Well, the new shower stall is almost done

As I sit here they are lacking final plumbing installation (showerhead and faucet handle) and sealing the edges of the wall panels and cleaning up the mess. I will do a separate post about the shower at a later date. I took some pictures of the bathroom with the tub and enclosure removed to prepare for the installation of the shower stall.

Did anyone catch the Busch Clash Tuesday? It lacked some of the beating and banging that used to be the calling card of the race, but that last corner of the last lap pass attempt by Chase Elliot to get by Ryan Blaney, that led to Kyle Busch going from third going into the final corner to first at the line was classic Clash (the race, not the band).

And I just got back a weight quote on both the Ford 9″ full axle, and the 8″ quick change, and even got a closer estimate for the 9″ as delivered price of $1100 (there is a question of how much the lightweight locker was going to cost as it isn’t in stock and they won’t know the cost until they get it, the pandemic has severely disrupted supply chains in the automotive industry). The 9″ will be somewhat heavier than the quick change but not as much as previously estimated. I was looking at 110 pounds for the 8″ quick change and 120 for the fabricated 9″ Ford housing, which was slightly heavier for the quick change than I expected, and slightly lighter than I was planning for on the fabricated 9″ Ford, plus the Ford is steel which means brackets can be welded directly to the housing, where they have to be fabricated from a compatible alloy, or clamped to the quick change housing which would mean I have to have that work done after delivery of the housing. I do not have the welding unit to weld aluminum, nor do I have the tools to make the clamp-on bracket. The reason the 8″ quick change is heavier than I initially estimated is the weight of the locker is that much more than the aluminum spool used to quote weights for the quick change. Seriously, we are talking the difference between 5 and 21 pounds spool and locker respectively. And the difference in costs between the spool and the locker are about the same scale as the difference in weights. As in the cost of the locker is a multiple of the cost of the spool except worse, the spool is $108, the locker is $500-1200 depending on options and model. The $500 will probably do the job, albeit with great noise and drama even compared to a spool. Lockers are notorious for clunking and banging out of tight corners like typical autocrosses.

Technical aside, lockers are a middle ground between a spool and an open differential, that have a mechanism that locks and unlocks the faster wheel from the slower or just ties them both together and depending on the design they can be noisy and cantankerous about how they do it or just a slight “clunk” that can barely be heard. Interestingly enough the $500 locker has the reputation of having a quiet unlock and relock as well as a reputation for sometimes not engaging either wheel after a turn. I might get away with that one depending on how much power my engine makes. If I get the 5.3L truck engine from a junkyard then I’m only making about 300 HP at the tire which is within the limits of the cheap locker, but just barely, but more importantly, the cheap locker has better street manners away from the racetrack. So, draw, win, draw, on the merits of the cheap locker.

Well while I was working on the blog post the shower stall was installed into the bathroom and we have to wait until tomorrow evening for all the adhesives to cure before we can use it. Again, I will do a separate post about the shower stall after we get some use out of it, right now it just stinks of acetic acid while the adhesives cure. After a week we can use cleaning products on it like normal, except because of the soft material used in the shower stall (compared to ceramic tile and glazed cast iron and ceramic fixtures) everything has to be non-abrasive. That means no Comet, Ajax, Soft Scrub or anything like that in store brands. I think when the shower can be cleaned is enough time to evaluate how it performs.

And it’s about time to order dinner so I must put this post to bed.

Take cover, I’m thinking again

I’m thinking about the Sprint-T again, except I’m “thinking” with a bunch of catalogs and web pages open at various rear axle kits. I’m comparing prices and features for the Ford 9″ kits compared to the two quick change options. Now if budget was not a concern, like if I won the lottery, then my choice would be the 8″ ring gear quick change with the magnesium centersection polished in clear powdercoat, with magnesium bells and aluminum tubes, and the aluminum locker differential. This is the best balance of weight and performance. There are other options that are lighter, but at a cost to performance. There are options that have a slight potential for better performance, but at a major weight penalty.

And then there are the less expensive (can’t really call them “cheap”) options in the Ford 9″ housings. The main thing against these is because they are made from steel they weigh more, in some cases a lot more. But they are way less expensive, $1K±, compared to the $4K± of the “no budget” option in the first paragraph. This is a hybrid option, a race housing, hubs, and brakes with a “performance street” centersection, ring gear, and differential. Now for both of these the aluminum spool is lighter and cheaper than the differential, which means if I’m not seriously considering it there has to be a performance cost. Yes there is a loss in performance in the intended use with a spool, locking the rear wheels together makes the car understeer in tight turns that are part and parcel of autocross. And understeer is SLOW in autocross.

Now how much performance difference is there between the $4K rear axle, and the $1K rear axle? Maybe a few hundredths of a second, maybe nothing, depending on how smooth the track is. The rougher the track surface is, the better the $4K axle compares to the $1K one. And of course there’s the difference between a polished quickchange and a painted fabricated housing, the polished quickchange wins every time. But this isn’t a show car, it has a mission. Looks are important, but looks that don’t improve performance are expensive nonsense.

(Aside about that last word, it took forever to come up with “nonsense” because for some reason my brain wouldn’t go there, I got “ostentatious”, and “frippery”, but not “nonsense” until I started browsing thesauri online. I even knew the word started with the letter “n”, but going from “n” to “nonsense”… too far until I found the right thesaurus)

Anywho, there is another thing the $4K axle does is allow adjusting the final drive ratio from race to race and also for highway cruising between events. I mentioned this in a previous post, but it bears repeating that with the quick change I’m not stuck with a 4 or 5 speed overdrive automatic, I can get a 2 or 3 speed that might be lighter or cheaper. In other words if I spend an extra $3K± on the axle I can save a couple hundred on the transmission, or what’s really important, I can save maybe 150 pounds in the weight of the transmission. In actuality the weight savings are more like 60-70 pounds as Powerglides are about that much lighter than 4l60es unless I really need the 4l80e in which case then we are looking at over 100 pounds weight savings. Now 100 pounds less weight is a big chunk out of a car that will weigh less than a ton with driver and race fuel load. If I got my sums right, we are talking about under 1800 pounds on the starting line with driver and race fuel load using an aluminum block engine and PG transmission.

Also the $4K axle is maybe 20 pounds of unsprung weight lighter than the $1K axle. Now 20 pounds in a car that weighs less than a ton is not insignificant, but 20 pounds unsprung weight? That’s a bunch, particularly in a car that has as bad a sprung/unsprung ratio as the Sprint-T. And one of the things that has a major effect on handling on rough pavement is having a high sprung/unsprung ratio, unsprung weight is bad for keeping tires firmly in contact with the ground.

I’m not watching the football game

And if you have to ask “What football game?” you are probably one of my people.

Instead I’m here, making a blog post about arcane technical things related to building a hot rod from scratch and trying to figure out the correct ride stiffness and roll stiffness. I mentioned how I was trying to do the rear axle and figure the suspension but I couldn’t because I didn’t know which axle I was going to have? Well that’s not a problem with the front axle because I have all the things for the front end except the engine and all I need to do is leave some room for that.

I have several images and documents that have the dimensions of the LS architecture which is pretty much the same for everything from the 4.8L truck engine through and including the 7L LS7 even though some have iron blocks and some aluminum. So whatever gets stuck in front of the firewall is going to be pretty much the same externally. I know there is 43″ between the center of the front axle and the firewall, and 100″ wheelbase (center to center both axles), and the engine is going as close to the firewall as it will go without hitting anything. So I’m hoping I can get a space for the air off the radiator to make some downforce instead of running into the engine. The only thing I’m concerned about is increasing the polar moment by having the radiator right behind the front axle, but the increase would be minor compared to putting it back against the engine.

The reason I can put the radiator just clear of the back side of the front axle is I decided to put the tie rod in front of the axle instead of the normal behind the axle. This isn’t that daring a move, because back when sub-100″ wheelbase buckets were common and people were even making sub-90″ buckets for better dig off the line by increasing weight transfer, people put all the steering in front of the axle except the drag link which ran alongside the engine. I’m putting the steering box up front so why not shove the radiator right behind the axle? As I mentioned this has a slight negative effect on polar moment, but only a slight effect.

And it’s getting late now so I’m going to bed.

Thinking about an epic level troll

This would be a bit of a slog, but if someone could pull it off it would be EPIC! It would require getting a lot of public domain wildlife footage, and some editing software, and a YouTube upload account. Then go through all the matchups of all 55 Super Bowls and get the ones that had one or more animals in the team names and use the wildlife footage to get some kind of conflict or reaction between the animals for the team(s). Years that didn’t have animals get footage of owls hunting. Put together 1-2 minute videos of the animal conflicts or owls hunting and title them “Best Moment Superb Owl Y” with Y being a Roman numeral that matches the conflict to the game. Then upload the videos 2 or 3 times a week during the football season. Because you have all the letters in the right order the algorithm for searching videos will “hit” on super bowl searches. I know because searching for “superb owl” got me super bowl videos.

Have fun!

Odd things bother me

One of the banes of my post-wreck existence is knowing I used to know something that I can’t remember. It’s seldom something earth-shattering, usually it’s media related like a song title, or lyric, or some bit of dialog from a TV show or movie. What is really frustrating is when the snippet isn’t searchable because it’s not something in the name of the song or show or whatever.

Like a search I recently completed, I remembered a guitar riff from a James Gang song, something not searchable because I don’t have a guitar, and can’t play one even if I had it. But eventually I found the song, by accident when I was looking for something else, and the song I was looking for came up in “related”. What I was looking for was “Funk #49” by the James Gang. The search I was using that the song was related to was “Living in the USA” by the Steve Miller band. Now I have no clue how the one was related to the other, but I’m glad it was. The lyric that got me to “Living in the USA” was a snippet “… and the Howard Cam Special takes it at the line!” And that got me to “Funk #49” as a related song. One thing that was a big help was remembering that guitar riff was from a James Gang song.

Oh, yeah, the reason why I was searching Steve Miller songs was one came up in my playlist on YTM, and I remembered they did a song that right at the end was a radio sports announcer calling a race that was won by the Howard Cam Special so I looked it up by lyrics. And just FYI the Howard Cam special was an oval track car that won a lot of races in the late 1950s and early ’60s so there was lots of recordings of the car winning races to sample. And in the related songs list to “Living in the USA” was that James Gang song I had been trying to find. Serendipity!

And speaking of the Howard Cam Special, that was a car that started out as a track roadster and evolved into a full sprint car and was a spiritual ancestor of the Sprint-T. If you want to see it… I looked it up and the oval track car I remember isn’t there, but there is a series of dragsters of the same name in the pictures I found, and no mention of the track roadster or sprint car. Do you suppose this is another example of the Mandela Effect, or did I conflate two different cars with similar sponsors but otherwise completely different? I lean to the idea that I had so much information floating around my brain that the sprint car and the dragster got commingled into the same car.

Anywho, design work for the Sprint-T is ground to a halt because of not knowing what parts I’m going to use. Which is caused by not knowing if I’m going to buy the rear axle now or in a while. And also I don’t know which one I’m getting, candidates are the Ford 9″, the 8.8″, and two different models of quick change, one with a 10″ ring gear, and another with an 8″ ring gear but a different design that handles much more power for the same diameter ring gear so they made the ring gear smaller to reduce weight and rotating inertia. Naturally the lighter version costs a metric butt load more because lighter. Lighter always costs more unless it’s lighter because it’s weaker. It’s even a meme, “Light, Strong, or Cheap; choose two”. But there will be major differences in the rear suspension design and how it connects to the frame depending on which one I choose.

And at this point I don’t have anything more new to write about so it’s a good place to stop.

Trying to do something different

I keep having to change the URL I use to access the page to put something down to add to the blog, and this was a test to see if it works as a single-step method of getting to the composition page. Spoiler alert it works.

The other thing I wanted to write about was a test of the motorsports as sleep aid hypothesis, and so far for the one test subject this study has it works pretty good. It helps that there is a channel in my cable package that has old races on about the time I should be going to bed Monday-Thursday. Old races are the best for getting to sleep, because they have the engine noises from the race, and they are at least a year old so I have no investment in finding out who won. Any long-term repercussions expired in December if not sooner as all the championships have been long decided. So it’s just a noise machine that makes noises that make me fall asleep at this point.

So as I wrote, the noise and lack of connection to the outcome lets me shut my brain off, which lets me relax and fall asleep. This is a good thing as I have trouble staying on a diurnal sleep schedule, and being able to pick a time to fall asleep without massive amounts of chemical assistance. I’m wondering if this also works for other people who have difficulty getting their brains to shut down so they can sleep. Do you have some kind of activity you like to watch that combines a droning sound with activity that is innocuous and lets your brain shut down? Please leave a comment if you do, I won’t judge. Other people leaving comments might, but I will delete those comments as soon as I get the notice about them.

Happy Imbolc

OK people, today is Imbolc, the first celebration of Spring, actually Impending Spring. The name is derived from a word that means “first milk” when lambing ewes started lactating in preparation for the new lambs. Traditionally I get my first haircut sometime between today and Valentine’s Day because I don’t have any sheep to shear, and because after leaving it grow all winter I really needed a haircut by now. Well I still need a haircut, and I’ll probably get one “soon”.

Other news I really need to make a trip to the nail salon and get my toes done as I’m getting caught in the sheets again unless I wear socks to bed. We have an extra blanket on the foot of the bed to keep toes from getting cold so wearing socks to bed is just redundant.

And I found the path to get back to my old comfortable composing page, so I don’t have to jump through multiple hoops just to create a post. Seriously, what they are doing is not unlike reinventing the hammer and saw every few years and expecting carpenters to know how to build houses in spite of not knowing how the new tools work. Seriously, all I want is to be able to type what I want into the page and be able to do italics, underline, and strikethrough as tools to lend emotional context to my text. and be able to edit the width of the pictures to match the width of the columns of text. Let me test that one.
just a picture of the angle iron and the new recliner couch

Well everything works the way it did before, as you can see. So nice to not have to learn how to use a hammer-saw-brush to make posts, and have tools that do what I want them to do. I just wish someone would ask before changing and getting rid of the tools I have been using, especially since there was no notice of how these new tools worked, or how to use them to do what the old tools did.

That was an interesting trip to the bank

Well, full disclosure, I went to the credit union, not a bank. But for the purposes of this recital “bank” is more understandable. I did the bus thing downtown and got to the bank about a half-hour before it was supposed to close, and stepped up to the drive through and there was no deposit slips or canister to run through the pneumatic tube with the deposit slip. I looked in the lobby and there was nobody in the lobby, and there was a strong smell of burnt rubber (but no visible smoke). I probably should have tried to use the ATM to check my balances, but the whole place being completely empty that far before closing spooked me so much that I just “noped” out of there.

Anyway, tomorrow (today or yesterday as you read this) I’m going to call the main office and do the banking I need to do by phone. I needed to transfer money from the lockbox account that requires calling on the phone or actually showing up in person at the bank so I can pay for the new bathroom I mentioned in an earlier post. And I need to get out and pay for the phone so I can get from place to place on the bus, and post tweets, etc. I really need to go ahead and set up auto-pay so I don’t need to go out in bad weather.

I paid taxes today

Today was the day I paid my taxes early. After doing the checks earlier this month, I got over giving away $2700 (almost) and took the checks to the Tax Offices and got the receipts. The receipts were the important part, so that I could prove I gave the check even if they forgot to deposit it. Now I get to keep my house for another year. I had my step-tracking apps turned on (both of them) which documented how long I spent waiting in line, and how far apart the tax offices are. Basically I walked over a mile, and stood in line about a half hour. Between walking between the offices and standing in line and shuffling forward I took 6156 steps.

Tomorrow I might commit myself to spending more money, as I contacted people about changing the tub in the bath connected to the master bedroom to a shower stall to fix the hole in the wall from where the shelf behind the tub basically collapsed, and also replace the leaking plumbing. Between the tub faucet and the sink we are leaking away over 1k gallons every month. It’s not a lot of money for the water, but our sewer bill is based on water usage during the winter. So between the water and the sewer bills, we are dumping a lot of money literally down the drain.

Other news, do you remember Arthur Dent? The space left on my neck after the useless lump of fat we called Chris Christy was removed we named Arthur Dent, and it was being a literal pain in the neck today. After I got done I was nauseous a touch because of the pain in my neck, so I had a little lay-down instead of dinner. I couldn’t sleep because of the pain in my neck (have I mentioned that Arthur is being a REAL pain in the neck today?) so I watched some idiot box (Mrs. the Poet prefers CBS) and had a little tea. I also had some dried cranberries, and cookies from Mrs. the Poet’s stash of Milanos. I really like the dried cranberries we bought, they are tangy and slightly sweet and are easy to chew.

Something I have been contemplating was the budget for the Sprint-T, should I use the stimulus $1.4k to buy a rear axle, or should I just continue to collect savings to apply to it? The axle I have been looking at the most was a quick change that was 60″ between the bolt surfaces, making it about 6″ narrower than the front axle’s hub-to-hub distance. This would be good because if I didn’t hit a cone with the front tire it was an automatic clear for the rear tire by about 3″ at any speed.

That wasn’t my plan when I bought the front axle, I chose that size because I was going to get a minivan as a donor vehicle, and the hub-to-hub on the minivan drivetrain was 66″ ± and I wanted front track to be pretty close to rear track so that I wouldn’t clear a cone with the front tire only to hit it with the rear. I could have tucked the rear wheels much closer to the engine and transaxle because not being used for steering they just had to clear in the straight ahead position, but that would have required major modifications to the stub axles that were vastly outside my abilities and tools at hand. So I just bought the axle for the width of the drivetrain, which shortly after the front axle arrived was no longer available.

But anywho, I still need to make a decision about the rear axle. The cheap thing to do would be a fabricated housing for Grand National style hubs and a Ford 9″ center section to go with the disc brake rear calipers I bought. The cool thing would be a quick-change rear with the V-8 style centersection and aluminum tubes for the Grand National hubs, which would be just as strong as the Ford 9″ but several pounds lighter and several hundred dollars more expensive. The other thing about the quick-change is what is inherent in the name, it is absurdly easy to change the final drive ratio with just a quick swap of the spur gears in the back of the housing. That means I could have a Powerglide transmission that is 50 pounds lighter than the 4l60E I would have been more or less forced to use to have decent gas mileage between races, without giving up the decent gas mileage. Or I could keep the 4l60 and use the quick-change to get the perfect ratio for racing and let the overdrive do its thing for gas mileage.

Well, it’s late and I have a busy day waiting tomorrow, so this seems to be a good stopping point.