Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Trackace Wheel Alignment

I have found this device which does laser wheel alignment, toe in/out only. As this is usually what ends up being adjusted I thought it might be worth a shot, the theory behind it seems very strong. Its very portable so could be used at track days.

Plus I had the whole front suspension out of the Nagari Sports and rebuilt it so was setting up again from scratch.

So I spent my $145, as a normal alignment is $45-$75 and takes 3 hrs by the time you wait at the place! Then tried it on 4 vehicles, 1 had been aligned in the last few 1,000 kms so I was expecting it not to have moved or worn.

Mazda 6, done 2,500kms since last aligned was within 1’ or 0.1mm from the last setting, which equals perfect.

Ford Ranger 4X4 ute, done 11,000km since last aligned, was within 5’ or 0.7mm from the last setting.

So assuming the last settings were as per the work sheet it all seems to make sense and the product works very well. It’s very quick to use, about 3 minutes, which is good as you have to redo it each time you make a adjustment. It also recalibrates ever time its used so each measurement is perfect.

NSX which has done about 16,000km since last aligned was within Front 1.4mm and Back 0.7mm from the last setting. They say it works on 100mm ground clearance, which my standard 1995 NSX is to under the front lip, but I think you can make it work lower than that. They don’t say it will do rear alignment as its not checking with the front for reference (see web page) but it still gives a perfect aft toe reading.

I tried to “trick” the unit by making it read incorrectly but if you follow the instructions, it seems to be nearly idiot proof!

Video of it. It is actually better in real life.

Anyway I found it very useful and quicker than hanging around alignment shops reading old car mags! Plus I know it’s done properly…..

Scott B

Monday, April 21, 2014

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Who said Ford didn't build cars in SA?

This is the Ford assembly plant at Birkenhead before the site was taken over by James Hardie Industries.

Brooksfield nostalgia.

A few photos, 2 from Andrew F and 1 from Colin M.
Now you know where all the Topolinos went, although you could say that about humpies as well. At least all the Topolatsos were saved.
This is the John H Ellers push car which, when it wasn't doing its duties at Brooksfield, resided down the back of the West Terrace car yard, the site from where more than one Mark 7 was sold, including the orange one of Norm and Lisa's. I particularly recall that car in its early days for the door window mechanism which consisted of a strap and peg, just like the old bay trams.

How good is this?

Wonderful to see Tim's Mk.4 out and about at Tumut this Easter.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Easter must be coming up.

Motorists are asked to watch out for the sandgroper invasion as it heads Eastward on its annual invasion, wreaking havoc as it goes.
If spotted in your town please notify Dino's BCCA Facebook page as a warning to your community.

The Nagari nemisis.

I shouldn't really say that. This is the Mutton Corvette. I think the HO Nagari beat it as many times as it lost to it.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Kapunda - week 75

Up the street this morning.
260Z and a Merc from Victoria (Shepparton to be exact).
Brett's Charger on its way home from a successful trip to the Darwin mud races.
And another Chrysler from a far off land.

Thursday, March 27, 2014


Often referred to as Bolwell Mk3A.
Tony Shaw took these photos at last year's Winton Historics and they were later reproduced in the NSW Slipstream.
I think this was its coming out parade and Patrick who has owned it for decades was using Winton as a shakedown run prior to the Sandown Historics. Tony was looking forward to catching up with Patrick at Sandown. I have never heard whether he did or not or, even, if the car was there. However, it was at the later Geelong Speed Trials, driven by its FORMER owner, Iain, and flagged off by that retro-dressed young woman in the bright pink mini-dress and white stole.
Meanwhile, Colin, in Thailand, discovered a couple of pictures of it in mid-60s Graffiti Publications' "Hot Rod Heritage".
That's it in the background of a pic of John English's rear engined dragster taken at Riverside.
Here it is running off against Daryl Harvey's '34 roadster (which was considered to be the first hot rod in Australia fitted with an OHV engine in 1959).

Friday, March 21, 2014

So what IS brake by wire?

This article is from Racecar Engineering.

When the driver hits the brake it is not just the carbon brake discs and pads that slows the car down on a 2014 car, the energy recover system also does a significant amount too, rather like engine braking but a much stronger effect. This means that the drivers left pedal (F1 cars have no clutch pedal) is no longer linked directly to the rear brakes instead it is linked to a computer which then controls the rear brakes. The front brakes continue to operate in the same way as they always have done.
The main reason for this is that rules say that the car is only allowed to recover a certain amount of energy per lap from the rear brakes (it does not recover from the fronts), and there is only a finite amount of energy that can be stored in the battery. When either of these limits is reached the ERS stops recovering energy and the braking effect is lost and the traditional brakes take over. But for the driver it is important to retain the brake feeling otherwise when he hits the pedal he is never quite sure what will happen. If you imagine driving down a steep hill in a low gear using the engine braking alone to slow you down, then suddenly that braking effect stops it makes the car almost impossible to drive smoothly. The semi active Brake By Wire system should stop that from happening and automatically balance the conventional brakes with the ERS braking. But getting to work properly is a problem currently for a number of teams including Lotus “the biggest problems are how the chassis works with the power unit and how the energy recovery system works. So there are some inconsistencies there which are making it very difficult for the driver to predict what he is going to get when he arrives at the corner” Technical Director Nick Chester admitted. “So the system is not doing exactly the same thing every time and that is disturbing the driver and losing us a lot of time.”

Getting the feel right for drivers is a major headache for some teams as well as making the systems reliable. At Melbourne Brake By Wire issues directly lead to a few off track moments for some drivers.
“You just take the hydraulic inputs that the FIA specify and work with an electronically controlled hydraulic link to the caliper, at the same time you have some redundancy in there so if you have a failure it should revert to a manual brake circuit” Toro Rosso Technical Director James Key explains. “You have to account for any failure mode you can think of both mechanically and in software. Its bit like a differential or a clutch, but the tricky bit is mapping it well.”
Mapping the systems is an area where some teams, notably those Renault runners who lost track time at the Jerez and Bahrain 1 tests, will be struggling in terms of time. “Brake by wire is a massive for us in 2014, you have control system mapping, driver mapping to get him comfortable, you have state of charge control, making sure the battery topped up at the right time and temperature and vibration and that is just one system” Williams Chief Test Engineer Rod Nelson explains. “The driver needs to have a good feeling of retardation versus pressure that is not steppy or moves around, it has to stay the same. He can adjust the bias forwards or rearwards as in the past but we are also balancing how much energy he uses from the rears with how much we are trying to recover. Its key to the mapping and the brake setup that when you come off the brakes there is no residual force that may give a little bit of instability or a lock up. Some drivers are very very sensitive to this.
We can model the brakes on the simulator and that is what we have done, but they are not straightforward as there is a thermal effect, the amount of stopping power the brakes have depends on the temperature of the brake so that's an input we need to understand. We set a recovery target for each lap, so whatever a driver does not put in the MGU does. We have had issues with losing brake by wire and the driver ends up on his own. The pedal has a very different feel when that happens it is much softer than you expect it to be. More significantly the brake bias shifts substantially, so if you come into a corner with a Brake By Wire failure then you are going to get a wake up call, it gets them thinking.”
It also create a challenge for the caliper manufacturers like Alcon, AP, Brembo and Akebono who have to develop control systems to aid the braking effort at the rear, negating the need for the driver to constantly alter the brake bias, and also contributing in preventing rear lock-up.
The arrival of Brake By Wire in F1 means that now the only things the driver now controls mechanically are the steering angle of the front wheels and the pressure applied to the front brakes. Every other system on the car is now drive by wire.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Another backbone chassis.

This time, a Triumph GT6.
This is what it looks like fully dressed.