Tag Archives: Sprint-T

Wanting to make a change but stymied by sunk costs

I’m looking at the front suspension for the Sprint-T and I’m thinking I really need to go with an independent suspension for more grip on bumpy tracks, but I’m dealing with over a thousand dollars in sunk costs, just in brakes that couldn’t be put on a different front end.

I think I could do better with Pinto/MII spindles and aluminum a-arms, but the only thing I could transfer would be the rotors and maybe the calipers. Everything else would have to be a new purchase. If Wilwood makes a kit that uses the same size rotors and the same calipers for the Pinto/MII spindles then the brackets, hubs, and everything else is sunk cost. And that’s just brakes, there is also the spindles, axle, axle brackets, and frame brackets that have to be discarded or replaced. If I was independently wealthy that would be a different story, but I’m on a very small pension and Social Security, so every penny counts and comes dearly. I basically don’t have disposable income these days, everything comes at a cost of something else I can’t get.

Actually the 2″ drop version of the Pinto/MII spindle would work better than the standard because it centers the spindle better in the wheel for more angle and more travel without hitting the A-arms, not that there was any danger of there being enough travel to cause the arms to hit the wheels. Angle, maybe, but travel never. That’s one place where the solid axle shines in comparison to the independent suspension, there’s a huge amount of clearance for angle. That and camber control through body roll, solid axles don’t change camber, like ever. There is some communication from one side to the other as pavement imperfections are encountered, but aside from that the camber doesn’t change. The axle holds the camber constant, which is why building the right angles in in the first place is so important.

Anyway, IFS would be a bit better in bumpy conditions, especially with really wide tires, but because I made that decision years ago and purchased accordingly I’m stuck with a solid front suspension. In this kind of competition the tires are a much bigger variable than solid or independent suspension. And it so happens I have some really sticky rubber picked out, and the slicks for SCCA competition are specifically designed for solid axles.

And this has no bearing to the rest of the post, but I have the non-ap browser version of Youtube Music running on the laptop and it’s really nice to not have to deal with ads in the middle of pieces like the phone version. And I still have access to my mixes and lists like the phone ap. The main difference is the browser version on my computer doesn’t use up my phone battery and I can leave it running in a tab while I edit a post in another tab or window. The phone ap is a little more portable because it uses cellular data that my laptop doesn’t have so I can listen on the bus or while riding in the car. Horses for courses, sometimes one device is better, sometimes it’s a different device.

Am I under a Geas?

For those not into fantasy RPG a Geas is a compulsion spell that forces the victim to do something. I have to write even though I don’t actually have anything to write about. This is kinda what a Geas is like.

Since I’m trying to win a GenIII Hemi™ engine, I thought I would see what that does to my weight-and-balance for the Sprint-T. To put it succinctly, nothing good. The GenIII Hemi™ is physically larger and also has a cast iron block, so it adds over 170 pounds to the front end of the car, 415 pounds for the LS compared to roughly 580-590 for the Hemi™, and a similar situation for transmissions I could use.

I still have the “no room for 3 pedals” situation so I still have to use an automatic, even though I’m not going to be shifting much if at all when I race, and very little when I’m driving on the streets and highways. The Goodguys’ racing is all in first gear, and SCCA is first and second but mostly first. There are almost limitless models of transmissions, between the old Chrysler 3 speed and more recent 4, 5, 6, and 8 speed transmissions for sedans, SUVs, and trucks. There are also kits to bolt up transmissions from LS engines. This just gives more options.
3.6l Pentastar but the 360 pattern overlayed is also the GenIII Hemi

Basically any Mopar/FSA transmission built for a V8 engine works for a GenIII Hemi™ including some weird ones like the NAG1. The 545RFE weighs 238 pounds, the NAG1 has a listed dry weight of 125 pounds without the converter, fluids and a torque converter add weight of course. Other transmissions will bolt up, but those two have the widest ranges and the tallest overdrives for highway driving. They also have torque ratings that even a built GenIII won’t exceed.

And I’m starting to fade, so I’ma put this baby to bed and me shortly after.

What I was thinking about last night

I have this “problem” with thinking, especially when I’m trying to sleep. This is especially true when I have a niggling design/fabrication issue that won’t let me go until I solve it.

The issue that kept waking me up last night was there will be zero clearance for the oil and transmission pans when the belly pan is installed on the Sprint-T. That also means there will be zero clearance for the drain plugs with the belly pan is installed.

Since the Sprint-T is going to be raced frequently this is a serious problem because racing requires frequent fluid changes to maintain the performance of the drive train, especially since it will be driven to and from the races. Now transmission fluid is not as critical as engine oil, but it will still need to be changed during the racing season and at the beginning of the season. Cars that are not raced then driven on the streets or highways can usually go their entire lives without a transmission fluid change, but even street only engines need oil changes regularly because oil doesn’t last forever and oil filters don’t catch all the contaminants that get into engine oil. And race engines usually get fresh oil every race meet, sometimes during the race meet if there is a lot of dust and dirt in the air, even if the engine is using an air filter on every engine orifice exposed to atmosphere.

Now there are two problems to be solved here, the first is since transmissions don’t normally get fluid changes they don’t have drain plugs, and the second is having drain plugs that are flush with the bottom of the pan but still drain completely dry with a tolerance for cling to the sides and bottom. The solution is to install the drain on an edge with the hole being flush to the inside bottom surface of the pan, and to contour that surface to direct the draining fluid to the hole. This is obviously easier on a pan that is being fabricated from scratch, but since the vast majority of transmission pans are stamped out of thin sheet metal it can be accomplished with a little hammer and dolly work, or a ball peen hammer and a soft 2 by 4.

The first thing to do is decide where the drain is going to be, and then “massage” the bottom of the pan with the hammer and whatever you choose to back it up to make that the lowest place in the pan so the fluids accumulate there. Then drill your drain hole flush with the bottom through the side of the pan. That’s the easy part, the hard part is making a plug that doesn’t hang below the bottom of the pan.

The next step is to pick a bolt that will fit the hole you drilled, ideally that will fit snugly in said hole because it will be used to locate the part that holds it to the pan. This is going to be a nut that is compatible with being welded to the pan. You will thread the nut over the bolt you chose as the plug, then stick the bolt through the hole in the side of the pan and rest it against the bottom of the pan with the nut flat against the side of the pan, and tack weld the nut in place so you can let go of the bolt. Finish weld the nut and make sure you can thread the bolt in and out of the pan. Then comes the part that lets the pan sit flat against the bellypan of the car. Using a cutoff wheel against the bottom of the oil or transmission pan slice off the part of the bolt and nut that stick out past the bottom surface of the pan. Just for insurance you might want to run an extra bead of weld on the part of the nut that was cut where it joins the pan if there is no weld showing, to prevent seepage. Then grind the weld flush with the bottom of the pan.

Now the design of the pan for the engine oil is going to be a little tricky, since it is two pieces that bolt together on the engine and the drain will have to somehow not interfere with the function of the bottom flange that holds the bottom of the pan after the pan is bolted to the bottom of the engine, since the bolts that hold the pan to the engine are inside the oil pan when it is installed. Somehow I have to get the bottom of the nut flush and the bolt resting against the inside of the pan, with the bottom being bolted to a flange around the bottom. Or I can move that flange to the top, the part that bolts against the engine, and do the drill the hole in the side routine like it was a regular oil pan that bolted up from the outside of the engine. The bottom will have to be built like a regular oil pan instead of just a flat plate that bolts to the bottom of the pan. Still easier than welding tubes for access to the bolts that hold the pan to the block on a pan with huge kick-outs to give the engine oil room to be flung from the crankshaft. There was an episode of Engine Masters that used a pan that had the mounting bolts on the inside and that pan actually made more horsepower than a deep sump pan without kick-outs but was way deeper than the pan with the kick-outs. I would link to it but unless you have a subscription to Motor Trend On-Demand you won’t be able to see it.

So anyway, that’s the kind of stuff that sometimes keeps me awake at night, or haunts my dreams (yes I have dreams of making car parts, and no I don’t know what that means if anything). Happy Fourth of July to those who celebrate it.

Does it count as sleeping at night if you went to bed in the middle of the afternoon?

OK did the filing unemployment insurance thing for the former tenant thing and did the falling asleep on the couch right after at about 1430 thing. Got to bed about 1500 and was out almost immediately because the sleepytime cocktail hit almost immediately. I’m not sure when I woke up because it was dark outside and I normally judge time by seeing how the shadows fall on the fence around the north side neighbor’s yard. Mrs. the Poet got off the couch and in the bed at about 0230 so I got out of bed at 0245.

While I was drifting back and forth between awake and asleep but lucid dreaming, I contemplated an AWD Electric T-Bucket. The motor I mentioned for the electric A-Mod racer a few posts back is actually intended for a street vehicle and has PTO from either end, partially for ease of installation and partially to allow running as a “stack” of motors, or as I like saying “some from column A…”. Well I was thinking that if I could take power off either end why not both ends? Run the motor on the centerline and power the front wheels of the front output shaft of the motor and the rear wheels off the rear output shaft, and use some kind of decoupler to unhook the front wheels when the front axle is trying to run at a higher speed than the rear axle because of the geometry of the drive system.

Sidebar, this is a thing caused by steering the front wheels on a two axle system and had nothing to do with which end is driven. The front wheels run slightly further than the rears because of geometry, and the wheel on the outside of a turn takes a longer path than the inside wheel, and if no allowance is made for this either the tires wear out faster or more energy is consumed, and usually both at the same time. The usual allowance is to have one end or the other free-wheeling which is the natural occurrence when only one axle gets drive, and a differential on the driven axle for the inside-outside speed difference. Where it gets tricky is when both axles are driven with a solid connection between the two. Most of the time a solid connection is good, ensuring all the power gets to the road that the road surface can hold even if there is slippage at one corner. This even applies when turning, which is why welded rear differentials work most of the time except in low power and high traction situations. Ironically there is much more stress on the welds from just gentle driving on pavement than there is racing on the same surface. Back to the e-Bucket.

As I was saying, why not pull power from both ends of the motor and powering both axles, and use something to unhook the front axle when going around turns on high traction surfaces? Something like the mechanism from a locking differential? Well a big part of how that works is the different loads between the axles and we don’t have that here, we have power coming in on one side and going out the other. There is also lockers that use electric or pneumatic driven clutches to unlock one side or the other on demand that might work, since we have lots of electricity to run the electric kind. The trick would be sensing when the front is driving the system instead of being driven. The locking and unlocking is existing technology and so is torque sensing on a rotating shaft, so the trick then becomes integrating the two and running the unlock and relock fast enough to appear seamless. And some kind of logic that can tell when the front wheels are no longer trying to turn faster than the front and can be solidly connected to the output shaft again. So, the system will require torque and speed sensing from both sides of the locker, torque sensing to unlock and speed sensing to relock. Or, and this just came to mind as I was getting ready to put this to bed and do something else, adjust the logic to use the direction of torque from the sensor on the axle side of the locker to tell when the front wheels are driving the motor instead of vice-versa and only have one torque sensor in the system to reduce costs.

Second sidebar, on RC cars this is done with a one way sprag that only transmits power, well one way. While this is great for model cars that can be picked up and moved from a situation requiring travel in the opposite direction, it’s obviously no good for a real car that has to be driven in reverse. But it does provide a working mechanical solution to the problem.

The fun part comes from trying to do this on a “disposable income from SS” budget, we are literally talking years of saving just to buy the torque sensors at Ali Baba prices, forget retail in the US prices. The speed sensors are literally just a few bucks because there are like 2 of them in every LS engine sold and as many as 8 in the more exotic engine designs that have 4 cams and independently change their timing as well as have sensors watching the input and output speed of the transmission to track the health of the friction materials. I’m talking less than $100 for all the speed sensors for the system. But the torque sensors that will not twist in two under the shock loads start at a kilobuck and go up from there, and this system requires a minimum of two and a high probability of 3 total for best system performance. The controller is the easy part, an Arduino has way more processing power than this requires. It could balance your checkbook between system inputs and outputs, and still not miss anything. If anything it’s too fast and powerful, the conditions we need to track change over a few hundredths of a second, and the Arduino works at several million ops per second, literally more than a million times faster than needed or to quote the Wiki: “the ATmega microcontroller can execute up to 16 million instructions per second,” and we need to run a few hundred times a second to not get ahead of the physical system. This is why we can get good control over a mechanical system with a cheap electronic system. The old Moore’s Law “processing power per $ doubles every “x” years” (before inflation) from the mid XX century has brought us to the point that it is cheaper to use a computer than it is to depend on mechanical controls. The cost limit is now the physics of the sensors and other things needed to connect the processor to the real world.

Now the fun part of this is putting extra weight on the passenger side to balance the weight of the driver and not having it just be ballast. That can be done with a driver-weight battery pack on the passenger side of the vehicle, either an add-on, or just having that much weight naturally on the passenger side when all the bits and pieces are put in place. My preference is to have the weight balance out when all the bits are where they are supposed to be rather than adding another battery pack to go racing. Actually my preferred option is to remove a driver weight of battery from the driver’s side of the car, and call it an extended range pack to go racing, and use the BMS to pull power from the cells that were taken out to race when driving back from the race. The idea is usually to remove weight before racing, not add except to meet minimum weight rules. Since F=M*A for a given F you need to reduce M to increase A, increasing M just doesn’t make sense. The other fun part is you can make the pack low in the car to get the CG low without making the Polar Moment high, and you can build the pack around objects so they can mount as low as possible. And when objects are already as low as possible, if they don’t need to have cooling airflow it’s also sometimes possible to mount the battery underneath some things to further lower CG height. Anywho, this is what can happen when you change from an IC engine and support systems to electric power.

Whoops, jumped the gun a bit on that Juneteenth thing

Somehow I got the idea that Juneteenth was 6/16 instead of 6/19 but the recent passage of the bill making the day a Federal Holiday has disabused me of this notion. So apologies for the premature posting.

As you probably read in the tags, I’m still thinking about the Sprint-T drivetrain. I’m still getting as many bonus entries as possible every day to improve my chances of winning the engine. And I have been studying the transmissions that bolt up and possible controllers if the Holley Terminator X controller can’t handle the transmission together with the engine, which looks like the case. I checked the microSquirt transmission controller and it won’t work with Ford transmissions. But there are some other brands that do at a reasonable price.

Anyway, still thinking…

Some things are set in stone

Because they are sunk costs and can’t be recouped. And obviously we are discussing the Sprint-T again today.

The choice of engine is going to be LS architecture, because I bought parts to install one into the car. I have literally spent hundreds of dollars buying front suspension parts (and I’m using the 4-bar axle brackets to hold the keyboard cleaning goop in the interim). I have a radiator that is built to keep the biggest of racing engines cool so I don’t overheat on the highway or at the race track. There are some bits that were ordered custom and are non-returnable, like the straight front axle, there are some parts that flat out did not fit, like the Garage Sale spindles that were not fully machined and somehow made it through QC.

Anywho, some things can’t be changed unless they are replaced with free stuff, which is why every time Power Nation which used to be Power Block, which used to be part of The Nashville Network around the turn of the century, has an engine giveaway I can use, I enter as much as I can, at least once if that is all that’s allowed, otherwise as many as I can get to the site for. I don’t have an engine, but because of previous purchases I’m limited to pushrod small-block engines so when I read about someone giving away an SBC, SBF, or LS engine I’m right there in line holding my figurative hat. If I thought it would get me the engine I would be standing there holding my actual-factual hat. The parts already purchased that are engine-specific are the radiator hose adapter, and the exhaust header kit, both made to install an LS architecture engine in the car with the other parts I bought. Other parts are engine agnostic, they will have to be used with fabricated brackets, or they literally will bolt to any engine to go into this car.

Back to the initial subject, I’m changing the design bigtime so that I can get in and out of it, but I’m not wiping the slate (boy is that an anachronism). The front end will still be mostly the same as the earlier design, and the parts behind the rear hoop will not change, unless I get several crates full of parts free. Now if you have a parts company that wants however much publicity this vintage blogger can generate for you by using your parts to build a different suspension on the Sprint-T leave a comment or drop me an e-mail and we will chat. But realistically the only thing that’s changing is the design of the rollover structure so I can get out of the car without needing a cherry-picker lift.

Not feeling particularly wordy

But I also feel like I owe you a post. It’s not your fault my depression is “Should I get out of bed?” level or that I really don’t have much to write about. But I feel like you should know I’m not suicidal or anything like that, I just barely have the spoons to function.

I did do something that contributes to my functionality. I bought the epoxy that I need to repair my Cossie Mug that I got from Hoonigans that Mrs. the Poet broke after I only had one cup of tea from it.

Broken Cossie mug

The product I bought is a food-safe epoxy resin system, specified for repairing ceramics and protecting wooden vessels from food or hot beverages. It is supposed to be food safe when cured, but highly toxic before curing meaning I have to get nitrile gloves before I use the product. That means a trip to Harbor Freight because I forgot to get some in my Amazon order. Yeah, I forgot something, what else is new?

Seriously I’m strongly looking forward to getting this mug functional once more. I would show the “stainless” cup I’m getting my nightly cuppa from, but as it is a deep, deep, brown I don’t think that would be appropriate. And that’s just from drinking tea out of it. Can you imagine how it and my other mugs would look if I couldn’t run them through the dishwasher after coffee with milk and sugar?

On another topic than my crusty tea mug, I have been redesigning the frame for the Sprint-T so that I can haul my decrepit body in and out of it while still keeping it torsionally stiff. Basically I’m eliminating the top of the front hoop so I can get in and out of the car. Or I could just move the diagonal braces to under the top lip of the body and have a bar to park my butt on while I swing my legs in and out while keeping the head protection and rigidity of the full cage. I have mixed feelings about this. The car looks really good with the shorter front hoop that is just tall enough to hold the back of the hood up and the rear diagonals to the back of the car and nothing in front of the rear hoop above the upper lip of the body, making getting in and out much easier. The lip is about 21″ from the bottom of the body on the side, 27″ across the back, and 24″ at the base of the windshield where the back of the hood goes. Well technically the back of the hood is level with the base of the windshield and even with the firewall to allow hot air to exit from around the engine, but close enough for this description. The front hoop still goes in front of the firewall as before, but only goes to the bottom of the windshield instead of over my head when seated. And there will be dzus tabs welded to the top to retain the back of the hood. The hood also fits over the nose center section and under the downforce generators at the edges. This is something I have to cut and fit when I do the front end.

Something I haven’t mentioned up to this point is that the body will drop in place on the frame since there isn’t the bracing to stiffen up the hole in the frame in the way. How I plan to restore the lost stiffness from this is something I still haven’t figured out. I plan on bracing the sides and front and back to the greatest extent physically possible, but that still won’t completely make up for the loss from the hole. While typing the sentence I contemplated bracing over the cockpit with some kind of bolt-in brace that still lets me carry a passenger so the car remains Goodguy’s legal, and a second brace that doesn’t allow passenger access for the SCCA events that don’t require a usable passenger seat. I can eke out a bit more stiffness by blocking the passenger side of the car.

I’m really loathe to admit it

But I think I might be too late for building the Sprint-T. I had to stop taking the nightly ibuprofen, for non-medical reasons, and now most of my joints are only partially functional. I mean I know getting in and out of the car are going to require some upper body strength to pull up until I can get my feet under me for exit and climbing over the top of the cage in and out. Right now I can get my arms level with my shoulder and that’s about as far as it goes. And my right shoulder is not working right either. I mean I can do everything I need to do that doesn’t involve raising my arm or my hands over my head, but pull-ups is not on the list. And three guesses at the motion needed to get out of the car.

The thing that really chaps me is that I’m so close to being able to finish the build now, I have enough income to finish the build without having to take money out of the operating budget. This is the first time in over 50 years that I can say that. Sure back in 1968 I wasn’t old enough to get things I needed, and as a military brat I didn’t have the place to keep stuff nor work on it. Hard to move car parts around the world every few months without things getting “lost”. I finally have the combination of budget and place to keep the parts and work on the car. But now I have problems with being able to manhandle those parts into position as well as getting in and out of the finished car if I even get it finished.

I am depressed, some more again.

Brief but seriously painful allergy (or something) attack

First of all because of a sliding sleep schedule I was basically out of it except to roll over from 0930 to 1830, then it was too painful to move until 2200, but I got up and got some coffee to drink and took my meds. Then about 0100 I started to feel like eating the plate of dinner Mrs. the Poet prepared. That’s after I consumed about half of the volume of my coffee cup (my cup holds about 800 ml). I’m still getting some joint pain, but greatly reduced from what I was experiencing when I woke up. What was also a problem is I had a case of allergy eyes obstructing my vision, for the first hour or so after I woke up. That has also reduced significantly.

I have been reading an author new to me, and because it’s a female name writing porn (yes, I read text porn, so sue me) I have come to the conclusion the author is a man (or penis owning person). The reason I mention this is because every encounter is from the penis-owning character’s point of view, even if that person wasn’t born with a penis. And I started thinking about how I would write those scenes from the point of view of the other characters who don’t have penises, and I don’t have a clue about how to do that, because I lack the experiences needed to write from that point of view on several levels. All the heterosexual porn I read is written by men, and most of the lesbian porn I read is also probably written by men, for men. It just has the feel of how males see lesbians, including the conquering of one partner by the more dominant one. The porn I know was written by a female author because she gave it to me with her name on it had less conquering and more cooperation. It was very hot, but different, because the women were more into making each other feel good, and also because it described the physicality of sex very differently from people who don’t experience penetration as a normal part of their sexuality. But still this brought home how bad I am at putting myself in another person’s shoes, figuratively.

Also I finally got some chips to let me experience a brand of guacamole that was not familiar to me. We had a coupon for Wholly Guacamole brand and we also bought a brand of chip that we see locally that we didn’t see in either NY or TN, Calidad. I have been scarfing down the chips for years, but Wholly Guacamole was new to me. I don’t buy guac all that often and mostly I get the deli guac from my local grocery, which isn’t bad. I mean it’s nothing special but it isn’t bad. Now I had some guac years ago that was awful, but that was more than 45 years ago in Logan UT. Wholly Guacamole was pretty good. I’m not sure it’s enough better than the deli guac to justify the price difference, but it is better.

And veering on another tangent, I watched a video from Engine Masters that basically proved that for an LS engine at low loads it doesn’t matter what you put in the tank as long as it is gasoline. The combustion chamber in LS heads is highly octane tolerant, you can drive around on an optimized tune for 87 regular and it works The Same, it falls into the range of run-to-run variation on the dyno used as 91, 110, 116, so long as you get the tune right. But if you need that last little bit of power E85 is where you go for the LS engine, which validates my decision to get to and from the races on 87 and race on E85.

And, that’s about all I have to say as I can feel the pollen levels starting to rise now that the sun is up and things are getting uncomfortable again.

Still looking for improved performance for the Sprint-T

I have been looking at the various engines available on a cost/performance basis, and the Gen IV architecture LS family is starting to look better and better. The Gen IV engines come with things like DOD (bad) and VVT (good) to balance performance and fuel economy. I’m looking at the prices for the aluminum 5.3 L engines with VVT that came in trucks and SUVs. They are trending slowly down to something I can afford to pay after getting removed from the vehicle, the oldest being 12 years old now.

The reason I want the VVT is it gives me the benefit of a wide powerband. How camshaft timing affects engine performance and from Richard Holdener Tested-SBC adjustable cam timing. Basically VVT lets the engine controller adjust the cam timing on the fly, with the cam advanced below torque peak, and letting the cam retard as RPM increases to increase upper RPM power. Basically this lets a small cam (short duration) act like a big cam (long duration) at high RPM while retaining the small cam goodness down low. It’s not exactly like a bigger cam, but it makes the small cam better. Since what I’m looking at is making the powerband as wide as possible VVT is what I want. I can advance or retard the cam as needed depending on RPM. I can adjust the cam events to the best time for the rotational speed of the engine.

And I watched the NASCAR Cup race from ‘Dega today, and there were fewer wrecks and the wrecks were smaller than in previous years. Aaannnnnd, congratulations to Brad Keselowski, they had the 9th different winner in 10 races, the playoffs are going to be LIT this year, and the race for the cutoff is going to be cutthroat.