Tag Archives: unkillable badass

How do I make this interesting?

I’m trying not to sound like a whiney, self-absorbed blogger here. But every try so far at describing this problem comes out exactly like that. Well it’s a real problem, just not a real big problem.

It appears I am losing another source of spending money. The mobile game I play has cut way back on points payouts. The costs in points to redeem for items has not gone down at all. I’m still clearing enough to collect my weekly $1 certificate, but I’m not clearing enough to buy anything else. I’m beginning to feel a bit like a teen on an allowance I have to earn that is shrinking in buying power. It’s the early ’70s all over again, only instead of massive inflation in the things I buy it’s reduced payout. Same effect, just a different way to get there. The net effect is I’m losing about $50 a year in income or basically about half what I was making from the game. By this time of year I would have already bought several $5 certificates and so far I haven’t had the points to buy even one yet.

And nobody seems to be using the PayPal button on the sidebar to send money directly. Raw stock metal doesn’t buy itself, if you want better content I need to be able to build something rather than just talk about building something. Or just buy the metal online and have it delivered to Casa de El Poeta, address on request. Speedway Motors also has my addy if you want to get something through them. I think other people can look at my Build List to find the parts. Nope, just checked with Speedway and the only people who can see my build list(s) are me and them.

Seriously, I need some help here. Money, parts, raw stock, it all helps.

Opus the Unkillable

Still thinking

One of the things that has been gnawing on me a little is I missed another Ride of Silence this year. For those new to my blog since I dropped the bike wrecks click on the tag RoS or Ride of Silence to see previous posts about it. I started missing the RoS when the tumor on my neck got so big that I couldn’t ride any bikes. But after Chris Christie was removed from my neck I got to the point I could ride bikes with a very upright riding position or recumbents, but not very far. Well now I can’t ride anything except a bus or car because Arthur Dent is causing troubles. I have a pain that starts in the middle of the dent and radiates to the end of the trapezius in one direction and up the back of my neck in the other, and makes my deltoid and rotator cuff tingle like they are trying to go to sleep. It’s very annoying but not much of an impediment except to bike riding at the moment, but it feels like it is trying to get worse.

I’m stalled on the Mid-Bucket (aka the Thunderbolt Grease Slapper 2) ATM because I lack cash for parts or raw stock. I still haven’t replaced my ID since the last time I lost my wallet, because I needed my ATM card to get the cash to pay for it. ATM card should finally get here this week and I will renew my ID early so I can go to Nashville and see the eclipse this August. When I get stalled on one project my mind starts on a new project immediately, in this case a lighter weight version of the Sprint-T with the Pentastar V6. Basically it is just the same as the V8 version with lighter components because of less weight and lower power. Remember the vicious circle of too heavy so other parts have to be stronger and heavier making the car heavier so other things need to be stronger…? Well this is the benign circle of less weight allowing for less heavy supporting and connecting parts. And the weight came to under 1400 pounds with the balance almost 50-50 I can use all the same size wheels and tires on each corner. If I could have gotten one of those free things would have been a lot easier.

Pole Day for the Indy 500 is on the idiot box so this is time to wrap this up. Congrats to Kyle Busch on winning the All-Star race last night in a masterful performance. Condolences to Sebastien Bourdais on that wreck at Indy yesterday and wishes for a quick recovery.

Opus the Unkillable

It happened again!

I was thinking while walking again, and I wondered if a single 3″ OD 0.120 wall tube weighed more or less than the complex truss of half-inch tubing I designed for the de Dion suspension that still needed more work to actually support putting a spring on it. So when I got home I looked up my truss calculations and found I was putting just shy of 15 pounds of tubes in the version that just kept the rear wheels pointed in the right direction.

Then I ran a quick bending load calculation on the 3″ tube and it won’t need any extra support aside from the gusseting action of the spring mount (I mount coilovers in double shear mounts and tie them with bulkheads). Then I looked up how much it would weigh…18 pounds for just the bare tube, 20 with the brackets to make the upright adjustable.

Five pounds, I spent hours with a calculator, and paper and pencil for a design that saved 5 pounds and still needed more work to get right. Five freaking pounds, at minimum wage those pounds cost me about $20 each, maybe more. Probably more. A classic case of over-design. Now granted it would take a huge shunt to make a rear wheel point in the wrong direction and there is a good chance the tire would get knocked off the rim or the rim bend or break first, but the fact remains I couldn’t mount a spring anywhere except the upright or trailing arm without redesigning the truss, and adding weight, when I discovered that there was no way to balance the handling without moving the rear springs inboard. Now the fun part is moving the spring mounts on the frame inboard to prevent frame flex.

There are a couple of ways I can move those mounts in to get the springs off the ends of the axle. One is just change the mounting point to the crossmember and make that a truss to handle the bending load. Or I could continue to mount the springs to the heavily triangulated intersection of the upper frame rail, lower frame rail, center top hoop of the roll cage to upper frame rail brace, crossmember, lower crossmember to watt’s link center mount brace and taillight mount (that’s the intersection of 5 tubes in 3 different planes triangulating the mount to kingdom come) and move that complex intersection inboard a few inches as needed. Right now that intersection exists only on paper, not in steel, so moving it is just a matter of changing a drawing. This would also have an effect on the engine mounts as the tubes they mount on get moved inboard an as yet to be determined amount.

Now I’m going to open up a beer and eventually go to bed.

Opus the Unkillable

Design is getting down to brass tacks

That is a very archaic turn of phrase in the headline, it means discussing the ornamentation on a custom saddle and dates from at least as far back as the 17th century. Today it means getting to the fine details of a deal or design. As of this point the front end is approaching brass tack territory.

I went back to earlier drawings of the front end and found a couple that placed the crossmember above the front axle, but not as high as the one I discussed yesterday. So I went back to that and moved it higher, and also added the radiator mounts and body supports in front and hung the rack off the backside. I dropped the MD3 nose from the design in favor of making less drag and downforce with a nose made from the same HDPE panels the rest of the body is going to be made from. The right side of the rack might protrude from the body at full left lock but I don’t care at this point. That is a minor aesthetic point that is overridden by making the damned thing work right. There is nothing for it to interfere with on that side.

At this point I have started thinking about the cockpit design, specifically protecting the instrument cluster from the environment while parked outside, and making the cockpit tolerable at highway speed. Putting a roof on took care of most of protecting the instruments from condensation, rain, and bird poop. Further enclosing the environment with some kind of side windows will do a better job of preventing condensation and blown rain from getting to the instruments. I don’t know if that would be enough to allow driving in the rain, but it will probably do a lot for making the interior livable at highway speeds by reducing cockpit wind and turbulence. The original cockpit had no windshield or side windows with the driver wearing a helmet with a face shield all the time, even on the street. That was back when the car had a V8 in the front and the driver sitting on the left side of the cockpit. Now I’m even thinking about heat and AC 😇. There are races in FL during the winter that might be fun to run in, which means driving in winter, which means a heater. Driving in the rain means a fogged windshield which means a defogger which means AC of some kind.

I even looked up what sender to use on the gas tank so the gas gauge works right (10-90 ohm). Really this started when I discovered the entire instrument cluster came out as a unit. And that the engine and transmission controllers expected to find the instrument cluster before they would let the car run. Since I need a tach and speedometer and the computers know how to use the ones in the cluster and everything will need to be “unconfused” L8r, why not use the OE cluster? It saves having to buy those instruments later and figuring out how to make everything work together which is even a bigger hassle than telling the computer it isn’t in a minivan any more.

And now it is about time for my walk, so more thinking about random things.

Opus the Unkillable

I have Moose Trax on my shirt

Just opened a container of ice cream and within a few spoonsful I managed to drip it on my shirt. What, you think I would let a moose walk on me? Where would I find one? Anyway, the ice cream was very chocolate I mean good.

I’m still refining the design for the Mid-Bucket. Now that I have decided to use the rack out of the minivan I need a place to mount it where it won’t interfere with the suspension but still line up with the steering wheel, and if the mount could do a couple more things like hold the radiator, hold the shocks and springs, and keep the body panels straight… that would be one busy steering rack bracket. Well mission accomplished. The crossmember that holds the steering rack will be integrated into the spring mount and body mounts, for a more rigid structure and better handling. And less weight.

The crossmember sits in front of the front axle leaving enough room for the axle to move up and down with the steering rack suspended above the axle and the drag link going between the axle and the tie rod. A nice compact arrangement, that gets as much of the moving parts of the suspension away from things like gas tanks and body panels and leaves as much room as possible. The radiator mounts to the front of the crossmember and the cooling fans behind the radiator will be protected by the crossmember from the axle. The bellypan will go all the way forward to a splitter, with air going above the splitter ducted to the radiator and what goes below to the rear diffuser to make rear downforce. The splitter will be as wide as the wheel angle at full lock will clear with the side strakes from the splitter blending into the running boards and rear fenders for more downforce over the whole car. This will also clean up the airflow down the sides of the body and give highway gas mileage a tiny boost.

I think I mentioned how finding a 16 X 12 wheel in a 5 X 4.5″ bolt circle was driving me slightly crazy? I’m giving up on maximum grip in favor of sanity. The one (1) wheel I have found in that size and bolt circle is a heavy steel wheel meant for modern-day lead sleds. That leaves me with the 15 X 4 front and 15 X 10 rear option with a rear anti-roll bar for balance between the skinny front and massively wide rears.

And other things are calling me away from the keyboard, so it’s time for Nighty-Knight the dream warrior to take the stage. And if you get that reference you are really weird, and you should give yourself a pat on the back.

Opus the Unkillable

Dangit, that won’t work!

Remember when I was writing about lightening the power steering rack and pinion out of the minivan to take more weight out of the car? Well it turns out if I do that I won’t have power steering any more. Allow me to present a couple of images I found when trying to find dimensions of the rack.

The power servo is part of the rack instead of on the input shaft like on a PS box.

And this one off an actual 1996 Chrysler minivan.

Not much room to be cutting stuff off on that one!

So, minor change of plans. Since the hydraulic servo is part of the rack and there isn’t enough room to remove anything without destroying the servo, I’ll just be removing whatever still sticks out of the right side of the rack at full right lock (rack all the way to the left, turning the wheels to the right) and then sealing the end of the rack like before. The drag link will go on the left side of the rack so the axle will have less side-to-side motion as it travels. I mean sure I could run the drag link off the right side but that would require a very short drag link, which in turn would require a very short panhard rod to prevent bump steer from the steering. But this would then cause another form of bump steer as the short panhard rod moved the axle side to side on the 4 bar links. There are just so many sources of bump steer that the best you can do is eliminate the worst and minimize the rest of them as best you can. And in this case the biggest can be eliminated by making the panhard rod the same length and angle to the axle as the drag link, with most of the rest minimized by making the panhard rod (and thereby the drag link) as long as possible and as close to level as possible. And yes after considering the clearances involved the drag link is going top of the stack on the steering arm. That way I don’t need to worry about the tie-rod hitting anything like the gas tank or the steering rack.

And that cerveza? Bien. Even without the lime.

Opus the Unkillable

Reduce, reuse, recycle… your food

I’m dead sure the more squeamish among you just had shudders of nausea at the thought of applying any of the 3 “R”s to food, but I have discovered a way of getting healthy salty snacks cheap. There is a method to my madness.

A pickle jar. But those aren't Polish spears.

You might notice that this jar of “Polish dill Spears” looks a little too orange for Polish dills. That’s because I reused the pickle juice to make more “pickles” by draining a can of sliced carrots and dumping the drained slices into the jar.

Look at those tangy, healthy goodies!

I have been eating these for a few days now after leaving them to marinate for a week. Now instead of having pretzels or tortilla chips when I crave a salty snack I stab a few slices of pickled carrots. Salty cravings satisfied, healthy snack eaten and money saved, all in one operation.

I used a can of carrots from the pantry that had been sitting around “for an emergency” about a year. I think they cost from $0.50 to $0.60, anyway cheap. The pickle spears had likewise been around a while before I finished them off and put the jar pack in the fridge to save the pickle juice. Mrs. the Poet and I had been discussing low calorie options for my salty snacks to alleviate leg cramps. Mrs. the Poet is a good cook but she tends to under-salt the food. I prefer this to over-salting, but it does cause me to sometimes need to eat something very salty to keep from getting cramps. The “recipe” is super simple. The lazy way is to buy a big jar of pickles and save the juice after you finish eating them, then drain and dump a small can of sliced carrots and allow to sit. The slightly more ambitious way is to buy a big jar of pickles and drain them into a separate container that contains the can of drained sliced carrots. I’m doing the lazy way first because that’s the way it worked out. I had the jar of pickles I finished and so on.

But are they any good? Well I think the quality of the pickled carrots is highly dependant on the quality of the pickle juice, and Vlasic is pretty good stuff. The texture of the carrots is basically what came out of the can, so you might want to try different brands of carrots to see which one works better. I think that all in all we can count this experiment a success that should be expanded upon.

Now if you will excuse me there is una cerveza with my name on it. Really the guy at this party knows I will probably be late so he put my name on one of the bottles so I will at least get one beer.

Opus the Unkillable

May the Fourth be with you! Happy Star Wars Day

And a belated happy Beltain as well. There is a bawdy couplet that is both inappropriate and inaccurate for TX to mark Beltain: “Hurrah, hurrah the First of May! Outdoor (fornication) begins today!” There’s a different word that goes inside the parentheses, as even married couples can take part in this activity. And we’ve been doing it outdoors (or could if we wanted to) since the middle of February around here. Twenty-first century TX is much warmer this time of year than England in the Dark Ages. But once it got warmed up outdoor sexual activity was much easier to hide what with it being dark all the time. [ba-dum tssshh]

Also with today being Star Wars Day, that makes tomorrow national Get Drunk on Mexican Beer And Mangle Spanish Day, AKA Cinco de Mayo. I suppose we could add Insult the French Military to that as what is being celebrated was the defeat of the French by the Mexican Army. Thus beginning the poor reputation of the French in the US.

And I have a bunch of things I need to take care of, so I’ll see you later.

Opus the Unkillable

It’s hard to tell sometimes where inspiration will strike

This is an extreme example of bigs and littles, but I think I’m going to steal the name anyway.
Thunderbolt Grease Slapper, note the difference in size between the front and rear tires.

There are some major differences, first and foremost being that my car is real and not a pen-and-ink animation from the 1960s. Another major difference is the OG TGS was front-engine and mine is mid-engine. Then there was the matter of kind of racing. Tom’s day he raced the TGS in everything from drag races to rallies to balloon races (yes really, with oars no less). You can do that when your car only exists as a series of drawings and xerox copies. Mine is a bit more specialized for a single competition as an autocrosser/Solo Racer (same racing just different tire rules). I mean besides actually existing IRL, I’ll have to change wheels, tires, shocks, and springs and maybe an anti-roll bar to go from one competition to the other. This is actually much less involved than it sounds because I’m designing for making the change as easy as possible.

But the official name of the Mid-Bucket as put on the entry forms is Thunderbolt Grease Slapper 2. Or maybe 2000? Nope just 2, not even going to get fancy with II.

All of this is because I spent hours trying to find 16 X 12 rear wheels for the 5 X 4½ bolt circle on my car. I decided to look at pictures of cars to relax a bit while still staying on-point, and Tom Slick came up somehow. The images brought back pleasant memories from childhood, which I’m now going to destroy with new memories from adulthood… 😈

I have to go take my walk now and think some more.

Opus the Unkillable

I give up

I couldn’t do it. There was no way to get the oversteer out of the Mid-Bucket without going to bigs and not-so-bigs. The extreme rear weight bias just was too much for all my tricks and tweaks. I can’t fight physics and no matter what I did I still ended up with oversteer at the limit. Sometimes it was only hang the tail out and go slow oversteer, but most of the time it was understeer up to a point, balanced and then snapping loose and driving backwards off the road.

Now running racing slicks is no problem, bigs and littles is a common setup for mid-engine race cars. Lots of choices that would be balanced at the limit. Just-driving-around tires I also have solved as this is a common setup for hot rods. No, where this is a problem is street tire autocrossing, the thing I’m building this car for. Naturally.

If I stay with 15″ rims I’m pretty much boned as the 245/40 size is pretty much the widest tire I can get in ≥200 UTQG wear rating. I can use that in the rear and run a 195/50 front and get balance but not ultimate grip. My competition will be running 335 wide in the front, and even wider in the back. Granted I’m driving <1600 pounds and they're almost twice that, but still I'm going to be down on grip overall compared to the competition.

The next size up in rims with performance tires is 17", which gives me a whole lot more choice in sizes. The downside is I lose the automatic lowering for racing because the 17" rim increases the diameter of the tire by 2", it's just physics. For the same width and profile the 17" rim is always going to be 2" taller than a 15" rim. I'm still going to be a tiny bit shorter than my street tires on 15" rims, but not by much. And the thought comes to mind that if I'm going to have to use tall tires to race on why do I need to get just driving around tires? I'm not going to be driving a traditional Bucket so why run traditional street wheel and tire sizes? The treadwear requirements for the street tire autocross make the tires usable for daily driving, so why not drive them on the street?

And I'm starting to repeat myself while I type (I deleted 2 whole paragraphs) so this is a good time to quit.

Billed @€0.02, Opus the Unkillable