schwoops

To the Finish!!

An epic race!

John started driving and got in a good one and a half laps before the throttle cable came loose! He got towed back to camp and we quickly put him back together and out on the track in a jiffy. After another few laps, he pulled off due to some weird noises coming from the back of the car and what seemed like a slow loss of power. In the paddocks Mikey ripped open the CVT guard and inspected it to confirm that it was just the drive belt bouncing around in it’s finger-proof cage. 

After this little examination, Carolyn Jane got in the car! She whipped 4 laps out in no time flat. The car washandling magnificently and passing cars through the technical turns. Suddenly, she lost all power in the left side of the car. She managed to finish another lap steering furiously towards the right but still slipping out of bounds around the sharp, bumpy turns where the front tires lost traction. Finally, Knuckles was hit from behind around one such curve, and pushed into a cluster of track workers who quickly pulled him off the field.

Back at the paddocks, the team assembled. CVT cover – off. Rear suspension – detached. CVT – off. Gear box – out. Gear box on table. Gear box open. Found the sheared key which had been bringing power to the left side of the vehicle. The coupler – the shaft which supplies both sides of the car with power – was also cracked almost down it’s length where the key had broke. Hm. To Work!! Mike took the coupler to be welded back together. John found key stock and started cutting a new key. 30 minutes later, we assembled it all; ground down the edges so the key fit just right; ground off the filler on the weld so it hugged the shafts just right. Gearbox, assemble!! 10 minutes till the race is over. Gearbox – back together. Gearbox – back in the car. CVT – on. CVT guard – on. Rear suspension – reattached. Start the car. It works.

Mike is driving and we ran him back to the track at full speed. He took off and made it around three turns before he hit a log pile and lost power again. No time to fix it. The white flag when up and the track cleared. But hey, we were on the track when the race ended.

Only a flesh wound

It turns out the only problem with Knuckles is that we broke one of his gears! Whoops! It turns out we were putting a pretty extreme load on this little gear and it sheared right off into three pieces!

Knuckles' broken gear

Knuckles' broken gear

The shaft and the key were pretty badly damaged, but we managed to figure out what happened. Our key didn’t line up well on the inside of our gear, leaving almost half of the tooth length of the gear unsupported. The key way on the shaft was a little large, so they key could wobble. And finally, our gear had been made with the key way corners cutting through the thinnest part of the gear material. All this came together into a perfect storm which took down our gearbox. After discussing the issue with a number of esteemed professors, including our favorite, Q Jane Wang, we’ve determined that if we get a gear with a better cut key way (which we have), and redesign the shaft and the key to fit well with each other and the gear, we should we good to go.

Driving Days

Knuckles Works!!

John and Spot having a grand time in the mud

John and Spot having a grand time in the mud

We took Knuckles and Spot out to Cliff's Insane Terrain over in Marseilles, IL and had a riot of a time. Both cars ran great! Knuckles is vastly superior to Spot in control and maneuverability, but Spot still has a bit of thunder left in him. Well, he did until Faye here rolled him over onto his side.

Faye, before she was covered in mud

Faye, before she was covered in mud

Knuckles had great speed for a while, but after an hour or two of heavy driving, he lost his power. We think it’s something in the gearbox. Perhaps a shaft broke, but we’ll have to get back to the shop and take it all apart. John’s worried he may have to redesign and manufacture the whole thing in fewer than two weeks. We shall see.

Faye wrestling Spot back onto his wheels

Faye wrestling Spot back onto his wheels

Pictures from a snowy drive

This winter, we took the car out for a test drive in the snow. The car whipped right around on the layer of ice through the empty parking lot. Fortunately, there were enough tracks from other car for us to find snow-free patches of pavement so that we could get some speed to fly over the giant piles of snow that had been cleared earlier that day. The drifts were at least four feet high, but our little car just jumped right over them with no problem.

Mikey was our first freshman in the car! He had a couple of sweet spins out in the snow. After over an hour of doughnuts and blasting over the tallest, steepest parts of the snowbanks, we discovered that we had snapped one of the rod ends controlling steering on the right side of the car. Additionally, one of the the back rims on that side was sourly dented. In the pictures below, you can see our broken rod end as well as our car with it’s front wheels turned together. 

Spot's wheels turned inward

Spot's wheels turned inward

The broken rod end

The broken rod end