test drive

Campus Slaloming

It was a whirlwind workday on Saturday, with quite literally all hands on deck. John in welding mode putting together the rear suspension and attaching the gas pedal, Joe making sure the gas pedal has enough support, Ben bleeding brakes, Sarah mounting the gas tank, Eric and Matt finger-proofing the CVT guard, Jared finishing up the foam seat, Faye doing the headrest, the kittens helping out everywhere they were needed, and Mikey running around making sure it all got done so Knuckles would be in full driving condition....phew!

And sure enough, we got him in working order, so a couple of us took Knuckles out for a little spin on the slopes (well, as sloped as Illinois gets) next to Lake Michigan. Some improv flashlights lit up a path between the tree trunks as we took turns testing out the feel of Knuckles 2.0 in preparation for going to the Cliffs tomorrow!

 

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

Baja springs ahead

We’re back from Spring Break and back to work on Baja!  We finished up Winter Quarter just short of a rolling chassis, and we are now working out some final kinks in the assembly.  Unfortunately, the custom half-shafts we ordered turned out to be 3 inches shorter than what we ordered.  We are currently waiting for the correct shafts to come in, but we have made some good progress on the car.

Front pedal and reservoir assembly

Front pedal and reservoir assembly

Rear wheels and hubs

Rear wheels and hubs

Drivetrain and rear braking assemblies

Drivetrain and rear braking assemblies

We also recently secured sponsorship with Albany Steel & Brass Corp. who gave us a bunch of fasteners.  Thanks!

Once we get the half-shafts in we plan to finish Knuckles and take her out for a couple test drives on campus before doing some more testing at a local off-road vehicle park in May. We’re excited to be on schedule for our May 22-25th race in Pittsburg, Kansas.

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