Tag Archives: thinking out loud again

Take cover again, I’m still thinking

Well it’s not as dangerous as some other times I was thinking, but ideas hazardous to the status quo might be promulgated. I’m still thinking about the Sprint-T, since about 52 years of cogitation hasn’t been enough to make it a reality. But I also think about other things than the Sprint-T, like getting Mrs. the Poet to come to bed with fewer clothes, making safer infrastructure for everyone, not just for cyclists, and making police less likely to kill unarmed people who are not criminals but just happen to be near where crimes happen.

The problem with that last one is some LEO think everyone in an area is a criminal because there are a lot of crimes there, when in truth only a few people are committing the crimes and most of the population is either uninvolved or a victim. And yes there are documented instances of crime victims assaulted and killed by the LEO summoned to take the report of the crime. That happens and police wonder why they can’t get cooperation from witnesses. Also there is the problem with racist cops who think every person of a certain shade or darker is a criminal just by existing. Cyclists sometimes get this treatment, because we are not in cars when we are on the street, but nowhere near as bad as POC get it around racist cops.

This problem actually has a solution, a simple one to implement in theory, but very hard to do in reality. Test every cop for racism and fire the ones who test positive. Like I said, hard to do in reality, unless we start at the top and work our way down to incoming recruits, because unless racists in the chain of command and the ones who decide on promotions are gone the bad apples who remain are going to once again ruin the whole barrel. So we have to get out the ones who ruin the whole bunch, then replace them with non-racists. And as we have seen, the racists are unlikely to go without a fight. The only way is to treat racism as a communicable disease, which in some ways it is.

Like cancer, the only way to stop this disease is to remove all traces of it from the body, which again brings us back to testing every officer and removing the ones who are racist or potentially racist. That one is going to be the sticking point, “Well, you aren’t displaying signs of overt racism, but you are showing signs of incipient racism.” In a way this is like those Sci-Fi movies where people are arrested for being capable of a particular crime, or thinking about a crime. This is a very slippery slope, so maybe put the ones who show signs of potential racism on some kind of permanent probation, or just put everybody on the same footing, a zero tolerance against racism policy. That would be the best thing, get rid of the overt racists immediately, then everyone else is on a one-strike racism policy.

OK, let’s spell it out and see where it takes us.
1. Test everyone from the commissioner on down for racism and fire everyone who tests positive for racism. All the overt racists are fired immediately, no recourse.
2. Everyone else is on a one strike probation, any displays of racist mentality and you’re on the street permanently barred from LEO in every jurisdiction.
3. This extends to all public interactions including social media. Belonging to racist Facebook groups, logging on to racist web sites, or making racist statements on Twitter will be enough to get fired and banned, unless such activity is needed to find people involved in crimes that might involve racism. I can see how some criminals might try to use this to plan crimes on platforms where LEO would otherwise be banned. This could be done by using people who are not allowed to otherwise interact with the public as LEO.

Yes, I have been thinking about this a lot.

Take cover, I’m thinking again

I’m thinking about the Sprint-T again, except I’m “thinking” with a bunch of catalogs and web pages open at various rear axle kits. I’m comparing prices and features for the Ford 9″ kits compared to the two quick change options. Now if budget was not a concern, like if I won the lottery, then my choice would be the 8″ ring gear quick change with the magnesium centersection polished in clear powdercoat, with magnesium bells and aluminum tubes, and the aluminum locker differential. This is the best balance of weight and performance. There are other options that are lighter, but at a cost to performance. There are options that have a slight potential for better performance, but at a major weight penalty.

And then there are the less expensive (can’t really call them “cheap”) options in the Ford 9″ housings. The main thing against these is because they are made from steel they weigh more, in some cases a lot more. But they are way less expensive, $1K±, compared to the $4K± of the “no budget” option in the first paragraph. This is a hybrid option, a race housing, hubs, and brakes with a “performance street” centersection, ring gear, and differential. Now for both of these the aluminum spool is lighter and cheaper than the differential, which means if I’m not seriously considering it there has to be a performance cost. Yes there is a loss in performance in the intended use with a spool, locking the rear wheels together makes the car understeer in tight turns that are part and parcel of autocross. And understeer is SLOW in autocross.

Now how much performance difference is there between the $4K rear axle, and the $1K rear axle? Maybe a few hundredths of a second, maybe nothing, depending on how smooth the track is. The rougher the track surface is, the better the $4K axle compares to the $1K one. And of course there’s the difference between a polished quickchange and a painted fabricated housing, the polished quickchange wins every time. But this isn’t a show car, it has a mission. Looks are important, but looks that don’t improve performance are expensive nonsense.

(Aside about that last word, it took forever to come up with “nonsense” because for some reason my brain wouldn’t go there, I got “ostentatious”, and “frippery”, but not “nonsense” until I started browsing thesauri online. I even knew the word started with the letter “n”, but going from “n” to “nonsense”… too far until I found the right thesaurus)

Anywho, there is another thing the $4K axle does is allow adjusting the final drive ratio from race to race and also for highway cruising between events. I mentioned this in a previous post, but it bears repeating that with the quick change I’m not stuck with a 4 or 5 speed overdrive automatic, I can get a 2 or 3 speed that might be lighter or cheaper. In other words if I spend an extra $3K± on the axle I can save a couple hundred on the transmission, or what’s really important, I can save maybe 150 pounds in the weight of the transmission. In actuality the weight savings are more like 60-70 pounds as Powerglides are about that much lighter than 4l60es unless I really need the 4l80e in which case then we are looking at over 100 pounds weight savings. Now 100 pounds less weight is a big chunk out of a car that will weigh less than a ton with driver and race fuel load. If I got my sums right, we are talking about under 1800 pounds on the starting line with driver and race fuel load using an aluminum block engine and PG transmission.

Also the $4K axle is maybe 20 pounds of unsprung weight lighter than the $1K axle. Now 20 pounds in a car that weighs less than a ton is not insignificant, but 20 pounds unsprung weight? That’s a bunch, particularly in a car that has as bad a sprung/unsprung ratio as the Sprint-T. And one of the things that has a major effect on handling on rough pavement is having a high sprung/unsprung ratio, unsprung weight is bad for keeping tires firmly in contact with the ground.

Bear with me while I think out loud

Yep, thinking again, take cover. Basically still planning the Sprint-T even though without winning the lottery or something miraculous happening to the trust fund I will never have the budget to complete it, not that I have really gotten started with it. But since I can’t shut my brain off (well I can, but the drugs I need cost a fortune and require a team of doctors approval for the prescriptions) I have to think about something and as I posted earlier, I’m not a genetically engineered mouse bent on taking over the world. So, I have a choice of various versions of the T-bucket, airplanes, hovercraft, sailboats, suitcase nukes, or sub-orbital spacecraft. I have the most parts for the T-bucket, and the parts on hand for the projects are basically as they are listed in order from airplanes to sub-orbital spacecraft and suitcase nukes. I have one part for the nuke, a bit of plumbing that was used in a completely different project and just happens to be suited for building a suitcase nuke, and pretty much nothing for the sub-orbital spacecraft. The project I have the most parts for is the Sprint-T.

Something I have been thinking hard about is the footbox area at the front of the body, and how there basically isn’t any area to speak of. The firewall is 27″ wide outside to outside right behind the little step in the cowl where the hood met the body on the original Model T, but 26″ on the inside because of how much material there is in that corner. Seriously, there is way over ¼” of fiberglass and resin partially because of the shape of the mold there and partially because it is a high stress area of the body that in the kit located a bunch of different things that really needed to not move at any time in relation to other bits of the car. So tight space up front with several assemblies fighting for a place to live, like the brakes, the clutch pedal and master cylinder if I use a manual transmission, steering column, gas pedal, and the real real-estate hog the bellhousing. Now if I went with the smooth cowl I mentioned a long time ago when I discussed stick-aided-design I would free up a few more inches in width, basically about 7″ at the widest spot in the new firewall. The inexpensive but quality brake and clutch pedal assembly is 8.5″ wide at the mounting points and only about 5.5″ wide down at the pedals but the clutch pedal is only about ¼” to ½” in from the outside edge of the mount. So again there is not much room to work with between the inside of the cowl and the edge of the clutch pedal even with the cowl pushed out for a smooth curve and no cowl pinch.

Now with the original cowl design the steering column would have to go under the right brake master cylinder and as close to the brake pedal as possible to leave room between the steering column and the bellhousing for a gas pedal. That’s because there is just not that much room for things on the firewall, the bellhousing taking up so much space inside the car and the 26″ inside width. The SBC and LS bellhousings are about 19″ wide leaving only 5″ total for feet and controls, and since the triple pedal assembly is 8.5″ wide at the mounts, there is just no space to put three pedals and have the bolts for the bracket not hang off in empty space. There is barely room for the bracket with the widened “smooth” cowl, and moving the engine to the right for balance.

Negotiations have been made

Mrs. the Poet and I have negotiated a peace for our time. She has agreed to a date for the trip to the upscale burger place so I can get my free burger and I can buy dinner and we can sit down together and share a meal out. The problem is Mrs. the Poet has a back problem that causes her to drag her foot and finds the 0.4 mi. walk to the bus stop uncomfortable at best, with varying levels of pain when it’s not the best, and I have funds that I have earned from various gigs that I wish to spend on her, taking her out to dinner. The compromise is sometimes she has to go out and do financial things in person at the bank, and when she has to walk the 0.4 mi. anyway she might as well go out with me. I know that doesn’t sound like much for some people, but I count it as a win.

Yesterday we had a RPG session/dinner. I have noticed a tendency for my fellow party members to insist I do the tank thing because “the Old Man can’t be killed” which is “not factually correct”. My character can be killed and has been killed once in session, and three times in back story, and getting killed is “not pleasant” for me/him. I mean seriously, if my character wasn’t already insane but functional, getting killed over and over would push him over the limit. Of course the game setting we are in human or other sentient life has minimal value to the society, so they are just playing the way the setting dictates. The dinner part was the guy who hosted the game had attended a catered soiree and got to take the leftovers home, then they had dinner, and we got to have dinner from the leftovers of his leftovers, and were sent home with the leftovers from our dinner. That’s a lot of leftover.

Something else that has been “fun” has been the paperwork for signing Mrs. the Poet up for Medicare, which she has to do this year or else face a financial penalty. They can’t call it a “fine” because fines are either a criminal or civil punishment for breaking a law and require a court judgement, and this just gets assessed without going to court. Of course almost none of the docs we have been reading are in English, American or otherwise, but are in that opaque dialect most of us call “legalese” which is close to actual English, but some of the words don’t mean the same. In fact some words in legalese are the exact opposite of the same spelling in English, being the meaning they had 200 or 300 years ago when legalese was declared the official language of laws. Anywho, wading through the paperwork has been so much of an exercise we could count it as an anaerobic workout.

And one of the things about building a car from nothing is there are so many sub-systems that require planning that they are separate projects in and of themselves, like the fuel system. I have been looking at the fuel pumps and fuel fillers for the 16 gallon fuel cell blanks Speedway Motors sells, specifically the one that has a long dimension of 25″. I have been thinking of putting that behind the rear axle on the left side to clear the center section and QC gears that will be offset to the right to line up with the engine that is offset to balance the driver on the left for racing. Street driving is not as critical about left to right balance compared to racing, because street driving almost never gets to lateral accelerations or transitions where that degree of control is important. So I can put the heavy gas tank on the same side of the car as the driver for the street as long as I drain the gas out before going racing and switching to a tiny tank that has just enough capacity for one or two runs that doesn’t change the balance of the car as the run progresses. And I could use another blank cell as the trailer storage tank for holding the gas while I’m racing or driving ridiculous distances between gas stations. I think 32 gallons total should be enough to cover the distance between gas stations no matter how far apart they are in the real world. Seriously, the 16 gallon US tank will be enough capacity to get me anywhere east of the Mississippi River without fear of running out of gas, and doubling that will take care of west of the Mississippi without range anxiety. Also I have been looking at a Holley part that bolts to a fuel cell in place of the plate that holds the filler cap and functions as a filler and also holds the pumps and the connections to external plumbing to feed the engine, but there is a snag with using it for the way I want to orient the blank fuel cell in the Sprint-T. The standard assembly from Holley only works up to a 12″ deep tank, and as I want to use it the tank will be 17″ deep. Normally this tank is 25″ wide by 17″ long by 9″ deep, but I want to rotate it to make the 9″ dimension the length and the 17″ dimension the depth. In reality it would be less expensive to use separate components for the filler plate, pumps, and pickup, and do the same thing performance wise as the Holley assembly, but it would be less tidy, especially since I will have two tanks to feed from. Using just one external pump with switched pickups between the two tanks will be cheaper and less complicated. There is a 3/8” hole in the center of one face of the 25″ by 17″ dimension that was formed by the manufacturing process used to mold the cell. This would be the perfect place to route the line from the pickup to the pump as for street use it wouldn’t be that much of a restriction to have two right angle fittings on either side of a bulkhead fitting. Inside would run to the pickup, outside to the switching valve between the two tanks and the fuel pump. Installing the filler plate would be the same as installing the Holley assembly except without the falderal of making sure the pickup on the fuel pump(s) reach the bottom of the tank.

Now on the trailer tank the 3/8” fitting will probably be used as a drain to transfer the gas back to the car after the race day is over. And the pump doesn’t have to be the same high-pressure/high flow pump used to keep the fuel injection fed on the car, it just has to move gas at a reasonable rate at no pressure in particular from the trailer to the car through a filter. Gotta use a filter transferring from one tank to the other, the transfer from the car to the trailer likewise has to go through the fuel filter so the gas going to the trailer is free from dirt so the filter going from the trailer to the car doesn’t have as much work to do. If I could put a filter on the filler I would do that, too. Dirty gas is very bad for injectors.

And now I need to read my e-mail before the battery dies.

No NASCAR race, and trying to rain here

No race to watch on the flat screen, and the weather is threatening so I can’t go for a walk. That means I have to post something here or go crazy. Going crazy is no fun, and I think you have figured out by now what choice I made.

On really good thing about the Pentastar for the Sprint-T is its extremely short length. There’s 43″ between the firewall and the centerline of the front axle on the Sprint-T and allowing for movement the steering linkage is 7″ behind that so 36″ from the firewall to the effective limit on the space. There’s a 3.5″ thick radiator to leave room for and a 9″ long steering box with a steering shaft that has to snake around the radiator, that goes between the radiator and the axle. Measuring the space from the part where the Pitman arm bolts to the rearmost part of the box as installed on the car and adding the working length of the Pitman arm (7″) I get another 12.5″ between the steering linkage and the radiator leaving just 23.5″ unless I put the radiator over the steering box like they do on the Speedway T-Bucket kit. Putting the radiator in the space between the front of the box and the steering linkage solves a lot of steering issues at the cost of raising the CofG slightly, but the radiator is only 19″ tall and there is literally 27″ to put it in. Mounting the steering linkage below the axle leaves even more room for the radiator in front of the steering box because the radiator can go over the linkage and still leave room for the axle to travel up and down. At this point in the design the radiator is a box that is 26″ wide by 19″ tall and 3.5″ thick that can be moved back and forth and up and down until room has been found for everything else. Anyway, the engine is a 20″ box in front of the firewall that leaves 16″ for everything else. And here you are reading in real time my thought processes as I build the front end of the car.

Recentering my thoughts, there is 16″ between the steering linkage and the front of the engine, the problem is the steering box and the radiator are trying to be in the same bit behind the axle. I could put the radiator on the right and the steering box on the left and have room for both. The steering box is 4.5″ from the mounting face to the right side of the box, 5.2″ total width, and I have 34″ of width to play with behind the axle, 17″ on either side of center. That means I could stuff a 28″ radiator in the car and still not hang out past the frame rails/4-bar if I put the radiator next to the steering box. If I choose to slide the radiator between the steering box and the steering linkage then I have more room for radiator width, but only just, and the radiator outlet would have to be passenger side to prevent interference. The widest radiator I can get a passenger side outlet at the places I’m looking is 31″ which is the inside to inside width of the bottom frame rails when I build to a width of 34″, serendipitous isn’t it?

And it’s time to check e-mail and get ready for bed.