19 Jan 2014

I recently purchased a book (ironically, from Lulu, the same printer I use for my book) and it was spiral bound. The binding wasn’t as bad as expected, so I’m working on a spiral-bound version on my book; it’ll be the exact same book, but will lay flat better. What I don’t care for how spiral bound books tend to slide down, which drives me nuts, but maybe it doesn’t bother others. This way, buyers will have a choice. It’ll be announced once different cover art is figured out. (Or, I may not bother, as no one’s asked for it…)

In other news, I was at CarMax, a no-negotiation car dealer. People typically take in cars when they need immediate cash, or are just fed up with them, and there was a pristine Acura NSX being examined by the dealer. The owner stood by, and I heard his muttering that he wasn’t happy with the car, which in my mind is suicide from a negotiating standpoint; it’s exactly what buyers want to hear, immediately lowballing the owner. I was almost tempted to tell the owner that I’d give him $100 more than whatever they offered him, but didn’t because I have no where to keep it (at one point I really wanted one of those). It was a shame to see it go that way though I never did find out what was wrong with it. CarMax also had a couple Z06 Corvettes on the lot, but they were $40K-$45K, which didn’t seem like a bargain. No, I was just tagging along, not buying, but thought it an interesting data point.

13 Jan 2014

I was going to post a video of Midlana on the dyno, but my buddy Joe said he already found it on YouTube., recorded by one of the other attendees.

FWIW, I asked my engine builder exactly what rpm he “built” my engine for. Imagine my surprise when he said, “9300 rpm”… yikes! So that explains some of the missing power, though I’m not sure how close to the edge I want to venture.

Included in the video is an Audi S4, running a very impressive 580+ whp. Later I found out that he’s running E85, which really makes me wonder if I should step up(?) to the stuff. It’s an obvious choice for turbo engines, with a much higher effective octane, and it burns much cooler. It’s nearly a win/win for the engine, more power and less chance of detonation, but then there’s the availability issue. The irony is that of the dozen or so stations in California, two are within a mile of me. Of course, if I ever want to go on a road trip, it pretty much rules it out. I suppose I could have two ECU maps, one for E85 and one for gas…

11 Jan 2014

Saturday I participated in a dyno day, hosted once again by Jerry Moll, the very gracious owner of K & N – yes, that K & N. Getting there meant leaving very early on a cold morning, and my dear wife said that she wanted to go. I tried talking her out of it; not because I didn’t want her company, I just didn’t want her to be miserable and not want to ride in Midlana any more. As you can see, she did go – the only wife to attend the event, which seemed to puzzle some people. (When we showed up, we felt a little like the guys in the movie, “Dumb and Dumber”, riding the mini bike in freezing weather with frozen boggers on their faces – okay, it wasn’t quite that cold.

So backing up a bit, Midlana was first tuned on a DynoPack dynomometer in 2010, so today was a chance to run it on a drum-type dyno, a more common dyno. This type typically reads a fair amount lower than the DynoPack; how much lower is subject of a lot of debate, but somewhere between 12-20%. Of course, it doesn’t really matter since dynos are properly used for comparative tuning purposes only, but I thought it would be interesting to see what it did on this dyno anyway.

Differences between the 2010 tuning run and today include: 11 psi boost instead of 9 psi, no muffler, and a self-imposed 7500 rpm redline instead of the 8000+ rpm used originally, and forgetting to place a cooling fan in front of my side-inlet intercooler. So, the number… yes, well that was a bit depressing to be honest: 320 whp. One thing pointed out later which I can’t explain is that no connection was made to the engine, nor any data entered regarding gearing. That raises the question, given that HP = (Torque x RPM) / 5252, how can horsepower be calculated without knowing rpm? Maybe the operator entered the engine speed displayed on the tach and the dyno sw converted it? Of course, all this trip did was get me thinking of ways to increase power, but more on that later – it never ends…

Okay, on the the pictures below. Comments in no particular order include: Yes, that really is a top-of-the-line Lambo. K & N’s workshop is kind of like Leno’s garage, except here they build cars to be driven – hard. There was a typical looking 1950s Chevy hot rod, with a hardcore NASCAR engine. Then there was the copper colored Viper, the car that tried to kill Jerry in the Silver State Classic, getting sideways at high speed due to oil on the rear tires from a grenaded engine, which then rolled and burned – all fixed and ready to go again. The white Mustang is a hardcore road racer and the attention to detail was very impressive. There’s the dragster with a 1000+ hp normally aspirated engine in it. There are little details on other cars that left me just shaking my head, like complete carbon shells, titanium rear axle housings, and carbon brake discs that weigh about one pound – on a drag car. Then there were the biggest pizza boxes I’ve ever seen!

Thanks again to Jerry and everyone at K & N from coming in on their weekend and treating us so well. It’s true, SoCal really is the land of car culture. And thanks again to my dear wife who put up with the cold and noise, yet who seemed to really enjoy talking to Jerry about Koi fish!