Tag Archives: building hot rods

No game this week, again

Family tragedy struck one of the players in our group as her father-in-law died a few days before game. Also, I have been beset by allergies that have really upset my sleep cycle as my sleep aid is just a double-strength allergy pill, minus the buffers. So, instead of putting me to sleep, it just clears up my nose and eyes for the night until it wears off. I was awake after 0700 this morning even though I put myself to bed by 0500.

I ended up sleeping through most of the race today, but I did manage to tune in for the last 20 or so laps, watching Kevin Harvick chase Joey Logano and almost catch him until Joey used dirty air or lapped cars to slow him down to keep Harvick from passing. It was a master class on how to defend a lead in a Cup race. I’m not a fan of Logano, but I do give credit where credit is due, and Joey drove his butt off keeping Harvick at bay.

No progress has been made in the Sprint-T redesign. I have all the major pieces in place, and until I can get some raw stock, which is really hard to come by these days because of the one-two punch of tariffs and COVID19, I really can’t build anything. Even in the case that I was able to find the raw stock, the combination of the stock thickness and having tools sized for bicycle building and not hot rods leaves me with stock with the dimensions laid out but no way to cut and drill to the sizes needed and make the part. It is frustrating to have drills that won’t handle drill bits over 3/8″ when the smallest hole is just under 1/2″ and the big hole is 9/16″ to allow for the thread depth of the bolts and the tap that cuts the thread so those bolts can screw into the part. It’s a combination of lack of power in the motors and the chucks just not being physically big enough to hold the larger drill bits. And for my cutting tools the 1/4″ thickness is pushing the limits of the equipment because when I bought the tools years ago when I was building bicycles 3mm (1/8″) steel or 5mm aluminum was the heaviest stock I was going to ever cut. Building hot rods wasn’t even on my mind. Let’s just say I was in a bit of a state over cars since someone tried to kill me with one, actually several someones tried several times with varying degrees of success, but nobody actually killed me thank [$DEITY]. So for most of this century since the wreck, I have had varying degrees of antipathy about cars.

OK, let me take inventory of tools, parts and raw stock that I need to complete the Sprint-T. I need something that can make square or mitered cuts in stock at least 1/4″ thick in mild or chrome-moly steel. I need a drill press that can handle 3/4″ holes in the 1/4″ steels, and up to 1/2″ thick in aluminum. I need a welder that will weld over 1/4″ thick steel, and that will weld aluminum. I mean I can use oxy-hydrogen to weld aluminum now, but that is a very tricky technique for someone with cataracts to work with, and I’m not sure that it didn’t contribute to giving me cataracts in the first place. Anyway, after the tools I need lots of raw stock, DOM or chrome-moly seamless tubing in 1.5″ diameter and 0.120″ (7 sticks) and 0.060″ (5 sticks) wall thickness, some 1.25″ diameter DOM and 0.120″ (2 sticks) wall for making the tie rod, drag link, panhard rod, and the torque arm. Also needed is a metric buttload of hardware to connect things that have to be able to move in relation to other things, in various sizes from 3/4″ fine thread (pretty big) to 4-40 (tee-niny).

It’s getting late, so I’m wishing you a good night and pleasant dreams.

Still thinking about… things

Not to sound ominous or anything, just that I have been letting my ADD do its thing and letting my mind wander around a bit.

One thing I have been thinking about is I used a wrong number in the sitting beside the engine SCCA A/Mod car. The engine extends 9″ to the left of center on the left, not the 8″ I used to figure my offset, so y=x-16 rather than 15, and the 7″ comes from the fact that I have room left over in my 14″ wide racing seat. And before anyone else can say anything yes I have a narrow butt. Anywho, I was also thinking that I could use 3 pedals if I sit next to the engine because I basically have as much room as I want to the left, and 14″ is plenty of room for a 3 pedal footbox. With the linked pedal set the brakes and clutch pedal could be mounted in the 7″ to the left leaving lots of room for the linkage to the gas pedal to the right.

Odd as it might seem the car that has the driver to the left of the engine has more room for the pedals than the Sprint-T because of the body limitations being 34″ wide at the floor in the middle of the car and the firewall only being 26″ wide. This limits the engine offset to 13-(engine width to the right) inches, or about 3″ for the LS engines, leaving just 16-9 or just 7 inches of space for heels with no room for the right foot to lean to the right. Sure feet will fit there but there isn’t much room to shift from side to side to keep your legs from cramping on long trips like the trips to the races planned for the Sprint-T. It will work, I have tested it by sitting with my foot in one spot while working on the computer for a few hours, but it is uncomfortable as all get-out. The seating position is really better for autocross racing or SCCA Solo racing than it is for long highway trips. For racing the seating position holds the driver in position directly on the controls, but for long trips that is a liability because the driver can’t move without moving the gas or brake pedals, which means that long trips will require frequent stops for driver comfort.

Something else I have been thinking about is building myself a trike I can get in and out of so I can start riding again. The easiest thing to make would be a tadpole trike, or reverse trike as some call them, 2 wheels in front, and a regular bicycle rear triangle in the back for the rear wheel. One thing I have been thinking about for this vehicle is how to make the pedal reach adjustable for different riders without having to alter the chain to fit each rider, because I know that I’m not going to be the only person to ride this trike. Something like this will invite other people of limited mobility to want to ride, for the same reason I want to build it, wanting to ride still or again but can’t get on or off a regular bike any more. So what I came up with is having a regular bike driveline mounted to a boom that has a pivot concentric to the rear cluster so that the pedals can be moved fore and aft in an arc while the tension on the chain to the rear wheels stays the same. All the fiddly bits are in a small space that is easy to get to on the front of the trike, and it can be removed for extensive maintenance or repair. The chain to the rear wheel can be fully enclosed to only need annual or biannual maintenance and also not transfer grease to the rider’s legs if inadvertently touched.

And I have been thinking about all this stuff in a vain attempt to not think about other stuff like BLM and COVID-19. I can’t for the life of me figure out why any of this is controversial. Police shouldn’t predate on unarmed black men, and when there is a virus that is spread by breathing covering your mouth and nose to keep virus-laden particles from getting out or in. You prevent yourself from getting sick, but more importantly if you are pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic you don’t get other people sick. So stay home when you can, and wear a mask when you can’t stay home. The life you save may be mine!

Just in case you were feeling generous…

There’s something I need for the Sprint-T build, that might not still be there when I have access to that much money again. This was the oil pan I was thinking of making to get clearance for the bottom part of the front hoop under the engine. This looks like a 50 -60 hour fabrication job for me, vs $330 cost to buy and install. I would need to buy or make the oil pump pickup either way, so that’s a wash.

But seriously I need that oil pan for this build or I need to go dry sump, which is even more expensive because it requires external tanks and extra pumps, or a special crankshaft and front cover if the factory dry sump system is installed, which while better than the wet sump for hard cornering is inferior to the aftermarket, and almost impossible to find in junkyards (they only came on Corvettes and Corvette engines are bought before the vehicles even get to the junkyards).

Now I’m going to go watch the Michigan NASCAR Cup race. Y’all have a good one and remember that Hephaestus wants you to build something that improves somebody’s life. Even if it’s only one person, make that person’s life better.

NOTE I had to edit this after I hit post because I didn’t catch the typo of my deity’s name, now I need to beat on some iron or something in pennance.

Almost recovered from yesterday

I don’t know what I did yesterday but it was literally a pain. I used to get pains in my lower back way back when I first started walking after the wreck which is how we discovered the short leg issue. This pain is highly similar to that, but I can’t trace why it came back after so many years. I ditched the lifted shoe over a year ago because it had failed to alleviate the pain when I was walking barefoot part of the time, and part of the time walking with the lift. I think a big part of my problems is the amount of time I sit with my pelvis level and then walk with the tilt.

There wasn’t much heat to deal with as there was a heavy cloud cover and spotty showers all day long. I got more moisture from showers than I did sweat. And most of the places I went to had AC turned way too strong so whatever slightly over-warm I experienced was countered by cold AC shortly thereafter.

On the Lab Rat Keeper front I’m in a new study for 3 years. The most I can say under my NDA is they are working on a surgical cure for hypertension (high BP), and I will get an overnight hospital stay after the surgery. Then spend the next 3 years getting poked and prodded and periodically drained of blood. Right now I’m in the washout period where I get rid of all the medication reducing my BP. Then tests to “qualify” my blood pressure, then schedule the surgery, then the procedure, then 36 months of monitoring for effectiveness and side effects.

On other things tomorrow I get to pay my phone bill and buy the replacement stones for the hone, and get a little walking in. And maybe grab a burger from Whataburger. I can still handle a cheeseburger or a pizza without getting hit by a lactose gut bomb gas attack, so I’m going with my favorite Bacon Cheese Jalapeño Whataburger. And fries and a Coke Zero in the combo.

On the TGS2 I’m getting the replacement stones for the hone like I said in the previous paragraph, which means I can get the kingpins installed on the spindles and the spindles on the axle, and another thing off the list for building my car. Then I can get the exact measurement for the tie rod and get started on building it. I’m still deciding on steel tubing or carbon fiber, one is quick and cheap, the other is light and just as strong but expensive even if you build it yourself. Either way I will use the threaded weld bungs to provide an attachment point for the rod ends. With the carbon fiber I would use a EPS core and extend the carbon fiber over the bung right up to the threads. With the steel tube I would just weld it in and metal-finish the joint to make it look like a single hunk of metal that had been whittled to shape like I used to do building bikes. Then I used brass brazing rod as a filler and filed the brass down and painted over it. That’s how I won my class in the car show many years ago. The carbon fiber tie rod would get a UV absorbing clear coat while the steel one would get matt black epoxy or powdercoat.

And since I have stuff to do tomorrow I’m gonna put this one to bed.

I did stuff now I can write about stuff

OK first and foremost I finally installed the bushings in the spindles. I spent hours pounding on that last bushing, but I finally got it (mostly) in place.
See the brassy looking stuff? That's a bushing

Now the fun part is going to be honing those bushings until the kingpin just barely falls into them when I carefully insert it from the top. Actually it should be falls from the top smoothly through the bottom, but let’s not be looking for miracles here. If it lines up so the kingpin rotates in both bushings at the same time I will be satisfied. I was just thinking maybe I should have made a few quick passes with the hone on the kingpin holes in the spindles but hindsight is better than 20/20. That reminds me, I need to hang on to my 2020 party shades when the time gets here. I finally had to resort to my 8 pound engineering hammer to brute force the bushing in place, where the other 3 finessed in using the 32 oz. ball peen hammer, thereby confirming the adage “If at first it doesn’t fit, get a bigger hammer!”

I think I mentioned a while back I was playing Shadowrun as a repaired and idealized version of my future self (age 129). The main difference is when they fitted my cyberlegs I requested they be proportioned like the Vitruvian Man.The Ideal proportions for the Human Male
So my character is now 6’7″ instead of 5’8″. (My neck got fixed while I was in traction for the hips to heal, too) I have a shotgun/slug gun in my left arm, and I can swap out a 4 round internal magazine for a 16 round external replaceable magazine in less than 5 minutes, and reload with a spare magazine in 2 seconds. The arm gun fires 20mm slugs or flechette rounds in-game. If I was to have such a thing IRL I would use a Military Buckshot load of 00 and 4 Buckshot, because 1) flechette rounds have lousy terminal ballistics and 2) flechettes tear up the barrel, even in a cup wad. Don’t believe me? Search YouTube for Taofledermaus flechette and look what carefully loaded flechette loads did to his gun.It ain’t pretty.

And I have to get up semi-early tomorrow to start honing those bushings, so time to post and shut down for the night.

I get lots of ideas on my walks

On today’s walk I ruminated in background on 2 problems: enough room for fuel tanks, and getting as much surface as possible for downforce including the windshield. Also I’m not a fan of the pinched cowl of the ’23-’25 model T, it offends my aesthetic and aerodynamic senses (which may be the same thing).

So, what to do? Well obviously blend the cowl into the windshield and the sides of the body, so that the widened firewall and hood sides flow the air smoothly down the sides of the body while the transition from the hood top to the windshield deflects the air up and forces the car down into the road, complementing this downforce generating nose .Downforce generating race nose

This is what I have to work with as shown with SAD (stick aided design). I literally duct-taped a thin stick to the side of the body to establish a smooth curve from the sides to the front axle past the firewall.
See how much gap there is at the firewall? Ugh!

Use your mind's eye to fill that space in and make it smooth.

Much easier to see how the front of the car would look from this angle.

This is how that nose looks on the kind of cars it was designed for.

My idea is in side profile to roll the hood over from the nose to just below the base of the windshield and make a smooth transition to the 30° angled windshield with the hood sides making an equally smooth transition to the side of the body like the stick taped to the side does, only all the way down to the frame, including the tuck-under at the bottom like the rest of the body. I’m still debating whether or not to put the little side fences on the hood to keep the air on it or to roll the top similar to the bottom or the top contour of the firewall.

This will look cool with the Monoposto seating in the center of the car. BTW that body mod will be 36″ wide at the original firewall and taper down to 29″ at the front axle, compared to the 27″ wide firewall it has now.

And it’s getting late again.

Billed @€0.02, Opus the fat but Unkillable

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