Two days ago it was 80°F for the high, this morning it was 24°F for the morning low. The cats can’t figure out what they want to do, one stays out all night and as much time on my lap as he can during the day, the other spends all night inside and most of the day outside. Both of them are crazy by human standards, and at least one by cat standards.
I need to find where the woodcutting saw went other than “in the garage somewhere” so I can finish making the bending jig for the Mini Sprint-T. And I have determined the Mini will have Tri-Y headers on one side and Sprint style Four-into-one headers on the other because it will be an engineering model and both options need to be shown for “reasons”.
Also I want to build another chassis with an extra rear hoop for a cover over the pickup bed to provide covered storage on the road, someplace to put my luggage than inside the cockpit or in the tire trailer with the gas storage tank. I don’t want my clean clothes and driving suit for racing to reek of E85 or 87 octane. Yes I’m still planning on running two tanks on the car and offloading the cheap transit gas and switching to a separate tank with the “good” gas at the track since I learned that E85 can give a power boost to the midrange and bottom end even if the engine runs fine on 87 octane. If the engine is set up to barely tolerate 87 as long as the gas pedal isn’t pressed too firmly then E85 can give a boost through the entire RPM range. Also I kinda need to figure out how to cover the pickup bed without creating a huge flat surface to catch the air driving down the road. I’m thinking making the roof contiguous from the top of the windshield to the rear of the cover would do it, but that would make getting in through the top of the roll cage tricky to impossible.
Something else I have been contemplating is quickly removable fenders for streamlining and spray control during transit, given how bad huge exposed tires are for both of those. Again the issue is enough coverage of the exposed frame to work as intended without keeping me from getting in and out of the car at gas stops. The plan is still climb through the roof using the diagonals on the sides of the cockpit as a ladder to get to and from the top of the cage, so those diagonals need to be usable as a ladder while also out of the airstream for the highway. I’m thinking lots of hook-and-loop fasteners for the roof and the parts of the body that need to be movable for getting in and out. But that’s for after I get the car running enough to see if I even need to use a body and fenders beyond the fiberglass bucket.
Mrs. the Poet said I should just put the checks for the taxes in the mail this week and not worry about it. We kinda played some for the Shadowrun game on Sunday, but mostly with the weather doing the yo-yo thing I have been doing my “bear in winter” impression. Seriously this weather is seriously sapping my desire to even get out of bed at whatever time I stop sleeping. I have been huddled under the covers being borderline depressed, as in episode depressed, and not managing to work up a care to even check what has been wrought against the country by People Enabled By Russians. I mean I saw the kid from the Catholic school bothering the Native American Elder after marching against women controlling their own bodies. Because that is a thing that Catholic School Boys do, protest women controlling their own bodies and bother Native elders.
Other than that I have to pretty much force myself to eat anything after breakfast because I’m just not hungry after I get morning coffee, even if “morning” is 1300-1600 or so, like I wrote earlier getting out from under the warm blankets is very hard because warm, and because there is a cold draft blowing under the desk where I do my computer stuff now. Out away from the desk is fine, but under the desk is freezing (well colder than the rest of the room) and I really don’t want to get out from under the blankets to go work on the computer, which I have to do because otherwise I can’t post to this blog. Seriously, I can’t type worth a damn on my phone so if there is going to be a blog post I have to stick my legs under this drafty desk. I keep a blanket to cover my legs when I’m using the computer because otherwise I’m overdressed for the temperature if I’m warm enough under the desk. And with the current weather it’s even worse than normal because the wind forces the cold air through the leaks in the window.
Anyway, to kill time I have been looking some more at the FIRST TPI intake and fuel injection manifold, and it seems to be an intermediate step for the SBC between the LS engines and a carburetted engine, with low RPM torque like a dual plane intake and small 4BBL and high RPM like a single plane intake with a huge Dominator-style 4BBL. Or in other words very much like an LS engine with the plastic manifold but still only coughing up SBC change instead of LS engine co$t$. I think I mentioned this build is more about powerband than peak HP, because there is at least one turn that will see near idle speed in first gear on the majority of Goodguys courses and almost no place to use a high peak power. That is exactly what this manifold is made for.
And making another right-angle turn at full speed in the narrative, the stainless steel raw stock for the Mini Sprint-T suspension came in today in another ridiculously overpackaged container. The shipping container was worth more than the raw stock inside it. Anyway what came today was 1mm OD stainless tubing that will fit the simulated heim joints perfectly from Dirt Modeler and is something else that requires the use of the butane torch I bought at Harbor Freight to join together with intended parts. I still have the pure solder (no flux) left over from making the hot water heater for the camp shower a few years back, there was a minimum required quantity that was about 3 times as much as I needed to make the heater, so I have enough for several thousand simulated heim joints that require only a tiny drop of molten solder to affix them permanently.
Life has been very uninteresting lately, it’s winter and that uncomfortable kind of cold that can’t be dressed properly for. I’m either still cold, or sweating because I have too much on, or both because the temperature can’t figure out what it wants to do. I still have to pay my property taxes now that I found out that at least one of the offices does not accept debit cards and I managed to track down my checkbook that I hardly ever use except to void a check when someone prefers to pay by direct deposit.
So I have my checks for whenever the weather improves to the point I can do the walk between the three offices on State St. in Garland. In good weather it’s a nice walk from 5th to Garland Ave, less than a mile. And there are bus stops on both ends but it is only a short walk from Downtown Garland station to the first tax office, less than a quarter of a mile.
And at some point I really need to stop at a CVS or other store that carries butane to fuel the torch that heats the bender for the plastic rod I’m using for the frame of the Mini Sprint-T. And while I’m on the subject of cars I found a really good intake manifold for a SBC to use should I wind up running a SBC on the 1:1 Sprint-T. This manifold is an evolution of the TPI GM intake from the late ’80s early ’90s, that produced prodigious low-end torque but ran out of breath above 3000 RPM partially because of the state of the art for EFI at the time. Well this version breathes all the way up top, with “top” depending on displacement but generally higher than a factory cast crank will live with. The tech person I was in chat with says for a 383 the “top” is above 6000. The tech manual advises against using E85 but the only thing I can find that might not be compatible with the fuel is possibly the fuel injectors or the rubber injection lines supplied. Those are all easy to replace with alcohol rated devices or materials. The crank and piston kit I’m looking at has a max continuous of 5200 RPM or a short-burst redline of 5500 RPM.
Finding a kit to build a 383 that runs on 87 octane NA is another problem entirely. Most of them are too high a compression ratio for 87, or built for forced induction and cost too much because they are designed for higher HP than a NA engine can make on either 87 octane or E85. Sure that makes for an engine that is unlikely to fail even during racing, but I could buy a kit not made for boost that would be just as reliable and a bunch less expensive if they would use the same parts they use for 93 octane except for the extremely dished pistons in the hyper eutectic material instead of forged used in the boost-capable kits. Locally the difference between 87 and 93 octane is $0.30-0.50/gallon, or about 20-30%, and E85 is about a penny more than 87. Depending on tune it might be cheaper to run on E85 all the time using the 93 octane kit if I wasn’t concerned with availability for long trips. But for that I have the possibility of running a storage tank in the tire trailer to extend the range enough to get between E85 stations on the Interstate when driving between races, and there are plenty of places to refuel locally.
It has turned cold and rainy today, after yesterday’s trek for nothing. I had originally planned on going downtown and depositing checks and Getting Stuff Done, but Bush41’s funeral caused all the offices to be closed, and apparently also the ATMs to not work, because it said I had money but then said I couldn’t have any. I got as much cash as they could give me at the register because I had to go buy stuff in the store where the ATM is located. Unfortunately I couldn’t get anywhere near the cash I needed to get because of the limits on how much cash they can give back. ☹️
And the Trump Tariffs are negatively affecting the Sprint-T build. Local steel prices are through the roof, and online prices that can deliver are only a tiny bit better. And I mean tiny, about 1% less. I thought the tariff was only 25% on steel, but it looks like more so maybe this was the one he slapped the 30% tariff on. And adding 30% to the cost of the raw stock does bad things to the build budget. I really try hard to keep politics out of the blog posts, but there are times when that’s just not feasible, like now. Tariffman has just totally screwed up two things I do/did, building bicycles and hot rods (and tumbrels, but those are just bicycle trailers with a handrail). So it’s not just the big car companies getting screwed, us individual hobbyists are feeling the pinch as well.
So, anyway, I have time to do the post because I walked over 2 miles yesterday and I’m getting pain on the scars from the surgery to put my hip together and then take the hardware out so I wouldn’t get strip searched every time I had to go through a security checkpoint and they didn’t believe the scars (only happened once, but once is one too many times). You would think that more than 15 years since the last operation would be enough to keep the scars from hurting, but you would be wrong, because when I woke up this morning I could barely move my leg for about an hour or so. I don’t know exactly how long because both phones were on the chargers and out of my reach and I can’t read the LCD digital clock from the bed. It felt like forever, but realistically it was less than an hour. Then I just didn’t want to get out from under the quilt because cozy, and things didn’t hurt as long as I stayed on the hot side of things. Staying too warm was pretty instrumental to alleviating a number of recent pains in my leg, hip and shoulder. Which is another roundabout way of saying I’m getting old but not in the good way. Which is another way of saying immortality without eternal youth is a curse, or that I wish I had access and the money to purchase the enhancements my character in Shadowrun has, replacing the damaged legs with ones that can be repaired or replaced, ditto the arm and bypassing the brain damage with cerebral enhancements, fixing my vision with “cateyes” that can see in almost no light without having to get recharged once a day… fixing everything that hurts or doesn’t work right. Then I can be immortal minus the pains of old age. Unlike my current situation of immortal with accelerated aging because healthcare in the US sucks unless you’re obscenely rich.
And that seems like a good place to stop for today.
The office temperature was 74°F (23.3°C) this morning! It was cooler than that when I went shopping for a solution to the drain plug problem we are having in the kitchen sink and redeemed a coupon for a free Avocado Bacon Burger at the local Whataburger. Then it was about the same as it is right now outside: 66°F.
Mrs. the Poet is not sure she likes the solution I found for her constantly failing drain plugs: what Lowe’s calls a “suction stopper” which is basically a round sheet of rubber that covers the drain, and a stainless mesh filter that fits inside the drain and removes for cleaning. Total cost $7 and the only failure points are eventually the rubber will age into uselessness (almost typo that would also have worked: “uselessmess”) and the mesh can be torn if a fork gets caught in it. Unlike the one we bought last year for $3 at the local grocery that has a built-in failure that is pretty much guaranteed because that’s exactly how all 3 of the last ones we bought failed, there is a barbed insert that fits through a hole in the rubber stopper, and after some use the water pressure in the full sink will overcome the tenacity of the barbed insert and the stopper gets left behind when the rest of the assembly is removed to allow drainage. This is another design defect in that the strainer has to be removed to drain the water so it doesn’t actually strain the debris from going down the drain. The new plug and strainer doesn’t have this failing.
I’m still thinking (Danger Will Robinson!) about the Sprint-T design, this time about the lateral location device for the rear axle. With the various types and sizes of tires I will be using some adjustability in the rear suspension to change the balance of grip front to rear. Looking at the many ways to get this adjustability the simplest way is adjusting the rear roll center height by moving the vertical attachment of the rear lateral location device. Well, I did the bending stress on a 1.125″ fine thread bolt and for the LS and lighter engines this will be just big enough to not fail in long term use. There might be some flex while racing, and it is a definite failure point if I bang a curb with the right rear tire on the street, but the flex will not be noticeable to the driver and I’m not supposed to be banging curbs anyway. Construction will be super easy: After I cut the pivoting piece for the Watt’s link I cut a 1.125″ hole in the center for the pivot bolt then weld a fine thread nut with a grease fitting over the hole and machine out a bit of the arm to clear the bolt in use. I don’t know how much adjustment I will actually need and I could probably rebuild the mount for the pivot arm with only as much bolt as I need left unsupported from flex after I finish testing. Then I could just machine away the rest of the bolt past the support structure and save that little bit of weight.
Speaking of saving weight, I’m having some issues with how to attach the bracket for the Watt’s link to the rear axle housing, mostly because I still haven’t settled on which rear axle to use, the nine-inch Ford with an aluminum center section and a fabricated aluminum housing and axle tubes or the Winters V8 quick change with a magnesium center section and aluminum side bells with aluminum axle tubes. The generic Nine Inch would be a touch cheaper and has more clearance at droop, while the V8 is slightly lighter and has a better selection of final drive ratios. That availability of final drive ratios might be the thing that swings the decision. Anyway, the Nine Inch housing will have to have a mount welded on the back, while the V8 can have the bracket bolted with longer studs on the side bell, making modification a simple matter of unbolting the test bracket and bolting on the permanent bracket, another point in favor of the V8 QC axle.
And this once again points out that designing a car from scratch is a good thing to do for us old people with ADD because there are so many sub-systems that have to be hashed out so progress can still be maintained when interest fades on whatever I’m working on at the moment.
I have been thinking about cooling for the Sprint-T. I’m going with the assumption that the 22″ wide catalog radiator is going to be roughly equivalent to the OEM radiator, but for insurance against overheating I’m going to stuff as much oil cooler in the nose as will fit. The boxes still need to be moved around a bit but there is room and airflow to stick a cooler sideways so that the air comes in the front and flows out the driver’s side.
Other things I found out include the Pentastar engine is identical across a model year except for the intake manifold and oil pan for packaging under the hood. The only reason the FWD versions are rated at 245 instead of around 300 is the 62TE transmission can’t handle any more than that. If I grab an engine out of a minivan, swap the intake manifold to a RWD manifold and the ECU loaded with the RWD engine map it would make the same power as if I pulled it from the RWD car/truck. That really expands the available engine pool. And I’m still looking at printing up a new manifold with dual throttle bodies to get a lower profile and maybe eke out a few more ponies on the top end so that I can maybe not shift a time or two on course to save that odd thousandth of a second on the track.
And I’m spending the weekend with the cats because Mrs. the Poet is going to commune with Nature away from me. And Winter is making a comeback as we drop more than 40°F between yesterday’s high and tomorrow’s low, even worse if you factor in the “feels like” temperature forecast of 15°F. It’s going to be “fun” getting the cats back in so they don’t freeze.
OK it has been raining all afternoon, both yards are flooded, and the forecast is for near-freezing temperatures by morning. The cats are staring out the windows and hissing and growling, some at the weather, some at each other, and neither one wants to sit in the cat tower with the comfy cat beds. And when they stop hissing, they both try to sit in the same lap, which they don’t fit on. But even ignoring the cats’ problems, the weather is still a concern. The Beautiful Suburbs of Hell are under 3 alerts or warnings for road, river, and flash flooding.
As I’m also stuck waiting out cold and wet weather I still make plans for building the Sprint-T, even though I still know I have no chance to build one. Just because I have no way to build it doesn’t mean I can’t still want to build it, I just can’t build it. But, (big but) I can build it in scale, at a budget I can afford.
And the cats are crying again. Time to console them.