21 Nov 2018

Okay, it’s that time of year again. If you or someone you know is planning to get the Midlana or Kimini book, now’s the time to start monitoring the printer’s site, Lulu. Between now and Christmas, they typically offer varying  discounts, sometimes quite a bit, but I make no promises. It’s highly recommended to check with them everyday as discounts change frequently.

And yes, I’m still around, just distracted by other interests at the moment, but don’t worry, I visit the Midlana Builder’s Forum every day, and I shall be back!

15 October 2018

I’ve been catching a bunch of abuse about not posting… I didn’t know you cared so much!

After getting abuse for posting non-Midlana material, I thought, okay, I won’t, which has led to the aforementioned periods of, well, nothing. I haven’t posted because I feel a bit guilty about not having anything worthy. There are a couple track events coming up, but they’re scheduled out far enough that registration hasn’t even opened yet. There’s also a Laguna Seca event, and while part of me wants to go, I’m too afraid until the car has wings. Why?

I used to drive my old Datsun 1200 at that track and loved it, coming up over the rise past Start/Finish, with the car getting just a little light as it crested the hill and the track curves left. It drifted over toward the right edge of the track somewhat, but no problem.

Fast forward to running the Mini there, which had probably 3X the power/weight. The first time I crested that rise I remembered thinking “oh crap”, because I was carrying way more speed and at the same time, the front end got really light, so the car floated way over to the right edge of the track and there was nothing I could do about it (lifting abruptly can cause a spin). After that “clincher”, I had to let off slightly as I got to the top of the rise so that weight transferred forwards onto the front tires, allowing it to turn.

Fast forward to now, where Midlana has 2.5X the power/weight of the Mini, with even less weight on the front end. Unless I let off, probably a lot, before the crest of the hill, I worry I could do a “Mercedes Backflip” (jump to 0:32). Could that really happen? I don’t know, but suspect Midlana would be at around 120 mph at that point, and with no down force at the front and air getting under it, so I don’t want to find out. So, wings are in order before running there. I’m not entirely imagining things. Two friends, after hearing my plans for the weight and power of Midlana back during the design phase, staged an intervention, saying that they seriously recommended I not track the car without wings, especially if there are any rises or drops.

Another annoying issue with Laguna Seca is, of course, the sound limit, which is 90 or 92 dB. Even some OEM cars struggle to reach that, and I have no idea how loud Midlana is at 50 feet. Yes, it’s got a muffler again, but 90 dB is really low. I’d hate to pay the high track fee, drive the 450 miles there, only to get black-flagged after a couple laps for sound (which did happen with the Mini).

Back to wings for a moment, my brother found another source of extruded aluminum wings, these being about 50% larger chord than the ones I already have. Haven’t decided to switch to these for the main elements, available from Nine Lives Racing.

14 Sept 2018

The hoped-for car event – the Virginia City Hill Climb – was indeed cancelled, the rumor being that they were unable to obtain the necessary city permits. I’m skeptical that next year’s event will happen because once a city starts weighing the liabilities versus benefits, it’s a small step to permanently cancelling the whole thing. Guess we’ll see.

Was going to take the car out and glanced in the engine compartment, only to see that again, the alternator bracket broke. As some of you may recall from earlier diary entries, this has happened several times with both my bracket and a commercially-available part–there must be some really nasty resonances going on. My solution, like last time, was to add more reinforcing. Eventually the failures will stop, or another unit will be produced out of much thicker material.

During repair, one thing crossed my mind that might not have helped things: I may have dunked the hot bracket in water to cool it off after welding. That’s a great way to harden metal–making it much more brittle. This time I let it air cool so we’ll see how that goes.