Saturday, May 24, 2014

Switchblade Dyno results: BLADE300

Our '07 Exige 'S' received one nice upgrade before it went off to its new owner, Allen.  We installed the BLADE300 and had her dyno'ed to see how much power she is making.  We're pleased with the results as she is making nice power on the Dynapack.  This dyno attaches to the hubs of the car so delivers more accurate and repeatable results.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Project Dragon Update #3

We are getting close to getting the test mule in our hot little hands.  Wiring harness mods and dash integration will be the two key items to complete before we can start track testing.  See the pix below of the Dragon:
Front suspension: push rods, 2 position bell cranks & coilovers.  Battery and fuel tanks are also up front

Rear suspension: push rods, 2 position bell cranks & coilovers.  997 GT2 6spd

Adjustable pedals.  Seat is fixed and pedals are adjusted for driver.

Shifter looks especially cool on the passenger side.

Porsche 911 GT2 trans (997) with adapter for LS3

LS3 is ready to rock!

Friday, May 16, 2014

STAND21 Safety Seminar: Stay hydrated and fight off heat illness

Here's another excerpt from the Stand21 Safety Seminar we attended at the 2014 Long Beach Grand Prix.  This topic was presented by Dr. Terry Trammell, one of the founders of the International Council of Motorsports Sciences, and the former Director of Medical Services for CART.   I thought his presentation could be of use to a lot of our gentlemen racers/ weekend warriors who spend time at the track.  With summer approaching, we need to consider how heat affects our bodies.

Abder Amokrane from Stand 21 and Dr. Terry Trammell

Heat related illness in motorsports usually goes under-recognized. Not only can it degrade your performance, but it can cause illness or even death.  Heat stress is simply heat production (metabolic) and accumulation (metabolic + environmental) in the body- if your body fails to dissipate the heat load, there is an increase in your core temperature (98.6F).

Environmental heat load:
  • ambient temperature
  • relative humidity
  • radiant heat (direct heat, engine & drivetrain)
  • air flow
  • clothing (color, texture, fabric, layers)
Metabolic heat load is when muscular work produces heat.  When a human does work, the muscles supply the energy.  The energy comes from chemical reactions at the cellular level.  This energy is incompletely converted to work, with heat as a secondary product.

Exercising at your maximum level requires 20x more muscular energy than at rest.  75% of the energy is heat, only 25% is work.  Racing is a physical activity requiring 200W/m2 (50W to drive a car).

We dissipate heat by:
  • radiation; blood flow to the skin (red face)
  • conduction; bringing areas of body with large surface area (head, palms & soles) into contact with cooler surfaces 
  • convection; heat lost in expired air (fogs your visor). 
  • and evaporation; sweating   
Humidity has an effect on sweating.  At less than 75% humidity, 85% of heat is lost by sweating.  As the temperature and humidity increase, evaporation is less efficient.  At 90% humidity or greater, sweat will NOT evaporate.  Beware of some 'waterproof' sunscreens - these can actually block sweat causing you to overheat.

Water is 60% of the body weight on an average male.  You need a mminimum of 2300ml a day (2.4 qts). You'll lose 1100ml/d with urination and 900-1200ml/d through other insensible losses.  Exercise will lose 1000-2000ml per hour of exercise.

You cannot 'hyper-hydrate' the day of a race - your body will not store it.  You should begin to hydrate 2-3 days before an event.  Your fingers and feet will slightly swell when you're at maximum H20 levels.  The best rule of thumb is that you should be urinating every 2 hours, and it should be crystal clear.  You are then properly hydrated.  

As you become hotter, your performance can suffer:
  • 2% loss = 3 pints
    • minimal impairment of body temp thermo-regulation
  • 3% loss = 4.5 pints
    • Reduced muscular endurance strength and time
    • Risk of heat related illness
  • 4% loss = 6 pints
    • Heat cramps and heat syncope (fainting)
  • 8% loss = 1.5 gallons!
    • Heat exhaustion
    • Heat Stroke
    • Coma and death
Stay safe and cool this season!

Learn more by watching the Stand21 video below:

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Which Maintenance Schedule?

Maybe you're just getting your Elise out from a long winter hibernation... Maybe you've just bought that Exige that the guy down the road has owned since new...  Either way, it's time for some basic engine/ gearbox maintenance to keep your Lotus running well.

A comprehensive engine / gearbox service would consist of:
-Oil and oil filter change
-spark plugs
-air filter
-gear oil

The factory calls for certain intervals for 'regular' driving; when the car is driven enthusiastically, these intervals change drastically.  For example, 'regular' driving has a 7500 mile oil change interval.  For 'special operating conditions' (such as occasional circuit use, with repeated high RPM, wide throttle openings, and high oil temperature), the interval falls to 4000 miles.

For the air filter and plugs, Lotus suggests 30,000 miles for 'regular' drivers, but does not have any further suggestion for 'special operating conditions'.  Here's what we'd suggest:

Aggressive Street:
-plugs, air filter, and gear oil at every 20,000 miles; change oil every 5000 miles

Track Focused + Street:
-plugs, air filter, and gear oil at every 12,500 miles; change oil every 4000 miles

Track/Race Only:
-every 5000 miles or yearly for the plugs and filters- change fluids every 4-6 events

You should also perform a service like this if you have just purchased a used Lotus and you cannot confirm when the last service was.  It's inexpensive piece of mind.

We offer a discount on a maintenance kit called the SERVpak: it has factory filters for your car along with premium Motul fluids and NGK Iridium plugs. We also throw in a hard copy of our 60 point preparation sheet so you double check all the vital nuts and bolts on your car.  When you're done, save the 60 point paperwork with your car's records.  It's great for your future reference, and the next owner of the car will love you for your attention to detail.

Brake fluid is another critical fluid that should be changed yearly on normal cars and more frequently on track driven cars with bleeds conducted after each track event.

Atom 2 Engine Damage, part 3

The Atom 2 is back together at last.
After assembling everything back together, the car would not fire.  Electrical connections and sensors were checked and double checked, but still no start.  A call to the GM specialist revealed that the cam sensor can be installed on the cam incorrectly during head re-assembly - it doesn't make a difference mechanically how it is installed, but it does make a difference to the sensor that reads it!  We set the engine to TDC on cyl 4, aligned the marks on the housing with the marking on the sensor's hex shaft and it was purring like a kitten on the first turn of the key.  It seems like every engine has it's own 'secret trick' or two... I'm glad we found this before we took the motor apart to double-check the timing chain!  This setup is like an old-school ignition distributor - I guess we've grown used to just plugging a magnetic or optical sensor in...

The Atom has about 15 miles of test driving on the newly rebuilt engine and supercharger - we'll have the customer put another couple hundred miles on it before we change the oil and get it to the dyno.
The car feels strong and tight, so we'll be sending it back to the customer to enjoy during these California spring days!