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About de3ug

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  1. Battery fire while towing

    I like the bent metal bar idea. Are those posts rigid when the bar is not there? I think that was another flaw in our previous design (in addition to the diameter of the posts), is that they would flop about when not tightened. We had a metal plate under the battery box, but the posts were attached like upside down tent stakes.
  2. So I had an incident last Sunday that could have been real bad. Actually, scratch that, it involved a fire so it was real bad, but it could have been much worse. I'm going to share some of the details with the chump community so hopefully this does not happen to anyone else, especially since the specific issue did not seem to come up in the previous few threads about battery containers and hold down straps. So what happened? At our last race (Laguna Seca in July) we had a CV joint bushing explode on Saturday, which smothered our alternator to death in axle grease, which lead to us swapping the battery in and out of the car a few times during the race on Sunday (we didn't have a spare alternator, but we did have a bunch of vehicles in the paddock with perfectly good batteries...). After the race, we put the original battery back in the car, but in the rush to get everything packed up and get home it seems that we did not attach both ends of the metal battery tie down strip. I towed the car home (2 hours) that night and put the car in the garage, no issue with the battery. I spent the last two months going through our todo list for the car (alternator replacement, led trailer lights, new dashboard, etc.), no issue with the battery. I towed the car one hour to one of my teammates house last Sunday, I get out to unload the car from the trailer and everything on the car is fine except... there is a pile of burnt and melted plastic sitting in a pool of acid where the battery used to be. Everything else was fine, didn't melt or even darken the lexan rear hatch. What (do I think) was the root cause? So I'm posting before and after photos. The before is from a few years ago when we first built our box. You can see we have two long bolts which are connected to a metal plate below the box and attached to a metal plate with wingnuts. It's not shown here, but we also had rubber battery terminal covers over both posts, and a lid that snapped in place. As you can see in the after photo, the metal plate (which is grounded, since it's attached to the frame) slid to the right, under the rubber terminal cover, and shorted the battery. Search for "car battery short fire" on youtube if you want to know what happened after that. What should we all do about it? Never leave your battery unattached, especially when moving the car, especially if you are securing your battery with a system like we were using here. Don't assume those rubber or plastic terminal covers will protect you from a short. We tend to focus on safety during the race and relax afterwards, but this is something that can happen at anytime if you make a mistake like this. I'm going to add this to my checklist whenever I move the car now. Now that we have to rebuild our battery box, I'm thinking of ways we can design a mount where this can't happen. Maybe a hinge secured with multiple bolts on one side so the strap can't rotate, or covering the strap completely with an insulator. Looking for thoughts or ideas, preferably with photos of everyone else's much more secure unburnt battery boxes.
  3. This is why ambiguity in the rules or their interpretation on the forum or elsewhere is a big problem. If you want to start a team from scratch it's going to cost several thousand dollars and maybe hundreds of hours of work to get ready. Fear of investing that much time, money and effort only to be turned away is very real and probably keeps some less enthusiastic potential racers away. We had this same fear before our first race and went so far as to tow the car to a chump event we were not planning to race just to get it inspected. We were actually a little disappointed by the inspection. From reading the rules and all the forum banter we thought someone was going to come around with vernier calipers and a protractor and scrutinize our welds with a microscope. The reality was that other than the kill switch test, the inspection was more of a peek through the window to make sure we had everything on the checklist.
  4. Forum Volume

    turbochargers and superchargers, non-OE: 100 pts turbocharger and supercharger intercoolers, non-OE: 25 pts 4.3.4. Parts included with non-OE turbocharger/supercharger installations are: exhaust/intake manifold, pressure tubing, cooling lines, oil lines, and boost control systems. At some point the underpowered Honda teams will figure out how to take advantage of this rule update. It recently occurred to me that the 4.3.4 rule means a turbo is only 25 incremental points for our team since we already had non-OE intake/exhaust manifolds... Also, the 280Z (Dimsum Racing) that won the Sunday race at Sonoma last month had a Honda Accord engine. Does that count as a Honda win?
  5. The No Gray Matter Racing team had a great time this weekend. Thanks to everyone for making this event happen. We all learned a lot as drivers this weekend, but found driving in the extreme wet on Friday to be particularly illuminating. We spent some time in the garage during the race fixing mechanical problems, but still got plenty of track time and finished 22nd and 23rd. An abbreviated list of issues we had this weekend include: a failing wheel bearing, a blown fuel pump fuse, stuck brake caliper, loose starter wiring (had to push start the car during a few pitstops on Sunday), intermittent comms, and um... we lost a wheel. We got it back, but it was a little embarrassing. Despite all that, we drove the car onto the trailer after the race without anything seriously damaged. This is a first for us, so we are really thrilled that we don't have to rebuild the car again before our next race. We plan to be at Laguna Seca in July. I thought the ChumpCast Live feed was awesome and plan to look into adding a feed from our car for that race. Until then, here are the GoPro highlight from our race:
  6. Sonoma 2017

    Earlier today Bill said full course (carousel, no chute) with the 9A chicane.
  7. Autoclub On Sale

    Seconded. I definitely won't be there if the date is changed. Very likely my team won't either.
  8. BFGoodrich RIVALS

    Does this mean you are giving out 3 x 3 = 9 sets of tires in total or just 3, one per region?
  9. Discuss Proposed "Swap Formula" Thread

    It was very un-nerving at first, but we got used to it after awhile. The problem was that we had almost nobody to race with and felt out of place. At one point some of the other teams put in their green drivers and we had maybe two cars we could sort of race with. That made a huge difference. As a first time team I would not mind getting my doors blown off, as long as I'm not the only one. I think TCV based classes might make it easier for new teams to get started without having to have a Jamaican bobsled team type of race before figuring out how to compete with the teams that have been doing this for half a decade or more.
  10. Discuss Proposed "Swap Formula" Thread

    We did this at Laguna Seca last July. '91 CRX Si with an exhaust header and springs (sub 300 TCV). Finished 31st, 33 laps back on Friday, ventilated the crankcase on Saturday. We were definitely the slowest car on the track. If the rules gave us 15-30 laps and that encouraged more teams to compete at that PWR, that might be worth considering. However our team looked at the competitors at the rulebook at the time and decided to do a B20 swap. With the proposed rules I think we will be at 502 TCV (402 when we get around to cutting a hole in the hood to fit the stock intake manifold). If the classes were TCV based that would be very interesting and probably more meaningful than the displacement based ones we have now.
  11. Thunderhill Double 7 Feb 27 and 28

    Does this mean we are switching pits/paddock overnight?