy butane and bolts today because Mrs. the Poet got a call to go to lunch with a friend and I had already started a pot of beans and couldn’t leave them unattended for the hours and hours they need to assume their beany goodness. So she went out and I stayed with the beans, and I will go shopping on Friday. NBD.

I’m sitting at my desk eating my last meal of the day, which is usually the sandwich and veggies Mrs. the Poet makes for lunch, but because she went out for lunch I had to scrounge up my own food today, after spending hours slaving over a CrockPot full of beans and ham bone. In such a situation my goto meal is usually something in the ramen family or cup noodles, this time microwave ramen bowl with veggies. It is just a constant source of amazement that that tiny packet of dehydrated veggies fills so much of the plastic bowl the noodles ship in. I mean the package is barely as big as two matchbooks, but after cooking there is about a third of the bowl full of veggies. The noodles hardly change at all, but when the veggies are rehydrated suddenly there is a bowl full of food in front of me. I don’t care what others say to me this is one of the miracles of the modern age.

So anyway while I was making sure nothing bad happened to the beans I had some time to think about the reason for the shopping trip. One thing I came up with was spending the extra money for a second 5/16” bolt to make the jig for the roll hoops, since they are going to be identical now. And with the jig I could theoretically make a kit for converting the AMT T roadster kits into a Mini Sprint-T if that seemed like it was a good idea. Right now it isn’t, but that might change in the future, who can say? Certainly not me. My prognostication abilities aren’t that precise. When I was asked to look at the possible outcomes of Bush v Gore I saw battles and chaos and interpreted that as possible civil war or riots in the streets, not the Iran /Afghan wars.

Anyway, back to the car model, if I can find some good wood in the garage I can drill a couple of holes in it to put the bolts into that would be the right distance apart. Then after making the first bend I could use the second bolt as a jig and make the second bend to make the hoop the exact right size for the frame, using guide marks on the jig to get the angles right, which is almost a pun, because both hoops need to have their legs bent to a right angle to the top bar of the hoop. The design has gone through some iterations where this was not a true statement, but for the time being it is true. Both hoops are the same, same width and same angles, and when the frame is finished and painted the internal bracing for the rear hoop gets bolted into the 1:1 Sprint-T after the painted and wired body gets slipped inside the frame and roll cage. Technically that should be a slash (/) instead of the word “and” because the frame rails go around the roll cage which forms structural bulkheads in the frame and the roll hoop bracing becomes part of the triangulation of the frame. As I pointed out years ago now, frame stiffness is a function of d4 where in this case d is the average distance from the bottom of the bottom rail to the top of the top rail, and running the top rail over the roll cage increases d to the max it can be without making either the top or bottom disconnected from the rest of the frame. And it’s much easier to build the frame with removable sections than it is to either spray the body inside the frame a different color, or build the frame around the body without causing damage to the body or getting overspray on the frame or body or both. The tricky part for the model is getting that same effect without messing up the paint when gluing the braces in the frame. I think I might need to use cyanoacrylate for these joints instead of my usual Testors solvent cement because “assembled after paint” so these joints will require a bit more patience fitting together than the ones for the solvent cement. And it’s starting to get to be time to hit the sheets, so I’m cutting this one short here.

I found something that made me rethink what I had planned for the Sprint-T

I found a You Tube video that makes me seriously reconsider using the FIRST TPI efi manifold. One of the things I had been led to believe was this manifold had an extended RPM range and kept on making power at high RPM. Well, I guess compared to the original TPI from the ’80s and ’90s that would be true, but this test showed a power peak well below the calculation crossover at 5252 RPM (HP= Torque in Ft-lbs*RPM/5252, the point where Torque = HP is 5252 RPM) and the BluePrint crate 383 makes more power and continues to breathe through a Chinese dual plane manifold and 750 CFM carburetor. Now granted the FIRST manifold made 44 more Ft-Lbs of torque, the type of head used for the FIRST manifold test was not listed, and the cam was not mentioned, but the BluePrint engine made the same torque (440 Ft-Lbs) with both a flat-tappet and a roller cam and that Chinese dual plane manifold and Holley 750 CFM carburetor. Something else not mentioned was the headers used in the FIRST test, where the BluePrint tests with 13/4” long-tube headers. Now for an engine packing 383 cubes that is a low-end torque header. Note edited 2019/26/1 to correct header tube diameter from 15/8” to the current size after getting better information.

Well, I plan on making a trip to Lowe’s today to get a couple of 5/16” bolts for the roll cage bender, a 5/8” bolt for the exhaust turnout bender, and a can of butane to make the bender work. So I should probably get to bed now.

Nothing much to talk about

Mrs. the Poet said I should just put the checks for the taxes in the mail this week and not worry about it. We kinda played some for the Shadowrun game on Sunday, but mostly with the weather doing the yo-yo thing I have been doing my “bear in winter” impression. Seriously this weather is seriously sapping my desire to even get out of bed at whatever time I stop sleeping. I have been huddled under the covers being borderline depressed, as in episode depressed, and not managing to work up a care to even check what has been wrought against the country by People Enabled By Russians. I mean I saw the kid from the Catholic school bothering the Native American Elder after marching against women controlling their own bodies. Because that is a thing that Catholic School Boys do, protest women controlling their own bodies and bother Native elders.

Other than that I have to pretty much force myself to eat anything after breakfast because I’m just not hungry after I get morning coffee, even if “morning” is 1300-1600 or so, like I wrote earlier getting out from under the warm blankets is very hard because warm, and because there is a cold draft blowing under the desk where I do my computer stuff now. Out away from the desk is fine, but under the desk is freezing (well colder than the rest of the room) and I really don’t want to get out from under the blankets to go work on the computer, which I have to do because otherwise I can’t post to this blog. Seriously, I can’t type worth a damn on my phone so if there is going to be a blog post I have to stick my legs under this drafty desk. I keep a blanket to cover my legs when I’m using the computer because otherwise I’m overdressed for the temperature if I’m warm enough under the desk. And with the current weather it’s even worse than normal because the wind forces the cold air through the leaks in the window.

Anyway, to kill time I have been looking some more at the FIRST TPI intake and fuel injection manifold, and it seems to be an intermediate step for the SBC between the LS engines and a carburetted engine, with low RPM torque like a dual plane intake and small 4BBL and high RPM like a single plane intake with a huge Dominator-style 4BBL. Or in other words very much like an LS engine with the plastic manifold but still only coughing up SBC change instead of LS engine co$t$. I think I mentioned this build is more about powerband than peak HP, because there is at least one turn that will see near idle speed in first gear on the majority of Goodguys courses and almost no place to use a high peak power. That is exactly what this manifold is made for.

And making another right-angle turn at full speed in the narrative, the stainless steel raw stock for the Mini Sprint-T suspension came in today in another ridiculously overpackaged container. The shipping container was worth more than the raw stock inside it. Anyway what came today was 1mm OD stainless tubing that will fit the simulated heim joints perfectly from Dirt Modeler and is something else that requires the use of the butane torch I bought at Harbor Freight to join together with intended parts. I still have the pure solder (no flux) left over from making the hot water heater for the camp shower a few years back, there was a minimum required quantity that was about 3 times as much as I needed to make the heater, so I have enough for several thousand simulated heim joints that require only a tiny drop of molten solder to affix them permanently.

Robert Burns was an optimist.

In case that went over your head he was the one who wrote the comment about making plans whether you were a mouse or human. Depending on which transcription you have the last phrase reads either “gang aft agley” or “oft gang agley”. Well today’s plans went very “agley” because after being awake for nearly 20 hours and spending several hours on various “devices” my neck decided that I wasn’t going to be taking any walks. And paying taxes required a long walk of about a mile, more or less. So connecting the dots, working the Venn diagram, whatever you want to call it, I was not able to pay taxes. And I didn’t get to bed until about 1400, which was shortly before I got up yesterday. Now tomorrow will be fun as I spend another 20 or so hours awake to reset my sleep cycle to something resembling diurnal. After I get back from grocery shopping.

Speaking of shopping one thing I still need to get is butane for the plastic bending torch. That original sentence was “rod bending” but then I remembered some of my raw stock was only available as tubing in the size I needed, so “plastic bending” now. And I’m finding out stuff about what I need to use for the bending form. The SFI rule for certifying roll cage/bar bends is they need to have a minimum centerline radius of 3*D where D is the outside diameter of the tube used in the structure. That means I need to make my bending form 2((3*0.060)-0.030) in diameter for scale SFI-certifiable bends, or 0.3″ diameter which is almost exactly the OD of a 5/16″ fine-thread bolt over the threads. So my bender would have a 5/16″ bolt with washers permanently fixed just over 0.060″ apart held in some kind of fixture and the OD of the washers turned down to 0.420″ to allow for the bender follower to force the stock against the OD of the bending form. And I know that’s a lot of technical babble for a paragraph, much less for a single sentence, Gomen nasai and I really hope I spelled that right, it has been more than 20 years since I was in a Japanese class. In case I didn’t spell that right that is the Formal Apology (I don’t remember the informal form), because when you inflict your mistakes on strangers like I just did you must use the Formal form to apologize.

Moving on… the weather has done a Texas Weather thing, we are going from nearly 70°F this afternoon to just above freezing with rain and gale-force winds in the morning. 😡 and 🤒 At least both cats were smart enough to come in from the rain this time. 😼 The forecast for grocery shopping is less rainy, warmer, and less windy.