Category Archives: Department of DIY

I need to write something

Like seriously need to write. The only problem is I have no idea what I’m going to write about. It’s like that old science fiction story by Harlan Ellison, “I have no mouth and I must scream”, except I have to write something etc. etc. Which is where I started this piece about 20 minutes ago.

I guess I could mention what my son gave me for my birthday. The local grocery started carrying Shiner Sausage, a beef log kinda thing made near Shiner TX, where they make the beer. Yes, that Shiner. Anywho, they make the sausage near where the pagans have a campground for celebrating our Big Two holidays. You know how they have Easter and Christmas “Christians” that only show up in church then? Well our two big holidays are Beltain and Samhain. Beltain is pronounced pretty much like it’s spelled but Samhain is pronounced “SOW-wen”, not that that is important to this, but important enough to tell you about. I’m free-associating here, but there is a point I’m going to get to some time before I finish this. Yeah, where they make sausage is the landmark for turning off the main highway onto the little back road that takes you to the gravel road where the pagans’ campground is. I would tell you what the road is but telling you about the sausage factory already gets you too close to finding where us pagans dance naked in the moonlight. Because of my bad hips and knees I don’t actually dance naked anymore, I just kind of shuffle around in the dark and make passes at the lesbians, because they’re the cute ones. Anywho, sausage, birthday, my birthday is Tuesday, and Mrs. the Poet and I are going to go to the Red Robin because I get a free burger, and Mrs. the Poet gets the free one and I buy the one with the half-pound of beef, another half-pound of bacon, and a fried egg on top and endless fries. And a sundae, I also get a free sundae before I hit the meat coma. And that Sausage is a 12 oz. package and costs $7 which just goes to show that when you use local steers and local labor to make your all beef sausage it costs a bit more than commodity beef and overseas labor. I think it’s worth it.

Then I hope I recover consciousness in time to go to my doctor appointment next Tuesday. That part is a joke, because I never take more than a night to sleep off a meal like that. Now I might not be ready for much more than a cup of coffee the next morning, but I always wake up the next morning. Or if I don’t, nobody tells me I didn’t wake up the next day, and it seems like that would be something people would really like to tell me about: “Hey Opus, remember that time you ate so much you didn’t wake up for a whole day?” That kind of stuff, nobody has ever brought it up, so I’m assuming it never happened.

And the overwhelming urge to sit down and write has passed. Mostly. I still wanna write about the paper I found on designing intake manifolds, but mostly I found that if I did the math right I need to make a manifold with 2 plenums feeding 4 cylinders through 2 throttle bodies, and I need to make the runners 180° apart for the whole 720° cycle of the engine. That means I need to have 3 runners from one bank and one from the other bank of cylinders, or I could just have all the cylinders one each bank fed from one plenum and not worry about Helmholtz resonance because otherwise I’ll have an ungodly mess trying to get the runners and the plenum volumes tuned when I don’t have an engine with a 180° crank, which the LS engine doesn’t have. Some of the LT series are fitted with a 180° crank and I could use crossram and also use Helmholtz resonance to get tuned port charge effects, but those engines are like $50k and way out of my price range (free). Well free for the moment, when I start getting Social Security I hope to raise that to $500 for the engine. But yeah, crossram and the injector at the top of the runner to get that charge cooling effect from the fuel getting introduced at the top of the runner especially when I’m using E85. Now I had been considering doing a single plenum like the old TPI system, but the paper reminded me that fuel doesn’t like to stay mixed with air if there are any turns to negotiate. There are a couple of major turns to negotiate if I try to use a single plenum to feed both banks with long runners, unless I make a very tall manifold that doesn’t make the runners cross under the plenum. Even so, there is at least one turn taking the runners from vertical through the ~45° turn to hit the intake ports on a 90° V8.

And now I’m completely out of urge to write, meaning this stream of consciousness has hit a dam.

The paperwork is in

Just got two thick envelopes from Social Security today and it verified that my first check will be $915 and will hit the bank 11/26. Still trying to find out what the status is on what’s left of my inheritance from Dad dying in 2012. The trust is dissolving this year and tax hit on that could be massive. Also I need to go to the bank and set up a diversion to put money from my Social Security in the firewalled account that I can’t get to from my ATM card or online, the one I have to go to the bank and present ID in person to take money out of it.

And I just heard that Ruth Bader Ginsburg died, and no longer feel like writing. What I feel like is opening a gallon of ice cream and crying in a corner. Goodnight.

Nothing much new

I’ve been doing some figuring on the intake manifold and cam combination, but TBH this one is not well covered in the public literature and simulations. Except for the Holdener videos this is pretty much terra incognita for published data. And not to be tooting my own horn, one of the things I was really good at was drawing correct conclusions from insufficient data. And right now I’m dealing with way too little data, essentially only 5 data points between the Holdener videos and two other TPI videos, and those two went with the commonly accepted practice of short duration cams with the long runner intakes. Like 240° advertised duration or less short. My theory hypothesis is 270°@0.050″ lift at a minimum and 290°@0.050 preferred, those are considered radical durations that would have terrible idle and low RPM manners if not for the stupid long runners, but even so would not work without the large cross-sectional area of those long runners giving good airflow for the upper RPM ranges.

On other things I’m putting out an ad for someone to make my car work as DLC for GT5 so I can drive it on the gokart tracks I built with the track editor in the game. Translating that to English I’m asking for someone to code the Sprint-T as Down Loadable Content for Gran Turismo 5, so I could make it usable in the game. I could use the free classifieds in Grassroots Motorsports to request submissions. The thing is I have zero idea of what information would be needed for the game version of the Sprint-T. I know the tuning choices give 3 selections each from 3 categories of tire, and some cars have the option for tuning the power output from the engine, to that means a variable with a range for power and also variables for grip and hydroplane resistance in the tires. Now how sophisticated the tire modelling is??? it could be as simple as a simple ratio for grip that is dependent on tire choice or a multi-variable algorithm that takes temperature and depth of standing water along with a bunch of other things into consideration. And there’s nothing I can find on the internet about it. I can find some of what has to be simulated in this formula “Pacejka Magic Formula” Physics Doctorial thesis on the web and simplified formulas for designers and in video format Brian Beckman: The Physics in Games- Real Time Simulation Explained. The biggest thing is the physical limitations of the CPU and GPU as the formulas get to various limits that end up dividing by very small numbers and the answers get larger than the registers in the CPU or GPU. Which has nothing to do with how GT5 stores its car models, just a taste of what’s involved in building that model. And after all that I still don’t know how to get from the piles of parts distributed around the house to driving pixels on my TV screen, which is why I’m thinking about paying someone to do it for me.

And I just face-planted in the keyboard because I’m glazing over at the programming details that don’t apply to this situation, so this is a good place to put this to bed and me shortly after.

Waiting for the call from Social Security

As I’m composing this I am literally waiting for Social Security to call about starting my checks, because I will be 62 in 11 days. This will nearly double our before-tax income here at Casa de El Poeta. The plan is to figure out our big single-chunk payments and put that money into the firewalled account at the credit union every month. Whatever is left over is my spending money for things like meds, massages, clothing, and books and food.

Notice I put books and food in the same phrase. There is a reason for that, I consider them both as essential to maintaining my life. I don’t think I need to explain why I need to eat, but I also need to have mental stimulation on the regular. Usually I get that from the Web these days, but there are times when I want to unplug, literally, and read a dead tree. I have magazine subscriptions but there is just something about holding a book and turning the pages that makes that a completely different experience from reading on the web, or from my Kindle app. Also we sometimes lose power and internet (and phone too, but that’s not pertinent to reading) so I need something that doesn’t require anything more than a light source to read. Books and magazines cover that need nicely.

One thing I’m looking forward to is having the funds to get a weekly massage. Now I don’t absolutely need to get a massage every week, but things would work much better if I did. As previously reported, I have a bunch of old injuries that massage is good for relieving the pain and stiffness without resorting to chemical enhancements. And massage is a good adjunct to those chemicals, making them work better at making me move. Plus massage is good for other needs that are theraputic, but not for my body. Massage is also good for my skin hunger needs, my physical need to be touched by another human being. I have found through bitter experience that bad things happen if I don’t tend to things like skin hunger properly. But that won’t be a problem now that I have the money to get frequent and regular massage.

OK just got done with the call from SS, and I’m getting my first check the fourth Wednesday of November, Woo!! I get paid for October in November because I don’t get paid until the first of the month after I qualify, and the check is sent the fourth Wednesday because my birthday is the 22nd, which is technically the first day of the fourth week. So I have to wait 2 months for my first check because reasons. Ah, well, we have survived this long without it, another 2 months ain’t going to kill us.

Now this isn’t enough money to build the Sprint-T, at least not all at once. But it does expand the budget a bit. Not by much, but enough that there is a possibility I will be able to drive it when it’s finished.

Speaking of the Sprint-T I mentioned building a carbon fiber intake manifold earlier, so I think I should explain that in a bit of detail. The fabricated aluminum manifold I mentioned way back requires use of forming bucks to provide a shape to beat the aluminum around. Thing is those can also be used as molds for laying woven fibers saturated with resin around and trimming to size after curing, instead of beating aluminum into shape and trimming to size after forming. The thing is the CF is much lighter than aluminum, making for a manifold that weighs a few pounds, like 3 or 4, instead of one that weighs more than 10-15 pounds. This is not a lot, but it is about 10 pounds plus or minus, and 10 pounds is a significant percentage of the race weight, about half of the fuel in the race tank.

This is one reason why I agonize over the weight of wheels and tires, because they are weight that is part of the total, and more importantly because they are unspring weight that hampers ride and handling. Unsprung weight and rotating weight are the two types of weight that have the most negative impact on performance, and tire and wheels are both of those. Hence the figurative hair pulling when making decisions about them on a build like the Sprint-T that has so little total weight the unsprung-to-sprung weight ratio is going to be bad pretty much no matter what I do. I mean the weight of the car and driver with a full race tank of fuel is pushing 1800 pounds (818 Kg), that is light by almost any standards.

And this looks like a good spot to put this post to bed before I go off on a tangent. To summarise, I will have a stable source of income for the first time in over a decade, things are good.

Ouch! I got some exercise

I went out to get lottery tickets the long way and took the long way home for about a mile and a quarter walk. My old feet did not take kindly to the abuse and started to swell inside my shoes, and let’s just say the results were neither pretty nor comfortable.

I’m still thinking about the alternator and driving the stock water pump on the LS engine, and discovered after a few minutes that no matter which side of the engine I hung the alternator I was going to need an idler pulley to turn the water pump the right direction, because physics. The rib side needs to drive the alternator and the crank pulleys, the flat side needs to drive the water pump. That means the belt has to change direction twice to get everything running the right direction, and that means an extra idler, or two alternators with one placed in a strange orientation to be running the right direction while driven by the wrong side of the belt. Personally, I prefer an idler and a high amperage single alternator over trying to wire in two alternators to the electrical system. But it is feasible to run two alternators if you include blocking diodes to prevent power from trying to go into a dead alternator. I think the technical term is a “crowbar” diode to stop the flow of current if the alternator shorts out.

And this came in as I was composing this, Mrs. the Poet is doing some volunteer work for the election and has some information about us on the voter registration list, and there was a strange phone number attached to our names. I did a reverse lookup and it either is now or at sometime in the past was for a church in Grand Prairie, which is a few miles down the road, and about three cities are between us and the church. Looking further had my name and my father’s birthday attached to this number, which is understandable because we have different middle names to prevent me from being a Junior, but the same first name and middle initials. And obviously this is not in my stage and pen names because he was never “Opus”. He’s always been “John” or “Johnny”. But it was funny to see me listed as 85 YO, and a whole bunch of old addresses where we used to live. Further investigation shows another person currently attached to the number over in a different part of town who I never heard of. A quote from Alice seems appropriate: “Curiouser and curiouser”.

Now, back to the Sprint-T, I have also been thinking about that intake manifold and how to make it. One thing I was thinking about was to use carbon fiber around a positive mold for the runners and just doing everything into a single unit that will bolt to the heads. I have been thinking about mounting the injectors in the roof of the plenum aimed at the mouths of the runners for charge cooling, since the runners are all downhill to the mounting face on the heads. All of the fuel sprayed into the runners will get to the cylinder it was intended for, eventually. Now making sure the fuel delivered is the fuel needed will take some finagling in the tune, but I don’t see that as an insurmountable problem so much as a calibration issue with on-throttle enrichment. This is a programming function that acts like the acceleration pump in a carb, except in software. And calibration is similar to calibrating the pump shot on a carb set up, by trial and error on the street or track. The tuner has to start with enrichment disabled, then gradually increase enrichment until the engine runs smoothly even when throttle settings go from idle to wide open in a fraction of a second. The tricky part is a little too much enrichment acts like a little too little, a slight stumble on tip-in. That’s why taking very small steps is better, because the tuner is more likely to hit the sweet spot in throttle response before going past it.

And this looks like a good place to put this post to bed.

Can’t stop thinking

And you can get back out from under whatever sturdy object you got under when you read that headline, because this is (relatively) harmless. I have been thinking about applying lessons from Richard Holdener’s TPI manifold test especially the part starting at 5:11. You notice that the manifold that made the most average power was the one with the standard TPI length runners and the biggest ports, with 534 ft-pounds of torque and 460 HP at widely separated points on the RPM curve and not much sag between those points.

I have been looking at the runner lengths of the various LS manifolds and nothing was even close to the old TPI intake 21.5 inch runners, the best being the Dorman truck replacement manifold at just over 11″. To go with that the runner cross-section seemed to be a lot smaller on the long-runner manifolds. This is 180° out from what the Holdener tests showed, that to get both high low speed torque and high peak power you needed long runners that were as big as you could make them so they would flow at high RPM and jam mixture in at low RPM with the ram tuning effect. So, I was thinking about how to get a TPI manifold for the LS series engines, and what I came up with was fabricated aluminum from sheet and milled base plates or these base plates.

Now the problem with the LS series is there are basically 2 different engines with many parts that can be swapped between the two generations, with the biggest differences for the intake manifolds being early engines had a smaller “cathedral” port and later models getting rectangular ports, and intake manifolds could not be swapped between the two. This means that before I build the manifold I have to know which kind of head I have on my engine, and before that I kinda have to have an engine to build the manifold for. But that’s basically for the part that bolts to the head, there are basic design parameters that are going to be the same between the two engines. As can be seen by the shots of the manifolds in this video by Richard Holdener the driver side intake port is slightly ahead of the passenger side. So what it comes around to is building the same manifold half twice to bolt against the two heads and then bolting them to a common plenum after snaking the runners between each other. So installing this manifold would be a 7 step process, driver side head first, then passenger side head, then plenum bottom half, plenum top, throttle body, injectors in the plenum top (because charge cooling from fuel evaporating in the intake runner, something else I picked up from Richard Holdener), then plumb and wire like a normal LS intake. I just have to be sure the flanges that bolt to the plenum are small enough to pass between the runners when the runner assemblies are bolted to the head. Now what would be cool with this would be if I could make either the front or back runner from clear plastic so we could see exactly what the fuel was doing in the runner, was it puddling anywhere (unlikely), did it flow down the sides or bottoms of the port, what happened when the runner made the turn from the plenum back to the head, that kind of stuff.

Also as I’m thinking about it, would having the sides of the plenum at an angle so the entrance to the runner was more of a straight line before turning back to the head would make that big a difference in peak power. I already know from stuff I found on the TPI manifold that vertical plenum sides did not hurt torque as much as too abrupt a radius on the port entry did, but I can’t find anything on peak power and plenum shape vs runner profile. Speaking of runner profile I know from stuff I read a long time ago that I need to make the runner cross section smaller as the runner turns from the plenum to the head to keep the flow attached to the runner walls, and hopefully keep the fuel droplets in suspension instead of splattered on the runner walls. That would be something else to look at with the transparent runner on a running engine. I could do stuff like this every day if I had the stuff to make the things to study, and the facility to make the tests to find things out. I have so many questions, like did the fuel that falls out of suspension just drip into the cylinder past the intake valve, or evaporate back into the charge, or what? I mean we are talking about a system that has one way in and one way out, so where does the fuel go that falls out of suspension? It has to go into the cylinder somehow, but in what state does it get to the cylinder? These are the kind of things I think about when I think about intake manifolds. Now granted intake manifolds are not something I think about often, but I think about them intensely when I do think about them. Just like everything else I think about, I go long periods of time not thinking about them, but I think very intensely about whatever they are when I do think about them. At rare intervals I can come to an earth-shattering conclusion about something, but mostly it’s a draw of doing something meaningful before I lose interest again. That’s what makes building the Sprint-T so cool, there are so many things to maintain my attention, when I lose interest in one thing, there are dozens if not hundreds of other things to hold my attention while still getting something accomplished on the car.

And my word count tells me I need to temper my enthusiasm for this and go ahead and put this stream of consciousness to bed before I get burned out. Again.

It’s finally here!

And by “It” I mean the steering box that has been on backorder since early June because of the Stupid Virus. I’m changing the name because the existence of COVID19 seems to make people stupid, besides what it did to my employer and the GOP. Anywho, this is a picture of it below.
Steering box, remotes and bumpersticker for scale

I’m keeping it in the plastic bag for the nonce, having learned my lesson about surface corrosion from the spindles I bought a few years ago. I may be slow, but I’m not stupid. And FYI that thing is HEAVY! no, it’s HEAVY! That tiny chunk of metal has to be over 15 pounds (6.8 Kg) which brings up the question of why they still use iron in the main casting? Probably because steel or iron is cheaper than aluminum, but then the question is why it isn’t an option since this is a repop for a part that has been out of production for five decades, the Vega stopping its run in 1977, and presumably GM stopping production of replacement parts shortly after.

And it turns out that it was fortunate I bought the Pitman arm for the 5/8” heim joint, because this was shipped with the arm for the Ford taper tie rod end. There is something I can use the extra Pitman arm for, by placing the two arms side by side with the ends reversed I can get an fairly accurate center-to-center distance to use in making the steering arm to mount on the spindle. I mentioned this in a post a while back, this post to be precise, that I can use the steering arm to change effective steering ratio without adding any weight. In the post I was thinking that since I was using the steering arm at the spindle instead of a steering quickener the difference between the arm and the quickener box was the amount of weight I was saving, but in reality the arm at the spindle has to be there regardless of what I do at the box, so I save the entire weight of the steering quickener when I go with the shortened steering arm on the spindle, plus the weight loss of using a shorter arm instead of the one normally used. I think what I was thinking about was there’s no need to use a steering arm at the spindle because there is an extended bolt to attach the drag link on the arms I already have, except that unless I move the steering box further behind the axle the drag link will hit the tie rod, and I don’t have that problem with the steering arm for the drag link mounted to the lower holes of the spindle and the steering arms for the tie rod mounted to the upper holes of the spindles, especially if I use the extended bolt on the drag link arm to drop the drag link even further from the suspension links.

Now I just need to figure out the load path from the steering box mount that was in the kit with the box, to the rest of the frame. For the application the kit was made for the box mount welds directly to the frame rail of a ’23-34 Ford. This is going to be a bit more complicated as the frame rails are either over a foot above the box or several inches below it, and beyond just holding the box in a certain place in space relative to the frame and axle there are significant forces that will be applied to the mount, off axis forces at that. That means either the mount will be very heavy and apply torsion to the frame tube, or the mount will have to be braced from the other side of the frame. Since there’s nothing in the way of the mount going to the other side of the frame I’m going with that unless and until something else has to be put in the space between the radiator and the front axle. The radiator will be mounted slightly to the right to make the nose symmetrical and keep everything under cover, but since the tie rod and the pitman arm are both going to have to extend beyond the side of the nose it’s actually a moot point. The steering will come out of the left side of the nose because it has to, the Pitman arm will swing to the left further than the confines of the nose at full lock anyway, even the reduced amount of lock with the shorter steering arm at the spindle. The fun part now is how do I adjust the internal stops in the box to prevent the steering linkage from getting damaged by over travel caused by the steering box? Without internal stops the drag link could be overcentered and the car be unable to return to center when the steering wheel is turned the other way. Or I could use a stop on the axle that hits something on the spindle to prevent turning far enough to the right get to that point. Turning to the left the drag link hits the back of the spindle before getting to the over center point, I could use a stop on the axle that stops the spindle at the same point of rotation in the opposite direction. Hitting those stops would generate substantial forces on the steering mount, getting back to the original topic of internal stops in the steering box and the steering box mount. There is also the point that at full lock the tires will be almost perpendicular to the axis of the car. This would be useful for moving the front of the car sideways when not running, but I don’t see any practical application for this much steering angle.

And here we see yet another example of how I think, wandering here there and everywhere as I solve a problem. I’m not sure which part of my mental problems this typifies, but I know this isn’t my PTSD or depression at work, the only mental illnesses I have that I can’t blame this thinking style on. Maybe my ADHD, yes this is undoubtedly what happens when genius meets butterflies and squirrels. And since I just noticed my word count has tripped the 1K mark for this post I think this is a good spot to put this post to bed.

Tonight I will celebrate with brownies, ice cream, and Shiner

After a meal of chicken patty sandwiches, sweet potatoes, and some other vegetable we will celebrate [Monty Python] I’m not dead yet [/Monty Python] for nineteen years. I still have three bottles of Shiner Bock left from the last 12 pack we got in July I think(?) so I will have plenty for the party. Actually one will probably be enough, I’m not big on drinking. That will leave two more for celebrating my grandson’s and my birthdays this month, his is tomorrow, mine is the 22nd.

That reminds me I still haven’t made my birthday list of things I want. Well it isn’t a very long list, and some of the things won’t be ready in time for my birthday, but will be done in time for Solstice/Yule/Christmas.

1. World peace and an end to the pandemic.
1a. Trump’s political ass on a platter. The platter can be non-physical, you don’t actually have to put anything on a physical platter.

2. An LS or LT engine and matching automatic transmission and all the supporting electronics, and any programmer needed for tuning to run in a sub-ton mass car. Now I have been contemplating building a super-long runner intake manifold to get a super-wide powerband for an LS engine, but don’t let that color your decision if you have a screaming deal on an LT engine.
2a. If you stumble on a great deal on a Pentastar V6 and a manual transmission, the combined lower mass and shorter engine length would allow enough footroom for three pedals so I could use it in the Sprint-T. Basically the engine is short enough that if I install it with the front of the engine in the same place as the front of an SBC or LS engine most of the bellhousing would be in front of the firewall of the T-Bucket body and there would be plenty of room between the transmission and the inside of the body before offsetting the engine for balance to stuff in 3 pedals.

3. A rear axle with disk brakes in either a 5X4 1/2 or 5X4 3/4 bolt circle. There are several Ford axles in junkyards that would fit and also be strong enough to hold up to racing with any of the stock LS or LT engines. Now what I really want is a Winters V8 magnesium center and aluminum axle tubes with the 5X4 3/4 bolt pattern aluminum GN hubs in 60″ hub to hub and 3½” right offset so I could use the brake floaters and the brake calipers to decouple braking forces from the axle.

4. Buc-Ee’s Dark chocolate covered Beaver Nuggets Or you can save a bunch of money by stopping at a local to you Buc-Ee’s and spend like a third of the amount, plus shipping. The only reason I’m even putting these on the list is they are just outside of where I can get to by transit and it’s so annoying to almost be within smelling range, but out of reach.

And really that’s all I want that I can’t get for myself, excluding the Beaver Nuggets, I can get them I just can’t see spending that much money on something that is less than $5 in the store. Now go celebrate that you’re “not dead yet”. “I feel happy!”

Doing more thinking

Still thinking about the LS powered A/Mod car, so you can get back out from under whatever it was you got under when you read I was thinking again. I was also thinking about making the Sprint-T less expensive by retaining the stock water pump while just using an alternator, instead of installing an electric water pump and just sticking the alternator on the right side of the engine.

The difficulty lies in that the stock water pump is designed to be driven opposite engine rotation with the back side of the serpentine belt. Now for the Sprint-T the problem is that puts the alternator to the left side of the engine where other things want to be. For the A/Mod car this puts the alternator where the driver’s legs want to be. For the Sprint-T this can be overcome by not putting the stuff where the alternator needs to go to drive the waterpump in the correct direction. I’m not sure how to fix the problem for the A/Mod car because the interfering components can’t be relocated away from each other, there are limited options for the alternator and for the driver’s legs. The front of the engine will be about just below the knee which if this engine didn’t have the exhaust going over the driver’s legs the solution would be to have the driver in a knees up position. That puts the driver’s knees in the middle of the exhaust header, which is another unworkable design. Moving the engine forward or the driver back have other problems, like bad balance if the engine is moved forward and hitting the rear axle for moving the driver back.

OK I just got finished watching the NASCAR Gander Truck series and the Indycar series from Gateway, and while I was watching the Indycar race the solution to the alternator problem on the A/Mod car just jumped out at me: if the driver is obstructed on the left side of the engine swap the driver and engine sides and put the driver to the right. It’s so simple, which was probably why I didn’t see it at first. There are no rules about driver position left to right, just that the driver’s feet have to be behind the centerline of the front axle and ahead of the centerline of the rear axle. I can hang the driver outside the wheels in an armored pod like on a Indycar design by Smokey Yunick if I can get it to balance. But this time all I need is to put the driver on the right like I was making a UK road car. The driver’s feet can be in front of the engine without having any issues with the alternator. Now if I had an unlimited budget I would put the electric water pump on it and stick the alternator on the right and the driver on the left like my original vision for the car, but driver right and saving $$ will work, too. I also took some measurements and the left side alternator will clear all the parts I was concerned about clearing for the Sprint-T.

Another thing: at 0119 Monday (tomorrow as I compose this) it will be exactly 19 years since Some Asshole driving a pickup truck tried to kill me for the “crime” of riding my bike on the same street he was driving on in the opposite direction I was riding. He had to drive down to someplace he could cross the median separating the two directions of travel so he could be on the same side of the street and hit me from behind, or he could have just ignored me like I ignored his outburst to “Get off the F***ing road!” and lived whatever kind of life he would have lived. Instead he hit me and then less than 2 years later he died in a single vehicle DUI wreck with either a tree or a telephone pole depending on who’s story you want to believe. I want to believe in Dharma (which is kinda like Karma, but it bites your ass in this life instead of the next), but I also want to believe in a criminal justice system that puts people like that in prison, but they probably were never even looking for him. His dying from a DUI is probably the most “justice” I could expect to get. So anywho, to celebrate the fact that I survived someone trying to kill me, tomorrow we are having brownies and ice cream, and next year to celebrate 20 years [Monty Python]”I’m not dead yet!”[/Monty Python] Mrs. the Poet wants to throw a proper party that we couldn’t this year because COVID and because next year will be two decades, a full 20 years “not dead”. As I explained to Mrs. the Poet, the celebration is not because I died, it’s because I didn’t stay dead. Here’s to another 20 years of “not dead”.

My steering box is on indefinite backorder

AFAIK Speedway Motors is having similar problems with China as I am in that what used to be a Sure Thing is now Vaporware. My steering box can no longer be considered a viable option, and the people I used to work for no longer have a working web site. E-mails sent to them come back as undeliverable and there is no solid date on stocking my steering box either. Both of us are up the proverbial unsanitary tributary.

Which means I can stop sweating about my bank balance getting below the amount due for the steering box order because it won’t be due any time soon. The good news is Speedway will honor the price I placed the order at including discounts in effect at the time of the order. The bad news is they have to get a new supplier and won’t be able to ship my order until they get the parts from the new supplier.

In other good news (really good, not sarcastic “good”) I got in contact with the person I got the LS7 I’m using to make the Mini Sprint-T to purchase another and a scale Powerglide transmission to build the A/Mod SCCA Solo Racer. I think I might have mentioned the LS/Powerglide combo a few weeks back when I was thinking about how to balance my weight against the powertrain weight from side to side with my legs in a pretty narrow footwell next to the engine and letting my shoulders hang out over the transmission so the total polar moment was as low as possible. Anywho, I decided to build a model because I’ll never be able to build the full-scale version while I’m building the Sprint-T. The plan so far is to have the left side exhaust run over the driver’s legs like the right side of a supermodified. And also to have insulating blankets between the manifold and the driver’s legs, like in the supermodifieds. With the short runs in SCCA Solo Racing that’s probably overkill, but it doesn’t weigh much and it increases the safety margin over just wrapping the pipes with exhaust wrap which I was going to do anyway because of the performance benefit.

Last thing before I drop this on you, the remnants of the hurricane passed far enough to the east that we only got one brief shower here that was dried up before I finished. The walk was dry when I went to get the mail, that’s how brief the shower was. Also someone dropped this link on me and I liked it, so I think I will pass it along.