7 July 2019

Shaken, not stirred.

The first earthquake happened while we were on the freeway, and didn’t notice anything (and I don’t think anyone else did, either, since we’re about 180 miles from the epicenter). The second one, though, was much stronger, hitting while we were at home. I was watching TV and gradually got an odd sensation, where if your heart rate is just right, it can resonate with your height, and gradually start you rocking back and forth slightly. I thought it was that at first, but it kept increasing in intensity, and eventually saw the lights starting to move. It lasted for quite a while, maybe 20-25 seconds, then faded out as slowly as it started. That’s the thing about earthquakes; when you feel one start, you never know if it’s going to be The One, or if it’ll stay docile and bow out gracefully.

My brother just got his replacement engine running; you may remember that his belt tensioner locked up, shredding the alternator belt, which then ate the dry sump pump belt, resulting in zero oil pressure, and the engine was done. The new engine has a more aggressive cam in it, and he’s rather pleased with himself about the lopping idle. Having the engine running now gives time to ensure it’s solid before we head to the hill climb.

Speaking of having a solid car, I drove Midlana about 70 miles, in part to test whether adding the second throttle return spring fixed the hanging idle… nope. The engine will be warmed up so that it’s repeatable (only happens hot), then confirm whether it really is a sticky throttle plate, or the intake control valve. If it’s the latter, I’ll spray some carburetor cleaner into the idle control valve port as a quick fix to see if it really is that. If it is, it’s surprising that it’s happening so soon after a full cleaning. Of course, it could also be the idle control software loop, though that seems unlikely since it worked fine before and the tune hasn’t changed. If that doesn’t smoothly resolve itself, it’ll be time to figure it out via the ECU log files.

Lastly, some mischief has been afoot on the shop side of things, because something irresistible was found and will be here next week.

30 June 2019

I don’t get excited too often, but we have not one, but two, Midlana builder announcements:

Builder “Freakynami”, in Australia, recently completed his frame and it’s now sitting on its wheels. He’s preparing to do his own torsional testing, required by the government to prove its torsional rigidity. He will be posting his results on the Midlana builder’s forum soon. I never measured it myself (though it was calculated in CAD) so his results will be very enlightening.

Meanwhile, builder “Matt” is creating his own aluminum body—I’m extremely impressed. This is the sort of innovation that I was hoping to see, builders taking the plans and running with them and creating their own truly unique cars, and they most certainly are! Well done, gentlemen!

22 June 2019

I periodically search the Web to see where Midlana is mentioned and ran across a reference on an Australian sports car site. The introduction noted:

If you’re not up to welding your own tube-framed Midlana or Locost/Lotus 7, your mates Down Under have the solution with the Spartan.

It would have been nice if they’d provided a link to Midlana, but didn’t even give a link to the car they were writing about! Anyway, comparing that car to Midlana isn’t exactly an even comparison given that:

Just 300 will be built so it’s best not to dawdle. The car is priced at $150,000 (Aus) and can be shipped worldwide.

That’s $104K US dollars, then add shipping from Australia, plus more if you want a sequential gearbox, and paint, and not being street legal. I guess I should be flattered by the comparison!