Kimini 2.2 - Build Diaries
2006, July - Oct


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If you find this site helpful, useful, or at least entertaining, consider showing your support. Your contribution will help keep this site up and running. Show your support and become part of the project!

If you want to be notified when the book is available, send an e-mail and I'll add you to the list. There's no obligation, just a note when it's out.

The plan is to publish it in three forms.
1. An e-book for those people who can't wait or don't want to deal with postage.
2. A paper book with black-and-white pictures.
3. A paper book with color pictures.

31 October

Went out to dinner, then hung out at the bookstore. Two teenagers came in, talking like Beavis and Butthead. Beavis comes over, picks up a body-building magazine, and stands right next to me. That's when I became aware of his outfit. That would be the very, very short shorts, tool belt (with hammer), and tight t-shirt. Ah, I see, a member of the alternative lifestyle - whatever. The giveaway though was very faint snickers from Butthead. Okay, I see what's going on; they're looking to get a good reaction from me. Beavis became frustrated I wasn't reacting, even after moving even closer, so he dropped his magazine on the floor, doing a nice bending over display. I came up with two things I could do. One was to say to my new close friend, "Excuse me, could you please hand me that Guns & Ammo magazine up there?"

Of course since they thought they were being outlandish, the really outrageous thing would be to whirl around, grab his crotch - hard - and say, "I think you've come up a little short." Wonder what his friend would do. Thankfully for both of us, they left, and I wouldn't have had the stomach to do it anyway...

This diary is large enough, so a new one will start with the next entry.
30 October

The trailer was picked up and delivered to the powdercoater.

Thanks again for the continuing support. It's good to see there are many in the balconies that know and understand, yet understandably don't want to get involved. The sad thing is, when someone gets flamed because they said something negative, any supporters of the contrary view are scared to speak up too. The hapless builder only sees feel-good comments with no substance. Ultimately it's to his own disservice that he goes on his way without any real design input. Human nature I suppose.

The comments regarding workmanship surprise me since everyone, including myself, had only positive praise. Yet somehow "workmanship" gets confused with "engineering". Good workmanship means a bracket is pretty, the bends smooth, the metal polished and with beautiful welds. Good engineering is ensuring that same bracket is the correct material, the right thickness to handle the forces involved, and to be mounted in the proper location. The two are independent - looking good isn't good enough. Some of the car and motorcycle fabrication shows on TV are evidence of that. Sure they look good, but they aren't safe to drive. Okay, time to give this a rest.
29 October

The show went well. I left home at 6am to meet up with Dave Norton and his Shrike. Dave gets high marks from me - 100,000 miles is very impressive for any home-built car; I'd be happy to get half that. Anyhow, we missed each other so I made the drive alone. It's really fun heading out into the back country on a crisp Fall day, far from traffic and visual clutter. Driving a home-built car far from cities and cell-phone towers is even more thrilling... "flying without a net." I recorded some video driving down the twisty road into Borrego Springs, which would have been cool to watch, had I remembered to press "Record" - doh!

Arriving in town I stopped by a local diner and asked a couple hot rodders where sign-in was. That was the first glimpse that some people weren't happy with the $35 pre-registration, preferring to wait until the last second in case their plans change. What made it worse was the low turn out of about 40 cars, leaving half the parking lot empty, yet people arriving without a reservation weren't allowed to park in the lot. Other than that it was a good day, kids loved Kimini, leaving fingerprints all over it. Women, as always, referred to it as "cute!"

Regarding the pictures below, there are a few notable ones. There's one picture of nothing but a mountain. That's 6666ft Rabbit Peak, and 30 years ago I and a buddy climbed it while in high school. We didn't take enough water, but since we were immortal high school kids we didn't need any. So about 90% of the way to the top, I got tired. My friend, leaving to assault the summit alone, yelled back, "You know, if you don't climb it today, you probably never will, and you'll never forget it." The bastard was right!

There's a picture of an 80s Jaguar, the one with the virtually cram-packed engine compartment. Those V12s must be hell to work on; no wonder they're so expensive to service. The last shot of the Corvette Grand Sport was interesting, apparently a kit with Corvette components.

I left early to get home well before dark, just in case. Adding to the urgency was a fire in the nearby mountains which might cause traffic problems - it did, adding a one hour delay to get home. Later Dave called to offer congratulations - I'd won my class. I was brought back to earth by my wife who, after being told I'd won, said, "Uh huh." Dave won his class too, adding another trophy to I don't know how many others! I'm not sure why I got put in "Best Foreign" class... "Special Interest" would have been more appropriate. Dave related how at least one owner wasn't happy he'd been beat by that "thing" I'd built.

Thanks for the notes on the forum fiasco. I read most of them, deleting the ones with "attitude." My parting shot on the suspension issue is that it'll be fine as-is, if used with 10,000 lb/in springs -- if the suspension can't move, it can't go wrong. Oh and the last point, about why I went on a public rant instead of a quiet private message, was my concern that the builder might give rides at the show he was rushing to attend - which he did. What surprised me most though was how mean some people can get. I may be harsh, but mean isn't where I go. To those who thrive on it, I bid you adieu.

On a ligher note, I know you're getting tired of hearing the book is "coming along", but it really is! Oh, and I got another nibble from the publisher, so that avenue is still open. And finally, thanks once again to SOBill who so gratiously loaned me his corner scales. The car was never checked after upgrading to stiffer springs, so it'll be great to know it's correct heading out on track in a few weeks.

28 October

I'm pooped. Took off Friday to deal with the failed fish pond pump, which took all day and then some. The Koi are pretty tame; several times I had to shoo them away so they wouldn't get sucked into the pump lowering the water level. A couple of them can be lifted out of the water and they don't mind, but then again they're the same one's that will put a hickey on your hand if you're not paying attention. Cooper-Dog helps out as always, and loves nothing better than to be right next to me no matter what I'm doing. Finished with that about 2pm today and had a short afternoon to complete the trailer. Tested it out by loading up the car and thankfully there was no drama, which means the frame is ready to go out Monday to the powdercoaters. The axle will remain here where it will be painted with POR-15. Unfortunately I didn't buy enough to paint the entire trailer, yet have too much to paint just the axle. Oh well.

Spending time in various forums lately reminds me of what I've been asked several times, "Why do you waste your time?" This is the first time that seems to be true, where if I'd never posted, it wouldn't have made any difference. Apparently I am perceived one of two ways, either an laid-back, easy-to-get-along-with fellow, or a complete ass. This started after seeing what I felt was the most dangerous suspension anyone had ever put on the back of a car. Terrible link placement and single-sheer toe-links insure that taking a corner at any speed with cause the car to spin off the road backwards - and I said so.

Let's just say it was an excellent education in human nature. Apparently my The-Sky-Is-Falling, gloom-and-doom approach to pointing out potentially fatal flaws isn't the right method; apparently life-threatening issues must be candy coated. The builder said he'd deal with it "after driving the car" which just has me shaking my head. Other people who knew nothing about suspension said it would be fine - amazing. The surprising thing about the internet is it's apparently more important to not be negative, than to say something that might hurt someone's feelings - never mind it might save their life. Someone later posted that he had no intension of "posting his suspension for review", apparently afraid I'd hurt his feelings. Geez if he thinks I'm tough, wait until he goes around a hard corner with really bad suspension. Take up the argument with physics and guess who'll win.

Isn't one definition of insanity where you keep doing (or saying) the same thing over and over, and expect different results? Oh and my crowning achievement was to be labeled "Suspension Nazi." While it says more about the person saying it, I'm wondering if I should change my user name to that. It does seem like I should just watch these wayward car projects and just turn my head; what a sad state of affairs. I said something because I care... what does that say about the vast silent majority. It not a great choice: either they don't know what they're looking at (but defend it anyway), or do know and stay silent - chose one.

The good point about not wasting time on forums is that it frees up more time to work on the book - though it makes me wonder who'll read it. How can someone design suspension without reading, listening and learning? I think suspension is a big deal, apparently vastly more so than some. The phrase, "Forgive them for they know not what they do", comes to mind, and I guess I just have to let it go. No more rants on this.

Tomorrow I'm taking Kimini to the Borrego Springs hod rod meet - that'll be fun. A long drive, but fun!
22 October

I may have to take off a day this week to deal with our Koi pond. Over the last few years the water flow has slowed down, and down, and down, and finally stopped today, yet the pump is still running. It's kind of an odd failure though; since the pump is a centrifugal type it's hard to plug up. Disassembling the pump showed no problems, and the motor still runs at the same speed as when it was new. So why isn't it pumping water? Best I can tell no pipes are plugged up so it's a bit of a mystery. I wonder if the impeller has worn (by the water?) to the point it just can't push water any longer. A bubbler was put in the pond to keep the fish alive until the new big-ass pump and parts arrive. Darn yard stuff is cutting into my car time!

Welded on brackets so the wood runners can be bolted down, and drilled holes in same. Cut offsets in the runners and drilled clearance holes for the axle bolts. Next week is the Borrego Springs Hot Rod show so things might get a bit busy between now and then. I'll be happy when our extended work weeks end at Thanksgiving...

Made good progress on the "book that never ends"; currently at 337 pages.

And finally, I and about 10 million other people are waiting for Dennis to update his website to see how his first track session went with his DP1.
21 October

Regular readers may recall some of the interesting animals we get around here: possums, baby rabbits, iguana, and now there's another one; check out this little fellow. I was walking Cooper in a field and one came out of the brush. So while I'm wondering just what we've got here, it comes up to me like it wants to be picked up... okay. It was extremely tame, obviously someone's pet that got away. As I held it in my arms, scratching its head, it fell asleep; I can only imagine the adventure it has been on. Being tame, it wouldn't last long in the wild. The picture here is what they look like; I didn't take any pictures ;)

These are illegal in California and if Animal Control gets hold of it they'll kill it. You can't own, sell, or even transport them. Odd how they're legal in some states but not others... doesn't make much sense, I mean either they're fine or they aren't, so which is it? (This is similar to owning pet skunks, same screwed up laws.) The funny thing is, while they're "illegal", pet shops carry food for them - huh. I did a bit of reading about why they're illegal here; it's because there is concern they'd kill wildlife. Being meat-eaters, they were originally used for killing rabbits, snakes, mice and rats. Apparently the worry is that if they breed in the wild they'll eat all the rats and mice... can't have that.

Anyhow, the little one is going to a good home, to someone who's owned them before, out of state, of course. Very, very cool creatures, very cat-like. I'd keep it except Cooper would kill it given the chance - it looks too much like a 12" long skinny rat to him! I don't want to use the name of what it is in case "they" search for such things, but what they are rhymes with the word "Barret."
15 October

Dennis of dpcars gave me an earful regarding my whining about Kimini "proving herself." (I rewrote history and took the whining out of Friday's entry!) He has very valid points; it'll be many trackdays before I get anywhere near the car's limit, and... eh, here, I'll let him explain:
    "... bottom line is, on the track the driver matters a lot. A car will only do as well as the driver will let it. You don't become a fast track driver overnight, it take countless laps of practice. I have over 3,000 laps at PIR alone and i still learn something every single time i go out there. I guarantee you, first five trackdays you won't get anywhere near what the car can really do.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that fundamentally trackdays are VERY different from autocross! In a/x you only have 3-4 one-minute runs so you must go for broke from the start. There are only cones to hit so exceeding the limits has very low cost. Trackdays are the opposite. exceed the limits and the price can be heavy. On the other hand, you typically get 60-100 laps in an event and the track is the same every time. Work up to speed slowly, methodically. There is always the next lap, the next session, the next trackday. The reason we can drive at 100% on the track is because there are a lot fewer variables. No opposing traffic, kids, dogs, cops, potholes (usually ;) etc. so you don't have to leave margin to account for those. Most importantly you KNOW what lies ahead so you can plan instead of reacting which is the whole secret to being fast. However, you can't plan if you don't know the track intimately so the first order of business, before anything else, is LEARN THE TRACK. At every point you should know what comes next and what you're going to do, when and how. Until it's the case it is pointless to talk about how the car is performing because you're in no position to use all its performance."
Somewhat related is what another buddy said when he learned I was going to the track. He asked if I had my testing schedule written down; what tests I'd be running and in what order... I never even considered that, I just want to go out and have fun. Sure, if I were developing a nationally-competitive GT5 car I would, but I'm not. Kimini is a toy, plus I haven't driven Streets of Willow in 20 years so there'll be plenty of learning to do on my part.

Regarding the trailer, the longer it takes to complete the less I enjoy working on it. Oh I don't mind the work, it's just right now I'd rather be preparing the car for the trackday, or working on the book, or any of a number of other things. But being the cheapskate that I am I decided to build a trailer, so I'll carry on until it's done. I realized the first thing is to get it registered, which means getting the lights working now instead of worrying about paint. It can be painted after it's registered, plus that way I can pull it over to to the powdercoater. Of course I was missing some electrical parts which means that can't happen until next weekend. In the meantime I added the winch and made provisions for tie-down points. An indication I've about reached my tolerance with spending time on the trailer was my ordering aluminum ramps. For what they cost it's about the same as me making my own, never mind the time.
14 October

The November issue of GRM has hit the newsstand, whoo-hoo!

Another social commentary/rant.

On the weekends I take Cooper for morning walks. It's normal to pass garage sales in progress so we always stop in to see if there's anything good. This morning I was looking at some stuff and observed the following. A father and his young child were there and the dad (not the kid) picks up a paintball gun. He asked what it was, and as the owner described it, he mimicked shooting everyone around him, complete with making "pow, pow" noises. He had no idea what kind of weapon he was handling or if it was loaded, but ignrorance didn't prevent him from squeezing the trigger in attempt to "kill us all." His son became interested and asked Dad to buy it for him, which he did. I'm sure he'll explain to his kid how it isn't a toy and how to handle it safely... yeah right. Frickin retarded parents... right then I really wished the dad was on the paintball field so I could educate him on how much of a toy it is. I bet he's one of the guys who fires his .45 in the air on New Year's. Moron.
13 October

It's done; Kimini is signed up for some real track time. Friday November 17 is the date, Streets of Willow Springs is the place. If you're in SoCal and want to come out and watch here's the link.

I recently found the receipt from buying the VIN-doner - Dec 17, 1996. Since Kimini was completed roughly a year ago, it really did taken nine years to complete.

While the November issue of Grassroots Motorsports is still being received by subscribers, I keep waiting for it to show up at newsstands. This is so I can hand-deliver a copy to one particular person. During the entire nine year project I received only positive comments and support. There was however, one person; one, who when told what I was building said, "Sounds like you're trying to build a monument to yourself." He was flat out wrong; it was because I couldn't afford what I really wanted, nothing more than that. Since this person has a history of subtle put-downs (note the "... trying to build...") I kept my mouth shut; that's just how he is. I will however enjoy putting the copy of GRM in front of him, and it is a bit tempting to mention that, as far as building monuments, he has more kids then we do, so who's building what? But I'm more mature than that... Don't think I'll give him a copy of the book though, he can buy his own copy!
11 October

I got some ribbing from a certain someone about building the trailer. He said he had a dual-axle trailer made to his specs in three days for $1400, which is a great deal! Around here, used, dumpy trailers go for that much and I'd spend another $500 fixing it up. However I do admit I'd have second thoughts about building another one...

Anyway, there's a RedLine track event coming up Nov 17 at Streets of Willow... I think that's going to be the Big Day. It's the right time, the trailer will be done, the car will be ready, it won't be too hot (the track is in the desert) with no rain (probably.) The track is twisty enough to see how the suspension does, and not so open I'm driving flat out. I'm going to run the car with the same (10-yr!) old R1s I bought back when the project began; there's just too much tread left to replace them now. Besides, they'll provide an excuse if I don't break the track record...
8 October

Pushed on with the trailer. It's basically done, but instead of rushing into paint I will go over it with the grinder to remove left-over sharp edges. There's still work to do, running tail-lamp and electric brake wires, cutting, drilling and painting the wood, but that can be done after it's out for paint. Yes, that's right; the current thinking is to have it powdercoated. The only issue is how to get it there (it's not registered and the lights don't work.) The good news is the powdercoater offered to bring their big truck over and we lift the trailer off its axle and take it that way. The axle will not be powdercoated because after metal is powdercoated it goes into a 400 degree oven. That wouldn't be good for the brakes, its wiring, lube, and especially the rubber inserts which act as the springs. I think I'll paint it myself at home with POR-15. Oh and there's also the ramps... it's always something.

The battery at the front of the trailer is required to power the electric brakes if the trailer breaks free of the car. That seems pretty optimistic to me; it seems likely one brake will work slightly more that the other, causing the trailer to spin and probably flip over. I guess that's better than the trailer coasting in a perfectly straight line for a half mile, as impossible as that seems.

In other news, remember the guy who wrecked "his" Ferrari Enzo in Malibu, CA earlier this year? Turns out he has quite a past, to put it mildly. There's an awesome article about him in Wired magazine. This will make quite a book and an amazing movie... Hollywood writers would have trouble coming up a character like this guy!

2 Oct

Here's pictures from yesterday's San Diego British Car Day, a fun event with lots of cool cars; I couldn't help but be attracted to the older ones. Not sure why, maybe it's how they're a mix of artwork and engineering, back when styling was dictated more by beauty and aesthetics rather than a wind tunnel. No, I didn't win anything but that was expected. The giant display I made didn't work - or rather - there simply wasn't room for it; oh well. It'll be redone to make it smaller for a better fit in the car!

There's another car show coming up at the end of the month, way out in Borrego Springs, in the desert. I think my confidence has risen to the point where I'm actually looking foward to driving way out into the middle of nowhere in a little one-off car, and not be (too) concerned. Until then there'll be a push to complete the trailer so I can enter Kimini in a real track event - the missing chapter of the book... upon which much work continues to be invested.

In other news, the November issue of Grassroots Motorsports is either out or darn near it. I see they have November's cover on their website, which features a very familiar Mini! ;)

And finally, here's a fun website of some guys restoring a Nissan/Datsun Z-car, plus creating some very entertaining videos.

30 September

I should say I worked on the trailer today... but due to a motivational problem or laziness, not much happened. Instead the day was spent making a display for the show tomorrow. This time I'm going prepared, with a large display showing specs, FAQ, and enough pictures to convey how it was built. At 4ft x 6ft tall, think it's big enough? This way, when the judges give thumbs down to the car, at least they'll know what they're looking at...

In different news, I can't help but offer some recent social commentary. Periodically, Jehovah Witnesses canvas the neighborhood looking for Lost Souls Of Incorrect Belief (who I suppose they consider everyone who Isn't Like Them.) It's a dead giveaway when they're in town, dressed like they're in church, while everyone else is in torn jeans and ripped tee-shirts, mowing their lawns, racking leaves, or, welding up a trailer. Anyhow, the JW Corporation has apparently hired a new ad agency. Before, you had to deal with two guys, or one man and one woman. Then they started doing something I can't stand, bringing along a small child as bait. I can only imagine how much that child wants to be doing what they're doing, being used as a tool so the grownups will be listened to - I don't like that at all. But that's not the latest. No, they cranked it up a notch, now using, at least around here, two totally hot women... Oh, and just so us Unsaved Ones don't get the wrong idea, one is pushing a baby stroller. It seems oddly ironic to use hot babes to spread The Word; I wonder if their quota of collected souls has increased. I mean, how much is a typical male heathen listening when he's thinking about what nice hooters they have?

Vaguely related to this, I recently accompanied my wife to a business dinner of women-owned businesses. On the Guy's Enjoyment Scale, it's on par with waiting hours for your wife in the Woman's Department. Anyhow, there were perhaps 100 women there, but there was an interesting sub-group who all sat at the same table. That table could have been called the Cleavage Convention, Boob Fest, or Mammary Madness. I felt like I was looking at ten Desperate Housewives at a night club. Maybe I should have asked that table exactly what business they were in... from the looks of things they were either plastic surgeons or ran an escort service. So, given the nature of the dinner, how much I was allowed to examine their "business wares"? What I didn't understand, and asked my wife about later on was, who were they showing off to? Is a woman impressed by another woman's rack? Is it supposed to represent how successful they are? Since they knew there'd hardly be any men there, what else could it be?

What would be the male analogy? Imagine a bunch of male business owners getting together for dinner, all wearing tight pants and shirts? Doesn't seem to work the same does it?
25 September

Sent off a very preliminary draft of the manuscript to the publisher - now I wait. Actually that's not true; work is continuing at full speed. There's still lots to do but the big pieces are in place so now there's "just" lots of tweeking. I am curious what the publisher will say... it could range from, "Great job, don't change a thing", to, "What do you want me to do with this?" I'm hoping for the best but pushing on as if I must do it myself.

Waxed the car, polished the wheels, vacuumed the insides and cleaned the windows, all set for next weekend.

Scott Brooke, a long-time reader, has created a website specializing in "from the ground up original car designs", called Original Car Concepts. It's his effort to create a virtual meeting place for home-based car designers and builders. Check out his site and contribute something!
23 September

This weekend was going to be spent finishing up the trailer; I bought the deck material, ordinary 2x6 wood, along with a winch and tie-down straps. That plan were pushed off, but for a good reason. I finally found a publisher expressing interest in the book, so the weekend is being spent working on the manuscript, getting it to a point that it's not too embarrassing. There is still a lot of work to do but he'll get the idea. If he likes it, great, if not I'll keep right on pushing and do it myself. It Will get published, one way or the other.

I found that working on the book is similar to working on the car, I can't accomplish much working on it only 15-minutes at a time. I do far better setting aside an entire day to really get on a roll.

I was complaining to my coworker Craig about how I had to get the manuscript presentable and finish the trailer. He fed me some of my own medicine, saying, "So are you having fun? Why are you imposing deadlines?" Yup, right from the manuscript he reviewed did I hear my own voice... okay, I asked for that. Yes he's correct, there is no deadline; it will be done when it's done.

The plan is to get the manuscript off Sunday night for the publisher to chew on, then continue working on it during "school nights." I'll work on the trailer next Saturday, and Sunday I'm entered in the car show San Diego British Car Days. It'll be amusing to see how Kimini is received, in a car show where authenticity is a big deal. I wonder if I'll be placed alongside Crusty the Clown, who's making balloon animals. I do not expect to win any prize, unlike the last show, when I did expect to win... but didn't, but I'm over that, really.

This time, I'm going to have some documentation for visitors to look through, explaining just what Kimini is. I copied the C16 article and put it in a clear folder which will be on a table in front of the car. I'm hoping the Grassroots Motorsports issue is out by that time so I can include it. Based upon website traffic it's hard to tell, visitor count is heading upward but not quickly. Guess I need to drop by the newstand and see if the latest issue of GRM is out yet.
19 September

Congratulations to Dennis Palatov for his first drive in his 800lb, mid-engine Hayabusa-powered, composite shell, 4WD racer, the DP1. Congratulations Dennis!
17 Sept

The trailer is getting closer, adding additional tubing to further stiffen the assembly and installing the fenders. In hindsight things could be done slightly different, and simpler... more material for the book ;) What's left is the decking, lights, brakes, winch, ramps, and of course paint. Oh and getting it registered. This is taking a while but so what, and one thing I found is it's hard to do a quick-and-dirty job. What I mean is, using TIG for the welding, it's not possible to just throw down quick welding beads; may as well make the welds look nice. I know my welder can be converted to normal arc welding but I'm too lazy and cheap to bother. It's also been a long time since I did any arc welding so who knows what kind of quality I'd get.

Also, just like with the car, measuring tubing, cutting things so they're square, keeping things flat, it's all the same. Yes the tolerances are looser but it's hard to just let things go. It's just as much work to make it wrong as to do it right, may as well make it nice.

The last shot shows one incentive to build a compact trailer... it fits, just. Parking it on the side of the garage will no doubt help the red-neck look of our yard. It's one consequence of spending all my time on the car/trailer and not working to clean up the yard. The lumpy grass is called Korean grass, very low maintenance, but insidious.. never plant it, it just keeps spreading. The grass on the left of the sidewalk grew under it. I don't look forward to trying to kill it all and digging up the roots...

My brother now has his transmission (5-sp from a 1999 Camaro) so he'll be fitting that up with the engine to see what's what. It's going to be interesting to see who's car is faster. On paper he should be, what with about the same weight but 1/3 more power, and at a lower rpm. Than again he has a lot less weight on his rear tires so he'll have less traction off the line. I'm hoping his rear tires go up in a cloud of tire smoke while I'm already across the intersection! We'll see... he still has a long way to go; right now he's just fitting everything together. It'll all has to come back apart for paint, then final assembly will start. It won't be until after the first of the year (when he gets it registered) that we have the sibling showdown. It'll also be interesting to see how the two very different cars compare at the autocross. Guess we'll find out! Huh, about that time I may be ready for tires... guess I should get the really sticky ones!

11 Sept

Thanks to everyone who wrote about door clearance on the trailer. The issue, for non-car-trailer people, is when a car is driven onto a trailer, there's how to get out. The problem is the door hitting the side of the trailer, leaving perhaps only inches for the door to open. More than a few people who saved money buying a small trailer end up climbing out the window!

There's 57" between Kimini's doors, and 78" between the inside of the trusses, so each door can open 10.5"... not a lot but okay. The thing is, the fenders are right smack in the way of the doors anyway... that's how the non-negotiable CG location and door location worked out. The trusses don't intrude on this space since they're outboard of the trailer bed, plus I may be able to cheat a bit and park slightly off center. In any case I'll put some padding on the trailer where the door will hit the truss.

Doing a search of on-line POD publisher sites revealed a scary figure, for color printing, they charge around $0.15/pg. For a 350 page book that works out to $52.50 - with zero profit - welcome to my world. Just how much can I ask on top of that? That's why I expect sales of the black-and-white version and the e-book to be much higher. I think I know who's making money in the on-line printing world, and it's not the writers...
10 Sept

Worked on the trailer and the book. I'm spending so much time on the book there's less time for updates here. Anyway, the trailer's coming along. Bouncing on the trailer showed it was flexed too much at the front end, so spare tubing stiffened it up. The trusses are in and work really well. In the last shot I'm wondering if I should just use angle-iron instead of wood for the deck material... haven't decided.

In other news, my brother found and bought an engine, a 2003 300hp supercharged V6, for $1200, a very good deal.

Last week we went to see the singer Tony Bennett. He's pretty amazing, 79-yrs old, still doing live shows, his voice is as good as ever. We decided to go now because... well, someday we might have wished we had seen him and it would have been too late.

4 Sept

Welded on the hitch. The trailer is about as heavy as I want to push around; it'll get a bit heavier once the decking (plain old 2x4s) is laid down. Next are the side trusses which is where the real strength comes from; without them it would buckle with even a light load.

The tricky part is calculated where the axle goes to get the proper tongue weight, which is about 80lbs empty. Total tongue weight should be around 10% of the fully loaded trailer, or about 200lbs with a 1500lb car and 500lb trailer. So 120lbs additional weight is needed from the car itself. The easy way is to load the car on, check the tongue weight and move the axle until it's right. But without the trusses, the trailer won't support any weight. And not knowing where the axle centerline is means the trusses can't be properly placed - a circular problem. It's not a big deal, if I did the math right...

The fenders get mounted directly to the trusses and thankfully the side-spacing worked out just right (clearing the tires.) Haven't decided how to paint it; powdercoating would be great but I don't think it'll work. That's because they bake the metal after it's coated, but that's no good with the axle in place due to the rubber inserts. I'll probably brush on some rust-encapsulation paint.
2 Sept

Thanks for all who've signed up for the book waiting list, I'm doing my best. I finally have a decent drawing program and have already added several figures to help with the explanations.

In other news, there's a reggae song, "96 degrees in the shade." That's about right, not so great but this is the weekend the trailer goes together. The pictures pretty much explain it, with the basic frame completed today. Moving the very heavy axle into place was interesting... having to figure out how to do it by myself. For now the axle will remain clamped in place until I can determine the tongue weight. I'll work on it more tomorrow... right now I'm beat, and it feels good to sit down!

I've been reading the book about Burt Monro (World's Fastest Indian), called "One Good Run". The book's different from the movie of course, though the movie doesn't exaggurate anything. He really did "cut" his lawn with gasoline once. The somewhat shocking thing (which I was glad they left out of the movie) was when, as a teen-ager, he built a 50mm cannon. His dad would only let him fire it under one condition, that he point it at their old dog! The dog was sick and his dad figured this way he wouldn't have to shoot it himself. The aftermath, well, you can imagine. As a dog lover this was hard to read, though I understand it had the same result as what we politely call "putting a dog down." But still... did they not like the dog?

31 August

I received another red-lined manuscript back from review (thanks Craig!) and he brought up a point that's been bugging me... When I started writing the book I made a big assumption that readers will read the recommended design books. That way I don't have to cover the basics of suspension design, for example, explaining what kingpin-offset, scrub radius, and roll-centers are. It just doesn't seem... what, efficient, since these concepts are already described in the excellent books I recommend; why reinvent the wheel, so to speak. Craig's job was to catch typos and my molestations of the English language (and he did!), but he wasn't expected to understand all the technical stuff. Of course he hadn't read the other books, but it still bugged me that I'd left a reader high and dry. He might someday become a builder (he already has an older Miata...) and I wondered if I had alienated him by burying him in unfamiliar terms. The good news is he said that with a few diagrams,it would go a long way toward making the book stand on its own. His point is well taken, that I practically force the reader to buy other books in order to understand mine - not a good idea. I'll add some illustrations to clarify various terms which should help a lot to not lean on other author's work.

So on this note, it's time to start collecting e-mail addresses of people interested in the book. No commitment or anything, I'll just notify you when it's out and where to get it. Drop me an e-mail and I'll add you to the list. I think you'll be pleased, it is the mother of all brain-dumps, with everything I've learned over the last 10 years in this book.
26 August

Rolled up behind a new Maserati Coupe. When the light turned green he didn't try anything right away, then saw me tailing him. His car pulled really well, and right when I wondered if I'd be able to pass him, he backed off. As I passed I looked over and, surprise, he was on the cell-phone. I wonder if that's what happened, he got to the top of first and couldn't shift because his hands were full. And people say they can easily drive and talk... I'll chalk it up as a win which is nice since the Coupes run about $90,000. I want to make a bumper sticker: "Your driving sucks, but you have sweet cell-phone skills."

Visited my buddy Lee who, perhaps more so than anyone, deserved to drive the car. He was the fellow who made the molds and when his plans changed, generously donated the shell to me, pretty much making the whole project happen. I was glad to see he didn't hold back as we tore down the road. He liked how it kept pulling harder and harder with higher rpm. He like the steering, but then again he should; he's the one who suggested the specifications. He conclusion of the car, "It's fast enough that it can get you into serious trouble - as it should be. It's also nimble enough to avoid that trouble. No point building a car that can't do that!"

On the way home, stopped to get lunch and was asked by a kid if my car had "NOS." No I said, thinking he should be in insurance; the AAA agent thought the same thing... On the way home a lowered Integra pulled out, here we go again. Sure enough, he did a street pass, which, to us old people (>30) means he was issuing a challenge. "Punk-ass kids, someone should teach them to respect their elders." So I did the mature, proper thing, and did a street pass back at him... after which he lost all interest in going against me at the next light :)
20 August

Yesterday afternoon, installed the receiver-hitch on the truck, connected the trailer electrical adaptors, and will wire the brake controller later this week.

Today's plan was to work on the trailer but I got a call making me drop everything. Grassroots Motorsports did a photoshoot of Kimini a few months ago, interested in doing a feature article. The big surprise was the call today - they want to put it on the cover! Holy Smokes! I didn't know what to say... and I still don't. So I met the photographer, Robert Bowen, again and headed out into San Diego's mountains to find a good location. "Good location" means no visual clutter or traffic; not easy in SoCal. So we found a spot, Robert took his position at a curve, and I drove the car by, over and over and over, in order to get just the right shot.

Of course that meant I had to make U-turns at each end, so I randomly picked a convenient driveway to use. Turns out the owner noticed and decided I must be an evil person. On about the sixth run, I came to the driveway (the house was about 300ft up the hill) and there was a car parked sideways, blocking it. Not only that, there was a royal biotch... I mean lady, standing next to the car with her arms crossed, glaring at me. I did the one thing I could think of to annoy her further - completely ignore her. No eye contact, no wave, nothing, I just went to the next driveway (next to her's), turned around and headed back. After a couple more of these I figured I'd about reached the limit of taunting, so we moved on before she called the cops. If she hadn't been such a royal prick about it I might have stopped and explained what we were doing, but she didn't deserve the courtesy. Of course from her point of view she successfully defended the neighborhood against criminals! Oh and I should mention that all the runs I made were well below the speed limit. Robert in fact requested low speed passes so he could experiment with different shutter speeds, so Ms-Stick-Up-The-Butt didn't even have that to complain about.

A couple hours later, after waiting for the light to improve, we were doing the same thing on a different road. Same thing, the owner noticing me doing many U-turns in his driveway, so he came out to see what was going on. Proving that indeed there is Balance in the Universe, this time, the owner was a real nice guy (huh, a guy... go figure.) After we explained what we were doing he was happy to let us continue, and in fact stayed a bit to watch. So the lesson here is, if you're nice to people, they are nice back, something some people don't understand.

At the end of the day Robert was happy with the shoot - I hope Grassroots likes them. We spent a solid six hours on it so I hope he's well paid for all the time he spent. In any case I was impressed he was willing to take the time to get it right.

On the way home, the non-mature part of me wanted to go back to that lady's driveway and leave a big long smoky burn-out... but that wouldn't be very mature would it?
19 August

After looking at many different types of decking material, nothing beat ordinary wood for the price/sq.ft. It was surprising to find that with wood you don't get more for your money with a larger piece. For example, a 2x12 does not cost three times that of a 2x4, it's more like four times. I think that's because a 2x12 has to come from a big tree while a 2x4 comes from much smaller younger trees, a much smaller investment for the growers.

Price-wise I'm unable to find anything that beat it, even surplus fiberglass grating was around $4/sqft, vs $0.60 for wood...
16 August

Refilled the welder's argon tanks so I'm all set to start building.

Thanks to all who responded with ideas for the trailer decking material. Many suggested aluminum diamond plate, but while it looks really nice the stuff is very expensive - $500! Jason suggested marine plywood and I'm still looking into that. I wonder if that "plastic wood" product being touted as "better than wood" would work. It's probably too slippery for the ramps though, but it seems promising for the top deck. I don't need much, and it would never rot, though there's a question how strong it is, what it costs and where to get it. I rather not use two-inch thick material, simply to keep the trailer low and not so heavy. Oh and Steve warned that while diamond plate looks nice, it's hard on the knees.
15 August

Picked up steel for the trailer. Still haven't decided what to use for flooring, steel sheet (heavy), steel tubes (lighter) or wood (heavy again.) We'll see. I was warned about using expanded metal for flooring, some types have very sharp edges, sharp enough to cut race tires.
14 August

Ordered a Class III receiver hitch for the truck, electric brake controller and various wiring adaptors. Stopped by the steel yard on the way home with only 10 minutes before they closed to find all the steel and get it cut. It takes time to rummage through the rusty (cheap) metal out in their back lot; much cheaper than the "good stuff" inside. I'll have to get over there earlier tomorrow. Since the trailer will be blasted and painted there's no reason to use new steel.

With my brother working at the same company we have breakfast together every morning. I get daily updates on how his Stalker project is going and lately it hasn't been smooth sailing. Since his chassis number is #82 (or so) it surprised me when he said the list of hardware to purchase had a bunch of errors. I'd expect that for the first, oh, five chassis maybe, but after that there's no excuse. Then there are parts like the shocks that have 1/2" bolt holes yet the mounting brackets have 3/8". So which is correct? He's also not impressed how long it's taking the manufacturer to return phone calls.

None of this is a show-stopper but it sounds sadly familiar. A small company working as fast as it can to fill orders and answer calls. If business is good they start falling behind on paperwork and returning phone calls. It's a very fine line, trying to keep costs down yet providing a good service. As much as my brother taunts me about how much my car cost, how long it took and "how much faster" his will be, I can't help feel a bit sorry for him. He added today that he'll need my help "setting Ackerman." That's a puzzle and I look forward to seeing what going on; normally Ackerman is hard-fixed by the upright casting... especially when he said the steering arms are not bolted on.
13 August

The trailer design is done; everything fixed in place except the axle. The numbers have it placed to give about 10% weight at the tow ball, but it won't be attached until it's double-checked. The other pictures are of the 4"-drop axle with its huge spline, the enormous tires, and the box o'parts, all nicely packed (not) to keep from bashing into each other.

Unfortunately we are beginning extended work-hours again so work will be confined to the weekend. The annoyance is that by the time I'll get out of work the metal yard is closed... which means getting it all this week.

Twice now in a week I've been approached by strangers, both with the same story. They're out of gas, left their wallet at home, and would appreciate a couple dollars to get a gallon of gas. Today someone tried this on me and I would have given him the money, had I not heard the same story from someone else just a few days before. The funny thing was when I said, "no, sorry," he got in his car and drove off. I was almost tempted to follow him to his car to see what his gas gauge read.

11 August

Received the trailer parts; it was a little amusing they describe it as a "kit." Lots of parts and no instructions, no taillight wiring diagram, how to wire the electric brakes, which way is forward on the axle, what the rolled up cable is for, etc, etc. It's as if I'd just pulled the parts from the junk yard, but as new parts I thought there'd be some sort of paperwork - nope. A better description of what arrived might be "Bob's Grab Bag O'Trailer Bits." Good thing I just built a car because the knowledge will be needed! I may have picked an axle a bit too long, but better that than too short. It does give the option of someday building an enclosed trailer. It also ensures there's room to open the doors and get out! The 4" splined drop-axle is pretty sweet, helping to lower the trailer bed due to the huge tires.

The plan is to design the trailer this weekend and get the steel mid-week. Because both cars will have to be moved out of the garage it's incentive to work fast; I don't want Kimini sitting outside too long.

Oh and on a side rant, I want to add that the trailer stuff shipped by truck half way across the states, getting here faster than the Netflix movies that only had to go to Los Angeles. I'm getting tired of them "throttling" my account.

On a different note, having finished watching the Japanese anime series "Initial-D", I'm on a quest. I want to contact the writer, Shuichi Shigeno (or anyone connected to the show.) If anyone knows how I can contact him I'd really appreciate it. If necessary I can communicate in Japanese (it helps to work with people from all over!) If you've seen the show you might guess what I'm up to...
8 August

Three of us were talking at lunch about how we'd spend the money if we won the lottery.

We'd open a Surf and Bikini shop in Pacific Beach, a great local hang-out. The bikini shop would be the front to our real "business", a large fully functional machine shop. Six-axis CNC mills, lathes, sheet-metal working equipment, welders, mandrel tubing benders... and three hydraulic lifts, one for each of us. Our offices would be upstairs, overlooking the shop on one side and the bikini shop on the other. The "surf" part of the business was judged necessary in case guys didn't want to go into only a bikini shop. You can tell we have this thought through pretty well...

We'd spend our days building cars, bikes, whatever struck us as cool, or surfing. Guess I'd have to learn that, but there'd be time, being independently wealthy, and bikini-clad instructors help out a lot there.

Of course that means we'd have to actually win the lottery first, which means buying tickets, which we don't waste money on... oh well.
7 August

Finally ordered the trailer kit, from They have kits for all different sizes and styles so I picked one with electric brakes and a 4" drop torsion-spring axle. That'll help keep the overall height much lower for better stability and easier loading. It'll be made just large enough for the car in an effort to keep the weight down; everything else will go in the truck. Hopefully it'll be light enough to push around the side of the garage for storage. While it'll end up costing as much as just buying a larger used one, this way I get exactly what I want (the used ones never seemed to have brakes), all the parts are new, and it'll weigh probably half as much.
6 August

Wimped out on removing the engine tray... Checked out the suspension and found a slight play in the ball-joints which concerned me a bit because they don't loosen up; it may be the tapered holes in the uprights. In hindsight I think I'd avoid trying to make something that receives ball-joint taper pins. There's a lot of force on them and I'm worried the taper-pins may elongate the holes in the uprights. On the other hand I popped a couple off and the tapers looked fine. What I did find was I hadn't removed the paint from one of the holes. This explained why only that ball-joint was sitting higher than the rest. It wouldn't have mattered had I not insisted on pushing them just as far out-board as possible. The result was this ball-joint sometimes rubbed on the wheel.

Back on Friday when I drove the car to work I had removed the engine cover to check a couple things. While reinstalling it several coworkers came by and... I got distracted. It wasn't until I got home did I realized I hadn't fully fastened down the engine cover, leaving two Dzus fasteners unlocked. Bad, bad, bad - lucky for me I got away with it, there was no damage... this time. It was a good lesson to do a full walk-around before taking the car out. There's just too much time and money in that shell to risk damaging it.

Still haven't dealt with the exhaust; driving it yesterday didn't reveal any odd noises so I'm pretending there's no problem.
4 August

Drove the car into work and was reminded again how much fun bumper-to-bumper traffic is. There's something going on in the back somewhere, I hear a new noise. If it's cool this weekend the rear suspension will be thoroughly checked out. Then there's the exhaust note; it sounds "different." I suspect a leak and hope it's the muffler gasket and not a cracked header... It'll be a real pain removing the engine undertray, but it's the best way to gain access to everything. While it's off it'll allow adding cooling vents, drilling "drain holes" for the gravel and sand, and permanently attaching the second stainless heat shield. There's a small chance that's what's making the noise back there, if it's knocking into something. I hope so.
1 August

I asked C16 where I could find a retailer, and they said Barnes & Nobel, "select newsstands", and 7-11. They also sent me a couple copies for myself, cool. The article came out really nice. It was the first time I've seen this magazine - very high quality - aimed squarely at the teen-age and 20-something import car crowd. Maybe it'll give them an idea to build something really different.

I received a tip (thanks Jason!) that this issue is available electronically for free, here. Click on the bottom link, "Please enjoy this open access..."

In other news I'll likely be ordering a trailer kit. It'll be fun building something that isn't so exacting.
30 July

After our very hot humid weather this weekend was greeted with... rain? Yup, it rained out both events I was planning to attend. Oh well, more time for the book.

Checked out my brother's Super-Stalker kit. It looked pretty good, to be any better quality would have cost a lot more money. He wasn't kidding about the rear axle, that sucker was dang heavy. I really wonder what that's going to do for ride quality, having that much unsprung weight bounding over bumps. Unfortunately that's what's being used these days, and since he'll be making 300hp a lighter unit can't be used. An IRS system would work but they don't offer one.

I have yet to find any place carrying the C16-Autostyle car magazine... if anyone knows drop me a note. Yes I did ask C16 and they said Barnes and Noble... yet none of them carry it around here. It's kind of funny really, finally getting the car in print yet being unable to find an actual copy of the magazine... Oh well, when Road and Track starts bugging me then I'll know I'm hitting the big time, but I'm not holding my breath.

I'm leaning more toward building a trailer. Looking around at used ones they're all way too big and heavy, yet most don't even have brakes. I think I can build what I need cheaper than reworking an old used one.

28 July

Indicating how much time I spend on the car and book, a notice appeared on the front door regarding our front yard. Maybe there's more Burt Monro ("The World's Fastest Indian") in me than I realized. I wonder how long I should leave the notice there, just to bug whoever's complaining. With 90+ degree days and humidity there's little motivation to work out there and I'm too cheap to hire a gardener. Maybe I should tune up the car a few times, around 6am - you know, with no baffles in the exhaust for maximum noise.

Neighborhood antics aside, I'm looking into parts for a trailer. Several places sell kits, with all parts except the wood and steel frame. The 4" drop-axle is nice, keeping the CG of the trailer/car low and easy to load the car. The kit for a 2000lb trailer is around $450... and yes I know I could buy a used one for that much, a rusty one with no brakes. Or spend the money on a gardener...

My brother got back from the annual Oshkosh fly-in. Unfortunately there always seems to be a fatality he said, this year it was a guy on final getting into a stall-spin. Other than that sobering event he said it went well with lots of cool stuff to see. Regarding his Super-Stalker kit, he has started ordering parts. He said the live axle assembly alone weighs about 150lbs... good Lord. I'll get some pictures this weekend.

Lastly, though I haven't seen the C16-Autostyle article, I did check out their website. They mention Kimini, saying it has a Kevlar body! Huh, that's kind of funny. I stayed away from Kevlar because I didn't know how I'd cut the stuff once it cured.

[Edit]: Turns out it was just a notice for street numbers. Wow, do I have a guilty conscience or what? Well, okay, now that I have nothing to be concerned about, I'll keep thinking about the trailer...
27 July

Continued hot humid weather; it's too hot to work in the garage. The time is being spent completing the book, and it's virtually done! One reviewed copy has come back from being red-lined so those changes will be made, but it's all there, 273 pages. The road-race chapter will be added once this darn heat lets up and I take the car out on course. Been reading up on what exactly an "e-book" is and how to make one; they're more like a webpage than a simple document.

Saturday I'll be at Carlsbad for the informal car get-together and Sunday at the Dave Turner Motorsports grand opening in San Diego - dealing with the heat on the way home...

It's official, Kimini is this month's issue of "C16 Autostyle" magazine! (Try as I might, I couldn't get any Asian hoties to model with the car, sorry.) I haven't seen the article yet; I hope they were kind...

Still haven't decided whether to buy or build a trailer...
23 July

Attempted to replace the rock film removed earlier - big mistake. The weather's so warm it evaporated the water off the film so quickly it couldn't be applied in time. Actually the real problem was even before applying it to the car, it ended up sticking together in a big messy tangle. Dang, more money down the drain. Managed to replace the lower piece, the one below the radiator inlet. It's too warm and humid to do anything in the garage, or in the yard for that matter.

Worked on the book instead. I have four hard copies out for proofreading, one by a guy who knows about cars, two who have excellent grammer skills, and one's a regular guy; each giving their unique input. It's good to have varied comments from people with different backgrounds. It'll be interesting to see if he wants to build something after reading the book. He owns a Miata too... an excellent donor for a project...
22 July

Shouldn't have complained about the heat... it's 108 degrees and not even noon yet... In the morning before it got too hot yarn tufts were taped to the hood to see what the air was doing. During the test drive, the biggest surprise was that air on the centerline of the windshield was flowing down and forward! Huh. Airflow on the radiator exit grill wasn't too bad, the bump at the front of the hood doing its job to create a low pressure area above the exit. At the rear edge of the outlet duct thought is some evidence of reverse flow, no doubt the high pressure bubble on the windshield causing some recirculation. It's actually flowing down into the nose because the back corners of the duct are open to the inside of the nose. Next will be finding the differential pressure across the radiator, to get an idea how much air's actually flowing through it. Then there'll be tests to see if openning the exit duct out to the wheelwells is a good idea.

Trying tests using oil droplets didn't work so well, they just slowly ran down the car even after running it up to 80mph or so; no evidence of being blown in any particular direction by the air. Not sure what mixture to use to make this test useful.

21 July

My brother's kit car arrived! Yup, he ordered and today received his Super-Stalker, a Super-7 type car with a 300hp supercharged V6. His goal is to complete it by the end of the year; registering it the first of the year to receive one of the coveted 500 exemptions offered by the state of California. I called and asked him if it arrived safely, which it had, but he added it looked like they forgot to send the wire harness, but did send seats he didn't order. I told him, welcome to the world of kitcars. All he had time to do was push the huge box into the garage because he's getting ready to fly his plane out to the huge Oshkosh, WI air-show. I'm going to have to go with him next year, which my wife will be very unhappy about...

Pulling out of a shopping center in my truck, I got stuck behind a guy driving about 10mph - checking messages on his cellphone. Nothing gets me going like inattentive drivers. He and I pull onto the freeway on-ramp, he still checking messages... he's a popular guy I guess. I decide I don't want to be around a clueless driver - inattentive = accident-prone. Seeing me pull to the right (because he thinks he deserves to drive slow in the left lane) - he floors it. That always ticks me off... it's okay for him to hold up traffic, but not okay to pass him - using the right lane that's empty. So I passed him anyway. His pride hurt, he shot over to the left lane and gives me The Look as he passed, to which I responded by holding my hand to my head, signaling him to "call me".

Been talking to smart people at work about Kimini's cooling issue; the consensus is I likely have poor air flow leaving the radiator. Instead of just assuming that's the issue though, some simple initial tests will be run first, starting with string tufts, oil droplets, and progressing to using a differential pressure sensor. The comment was made that it doesn't matter what I do to the radiator if air is not passing through it - very true! A really simple test would be to remove the blingy aluminum grill covering the radiator exit. It may look nice but cuts off more than half the exit duct... If that improves things it will be replaced by two large curved aluminum vanes which I think will look even better - assuming the flow is okay with them.

The irony is that it's so warm and humid it's very unpleasant to drive the car. It's like Hawaii - without the nice cool breeze.
15 July

Ugg, I don't know where the weather service measures temperature around here but it's 105deg F in the backyard. Every year this happens, the weather gets real hot, pushing me this close to getting air-conditioning. Right when I'm about to break down it cools off. This year the assault began early; normally this heat doesn't start for another few weeks but it's been going on for a while already. Must.... resist...

There's something going on with my PC. Microsoft loaded another update - I was editing really large video files - and I installed a DVD-writing program. Now the mouse quits working after a while. On top of that it's really warm inside the house so who knows. I deleted the video files, uninstalled the DVD software, backed up the website and book, and have my figures crossed. Control-Alt-Del shows no problem, but the mouse isn't working ... Resetting the PC does not help, though if I unplug it from the wall(!) then restart it, it works for a while, dang PCs... So if no updates happen for a few weeks you'll know why.
11 July

Very busy at work so not much time for anything, but did have a chance to consider several areas of improvement.

I used a cross-flow radiator and because of little space the inlet was moved up, such that it's even with the outlet. I always wondered how smart this was, if it would affect cooling. It was forgotten about because for a while (in cool weather) the cooling was fine, but now that it's summer it no longer stays at 180 degrees F like before, instead trying to work its way up to around 210F. Since this isn't hot enough to be considered overheated some people asked why I'm concerned. The thinking is if it goes to 210deg just driving down the freeway on a 90deg day, what's it going to do when I'm on track, hard on the accelerator? I'd expect it to go higher. The fact it starts rising at all, to me, means I've used up the entire reserve of the system, so now the temperature will rise based on how warm the day is and how hard on the gas I am. I'd hate to take it to a real track only to find it overheats after just a few laps. So the idea is to try various things to increase cooling capacity, starting with the easy things first. I already tried WaterWetter (and boy did I get an ear-full from our engineer when he learned I'd ignored his advice!) Next easiest on the list is to move the high inlet back down to its original location, which turns out there is room to have it there after all.

As it is now, with the coolant coming in high, it's a straight shot through the top few tubes to the exit, and I wonder if that's what's happening. If so it means a great deal of coolant isn't venturing downward and fanning out across the entire core. Using my hand as a thermometer the lower part of the radiator is cooler than the top, so that says it would be an improvement to correct it.

About the rear suspension, it won't be any problem to correct the toe control since the arms must be made shorter. It'll just take some fussing to figure out the new correct lengths.

Lastly, some more 3M rock-guard film was ordered to replace the pieces I peeled off when I had the silly idea I was going to apply stripes...
8 July

I've been thinking about how the car handles and have a theory about one of Kimini's "features".

During design I thought it would be good to have the rear suspension toe-in slightly under acceleration and braking. This seemed like a good idea since toe-out is generally a bad idea; having it toe in slightly under acceleration, in either braking or acceleration, would keep the car stable. After further thought though I think this has caused unintended consequences.

At the autocross, in the straightaways, the car is under hard acceleration so the rear wheels toe in slightly, which is okay. Approaching the corner I lift off the gas in preparation for the turn, and this is where the problem arises. Going from acceleration, to no acceleration, to braking means the wheels, true to my clever design, go from toe-in, to neutral, and back to toe-in. As far as the car is concerned, what I just did was steer the rear tires slightly toward the outside of the turn and back again. What brought up this issue was finally becoming sensitive enough to note when it was happening; when I let off the gas, the back end of the car kicks comes out a bit. Initially I thought it was oversteer was due to getting on the brakes hard, but it's happening before that...

This seems to be due to me not taking my own medicine and not following my own advice - keep things simple, consistent, and predictable. I now know having the rear suspension steering on its own is bad news, as obvious as that sounds.

Re-thinking this, the rear suspension should either have no toe-control at all, or toe in slightly under braking only. Toe during acceleration should take care of itself... that is, the uprights are trying to force themselves forward anyway so the last thing we need to do is add more toe. Of course having toe-in under braking, while it's nice to have, will have the same problem. That is, everything's fine until I come off the brakes, right when turning into the corner. Since it's going from braking to no braking, just like before, the rear wheels are going to go from toe-in to neutral, which means it's toeing outward. Nuts.

So the answer appears to be to aim for no dynamic toe control at all. This isn't impossible to fix, and the in-board toe-control link mounts are indeed bolt-on, just in case something like this came up. So making new in-board mounts and shorter toe-links will fix that. Any rear toe that's dialed in with be a constant amount over the entire suspension travel. It's not a huge issue so I'll get to it when I can, but in any case - lesson learned - don't make the suspension more clever than me.

In other news, it's a long hot summer with everyday being over 90deg; I don't want to be in the garage. Attention has thus shifted to finishing the manuscript which has made big progress over the last few weeks. It's out for its second review and is heading for completion. Of course, there's one more thing on the To-Do list, one last item left to make the whole odyssey complete - driving Kimini on a big track; that'll happen this fall after it cools off a bit. The timing works out just right because by that time the rest of the book will be ready to go, and once the last chapter is added, it'll be heading out for publication. Currently I'm considering offering three versions; black-and-white, color (at additional cost), and as an e-book.
1 July

Worked all day on the manuscript, adding a ton of stuff to the Electrical chapter. Spending this much time on the book makes me realize it's pretty hard to make money at writing... at least, writing a book about building a car!

It's too hot to be doing anything in the garage.