A few hours after I posted yesterday the Big Brown Truck deposited a box of hot rod parts outside my front door. The axle and some support bits were sorta inside as the box was rapidly disintegrating from the stress of trying to contain the axle. The driver and I did an inventory and the only things missing were the complementary stickers.
These parts get me just that much closer to completing the Mid-Bucket. The axle brackets are a big help because now I know what size radius rods to order for the 4-bar. One thing I did notice was there is a lot of extra hardware in the steering arm kit. There are enough conical washers for 4 rod ends when there are only 3 places to put rod ends on the axle and two of those will not require that much articulation to need conical washers. There are also flat washers and spacers that are equally unlikely to get installed simply for lack of room. Seriously I put enough conical washers for one rod end on the driver’s side spindle and the rest of the spacers and washers barely fit on the passenger side, and that’s without the rod ends installed. So obviously some of the extra hardware is for the Pittman arm on the steering box. Or as options for fitting the tie rod around the leaf springs the kit would normally use if I was doing it like it was intended by the manufacturer . But I didn’t buy the full kit, just the axle and steering arms and steering hardware, because I’m building something unique. Most of this stuff would have also gone on the Sprint-T had I been given a different engine and transmission 😀
Sorry I didn’t post an unboxing video but because the box was falling apart when it got here the driver and I had to do a quick inventory to make sure nothing I paid for escaped. Everything was accounted for but it precluded doing an unboxing video.
Billed @€0.02, Opus the Unkillable
Somehow the date 4/20 has become associated with marijuana culture. I happen to be old enough to know how this happened.
Back when high schools in California had ash trays in the desks for smokers (yes for reals) and HS got out at 4:15 (1615) they would meet at 4:20 to pass a joint around before catching the bus home. The code for this became 4-20 as in “4-20?” “Yeah dude, 4-20.”
So now we celebrate World Marijuana Day April 20th every year because some kids in CA wanted a toke to take the edge off after school got out.
PSA, it’s a freebie, Opus the Unkillable
I woke up yesterday to let the cats out of their room and it looked like a crime scene. Blood everywhere and of course my first instinct is to assume the cats got into a fight with each other and look for injuries. Neither cat has so much as a scratch visible… So I’m taking a closer look at the clumps of hair that’s mixed in with the blood and it’s much darker than either of the cats’, not that they have any missing in those amounts. But hey, don’t take my word for it, I took pictures.
All that blood and there’s not a mark on the cats, either of them. It’s a for-real locked room murder mystery, only in this case we have two suspects but no ID on the victim. I mean I know it was one or both of the cats, but what did they kill? There wasn’t enough blood for a human, so it has to be an animal of some kind, but how did it get in their room and WTF was it?!?
And I thought yesterday’s post was strange…
Billed @€0.02, Opus the Unkillable
Today in the mail I got a frequent traveller card for the ferry on the river Styx. I tried to take a picture.
Now either I have lost count of the times I died, or I am the butt of an elaborate prank. Buuuuuut I don’t know of anyone who can make an object I can see but not photograph. I don’t know of any physical process that would allow me to see but not photograph an object I can hold in my hand.
Now as to why I have a frequent traveler card for Charon’s ferry (I had to translate from the Greek on the card) I have no real idea, but a couple of hypotheses. One is my next career is going to be a Psychopomp, a guide of souls to the afterlife. Since I don’t actually see dead people like the kid in Sixth Sense that’s not high on the list of probabilities. Another possibility is I am literally immortal but will sometimes get “knocked out” to be dead for a little while and this card is to identify me as “just visiting” the afterlife. That one is not good because getting killed hurt the last time I can remember. Well, not the being dead part, that was fine, and the actual getting killed was so quick I really didn’t notice. The coming back alive to a body that was badly broken, yeah that shit hurt like a [$UNPRINTABLE]. So yeah if you find yourself dead I strongly suggest staying dead because there is probably a pretty painful reason why you died.
So supposition time: why do I have a frequent traveller card for πορθμείο του Χάροντα, and why can’t I take a picture of it? Is it because of the number of round trips I have made or the number I will make in the future? If I have died more than once why can’t I remember? This whole line of thought is disturbing. BTW there are boxes on the back with marks in 3 of them and something in Greek on the tenth box, so I get a prize? What kind of prize do you get for dying 10 times? And does 3 marks mean I have died twice in such a way as to “not know” I’m dead? That’s even more disturbing than knowing I died once and came back.
So, what would you do with a frequent flyer card for the afterlife?
Opus the Unkillable
On today’s walk I ruminated in background on 2 problems: enough room for fuel tanks, and getting as much surface as possible for downforce including the windshield. Also I’m not a fan of the pinched cowl of the ’23-’25 model T, it offends my aesthetic and aerodynamic senses (which may be the same thing).
So, what to do? Well obviously blend the cowl into the windshield and the sides of the body, so that the widened firewall and hood sides flow the air smoothly down the sides of the body while the transition from the hood top to the windshield deflects the air up and forces the car down into the road, complementing this downforce generating nose .
This is what I have to work with as shown with SAD (stick aided design). I literally duct-taped a thin stick to the side of the body to establish a smooth curve from the sides to the front axle past the firewall.
My idea is in side profile to roll the hood over from the nose to just below the base of the windshield and make a smooth transition to the 30° angled windshield with the hood sides making an equally smooth transition to the side of the body like the stick taped to the side does, only all the way down to the frame, including the tuck-under at the bottom like the rest of the body. I’m still debating whether or not to put the little side fences on the hood to keep the air on it or to roll the top similar to the bottom or the top contour of the firewall.
This will look cool with the Monoposto seating in the center of the car. BTW that body mod will be 36″ wide at the original firewall and taper down to 29″ at the front axle, compared to the 27″ wide firewall it has now.
And it’s getting late again.
Billed @€0.02, Opus the fat but Unkillable
This Sunday I took a fall when I pushed up from my chair and before I could get my feet under me the chair went rolling backwards, dropping me on my tailbone. Then yesterday I did 3 miles even to max out my check-ins in as little time possible, only it took longer because of poor route planning. My butt didn’t hurt while walking, but it made up for it when I had to wait for the check-ins to become active again. I will know better for tonight.
I did a bit more Googling and I now know how much that engine and transmission weigh as a group. The Pentastar V6 engine weighs 326, the 62te transmission 220, right on my previous estimate based on the 41te the 6 speed is derived from, so the total is 546, one pound heavier than the SBC 350 without a transmission. Or rear axle, driveshaft or a whole raft of other things that are part and parcel of the 62te in the picture, but not the halfshafts or suspension that are also in that picture. The traditional 350/350 engine/trans combination for a bucket comes in at a combined 670 pounds, throw in the cast iron 9″ Ford center section and differential and you have about 740 for the (almost) equivalent of the picture. Thing is that picture is of the drivetrain of a full sized commercial van with a GVW of 8550 pounds, not some wimpy minivan. The drivetrain in that picture would have no problem with a 1500 pound Mid-Bucket. It is a pity then that I’ll never get to install it in one. The Mid-Bucket weighs about half the cargo rating of the van the powertrain in the picture comes from! I could literally drive the Mid-Bucket inside the box and drive the van away without overloading it. I mean how cool is that? And using that transmission on a vehicle with a GVW of 8550 pounds means they finally fixed the reliability problems of the 41te.
Enough car talk, I need to get ready for my walk.
Billed @€0.02, Opus the fat but Unkillable
How would I be doing the Mid-Bucket if I wasn’t trying to save sunk costs on parts already bought? What if I had a clean sheet of paper to go with the free engine and transmission? Those are the two most powerful words in engineering, What If…?
Well I would be doing pretty much the same thing I’m doing now behind the body, a de Dion truss and fabricated uprights with Metric e-brake calipers from that kit I linked to a while back. The main difference would be all the links would be straight aluminum tubes swedged to thread 5/8” heim joints, and the coilover would bolt to the upright, instead of to the top bar of the 4-link.
The middle would also be very similar to what I have on paper now, I see no need to make any changes just because I have that the way I want it. I really don’t need to change anything to make it work with any changes I make up front. Seriously it will work as it is with anything I put up front.
If it wasn’t for the weight I would use this spindle and brake kit . I’m thinking I might just buy another front bearing set for the donor vehicle and fabricate a light front upright for a lightweight IFS and maybe take a few pounds of unsprung weight. I would lose a bit of the camber control the tube axle would bring but counter with adjustability and limiting travel to keep everything lined up and pointed in the right direction. Also by using the driven hub I could go AWD in the future should that particular bug bite me. Right now I don’t see it as AWD would add about 200 pounds to the Mid-Bucket for only marginal gains in dry weather. That’s going from 1575 to about 1800. Now if that free engine and transmission came from an AWD Pacifica instead of a ’96 Town and Country… with the 305 HP tune from the Ram 1500… which might get me slightly ahead of what I have now. So, not worth the cost and time to install.
Anyway getting back to the RWD Mid-Bucket, I might be able to get down to 1550 pounds with the cast iron block 3.8 V6 by ditching the tube axle and redesigning the front clip for IFS. But that would be pushing the limits very hard, risking breakage on potholes and such. More realistically for a street car I could get down to 1560 from 1575 by changing from the tube front axle to an IFS and starting from a clean sheet of paper using the lightest components I could reasonably get. Subtract another 85 pounds from that for swapping in the Pentastar V6 so 1475 would be the lightest Mid-Bucket that could survive on the street.
And I’m ready to take my walk now, Opus the fat but still Unkillable
Well, after my walk and reading e-mails I spent a lot of time reading from this archive where a dude in the UK is swapping a 3.3 into a Neon. Where it works for me is externally the 3.3 and the 3.8 are identical. What makes this particular swap helpful for me is the dude was obsessive about documenting the build with photographs. So I have 4 really good views, one of each side of the engine/transmission assembly, that can be used to help plan the back half of the Mid-Bucket.
This is what they look like coming out of the donor vehicle.
OK, it looks like the front and rear mounts are going to go on the tube from the center of the rear hoop to the watt’s link behind the engine, and the left and right mounts will be connected to the frame by tubes running from the rear suspension shock mounts and the outside lower corner of the rear roll hoop. I need to figure out one more way to brace those mounts as they look to be weak in the vertical direction on the frame side, engine side looks fine if a bit heavy. The front and rear mounts are fine vertically but will need bracing left to right and back and forth. I seriously don’t want the engine hitting me in the back if I hit something from the front, so the mounts will be very strong to prevent that from happening. The front mount will be very low on the frame and it looks like just making the mounting plates to the frame heavy enough will do that if I brace that mount against the rear hoop as well as the tube running down the center of the frame. I’m half tempted to just make the mounts from plate stock and leave the rubber bits out so I can get a massage while I’m driving. 😈 But I will probably use one of these at each mount (or two kits). I’m extremely tempted to mount the front cushion at 45° to help keep the engine off my back in a wreck.
And I’m out of words after spending too much time researching this.
Billed @€0.02, Opus the fat but Unkillable
Yes, I’m still thinking about the rear suspension on the Mid-Bucket, mainly how to make it lighter. And simpler if I can. One way I can do both is to eliminate the adjustability and just weld the adaptor plate directly to the truss. I hate to do that, both because of all the time and brain processing cycles that went into the adjustable adaptor, and because throwing a little negative camber for racing is a great way to increase total grip and reduce oversteer a tad. I would probably do that for street, too. But I can do that in the jig while welding the truss, probably holding to a half degree precision if the jig is stout enough. That is a mighty big IF.
Which brings me to the other reason for adjustability, correcting for floppy welding jigs for the de Dion truss. And for weld joints that move from thermal stress during construction. I don’t know about how floppy the welding jig is going to be, I mean it’s not like I’m building this to make production runs. I just want the ability to make crash repairs when and if necessary.
And while I was on my walk I was thinking about upgrading to the Pentastar and the 62TE after I get a bit more bucks up. Again I forgot to save the engine and transmission mount picture and now I can’t find it again so I can’t show you how similar the mounting points are between the two generations of minivan. But without having one of each side by side to compare I can’t say for sure it’s a drop-in swap. It’s pretty damn close.
Moment of levity, Amazon apparently thinks I eat enough fancy Italian Provolone cheese to justify buying it in $1K chunks at a time. I have no idea how they got that idea since I get that kind of cheese in the $5 shaker bottle at the deli counter mixed with parmesan. Not that I don’t know what to do with a good Provolone, I do have a Sicilian grandmother and Mrs. the Poet is adopted Sicilian, and I did spend a couple of years working for pizza places helping make the pies.
I got to use the high-precision scale when we were shopping today and I was sure not to rest against the rail on the back that is part of the machine but not part of the scale. Anywho I came in under 210 even after a big breakfast, so progress is being made on destroying the heart-clogging fat monster. I don’t know that I will ever reach 160 while still alive and also still be able to get around on my own, unlike last time, but dangit I’m trying.
Billed @€0.02, Opus the fat but still Unkillable
One of the things I do when I’m not running around, or writing, or reading web comics or e-mail, is try to get better information about the weights of the stuff I’m putting in or taking out of the Mid-Bucket. The bad news is my transaxle weighs more than I originally estimated, and the parts of the axle I’m leaving out because the car is mid-engine don’t weigh as much as I originally estimated. What it breaks down to is the weight estimate went up by about 50 pounds to 1550 total. Almost all of that 50 came from the rear axle. Still absurdly light by most standards.
Where I might make up a few pounds is the de Dion truss replacing the heavy axle housing of the front engine car, but since those run only about 38 pounds it won’t be much. If my initial estimate on the truss is right, and I know it’s close, then the most I can save would be about 13 pounds. That is all unsprung weight loss which means better handling for the Mid-Bucket.
Something else I have been trying to solve is how to get the fiberglass bucket body and the engine/transmission installed inside the exoskeleton style frame. There is a lot of triangulation round the back area that blocks access to the engine which if I made removable would open up a hole wider than the body to let it go in after painting. Then drop in the engine and transmission and bolt the bracing back in. And once again I’m wanting to do a Copy/Paste from my brain so you can see what I see in my mind. Basically there will be two sections of bracing to bolt in, one from the rear hoop to the rear shock mounts and across the back, and another one bracing the rear hoop from side to side and top to bottom. I may break down and start sketching this out with pencil and paper again and taking pictures with my cell phone, like I did a few years ago when I first started documenting this process.
The tricky part is I still don’t have the donor vehicle to copy the engine and transmission mounts from. I do know that the roll hoop bracing is where about half of the mounts will go, the rest will go on the main frame assembly. I have seen pictures of the transmission mounts so that’s how I know how they will go.
And I apparently forgot to save that picture of the mounts and I can’t find it again in Google Images either. Silly me.
Well it is getting late and I still have to clear the garbage out of my e-mail inbox. And I guess I should mention I had to miss playing Shadowrun today because my allergies gave me digestive issues, as in “don’t get too far from a toilet” issues followed by the worse gas pains I have ever had. And when I was at the lab rat keeper’s office this week I asked to hear what my body fat percentage was and promptly swore off eating for the next several months when they told me more than 30%. That works out to just over 70 pounds (32 Kg) of fat I’m carting around, which means I need to lose about 45 pounds (20 Kg) of it to get to a healthy body fat percentage. That will pull me down to about 165 to 170. That won’t happen overnight because losing that much weight that quick without weight training to maintain muscle mass will result in my going back to my eating disorder days when I got to 170 and so weak I couldn’t get out of bed. I know what I need to do and that is to work out at a “fat burning” pace for about 8 hours a day, and do some light weights 3 days a week. I did this when I was training for the Hotter’n’Hell Hundred a few years ago and I can do it again. I got down under 200 for that in about 4 months. I need to build something that I can work at the fat burning pace when I’m working at the computer and watching TV, a recumbent exercise cycle with a desk so I don’t hurt my butt.
Billed @€0.02, Opus the fat but Unkillable