Tag Archives: tgs2

I might stop updating for a while

Long story short, I’m in the process of changing meds and there will be a period where I’m not taking the old med but haven’t started the new med, and I’m in the process of tapering off the old med. This will make my depression worse, on top of the broken toe not helping my disposition. Mrs. the Poet and the cats are already leaving me lots of room around the house, except when Clint decides I need some lap time.

Clint making sure my lap is protected from monsters.

I’m still working out the packaging for the TGS2. If I don’t try to get the driver forward for better balance, and put the fuel tank in front of the bucket body instead, it’s pretty easy to put the powertrain in the fake pickup bed and still have a fairly normal-looking T-bucket. Well as normal as a mid-engine bucket can look when they are usually front engine. The proportions would be sorta normal, close to that of the original Model T front to back, but much wider because of the minivan donor vehicle axles and driveshafts. And the front axle made so the widths kinda sorta matched. This is on the assumption that I’m going to get the minivan donor vehicle.

Now if I’m not getting the minivan donor vehicle then things get… different. Then everything depends on the donor vehicle or the crate engine and transmission combination. I can say I would love to get a flood-damaged front engine RWD car as a donor vehicle but again that would require resources to buy and then get the car home, in fact I found a Corvette listed for $700 but I would need a flatbed to tow it home. I also found a couple of V6 Chargers and Challengers with $100 or less prices. But again I would need a trailer, something to tow that trailer, and gas money for the tow vehicle. But now we are getting into the real pipe dreams, unless I can find something in a local auction with some kind of cash for seed money to buy the car. I might as well wish for working wings on my back. And yes that is the depression talking, but it is also realism talking. Which is another reason why I’m taking a break until I get my meds under control, you guys don’t need to be dealing with my depression any more than I do. Now that I have ways of not being depressed, I really want to not be depressed.

I’m starting to repeat myself and having to delete things, so this would be a good time to quit.

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I’m back at the keyboard

And I have been applying the data from scaling the picture to checking the fit against the actual body sitting in the living room. The engine will fit with both ends hanging out by about an inch from the bottom, or about 2″ on the left only if that’s the way it balances out, or whatever way it works out. Or, thinking again, there is enough room to fit the whole mess inside a stretched pickup bed . It will be wide enough but I will need to stretch it to fit the front-to-back. Then I can sit inside the actual bucket instead of a pod out in front of the body. It will still be center-steer, probably with my feet through the “firewall” of the original body.

The trick will be making sure the front tires don’t hit the body at full steering lock, and finding someplace to put the fuel tank or tanks. If I can get enough room I might be able to stuff the gas tank behind the driver like on the pod in front setup. The only difference is instead of 34″ width to the axle for the footbox I’ll use the 26″ firewall width for the footbox. Still a ton of room for my brogans or combat boots, or my usual walking shoes, and the steering shaft. The critical thing on the front is keeping the tires out of the bodywork at full lock, and turning the tires parallel to the axle gives me 34″ between the tires. So if I keep the firewall on the body far enough behind the axle then the tire will not hit the body at full steering lock, and there will be room inside the body behind the driver for the 32 gallon fuel tank.

I might have to cut the back of the bucket off to get the engine and fuel tank in the available wheelbase. A bucket has 100-102″ of wheelbase normally, they run from 87″ to 116″ historically for buckets made from old passenger car frames, my bucket will be 100″ even. As mentioned in an earlier post, with the 32 gallon tank all the pieces and I take up 97″ with no extra space between the bits for bulkheads, which means I can use the same 1.5″ round tubes for the bulkheads and crossmembers that I plan on using for the frame rails.

While I was letting the cat out for the night I tripped on where the cats had wrinkled up the hall runner in the dark, and I think I broke a toe. It hurts constantly, and gets really bad when I touch the side of the toe, like really intense. The toe is swelling up and I guess I will find out in the morning if I broke it if it’s all black and blue. This really sucks because I need to walk to the store to get a lottery ticket later and that will be difficult with a broken toe.

Update, it’s a few hours later and I definitely have injured the toe next to the big toe on my left foot. As in swollen, and black and blue, and very painful and sensitive to touch.

Happy Day to my fellow vets

Today is Veteran’s Day (observed), so I’m wishing a happy Veteran’s Day to all my green-blooded brothers out there (in joke).

It was cold last night but warmed up this morning enough that I wore my normal next-to-nothing today, which annoyed Mrs. the Poet as she was wearing long pants, t-shirt, and a sweatshirt over it with fuzzy socks on her feet and complaining about the cold. We have vastly different temperature tolerances all year long as I go out and walk or ride my bike in both the summer and winter in weather that has Mrs. the Poet staying indoors or kvetching about the heat/cold as appropriate for the season. I think it’s kinda funny, but that’s because I’m not the one complaining about the cold or heat. My nose does get cold when Mrs. the Poet is complaining about the cold while I’m in a pair of shorts and nothing else, and when I get cold enough to put a shirt on my ears are also getting a bit chilly while Mrs. the Poet is busy putting on everything in the closet and dresser. And I’m not as cold-tolerant as I used to be back when I wore shorts and t-shirt in freezing weather, scaring the rubes when I walked home from work. I saw people tossing liquor bottles out of car windows after seeing me walk home in shorts and T-shirt with heavy frost on the ground. This was back when I was in my 30s, long before I got hit with the truck. I can’t quite do that these days, one of the downsides of years of conditioning myself to be able to ride in ridiculously hot and humid weather.

I’m still stymied at trying to get something moving on the TGS2 build, beyond getting the spindles installed on the axle, which also hasn’t happened yet. I mean I don’t even actually have the donor vehicle in my hands yet, just a car cover for it when I get it so it doesn’t get towed for not having registration since it can’t pass inspection. Since the registration sticker is on the inside of the windshield if you park under a car cover they can’t check to see if your vehicle has current tags. I guess I should be doing something with the parts I have to work with just to be doing something that moves the car build forward, but it is very hard to become inspired for building when you will still have next to nothing to show for it when you get finished except a few more parts not in separate piles. I guess this is another symptom of my depression, the inability to inspire myself to do things. Writing I don’t consider “doing something”, it’s more of a way to avoid doing things. It’s much easier to write about doing something than to actually drag myself into a situation where things are getting done. Also I write when I’m depressed, the “the Poet” in my name came from writing free verse during depressive episodes. I even got some song lyrics down from some of my depressive episodes. Some were good, others were scary bad. Bad as song lyrics, but passable as free verse.

It’s dreary and rainy here

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More weird

I really don’t know how to possibly spin this, but my back hurts and I have another check mark on my frequent customer card for Charon’s ferry, and I have no idea if they are related because I have no idea how I got either one.

I now have 4 check marks on the back of my loyalty card, more than a third of the way there to my reward. I also have no memory of earning that latest check mark. When I went to bed there were only 3 marks on the card (I make it a habit to review the check marks on my card before I go to bed) and I woke this morning with a backache and another check mark on the card. And I also checked for surgical scars and it appears I still have both my kidneys, so that’s good and also not the source of my new check mark.

So now I have 4 marks, and only remember earning one. That’s not a good average, to be unable to remember 3 out of 4 times you died. Or maybe it is good, to not remember having died multiple times. I mean the time I can remember was pretty bad, what with the blood everywhere and going blind and passing out from the pain multiple times. That also may be why I can remember it, because the event left marks on my body. It might also mean the backache this morning was from sleeping in a bad position, not because I died during the night. The one may be entirely co-incidental to the other.

On more cheerful subjects, the TGS2 is not dead (kinda like me). The data I was able to extract from the process of scaling the picture has contributed to the design of the rear frame section. The frame is very simple, basically almost a straight shot from the front axle to the rear, the bottom rails particularly will be straight back 34″ apart all the way front to rear, 31″ inside width especially where my butt sits. The “short but wide” 32 gallon tank is 32″ wide and 14″ tall and 17″ front to back. The “narrow but tall” tank is 26″ wide and 18″ tall and front to back. So I have to make room for me, at 45″ from bottoms of my feet to the backrest of the seat, the steering linkage that sticks 6″ to the rear of the front axle centerline, the engine/transmission that is basically 25″ in front of the rear axle, and 32 gallons of fuel in 100″ of wheelbase or less. By my math I’m looking at 94″ of stuff between the axle centerlines before any crossmembers are installed between compartments to keep me out of the fuel tank and the fuel tank out of the engine. Using the same size tubing to make the crossmembers and the frame rails that makes the minimum wheelbase 97″, or 3″ of room to fudge the installation of the fuel tank and the driver’s controls. That 45″ measurement was with my legs straight out in front of me, so bending my knees could also change that distance a scoshi bit.

Making an abrupt change in subject, I managed to find the original track for “Autobahn” by Kraftwerk on YTM, the 22+ minute album side version. (For you younger people music used to come on vinyl discs with grooves that had the music recorded in analog format, and the longest playing format was the 33 1/3 RPM LP that held roughly 45 minutes of music maximum. The first release of “Autobahn” was as an entire 22:43 side of the LP.) This is my preferred version to get lost in. The ’70s were no place for ADHD until punk hit at the end of the decade… Another piece of music I like to get lost in was the long version of “Tubular Bells”, an excerpt of which was used as the theme for a scary movie you might have heard of, “The Exorcist”. Another piece from that era was Tull’s “Thick as a Brick”, that I first heard live in concert because none of the local radio stations would play it in its full 43 minute glory. My contemporaries used to call this “tripping music”, to be listened to while under the influence of psychoactive substances. I didn’t need those, I tripped just from the music.

Having difficulty doing a post ATM

Yesterday was a complete flop for pretty much everything as I tried to catch up from spending pretty much the entire day playing Shadowrun on Sunday, with a needy (and kneady) cat in my lap most of yesterday. I have decided today is Bean Day, so the crock pot is full of simmering vegetarian goodness, and I’m caught up on everything except posting to the blog.

Some time this week I need to wander by an auto parts store with my calipers and measure the oil filter for my engine so I can scale that picture of the engine, since it doesn’t look like I will have access to my donor vehicle any time soon. The current possessor of the minivan hasn’t shown much inclination towards delivery and until I can find an engine hoist somewhere I don’t have much I can do with it if I had it. But once I know the diameter of the oil filter (which doesn’t seem to be a common piece of data) I will be able to scale the picture I have of the engine and transmission.
I was going to use the valve cover reference, but the oil filter is probably the best.
That grey and silver thing to the right of the oil filter (the white thing on the front of the engine) is the forward engine mount and roughly on the CG of the engine/transmission combined. There’s another one behind the engine in this picture and they are supposed to carry most of the weight of the assembly. What I have to determine is how much of the accessory drive and transmission are going to stick out from the bottom of the body. That measurement will determine where I put the bucket body in relationship to the rear axle and engine.

I was also thinking about things like the engine cover and the driver compartment. These will change depending on where the bucket part of the body sits in relation to the engine if the wheelbase stays the same, and what I really want to do is keep the wheelbase as short as possible. Because of the physical size of the engine and the fuel tank and yr fthfl srvnt in the driver’s seat about the shortest I can make the wheelbase is 97-98″ without reducing the “ferry” range of the car. Since I plan on converting the engine to full-time E85 consumption and there is a lack of E85 west of TX to CA I have to either detune the engine for 91 octane premium gas or buy a really big gas tank to bridge the gaps between stations. The limitation here is once the compression ratio has been raised to use all of the antiknock of E85 the tune to run 91 premium is pretty gutless and uses more gas than if I could run E85.

And I have been researching the costs of reprogramming the factory computers to work in the TGS2 vs using a standalone controller that has to be programmed, and the costs are shifting back in favor of the standalone, but only just. Just about any tuner in town can program a MegaSquirt controller, and I can do the MegaShift transmission controller by myself with the free software, but the 22YO factory computer is fast becoming a specialist-only orphan that requires a cost premium for programming that exceeds the savings of using existing equipment. One thing I’m being told is the software to reprogram the OE controller is no longer available or that the version available will not run on current laptops. I’m more inclined to believe the latter statement is the actual truth, especially legacy code like you would expect for a 1996 ECM. I mean when the controller was built Win95 was replacing 3.2 and laptops were the equivalent of tens of thousands of today’s dollars and people using them had to have mobile computing. The laptop I’m doing this post on was $200 after tax as a point of comparison, and I’m using it because it’s faster than my old desktop. So, it’s extremely likely the software is for a version of Windows that is no longer supported by Microsoft.

More later.

Gotta go pick up refills on my meds

Yep, I’m outta happy pills, although in my case it should be “slightly less unhappy” pills. Because while they are effective they come with a buttload of side effects that work against their intended purpose. In my case engaging in sexual activity is highly beneficial in countering my depression, and one of the side effects is an inability to do that. And that inability is not gender-specific, it works equally well(?) against females as it does us guys. But without is worse than with even with the side effects, so whatcha gonna do? Be a lot depressed without or a little depressed and also unable to have sex with? I know my choice.

As always, getting back to the possible variations of the TGS2, I discovered there is no factory available manual transmission for the Pentastar V6. That means the only transmissions I have to choose from are the 845RE for a front engine bucket, or the 62TE for a mid engine bucket. A manual would require making a flywheel to mount a clutch and also drilling the crankshaft for a pilot bearing, then making a bellhousing to fit the bolt pattern on the back of the block that also fits the choice of transmission. While not impossible it does exceed my fabrication facilities.

Some good news on the TGS2 front I found a picture I can use for designing the rear frame if I can find the length of the valve cover as it is a straight-on front view with the mounts visible.
See, I can scale this with knowing the length of the valve cover and know if I need to build a funky cover for the transmission.

Or I can just find the size of the oil filter and scale from that, or use both and get really close to reality.

Playing the lottery helps my depression

Buying a lottery ticket buys something I can’t get anyplace else, it buys me hope. When I have that ticket there is the chance, infinitesimal though it may be, that I will get enough money to live comfortably and pass down to my kids some of that comfort. No ticket means zero chance, a ticket means a small but non-zero chance of winning, and that makes all the difference in my outlook on life. I mean look at my life, it’s all a series of wild coincidences one after another and several non-survivable scenarios that were million to one odds or worse. If anyone should win the lottery it should be me. Plus I usually play the Texas Lottery which has far better odds of winning than any of the national games. Still astronomical, but in a lower orbit than the national games.

Mrs. the Poet has already agreed to split the payouts in thirds, one third each and the other third for the household expenses. If anything needs to be spent on the house for personal use, like wiring the garage for 220V for power tools, that comes out of personal budgets. What would this do for the TGS2? Well I think instead of the minivan I would use the flood-damaged Corvette from Houston scenario as the donor vehicle because I still wouldn’t have an unlimited budget. Close enough to unlimited for a bucket, though.

And my hand is still messed up and making typing hard, so this is the end of this post

Still trying to make the car better

Yep, until I can scrape up the $$ for tools and materials I’m iterating the design. Iteration is basically a fancy word for “trial and error”. I make a design in the CAD program and then animate it to see where it doesn’t work, then make changes and test again.

The front end is pretty much designed and all the stuff I have been doing has been pretty much wasting time on the 2.1’s IFS that I’m not going to build because I already have the straight tube axle and most of the bits to bolt it in. I’m just doing the IFS because I’m stalled with zero $$ available for building.

Another place I’m stalled is the back of the car. I need the actual engine and transmission from the donor car sitting over in Dallas to measure against before I can even start to do the back half of the car. Right now I have only the mounting points for the rear suspension known, and not even all of those. Some of the rear suspension mounting points depend on knowing where the upper frame rail is going to be, and that depends on where the transmission mount and the passenger side engine mount are. And I can’t do that until I get the engine hoist (AKA “cherry picker”) to get said engine and transmission out of the donor vehicle. And also getting the donor vehicle over here to strip the usable parts from. I can find pictures of the 3.3/3.8 V6 with the 41TE but there is nothing to scale off of to get the mounting points for the actual mounts. It’s very frustrating.

Everything I try to do is blocked by lack, lack of parts, lack of information, but mostly by lack of money. In fact if I had the money the car would be built already because the other problems only exist because I’m trying to work around a lack of money. This whole thing revolves around my lack of money. The old saying is wrong, money is not the root of all evil, the lack of money is the root of all evil. Well maybe not all evil, they’re still trying to figure out why the LV shooter (I refuse to refer to him by name) shot roughly 600 people, and he was a multi-millionaire. He had no lack of money, and AFAIK all those murders did nothing for his bottom line.

Well I need to cut this one short because tomorrow is bean day and I have a welding job to do.