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Turbo "Busa" Kart

 

12/06/09- Today we did our first official unofficial test run of the Turbo 'Busa Kart at a secret testing location. The conditions were far from ideal, and with heavy rains the day before and the forecast calling for sub freezing conditions, it was looking like we might have more luck testing out some ice skates. But luckily, the rains stopped over night, the temperatures kept above freezing, and the heavy winds managed to pretty much dry the pavement. Still, we were dealing with very cold temperatures, damp concrete, and a power to weight ratio superior to that of a Bugatti Veyron going through one tire, so we didn't expect to have a lot of traction.

Turns out we were right about that part, but since we weren't testing for speed today it wasn't that important. Today we just want to make sure that everything was working properly and there were no major problems. I figure that if something is going to break or come off the car it is probably better for it to do it at 40-50 mph than 100 mph. Amazingly, everything worked really well. The brakes are good, the transmission and clutch are excellent, the steering is good, and the handling of the vehicle is good as well.

As far as the power, well, there is too much power, at least today there was. At 1/2 throttle, as soon as the engine crosses around 6,000 rpm and really gets into boost, there is nothing but wheelspin, in any gear. I never once floored the accelerator because the wheel would spin almost immediately. As soon as the rear tire breaks traction, the vehicle wants to get sideways, but the long wheelbase keeps it quite stable and easy to control. Even though we have a 360 sized tire on the car, the rounded profile of it means only about half of it is actually touching the road. Also, the compound of the rubber is quite hard so there is not much traction to begin with. In order to be able to put the power down, I am going to need to locate a 360 sized slick tire. If we can get this thing to hook up, then the acceleration is going to be unearthly.

We took some video today. It is a simple video of a couple of passes and we were just taking it easy. I wanted to take some helmet cam footage, but unfortunately we were thrown out of the testing area by the Park Police before I could get the camera hooked up. Anyway, have a look at the video:

Turbo 'Busa Kart 1st Shakedown

 

11/29/09- Much of the time since the last update has been spent waiting on the delivery of the alternator drive. I received the parts from Downs Engineering and immediately installed it onto the engine. Once again I have to commend Downs Engineering for this high quality piece. Bascially, it is a vee pulley and housing that bolts right onto the starter drive gear housing and runs directly off the crankshaft. While waiting, I had already located a nice, small 40 amp alternator to supplement the engine alternator, and finally decided on a place to locate it. I fabricated a mounting bracket out of steel plate, and located a turnbuckle type adjustment to adjust belt tension. The final trick was located the right size belt for the short run between the alternator and the pulley.

While waiting, I also installed a larger sprocket on the rear end, to give me more gear reduction.

I was finally able to test drive the new set up today around the block a couple of times. With the alternator turning and the engine revving to about 4,000 rpm, the voltmeter read over 13V and was climbing towards 14V, and the engine was running much smoother. The shorter sprocket also allowed to car to get rolling with less revs and no stalling, so it looks like the problem is solved. I was only able to get one run around the block because I didn't want to piss off the neighbors, but I will be doing an extended test session next weekend, and will hopefully shoot some video as well. Next Entry

9/21/09- After putting the drive chains on, rigging the throttle cable, fixing some of the leaks, and filling the engine up with all of its fluids, we were finally ready for our first test run.

Of course, there's still a tremendous amount of work that needs to be done before we have a road worthy and road legal vehicle, but for now we just wanted to make sure all of the basic functions worked correctly. I started the engine, and as usual it started right up and idled. I let it warm up, hopped in the car, and let it roll out of the garage under its own power for the first time. So far so good. I revved the engine a few times, it seemed ok, maybe a little rough. When I pushed the clutch in at the end of the driveway, I heard a crunching sound and the clutch pedal went dead. The clutch piston had actually pushed through the aluminum clutch cover and broke it in half...way too much pressure from the clutch pedal. Luckily I had a spare, and we were able to fix it. I remedied the problem by adjusting the clutch pedal stop.

After that, I ran out of the driveway and headed down the block. I noticed that the engine was running very rough and it would stall quite a bit. I've been driving standard transmissions for many years and I never had such a hard time keeping a car from stalling as I pulled away. Basically this was a result of two things...One, the gearing of the vehicle is very tall right now, and two, the engine was running rough. I took the car around the block a few times, running up through the gears. The transmission shifted very smoothly up and down using the clutch, and generally the car felt pretty good to drive. Actually, it was really neat driving this creation through the neighborhood. The driving position is almost fully reclined and you are literally inches off the ground, but the pedals, the steering wheel, and the shifter are all where they are supposed to be and it's actually very comfortable. Also, the response that I got from the neighborhood onlookers was incredible. I got more thumbs ups than a Roger Ebert movie review.

The engine revved cleanly up to around 4,000-4,500 rpm, but any more than that and the engine would break up and run extremely rough. I needed to figure out why. Back in the garage I noticed the volt meter was getting a little low with the engine running. I put a battery charger on the battery and all of a sudden the engine ran perfectly. The low voltage condition was causing the fuel injection to fritz out. The problem is that I am a running a number of electric accessories including an intercooler pump, turbo oil scavenge pump, big fuel pump, two cooling fans, etc., and the little 'Busa alternator cannot keep up. I was able to test my theory by using an external gasoline generator in the passenger seat to keep the batteries fully charged. When I did this, the car ran perfectly on the next test drive.

My first full throttle experience getting the car into boost at around 5K rpm (only about 5 psi for now) resulted in wheelspin and a sideways moment. Cool! I even got to hear the blow off valve make it's characteristic whooosh sound as I let off the throttle...excellent. This thing is going to be a blast. The solution is to install an automotive alternator to be driven by the engine. Downs Engineering makes an external drive which bolts onto the engine to turn a pulley. I just have to find a space in the crowded engine compartment where I am going to mount the alternator. I also went with a larger battery to have more spare capacity. Having the added alternator capacity should solve the problem. The other change that will have to be made is to go to a larger sprocket on the drive wheel, to shorten the gearing so the vehicle is easier to get rolling. Once I make these changes I will have the car back out on the street for more testing.

I also had the opportunity to put the car on a scale to get a handle on the vehicle weight. To my surprise, the weight of the vehicle with almost everything on there including some fuel was 1,312 lbs, which was better than I thought. I think the finished curb weight of the vehicle will be around 1,400 lbs. Next Entry

 

7/30/09- Although the last update was two months ago a trememdous amount of work has been completed and now there are only a few more minor steps before we can do our first test drives.

The first thing was to install the plumbing system for our water to air intercooler. In order to be able to save some space near the engine, I went with a water to air intercooler that I mounted above the engine. In order to keep the charge cool, I mounted a heat exhanger up at the front of the vehicle, on top of the engine radiator. Then, I needed to make a water reservoir, so I cut some aluminum sheet and bent into something that looked like a tank, and then made a top and bottom. I sent it out to be welded with the necessary fittings and filler cap. I also mounted a mechanical temperature gauge so I can keep track of the temperature of the water in the system. I mounted the water tank in front of the passenger, under the cowling, and mounted the electric water pump and ran the necessary plumbing to feed the intercooler. I will use normal anti-freeze coolant in the intercooler system.

Next I had to make the wastegate outlet pipe. I am going to allow the wastegate to exhaust out of the side of the vehicle with its own pipe, with no muffler. The idea is that when you hit full boost and the wastegate is dumping exhaust, you want the engine to sound as loud as possible. This will acheive that result. Also, having a short wastegate pipe with no muffler on it maximizes the responsiveness of the wastegate. I used 1.75" O.D. stainless steel pipe and used my pipe bender to put a gentle curve into it. Then I welded the TiAL stainless flange on it and bolted it up to the wastegate. Pretty simple... I will trim the pipe just about flush with the bodywork once the bodywork is on the vehicle later.

Not so simple was building the exhaust downpipe. I want the primary exhaust to exit from the rear of the engine compartment, so the path I had to take from the turbine was a little convoluted. On top of that, I have a number of oil lines and water lines nearby that have to be snaked around, and more importantly I had the shift linkage in the way. This necessitated building the shift linkage simulataneous with the exhaust downpipe. I started out with some pre-made mandrel bends, all aluminum coated mild steel, 2.5" in diameter. I started to mock up the exhaust and then used a pneumatic cutting wheel to cut short sections from the mandrel bends to start to form the downpipe. First I put them together using tape so I could mock up the exhaust on the turbine while I kept adding sections. Once I got it the way I wanted it I tack welded the whole downpipe together, including the flange, and had a shop weld it using oxy-acetylene and steel filler, to avoid warping the pipe. The finished result came out pretty nicely. I also welded in a boss for the wideband oxygen sensor. I intend to wrap the downpipe in exhaust wrap to keep the heat from cooking the other components. I will also be sure to protect all the hoses with silco thermal protection.

Eventually the downpipe will connect to a muffler, so that I can have a quiet engine when it is idling and just driving around. But for the test drives, I will just have an open downpipe.

Below are some pictures of the shift linkage. I used a solid steel rod, put an offset bend in it to help it clear the exhaust, threaded one engine to accept a heim joint, and tapped the other engine to accept a small threaded rod to connect directly with the 'Busa shift linkage. I tried the linkage out and it works very well, although it needs a little bit of adjustment before it will work perfectly. Overall I am very happy with it since I designed and built the shift linkage from scratch. The picture on the right shows how crowded it is in the area where the downpipe comes out of the turbo.

Finally, I hooked my laptop up the power commander on the vehicle to be sure that the correct software version was being used to support the Dynojet Power Commander, the Power Hub, and the Wide Band Commander. I also saved a copy of the tuning map to the laptop to be sure I always had a copy of it, just in case something unusual happened.

Getting much closer now to the test drive. The major items that remain are the throttle linkage, the drive chain, and just buttoning up some of the loose items. Next Entry

5/30/09- We've been moving steadily forward on the project in the past weeks and months. It is always the little things at the end that take the most time, but we hit a major milestone in the project.

Fuel pump and fuel filter

Header tank and coolant expansion tank

Water plumbing to radiator

After installing the fuel pump under the passenger's seat and connecting the fuel lines to the motor, and running the coolant lines from the radiator to the engine, we filled the engine with oil and coolant, ran the fuel pickup hose into a 5 gallon fuel can, and we cranked the engine over. To my amazement, it fired up on the first attempt.

Intercooler and compressor discharge plumbing

After verifying oil pressure, we let the water and oil come up to temperature and began checking for leaks, of which there were many. In total, we started up the engine and heat cycled the cooling system about five times. In the meantime, we made a couple of minor adjustments to the cooling system.

One of the things I noticed was that oil was backing up in the turbo bearing housing and leaking into the compressor, spraying a fine film of oil everywhere. This is because as the engine is mounted in the chassis, the turbo is a bit lower than the oil sump, so oil cannot flow by gravity back to the sump. I had suspected this could be a problem. To remedy this, I plan on installing a small electric pump to draw oil out of the turbo bearing housing and send it back to the engine.

After correcting a few minor issues we found after test running the engine, I have now made a checklist for myself containing all the little things I need to do to get the car ready for the first test drive. Though there are a lot of things, they are minor, and I expect to have the first test runs ready very soon. Next Entry

 

3/25/09- Good progress continues this month as we continue to get closer to installing more and more systems on the reverse trike. We are anticipating the first test run of the engine in 2 weeks. Once that is done, we will button a few things up and then do some test driving.

Cooling System- The cooling system is now nearly complete. I have installed the custom made radiator at the front of the vehicle where it will get uninterrupted airflow at all times. Two electric fans on a temperature switch will help to pull air through the radiator when necessary. I will use aluminum pipe as hard lines to run the coolant from the engine to the front of the car. I will also run flexible lines to cool the turbocharger bearing housing. The header tank acts as a high point for the cooling system to prevent any air from getting trapped into the system, and will assure that the water pump impeller is always getting a full head of water. All I need to do now is finish installing the main cooling lines and the overflow tank, and the cooling system will be complete.

Lubrication System- The lubrication system is a little simpler. All that is needed is an oil filter and an oil cooler. I mounted the oil cooler behind the driver's side roll bar, and will fabricate an air scoop to direct airflow through the cooler and into the engine compartment when the vehicle is moving forward. I located the oil temperature sender in the oil filter housing, which is remote mounted down low in the chassis. Keeping the oil cool and clean is important for a turbo engine, and for this engine in particular, since the engine and the integral transmission share the same oil system.

Charge Air System- One of the keys to an effective turbo system is the management of compressor discharge air. While intercooling is a necessity on a high pressure turbo system such as this, the type and configuration is equally important. Originally I had planned on using a massive air to air intercooler, but ultimately realized that I simply didn't have enough room to mount it anywhere near the engine. An air to water system is more complex, but it allows much greater flexibility as far as mounting locations. Because water is a better conductor of heat than air is, the intercooler can be much smaller, and there is no requirement to mount it in any kind of airflow. I chose to mount it on top of the rear of the engine, and it will feed directly into the intake plenum. Locating it here also minimizes the length of charge piping required, which will reduce turbo lag. I had the intercooler custom fabricated by my good friend Jason Heffner of Heffner Performance. The water intercooler will be cooled by its own separate coolant circuit, consisting of an electric intercooler pump, front mounted heat exhanger, and a custom fabricated water tank (Not made yet).

I also mounted the Blow off Valve on top of the intake plenum, just ahead of the throttle bodies. The BOV vents excess air pressure to the atmosphere when the throttles are closed, letting out an impressive "whooosh", which should sound amazing considering it will be right behind the driver's head.

 

Pretty soon we will be ready to take this beast on its first test drive...Next Entry

 

2/17/09- I've got a lot done in the last month, including completing the wiring, brakes and clutch, and I've made a good deal of progress on the cooling system.

Brakes and clutch: The brakes and clutch system uses Tilton pedals and master cylinders. There are three master cylinders, one for the front brakes, one for the rear brake, and one for the clutch. We ran steel lines from the cylinders to the brakes and clutch actuator assembly. Since the fluid reservoirs sit lower than the brakes themselves, we had to use 2 psi residual pressure valves to prevent all of the fluid from bleeding back into the reservoirs while driving, which has the unpleasant effect of making the brake pedal go flat to the floor the first time you push on it when you are doing 100 mph.

Electrical system: The vehicle uses a normal 12 volt battery balanced system with an alternator. I ran all of the wiring to run the engine with the power commander, as well as all of the instruments, switches, and accessories. After I ran all of the wiring, I fabricated a neat little battery box at the rear of the vehicle, connected everything up, and bundled all of the wires for a neat installation. I have run all of the wiring for things like headlights, turn signals, brake lights, electric reverse, etc., although they will not be installed until later on.

Cooling system: I still have a little ways to go to finish the cooling system, although I have fabricated or acquired all of the major components I need for the system. In the pictures you below you can see the trick water manifold I fabricated from aluminum, which collects the hot coolant, and sends it back to the front mounted radiator. The water manifold has a fitting where coolant will be tapped off to cool the turbocharger, and a port for the coolant temperature sensor. Other major components are the custom made copper radiator and fans, the header tank, and overflow tank.

 

...to be continued. Next Entry

 

1/11/09- I have now completed assembling the chassis and it is finally one piece, able to support its own weight, and roll out of the garage on its own wheels. There are still a couple of supports and braces that I will weld in before final assembly, but for now, the chassis is complete.

With this part of the project completed, I have now shifted my focus on the vehicle systems. First are the brake and clutch hydraulic lines, and while that is going on, I am beginning to sort out the electrical system and the cooling system. Next Entry

 

 

11/29/08- I've spent the last couple of weeks tackling the most difficult part of the project, and am very close to being finished. When I'm done I will finally have a rolling chassis and then I can get to work on the wiring, the plumbing, and all the other fun stuff.

First I moved the 'Busa end into position. Then I mocked up brackets that will allow the 'Busa frame to be pinned to the rear rollover structure. Then I fabricated them out of 1/4" steel plate, and welded them to the roll bar hoops. This set-up sort of mimics the way a triple tree works on a motorcycle, although the front mount will be fixed in place and will not be used to steer the vehicle. The vehicle will steer just by the front tires, like a conventional car.

I couldn't rely on just this triple tree mount to support the whole weight and load of the car. I needed to add some rear bracing to pick up the rear end of the Hayabusa frame as well. On the last update I had fabricated two steel sideframes which bolted up to the rear of the aluminum 'Busa frame. I used these side frames to weld chromemoly steel tubing to support the rear end of the frame. One requirement I have is that I need to be able to fully separate the 'Busa end front the front of the chassis if I ever need to remove the engine. Also, this would, in theory, allow anyone to take a standard Hayabusa, remove the front forks, and just "plug" it into the roll structure of this vehicle without any major modifications, making the vehicle totally modular as a kit.

In order to make the frame components removable, I had to cut the end of the tubing and weld plate brackets into them so they could be bolted up. This will make for easy removal if necessary.

 

A couple of more sections of tubing need to be added, and then the chassis will be complete! Next Entry

 

10/13/08- Once I mounted the new engine into the 'Busa frame, and put on the exhaust manifold, turbo, throttles, and intake manifold, I was now ready to begin the difficult process of joining the 'Busa end to the chassis. I first brought the two units into position to get an idea of where they would sit in relation to one another. The front of the Busa frame fits in between the roll bars, and the turbo tucks down at the base of the roll bar. The goal was to bring the 'Busa end as far forward as possible and also as low as possible. I had to reposition the compressor housing so the discharge was facing upward to make it fit.

After visualizing how they will go together, I created a support frame utilizing 1/4" thick plate and chrome moly tubing, and joining them together with the chassis spars from the original Beetle frame.

I will be supporting the Hayabusa end three ways. The first is to use the roll bars as a sort of triple tree. I will fabricate two brackets and weld them between the roll bars, and the 'Busa frame will slide between the brackets and get pinned. I fabricated a pin out of aluminum stock that will hold the front mount together. The second support will be to utilize the chassis spars to support the engine and frame from underneath.

The third and final way will be to make a subframe of chromemoly tubing from the rollover structure to pick up the rear of the 'Busa frame. Since the 'Busa frame is aluminum and I will be supporting it with chromemoly tubing, I had to fabricate two sideframes from steel plate, which get bolted on to the rear of the frame. Now I can weld my chrome moly tubing to these sideframes. All of these supports will be bolted to the chassis so that they can be removed. Since the engine can only come out of the bottom, I will need to be able to take the chassis apart to get the engine out in case it needs to be replaced.

I expect to finish the joining of the chassis together in the next couple of weeks. Once I have accomplished this, I will have finished the most challenging part of this project, and then I can get to the fun stuff, like wiring and plumbing. Next Entry

 

9/26/08- I finally received the engine from Downs Engineering, and what an impressive lump it is! Better late than never, and worth the wait. The block is basically the same although the internals have undergone extensive modification. However the thing that helps the engine make all that power is that massive turbo. I've seen smaller turbos on a Mack Truck. This turbo will push around 21 psi of boost through a massive air to air intercooler to produce 428 horsepower at the crank.

Now that I have the new engine, I can mount it into the 'Busa frame and then begin the complicated process of joining the motorcycle rear end to the front end of the vehicle. I will get started on this immediately. It's a good thing I decided to wait for the new engine to come in before doing this, as the turbo sticks out much further than it does on the other engine. Watch this space! Next Entry

6/15/08- According to the engine builder, the engine should be here by the end of this month. In the meantime, I am working on designing the wiring of the vehicle, and I also designed and built the instrument panels. As shown in the picture below, there are two instrument panels. The first panel contains most of the engine and vehicle function gauges, including oil pressure, oil temperature, water temperature, fuel level, and battery volts. It also contains the ignition key, the starter button (sourced from a Honda S2000), and switches for headlights and hazards. The switch under the red cover is to engage the reverse motor, which will be electric. The big red knob adjusts the brake bias at the pedal assembly, while the red handle is the rear brake proportioning valve. The second key switch on the right will be to switch between pump fuel and race fuel programs on the engine.

The second panel is the dash panel, containing the tachometer, speedometer, and boost gauge. Also, there will also be a blue neutral light, and a red low oil pressure warning light. On the left side of the panel will be a basic turn signal switch and pilot light. Eventually I will finish the instrument panels with a carbon fiber trim to match the seats and the interior trim of the car. Next Entry

 

5/04/08- Since I am still waiting for the new engine, I decided to continue making the controls for the vehicle. On the last update I finished the steering control. The remaining controls are for the brake, accelerator, clutch, and gearshift.

The Hayabusa engine, like most sport bike engines, has an integral transmission. The 'Busa's 6-speed transmission is shifted sequentially. On the motorcycle, the rider pushes the left pedal either up or down to change gear. I designed the gear shift linkage as a rod linkage which would move the Hayabusa shift lever in order to shift gears.

Since my chassis already had a rod shift linkage in the central tunnel, I decided to work off of that rod. I fabricated a shaft which connected to a heim joint as shown in the pictures below. As the shift rod moves back and forth, it moves the heim joint in an out. The heim joint moves a reversing bellcrank that I fabricated from steel rod and plate, supported by two larger heim joints. The bellcrank serves three purposes. First, it offsets the shift linkage so it lines up with the shift lever on the 'Busa engine. Secondly, it reverses the movement of the shift lever so it works in the direction I want it to. Finally, because the bellcranks are of different lengths, it increases the range of motion on the shift lever, so a small movement of the shift handle will result in a large movement at the bellcrank.

 

On the cockpit end of the shift rod, I also had a lot of fabrication to do. The trickiest part was making the shift lever and fulcrum. The fulcrum started as a piece of 7/8" thick steel plate. With an oxyacetylene torch I cut it into a basic shape of what I needed, and then ground it smooth. Next, using a die grinder, I hand shaped the bottom end into a ball which would fit smoothly into the socket of the VW shift rod. Then I drilled a hole for the fulcrum pivot point, and drilled another hole in the top to fit and weld in the 1/2" steel rod which would become the shift lever. Next, I fabricated a base for the shift lever and bolted it to the chassis.

 

Next, using a bench vise, a little heat, and a long piece of pipe, I bent the shift rod into the shape that I wanted. The goal was to get the shift knob right next to the steering wheel so I would never have to take my hand too far away from the wheel to shift. I topped it off with a nice MOMO shift knob, and finished off the bottom with a leather shift boot. It should all look really nice when I put the finishes on the car.

The shifter seems like it should work like a charm. Just pull back for an upshift, push forward for a downshift, just like an Indy Car.

 

Then, it was on to the pedals. I finally received the master cylinders for the car. The car will have a total of three master cylinders. The first, largest one, will be used to operate the front brakes, actuated by the balance bar on the brake pedal assembly. The smaller cylinder will be used to operate the rear brake, also driven off of the balance bar on the brake pedal. Finally, a third cylinder, as small as the rear brake cylinder, will be used to operate the hydraulic clutch. Once I mounted all three cylinders to the pedal assembly, I was then able to mount the pedals in the car. I had to cut away a small part of the VW frame to get the pedal assembly to fit where I needed it to be for maximum comfort. I realized I would have to raise the pedals off the floor somewhat, so I constructed a floor plate to raise the pedals and the driver's feet off the floor about 1.5". Then I drilled holes in the plate and mounted the pedal assembly. Finally, I mounted the whole assembly to the floor of the car. That gave me brakes and clutch. All that was left was the throttle pedal. I spent a great deal of time to locate the throttle pedal so it would be in the perfect spot for heel and toe downshifts. Then, I welded two brackets to the cowl bar and hung the pedal, which is the same pedal that came with the Tilton pedal assembly. I left it so I can adjust the position of the accelerator pedal from side to side to accomodate a wider foot. Later on I will connect a throttle cable to the top of the pedal and run it back to the engine.

 

With that, I have completed the primary controls for the vehicle. I have started ordering the gauges, switches, and instrumentation, and have begun to think about the wiring of the vehicle while I wait for the new, more powerful engine to arrive. Next Entry

 

4/09/08- Progress continues on the Turbo 'Busa Kart. While we continue to wait for the new motor to come in, we shifted our focus on the steering system. Since I was utilizing the front suspension from a Chevrolet Corvette, I also used the Chevy rack and pinion steering system. Attached to the steering gearbox via a rag joint and a universal joint is the aluminum Chevy intermediate steering shaft. I had to work out the steering system from the intermediate shaft up. Basically, I needed a steering column.

I turned to Speedway Motors and quickly found the Sweet Manufacturing collapsible steering column. This column was just what I needed, but I had to make some modifications to it to get it to work.

I started by modifying the splined end of the steering column to accept the coupling on the intermediate shaft. I used a block of thick steel plate, machined out a notch to fit the splined shaft, and then welded the plate to the shaft. I cut a rounded contour into one side of the steel plate so that it would fit snugly into the coupling.

After that, I test mounted the steering column into the vehicle to get a rough idea of how it would sit, as well as where it would place the steering wheel for maximum comfort and control. Once I got a rough idea of how the column would sit, I used cardboard to mock up the dash bar, which will support the steering column bearing. I used my tube bender to bend a section of chromemoly tubing into the dash bar, and tack welded the bar to the chassis.

Once again I moved the steering column into position, and then fabricated a bracket out of angle iron to support the steering column bearing. After some adjustments I welded everything up solid.

Below is a picture of the excellent Momo steering wheel I purchased for the car. I had to machine a hub adapter out of aluminum to mount the wheel to the Sweet Manufacturing quick release hub. Like a race car, the quick release hub will allow me to remove the steering wheel to make it possible to get in and out of the vehicle. The hub adapter also provides enough space to mount perhaps the most important vehicle control for a New York driver: The horn button!

Below is a clear shot of the quick release hub, as well as the completed steering column, supported by bearings in two places. I ended up shortening up the steering column by approximately 4 inches in order to put the steering wheel a more comfortable distance from the driver, as well as to take advantage of the collapsible steering column, which is an important safety feature.

Though it took a long time, the steering wheel is now in the ideal location. Although the steering wheel comes in to the driver at a slight angle, once in the seat the steering feels perfect. This is because the narrow pedal box will force the driver to sit at a slight angle toward the center of the car, and as a result I mouted the seats with a slight angle to them.

 

Speaking of pedals, I received my pedal assembly, which is a Tilton floor mount 3 pedal assembly, made of steel and aluminum. The three pedals together do not fit in the footwell of the car, so I removed the accelerator pedal, which I will later hang from the cowl bar. Remaining are the brake pedal and clutch pedal. The brake pedal operates a balance bar, which acts on two individual master cylinders, one for the front brakes and one for the rear brakes. There are a couple of nice things about this. First of all, it allows me to use two completely separate cylinders for front and rear. Since the front brakes are much larger, and there are two of them, I can use a large cylinder up front, and a very small one for the rear brake. The other great thing is that by adjusting the balance bar, you have total control over front to rear brake bias. Tilton even offers a remote adjusting kit, as shown on the picture to the right. The remote adjustment allows you to adjust the balance bar via a knob that you can mount on the dashboard, for brake bias adjustment on the fly. To further insure accurate control of brake balance, I also purchased this brake proportioning valve. The proportioning valve sits in the rear brake line and can be used to reduce the pressure to the rear brakes, without reducing pressure to the front.

 

I am just waiting for the master cylinders for the rear brake and the clutch slave cylinder, and then I will be able to mount the pedals into the car. I am also beginning to design the transmission shift linkage.

Next Entry

3/10/08- We got a lot of work done for this update, and the vehicle is really starting to take shape. A couple of developments happened this month:

First, I received my wide tire swingarm kit from Randy over at Chrome Addiction. Check them out on the web for all kinds of custom sportbike accessories. Randy was super helpful at putting a kit together for my project, and in general they were a pleasure to deal with. As you can see, the kit includes the wide tire swingarm with jackshaft, the 360 size Monster tire and wheel, and all the necessary hardware to make it all work. All I have to say is that the kit is super trick, and really adds to the custom feel of this project. More importantly, it gives me as much tire as possible so I at least have a shot at putting some of this turbo horsepower to the pavement. The wide tire swingarm kit adds around 57 lbs. of weight to the total vehicle.

If that wasn't enough excitement, I also received a package from the United Kingdom, which had my 2 race car seats from Tillett. These seats are made of a layup of carbon fiber and glass reinforced plastic and weigh only 9 lbs. They are finished off with alcantara padding and have a nice reclining position. I selected these seats for the Tillett high quality, as well as the fact that they were one of the only seats available that would actually fit into the tight driver's compartment. The seats come with aluminum mounting brackets and sliders. All I had to do was create a flat surface out of strips of thin steel plate and steel box tubing, and then bolt the sliders down into the chassis. It took a little longer than I expected to get the driving position perfect, but wasn't too difficult. The seats are so comfortable I feel like taking a nap every time I sit in them.

With the seats in place, I can now locate the steering column and weld in the dash bar to the chrome moly frame to finish off the cockpit. I will also working on installing the pedals.

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Important engine developments...

Regarding the new "Mark II" engine that is being tuned by Downs Engineering over in California: After extensive dyno testing, Mike Downs informed me that he does not feel that the engine can safely and reliably produce 400 horsepower on 93 unleaded gasoline, despite the larger turbo and large intercooler. I said no problem, I'll run it on race gas. The final solution is an engine which I can either run on pump gas or race gas. On race gas, the engine will produce 385 horsepower at the sprocket, which, if you consider a 10% drivetrain loss, amounts to around 428 horsepower at the crank! And, if I want to run on pump gas, I simply flip a switch which reduces the boost and provides a richer fuel and ignition map, and the engine will run safely on pump gas, at a reduced power of around 360 bhp at the crank, or 325 at the sprocket. By comparison, the older engine with the smaller turbo was putting out 290 bhp at the sprocket which equates to around 320 at the crank. I will keep the old engine as a spare. The work on the new engine should be nearing completion very soon. I am waiting to receive this engine before I mount the rear end to my chassis. With 428 horsepower, this car will have a power to weight ratio of around 2.6:1, which, in plain english, means this car will flat out haul ass.

Stay tuned for more updates soon. Next Entry

 

 

To see the first part of this project, please click here.

 

 
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