11 Aug 2013

Various wonderings:

With the manuscript ready to print (and being tired of working on it), I took time off and drove a few laps up and down the local coast highway, along with 1000s of others. It was definitely just “cruising” and nothing more due to the traffic, though on the way home there were a couple spots where it could be opened up briefly. I wore earplugs just “because” and when I got on it those few times I heard the now-predictable “bang.” However, with the earplugs filtering out much of the background noise, it was possible to more clearly listen to it. I’m beginning to think that it has nothing to do with the transmission, as the noise sounds a lot like like someone hitting a chassis tube with a ball peen hammer; there’s a definite metallic note to it… or maybe I’m imagining things.

I’ll inspect both the chassis around the drivetrain (again), and the rear suspension arms, only looking at the arms because of the metallic nature of the sound. I really don’t think there’s anything wrong with the suspension because there’s no sudden “heading change” of the car as there would be if a rod-end or spherical bearing was shifting. Still, <em>something’s</em> going on; if nothing shows up then the GoPro will be mounted in several locations to see if we can catch whatever it is.

The Hondata ECU has features that I don’t use, and last week it finally dawned on me that I have launch-control, used when drag-racing turbocharged cars. The problem with turbocharged cars is that because the turbocharger works on heat and exhaust flow, it’s not possible to build boost before popping the clutch, until now. Launch-control does three things: imposes a temporary low rpm-limit (say, 5000 rpm), retards ignition timing, and dumps in a lot of extra gas. This causes a lot of heat in the exhaust which builds boost to near-maximum, allowing for very fast launches. Part of me wants to try it since it’s “free” and only needs to be enabled. The other part of me fears for the transmission and axles, as the jolt to the drivetrain is quite violent when the clutch is side-stepped. In addition, it mustn’t be engaged for long because all that extra heat is hell on the turbocharger, so it’s typically engaged just seconds before launch. Also, the mode isn’t intended to be used on public streets because it’s definitely not “polite”, with lots of really loud popping from the exhaust. While Midlana was never intended for drag-racing, I will admit though that the curiosity to find out “what’ll it do” is strong…

In other news, I was about to sign up for an autocross event… and didn’t. Why? By the time I found out about it, all the smart people had already picked the run and work groups such that they could be done early. What was left was having to get there before 8am to register, then having to stay until after 4 pm. I used to really be into autocross but got tired of giving up the entire day for just a few minutes of track time. Yes I know an autocross is the perfect stepping-stone in testing the car – I just don’t want to do <em>this</em> one, spending all day standing around in the hot sun. Yeah I know, “Whaa, whaa, whaa.”

In less fun news, my dad’s going downhill really fast. We’ve known that this was coming but even so, it means that sometime in the coming weeks or months, I’ll have to walk through one of life’s doors that I rather not. However, we don’t have a choice and it’s neither good nor bad – it simply is. I know who the book’s dedication’s going to be to.

I know that I’ve been lax in both pictures and videos. It’s just that posting videos of driving at 37 mph in traffic isn’t worth your time or mine. Don’t worry, the good stuff will be presented in due time.