No Rest For the Studious: The Story of the University of Delaware BHR14 (Part 2)


Wayyyyyyyy back when we were showing the Faro arm stuff, you may have noticed the engine was sitting on a cinder block.  That’s because the GSXR-600 engine has a long oil sump to keep the engine oiled under wheelies.  That sump is a problem when trying to get the engine low in the car, or if you’re trying to stick the big brother Haybusa engine into a Miata.  Lots of SAE team will make custom oil pans out of sheet metal and modify the stock sump to get around this issue.  However GSXR-600 engines are very popular in Micro Sprint oval racing and the aftermarket has a lot of parts available to make your bike engine more car worthy.  This oil pan is from Orange Racing and includes a new pickup and this low profile oil pan hogged out of a giant chunk of billet aluminum.  This cuts off about 3 inches of depth from the oilpan and creates a nice flat bottom to work with when fitting your engine.  Because of clever design, the oil capacity is not decreased.  I would link to Orange Racing, but it’s a one man shop and Dave Orange has no website (however if you contact Guhl Motorsports, they can put you in contact with Mr. Orange).  Dave was generous enough to only charge us for labor when he sent us this beautiful billet goodness.  As for Mr. Coleman, try something like this in Miatabusa 2.0 when getting the sump out of the subframe.Here you can see the pan installed and sealed up.  Check out how it also cants the engine forward, helping to lower the CG of the engine (or clear the hood of your Miata).  You can also see the explosion of spaghetti that is the wiring harness in progress.  We were using a 2006 GSXR engine, which makes removing things like anti-theft and the various bike specific kill switches easy, (it’s all in the wiring, while later bikes had it programmed into the ECU).  However the steps are not well known and since Guhl Motors graciously gave them to us for free (normally they ask you to send in a harness and a fistful of cash to do it for you) I will not repeat them here.  Guhl was very helpful in getting this engine running and they bent over backwards helping us geeks get our crazy car on the track with dyno time and over the phone diagnostics.  Not only did the harness have to be rewired to work in a car, but outputs for the dash, which include datalogging, needed to be isolated and wired out.  Our wiring wizard Chris did an excellent job of putting together an awesome harness.  

Getting the steering column right took multiple attempts.  We had to juggle a delicate balance of getting the wheel high enough to be easy to use, while not being too high (a driver’s hands cannot be above the rollbar when they are on the wheel), while leaving room for an AIM MXL dashboard, and the cockpit template.  Plus, the rack position is fixed because of Ackerman geometry and we wanted to constrain the design to a single u-joint.  We even dealt with ergonomics, ensuring the driver’s wrists would be straight when cornering to help prevent driver fatigue.  Somehow the stars aligned and we were able to work this out.  It looks flimsy but is actually quite strong.  Locking down the steering column firmly can be overlooked, but if the column mounts are weak, the entire wheel can move around as you steer!  After welding, delrin bushings were pressed into the tubes.  Delrin was used because it is light and needs no lubrication.  After using needle bearings (an AWFUL idea as the bearings eventually ate themselves) and sintered bronze bushings in other cars, delrin was a big improvement in both weight and simplicity.
So with the control arm snafu, the steering redesign, and some rocker, and sway bar design changes, a rolling chassis was pushed back to March.  We also only had one welder (me), so I had to bounce between finishing the suspension and finishing the chassis.  This was the first time the car was actually supported on all four of its wheels.  It was a big moment.

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