Tag Archives: technical stuff about building cars

I’m annoyed, again

My parts arrived yesterday after I posted my previous blog post about them, and after a quick test fit, they don’t fit.

I mean seriously don’t come even close to fitting, like several inches from fitting. I put one fan on the shroud in the upper right corner and traced the outline, then moved it to the lower left corner and traced again, and the result looked like the Venn diagram of racists and Republicans there was so much overlap. OK that was an exaggeration, but seriously there was way more overlap than I expected, which was none to nearly none. This had more than 2 inches of overlap at the widest point. The answer is the advertised size of the fans is the functional diameter of the fan, not the installed width. There is a slight radius at the base of the fan, plus a generous mounting flange that adds up to the mounted diameter of 14¾”, not the advertised 14″. Add in that the shroud was built to only handle a single, engine-driven fan and you can see how this all went to heck in a cargo bike.

So I have to return the dual fans and just get the biggest single electric fan and hope the ¾” mounting flange is a constant, or get two much smaller fans and live with it. That’s because the next size down from the 14″ is the 12″ which I’m still not convinced will fit after the fiasco with the 14″ so I’m probably going to go with two 10″ fans or the single 16″ fan that is the largest in the catalog and has a similar flow rating to 2 10″ fans and costs less. The other alternative is to trim the mounting flanges on the 14″ fans so they fit, but that voids the warranty and also makes them not returnable, ignoring the fact that they still might not fit, because of the taper of the shroud to make it work with engine-driven fans.

And as I was composing this post I got notice that there was yet another mass shooting in the USA, the only country that has mass shootings on the regular and isn’t a conflict zone. This time it was 8 dead in a San Jose CA light rail staging yard with an as yet unknown number of wounded, and also the shooter is dead but not included in the number of the dead. So as I write this that makes 9 total dead and an undisclosed number of injured, in the only major country where this happens on a regular basis.

And on that point, I’m outta here.

Trying to think straight through the fog

My new meds are starting to kick in, I didn’t have any neuropathy kicks or twitches last night and my tinnitus is getting quieter. But my sleeping is seriously borked because of the meds. I overslept and missed taking my laptop to get the bloatware removed because this med just knocks me out. Normally when I’m not getting sleep I’m not thinking too good, but for some reason when I get my coffee on this med I’m rarin’ to go, even though I’m still walking like an extra in a zombie movie. It’s the craziest thing, I’m thinking clear as a bell, but my legs and feet and fingers are acting like they never got out of the bed. I have been spending almost as much time fixing typos as writing because the fingers are only about 90% accurate in hitting the keys. And if you’re thinking “well that’s not too bad” just remember it takes a minimum of 3 keystrokes to fix a typo I catch immediately, and I’m averaging one mistake in 10 keystrokes. So, average of every 7 letters I have to fix something.

On a similar but not entirely related note, I love the verb “bork” when used in it’s non-sexual meaning of seriously SNAFUed. This is one of the few contributions to the English language from a SCOTUS confirmation that has survived longer than a couple of years.

On a brighter note, the cooling fans are going to fit the fan shroud nicely. One will fit in the upper right side next to the inlet for maximum heat transfer from the water coming from the engine, and the other will fit on the lower left to get as much as physics will allow from the second pass across the radiator. The idea here is to keep the coolant going into the engine as cool as possible to keep the combustion chambers cool for either best power or best fuel economy depending on which mode the engine is in. Don’t you just love thermodynamics working for you for once? And in case you don’t understand how this works, the formula for heat transfer from a radiator has the fluid temperature in the top half of the equation, meaning the hotter it is the more heat it transfers to the airflow. Which means most of the heat comes from the first pass across the double pass radiator, and by careful fan placement I can maximize that transfer for the lowest possible outlet temperature.

Going off on a tangent, current writing jam is “Dear Mr. Fantasy” by Traffic. There is an interesting dynamic that is peculiar to depressed people in the lyrics, how we use comedy to hide our depression. “You are the one that can make us all laugh, but doing it you break down in tears.” This was me for decades, “Laugh, clown, laugh!” while hiding my depression with comedy. “I love how your poetry makes me laugh,” for years.

Anywho, while I’m waiting on the parts to arrive I’m figuring out how they will be installed in the car, because what else can I do except write about it?

So, how was your day?

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.

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.

Still trying to get stuff done and not succeeding

Weather and sleep schedules are interfering with actually doing things in a timely manner. I staggered around until about 1130 before collapsing and eventually shutting down completely about 1230 or 1300. I woke up enough to check the time about 1900 and finally got out of bed in time to catch Biden’s speech about 2100. Pollens are still interfering with my sleep, making getting shut down to sleep hard, and then making it hard to get fully awake with working eyeballs.

Still trying to figure out the engine situation for the Sprint-T. I mean what I want is maximum torque for getting out of the single-pylon turn, which implies a mild cam, long intake runners, and hopefully a lot of displacement. Or maybe (also) small turbos that light up more quickly than big turbos and a small displacement engine. I’m looking for either a large displacement engine or a good turbo manifold. Also VVT. Changing timing can drastically change the points of opening and closing of the intake valve and move the torque band from lower to higher RPM. That will be fun, but not earth shattering. Basically VVT extends the powerband a tiny bit and makes the long runner intake work over a wider RPM range. Dangit, I know what I’m trying to say, but I’m having a terrible time trying to get my ducks in a row to say what I mean.

Basically VVT widens the powerband a scosh compared to fixed valve timing, but it doesn’t work miracles. There are some Engine Masters videos on the subject but if you aren’t a subscriber you can’t view them. I did link some YouTube videos earlier that explain the benefits of moving the cam timing, well VVT lets you do that while the engine is running, about 40 degrees for the late model Gen IV or about 50 degrees for the early versions. Naturally you have to check piston to valve interference at the extremes of adjustment to make sure you don’t get the pistons hitting the valves because the VVT changes the valve lift at the point the valves get closest to the pistons, and for some cams the valves will actually contact the pistons unless the swing on timing is reduced. Or move the swing away from the interference, which is a thing also. Like I wrote earlier it’s something that needs to be explored more thoroughly, probably by someone with more resources than me. The best that I can do is get the biggest VVT cam I can find and pair it with the longest intake runners I can find and then swing the timing to see what performance benefits I can find. I’m hypothesizing that running VVT advance at part-throttle cruise could generate better mileage, and if I see evidence of that in the VVT map I’ll have verification of that hypothesis. But on the other hand if I don’t it doesn’t mean it’s not true, just that it isn’t programmed into the ECU, probably because there wasn’t enough benefit to justify programming it into the system.

OK the sun is up now, time to “make the doughnuts” and if you get that reference you are either old or you like really old commercials.

I made a statement in a previous post that needed more facts, and trees are continuing to kick my butt

I made the statement yesterday that DoD in the Gen IV LS engines was “bad”. I stand behind this statement but clarification is needed.

Most of the LS architecture engine family prior to Displacement on Demand had expected lifespans of about a quarter of a million miles (about 430,000 km). The problem is the components used to implement DoD are not as reliable as the rest of the engine and have the tendency to destroy the rest of the engine when they fail, at the worst, or simply render the engine inoperable at best.How to diagnose DoD problems, DISPLACEMENT ON DEMAND – DOD, Repair Cost and Return on Investment. Chevy Tahoe Collapsed Lifter and that was just the first two videos on the search results that extended for multiple pages.

So even if cam or lifter damage is present since I’m converting the engine to fixed displacement anyway, but I still want to retain the VVT, all I have to do is buy the DoD delete kit and new lifters (sold as LS7 lifters on Amazon and eBay) and a VVT compatible cam for a larger engine than I have and I have improved performance over stock at minimal costs. Basically since I have to buy the cam and lifters as part of the repair anyway, the costs of buying the delete kit are the only cost of the delete, but I have to have the engine in hand before I do this because some engines had DoD delete from the factory, and some didn’t have VVT even though they are Gen IV engines. I have to make sure I get VVT, but that is a simple visual inspection before purchase as even though it’s an internal engine part the control hydraulics are part of the timing cover and visible at a glance.

Now, on the other thing, I’m still having allergy problems. I was supposed to go get my toes done and hair cut, but my allergies just made me sleep later than usual. I woke up about 1530 instead of my “normal” 1400, and my mind never revved up to cruising RPM before the venues were closed for the day. I wasn’t fully functional until after 2000 which is about the closing time for the nail place, and 2 hours after the barbershop closes.

And to end the post here’s a link to a video of stupid fun My Best Burnout EVER Ended With a Huge Methanol Fire… *WAR BIRD Extra Spicy Edition* as you can see from the video the friction from the spinning tires has polished the surface to a high gloss. That’s amazing, concrete polished by spinning tires. AFAIK concrete polishing is usually done when slightly soggy.

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.

More tree sex messing up my life and more drooling over parts catalogs

I’m stumbling around half blind because of pollen, mostly tree pollen, and I’m looking at the E-Rod packages in the parts catalog I just got yesterday and just drooling in anticipation, wishing I had the kind of money required to order one of those delivered to my garage.

Actually what I really want is an electric powertrain kit with a choice of packs I could install, like the two gas tanks I planned for the LS powered version of the car. Have a big pack for long trips, and a small light pack for race day. As I see it, the small pack could be part of the big pack and the big pack could recharge the small pack when the big pack is reconnected to the car like between rounds of racing. There are already devices made to do this as part of their design, but usually they make everything equal during charging, rather than balancing capacity during use, but most will work either way.

Not much to say about tree sex and loss of vision, most everybody gets to deal with it to one degree or another. For those lucky ones who haven’t (yet😈) what I experience is a white haze obstructing my vision, similar to how my ringing ears obstruct my hearing. Most days it’s more annoying than an actual problem, but then we get days like today when I get intermittent complete whiteouts and zero visibility. The biggest problem with that is there is literally no warning, I can be walking along minding my own business and all of a sudden I blink and the world turns off-white. Usually a few seconds later and I can mostly see again, but there have been times today that it takes several minutes to see where everything is enough to not hurt myself walking. To call it annoying is severe understatement. The only thing I can do is wait it out until I can clear it up by blinking.

I’m still researching the idea of using a motorcycle brake handle to operate a hydraulic throwout bearing to use on a clutch so I can eke out a little more gas mileage and better power transfer out of tight corners. Google is baffled by the concept and sends me articles on converting motorcycles to hydraulic brakes or clutches, but nothing about what I’m asking. There is a guy who has hand controlled a manual transmission car, but from what I’m getting about this is there is a whole bunch of electronics involved with that, especially the clutch. I just want to know if there is enough fluid volume from the MC brake lever for a hydraulic throwout bearing, and is there enough mechanical advantage to work the clutch if there is enough fluid to get enough travel to operate the mechanism. That is a lot to ask for a master cylinder operated by a hand lever.

And I’m still fighting whiteouts from allergies which is making me angry, and not conducive to writing anything because I don’t think good when I’m angry, as in angry makes the aphasia kick in extra heavy. I can’t think of words and make sentences when I’m angry, which makes writing difficult. So, between not being able to see, and anger-induced aphasia making it hard to write when I can see, I think this is a good time to quit while my laptop is still functional.

Still thinking, and an update on my Fauci Ouchy

I’ll start with my reaction to my first dose of Moderna vaccine. I still have the stiff fingers that won’t fold into a fist, and the injection site is starting to itch. From what I read on the internets both reactions are not uncommon, but not generally shared. As near as I can tell the itching is a strong indicator that I’m getting at least partial immunity from the first shot.

We’re having corned beef and cabbage for dinner because March 17th. There are multiple holidays celebrated today including the feast of St. Gertrude, patron of cats and the people who love them, and also Irish. So if celebrating the guy who oversaw the murders of Celtic priests because Jebus gets under your skin, celebrate the Lady of the Cats. And for you fellow cyclists, save July 15 on your calendars for Madonna del Ghisallo’s feast. Can’t forget her, she’s the one looking out for us.

One of the things I’m thinking about is putting the driveshaft loop on the torque arm for the Sprint-T. It runs right beside the driveshaft and I need the loop to run this car in SCCA events, and the raw stock size is the same for both, well the required diameters and thicknesses for the loop is the same as I’m going to use for the torque arm, so po-TAY-toe, po-TAH-toe. I have to have it to run, and I have to have the torque arm to keep the engine torque from winding the axle around the swing arms so let’s make them both the same thing. And because the transmission is so close to the rear axle the reaction from the torque arm is going to be pretty radical, just because of the physics of the situation. So to keep the car under control during braking it will be necessary to uncouple braking forces from drive forces to prevent wheel hop under braking. This is another reason why I need to have floating hubs, because these brake floaters will not work with standard drive axles, they just won’t fit over the end of the housing. And because of the physics of torque arms I can’t run the car in competition without using the floaters. There just isn’t enough room in the back of the car to make the torque arm long enough to not need to use brake floaters. The braking reaction torque will lift the tires off the ground.

In other car-building news I need to figure out the orientation for the header flange. The bolt holes are not symmetrical so I have to find out which way is up, literally. Now if I had even a set of heads handy to work with it would be no problem to figure out which way the header flange went, just slap one on the head and see which way matched the head, but I don’t even have the heads to work with. Yet. But I need to figure it out because if I get it wrong the headers won’t fit the car. They’ll fit the engine, but they’ll be upside down and backwards on the car. So, gotta find some reference that shows which side is up. It might be in the box with the kit, but I haven’t opened it yet so I don’t lose any parts while building the kit. And the reason I bought the kit is I couldn’t find a set already built up in the style that fits the car, just this kit. As you can see, the flange is not symmetrical, and the pipes are bent for the sprint car pattern that so many T-buckets use for best powerband. I picked those headers because I don’t want to spend the money for turbocharging, so I need some way of getting the used gas outside the car instead of the factory manifolds. The engine is going to be set so far back that the stock manifolds are going the be exiting through the body so I can’t just use what comes on the engine from the junkyard.

And as you can see from every paragraph beyond the description of what the vaccine is doing to my body, I have been thinking way too much and too hard about this damned car. Don’t get me wrong, this is exactly what I wanted to do, but there are limits I have been pushing as hard as I could because, story and everything. I have been obsessing about this car in various permutations since 1968. There was even one that had the bucket body and seats sitting on top of a monocoque tub with the radiators in sidepods on either side of the body. I think that was the version with independent suspension on both ends of the car, shortly before the turn of the century. That version was about as light and as stiff in torsion as the current version, but would have been much more difficult to build. At least there was room for a clutch pedal in that version as the footbox was actually in the monocoque below the body, and not constrained by the limits of the body. But in every other way the 1997-98 version was inferior to the 2018-21 version. In the earlier version I didn’t have access to a cheap all-aluminum block and heads like the LS architecture engines of today, and the available power was curtailed by a lack of easily available EFI and especially controllers. Also the state of the art was the Small Block Chevy with aftermarket aluminum heads that didn’t flow as good as what can be found in the junkyard on top of the engine in a pickup truck. Between that and the lack of EFI, about 400 HP on pump gas was the limits. The best you could hope for with iron heads was about 375 after a cam upgrade. But with a cam and tuning I can get that easily with a junkyard 5.3 with a truck manifold and way better off the corner response. I wanna throw up another Holdener video, but I think we have enough links in the post today and it’s not like you guys don’t know how to find videos on Youtube.

Wow did a lot of things happen after I finished the last post

First and foremost, I have an appointment for my COVID vaccine. I qualify for all the ones available, so I’m getting whatever they have. My preference would be the Jannsen single dose, but if I have to come back, I’ll come back. If I get the shot, I’m good with having to get another one.

The other thing was I got a quote on the quick change from the manufacturer that was less than the prices quoted for the fabricated 9″ Ford axle. Not much, about $10 less, but still that’s still less for the preferred bits than the “make do” bits. It won’t be available for a few months because of parts shortages, but I’m in the line and will definitely get my axle.

Also I’m getting lots of pictures from women who have grandpa fetishes and want me to fulfill them. The pictures are in varying amounts of clothing as some want to take care of me and some want to “take care of me” to other degrees. Once again the author of my story is writing a porno, which at this point is “meh” for me. On the one hand, pictures of scantily-clad ladies young enough to be a grandchild if my kids had kids at the same age as I did. On the other hand, I have problems with that particular physical activity since the time I injured my other hip. Other things I can do, but not that one. But I still would enjoy the company of women of that age should such be offered. Not that I would solicit anyone for that activity, but I wouldn’t turn it down either.

But, let’s get back to that axle. Strong enough for almost any engine I could feasibly install on the Sprint-T, and at a price I can afford. And it looks cool, too. What more could I ask for? I mean besides free, but I’m talking realistically, what more could I ask for? It looks like I’m going to use the 11 set of spur gears for racing, and the 8504 helical gears for quiet, low RPM cruising on the Interstate between races. If my numbers are correct I should be rolling down the road turning 2382 RPM in 3rd or 1667 in OD. Or I could save a few bucks by only buying one 8503 or 8504 set of helical gears and just use the rather tall gear to work for the Goodguy’s and SCCA and also for the Interstates. I could do that with the 4l60e because of the 3.06 first gear and the 0.7 OD gear.

Or, I could use the tallest gear with a Powerglide for cruising down the Interstate at 2382 and use a 10A set for racing with the 1.82 low gear, or if I can stand the gear whine flip the 10A and get 2255 RPM cruise and not shift out of low until roughly 87 MPH if I let it run until redline. Or on the other hand if I leave the race gears in I shift at about 47 and cruise at 4200. Math is fun! But cruising 60 MPH at 4200 RPM is not fun for very long because I would go crazy stopping to fill the gas tank because of the consumption of running 4200 RPM in a big V-8, not to mention the noise. So if I run the PG I would run the 8503 gears on the Interstate and the 10A set to race. But the thing is if I use the quick change I have the option to use the PG without running 4000+ RPM on the Interstate.

Now, one thing that has to be taken into account is I don’t have welding gear that works on the aluminum axle tubes on the lightweight QC. So I either need to make clamp-on brackets, or farm out the welding to someone who has the equipment. One will take much designing and fabricating, one will take money. Guess which one is in shorter supply around here? But that is a minor problem compared to finding the rear axle at a price I can pay. Not going to say “affordable”, but I can pay that amount.

This was a good day, and this is a good place to end this post.