Lightweight steering column for racing chassis & hot rods

Lightweight steering column for racing chassis & hot rods

At this year’s SEMA show held in Las Vegas, November 1-4, ididit, the Tecumseh, Michigan-based steering column specialist, won the Best New Street Rod/Custom Car Product award with their new ‘40 Ford special edition column, which also suits the Model A and the ‘32s. Beyond this, Marty Waterstraut, ididit’s national sales manager introduced their new production racing column called the Pro Lite series.  Designed for the Sportsman racer—drag racer, auto-crosser—the entire column weighs a tad over 5 pounds. “Some drag racing classes mandate street-legal specifications and, therefore this column is equipped with turn signals,” says Marty. It also accommodates quick-release steering wheel hubs, making it ideal for driving the car to and from the track. In word and deed this column is all about weight. The Pro Lite series, which makes a great first impression, is now available for the Camaro, Gen 1 and later, the Nova as well as several Mustang models. Current development plans include numerous other examples. Source Ididit Tecumseh, MI 49286 (517) 424-0577...
Artful Dodgers: How crafty racers succeed

Artful Dodgers: How crafty racers succeed

By Alfie Bilk:   “I once saw a nitrous oxide system concealed within a brake booster,” says Nitrous Supply’s Mike Thermos. “The illicit charge was transmitted by way of the vacuum line and into the intake manifold. Another bamboozle I recall prevailed by delivering nitrous through the heater hoses.” Twenty years ago, Rusty Glidden shook the drag racing establishment when he admitted illicit use of nitrous oxide in his Pro Stock Ford Probe. His father, Bob, had exhausted the NHRA’s patience with repeated accusations of nitrous use in the class, causing the sanctioning body to react. Accordingly, NHRA’s then senior VP, Graham Light, vigorously denied the allegations, proclaiming them as nonsense and fiction. Then Glidden’s son, Rusty, presumably in an attempt to defend his father’s reputation and in so doing ruining his own, confessed that he, in fact, had been an offender, thus conclusively proving the point. According to racers from that era, Rusty also harbored deep suspicions of wrongdoing in Pro Stock, had urged the NHRA to investigate but had achieved not a thing.  In the end, he left no doubt as to how the deceit could be perpetrated, disclosing full technical details in the magazine Super Stock published late in 1995. It defined in unambiguous detail how the weight bar at the rear of the car had served as the nitrous holding tank. “The nitrous line started there,” Super Stock reported, “went over the rear axle housing right up to the front. It ended at the motor plate, which was rifle-drilled. One of the supports holding the hood scoop was also rifle-drilled. This tall slender rod delivered...
Best innovation for drivers obliged to carry ballast

Best innovation for drivers obliged to carry ballast

Earlier we published a story explaining the function and benefit of the tuned mass damper to the racer. This device received much of the credit for winning the 2005 Formula One World Championship for Renault. So successful was its implementation it was banned. Still, the technology remains relevant and incorporating the device would benefit any racer who is obliged to carry ballast. Equally interesting is the story’s reference to the use of lead shot for ballast—a technique that damps all frequencies, but with only half the effectiveness of a tuned mass damper of the same weight. Here is the story by its chief protagonist, Dave Hamer.    By Dave Hamer: In my previous article, I covered the successful use of the tuned mass damper on F1 race cars. The principle of the TMD is similar to that of a harmonic damper on an engine, which is used to reduce crankshaft torsional modes. Similarly, some convertible sports cars use weights in the front bumper, which are tuned to reduce scuttle shake. Triumph TR6 and TR7 used them, I believe. Our TMD story goes back to the late 1980s where a 7-post rig was the principal tool for tuning the suspension on our active-suspension cars. This rig uses hydraulic actuators to introduce four vertical movements to the tires to mimic bumps and three forces into the chassis to mimic aero and inertial loads. Before we went to the complexity of track replay we would use a swept sine input. A sine wave played into a 7-post rig produces a smooth up-and-down movement (like the piston movement in an engine). The swept...
Measuring the piston crown

Measuring the piston crown

By Titus Bloom: The most valuable currency of the race piston maker and also of the race engine builder is his reputation. Daily, they work around potentially destructive forces and know well the fine line between an engineering triumph and disaster. Piston-crown thickness troubles usually strike from one of two causes: error during manufacture or subsequent ill-advised power increases beyond the piston’s capacity. Here’s a new instrument that might inspire confidence. Introduced by Gibtec Pistons, it’s a piston crown checker, which allows engine builders to verify the piston crown thickness, the thickness under the valve pockets and it accomplishes the task in seconds. Built on a solid 6061 aluminum base, it features a black anodized 5/8in diameter steel post on which is mounted an upper plate that supports a dial gauge that is calibrated in one thousandth of an inch. The lower pointer projecting upward from the base is made of stainless steel. Typically, piston crown thicknesses for naturally aspirated engines and power-adder engines measure 0.150 to 0.180in and 0.200 and 0.250in respectively. Occasionally, piston-design engineers mistakenly adopt a wrong ‘start’ dimension, potentially troublesome around the valve pockets. Or if an error is made during the machining process, new pistons can be impaired by weak crowns, which, obviously, can have serious implications. One hopes the manufacturer’s programming calculations are correct, but it’s impossible to tell precisely unless the finished piston is checked. It may sound bewildering, but it is quite possible for one piston in a set of eight to suffer insufficient crown thickness. Aluminum racing pistons are remarkably resilient in how they withstand the forces and pressures of...
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