Tag Archives: hot rod

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

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’m gonna go for a wa-alk!

Read that headline in sing-song voice like you were taunting someone because that’s how I typed it. Yesterday was pretty painful but this morning I wasn’t feeling too bad so after dinner tonight I’m going to take a short (just >2 mile) walk. I can get 19 out of the 25 possible check-ins on my phone game, just not any bonus point check-ins, for a maximum of 95 points and a good walk. This particular walk seems to be my best compromise between exercise and damage to my body. I’m still waiting on that new pump to arrive so I can pump up the other tire and get some real exercise on my bike.

In other news there ain’t no other news I can report in this blog, so I covered it in my Twitter account. Twitter is not a good medium for me. I mean I can do it, no problem but I have a tendency to reduce my written communications to sound bites as it is and the 140 character limit per tweet makes this even worse. I mean, have you ever read “Famous Novels Redone As Single Tweets”? That’s what my tweets look like if I’m not careful about stuffing too much information into a single tweet.

I’m still unhappy with Mrs. the Poet over the hot rod thing, but I don’t see any way to compromise with her “no!” stance. My opinion is if I have to give up something I have dreamed about for half a century then there should be something Mrs. the Poet gives up in exchange, but she doesn’t have any such long-held desires. I mean the most I could do would be to tell her she can’t clean up the garage any more since I won’t be building anything in it now that I can’t build my hot rod. I have design sketches for the T-Bucket that are over 20 years old, she has nothing. Well nothing she hasn’t already got. Her big thing was getting the kids raised and grandkids, which she sorta has now. The only place she’s fallen short of her dreams is we only have the one grandkid, where she was hoping for several. Anything else she has wanted has been discarded like a used tissue. I’m still here, so I guess that’s good.

And my walk beckons so this is the last paragraph sentence.

PSA, Opus the Unkillable

It never rains but it pours, my luck

OK I was going to get the extension hose today so I removed the gauge from the pump to take the fitting to the parts shop to get the right sizes on the hose. After I got it off I thought just for due diligence I should leak test the unit to make sure of where the leak was. So guess where the leak was? The end of the hose where it joins the gauge. Now if the leak had been on the other end of the hose or the other side of the gauge I could fix it, but where the hose connects to the gauge is a crimped connection and not something I can fix at home. So now I have to do a warrantee replacement of the pump so I can ride my bike. Fortunately Amazon is sending a replacement pump assembly.

Getting back to the design of the pump, this pump was designed to be non-repairable. What I thought was a male pipe-thread fitting on the gauge turned out to be a self-threading fitting with a sealing ring at the top, sorta like the legendary self-sealing stem bolts of ST:DS9 . This means they didn’t need to worry about clocking the installation of the gauge because it would clock itself without leaking. That also means I can’t just stick another original gauge and hose in there because the threads are already cut and probably wouldn’t match up to the new unit. And to make matters worse the hose connection to the gauge is not one that can be done or undone in your average home shop. So I’m screwed, and not in the fun way. The only thing I can do is see if I can screw a hose into the pump and run the pump without a gauge. But I’m still going to see if I can fix this one because that’s what I do, play with busted stuff and see if I can make it work. I have a brand-new pump that just needs a hose and chuck to work. I WILL make it work.

On the hot rod front, I have sustained a setback but I’m only out about $90 including taxes because everything I bought since the design change to a mid-engine will work with the more traditional design except for the car cover for a 1990-2005 Chrysler Town and Country mini-van. The books on reprogramming the Chrysler PCM are generic enough that unless I end up with a carb instead of fuel injection I’m still good on that, so that brings it down to $45 for the car cover and tax. The steering arms will work because the front suspension and steering are the same for the front and mid-engine versions except for springs and shocks, which I haven’t bought yet.

Something all the design work for the mid-bucket has made me want to do is to use something like the engine and transmission to make a SCCA Solo racing A/Mod car. There are very few rules in A/Mod: 72″ minimum wheelbase, 42″ minimum track, 900 pound minimum weight with driver, roll bar minimums and maximums, and all 4 wheels have to be sprung. There are maximum wing rules, driver coverage body rules, but nothing that would keep me from doing my thing. I really wished over and over I had the budget to do both the hot rod and the A/Mod car. Towing the A/Mod car behind the hot rod would be doubleplus rad.

And I think I have gotten everything out of my system for today.

PSA, Opus the Unkillable

Getting my feet back under me after getting the rug pulled

I don’t know if any of you caught it Saturday, but Mrs. the Poet pulled the rug out from underneath me on the hot rod. Basically she just took my part of the family budget and said “we need to spend this otherwise”. This strands a ton of money in non-returnable parts because I bought a lot of my parts on close-out and returned to save money. I had a very tight budget before and was pinching every penny until Ol’ Abe screamed for mercy, but now I don’t even have that.

I mean, just look at what's left of this penny!

And yes, that penny is the same diameter as a nickel now.

I’m still processing this on an emotional level. On my intellectual level, yeah, we could use the money for other things but all the things she mentioned I have pulled money out of my trust to pay for several times now and she still hasn’t done them, so why should my budget get wiped for things I want when she gets unlimited raids on my trust fund for the same thing? I mean I have taken money out of my trust on several occasions to pay for things she mentioned in the justification for wiping my budget, so why wipe out my budget now? Especially when I was on the cusp of making as much money on my own as Mrs. the Poet’s retirement brings in.

I don’t mean for this to sound like I’m dumping on Mrs. the Poet, this is my way of processing this. In fact this blog was started as a way of processing my getting hit and the guy apparently not getting punished for trying to kill me. This blog had been running for years before I found out what really happened. And then I had to process why they would withhold the information from me and why I still don’t know the name of the guy who tried to kill me after more than 15 years. I’m mainly just kvetching now.

In summation, I ain’t got no money, Mrs. the Poet is being mean to me (not really), and I write to work things through I can’t process any other way. Oh! and I can’t get money until I replace my ID card.

Opus the Unkillable

I need a pussyhat

Seriously. I want to show my support, I need a warm hat for long walks at night, and I can’t knit. I also don’t have the funds to buy one even if I knew where to get one. Also I strongly disagree with and disapprove of Cheeto Jesus. For a guy who sponsored a bike race he doesn’t seem to care much about actually being able to use bikes.

Also I got a PM on Twitter (@opusthepoet) that I should do a political blog. Sorry but while I care about politics to a degree I care much more about what politicians are doing to things I care about, like clean air and clean water, and my grandson not having to swim to work when he grows up because of sea level rise due to climate change. I really don’t care which political party is in charge as long as the things like that and personal liberties are protected. Unfortunately we seem to have one side that only protects corporate profits ahead of clean air and water and personal liberties.

On yet another front, my new pump doesn’t work. Instead of using a compression fitting for connecting the gauge to the pump they used a pipe thread fitting. Both of those connect and hold air, the difference is you can’t “clock” the pipe fitting to make it tight when facing a particular direction like you can with a compression fitting, and the gauge keeps hitting the pump frame during the pump action and getting loosened up. The solution of course is to get a hose with a female pipe fitting on one end and a male fitting on the other and use that to bridge the gap between the gauge and the pump so they don’t hit. I could ask for my money back, but I got almost the cheapest pump on Amazon so I guess this is as much my fault as theirs. On the bright side I can use this as practice for building brake lines for the hot rod, and the extra hose length will make using the pump easier as I can hold the gauge in my hand as I pump instead of trying to read it on the ground as it bounces back and forth from being on a foot pump.

On the hot rod front I have discovered the hub spacing using the stock drive axles is going to be too wide for the front axle. I have four alternatives: buy a wider front axle so the front and rear widths match up (expensive, requires custom manufacturing), 2) make the de Dion cage so that the rear axle width matches the front and shorten the stock drive axles to fit (tricky but barely within my capabilities), or 3) get the widest front axle width available without spending for the custom work and live with the difference as it will actually reduce the theoretical difficulties I was having getting the front and rear grip to match through the middle of a corner. Getting a wider front axle also reduces a problem I was trying to work around for wheel lock. Not lock as in too much brake but lock as in how far I can turn the wheel from side to side, in this case wider is better as the frame is a fixed width, and the further I push the front wheels out the more I can turn them from side to side, without hitting the rest of the car. 4) Mix of 3 and 2. Buy the widest axle and then narrow the drive axles to fit. Cheaper than 1 with all the work of 2 but the car will look right. Handling would still be interesting to sort out.

So, tomorrow I have meetings about the church, then grocery shopping, looks like a busy day.

Billed @€0.02, Opus the Unkillable

Getting antsy waiting for my foot to get better

Still waking up feeling like someone has been beating on my foot, but the swelling is starting to come down over the ball of the foot so I’m doing better, just not “better” enough yet. I so want to go for a walk right now while the weather is still shorts-and-t-shirt warm. But I’m still not recovered enough to just go for a walk I don’t absolutely have to take. Discretionary walks are still out of the question, no matter how badly I want to take one. The condition I was in after the trip to the lab rat keeper last week confirms that. But there are Big Point captures I can get out there now for my phone game that require walking to get, or a bus ride. And spending $5 to make <$1 is not good economic sense. So I can only collect the Big Bucks when I have to go someplace by bus that I can't avoid having to go to, like going to the LRK or buying a presta adapter at the LBS.

More to the point I want to get out of the house, but I can't just walk someplace because of my foot being messed up. And not being able to leave the house is what is making me feel antsy.

Also making me antsy is I have reached a point where I can't do anything more with my hot rod until I get actual things to work with. I can't decide which brakes to use on the front until I know which brakes I have to use on the back, which requires actually seeing if the e-brake calipers will physically fit the Chrysler knuckles, and by that I mean bolting the brackets to the knuckles and not welding them. And that is just one of the many decisions I still need to make but can't because I lack the parts in my hands. On the e-brakes I'm pretty sure there is enough room for the caliper to fit after I remove some bits that locate the OEM caliper and maybe grind a bit more away from the knuckle, but again that's from looking at pictures on the Internet not having the actual parts to physically compare them. I know which calipers I'm going to use for the e-brake, what I don't know is which end of the car they are going to be mounted on, and whether I'm going to use them for doing burnouts or bootleg turns. Also still waiting to find out about the plasma gig in 2 weeks, that will pay for parts and raw stock. Things might get a bit tight without the plasma gig.

And Mrs. the Poet just took a hard look at the bottom of my foot to see how the recovery is going and it's… going. The swelling is way down but still there, so I have a bit to go yet.

I'm going to try to head out again tomorrow to pick up that presta adapter so I can get back to riding my bike to pick up those big points with my game that I can't reach on foot.

Billed @€0.02, Opus the Unkillable

Learning the limitations of my new software

After I posted yesterday I found a tutorial for the OBD2 software I found for my Chromebook, and it turns out it won’t let me reprogram my ECU. What it will do is tell me error codes and what they mean, and clear out the error codes. Still unknown at this point if it will let me bypass stuff that was on the donor vehicle that isn’t on or needed for the hot rod.

Something else I learned was I will need to get a Windows laptop or tablet to run the reflashing programs available for my ECU. And a fairly recent one at that, the other working laptop I used to have was running Win98 and that wouldn’t cut it, the flashing program requires XP or higher. There are lots of used computer shops around here, I should be able to get one fairly cheap. Unfortunately Mrs. the Poet’s Android tablet will not work. There are apps that will remap ECUs from an Android tablet, but not the ECU in the 1996 Chrysler donor vehicle.

On other subjects I’m still counting the days until I can sell my blood plasma. Because I was testing an unapproved medication I have to wait longer than usual to make sure all of the drug is out of my system, roughly the second week in February instead of the last week in January. I think I can cope until then. The last check from the secret shopper gig was straight pay, no bonuses, so things are snug around Casa de El Poeta, but not tight yet.

And on that note I’m signing off. Y’all have yourselves a great Sunday tomorrow.

Billed @€0.02, Opus the Unkillable