Need input from my readers on my T-bucket

I’m at a dilemma here on the rear suspension design, so I’m asking for your help. I have narrowed down the rear suspension to 3 candidates, 2 of which are interchangeable as the major difference is method of construction, and the third would require cutting most of the back end off the car to go from either of the other two to it or from it to either of the other two.

Anyway here are the choices:

1) Reuse almost everything under the front of the minivan including the subframe. That means the struts, springs, hubs, knuckles, axles and CV joints, A-arms, and the tie rod ends. Advantages are reduced fabrication as almost everything is reused except the upper strut mount to the frame of the minivan. Major disadvantage is no way to adjust ride height except to cut the spring to make it shorter, no way to change the spring rate except to cut the spring to make it stiffer, no way to reduce roll stiffness to improve rear grip, very little way to predict the ride height, and poor camber control with body roll. Also ugly with a capital UGH! The front suspension bits of a Chrysler Town and Country are strong, but they will never win the “Rear Suspension” category of a beauty contest.

2) De Dion beam with fabricated brackets to fit the knuckles attached to a 3″ dia 0.25″ wall aluminum tube, probably a 7075 alloy. This has the main advantage of keeping the wheels pointed in mostly the right direction in all 3 axis all the time unlike option 1. It’s also much better looking than option 1, but that is faint praise from a bad comparison. Another advantage is roll stiffness can be reduced by mounting the coilovers closer to the center of the car. The major disadvantage is I can cut the pieces for the bracketry but not weld them as none of my equipment will work on the thicknesses of aluminum needed for this job and the budget does not run into buying welding equipment that will only be used for one major assembly. Secondary disadvantage is coilover shocks and springs will need to be purchased to keep the frame from dragging the ground, but that is offset with the ability to choose shock and spring rates better suited to the reduced overall weight (compared to the donor vehicle), and the ability to adjust the ride height. This will reuse the knuckle and hub along with the parts attached like brakes etc. but probably not the tie rods. Lateral location will be by a Watt’s Link mounted under the differential and connected to the hubs or the bracketry the hubs are bolted to. Fore and aft location by a parallel 4-link connecting the frame and the end bracket on the de Dion tube.

3) Bird cage style de Dion beam from thin wall small diameter steel tubing in a 3D Warren or Pratt truss that sweeps back from the knuckles to clear the transaxle while leaving room for the axle shafts to come through without hitting the structure when the suspension travels vertically. Advantages include looking cool, something I could fabricate on my own, looking cool, slightly lighter and slightly stronger than the single 3″ aluminum tube, looking cool, all the advantages of the 3″ tube version, and finally looking cool. Disadvantages are much harder to fabricate since it’s basically a space frame for the rear axle and leaves less room for the trunk and gas tank behind the engine and transaxle.

Options 2 and 3 are interchangeable, just unbolt the tube or space frame and bolt in the space frame or tube to replace, so I could make both and see which works better. Probably not going to happen because I don’t have the budget for iterative development.

Right now I’m trying to decide which of the three options I’m going with. #1 is cheapest but has the most negative compromises, #2 and #3 have similar costs but #2 is much quicker to build because there is less actual cutting and welding. So help me make up my mind

Still working through the T-Bucket problems in my head

I prefer to think through all the problems and their solutions before I start to work cutting metal, it generally works out better that way.

One of the things that has been bothering me is the spread between the torque rating and the horsepower rating of the engine. The engine is rated 158 HP at 5000 RPM and 203 ft-lb of torque at 4000. Given that HP = Torque * RPM/5252 the power curve is basically flat from 4k to 5k RPM as it makes 154 HP at the torque peak. This means something is choking the engine off above the torque peak, and I’m betting it’s the exhaust. That’s the big reason why I’m planning tube headers to replace the crappy cast-iron manifolds on the engine as it is installed in the minivan. The manifold on the front bank is the likely culprit as it is just something to collect the exhaust and run it away from the head while tucking up as close to the head as physically possible, the one on the rear bank is much better except for the place where the front bank dumps into it. I’m sure that after I install the headers I will see pretty close to 180 HP at 5200 RPM. That torque curve makes a lot more sense than 203 at 4k dropping to 166 at 5k, and it might be even higher because the rest of the exhaust system will be less restrictive than the minivan as well since I’m going to dual exhaust with high flow quiet mufflers instead of the single exhaust and restrictive muffler on the minivan.

Also while I have the engine out of the car I’m going to clean up the inside of the intake manifold, because I can and because I want to make sure there are no horsepower killers in there. Nothing fancy, just cleaning up any port mismatches where things bolt together or to the heads and removing any rough spots or flash inside the manifold so that air moves smoothly inside the manifold. I’m not trying to add horsepower, just keep from losing the power that is already there. I’m just doing the stuff that Chrysler would have done if they had the time and money to hand fit and assemble the engine at the factory. Like I said I think this engine is capable of 180 HP without changing any internal parts or losing any power below the torque peak. I also think there is some power and fuel economy to be found in the fuel and spark maps in the computer which will happen when I hook the new controller up to the engine. I’m thinking that 200 HP is within reach without changing the cam or other internals as installed in the T-bucket. This will give me the same around-town and autocross performance as a 2017 Stingray base model, but better fuel economy than the 15/22 hwy estimate for the 1996 minivan, assuming I can keep my foot out of the gas driving around town. Changing the transmission controller to full manual will help by keeping it in as high a gear as possible to keep the RPMs down.

And those have been my thoughts on the subject for today. Keep riding your bikes, I’ll keep riding mine.

PSA, Opus

Thankful I have nobody personal to remember on the Transgender Day of Remembrance

I have many Trans friends. They are all as far as I know (one or two may have stopped speaking with me) still alive and well. I’m trying to get in touch with the Trans people I have lost contact with in honor of the day.

For the Trans people who read this who I don’t know personally I hope this day finds you well. For the people who have lost Trans friends to H8 or bullying or some other cause or no cause at all, peace be with you.

And for all my Trans readers, peace be with you always.

Thus says the Witch on a Bicycle, so mote it be.

PSA Opus

Update on the T-bucket project.

The person with the minivan that had offered me a practically free engine and transmission from a running vehicle has rescinded that offer but offered a free recently rebuilt engine and transmission from another Chrysler minivan with a bad computer. The engine runs and the transmission goes forward and reverse but the glitchy controller keeps it locked in 2nd gear (failsafe mode) going forward so they have parked the car in the back of the house for several years. Since I’m going to have to use a different controller anyway the fact that the factory one has gone Tango Uniform is of no importance. And “free” beats the hell outta “real cheap”.

The engine and transmission controllers will both come from the people who make the Mega Squirt engine computer for engine swaps but I’m going with the Simplesquirt engine controller and the Megashift transmission controller, mainly because there is a version of the Megashift made specifically for my transmission, and because the Simplesquirt is several hundred dollars less expensive than the next cheapest controller. And the Megashift was likewise much less expensive than the only other controller I found so far and has much more capability. Did I mention that I like cheap, that I am cheap?

One of the things I like about the Simplesquirt is it has the capability of having two fuel/spark maps for different fuels or uses, like one for regular gas on the street and interstates and another on e85 for autocrossing, user selectable at startup.

Also I had to close out one of my accounts on the job that will end on 12/31 so I had to miss a Shadowrun game today…😦 And there will be one more check after 12/31 from this job and then it’s over, no more money. It never was much money but some is always better than none.

I have to get up early tomorrow for morning service…

Billed @€0.02, Opus the Unkillable Badass

I hate getting political here

But desperate times etc.

We now have to deal with President Tire-Fire-At-The-Landfill so that the fire doesn’t spread and burn down things we need or love or both. In other words how can we contain the damage to just the tire area of the landfill without allowing it to spread beyond the landfill.

I this simile “tire fire” = “Trump’s constant tantrums against ‘other'”, “landfill” = “Trump supporters and fellow travellers”. The conundrum is keeping the damage from spreading beyond the people actually causing the damage, while the violence is directed outwards against the “other”. How do we convince them that the “other” that was actively causing harm is currently within their ranks?

Second point to this blog, this is the day we thank the veterans who are still with us for their service in protecting our freedoms, but how can we do that in light of what we just elected to lead us? “Thanks guys, but we changed our minds”?

I’m starting to recover a bit from Tuesday/Wednesday in that I finally went for a walk last night. But I’m still a long way from what I was on Monday. I read the rules for next year’s Goodguys autocross competition and found a tiny loophole. If I build a pickup bed big enough to put the engine in I can still run as a “Truck” and have the fuel cell anywhere I need it to be. I don’t know how I’m going to cover the engine now, but I have a rule that will let me run the car. That means I need to get a bed for the body from Speedway and stretch it to fit, then cut the sides where the suspension peeks through. And also have the frame running everywhere outside the body because it ain’t gonna fit inside the bed. This is (still) gonna be fun.

PSA, Opus the Unkillable Badass

This is the new normal

We now have an indicted criminal out of control landfill fire leading our nation. I may need to go on another anti-depressant that will allow me to tolerate a stronger dose because I don’t think the citalopram is working right now.

I’m in the middle of my web comics reading right now trying to stave off the growing darkness with humor, but I’m having slight luck at the moment. I spent hours doodling the new frame for the Mid-engined T Bucket, with no change in outlook. I strongly fear the trust my parents left was wiped out in the market crash this morning. So my creative juices are pretty much gone with my economic security. I might summon the energy to go for a walk this evening, or I might not. I really need something to improve my mood.

I feel like Eeyore today.

PSA Opus the Poet

I need a real-estate agent

It’s beginning to look like I will need to relocate to Canada. That means I will need to sell Casa de El Poeta here in the Beautiful Suburbs of Hell. If there are any real estate agents reading this I need to buy a house in Canada after I sell mine in TX.

SOS, Opus the Unkillable Badass

Please go vote tomorrow

And if you already have (like I did) then thank you.

Seriously, this election is too important to miss. And not just for the presidential election, there are some serious goombahs we need to clear out of the House and Senate (looking at YOU AZ). And remember bike infrastructure is voted on by local officials, vote for the least-bad among them as well.

PSA, Opus the Unkillable Badass

Happy Samhain (SOW-when)

I hope everyone got an adequate amount of candy this evening, and had a pleasant communion with those who have passed before.

I had another trip to the Lab Rat Keeper today. No candy but I did get 2 bandaids to cover the three holes in my arm from when they tried to raw some blood for testing. Apparently my vitamin K levels are just fine as my blood was clotting in the needle while they were trying to get enough for the various tests I have to take. At least I had time to study for my blood test (ba-dunk-KISH).

Happy Halloween!

Long time no blog.

I know I haven’t written anything in a while. There are reasons for that. First of all there has been a slow-motion train wreck going on in my Twitter feed because of the fuzzy Jack-o’-Lantern pretending to run for President. Second I got a bit behind in my e-mail and even doing more than 300 a day I’m still looking at nearly 1000 unread messages. Do you know how long it takes to get through 300 new emails in one day? And to compound that I have to stop and leave the house for a couple of hours every day so that I can maximize my returns on my phone game that pays me money, because it’s a lot more work now than it used to be. I’m still making the same amount of money every week, but I have to get out every day and max my checkins to do it.

Also on the “leave the house” list was grocery shopping, twice. Once was our regular day and again yesterday as one of my side gigs paid off $100 for several months’ of “a few seconds a day” work. The kicker on this one is I have to get paid in the form of a gift card that can only be used in a few places, otherwise it becomes taxable income that I would lose a major chunk of in the form of SS taxes. So there is only one store that sells food on the approved list…

And today I spent some time away from the house playing someone else’s character in a Shadowrun game. This time I was playing a 5’2″ 90 lb. Chinese girl decker and the character sheet said she was abrasive and cold with a chip on her shoulder. We were on a Zombie hunt, and also had to kill a vampire and rescue a werewolf from the corporate lab that created the zombies in an effort to have slaves that did not need to be paid because they were legally dead. Unfortunately zombies are unable to follow even simple directions so the project was in the process of getting shut down when the zombies and the vampire they were using to create them escaped into the lab. They managed to get the doors to the outside locked, but only had until sundown to clean things up before the vampire could let himself and the zombies out. Our Street Samurai took out most of the zombies, my decker took out a few, and the technomancer managed to get into the weapons side of the security system and take out the vampire and the rest of the zombies. We rescued the scientist/werewolf we were also supposed to rescue. My character disdained the males in the party to make a pass on the lady werewolf…

It was a good thing I have a Shadowrun dice roller on my phone because I would have needed a bucket to bring the d6 I would have had to have to make some of my attack and saving rolls. My dice app goes to 99 d6.

Last week we went on a 5 day camping trip in Southeastern TX, near Flatonia. This was memorable for two reasons: Mrs. the Poet went camping with me, and we both tripped and fell down a lot in the dark. I dislocated the other collarbone and bruised my other hip from the previous fall off the bicycle, and Mrs. the Poet skinned her knees and hands again. We also had about 9 times as much meat at meals as we are used to eating as “p'” people (too impoverished to buy a vowel). One of the big problems we both had was getting off the ground after getting out of “bed”. Another bed-related problem was Mrs. the Poet did not believe me when I told her to pack lots of blankets for sleeping and just packed the one that did not even cover us completely that we use to keep our feet warm in the winter. We still had a great time anyway.

Off on another tangent, my full-scale T-bucket project just took a major change in direction. I had the engine and transmission from a running Chrysler minivan practically dumped in my lap for barely over scrap value. Plusses: we are talking really cheap engine and transmission for less than the core charge for a transmission on the previous version, this will take almost 200 pounds off the total weight of the car, moving engine behind passenger compartment leaves a flat floor with plenty of foot room, computer controlled transmission simplifies setting up mechanical portions of the controls; just a floor lever with 4 detents and two paddle switches on the steering wheel. Minuses: Engine makes 160 HP in stock form, both the engine and transmission are on the far side of 200K miles, both are computer controlled and need aftermarket computers to make them work in the T-bucket, most of the car needs to be redesigned to make a FWD engine and transaxle work driving the rear wheels behind the passenger compartment, FWD brakes don’t have e-brakes so e-brakes need to be adapted to one end or the other, almost all of the car weight will be on back wheels making sorting braking and handling dicey.

The prospect of going mid-engine on my T-bucket has really got me inspired again, ditto the prospect of getting the project moving towards completion some time before I die. The Mini Sprint-T project has all the parts I can’t make on my own and will continue as it was before with the SBC and the LS7 engines.

And that kinda gets you somewhat caught up on activities at Casa de El Poeta.

Billed @€0.02, Opus the unkillable badass Poet.