Archive for February, 2014

A little chassis work

February 17, 2014
Hung out at Michael Edick’s today and got some bonafide work done on the dragster. (thanks for the welding and fab work Michael!)When the frame was built, I had mentioned to Brian Fox that I wanted the front hoop of the roll cage to lay back at the same angle that they did in the 1960’s. The only problem was in the ’60s the roll cages only had one hoop, and today’s rules require two.

To find the space to do what we wanted in order to have “the look” I had Brian add about 4″ to the frame behind the center axle. Mission accomplished on the cage, but it created two challenges I hadn’t taken into account. 1.) with the longer overhang in the back, it meant that the front wheels only had to come up a foot or so before it started scraping the rail under the seat. This also meant it made it more difficult to roll the car onto a trailer. 2.) sitting farther away from the rear axle also meant that rather than the axle resting under the crook of my knees, my calves were resting on them. This would make pedal placement a little tricky.

There is no way I wanted to shorten the back section at all, and it turns out the rules allow 1 1/2″ x .125″ flat bar stock to be used under the seat as well as tubing. So I decided that even buying a couple extra inches of clearance would help. So today we got that job done and welded it flush with the frame rail. We also had to cut the seat bottom out, because we’ll have to shorten the seat. There is still plenty of clearance in the roll cage area with the helmet on. I have no intention on changing Brian’s work – the chassis is everything we wanted. It’s more of making a practical adjustment to make the car more comfortable and usable. But that will be the only change to it as-delivered. From here on it will be adding things like the belt anchor points, and the chute bracket and cockpit controls.

I’m still going to have to “hide” a caster wheel that will be mounted at the back of the chassis and placed in a position to protect the bottom frame rail, but tucked under the body work and not readily apparent, unless you look at the car from a low angle.

At this point I’m going to look into pushing the bottom of the seat forward 3-4″ inches in order to get my legs in the position to put the axle under my knees. Even though this will put me in more of a reclining position than the original design, with the seat bottom up higher a couple extra inches it should not be an issue. This will allow us to mount the pedals lower in the cockpit and not run into clearance issues. I just need to check to make sure there are no rules that state the seat back needs to be flush with the frame rails.

Here’s photos of  the day’s proceedings.

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