Saturday, March 19, 2011

LeMons Style Hybrid

On the 24 Hours of LeMons Forums Hoonatic Racing posted a thread of his new Mystery Build. He isn't telling much about the build except that he got the OK to build it from LeMons HQ. This got a lot of people, myself included, thinking about what type of power train he could be looking at using. Having to ask for the OK pretty much eliminates most of the normal engine options, so had people theorizing all kinds of other ways to power a car such as electric, steam, hamsters.

As ones that seem easiest to get past LeMons HQ would be Electric. By going Electric you would be removing several flammable liquids from your car which would make it actually less like for you to die by bursting in flames. I guess you do increase the odds of you electrocuting yourself though. Of course the main disadvantage is that you would need a lot of batteries to run an endurance race, far more than you could carry in the car, and changing the batteries would be difficult.

So why not go with a Hybrid. It will be a while until even the first gen Insights or Priuses will be LeMons Price. Of course why should anyone let that stop them. So I came up with this system.

So the basic idea is that you hook up the electric motor or motors, cause more is always better to a battery that is constantly charged by a car battery charger that is plugged to a generator.

I'd first like to say I know absolutely nothing about any of this and is all unfounded theory based on the idea that you could just plug everything in and it magically work.

Anyway I was figuring Ideally you'd want a mid or rear engine car like a Fiero. You can stuff all of the running components in the engine compartment, and if you use on electric motor you could try mounting it to the cars original transmission. You plug the Electric drive train into a battery or two, this should help buffer the draw variance some and allow the car to get back to the pits if the generator runs out of gas or stops working, I would then think to hook the battery up to a battery charger set at jump so that it will be doing the maximum output. Ideally this would give you enough power to run the electric motor. This charger would be plugged into a generator. If you want to be green I guess you could run a diesel generator running biodiesel. The generator will probably allow you to run an entire days racing on between 5-10 gallons of gas, which would make it cheap to run and quicker driver changes since you will only have to fuel maybe once if you use a 5 gallon tank. I was thinking to make sure the generator is working you can simply wire an kind of plugin light and have that in the cockpit so the driver knows if the light goes out the generator isn't working and to pit.

You will lose some things people are used to like power steering(although with nothing in the front of the car you probably won't need power steering) and , defrosters and you would have to figure out a way to power things like the windshield wiper and possibly headlight and a million other things I'm sure I'm not thinking about but I'll leave that for the engineers to figure out.

Anyone know where I can find a bunch of really smart engineers for free? Maybe I'll check craigslist.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


It amazing how much a difference a good set of tires make. I just replaced the tires on my daily driver, partially cause my camber was totally screwed up (over -2 degrees more than what it should be on the right front, but that should help in turning right) and partially cause the set I had were not very good, especially in the cold.

So Friday got a new set of tires and got the alignment done on the leggy, and its amazing the difference, especially after I inflated them to what they should be(but this seems to be a common occurrence when I take the car in the winter to anyone who checks the tire pressure). I'm sure part of the improvement of the ride is just having the cars alignment be right again, but overall the cars handling is definitely better. An off ramp that I drive a minimum of 5 times a week, i find myself having to correct my steering input because the car is drifting over the line on the inside of the turn. I must have gotten used to understeer in the ramp that is now gone, and I believe I took the turn faster than I usually do.

So I'm sure we'll have to consider this again when budgeting for next year, although until we fix the body roll issue its hard to know how good or bad our tires were.

On a plus side the tires I got also had an offer for a free Flip so in a month or so I should have a new toy that could be used in the race.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

We're on a mission from God

Well ok maybe not a mission but I figure we can at least try to get on his good side.

I while looking though a random junk drawer in a dresser at home, a drawer that I think has been left on sorted even through moves since my childhood, I found a St Jude Key Chain.

Not only is it a medalion but the back has a weird thing glued on it so it actually is a relic.

So while last year we ran the race with a key chain from the local Roller Derby team The Windy City Rollers.

I have to support my girls. Well that and I figured there was an off chance that one of the lovely ladies showed up I could impress them, or more likely for me when I did something incredibly stupid I could show them the key chain so they didn't kill me.

Anyway I figure we could do with a little help from a higher power.

So for those that aren't familiar with the Saints (the Catholic ones not the football team) I'll give a quick non official or religiously sanctioned overview.

God is a busy omnipotient being. There is a lot to do being in charge of all reality, so the Catholic Religion came up with the idea of giving some of the holier people throughout history to help out with some of the little problems we people have. So you can't find your car keys, instead of asking God who is busy creating stars on the far side of the universe, you can ask St Anthony and he'll help you find it. While being a Catholic only group they don't seem to care what religion the person asking for help is. I have heard stories of people from all kinds of religions praying to St Anthony to find something lost and finding it, or using a St Joseph statue to sell a house and it amazingly selling.

So the Key Chain is St Jude. St Jude is not the Patron Saint of Beatles songs, he is the Patron Saint of Hopeless Causes, probably the most appropriate Saint for Lemons.

A little about St Jude. He was one of the 12 Apostles, so he was one of Jesus's buddies which you know is pretty cool. He is known as various names such as Jude of James, Jude Thaddaeus, Judas Thaddaeus or Lebbaeus. He is sometimes identified with Jude, "brother of Jesus", but should have been called the other Judas, not the Judas who betrayed Jesus and got him crucified. He actually became the Patron Saint of hopeless causes because everyone kept confusing the 2 Judas's up, so at one point it was hopeless for him to ever get anyone to remember who he was. Fortunately it seems that making him the Patron Saint of hopeless causes and shortening his name to Jude worked, cause he is the Patron Saint of a soccer team in Brazil, the Chicago Police Department and a pretty famous research hospital in Tennessee, and maybe even now the Patron Saint of a Lemons team, although I'm outnumbered by Lutherans so not sure how they'll feel about that.

Well I guess we could always go back to the lovely ladies of the Windy City Rollers