Tag Archives: Sprint-T

I’m just going to think out loud about the car

I’m done with my nap now, but I already read all the web comics that post on Sundays, and missed the race from Miami. I also missed the start of game with the RPG group and one other player isn’t in for some reason. Also Discord doesn’t seem to like my mic on my computer so I can’t even talk to the group until my phone recharges.

Part of the problem about the car is I pretty much already talked the problems to death, except where I’m going to find the money to pay for it. That problem is out of my hands at the moment, but I’m trying a workaround of diverting $300/month from my SS to savings until I save enough to buy something I need. That’s a start, but at that rate I’ll be dead before I have enough to buy an engine, but I might get the project to roller status while I’m still alive.

This project would move more quickly if I used junkyard parts, but I no longer have the physical agility to wander a junkyard trying to find the parts I need. And I need lots more than to be able to just walk the junkyard, I need to be able to crawl under vehicles and remove the parts I need. And barring a miracle that takes me back to my condition pre-wreck that’s not going to happen. So, new parts that cost a bunch more. Or no car, but I already have too much invested to give up now. If I give up now I basically throw away all the money I already spent, because there’s no way to sell what I bought for anything close to what I paid for it. Also giving up means giving up on a dream I’ve had for more than 50 years… the specifics have changed over the years, but the basic thing has stayed constant since 1968.

Also, something weird (it wouldn’t be a normal blog post if I didn’t have something weird). I somehow managed to purchase a 2 year magazine subscription without knowing it. I have a 2 year sub to Hot Rod Magazine, but I have no recollection of buying it as a separate item, so I think it was bundled when I paid for something from the Motor Trend video service. I have a PayPal receipt for a Hot Rod bundle from last month, so I think that’s the culprit. But I don’t remember purchasing a bundle with 2 years of Hot Rod, just extending my Motor Trend video library subscription. I got the sub to Motor Trend On Demand specifically to watch Engine Masters building and dyno testing various engines. I really enjoy this channel on the service. I really like seeing the nitty gritty of engine building and testing to prove or not the hypothesis of the build. A good example of that was the Tunnel Ram vs Cross Ram episode (ep. 74). But again, I don’t remember buying a 2 year sub to the print magazine, but I’m not complaining.

Ooops! I got that price way wrong

Earlier post I wrote that the Ford 9″ axle was $1100, well it turns out that was just for the lightweight centersection with positraction and the fabricated housing was another $850 or so. So, $1100 for the lightweight centersection, and $850 for the housing kit plus the floating caliper bracket kit for $400 and the 9″ from the catalog looks a lot like the price of the Quick Change from the catalog, particularly if I need to buy an $1100 centersection for each ratio I need instead of a $70 (Edit $39.99 or $49.99 depending on material) set of spur gears for the Quick Change. Time to change ratios is about the same for each one with the nod going to the Quick Change by a few minutes over the Ford 9″ because you have to drop the driveshaft and do a bunch more nuts when you change the centersection compared to removing the back cover and swapping spur gears.

One thing I need to look at is the cost of a set of Helical cut street spur gears instead of the normal straight cut spur gears used for racing. I know the straight cut gears are listed at under $70, but I can’t find a price on the helical cut gears that mesh like the gears on a standard transmission and are quiet to Very Quiet depending on the ratio of the gears. Some sets have a very quiet mesh-unmesh like the gears in a transmission, some are just Not As Noisy as straight cut spur gears of the same ratio, and some of the Very Quiet gears are not swappable top for bottom and have to be installed in a specific orientation. (Edit, I found the Helical Cut Gears for the Quick Change and they are $60/set, but the Very Quiet gears that have to be installed only one way are $130)

Something not hot rod building is the continued winter weather system settling its icy butt on our weather. As I compose this the temperature for Casa de El Poeta reported by Weather.com is +13°F drybulb and -4° index, both of which are way warmer than the +9°F drybulb and -14° index I saw right before bed. Also, we have snow and bright sun right now which is making the inside of the house very bright (and also very cold, as the heat pump doesn’t have much to work with in these temperatures). Now I’m going to retire to the living room which is much warmer than sitting next to the drafty window working at my desk.

I paid taxes today

Today was the day I paid my taxes early. After doing the checks earlier this month, I got over giving away $2700 (almost) and took the checks to the Tax Offices and got the receipts. The receipts were the important part, so that I could prove I gave the check even if they forgot to deposit it. Now I get to keep my house for another year. I had my step-tracking apps turned on (both of them) which documented how long I spent waiting in line, and how far apart the tax offices are. Basically I walked over a mile, and stood in line about a half hour. Between walking between the offices and standing in line and shuffling forward I took 6156 steps.

Tomorrow I might commit myself to spending more money, as I contacted people about changing the tub in the bath connected to the master bedroom to a shower stall to fix the hole in the wall from where the shelf behind the tub basically collapsed, and also replace the leaking plumbing. Between the tub faucet and the sink we are leaking away over 1k gallons every month. It’s not a lot of money for the water, but our sewer bill is based on water usage during the winter. So between the water and the sewer bills, we are dumping a lot of money literally down the drain.

Other news, do you remember Arthur Dent? The space left on my neck after the useless lump of fat we called Chris Christy was removed we named Arthur Dent, and it was being a literal pain in the neck today. After I got done I was nauseous a touch because of the pain in my neck, so I had a little lay-down instead of dinner. I couldn’t sleep because of the pain in my neck (have I mentioned that Arthur is being a REAL pain in the neck today?) so I watched some idiot box (Mrs. the Poet prefers CBS) and had a little tea. I also had some dried cranberries, and cookies from Mrs. the Poet’s stash of Milanos. I really like the dried cranberries we bought, they are tangy and slightly sweet and are easy to chew.

Something I have been contemplating was the budget for the Sprint-T, should I use the stimulus $1.4k to buy a rear axle, or should I just continue to collect savings to apply to it? The axle I have been looking at the most was a quick change that was 60″ between the bolt surfaces, making it about 6″ narrower than the front axle’s hub-to-hub distance. This would be good because if I didn’t hit a cone with the front tire it was an automatic clear for the rear tire by about 3″ at any speed.

That wasn’t my plan when I bought the front axle, I chose that size because I was going to get a minivan as a donor vehicle, and the hub-to-hub on the minivan drivetrain was 66″ ± and I wanted front track to be pretty close to rear track so that I wouldn’t clear a cone with the front tire only to hit it with the rear. I could have tucked the rear wheels much closer to the engine and transaxle because not being used for steering they just had to clear in the straight ahead position, but that would have required major modifications to the stub axles that were vastly outside my abilities and tools at hand. So I just bought the axle for the width of the drivetrain, which shortly after the front axle arrived was no longer available.

But anywho, I still need to make a decision about the rear axle. The cheap thing to do would be a fabricated housing for Grand National style hubs and a Ford 9″ center section to go with the disc brake rear calipers I bought. The cool thing would be a quick-change rear with the V-8 style centersection and aluminum tubes for the Grand National hubs, which would be just as strong as the Ford 9″ but several pounds lighter and several hundred dollars more expensive. The other thing about the quick-change is what is inherent in the name, it is absurdly easy to change the final drive ratio with just a quick swap of the spur gears in the back of the housing. That means I could have a Powerglide transmission that is 50 pounds lighter than the 4l60E I would have been more or less forced to use to have decent gas mileage between races, without giving up the decent gas mileage. Or I could keep the 4l60 and use the quick-change to get the perfect ratio for racing and let the overdrive do its thing for gas mileage.

Well, it’s late and I have a busy day waiting tomorrow, so this seems to be a good stopping point.

I made the Sprint-T heavier

It wasn’t by much, but the 31″ radiator is slightly heavier than the radiator that ships with the Speedway complete kit when empty. But when filled with coolant there is a large difference between the two, roughly 25-50 pounds (10-20 Kg). This means I have to raise the weight on the starting line to about 1950 pounds from 1900 with me and a half-filled race tank of gas. 

I have been keeping a running estimate of the weight on the starting line as the design progressed over the years from basically the Speedway kit with “square” tires (all 4 tires the same size), to the current race car that is barely mostly street-legal. Now the on-the-street weight has gone up a bunch as things like fenders and bumpers and aerodynamics have been added to the street part of the build. I’m currently looking at about 200 pounds of junk removed from the car at the track to get ready for racing, plus a much larger gas tank and of course, more gas at 6.5 pounds per gallon. The race tank holds as much as 3 gallons of E85, but the street tank has room for 22 gallons of pump gas. That’s an extra 350 pounds full of gas for the street version of the car or about 2300 leaving for a trip, compared to 1950 on the line.

The kit is listed as 1700 less driver with a half-tank or 8 gallons of gas with a small-block Chevy and a TH 350 transmission. While the LS is significantly lighter, the 4l60e transmission is about as much heavier, and there is a lot more metal in the exoskeleton roll cage/frame and full bellypan of the Sprint-T than the simple ladder-and-crossmembers of the kit, and there is exponentially more resistance to twist in the Sprint-T frame than there is in the kit, and not just because there is more metal but because of where that extra metal is. For an explanation look up Herb Adams’ excellent book on the subject. It graphically demonstrates the difference between a ladder frame and a full roll cage tied into a space frame. Anywho, that’s where a lot of the increase in weight comes from. Between the pontoon fenders for the street version and bumpers and the kit’s headlight brackets also being the front shock brackets the Sprint-T has a bunch more junk in street trim, and a bunch more frame and brackets either way. Not making excuses, just stating facts.

Look at regular buckets trying to autocross at Goodguys’ and you can see what I mean. They jack up the inside rear wheel during hard turns, and try to swap ends if they haven’t gotten completely straight before applying the power exiting a turn. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GozWIbIetMo&ab_channel=TylerGibson

My fuzzy slippers arrived

The fuzzy slippers I have been wanting for 3 years now finally got here, today as I compose this, but probably yesterday or later when you read it.

This makes at least three years of trying to get fuzzy slippers that Mrs. the Poet has been trying to get through Swiss Colony that were repeatedly sold out, including this past year. So I went online and did a vendor search for fuzzy slippers and found some in-stock at Wish.com. They were not the cheapest I found, but they were the cheapest in stock, which is what I was looking for. In fact when I saw they were in stock in my size, I stopped looking. I had found so many vendors who had slippers but not in my size that when I found slippers in my size I jumped on it. I have been wearing them pretty much since we did the mail sorting this afternoon, and they are wonderful. So at the moment, I’m over the moon over these slippers.

In other stuff, I have the actual factual radiator I’m using in the Sprint-T. That means I can turn my 2 by 4 mockup radiator into an exact dimensional duplicate of the installed radiator. So, the mockup will be much better than when I was just guessing with the catalog data. This takes me a little further down the road to completion. So, that’s a good thing.

Parts have arrived

My stimulus check stimulated Speedway Motors and because they collect local taxes also the local economy. I’m continuing with this build even though it’s starting to look like I’ll never get to drive it even if I finish it. I was carrying one of the boxes of parts to the garage  when I lost my balance and had to drop the box to keep from falling, because I couldn’t stand up straight enough get my CG over my feet consistently so I didn’t fall. The only thing I could do was to not be carrying a heavy box ahead of my feet. It didn’t help that I had to leave my cane when I used both hands to pick up the box. Usually I can walk without the cane, but when I get tired I need it to keep my balance.

Anyway, the stuff that came this time was sorta heavy, some of it. I got the largest radiator they sell that doesn’t cost multiple body parts, because I don’t want an engine that overheats showing it off at the cruise-in, and because lower coolant temperatures mean better power and lower octane requirements. I might be able to get away with 87 octane regular (85 at high altitude) for highway use by using the excess cooling capacity for lower temps on the road. Basically I bought the 31″ wide double-crossflow generic radiator. If I did the math right it should work to keep the coolant temp below 205°F when racing and 180°F when I’m not putting my foot to the floor repeatedly at low speeds for racing. Interstate highway cruising I’ll have to depend on the thermostat to not get coolant temps that are too low, because I will have both not a very hard load on the engine and an abundance of airflow through the radiator.

Now in the other boxes were a U-Weld-It exhaust manifold for LS engines that will fit everything in the LS family, header wrap to prevent people getting burned on the exposed manifold, and engine mount cushions to go between the engine and the frame with the mounts I will build to connect the two. The trick is I will need to have the engine and transmission in hand to build the frame side of the mounts, because at this point I don’t know where the mounts will fall, and I’ll need the frame to know how wide to make the engine side of the mounts for the same reason. There is a lot of taper between the rails and a difference of a few inches forward or backward will make a big difference in the geometry of the mounts. The dropped box was the exhaust manifold kit because it has a lot of steel in it and was heavy, probably heavier than the assembled kit on the engine because there is stuff in the kit to keep everything lined up to weld it together that won’t be needed when the assembled kit is on the engine. After I weld it together I’ll degrease it and spray it with the header paint I’ll buy locally to keep it from rusting, then I’ll install the wrap kit so the exhaust heat stays inside the exhaust until it goes out the exhaust. I’m hoping this will also keep the HDPE body panels from sagging from the heat, but I’m not expecting miracles if the panels are mounted too close to the exhaust.

And that’s basically everything I know so far. You have a good day.

My laptop is terrible for photo editing

It’s crap, but it’s all I have at the moment. I managed to edit the routing for the belt on the Sprint-T.

The squiggly blue line is what drawing with a crappy touch pad looks like with the editing program that comes with Windows 10. But it does manage to show where the belt will go on the Sprint-T. You can see that unsupported run from the idler to the alternator that is bothering me, plus the reduced wrap around the drive and driven pulleys that also bothers me. It might work, might not, won’t know until I try it.

I have achieved massage

Finally I have gotten a decent massage. I managed to catch the bus outside the house (around the corner on the end of the block, but “outside”) and the connecting bus was only a little late. I had to wait a while for the tech to finish up a client, but the room I was assigned had a space heater so I was nice and warm, but not hot while I waited. This tech used an appropriate amount of pressure on most of my body, except for the back of my left thigh that caused me some kneecap pain, but she had no way of knowing about that. It was one of those “keep the lights low so the client will relax” places, and the one dim light was on the opposite side of my body from most of my scars and the scars on my knee were facing away from the tech, so how was she supposed to know about my damaged kneecap?

Anyway, I got a good massage and my neck felt a bunch better, and my legs and neck were working almost up to spec when she got done. I have been out of tolerances for so long that “almost spec” felt like heaven. There were some pops and creaks as things were pushed back sorta where they go, with minor jolts to my psychic equilibrium as they assumed spec position. When things have been not where they are supposed to be, and then all of a sudden they are, for a second or two after it takes some mental realigning to go along with the physical realigning. It’s like you have to change your mental image of how your body is and where everything is supposed to be, from “broken but still somewhat functional” to “back in spec”.

While I was waiting on the table I had time to think about the Sprint-T, and how to get more progress on the build. I have come to the conclusion that I should just start making the frame, building it up and ignoring where the engine goes until I get an engine and transmission. I should mount the steering in front of the axle and the radiator with the minimum clearance to avoid interfering with the axle’s travels so as to allow almost any engine to fit, even V-10 truck engines. Now the current situation is I’m going to use a junkyard 5.3l LS architecture engine, but I have entered drawings for Ford and FCA V-10 truck crate engines and gen 3, 4, and 5 GM small block, as well as Gen1 SBC and small block Fords of various displacements including 347 and 427 Cu. in. displacements (there were a lot of contests announced in November that were giving away performance engine builds after the first of the year). So I’m letting my Boy Scout handle this by being prepared to win any of them, or nothing. Seriously the 5.3l Gen 5 small block in stock form is just about perfect for the Sprint-T. I would have killed to have an engine like this in a T-Bucket back when I first got my license back in 1976. I’m trying to find the Richard Holdener video where he compares the various 327/5.3l small blocks, but I’m coming up empty so far. Hang on, I found it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNhZXFEjkII&ab_channel=RichardHoldener

As you can see, the later engine without mods makes more power than the 60s engine with all the good stuff from the factory, and the later engine is a truck engine. It would run like that all day on pump gas and never even stutter. That would be the perfect NA engine for the Sprint-T, so if you know a truck that has one maybe find a way to send out here to the Suburbs of Hell so I can stuff it in my bucket?😇

Glutes still hurt

That’s pretty much standard these days, but that doesn’t keep it from getting really annoying. If I had the funds I would be getting a massage every week, just my neck and my glutes, and a full body massage once a month to catch everything else.

I entered a contest for a 427 cu. in. small block Ford engine that puts out a smooth 450 plus crank HP. The only problem I have is the transmission to bolt to it for the Sprint-T. Ford overdrive automatics have a bad reputation for puking internal parts when they are bolted to high power engines like the one I entered to win, and I still don’t have enough space to put three pedals between the left side of the transmission tunnel and the inside of the body for a manual transmission. But there are people who say they can bolt any transmission to any engine given enough time and money. Time I sorta got, money, not so much. But if I win this engine it’s a huge step forward for the Sprint-T, and has the “advantage” of putting a Ford in a Ford. Some people think that’s important or something. For me in this car, an engine is an engine, power and weight are more important than brand. The frame has room for just about anything smaller than a Roll-Royce Merlin.

We are still waiting to know when the money from the trust is deposited to my account, and for my first Social Security check to hit the account. We are all on tenterhooks because of previous economic disasters that have befallen Casa de El Poeta, and kinda crossing our fingers that nothing else strikes before then. Between this influx of cash and Social Security we should be semi-permanently above water, assuming Trump doesn’t destroy everything on the way out the door. I know that’s a huge assumption, but we have to keep hopes up.

Currently listening to “The Pretender” by Infected Mushroom.

I haven’t been well lately

My sleep schedule is still borked, and I’m still getting muscle “not feel goods” and a bunch of other things. I mean nothing really hurts, just a whole bunch of things that don’t work anywhere close to “right”, and it really annoys me. I’m supposed to be able to do almost anything to my body and still have it work right, and this recent bout of “not working within design tolerances” is just really pissing me off.

On things that are not my body, I think I might have the mount for the steering box nailed down so it won’t flex under load and cause steering to be imprecise. I mean it’s probably overkill by several magnitudes, but I’m pretty sure I have enough bracing so that it won’t move when I make rapid changes in direction. Moving the box in front of the axle made a big difference, because now I have structure above the mount I can tie into and prevent side to side flex in the mount. There’s not even a possibility of other movement, because first of all there are no forces in those directions to speak of, and second because for all the other forces there are already massive trusses in place just because that was the easiest way to build the mount.

On the steering arm, still waiting to purchase cutting tools large enough to handle the 1/4″ thick stock needed for the forces involved, because basically I’m looking at buying everything I already have all over again, but bigger/heavier. I’ll need a new drill press, new saws, bigger drills, the whole shooting match. This means about a thousand dollars in tools, maybe a little less if I buy used. But looking at Harbor Freight, getting a drill press big enough to handle drilling the holes for the 5/8″ heim joints is the big $$ item. The cheapest press is this one. And it barely fills the bill.

I think maybe I can use my angle grinder and metal cutting wheel for rough cuts and the grinding wheel for the fine shaping, but it will be slow work and there will be many chances at messing up the part because of how thick the stock is. For cutting thicker stock they have a bandsaw that will do the work, faster than a cutoff wheel but still pretty slow. I’m going to have to think about the bandsaw, but the drill press is probably a must just because my other drills are not up to handling the size of the drill bits needed for the job. The biggest bit my hand drills will handle is 3/8″ and the drill for the 5/8″ threaded hole is 9/16″ while the non-threaded hole is the full 5/8″. I don’t know what the chuck capacity is of my current drill press, but the piece is pretty much worn out from building bicycles. If I try to drill too fast through even just thick wood the chuck falls out of the press. It worked fine for a long time, but it’s just worn out now.

And I guess I have run out of things to write about, other than because of the weather change it is now in the 60’s F inside my office. My thermometer/clock says it’s 67°F in here and my fingers are not as nimble on the keyboard as they are during the summer when even with the AC on it stays 76° in the house and my hands and fingers all work perfectly without hesitation🤣. That’s a joke, nothing on me works perfectly or without hesitation. Everything is out of whack to some degree, but most of me works best between 75 and 78°F. Above that and I start sweating, too much below that and things start getting stiff, and then they get painful. And we are at the upper boundary of stiff and painful today.

Well I’m going to call this the end of the post, you should go have a nice day or something.😉