Tag Archives: Random sh*t

Today is mostly Bleah with a chance of Ahhhh

Not having a good day today, I was expecting to do some internet things for the crazy lady who used to live with us, but she had an allergy attack and had to bail. So I had to find something else to do, like listen to music on my phone.

While I was listening I heard an interesting thought. When creating art the artist is also an artistic creation. That’s semi-deep philosophy. I have been listening to a bunch of classic rock, electro swing, ’80s and ’90s rock, and OG rap like the Sugar Hill Gang, because that’s what my music app has been playing. I want trance and techno today but I’m not getting any. Maybe if I request some directly in the app I can hear some, but usually when I do that I only get the one genre at a time, not the one mixed in with a bunch of other songs.

Weather has cooled off some, mid 90s instead of low 100s during the day, and low 80s to mid 70s at night when I’m usually active (another good reason to be nocturnal in TX). Unfortunately when it is cool enough to be out and active there is no transportation and nothing is open, because people insist on doing things during the day instead of holing up in the AC and coming out in the cool of the night. Instead of adapting to the environment they do things because it’s day and “people do things during the day” is ingrained in their psyches.

Since I can’t actually do anything useful towards completing the Sprint-T I have been thinking about how to do it cheaper and/or lighter and/or stronger (and yes I know standard wisdom is that is a pick two, but I want it all, dammit! I’m greedy). One thing I’m thinking about is packaging the brake pedal and master cylinders to get all the mess out of the way because there is just Not Enough Space on the firewall for everything because the engine takes up 19.5″ of the 26″ inside width (26.5″ outside to outside minus ¼” wall thickness) at the firewall which leaves Not Much for steering, gas pedal, brake pedal, and master cylinders. Consider that the steering column is 1.75″ out of that Not Much and I have Much Less, so packaging becomes a major issue, when you consider that two of the things that have to leave room for are those things at the ends of my legs, you know, feet? Mine aren’t all that big, but when you have a 19.5″ engine right in the middle of things (well as far to one side as you can get it but still taking most of the space) even a Tiny Dancer’s feet are a tough fit… The really tight fit is for the gas pedal and if I mount the brake pedal on the firewall most of one master cylinder has to go to the left of the edge of the firewall if I want the pedal assembly to clear the steering column. The gas pedal has to go to the right of the steering column, between it and the left side of the engine and transmission. That’s about 3½” more or less for the gas and my foot, and my shoes are wider than that by a tad. Now the body widens out a bit after you get back from the firewall, so it is possible to mount the steering all the way to the left on the firewall and still have room for brakes, but only if the master cylinders are behind the brake pedal, either under the floor or under/behind the seat. And either way that leaves Almost No Room for my right foot.

And I know I have mentioned this before, but this is part of My System for designing things, also called iteration. The process is set parameters, design something to fit, put it on a back burner for a while to let it simmer in my head, then come back and nitpick it to death and change everything that wasn’t perfect or didn’t meet requirements that I didn’t see before. Cool, reheat and repeat until perfect. Or sometimes I have to make changes because what’s available changes, like with the engine. When I started this design the LS wasn’t even available and the best I had was either the small block Chevy or the Ford 5.0/302.

If I was still living in the late 90s early 2000s I would probably use a TPI small block Chevy because the torque curve fits the needs for running Solo or autocross, but I probably would have done the small cam/ports version that was done by 4500 RPM because that was the Common Wisdom of the era, and would have lasted pretty much forever especially since I would have used a tall final drive because I probably used a Turbo 350 transmission or maybe I would have gotten lucky and built a 700R4 to handle the torque. When I build the model Mini Sprint-T I use the same part for the 700R4 and the 4L60-65-70/E because they all use what is visually the same case with different internals. But these days a junkyard LS architecture GM engine either with an iron or aluminum block is the Cheap Way To Go, and the bone stock 5.3 is about the same as a 350 with a mild build (manifold, cam, and headers) and cheaper and lighter. If I get a LS architecture engine from a junkyard I’ll get aluminum heads that are basically as good as mid-range racing heads for the SBC back in 1999. Ports and combustion chambers for LS heads were race head technology when the LS came out, which is part of what made the LS reputation what it is today. A stock set of LS7 heads are near the bleeding edge for what the small block can get even today, simply because Lessons Learned for the SBC were applied to the LS.

And this seems like a good place to stop Wandering Around My Mind.

I have too much money in my bank account

No, seriously. I balanced my account and I’m about $700 over. The only thing I can think of is someone paid me early or late for a gig I did or will do, because I have already accounted for all my payments and they should be clear because I have the stuff and I have the notices that PayPal took the money from my account. The thing on getting paid for gigs is I track that money like a hawk, and I have no outstanding payments due that even come close to the money I have in excess. Seriously, I have less than $100 in upcoming payments total, and I already figured previous payments into the balance. And just to be sure I checked my payment systems from this site, and nothing recent showed up from them.

I have too much money in my account, and it’s driving me crazy because I don’t know the source. I’m sure I’m one of the few people in the world who could even have a problem like this.

Welcome to my world.

Not a good day, but not a bad day

This is a bad weather day, pretty much rained all day with a small pond in the back yard. The cats had interesting reactions, Clyde went out and played in the rain and mud, while Clint moped around the house and complained about the rain like an old man. Whatever, it never got above 80°F all day between rain pulling cold air from the upper atmosphere, clouds blocking the sun, and a weak cold front passing through.

Now the circle on the Sprint-T has come back around to the LS engine with the possibility of winning the LS1 engine from the Dale Truck Pulling the engine on the Dale Truck From reliable sources on the internet (assuming the scale in that YouTube video was accurate) the engine weighs 400 pounds ± with fluids and exhaust headers. This is a scoshi bit more than the Subie with the T5 transmission, and does not include the fact that because of the weight I can’t offset the engine far enough to the right to make room for a clutch pedal, so I will have to use an automatic transmission which adds 162 pounds with fluids for one designed to mate to an LS engine, or if I can find a bellhousing that will fit an LS they make 70 pound Powerglides. That would require running a ridiculously high final drive, and basically result in a car that never gets out of first gear in town, or on the autocross course, but I could make it work. Running the numbers though I think I could get better race times with the 162 pound transmission as well as better gas mileage. Also going back to the V8 means a slightly heavier frame to support the larger engine because the engine mounts are wider apart than on the Subaru.

We also went grocery shopping today, and as Mrs. the Poet keeps saying, we need to stop eating. We bought a few things we could probably do without but still including feeding the cats for the month we spent $70 this week for just two people. But if we limit just to the cats and poor people food we still spent over $50 this week on essentials, and the cheapest essentials at that. Food has gotten stupid expensive around here, no kidding. Both the discount groceries on this side of town shut down a few years back, but at least we aren’t stuck with a Whole Paycheck as the only close option, just a Neighborhood WalMart and a Tom Thumb that are close enough for the ice cream not to melt before we could get home on the bus, and the WalMart is pushing very hard on that time limit depending on the time of day.

Something interesting I have noticed is all my earbuds have frequency response that changes with the volume setting on my phone, I get more bass the higher I crank it, and when I have just enough volume to hear I get mostly midrange and higher. Very odd, that. I don’t know if the phenomenon is because of the earbuds physical size, or because of the fact I have 60 YO ears and I spent a lot of time around unmuffled racing engines and machine guns in addition to getting my bell permanently rung in 2001. It could be a mix of the two. Anyway current writing jam is a little heavy metal Grieg by Apocalyptica, Hall of the Mountain King, on YTM. It’s on my public playlist Violent Songs, and short of using actual people as percussion instruments it doesn’t get more violent than this performance.

Interesting changes as new technology is applied to old engines

I have been reading articles, and watching YouTube videos, about people putting throttle-body fuel injection on what are now called “Traditional V-8s”. The goal is better fuel economy while maintaining or improving performance. And what they are finding out is that the parts they used to use to get fuel economy with a carburetor don’t work with fuel injection. And also it has been so long since I worked on cars with carburetors that I forgot how to spell it.

Anyway, theory of operation of a carburetor is they suck. Literally, they work by drawing air through a venturi, which creates a lower than atmospheric pressure that pulls fuel from a small chamber inside the carburetor through a metering orifice called a jet, that is then atomized by the airflow and sent to the intake manifold and into the engine. Because of physics explained by Bernoulli’s Law, the faster the air is moving the lower the pressure inside and the stronger it sucks fuel into the manifold, and because our monkey brains won’t stop trying to put 5 pounds of stuff into a one-pound rated container, compromises had to be made in engine design. Since only one cylinder at a time can draw on the carburetor engineers made intake manifolds designed to only use ½ of the carburetor at a time.

dual plane intake manifold

Now we could literally get the same performance with half a carb used all the time, but like I said, monkey brains. Anyway, because of compromises to split the engine in half so that succeeding cylinders draw from opposite halves of the carb, mixture distribution gets moved down in priority by actually having fuel mixed with air. This means that when you use a throttle body fuel injection on the existing dual plane fuel economy manifold, you get an engine that runs like crap because of incompatible fuel delivery methods. You get some cylinders that get too much fuel and some that don’t get enough and maybe one or two that are right but only if you’re lucky.

Now the thing about single plane manifolds is they get all the fuel and air through just one hole in the top, or several holes that are connected inside, so after that they try to get the same mixture of fuel and air distributed to all the cylinders in the same volume of air distributed to each cylinder, so that each cylinder makes the same power and the engine makes as much power as possible for the amount of air it is consuming.

single plane intake manifold

side by side in the wild

The thing is single plane manifolds were generally considered race-only equipment, not suited for street applications and most definitely not for fuel economy on the street, but EFI is changing all the rules. Since fuel delivery is no longer dependent on airflow through a venturi it becomes more important to make sure cylinders all get the same amount of air mixed with the same amount of fuel, to all make the same amount of power so they use less fuel, and don’t just dump it out the tailpipe unburned. And in spite of initially being designed as race-only, with EFI they become the preferred application for street fuel economy. With EFI the Edelbrock Victor Jr. becomes the preferred street performance manifold over their RPM Air Gap dual plane, simply because it’s physically impossible to get equal mixture distribution with EFI from a dual plane manifold. With a carb you could never get decent street performance out of the Victor Jr. manifold because the intake velocity would not pull enough fuel from the carb or atomize it properly. Note in the links the RPM range for the manifolds when used as intended with carburetors, and then realize with EFI that doesn’t apply. That is what modern technology does when used properly. It makes ancient engines run like modern economy engines, almost. And even Edelbrock’s EFI kit comes with a modified Victor Jr. manifold. Notice I have no relationship with Edelbrock other than having installed one of their manifolds on an engine about 35 years ago when I was racing and working on race cars.

It’s dreary and rainy here

And I have been thinking about the Thunderbolt Grease Slapper 2 again. Specifically I have been re-thinking the rear suspension and what would be the cheapest way to do it. I’m still going with the de Dion suspension, so what I have been looking at is would I save any money by directly attaching the steering knuckles from the donor vehicle to the beam and keeping all the stuff like brakes and bearings on the knuckle and mounting the parking brake on the front axle. And I keep looking at it, over and over again and I keep coming up with the same answer: Slightly cheaper to use the uprights in parts costs, but much more fabrication needed to connect the knuckles to the beam and to attach the parking brakes to the front spindles.

Again the cheapest rear suspension option is to transfer the whole front suspension from the donor car and swap softer springs in, keeping the original shocks, but the geometry on that pretty much sucks. Actually what sucks is using the solid axle in front with the MacPherson struts in the rear between the roll centers and camber curves or lack of them on the front. The two suspensions are just not compatible and making them work together is more time and money than just building a rear suspension that works with the front axle in the first place.

I mentioned dreary weather in the headline, we have another cold front moving through with rain and a solid overcast. That makes it really dark outside along with cold and wet. This is not the usual rainy weather we get in TX where we get a squall line and a deluge that is gone in a couple of hours, this is a dark day that starts and ends dark with a steady rain that hangs around all day. I’m used to rain like this from when I lived in the Pacific NW, but it is unusual for TX. I can literally hear the foundation shifting from the black gumbo soil saturating from the slow rains soaking in instead of running off.

I’m slightly concerned about some of my friends in this weather, as their depressions are made worse by lack of light. They get really down in weather like this. They get really down in winter anyway, and days like this make them all a bit screwy. I think they all have some degree of SAD, but this far south it is not a common diagnosis as the conditions are not extreme enough to get many cases.

I really need to go for a bike ride, but I lack a bicycle I can ride at the moment because of old injuries acting up. What I need now is a medium height long wheelbase tadpole recumbent trike so I can step over the frame and sit down on a supportive seat with back support. And while I’m wanting things I need maybe someone could fix the leaky plumbing and the holes in the bathroom walls?

Forcing myself to ignore the news and do things that make me happy

And I’m only achieving half my goals. I so far have totally ignored whatever noxious bile has spewed forth from the media, completely unaware of current events. I also read some comics, which sorta makes me happy, or at least doesn’t make me unhappy.

I have been plotting various means of financing my hot rod. One thing I have considered is pitching it as a program for Discovery networks, watch the Witch on a Bicycle try to conjure a car from nothing or less than nothing. Poverty chic, as seen on TV. One thing is for sure, robbing banks is out as I would be caught before I got out the door since I can’t move faster than a slow walk. I have never been a smooth talker so conning people out of money isn’t going to get me anywhere. Not to mention my ethics won’t let me unless I was stealing from thieves. As a Chaotic Good player character in this game stealing from Evil NPCs doesn’t conflict with my alignment, but my low Charisma stat is keeping me from doing con games.

Segueing to my life as a D&D character, I would be a terrible adventurer. I have a high Int and Con, but my Speed is very low and as previously mentioned my Cha is practically a dump stat, along with Wis. My Str used to be pretty good before I got old and beat up. If I was a D&D character I would have to be some kind of a magic-user class, because I would never make it as one of the fighting classes or a rogue. Seeing as I have died and come back, maybe some kind of necromancer? if there was a way to be a necromancer as a Chaotic Good alignment. I don’t know really what I would be as myself as a D&D character. That would be an interesting psychological test. Looking it up, there is no way to maintain any kind of good alignment while creating undead. So I could be a necromancer but I couldn’t raise undead and stay Chaotic Good. But as a character of Good alignment I could control undead that others had raised. Much like Real Life (which is a terrible game BTW), cleaning up after bad is still considered to be Good.

Being even more random, I have discovered that when making lentil stew I need to start the lentils 2-3 hours before chopping the rest of the vegetables and putting them in the pot. I started the lentils this time at 1100 and had the rest of the vegetables chopped and in the pot by 1120 (I had to find where Mrs. the Poet keeps the veggies after I got the lentils started), but the lentils lack hours being properly done at 1545 while the other veggies are either done or nearly done. BTW the other veggies are a medium potato per person and half a large carrot and a slice of onion. The slow cooker is almost full which means enough food for both Mrs. the Poet and myself. This was an experiment to discover the proper amounts so we have discovered that the amount of time to done is broken into 2 segments. It’s all data, experiments are meant to obtain data, and I can still eat my mistakes, so it’s all good and I know better for the next time. I really need to find out why the lentils I get at my local store take so long to cook down into a gravy or sauce state with this cooker. Research (Google is your friend) says that lentils take up to 10 hours to reduce to the gravy state in a slow cooker, so this cooker is just not transferring the heat to the food as quickly as the old cooker with the fixed crock, but is in line with the characteristics of other cookers. Basically it boils down to “I’m impatient”.

I found a resource for doing the initial design and setup for the TGS2, and later sorting after testing with better understanding of why things do what they do in response to changes in setup. I plan on devouring it at a later date, but I just did a cursory examination today. I discovered that my personal research and derivations are mirrored in this site so I know I was on the right track doing my own thing.

Still thinking, take cover

The brain has been working overtime, which doesn’t do much for being able to sleep. Even after I managed to fall asleep the brain kept running on problem solving, which lead to some strange dreams this morning. About all I remember was a kind of Escherian/Sisyphean staircase where no matter how far I climbed I kept walking through the starting line over and over again instead of the finish, solving whatever problem I was working on just gave me another one to solve. I would carry something up these stairs and the top was the bottom again.

Mrs. the Poet just walked in and demanded I explain why MEN go nuts and shoot up the place. I honestly would like to know that as well so that a means of identifying mass shooters before they start loading spare magazines with hundreds of rounds can be found. Or we can just remove the weapons used in these killings, semiautomatic rifles with removable magazines. Now how that happens given the current ideological orientation of the government? I have no idea.

Veering off onto another tangent, Mrs. the Poet and I were inspired by a commercial to discuss spicy food and somehow we got on the subject of food so spicy that the eater’s hair would spontaneously combust. The commercial was for a local chain called Whataburger who sent us a coupon for a free chorizo flavored burger. Mrs. the Poet is not a big fan of chorizo, but I am and she likes what Whataburger calls the Monterrey Melt, which fulfills the prerequisites for the free burger. I was kidding that she should get the spicy chicken, then I invented an “Ultra Spicy” chicken sandwich and then we ended up with somebody’s hair on fire. You know, just another day at the ranch.

OK I think I will be making lentil stew tomorrow, but it will be an experiment as I’m not sure of how much of anything I need to put in my slow cooker. Well, I know what it would take to feed me and Mrs. the Poet, what I don’t know is how much liquid to use or time to cook it, so I’m just going to wing it.

A little warmer today, we have reached seasonal norms

And it’s currently 72°F in the office without heat or AC. This is the perfect outside weather.

I’m currently mentally processing the terror attack against cyclists from NYC, trying to understand how when a Muslim does it it’s a terror attack, but when a white male does it (like in Kalamazoo) it’s an “accident”. In that regards it is exactly like any other terror attack in the US in that if a white male does it it isn’t a terror attack.

We almost managed to give away all of the candy we bought for Halloween, but I managed to squirrel away a few pieces. I have a weakness for Milky Way and 3 Musketeers. Mrs. the Poet likes candy corn, but didn’t buy any to give away because today’s versions are “too sweet”.

I have been looking into anti-depressants without sexual side effects, and so far I haven’t been doing well. I found 3 that met the first criteria of low or no sexual side effects, but only two were available as generics and one has a history of causing hypertension, which I already have. That leaves me with only Mirtazapine to choose from. I will have to talk to my doctor about getting the prescription. Checking local prices has me spending $11.15/month which is a touch higher than the $7/month I’m spending now but a whole lot less than the cost of a prescription for Viagra or Cialis with my current anti-depressant.

And at this point I think I need to do my e-mails and hit the sheets.

Groceries have been purchased

And we are stocked up on milk and PopTarts. Big deal of 2 gallons of milk free w/purchase of 4 boxes of 12 count PopTarts. Now we have a gallon in the freezer and I’m switching back to coffee in my milk in place of the iced tea I have been drinking since August. Also we have about 2½ pounds of candy to give away pretend we don’t have for Halloween.

I mentioned in yesterday’s post I had pretty much used up my hand downloading pictures from eBay of that race car chassis T Bucket that I had found when searching for a picture of something else. Don’t forget to mouse over the picture to read the description.

Repeat from yesterday

That's a big deck and spoiler to go with that wing

Look at that 5 inch coilover on the rear axle

There's ample room for the passenger.

They widened the heck outta that Speedway body!

Looks like a polycarbonate top skin to show off the internal structure of that wing.

He never centered the engine, it must have been heck getting the car balanced to make right turns safely.

Well he has plenty of ground clearance.

I assume this is the e-brake caliper bolted to the front of the rear axle.

Passenger seat is cozy.

Another view of how much the engine is still offset. How on Earth did he ever get the balance right?

A better look at how much the body was widened and how far the engine is offset. The distributor on a SBC is slightly to the right of the center of the engine and this one is slightly to the left of the center of the body.

WTF are those shocks connected to?!?

 Five inch coilover mounted behind the axle, plus some kind of surge tank next to the fuel cell. Battery also visible in front of the axle, and that's what the Wide 5 hub looks like.

That's one reason to move the engine over to the right, then you wouldn't need to put 4 U-joints in your steering shaft.

This series has actually given me food for thought on the engine and body install on the TGS2. Cut the back of the body wide enough to fit over the engine and let the transmission hang out the side behind the body so it won’t need a cutout and the body line can remain. That would move the axle centerline just in back of the rear of the body so the suspension can travel without having to cut the side of the body. Lots of room for the frame to catch the engine mounts. Make a fake P.U. bed from HDPE and faux woodgrain the surface.

Take cover, I have been thinking again

Yeah, Ha Ha, I have been thinking again, about stuff. Lots of stuff, but mostly about camber control and lots of wheel travel on the TGS2, or rather the TGS2.1. The TGS2 has a straight tube front suspension with too much brake for the tire, The TGS2.1 has IFS with VW uprights and disc brakes and suspension geometry inspired by Trophy Trucks.

Starting from the beginning I went back to first principles and my weight and balance for the car and divided up the car into two halves. Then I figured out what tire to use on a car that weighed twice as much as either half. The back half was easy, I was looking at a car that was slightly under a ton with 240 HP, similar to a modified early Miata. The current hot tire for the Miata is the 245/40-15 size from a number of different manufacturers. It fits a 15 X 8″ wheel that is very easy to track down. The front is another kettle of fish completely as there are not many hot street cars weighing in around a thousand pounds or a little less running a 15″ diameter rim. There were two divergent characteristics of the cars I found that fit the model for the front half of the TGS2.1. Either they were very stiffly sprung with basically no suspension travel and wide tires, or they were very softly sprung with several inches of travel and skinny tires. Ideally I would run something as sticky as the 245/40 but 122 mm wide, but that is a non-existent tire size. Also ideally I would run something very close to the 22.7″ diameter of the 245/40, so looking for 22.5 to 23″ finds me the 195/50-15 at exactly 22.7″ diameter and available in compounds running from 100 UTQG wear to 540. The 245/40 are available in UTQG wear ratings of 100-300, so a compatible grip level is attainable.

The design inspiration I mentioned, Trophy Trucks, are off-road racing vehicles with more than 20″ of travel at the front end. As part of the design the front suspension has both pivots on a single lower frame rail for both sides of the car. There is a single frame rail in the center of the car with the lower A-arm inner pivots on either side, and a triangular bulkhead running up from that, that carries the upper A-arm inner pivots. The purpose of such long suspension arms is camber control over the long travel of the front suspension. Well camber control is really good for short suspension travel as well, but lightweight cars with limited suspension travel need more camber change than 2½ ton trucks trying to maintain a straight line through the desert at over 100 MPH. So while the suspension arms on a Trophy Truck are nearly the same length to minimize camber change over 20+” of travel, the TGS2.1 will have a large difference between the upper and lower suspension arms to get more camber change with body roll and limited suspension travel of a road car. I’ll have to run it on my suspension spreadsheet to find the actual length of the upper arms and the location of the inner pivot vertically.

As I was finishing up this post I started getting Twitter notifications about something that had gone down in Las Vegas other than Saturday night’s truck race. Some idjit decided to shoot up a country music concert from a sniper’s nest in another hotel a quarter of a mile away, and brought a freaking arsenal of 10 full and semi auto weapons, dozens of magazines, and thousands of bullets. In the process of spraying the audience at the concert with bullets he hit about 600 people and killed 58 or basically proving the “9% fatal” statistic for small arms fire. I’m assuming because of the lack of cover and no return fire the number of hits far exceeded the 20% of shots fired that is normal for a firefight, but I haven’t seen a report on the number of spent brass found yet. And yet this mass shooting has fewer fatalities than the Nice truck attack, again proving that motor vehicles are the perfect murder weapon.