Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Make Sure Your Radiator Hose is Fully Attached

One of the important issues of any engine is keeping your engine at the right temperature. One of the best ways of doing that is making sure it won’t leak!  Coolant leaks are caused by radiator failures, leaking reservoir bottles, old hoses or improperly installed hoses.  This post discusses hose related issues.

1. Check your hoses to see if they are in good shape.  Over time the stock hoses will start to crack and split, some start to swell etc. With our cars starting to get up in age, it is never a bad time to replace hoses or at least have a closer look at them. 

2. Make sure your hoses are on correctly. A lot of leaks occur at the two front hoses that bridge the hard lines, to the radiator. Generally it is caused by hoses that are incorrectly installed. This is the area where the car is drained for coolant flushes.  One of the reasons is because the hard line is so close to the crash structure, and with such little flex from the coolant hoses, it is hard to get the hose clamp in the correct position because it almost pinches the clamp against the crash structure and with the stock coolant hose being so stiff, it is hard to see where the flange on the hard line is. There is also a little movement from the hard line when trying to push the factory coolant hoses back on, which causes you to not be able to get the hose on enough of the hard line needed for a proper seal with the stiffness of the factory hoses. 

We run silicone hoses and they fit great. They are very flexible which makes it easier to put the hoses on.  They slide right over the flange and allow almost no movement from the hard line.  This lets you get the hose clamp on easier and in the correct position.  Since they are flexible, they also allow you to see exactly where the flange is and that helps make sure your clamp is in the correct position and your hoses are safe and secure.  

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Single vs Double Shear Explained

We know the rear toe link joint is a weak point in the Elise/Exige - mostly with track driven cars.  There is a misconception that the toe link is weak - it is actually the joint where the stock balljoint meets the subframe.  This blog entry discusses how we reinforce the joint, with our new DSbrace and RTD2brace, by placing it into Double Shear.  
The easiest way to explain the differences between Double & Single Shear is to think of when you were a child and fighting over a stick or piece of wood with a friend.  He grabs one end, trying to pull it out of your hands, the stick starts to go back and forth, you can hear it starting to crack and then you grab the other side of the stick putting his hand in the middle of your hands. He keeps pulling as hard as he can, but you have full control and there is no more tension on the stick. His force with one arm is now dominated by the strength of your two arms. Now, replace the stick with a bolt, and you and your friends arms are metal rods. The same applies to the bolt as it would the stick. 

The strength of a Double Shear joint is effectively double of a Single Shear joint.  Here is a picture that helps illustrate the shearing actions:

Monday, January 9, 2012

Dry Sump Track Testing & More

We conducted track testing this past Sat. at Spring Mtn with the Lotus Cup racers.  We tested a few products:

  1. S111-Dailey Dry Sump
  2. ETHOS 16x8 & 17x9 wheels
  3. DSbrace - affordable toe link brace
  4. TRACKpipe - track muffler
We made a quick video to share some info:

Overall we had great results with the Dry Sump and are ready to release it to other race teams and shops.  Amazingly we ran the car with no oil coolers.  Oil temps slowly climbed over the course of the day to about 280degF.  Clearly a small cooler will be a good idea when the ambient temps are hot.  I think a laminova oil cooler will be perfect and should allow us to delete the front coolers.  We think the complexity of a Dry Sump does not lend itself to the average shade tree mechanic.  If you are interested in a solution, give us a call so we can discuss your needs.

The TRACKpipe is our new track muffler.  We've been running it for a few weeks and have shown sneak peeks of it and sound clips in recent videos like this and this.  The sound is not loud and has a great tone to it.  We think track guys are going to be pleased with the price and quality.  

The DSbrace is our new affordable toe link brace.  It uses the same components as our tried and true RTD & RTVbraces.  We eliminated the central brace and added lower cost, but still effective, brackets to place the toe link joint into double shear.  This product also bolts on with absolutely no modifications to the chassis. This kit delivers the highest joint strength of any solution we are aware of.  

The ETHOS wheels ended up coming off the car as we experienced some rubbing at the rear.  We ran 245 Hoosier A6s at race ride heights and experienced some rubbing on the outside fenders.  We took them off and installed our back up wheels/tires.  We think these will work with Lotus that are running flares.  They are perfect for their primary application: the Ariel Atom.

We recruited our good friend Dave T. to push the car hard.  He turned some of the fastest times of the day with only 211s beating his times.  This allowed us to push the car hard and see how it would perform. He turned 2min56s times on the 3.5mile config.  Overall it was a long but productive test day for our team.