Tag Archives: this house ain’t built for cold weather

Ooops! I got that price way wrong

Earlier post I wrote that the Ford 9″ axle was $1100, well it turns out that was just for the lightweight centersection with positraction and the fabricated housing was another $850 or so. So, $1100 for the lightweight centersection, and $850 for the housing kit plus the floating caliper bracket kit for $400 and the 9″ from the catalog looks a lot like the price of the Quick Change from the catalog, particularly if I need to buy an $1100 centersection for each ratio I need instead of a $70 (Edit $39.99 or $49.99 depending on material) set of spur gears for the Quick Change. Time to change ratios is about the same for each one with the nod going to the Quick Change by a few minutes over the Ford 9″ because you have to drop the driveshaft and do a bunch more nuts when you change the centersection compared to removing the back cover and swapping spur gears.

One thing I need to look at is the cost of a set of Helical cut street spur gears instead of the normal straight cut spur gears used for racing. I know the straight cut gears are listed at under $70, but I can’t find a price on the helical cut gears that mesh like the gears on a standard transmission and are quiet to Very Quiet depending on the ratio of the gears. Some sets have a very quiet mesh-unmesh like the gears in a transmission, some are just Not As Noisy as straight cut spur gears of the same ratio, and some of the Very Quiet gears are not swappable top for bottom and have to be installed in a specific orientation. (Edit, I found the Helical Cut Gears for the Quick Change and they are $60/set, but the Very Quiet gears that have to be installed only one way are $130)

Something not hot rod building is the continued winter weather system settling its icy butt on our weather. As I compose this the temperature for Casa de El Poeta reported by Weather.com is +13°F drybulb and -4° index, both of which are way warmer than the +9°F drybulb and -14° index I saw right before bed. Also, we have snow and bright sun right now which is making the inside of the house very bright (and also very cold, as the heat pump doesn’t have much to work with in these temperatures). Now I’m going to retire to the living room which is much warmer than sitting next to the drafty window working at my desk.

What’s with this weather?

Two days ago it was 80°F for the high, this morning it was 24°F for the morning low. The cats can’t figure out what they want to do, one stays out all night and as much time on my lap as he can during the day, the other spends all night inside and most of the day outside. Both of them are crazy by human standards, and at least one by cat standards.

I need to find where the woodcutting saw went other than “in the garage somewhere” so I can finish making the bending jig for the Mini Sprint-T. And I have determined the Mini will have Tri-Y headers on one side and Sprint style Four-into-one headers on the other because it will be an engineering model and both options need to be shown for “reasons”.

Also I want to build another chassis with an extra rear hoop for a cover over the pickup bed to provide covered storage on the road, someplace to put my luggage than inside the cockpit or in the tire trailer with the gas storage tank. I don’t want my clean clothes and driving suit for racing to reek of E85 or 87 octane. Yes I’m still planning on running two tanks on the car and offloading the cheap transit gas and switching to a separate tank with the “good” gas at the track since I learned that E85 can give a power boost to the midrange and bottom end even if the engine runs fine on 87 octane. If the engine is set up to barely tolerate 87 as long as the gas pedal isn’t pressed too firmly then E85 can give a boost through the entire RPM range. Also I kinda need to figure out how to cover the pickup bed without creating a huge flat surface to catch the air driving down the road. I’m thinking making the roof contiguous from the top of the windshield to the rear of the cover would do it, but that would make getting in through the top of the roll cage tricky to impossible.

Something else I have been contemplating is quickly removable fenders for streamlining and spray control during transit, given how bad huge exposed tires are for both of those. Again the issue is enough coverage of the exposed frame to work as intended without keeping me from getting in and out of the car at gas stops. The plan is still climb through the roof using the diagonals on the sides of the cockpit as a ladder to get to and from the top of the cage, so those diagonals need to be usable as a ladder while also out of the airstream for the highway. I’m thinking lots of hook-and-loop fasteners for the roof and the parts of the body that need to be movable for getting in and out. But that’s for after I get the car running enough to see if I even need to use a body and fenders beyond the fiberglass bucket.

Going to miss the Fair this Year

Due to a combination of bad weather and finances we are going to miss the State Fair of Texas this year. It has been cold and rainy the past two days, to the point I’m actually wearing a shirt in the house, and all the AC units still working are now shut down. I even slept under a blanket for the first time in ages, April or May at least. The office temp has warmed up to about 64°F.

One of the reasons I go to the Fair is to look at the cars, both for ideas for the T-bucket, TGS2, or Sprint-T, and because we are also looking to change our car-free status some day. Mrs. the Poet is having more and more trouble getting around, so at some point we are either going to have to buy a car, or get a subscription to Lyft or Uber or something. The other reason we go to the Fair is to try the food. You know, some of that deep-fried badness that tastes so good and is so bad for your arteries. But Mrs. the Poet can’t walk so good and especially with the weather turning colder her mobility is even more restricted. So with the forecast calling for an 80% chance of rain, and temps in the low 60s or high 50s F it’s pretty much a no-go this year because getting to the food takes lots of walking. There is discount food on Senior Day, but to actually get a meal you have to go to several vendors, because the cheap drink is one place, the cheap dessert in another, and the award-winning main dish is all the way over on the other end of the food area that’s about a quarter-mile away, leading to miles of walking between the car show and the food chase. So, no Fair this year. And because of the rain we have been having there has been a lost of flooding, both from rising streams as well as flash floods because the soil is completely saturated and there’s no place for the water to go except into the streets and storm drains that are already backing up because of rising streams and rivers.

On other fronts, I’m doing beans and rice again tomorrow because I need to help the food budget and that’s about the cheapest big meal I can make. The ingredients cost about $3 including spices, and because I’m using a slow cooker I’m not using much electricity either. And I really like the end result after the 8-9 hour process. And I had better like it because the recipe I’m using now makes enough food for 2½ dinners, or 2 dinners and a side or light lunch. So if I don’t like what I fix I’m seriously out of luck. When Mrs. the Poet is out of town that goes double because that means 5 meals in total from that one batch of cookery. Now if I chose cheaper ingredients it would be even cheaper, because brown rice is expensive compared to white, and there are less expensive varieties of beans I could use, but it wouldn’t taste as good and as many meals as I get from one batch of beans I need it to taste as good as I can make it.

Getting back to the Sprint-T for a few words, the deal with the transmission on the EJ20 Subaru engine might be a few pounds heavier than other possible combinations, but the cost of the combination is less than the cost of a rebuilt T5 transmission alone for the RWD conversion of the Subaru, not to mention tons less work because I don’t have to make a new bellhousing that connects the Subaru engine to a Borg-Warner (now made by Tremec) transmission. The transmission is one of the few things on the Sprint-T that weight is less of a concern than cost or ease of installation, because it sits in the middle of the car front-to-rear and just has a negative effect on the power-to-weight ratio and doesn’t affect things like polar moment or balance.

It’s really cold here

It has warmed up to 59°F (15°C) in my office via trapped body heat, up from 54 (12) when I sat down at the computer. Outside was even worse at 29°F when I fired up the laptop, 23 now. For readers in lands where the metric system is in use, those are all minus temperatures where you might live. We are looking at possible single-digit temperatures in the early morning (-13°C). Needless to say, I’m not calm, cool and collected about the cat’s fortunes tonight.

Other fun things: the touch pad that acts as a mouse on my almost 5YO Chromebook doesn’t work except for the left click when I push on the pad until it clicks. I could really use a new laptop here at Casa de El Poeta. I done wore this one almost completely out. Dead keys, dead battery, now a dead mouse pad.

In other news I’m in better shape than Our Fearless Leader. Even taking into account the numbers released were fudged in his favor, I’m 30 pounds lighter than him. And I look a hell of a lot better than he does. Which I should, because I have died a lot more than he has. To my knowledge, I have died at least 2 times more than Trump. Not twice as much, two times more, there’s a big difference. And BTW the next time I die I’ll know how to use the viewer because I’ve used a touch screen and understand gestural interfaces now. It would have helped if someone had explained that instead of saying I should become one with the universe. Of course most of their customers have a lot longer to play with the interface than I had. I mean what’s 2 minutes compared to eternity? They look at the new guy getting frustrated and they say “Give him time, it’s not like he has anyplace else to go.”

And in spite of the best I could do with both cats adding their best body heat, the temperature has dropped to a finger-numbing 56°F, so I’m going back to bed where it’s nice and warm under the covers. BTW that means that both cats are inside out of the worst of the cold. Clint and Clyde are both comfortably warm tonight.