Tag Archives: building hot rods

Things are looking good today

Things have been good this weekend around Casa de El Poeta. The lady my wife is helping unpack and downsize had an extra wheelchair seat cushion that I’m now parking my butt on in my office chair, and it’s super comfy. Now I don’t know if there was an extra cushion because she’s no longer using a wheelchair, or if she somehow had more than one cushion. Doesn’t matter, I have a comfy place to park my butt for writing and reading stuff on my computer.

Mrs. the Poet woke up with a sore leg today so we are skipping church. There is about 0.8 mile (1.3 Km) walk from the transit station to the church with no bus service on Sunday so that bus stop in front of the church is of no use to actually get to church on Sunday. Mrs. the Poet feels her leg will not make that walk without either a lot of pain or the leg actually quitting. I’m familiar with a leg that fails to function, the nerve damage I got in the wreck does that to me sometimes even this far out from the wreck. The difference between Mrs. the Poet’s situation and mine is we have opposite legs failing on us, and she has a back injury causing her issues.

On the hot rod front it looks like I will need to install a front anti-roll bar to get as much oversteer out of the car as possible. That’s from running the numbers through the equations in the Herb Adams Chassis Engineering book on weight distribution and cornering weight transfer. I can’t calculate the exact size bar I will need to install from that book, but I can determine that I will need to use one. The other thing I will need to do is lower the rear roll center to tighten the rear grip geometrically. Since I have already determined that I’m going to mount the lateral locating device as low as possible on the rear this is not news to me. The current plan is to make the street setting about 7″ below axle center and move it up as required for autocross racing at Goodguys or SCCA. The limit is when the front end is transferring all the weight from the inside to the outside tire and the inside front tire lifts off the ground. At that point if the car is still oversteering there ain’t nothing that can be done by making adjustments to weight transfer. The only thing to do would be going to bigs and littles on the tires with the bigs holding up the back end because more tire = more grip. Bigs and littles is a traditional combination for T Buckets because the traditional geometry has the rear roll center anywhere from 5 to 7 inches above the axle centerline where I’m building a much lower rear roll center to keep the tires as equal as possible.

On other things I need to get my toes done tomorrow. I said this before but the nerve damage in my left leg keeps me from being able to trim the pinky toe and the next toe over by myself because I run out of hands. Those two toes curl under when I’m doubled up to reach my toes and it takes two hands to pull the toes out and hold the foot down leaving me one hand short to trim the nails. I would prefer to not spend the $$ and trim my own nails but conditions dictate otherwise. While I’m in the area I will pop over to the pharmacy in the same complex and renew my antidepressant prescription, and get a few things we missed yesterday rushing through the store.

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup race at Atlanta is just ending and Kevin Harvick lost the lead on a speeding penalty, leaving Keselowski free to take the win.

And I need to get ready for the many things I need to do tomorrow.

Billed @€0.02, Opus the Unkillable

How big a gas tank

Yesterday I did some measuring and calculating to figure out how much fuel capacity I could have and still clear everything. Turns out it is quite a lot.

The space between the front firewall of the body and the back of the nose is a straight continuation of the firewall. This will make constructing the covers of this area much easier, and makes things like steering and the gas tank much easier to fit. Anyway I know the steering box is just under 4.5″ wide from the mounting flange that fits on the inside of the frame rail, and I want the outflow air from the radiator to exit on both sides of the tank so we have a maximum width of 27″ (firewall edge) minus 3 (two frame rails) minus 9 (steering box on left and symmetrical space on the right) for a total width of 15″. The front axle is 25″ from the firewall, minus 7.5″ for steering linkage rounded to 8 for the slight shortening of the wheelbase caused by travel from the design ride height so 17″ long. The firewall is 22″ tall in the center but only 19″ at the point the top panel of the hood joins the sides so 19″ tall. Multiplying all this out gives me 4845 cubic inches of fuel or 21 gallons.

The donor minivan would make a roughly 300 mile trip on about 16 gallons so 21 will still give adequate range even with the change to e85. This is not even considering the difference in drag between the minivan and the hot rod, the hot rod being narrower, about 2 feet shorter, and much less bluff than the minivan. And also not forgetting the difference in weight for going up hills, the hot rod will be about 1500 pounds empty compared to the advertised 3900 empty weight of the minivan, so the hot rod should have much better fuel economy than the donor minivan.

In other news I have a trip to the lab rat keeper in the morning, so no food until after the visit (because for some reason they are tracking my cholesterol on this trial). And I’ll get the latest Squirrel Girl on the way back and pay my phone and the storage unit, so lots of walking and time on the bus to go with starvation.😜

Billed @€0.02, Opus the Unkillable

Nothing much I can show, but I am getting things done

It has been a case of working on the various bits and pieces of the Mini Sprint-T build between taking apart the other toaster and healing up from working with dangerous tools that can take chunks outta my hand when they slip. They slip frequently meaning I mostly have tiny chunks missing from my fingers. This is what requires the healing up.

I have noticed something interesting on You Tube Music. When I check the Electronica Channel I get mostly a mix of ambient and swing music. Yes, swing music like from the 20s, 30s and 40s of the 20th century, only this is new and most of the instruments are synthesized electronically. The rest is what we used to call “Synth Pop”, I don’t know what current term is used. But really checking into the Electronica Channel one does not expect to hear jazz music. It’s momentarily jarring.

On other fronts I really need to air out my office. It smells like a locker room for some reason. I usually keep it closed up to keep the cats from cavorting through my stuff since I keep the fragile stuff and books in my office. Maybe I should shower before I go to my office instead of when I come out of it. I dunno? It gets kinda warm in here most of the year even with the AC running full blast.

On the Mini Sprint-T I have been playing with the spare wheels trying to get the width right, because it is way too easy to get too narrow with the file. Also I was thinking that when I do the vacuformed wheels I could just cut the 14″ wide rims down to 8″ (scale) since they would be easy to cut with scissors or a hobby knife, then glue in the centers and hubs from the resin wheels like I was planning for the 14″ rims. The construction method I was thinking about makes 2 separate halves anyway, so just trim for the desired width no matter what width it is. I could even make the 18″ wide rims to use the right rear tires off a Supermod car. That was a passing thought for a possible A/Mod SCCA Solo car using a SBC and a Powerglide transmission… which I could make in model form. I have thousands of ideas for cars running round inside my head, very few of which will ever see even a sketch on the back of an envelope. A/Mod cars are a fertile ground for my imagination because the lack of restrictions makes physics my primary restriction. There are just so many ways to make a car go around corners quickly, the combinations are essentially endless… Including a car with a large moving weight that would shift to the inside of a turn to counteract the weight transfer of making the turn, like the “monkey” on a sidecar rig.

And for a day I didn’t have anything to say I certainly have rambled on, haven’t I? It would be even more words if I didn’t use portmanteaus and acronyms so often.

Billed @€0.02, Opus the Unkillable

I’m whole again!

Not much to write about today except I finally got my ATM card replaced and have access to my money. Not having access to my money meant I had some lean grocery shopping days, these last two weeks especially. This week coming up will be different because I can just go to the ATM and draw some money out like normal people do.

On the hot rod front I got the tech sheet and order form from Jongbloed wheels to order a set of custom 17″ diameter wheels with (possibly) different offsets/backspacing front and rear. The rears on the minivan hubs really should be more backspacing/positive offset, while the front hubs are made for less backspacing/negative offset. At 1500 pounds will it make a difference in bearing life? Probably not. Will I buy from this provider? At $3k for a set of 4 custom width and offset wheels it is a distinct possibility, especially since they are about the lightest 17″ diameter wheels to fit my hubs available. Will they look funny on the mid-Bucket? Maybe And then again maybe not.

Well, it’s late and I really need to finish this up.

Billed @€0.02, Opus the Unkillable

I have my cat back!♥

While I was out walking and looking for Clint Sunday night I heard him answer back from inside the neighbors’ fence. Unfortunately they were asleep at the time so I couldn’t ask to open the gate and let him out, and then it started raining. It wasn’t until I got back from my walk yesterday evening that I was able to get someone next door to talk to me and open the gate. When they finally did get the gate open Clint burst out of where he had been hiding and out the gate and didn’t quit until he got to the front door. I spent the next several hours being loved on and repeatedly invoking the “no claws clause” because Clint was just ecstatic about being back with me and back inside where it didn’t rain and wasn’t muddy. It took until this afternoon for him to finish getting the mud out of his fur, but he’s clean(-ish) now.

On the lab-rat front, I’m working again on a new study. This time I’ll be taking an approved drug to see if it works for another condition. I have hypertension combined with left atrial hypertrophy, or in simpler terms an enlarged heart. Mine is benign because I got it from extended periods of moderate aerobic exercise (I rode my bike a lot). Anywho it means that I can sell plasma while I’m on the study since this time they are testing an approved drug. That means I will be able to buy some parts for the hot rod, probably the Watt’s link since it’s one of the cheaper parts and it doesn’t have to be custom ordered to fit the car. When I get a good measurement on the face-to-face distance of the minivan suspension in its stock form I will be able to order the right width front axle since custom widths are only $25 more than in-stock. I can’t say any more about the study because of the NDA.

And I just lost about 20 minutes writing time because of the cat on my lap giving me kisses (with tongue! 😛 ). I am still his Most Favorite Person In The Whole World, even more now that I rescued him from the neighbor’s back yard and their cat-proof fence. And it is nice having someonething to cuddle with for a while.

After the cuddle break and dinner I decided I needed some time to work on something, anything, and I had a flat file and some too-wide wheel halves for the Mini Sprint-T. Turns out the file works just as well as the sandpaper I was thinking about using to narrow the rim half and get the width right for the street wheels. Now I just need to figure out how I’m going to get the bead of the tire out to the bead seat of the wheel. I have lots of insulin-dependant friends who go through tons of syringes with hair-fine needles in a month, that would be great for moving a tire out on a rim by inflation until the glue dries enough to hold them in place. [Evil Thought] Or I could get some expand-in-place foam and squirt the precise volume of chemicals needed to fill the tire cavity to push the bead out and keep it out. [/Evil Thought] Anyway a few minutes of work gave me a wheel that is the right width for the street version of the Mini Sprint-T, but I have to be careful because of how easy it is to go overboard with the file and take off too much material. Fortunately I have some extra wheel front halves because I’m just going to use the centers from them on some much wider shells.

Time to go take care of other things.

Billed @€0.02, Opus the Unkillable

I’m worried about my cat

Clint decided to spend the night out last night. He insisted he had to go outside yesterday, then just never showed up when it came time for bed. It has now been over 24 hours since he has eaten here, and he has never been out that long. Needless to say I’m worried for him.

I have been hearing lots of predators in the area, owls, coyotes and I have seen some bobcats while on my walks. Clint might be effective at accidentally clawing my arm but with all the fights he has lost with the local squirrels biting his tail… I’m not sanguine about his condition.

While I’m composing this the pole qualifying for the Daytona 500 is/was on the TV. Junior will be starting alongside repeat pole winner Chase Elliott on the front row for the Daytona 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series race (got to get the full name in there 🙂 )

On other things Mrs. the Poet has thrown away more of my stuff in the process of making enough room for my hot rod in the garage. 😢 I can actually see all the way across the garage in several places now. I still haven’t found that book with the equations for getting the spring rates right on the first try that I bought back in the early ’80s when I first started building cars and haven’t seen in years, since before I blew the engine in my last car in 1995. I remember packing it for the move to Casa de El Poeta in 1994 and as far as I remember that was the last I saw of it. I remember it had a black cover and was written by Len Terry or had an ad for the Terry book as an additional resource. It had a black slip cover with white line illustrations and I think red text. I searched the web and…
I found it!!

That’s the exact edition I’m looking for, because I already own it! OK I had the colors on the illustrations and text reversed but otherwise, that’s what my book looks like. In that book are the equations I need to select the right springs and shocks on the first try, and a bunch of other things, too. Since I don’t have the room to work yet, and Mrs. the Poet throwing away my stuff is limited by the volume of the garbage and recycle bins and how often they are emptied. Which means that instead of getting the trauma over with quickly, the suffering is stretched out for weeks.

Speaking of suffering, this post has gone on long enough. My cat is still wandering around outside, and Mrs. the Poet is still plotting throwing away more of my stuff, and I’m still stressin’.

PSA, Opus the Unkillable

I’m a writer so I must write

If it seems like the posts don’t have a lot of content lately you’re right. I’m writing because I have to as a writer. Also to get better as a writer I have to write something as often as I can. So, I’m writing.

I’m still torn about tires and wheels for the hot rod. On the one hand for best performance at Goodguys I need to run a short wide tire that gets the car down lower and drops the CG which improves cornering power, and a taller tire that lets me clear speed bumps for normal driving around, OR I could get one set of wheels and tires that are just tall enough to get me over the speed bumps and still has the good grip for Goodguys. If I go with two sets of tires I’ll run the 255/60R15 BF Goodrich TA Radial as my dedicated street tire and the Maxxis Victra VR-1 245/40R15 as my dedicated race tire. If I go with a single wheel/tire for everything I’m looking at the 245/40R17 in a variety of brands up to 285/40R17 also in a variety of brands, and maybe a 315/35R17 Goodyear to get the grip and barely raise the bottom of the car over speed bumps.

There are three reasons for going to the 17″ diameter wheel, the first being that there are many more brands and sizes of tires available in 17″ diameter wheels than 15″. The second is there is room to stuff some huge disk brakes by T-bucket standards inside a 17″ wheel. For a T-bucket 11″ front brakes are huge, but I can easily fit a 13″ front disk inside the 17″ wheel and there aren’t any bigger brakes I can fit to the early Ford spindle. Unfortunately the rear brakes are limited by the constraints of the knuckle from the minivan to be only 11″ or so. Bigger brakes mean more stopping power from the same pedal pressure and calipers with less fade. That means shorter stops or less time braking and more time on the gas for racing. The third reason is it’s much less expensive to buy 4 wheels and tires than 8, even though that makes both sets of tires last longer. So I may have to give up a tiny bit of cornering grip to get better braking and much lower costs. Running 17″ wheels with 40 profile tires looks strange on a bucket though, so I might go with the 15″ tire combinations in spite of the extra cost, because in reality the 11″ brakes are just barely adequate for the weight of the car, and there is room for 12.2″ discs on the front with special low-profile calipers that are more than barely adequate. The 255/60R15 TA Radial looks “right” on a bucket, while the 245/40R15 Maxxis tire has much more grip and is roughly equal to the grip from the 17″ tires between the reduced center of gravity and the tread width.

Ugh! I hate when stuff like this happens, needing to make a decision without enough data to make the best decision, and not enough money to get the data.

Have a nice weekend! Opus the Unkillable

I went for a bike ride yesterday!

Yesterday I took my sorry self out for a bike ride, since I managed to get both tires pumped before the pump failed and my hip was stretched out enough to get my foot over the top bar of the frame. I managed to get 6 miles under my wheels before it got too dark to ride, and I also managed to get lots of points on the phone app that pays me to play. So good day.

Today was a good day, too but I didn’t get a chance to go for a ride today as I was helping Mrs. the Poet clean out the garage to make room to build my hot rod. I found my collection of vinyl records, that appeared to be in good condition, so Mrs. the Poet and I discussed what to do with them. We agreed that we really needed to convert them to digital as some of them will never be available on CD, like the LP we recorded in Concert Choir during my senior year. I have one that is a recording of Bach pieces done by a jazz trio in the late ’50s that I swiped from my parents when I was in college. Unfortunately my copy of “Blows Against the Empire” by Jefferson Starship (the only record album to win a Hugo) was not salvageable.

Also, while I was surfing the net last night I found lug studs that would fit the hubs from the minivan but have SAE threads. I won’t have to buy 2 different kinds of lug nuts and somehow keep them straight so I don’t mess up either the nuts or the studs from putting SAE nuts on metric studs or vice-versa. All I really needed to do was get the knurl diameter right and the overall length close, which turned out to be no problem as many other people seem to have done the same thing for whatever reason. The parts are readily available.

I’m still trying to find a replacement head and hose for the broken pump that blew the hose off the gauge (the first one). If I can get a refund for getting 2 pumps in a row that failed I might be able to afford to get a replacement head and hose for it because the pump still pumps, there is just no way to get the air from it into a tire.

And I’m done typing here. Y’all have a good evening/day depending on when you read this.

Billed @€0.02

The meds are working

My antidepressant in particular. My body is starting to get acclimated to not being depressed which is reinforcing. As I get used to not being depressed I feel less depressed, which makes me feel better so I feel less depressed… A virtuous circle rather than the vicious circle. And I’m actually getting other emotions that aren’t depression or anger. Some of them seem unusual to me, like fear, real compassion instead of the intellectual compassion I felt in the past.

Speaking of my body becoming used to not being depressed, my BP has changed. The systolic is still up there, but the diastolic, the measurement of how much my heart relaxes between beats, is the lowest it has been in over a decade. My body is remembering how to relax again. Even when I’m upset and there has been a litany of things to be upset about the last two weeks at Casa de El Poeta, I’m still mostly relaxed now. My heart is working more efficiently, it is having to beat less because every beat moves more blood with a more complete relaxation phase between beats. That is one of the big things happening as my body adapts to not being run by a depressed brain.

On the bike pump front I have been approved for a refund, contingent on my returning the broken pump by 3/31/17. Here’s where the problem is on that: I have to print a return label for the box they shipped it to me, and I don’t have access to a working printer. I have a printer but it doesn’t have any cables to connect it to my laptop. Some time between my youngest getting the printer for herself and putting it in her garage because she never had to print anything with it and giving the printer and a bag full of printer cables to me for my birthday the cables for that printer went bye-bye. So I’ll take any assistance I can get on that one.

On the hot rod front I found the actual weight of the Mopar 3.8L pushrod V6 – 413 pounds compared to the 545 pounds for an iron head SBC or 458 for the LS. The 41TE transaxle splits the difference between the TH350 and the 4T65E at just under 200 pounds by one source or between 150 and 200 from several sources. So for weight comparisons 3.8L/41te Mopar just over 600, 350/350 Chevy 675 plus 120 pounds of rear axle or just shy of 800 total, and the LS3/4L70E combo come to 625 plus that 120 pounds of rear axle for about 750 total. So assuming the 1700 pound dry weight for the Speedway kit is accurate my mid-Bucket will hit the scales right at 1500 dry.

And I’m running on 3.5 hours sleep because someone (coughmrsthepoetcough left the bedroom door open and Clint came in to snuggle about 90 minutes before I had my alarm set. I have been falling asleep all afternoon/evening even while I was trying to write this, which might explain the disjointedness of the composition as I was in a different frame of mind every time I woke up. I fell asleep 3 times typing the paragraph prior to this one.

Night-night, Opus the Unkillable

I am not having good luck with my Amazon purchases

The replacement pump came in this morning, and broke this afternoon. 😬😩 I mean seriously, Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot, Interrogative.(WTF?) Today instead of the hose failing at the point it joined the gauge, something inside the pump failed catastrophically. As in I almost fell on my face when it broke, catastrophically. The pump is rated for 100 PSI but it failed at just short of 60 PSI. That makes 2 pumps, and 2 toasters this year. I ordered an OBD2 dongle for my laptop to go with the OBD2 software I installed on it a while back, I’m hoping I don’t fry my laptop with 12v from the OBD2 port or some other such disaster.

On the hot rod front, the seller of the minivan and Mrs. the Poet had a talk. The minivan owner now has 3 minivans with broken transmissions and space for 2, so she and Mrs. the Poet came to an agreement, she would give me one of the minivans that would get towed if she doesn’t do something with it, and I would help Mrs. the Poet throw away my stuff to make room in the garage to work on the hot rod. As much as I hate throwing away my stuff, I agreed to the terms, because, hey free car! And I’m back on track. Not literally but kinda? Yeah, I’m back to building the hot rod on track, that’s back on track to get on the track.

I just got back from taking a break to celebrate some birthdays, because we have a bunch of them in February. The youngest, the oldest, the youngest’s husband in that order were all February babies. I like embarrassing the youngest with the story of her birth, which has me pulling her out of Mrs. the Poet backwards. The technical term for her birth was compound breech, one leg up and one down, butt first (until I pulled the other foot down and made sure the umbilical cord was clear before pulling her out). She was the second one born at home by accident as the oldest was also a surprise arrival at home when he was born. but that was 36 and 39 years ago. Anyway we went to this Greek place my son knows about up in Frisco just north of 121 and just east of the tollway. We split the flaming cheese appetizer 5 ways just to say we had eaten cheese deliberately set on fire, and I had the gyros platter for dinner. Mrs. the Poet had the chicken Greek salad from which she gave the olives to me, because she hates olives, all olives, not just the greek kind. Then we went down the street to the Cheesecake Factory to pick up dessert, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup cheesecake ($7.95 and 1530 Calories per slice) that we split.

So it’s been a while making this, so I’ll close this post and hit “publish” now.

Billed @$0.02, Opus the Unkillable