Tag Archives: Sprint-T

My steering box is on indefinite backorder

AFAIK Speedway Motors is having similar problems with China as I am in that what used to be a Sure Thing is now Vaporware. My steering box can no longer be considered a viable option, and the people I used to work for no longer have a working web site. E-mails sent to them come back as undeliverable and there is no solid date on stocking my steering box either. Both of us are up the proverbial unsanitary tributary.

Which means I can stop sweating about my bank balance getting below the amount due for the steering box order because it won’t be due any time soon. The good news is Speedway will honor the price I placed the order at including discounts in effect at the time of the order. The bad news is they have to get a new supplier and won’t be able to ship my order until they get the parts from the new supplier.

In other good news (really good, not sarcastic “good”) I got in contact with the person I got the LS7 I’m using to make the Mini Sprint-T to purchase another and a scale Powerglide transmission to build the A/Mod SCCA Solo Racer. I think I might have mentioned the LS/Powerglide combo a few weeks back when I was thinking about how to balance my weight against the powertrain weight from side to side with my legs in a pretty narrow footwell next to the engine and letting my shoulders hang out over the transmission so the total polar moment was as low as possible. Anywho, I decided to build a model because I’ll never be able to build the full-scale version while I’m building the Sprint-T. The plan so far is to have the left side exhaust run over the driver’s legs like the right side of a supermodified. And also to have insulating blankets between the manifold and the driver’s legs, like in the supermodifieds. With the short runs in SCCA Solo Racing that’s probably overkill, but it doesn’t weigh much and it increases the safety margin over just wrapping the pipes with exhaust wrap which I was going to do anyway because of the performance benefit.

Last thing before I drop this on you, the remnants of the hurricane passed far enough to the east that we only got one brief shower here that was dried up before I finished. The walk was dry when I went to get the mail, that’s how brief the shower was. Also someone dropped this link on me and I liked it, so I think I will pass it along.

Another round of “Not dead yet!”

I took an extended break from social media and my computer to try to do something about my mental state, and it turns out the only thing helping my mental state was connecting to people through social media and this blog.

OK a big part of my problems are related to lack of touch, and a lack of access to people who would touch me in ways that were beneficial for me, and that is something I can’t get from social media. But it is something I can get from massage. Which is another reason why the closing of massage places was so hard on me. At this point between social distancing and so many of my friends passing on for many reasons, finding someone willing to touch me for free is pretty much impossible. And given my current economic state finding money to pay people to touch me in ways that help me is another impossibility.

I guess if I stop buying things online I could save my money for my phone, meds, and massages. But seeing that stuff I buy online is allowing me to go outside (masks), and/or is contributing to the goal of building the Sprint-T by paying for components that will eventually go into either the full size or scale version (Mini Sprint-T), so obviously I need more money to be socially adjusted, and have more than a fat chance of finishing the Sprint-T. But if I get more money I also have obligations that suddenly appear as a consequence of having money. It’s like the universe conspires against my ever getting the car I have been dreaming about literally for a half century. The car has changed as the technology has changed and as my preferred form of competition has changed, but the only thing that has changed about my preferred form of competition has been classification and the existence of the Goodguys sanctioning organization strictly for vehicles like hot rods like the Sprint-T and traditional street rods. So I have more places to play with the toy I have been wanting for more than a half-century.

I saw a movie on TV in 1968, and knew I wanted something like that, not the turbine car, or the jet dragster, but the cheap hot rod from the start of the movie. As I grew up, I understood the engineering and physics behind the T-Bucket and Sprint cars, and their inherent economy of form. Basically the design ethos of the two cars is “does it make the car faster? is it necessary to make the car go?” and if there is not at least one “Yes” answer it doesn’t go on the car. Now before someone jumps on me about the full cage around the bucket body and asks are they required, the answer is they are “yes” to both questions. I drive faster when there are reduced dangers and I drive faster when I’m comfortable. The cage protects me and makes the suspension work better by transferring weight from one corner to another with no losses from twisting or bending, by making the entire chassis stiffer because the forces are reduced on individual frame members by the geometry of integrating the cage as a crossmember of the frame. Certain parts of the frame are going to be heavier than required from typical loads imposed because of rules requiring roll cage members be of a certain minimum thickness to prevent distortion from crash loads, but the change in weight is a few pounds out of a couple of hundred more or less for the full frame.

The brakes being as large as they are even though this adds a few pounds in a very bad place to add weight, brakes being both unsprung and rotating weight, the additional stopping power will let the car stop quicker, which will lead to lower lap times because less time and distance stopping mean more of the lap is under power. A bigger proportion of the lap under power means that part takes less time, and that means the whole lap takes less time. That means bigger brakes make the Sprint-T faster. That’s why I have the biggest brakes that will fit the parts I have already bought because those parts make the car I build a T-Bucket. And unless I build a T-Bucket, this build is stripped of much of its meaning.

And that looks like a really good place to stop, because I’m paying more attention to Michelle Obama on TV than I am to my writing.

Now I have time and I have something to write about

OK I was thinking last night and I figured out how I can do the thing by myself without having to spend $40 for the other thing to use to make the thing. I just need to buy a chunk of extra heavy angle iron and drill 3 holes after cutting to length.

Seriously I can get some thick angle iron from Lowe’s or the Metal Supermarket (yes that is a real place near downtown in Dallas), a step drill bit from Harbor Freight, and drill 3 pilot holes and use the step bit to get the desired size holes and I would have the thing I desired for less than half the cost of modifying the other thing because I would still have to get the step drill to drill the hole in the steering arm from Speedway at the right distance. I already have the cutting tools for the cutting to length and to clear the kingpin boss on the spindle from when I was building bicycles (what, you forgot about when I used to build bicycles?), and I still have many things that can be used to drill precision holes in (other) things if I have the right drill bits. And as I was just saying, I need to get a step bit anyway.

Anywho, it’s really simple. I know what the distance between the ½” holes on the vertical part of the steering arm need to be, and when I get the steering kit from Speedway I’ll know what the distance of the pitman arm is, and by simple ratios I’ll know what the distance to the 5/8” hole for the drag link end needs to be. There will be no need for anything like Ackerman or the like because this is strictly to transfer the motion of the pitman arm to the spindle and the Ackerman is already taken care of through the other steering arms and the tie rod. If I wanted to get fancy I might weld part of the vertical web that I need to remove to clear the kingpin boss on the spindle to the vertical and horizontal part of the arm between the spindle and the hole for the drag link to reduce deflection of the horizontal part under hard cornering. It likely won’t do any good if I buy thick enough angle iron but, you know there’s no such thing as “too safe”. And there is also the possibility that I can’t find angle stock in that thickness. And adding the support from the vertical to the horizontal flanges of the piece will stiffen it up considerably. And if I can’t get the thick stuff I will have to weld the connection from the vertical to the horizontal.

That’s it, I’m starting to get a sore butt from sitting in front of the computer.

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 did some measuring with the mockup radiator

And there is another reason why I can’t put the steering box behind the radiator, too far to reach the drag link. Seriously if I put the radiator as far forward as it will fit on top of the frame then it will have to be right at 31″ behind the front of the nose piece. Plenty of room for the steering box and standard pitman arm, but way too far back for even a double-length arm to reach the drag link from behind the radiator.

Something else I found out while I was mocking up and measuring things is I’m going to have to push the box back a smidge from how I initially imagined the layout because the tierod will hit the drag link arm at full droop. As I initially envisioned it the drag link would be parallel to the tierod at ride height and just below it on the steering arm, but in reality there’s less than an inch of clearance at ride height and the axle has to move more than that at full droop. Basically I only have 3″ total travel to work with because of my choice of tire for the Goodguys events will have the bottom of the car dragging if I don’t limit the amount of bump to less than 2″ at the shock absorber because that much travel is also going to compress the tire a bunch.

Anywho, I need to shower and go to bed now, but I thought I should let you guys know what I found out during initial mockup tests.

I did stuff yesterday and paid the price today

I went and picked up a copy of GT5 from my local Gamestop. When the steering wheel arrives I’ll be able to do stuff and get my car-driving reflexes back. Also I’ll be able to have some fun with my game system that came with a bunch of games my son like but I don’t. I’m not a fan of first person shooters, and that’s most of the games in the bag. Also not a fan of sidescrolling fighting games like Mortal Combat. But they at least let me get the system up and running and tested to make sure it works.

In other news, my Joyce Smile mask was supposed to be out for delivery last night and never showed up, but the package tracker says it’s still out for delivery so it’s not like they brought it and I wasn’t there to accept it. This annoys me, but on the bright side I found a massage place that I can get to without having to change to another bus. It is slightly more expensive than my regular place, but I can get there in a few minutes from the house so that’s exchanging money for convenience. And the heat index was above 100° while I was out walking around in the sun so I got a bit dehydrated. Not terribly so, but enough to see in my urine which was a bright yellow this morning instead of the normal almost clear in the morning and completely clear the rest of the day.

On the Sprint-T I might have an alternate mounting for the steering box in relation to the radiator. It’s looking like I’ll have room for the box entirely in front of the radiator so from the front it will be axle, tie rod top drag link bottom, steering box, radiator, engine, body. The steering shaft will have to sneak around the radiator a bit, so I think I’ll install a support heim to keep things from flopping around between the steering box U-joint and the steering shaft U-joint or to the home made steering quickener, or the bought steering quickener U-joint.

Another possibility is welding the kit pitman arm and the one I already bought to extend it and basically get double the throw at the same amount of turn input which makes a steering quickener redundant, then mounting the box behind the radiator, so axle, tie rod top drag link bottom, radiator, and steering box, all inside the sides of the nose. This makes things really tidy from the outside, both aerodynamically and visually, and the box could sit in the area behind the electric fan shroud so it doesn’t block the air through the radiator and the extended pitman arm puts the drag link in front of the radiator. This has the advantage of maximum wheel angle, because the internal stops in the box limit the rotation of the shaft holding the pitman arm to just 90° but the extended arm can swing the front wheels much further than that. Basically what would be the next limit would be the tie rod hitting the axle brackets. If I make the extended pitman arm I might not need to use any quickener or maybe a much less aggressive quickener than the 5:1 I was planning on making which changes the 20:1 ratio 5 turn lock-to-lock Vega box only one turn lock to lock. I’ll have to do a calculation to see how much quicker the extended pitman arm makes the steering to see if I need to get a steering quickener or how much if I need to get or make one.

In other news I made a seriously twisty track in GT5 and when I tried to drive it one of the test vehicles was Jeff Gordon’s 2010 Cup car. I can barely keep a street car on that course without a steering wheel controller, there is no way I can finish a lap driving a Cup car. The track is a short and twisty kart track and way too narrow for a Cup car. It was hilarious trying to drive the car with the game controller.

I hope you had a happy and safe 4th

I went grocery shopping and since we can’t go outside with Mrs. the Poet yet, we had a fried chicken picnic in the house. I bought actual real chicken from the Deli at Tom Thumb, some chicken tenders, and some potato salad for the feast which we had after the races were over at Indy. Then I watched the IMSA race from Daytona while I was eating.

I got some really good information on the steering box while I was doing the last post so I will know how big a box I need to make to simulate the steering box in the Mini Sprint-T. Basically it’s a 5″ wide including the mount by 8″ tall by 6″ long box that I need to remove the bits that don’t look like a steering box from. Simple as creating the statue of David from a misshapen block of marble, little Renaissance Art humor there. I’ll have to do that in scale from plastic for the Mini Sprint-T.

I’m going out tomorrow to pick up a copy of Gran Turismo 5 from the local Gamestop for a literal pittance, $3 plus tax. If I get a day pass the bus pass will cost as much as the game. The idea is to hack the game to get access to the Caterham in the game and also give it the same power and weight as the Sprint-T as it already has similar aerodynamics and grip, then figure out how to get something I can use as a practice course for an autocross, probably something from the licensing tests they use in the game to unlock tracks and cars… Also tomorrow I expect to get my Joyce Smile mask and to model it for you.

I’ll be back tomorrow night with a new post, I hope. Stay safe until then.

I went out and paid bills again yesterday

And suffered mightily in the heat and humidity, heat index flopping around between 106° and 101° as a popup T-storm moved through. Mrs. the Poet suspects that I might need to buy shoes because I could barely walk because the soles of my feet hurt so much and it has been a while since I bought shoes. Anywho, my bill went down again as they are no longer charging a “convenience fee” for me to go to their store to pay my bill. My total payment was only $15 this month taxes included. So my bill has gone from $33/month to $15/month since April. Color me happy!😌

Also on the agenda I bought a steering wheel and pedals for my PS3 and laptop, should I find a driving game that will run on this laptop. But it will work for GT5 and GT6 on the PS3, so I should be pretty good. It’s a 180° rotation wheel with a shift lever and two pedals, meaning it’s perfect for simulating the Sprint-T except the steering is a little (by orders of magnitude) quicker than the Sprint-T. The real thing will have either 2.5 turns lock to lock with the store-bought steering quickener, or 1 turn lock to lock with the home-made quickener, which is either 3 binary or 1 binary order of magnitude quicker than the game controller, but the 270° controller was like three times as much as the 180° controller and nobody makes a 2.5 turn controller. I suppose I could install a reduction drive between the controller and another steering wheel (I have 3 from various project cars over the years that I put the OE steering wheels back on before I sold them), but TBH I don’t feel like it and it would be massive overkill for this project. Now I need to go to Gamestop and find either of the two games to buy. I have GT4 for my PS2 which is how I know that I need to get a wheel to use GT5 or GT6 on my PS3.

On the Sprint-T progress has been slowed because I’m either out doing stuff, physically recovering from being out doing stuff, or working on my computer like I’m doing right now. But I have a plan for when time and being able to do stuff coincide. I need to drill the pilot holes in the 2 by 4s so they don’t split when I drive the lag bolts in. I need to screw the sides of the nose to the radiator mockup between the two pieces I’m using to simulate the radiator end tanks on either side. And it looks like I’m going to need to cut a 6″ by 8″ hole for the steering box to hang out 5″ from, or figure out some way of denting the sides to allow the tires to turn at full steering lock. Easier is letting the steering box hang out the side, more trick and smoother appearing is forming a recess for the tires to still turn. Another factor is the side panels can be replaced with HDPE which is easily heat formed for such things as tire clearance. A third consideration is this nose was designed to make downforce and force air through the radiator, and the wider I make it the more of both it will make, and the center panel will allow for a 45″ wide nose if I don’t trim it, which will make it the same width as the body, or I can make it 39″ which will make it as wide as the windshield and have the side panels up underneath the nose to smooth the flow to the body somewhat.

Speaking of the steering box, the one I ordered will ship 2020-08-10 or sooner. The ‘Rona has messed up restocking stuff as it gets sold, so I’m waiting on a literal slow boat from China for my steering box. Everything else is Made in USA, but the big part is wending its way to some West Coast port, probably Long Beach or Portland if freight volume from China is anything to go by, or Portland if closest direct truck route to Nebraska is a factor. But I won’t get to see it for another month or so. Also on a (different) slow boat is the steering wheel controller that may be here by my birthday if I’m unlucky, the last delivery date is 9/21. The first one is beginning of August so they haven’t even picked the slow or the quick boat yet…

Thinking about what I need to make an autocross-specific engine

I have been watching Richard Holdener videos on YouTube, for data on making the “best” engine for my Sprint-T. The TPI intake from the late 1980s had extremely long intake runners that made huge torque at low RPM, way more than what a “normal” engine of this size could produce.

TPI MEGA TEST-WHAT WORKS BEST? As you can see, Richard ran a “too big” cam for the stock TPI, and basically lost nothing at low RPM while the big cam prevented the engine from falling on its face as the RPM went past peak torque.

TURBO TPI-BOOSTED TUNE PORT Boost just made things more awesome

TPI TECH PLUS BOOST-FASTER THAN FORD? More boost makes more better.

Taking the results and projecting to the LS, what I need is a super long runner manifold with as large intake ports as will bolt up to the heads, and as much displacement as I can get controlled by a 300° duration cam with big lift, about 0.600″. Basically what I’m looking for would be something like this intake with spacers to extend the runners or maybe 3d printed plenums with extended runners built in, plus a super rowdy cam and let the intake runners “fix” the low RPM problems caused by the too-large cam while the cam “fixes” the lack of power at high RPM problems caused by the intake manifold to make an engine that makes power everywhere on the RPM range. That is what I would do if I had an unlimited budget.

But because my budget is very much limited, I’m going to have to take what I can get and like it…

I accomplished something IRL today

OK it wasn’t much but I got the lengths of two by four cut to length for the radiator mockup. Holes still need to be drilled for the bolts to hold them all together. I then took a shower and passed in and out of consciousness for a few hours. Yay me/sarcasm/

I cut the 2 19″ verticals, the 2 31″ horizontals, and the 2 117/8” fillers between the horizontals that get attached to the verticals. The filler pieces make the part that goes next to the skin on the nose as wide as if I made the wide side of the two by four face the skin so as to get the skin to lay smoothly. The screws that hold the skin to the mockup radiator will go between the vertical and the filler and won’t require a pilot hole, like it would if I somehow managed to get the verticals turned flat side to the outside.

And it’s not much but I’m going to reset my sleep schedule so that I’m diurnal again so I can actually be in the bed with Mrs. the Poet when I sleep. Yesterday I was in bed by 0930 and finally got everything shut down and asleep by about 1030, but was awakened frequently by day noises especially the phone, which then required time to settle the mind and go back to sleep, so that by the time I got up at 1900 I’d had maybe 6 or so hours of sleep total. So, I’m going to stay up all day and go to bed after the race in Martinsville ends.