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Projects Track Roadster 16 yrs in the making

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by trakrodstr, Apr 25, 2009.

  1. Here is a virtual image showing the "racing" number 4. I created the shape and colors in Photoshop.
    I am thinking about printing file in vinyl for occasional use only.
    Any opinions? Colors good/bad? Too modern of a font style? Tacky? Unnecessary? Who cares?
    upload_2014-11-6_16-13-20.png
     
  2. Opinions are like....

    Hmm...the font is okay, but I believe the orange is too bright. The car's color is subtle and that particular orange contrasts too much. Tan? Cream? 1980 Corvette Frost Beige?
     
  3. Mike Moreau
    Joined: Sep 16, 2011
    Posts: 291

    Mike Moreau
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Trakrodstr,I have followed your thread from the beginning. You have created a car that combines function, beauty and clever engineering in one package. One of the factors that "makes" the car is the complete functionality of all the coordinated parts without any unnecessary items. The number on the side, I think, is the first unnecessary addition to the project. If, as you say, you will make it removable and use it for some specific display, it would serve a function and be compatible with the overall theme. You may want to consider a subtle pin stripe if you feel you want to add some subtle "pop". (Sorry for the unsolicited advice.)
     
  4. Nitrobrother,

    Thank you for the feedback, you are the third person who has suggested the orange was too bright. Your observations are what I asked for and are appreciated. My bias is now to tone down the color major color. I'll check out the Corvette Frost Beige, but I don't how hard it is for the vinyl suppliers to supply metallic finishes.

    As you might expect, I am wondering if perhaps this number-project is a subconscious "need" for me to do "something" now that the roadster is now largely complete. Maybe I should go lay down and let the urge pass.

    Thanks again for your thoughts.
     
    Stogy likes this.
  5. Spitbucket,

    Hummm... I confess you are almost certainly correct. As I just replied to Nitrobrother, there is a danger that I am doing something for reasons that have little to do with the theme of the roadster. Yours is good advice. So while I may succumb to the urge to do something frivolous — I hereby put my hand over my heart and promise that any vinyl decal would only be on the roadster for a day or two, in conjunction with a special event.

    Just as an example, I had hoped to participate in the recent hot rod hill climb in Colorado; or perhaps a HAMB drag event (assuming I can suppress my fears about damaging the quick change). I thus affirm that any decal would/will be Temporary with a capital T.

    Your compliments are very very welcome. Thanks for the kind words.

    Charlie
     
    Stogy likes this.
  6. 31Vicky
    Sorry for the delay.

    I just got a note from Rick at TriC Engineering about the camber angle of the revised king pin assembly; he says they set 1-2 degrees positive camber.

    Burrr it's cold in KC. We went from 70F (21C) to 20F (-7C) in about 10 hours on Tuesday. I guess there's snow in Cleveland.
     
    Stogy likes this.
  7. 70 and sunny yesterday down to about 40 today. No snow yet but the day is not over :)

    Thanks charley
     
  8. Nitrobrother and Spitbucket,

    Here is second effort, with more muted colors and my attempt to stylize the font shape to repeat the track nose profile.
    The decal would be for temporary event use...no permanent racer graphics.
    4try2.jpg
     
    Stogy and kidcampbell71 like this.
  9. Mike Moreau
    Joined: Sep 16, 2011
    Posts: 291

    Mike Moreau
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Wow, the softening of the color and striping plus the front of the "4" conforming to the nose makes a big difference. The number is somewhat like a tattoo on a beautiful woman. It draws your attention away from the beauty of the nude female form. Glad you will be able to remove it as appropriate.
     
    Stogy likes this.
  10. With the roadster back home it was time to do some standard hot rod cruising to local spots, none of which were more that 30 miles from my house. As of the middle of Nov 2014 the TR has approximately 7700 miles on the odometer. In the interest of full disclosure I should say that the speedo has never been calibrated and there have been various final gear ratios. However, the 7700mi figure is almost certainly within 20% of being correct.

    Suspension compliance with the softer torsion bars was amazing and since I knew of some bad potholes near my home I intentionally hit the bad spots to calibrate the level of improvement. Hooray, the car was drastically better over potholes, but with the softer bars it was easier to bottom out, especially with a passenger onboard. As many of you know a “low” solid axle suspension doesn’t have much travel.

    Jack Presse had engineered the torsion bar lever arms with multiple working-length positions (drilled mounting holes). I left the front stops and lever positions alone. However, at the rear suspension I experimented with standard black rubber and polyurethane stops. Jack set up the system so that both the lever arms and the pads, on the frame rails, are equipped with drilled mounting holes for rubber stops. The black rubber worked fine. I then played around with the height/thickness of the rear bump stops using nylon spacers. Eventually, I found a compromise that allowed most of the suspension travel but acheived a soft hit when the rear suspension bottomed out. Essentially I installed a rubber stop on the torsion bar arm that strikes a second rubber stop attached to the frame. All in all the changes resulted in a much more comfortable ride — one that a civilian would not find jarring…but the roadster ain’t a Lexus by any means.

    I found that I had time to dope-out the rest of the driving experience, due to the much more enjoyable and relaxing driving qualities. The Tremec 5 speed is a fine tranny but I was never fond of the wide ratio gear spread. Suffice it to say that 1st gear was pretty useless and I found myself starting in 2nd gear pretty much all the time. Years ago I had purchased two quick-change spur gear sets and since it is so easy to change the final drive ratio I put in a new gear set that is about 13% “longer”. This change was surprisingly effective. I figured that I wouldn’t notice much of a difference, but I was wrong. First gear was now useful around town and the 5th gear (0.75 overdriven) landed at a good spot for freeway driving. Based on some quick estimates the engine is turning about 1800rpm at 60mph. With the low-RPM high-torque D500 cam the new differential ratio works out very well. What about gas mileage? I’ll get to that below.

    I have driven the roadster quite a bit since the gear change — this was one more improvement that resulted in less noise and vibration on the open road. Hooray, again. However, every silver lining has its dark cloud. The EFI computer was not happy with the new gear ratios and the O2 sensor showed overly rich air/fuel ratios. With such a light car and so much torque the engine was still easy to live with but it had lost that ultra-crisp throttle response. Further, I began to notice that idle RPM was fluctuating. Time to call out the cavalry, namely Brett Clow, the fellow who designed and installed the 2nd generation EFI system.

    Brett, the senior tech guy at Aeromotive Inc, was extremely busy with Engine Masters commitments and tweeking drag racing machinery most of the summer. In late summer Brett gave me a call and said he had a couple of hours available for some EFI work. We hooked up the PC and Brett immediately spotted an error with the throttle position sensor (TPS) signal. The first few degrees of TPS rotation were invalid. [I note here that the TPS is an 80s OEM Bosch part that was used on some European only VWs and small BMWs.]

    Brett was able to readjust the wounded TPS for temporary use while I chased for a new part. I won’t bore you with the details but I had to pay way too much to a company who uses the unit for some of their aftermarket EFI systems, it is a discontinued part in the US. [Note to self…buy a similar sized Honda unit for $25 and adapt the drive slot for a Hilborn shaft]. I have no idea why an OEM Bosch part failed so early.

    In any case, I got back in touch with Brett; he came by and walked me through calibrating the new old stock TPS — my first real adventure with the laptop EFI software. It was a beautiful fall day so I drove and Brett tweeked the computer until he achieved the desired air/fuel mixtures tailored to the new final drive ratio. What a treat, fantastic throttle response once more. The A/F maps had been overly rich throughout the RPM band. Based on approximate speedometer calibration I estimate the 325 Dodge Hemi gas mileage at highway speeds is at least 18mpg.

    That’s it for now. Next time I’ll talk about curing front brake shoe woes and what to do about new tires as the present Excelsior bias ply tires will be done in a thousand miles or so.
     
    Stogy and kidcampbell71 like this.
  11. Good call on the font; last whine about the color: What if you picked up the color on the wheels?

    Sounds like roadster weather is all over in KC! Go Chiefs...
     
  12. ROBERT JAM
    Joined: Nov 13, 2002
    Posts: 1,205

    ROBERT JAM
    Member

    Perfect as is!!!
     

  13. OK Nitrobrother and Robert, its hard to argue with enthusiasts who prefer the roadster without alteration. I will abandon my racing number efforts. Nitro I did try the wheel color, if the hue is lightened a bit the color works well but is much more subdued than the pale yellow above.

    I haven't mentioned that some jerk pushed in the driver's door and creased the sheet metal — no idea who or why. The roadster was parked parallel to the curb on a quiet side street, no other parked cars nearby...go figure. Structurally the door is fine (opens and closes normally), which is a testament to Jack Presse's workmanship. I have a quart of the single-stage paint so that will make repair easier. Bummer. This week I'll probably take the door in to a local body shop and let them work on the metal — then when they're ready I'll drop off the roadster. The damage happened about a month ago.

    At first my d*** was in the dirt, but my plan from the beginning was to use the roadster; it's only metal and metal can be fixed. Now that the Maserodi has suffered its first ouchie I can worry less. If the damage had been to the nose/grill I probably would have had the big one. It doesn't bear thinking about.

    My Bald-headed cruising days are most definitely over in KC, burrr. It's time for the beaver trapper's hat and googles. The Chiefs seem to be perking up a bit, maybe it was the success of the Royals. I donno, I'm a motor sports fan. KC streets are abandoned when one of the teams are playing...hooray!

    Stay warm if it's cold and ENJOY if the weather is mild.
     
    Stogy likes this.
  14. Spitbucket,

    Great comment, very well said.

    charlie
     
    Stogy likes this.
  15. I guess this is my second annual fall update. Much has happened. The dent in the door was fixed so as to be imperceptible, with a great job of color matching and bodywork (Pirrello Collision Repair, Lenexa KS). You can’t tell it was ever hit.


    The “racing” brake shoe material finally became too much for me. Not progressive and very touchy at low speeds. I took my rear drums and shoes and the front wheel/drum/hub and shoes to a locally owned brake shop (Casper Brake, Co. KC MO) that does over the road trucks, buses and cars. They put on a “civilian” brake shoe compound and matched the rear shoes to the drums.


    The front brakes were done as an assembly, which I learned is how they do the big truck drums because it is a big hassle to remove the drums from the wheels. So the wheel/drum/hub assembly was mounted on their brake drum hone. This was excellent because the drum was machined with the wheel lug nuts/studs at correct torque specs. Experience had told me that when I torqued the lug nuts the aluminum front drums distorted slightly.


    With the new shoe material and the “perfectly” round brake drums the roadster stops much better than before. If I were vintage racing I might regret the loss of some stopping performance, but in the real world the new brake shoe compound is far superior.


    After about 9000 miles I had almost worn out the Coker Excelsior bias ply V-rated tires, there is about 1/8 in left at the front and a bit more on the rears. I replace the (no longer available) V-rated tires with the Coker Excelsior radial tires of exactly the same size (600/16 and 750/16). Based on about 50 miles of road testing the new radial tires offer a much more compliant ride and are not as noisy. The suspension feels much more forgiving of expansion joints and potholes in the road. So the radial tires are a big win for ride comfort.


    As the axiom says: Hot rods are never done. However when I think back to the first days on the road with the Maserodi, the roadster is now better in every respect. The EFI has been working great, the steering is vastly improved, the brakes work perfectly and the move to radial tires has improved ride and vibration. The roadster is so much more fun to use. Nowadays, I am not driving around waiting for the next shoe to fall. I plan to upgrade the front LED turn indicators, and finally get the cruise control hooked up. I now judge the roadster at 90% ready for distance touring. It’s starting to get cold now but when the spring comes around I see some long-range trips on the horizon.


    Charlie
     
  16. Good to hear Charlie!
     
  17. Mike Moreau
    Joined: Sep 16, 2011
    Posts: 291

    Mike Moreau
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Trakrodstr, thanks for the update.
     
  18. hasty
    Joined: Jul 5, 2009
    Posts: 1,409

    hasty
    Member

    Congratulations Charlie,
    Glad to hear you sorted out your Gremlins. I hope you are enjoying it.
     
  19. Hey Charlie glad to see you're enjoying your car!

    Mike
     
  20. Way cool, Charlie. Just last week I was wondering how it was coming along.
     
  21. Blue One
    Joined: Feb 6, 2010
    Posts: 10,926

    Blue One
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Alberta

    Nice to see a follow up and how you are enjoying life with the car.
     
  22. LB+1
    Joined: Sep 28, 2006
    Posts: 581

    LB+1
    Member
    from 71291

    Enjoyed your update, somehow i missed out on why it needed bodywork.
     
  23. Dear LB+1, Blue One, nitrobrother, cactus1, hasty, Spitbucket, 31Vicky with a Hemi,

    HELLO!

    Thanks for the very welcome messages and kind wishes. It's good to "hear" from you guys.

    The Maserodi has a tiny bit of road rash, but is still pretty shiny. The nickel plating is holding up fairly well, but not as well as if it were chrome. The engine will leak a quarter-sized drip on the floor after a few days and the Halibrand will lose a drop of 90# gear lube about once a week, which is not awful. After a couple of thousand miles on the road I have a lot of cleaning to do on the undercarriage. I not going to say I like cleaning up the oil/road grime, but it's kind of satisfying because it means that I've been putting on the miles, and enjoying the roadster.

    I hope all of you have a safe, fun, hot rod fall. Hearing from you is great.

    Charlie

    PS
    [For Doug (LB+1) you can to go back to my message posted Nov 2014 and see the text about how the driver's door was damaged. The important point is that all is well with the TR — a full recovery.]
     
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  24. AHotRod
    Joined: Jul 27, 2001
    Posts: 11,263

    AHotRod
    Member

    So ........ how do you rate the torsion bar ride?
     
  25. Hi AHotRod,

    Your question suggests you may be planing to build or modify a hot rod suspension, Y/N?.

    In my estimation the torsion bars have one exceedingly strong advantage — the ease of changing spring rates. The front bar are the third set, each time moving to a softer spring. The rear bars are the second set again with a move to a softer spring rate. Almost as nice is the ability to make height adjustments with ease, I am able to tailor the right and left at slightly different rates depending on conditions. For example on a trip with a companion and a full trunk and full gas tank I can raise the rear bars ½" for the duration of the trip (prevent bottoming out). When I get home I can lower the bars for solo around town cruising. The bars are cheap and usually can be 'traded in" for a different bar.

    The only real way to compare the torsion bars to coil or leaf springs would be to construct two otherwise identical roadsters. Having said that, compared to other similar traditional hot rods I have ridden in, I am VERY pleased with the ride of the torsion bars. As you know, any hot rod with a lowered ride height has a major compromise regarding suspension travel. This is true of my roadster where the real-world total travel is about 4 inches in the front. In other words, the real limiting factor is not the type of spring but the lack of travel. If you were considering building a highboy chassis this would not be as big of a problem.

    The final major advantage in my estimation is aesthetics. A cleverly designed leaf spring looks OK on a nostalgia hot rod, but in my opinion a coil spring is ugly, especially coil-over setups. The huge advantage with the Tbars is one can easily hide the spring for a clean look. The front of my roadster is a case in point. When viewed from the front the suspension is completely hidden, nothing can be seen. In fact the front axle resembles one of the late 20s solid-axle board track cars, which did not have a front suspension (Miller or Dusey).

    To the best of my knowledge there are no kits for fabricating Tbars suspensions (maybe for sprint cars??) but the various vendors who sell the torsion bars are very helpful. If you can tell them the approx weight of your car and the length of the lever arms, they can get you very close to which bar to start with. The bars are indexed in increments of thousandths of an inch and in a variety of lengths.

    I have found Gary Schroeder (Schroeder Eng., Burbank CA) to be very helpful, he has built several street rods (and of course sprint cars) of his own, so he is extremely knowledgeable.

    One other related bit of info. I just switched to radial tires from bias ply (all sizes identical). The ride improvement is nothing short of astonishing, the radials add more travel to the suspension via sidewall flex. I am thinking that with these tires I might go one step softer on all four bars and not worry about excessive "bottoming out" when I hit a pothole. That would give a very compliant ride, with improved travel, on shitty city streets (say that real fast a dozen times).

    Cheers,

    Charlie
     
  26. 73RR
    Joined: Jan 29, 2007
    Posts: 6,538

    73RR
    Member

    ...dang Charlie, your car is NICE!!!!

    .
     
  27. 73RR

    Thank you for the kind words, you aren't bias because of the KD500 Hemi are you?

    Charlie
     
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  28. AHotRod
    Joined: Jul 27, 2001
    Posts: 11,263

    AHotRod
    Member

    Right On Charlie!
    I'm continplating converting my A Coupe to torsion bar suspension as after 30 years of driving it with leaf springs. My back is messed up bad with ruptured disc's and the older I get (almost 60) the more it hurts to drive it. I don't want to give up driving it, but I'm driving my Chevy II Wagon 80% of the time now daily because of the much better ride. My Wagon and Coupe are my daily drivers, no others, so having both 'comfortable' is a major objective now.
    I build Hot Rods daily as a living so I'm not concerned with the fab side, just making the time to work on my own.
     
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  29. 73RR
    Joined: Jan 29, 2007
    Posts: 6,538

    73RR
    Member

    Bias? Me? Naw........ok, maybe a little bit.

    .
     
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  30. oj
    Joined: Jul 27, 2008
    Posts: 6,257

    oj
    Member

    Wow, I just read thru all 33 pages, incredible. What a great build and write up, thank you. I believe it is worth a second reading and take my time. There's a lot of 'stuff' in here to ponder, thats a good thing.
    Congratulations.
     

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