FORMULA RACE CAR CLUB
Clyde sezs # 4 Why the Crank
Helpful hints from any and all CLYDE helpers.
Driver beware; If for any reason the engine is stopped by an outside force; like the flywheel hitting the ground, contact with another racecar tire, crashing into anything hard, if that flywheel is forced to stop mid-stroke the big, strong crankshaft breaks! What!, why not the axle, tranny gear, input shaft or the thin metal of the clutch disc? Any of these items may also break but because the power of the engine is directed into the crankshaft it almost always suffers. The engine may start and sound fine but that is because the crack in the crankshaft has not completely broken. After an accident and you are not sure of the engine being stopped mid-stroke, the least expensive thing to do is to disassemble the engine and have the crankshaft Magnifluxed. Understand that a casted crankshaft gains strenght with age and when damaged, cracks from the outside, so magging the crank is a safe way to find out the condition of it. Also, It is fact that the older a cast crank is the stronger it is BUT that does not mean to take it for granted; each time you re-build your engine have the crankshaft magged. Magging any casted part is a sure way to find out if it is cracked and most cranksahft grinding houses will do it for a reasonable cost. As long as you are your own sponsor, racing with your own money, I suggest you give away the corner rather then crashing and while your racecar is in one piece after the race go tell that idiot that you saved him and you plenty of money and time AND tell them not to do it again, then notify a safety stewart so IF it is done again you can file an un-sportsmanlike protest and have some backround to make it stick. We only go racing six times a year; let us all keep it safe and fun.
3rd Clyde of 2012
Clyde is the non-professional that does his/her best to try to help!
Whenever you heat and cool a fluid, be it oil, gasoline, brake fluid or gear oil the end result will be condensation (Water). Therefore, you must have a gauge for oil temperture, too low is just as bad as too high, most oil companies want to see about 245 degrees F. (100 degrees centigrade is equal to 212 degrees F.) Whenever the temp goes over 212 degrees it will boil out the water, so warm up the engine without much strain on the bearings until you get that water boiled away. The same is true for the gear oil. The brake fluid becomes another problem as the fluid itself attracts moisture, be sure to take extra care in tightening the unused container of brake fluid and when it is open, use it and close it right way. The brake fluid is best when it is heated up but not overheated and MUST be changed often. The F-1 teams change it after each session! But then they spend money like it will never end. Another big mistake is many of the racecars were not designed with expansion water tanks, the expanded water has no place to expand to and pumps into the overflow containers BUT that means there is less water capacity and on these hot race days and in a close battle behind other racecars you need ever drop of water (for the cooling system!) The transmission oil is also an item that should be changed, depending on how many races you do, at least once a season, if not twice. In closing, my suggestion about the gasoline is to keep the containers in a shaded area away from the sun, expanded gasoline does not have the same density as cool gas and may change your plug burn and power.
2nd Clyde of 2012
Clyde is the non-professional that does his/her best to try to help!
Water, Cool Clear Water.
In order to have your race engine running without overheating, you must allow the water enough time in the radiator to be cooled. If the speed of the water is too high the time in the rad. is not enough for the cool air to transfere heat out of the water. The original pulley ratio was determined for passenger cars running about 3,000 RPM, the water speed was lower and the cars have a cooling fan. Once those engines were used for racing the RPM went up to about 6,000. For added horsepower the fan system was eliminated. The race engine is not used at low RPM so moving is used to cool the engine, sitting still is not what racing is about. There are several ways to slow up the water speed; slow the water pump by using a different water pump to crankshaft ratio, or restrict the water flow by using smaller t-stat opening or smaller water pipes and use Aluminum tubing for those pipes. There are some additives that claim cooler running. Another item that I have seen cause overheating is when the exhaust system runs next to the engine block or water canister. Also. if you do not have an oil temp. gauge you do not know if the high oil temp is transfering into the water. Oil temp can be high because of several reasons; too little oil or no oil cooler. Engine timing can also cause extra heat by either being too advanced or retarded. Finally, as water heats up it expands, therfore your water canister must have space for the expanding water to go to without going out of the system into the overflow bottles, less water equals more heat, use a system that allows the expanded water to stay in the cooling system.
First Clyde of 2012
I walked into the Mountain Valley Race shop just as Wilber and Clarance were talking about the effort shop owner, Gomer, was putting in to find a worker. Gomer had asked the last guy to clean the 4 pistons for the F/Ford engine he was rebuilding; when he brought the pistons back, Gomer handed one piston back and said "Clean it again" and when the new guy returned Gomer looked at him in disgust and, again, said "Clean it again". At this point the new guy was getting frustrated as he really put plenty of effort in making sure it was spotless BUT when Gomer repeated the "Clean it again" statement, the new guy lost it, cursing Gomer out and asking "just what do you want me to do?", Gomer told him he was fired for cursing him out and by the way that piston NEVER needed to be cleaned, as it was cracked, and that is what he should have told Gomer! The bottom line here is to see what you are doing, look at the part, it may need to be replaced. If you are rebuilding your engine make sure ALL the parts that touch each other are put back in the same place, those parts have "Mated" with each other, if you put them into contact with a different surface, you will be causing unneccessary wear. A rebuild is a matter of replacing worn parts and no "Blueprinting" should be needed. If you feel your engine was not properly done then do plenty of reading or just go to a trusted engine builder, be sure to bring the rules book! One final fact about your engine feeling slow; if you are not putting the power down when your competition is then you will seem slower BUT you may be putting the power down later because of a poorly setup chassis or it could just be you need more time to get use to the way the racecar handles. Try to make time on a race weekend to watch the veteran drivers go through the turn that you are most uncomfortable with. If you are putting the power down after the turn and they are putting the power down before the apex, they have a longer (FASTER) straightaway; they will seem like they have more power!
During my time off from the web-site I decided to re-visit the "Goat Alley Garage"; when I got there Hawkster and Maynard were talking about lubes & greases. Stories were told about people using heavy wheel bearing greases on their steering racks and how the grease would become cured, hard and full of grime, resulting in a difficult, high effort steering unit. Concluding that just a light amount of light weight grease being applied to just the teeth section of the rack. The part that sticks out of the housing should be kept clean and only have "Food Grade" silicone applied to prevent dirt from wearing out the rack end seals. If a product has "petrolium distilates" in it, that product attracts dirt! Most oils, WD-40
Molly lubes all have Petro in them, use that stuff around the house and keep it away from your racecar. BUT, what about the shift linkage? All I can say is that you MUST have a smooth and easy linkage, no jiggling, no partical motions, it has to be done without thinking, just move it and keep racing. Banshee tranny's do not leak but Hewland had to redesign there MK-8 & 9 units to the LD style with the shift finger up on top to prevent the trans fron leaking. If you have a Hewland 8 or 9 you should catch the gear oil that drips from the shift finger; the unit only has 1 quart and if you do not have enough gear oil you wil overheat the gears and at $200.00 per gearset and over $160.00 for the dog rings it destroys your racing budjet. The microwavable soup containers make a good catch container, just loop a piece of safety wire over the shift finger and through the soup container and you will catch the gear oil and you can pour it back in before racing. Back to the linkage; there are 2 methods that I would use; the use of the "Food Grade" silicone at each rod-end, the shift finger and at the shift handle itself but at this end you must do it just before going out to race and use plenty! The other system is all the same except at the shift handle, at the handle, you could use a light grease BUT because it cures and attracts dirt, you have to clean the handle totally each morning of the races, twice on each duel race weekend; before racing on Saturday and again before racing on Sunday. I also think you should cover the linkage handle between sessions. You MUST be able to shift without thinking about it.
Just how does Bumpsteer affects how your racecar handles?
It is not magic, it is cause and effect. Because our racecars are made very stiff, when one wheel hits a bump it becomes the controling wheel; if when that wheel hits the bump it carries the racecar and if it changes direction, toe changes in or out, so does the racecar! Your racecar may dart to the left or right because the wheel that hit the bump changed its toe setting. This is not just for the front wheels because the rear wheels also can toe in or out, therefore will cause the racecar to change direction even though you have not moved the steering wheel. While you can get rid of Bumpsteer in both the up and down position, there is one direction that is more important then the other; under braking! When the racecar is getting ready for a turn you first brake, the front dives, like both wheels hitting a bump at the same time and the rear wheels go into a droop setting as the back of the racecar rises. You should totally eliminate any toe change in this position. If the front tires add toe-in settings under braking when you go to steer into the turn the added toe-in darts the racecar deeper into the turn and you may think the racecar is oversteering and start to change anti-roll bar settings -- WRONG! Then add it the fact that the rear wheels may have toed-out which will make you believe you are oversteering and again go for the Anti-roll bar settings. Getting rid of toe change in the rear is easier because you are only dealing with a castor setting, change the castor setting until there is no bumpsteer in the droop position. The front is difficuilt because you are adding in the steering linkage and the steering rack itself. First
make sure the steering rack has no play up or down, when the rack is in the center you may think there is not much play BUT when the rack is in the turn position that play is multiplied. If the rack is jumping up and down it will affect the toe setting. Next, understand there are racecars with the steering rods right behind an A-arm which is easier to get rid of bumpsteer but many racecars have the steering rods half way between the upper and lower A-arm. Bumpsteer can always be eliminated, it is harder on some models to the point where some racecars need the rack to be relocated but most of the time you can just shim the tie-rod at the steering arm on the upright. If you do this you MUST use a string box. If you do not know how to set one up, you can call or wait for the next issue.
Do not let dirt cause you to DNF. In the past the tech inspector would not check your racecar for legality if the racecar had any dirt on the chassis or if there was an oily surface. What had happened was that a racecar was brought to inspection that was quite dirty after the racecar was cleaned a broken chassis was found in the engine compartment. The chassis was rewelded and the driver was allowed to race, had the broken chassis not been discovered what would the total of the crash been between numbers of racecars and the cost of the repairs? Your routine after the race should be very disciplined, wash the racecar, so you can do the rest of the routine and say clean BUT do not clean the racecar without looking for the problem before it turns into a major problem. We just found a rear axle bearing that caused and expensive repair, the dirt jammed the bearing causing a spin into a tire wall that broke a very expensive rear upright. The repair will exceed $1,500.00!
Find a product that works well in your situation and keep those products with you from your working area at home to the race track. PLEASE, use only "Food Grade" silicone to lube all the pivot points on the racecar, anything with petroleum in it actually attracts dirt! Penetrating oil, WD-40, anything with petro is OUT. After the racecar is clean, start it up to warm and look for oil leaks, then after the engine is off open the throttle and take your compression test. After adding the numbers to your records, reset the racecar for the next event. If you have been at the track before, set the chassis the way you had it at the end of the race, this way you can be that much ahead on perfecting the set-up for this race. If you have no record from the track set the chassis back to neutral. You should be able to do this from un-doing the settings from this last race because you have recorded all the changes you made during the race, of course you should keep (record) those improvements; those improvements are for that track and in those weather conditions. The end of the 2011 race season will soon be here and your winter preventive maintence schedule must be started right away. Ordering stuff one item at a time drives the shipping costs up, try to gather a list and order once, many times the item costs less then the shipping!
MID - SEASON BREAK
While we have a 4 week, mid-season break it is now time to do the preventive maintanence on the racecar. There are six races left in the 2011 season. It is only three weekends of racing left.
September 3 & 4th at NJMP (Lightening) then October 1 and 2nd at Pocono on the 1.5 mile "Sweeper" layout and the final race of the season will be at the Shenandoah circuit on October 22 and 23rd. I do not know which of the four layouts will be used, as soon as I know, I will post it here. It may be a good idea to let John Heckman know what your favorite layout there is.
OK, lets get busy on the racecar, first change out the brake fluid, for whatever reason the brake fluid attracks water and water in the brake fluid will result in a long and spongy brake feel. If you have about ten or so races on the tranny fluid you should change it. If you are running a Hewland tranny it should have a small drain plug in the second from the rear casing. The manuel calls for a single quart of gear oil, if you are like so many others with the Hewland trans you know it leaks out of the shifter rod, if you do not catch the leaking fluid, you will not know how low the gear oil gets and the gear oil is all that keeps the gears from overheating and hurting itself. Catch the dripping and return it to the gearbox.
If you are running a Banshee, that gear box takes two and a half quarts while the manuel calls for three quarts, I have found that the high speed and the high rate of expansion, it is best to run the two and a half quarts.
If you have been doing the right thing and keeping a record of your engines compression and it is now getting lower, it is time to do a valve job. Due to the FRCCA regulation for keeping the engine at the
"Blueprint" stage, any good machine shop can do a valve job. If you have any problems locating the Valve springs or gaskets contact Formula Haus as they stock those items.
If you have a list of items you want to change, now is the time to get at least one of them done, move an instrument, add an oil temp gauge, pour a seat, move a pedal or shift lever location, get a different steering wheel. Do not let "Murphy" get ahead of you, stay on top of the racecar, if you have a problem you could lose two races in one weekend. Due to the economy, the FRCCA host two races per weekend and while it saves travel expense it makes for a short season, only seven weekends out of fifty-two, it is a long time between events and the season seems to be done before you get worn-out. Talking about worn-out if the tire you bought at the beginning of this sesson showing signs of not making it to the end of the season it is time to make sure the wheel alignment is correct, I have found that if it takes any kind of effort to push the racecar you have something wrong. These racecars do not have horsepower, they need to roll easily. Recall that at Indy they found that if the wheel alignment is out by two millimeter (About .080) at two hundred miles an hour you will lose four miles per hour, so with us just one millimeter will cost us 2 miles per hour, why give it away? While checking the alignment understand that your power does not compare with the strain the racecar puts on the parts, so if you can feel any play the racecar will make it much loser. Also, if the tire that is not used as much at this track has a higher tempurature I would think it is scrubbing too much, stealing speed and making racing fast more difficuilt.
Going quicker 2011
If you have attended all the FRCCA races this season and have been racing during the 2010 season, then the driving and getting used to the racecar and its feelings are letting you go faster BUT have you been doing your paperwork? The better you are at record keeping the easier it will be to go quicker at each track we re-visit. Insanity is the act of doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result! This is the very same thing the drivers do, thinking each lap will be better then the last one, you must make changes to improve. As a driver you may hunt around and try different "lines" or you may have to perfect the suspension. This is where the confusion comes from "I just had the suspension set, I know it is accurate" and you are right except you are only right on level ground without the tracks bumps and other things like banking or off-camber turns. Therefore, when you make an adjustment on suspension, carb. jetting or ignition timing change; you need to record it so when you return to that track or the weather conditions are the same you know what to adjust so you will have a head-start on doing more adjustments to get the racecar and yourself even quicker. Record keeping or bookwork, and you though you just had to drive quicker, Ha; you need to be an accountant! While I am suggesting you keep records to improve your speed, if you have not been keeping records on your engine from compression to dwell, age of hoses, belts, spark plugs you may be trying to go faster with an engine that is in need of some attention. Let us face it; you cannot go quicker with an engine that is down on power, you need the engine running at full power in order to go quickly. Keeping good oil in the engine and changing it at reccomended times will keep the crank and bearings good for a long time, at least 30 races, not weekends, races, but the cylinder head with the valves and valve springs will need to be closely monitored and attention must be paid to these items as they take the biggest pounding and lose the most amount of power. If you keep up with the cylinder head it will not be too expensive but float a valve due to weak valve springs and you will damage a piston, AT LEAST! There are a few tools each driver should have or know someone that has them; portable tachometer, dwell gauge, compression gauge and a fuel pump pressure tester which can also be use to check for a vacuum leak. Finally, make sure to check that the fuel cell is not coming apart, never polk a stick into the fuel cell to check the fuel level, that only tears the foam apart, some driver think the fuel filter is enough, but the bad foam gets past the filters and makes a mess of the carb. jets. If you do not have a book on your set-ups, you need to start one, it will only help you to go quicker. Racecar driver, bookkeeper, one in the same!content. You can change my font, size, line height, color and more by highlighting part of me and selecting the options from the toolbar.
Expansion affects many items that will change your racecars set-up. When the water expands, the heated water goes into the overflow container, then the driver puts it back into the radiator only to have to repeat this over and over (?) The engine and tranny oil also expands and overflows into the catch container, as long as you have the oil lines properly routed, do not return the overflow to the engine AND above all do not have a the same overflow container catch the water and oils. Water and oil makes a bad and damaging mixture. Seperate containers will prevent this bad mixture from being sucked back into the engine, if the engine "runs backward" after shutting it off, detination. This can happen from cheap gas, too much timing or overheating.
When you adjust the wheel bearings, be sure to leave room for expansion, if you do not, the expanded bearings will run tight, slow you down, it takes horsepower to move tight bearings and cause the bearings to overheat and burn out or worse, seize up.
Brake fluid also expands when it gets hot, but with no place to expand to; the expanded fluid puts pressure on the brake calipers, putting pressure onto the brake pads. The added "drag" on the pads steals horsepower and slows you down but it does speed up how quickly the pads wear out. Adjusting the proper master cylinder play is very important, I am not talking about brake balance which is also very important as you must have the proper pressure from front to back,
I am talking about having enough clearance for the expanded fluid to do so without putting pressure onto the calipers. I have found that having the racecar jacked up, I then extend the Master cylinder rod until I feel a slight drag on the brake rotor, I then mark the rod and turn it back to loose 1 and a half turns. I then proceed to do the other master cylinder in the same manner. The amount of play is usually fine BUT you must check to make sure all brake rotors spin freely after your first practice, as you may need to loosen the front a small amount as the front brakes do generate more heat.
Expansion is also the reason you should warm-up the engine, tranny and brakes during the first laps on track. All the components are working properly when at their designed clearances and those clearances are at operating tempuratures.
Save this and save yourself from losing "Stuff"