No Rest For the Studious: The Story of the University of Delaware BHR14 (Part 4)
In Part 3 of our SAE saga, we finally got our beast running and driving, then promptly threw the diff out like bad Taco Bell. We then jammed to get the chassis welded back together in time for a powdercoating appointment while we took our final exams. With the chassis at the paint shop, we pretended to be students long enough to actually graduate. We then hopped into my trusty old CRV and headed down to see what we got. If you’ve been reading our first three parts, you’ll remember this was an ambitious redesign, with a split chassis, heavily revised suspension, and large weight saving goals. We also had a greatly expanded budget and needed to have a car that was not only fast, but looked good too, hence the powdercoating.
The powdercoating work was done by Perfect Finish Powder Coating
in Stanton, DE. Their shop was hidden by a row of trees and when we pulled up, this is what we were greeted with. WOW!!!
The chassis looks absolutely stunning! Powder coating adds a fairly significant amount of weight, but the visual impact really makes up for that. We had a ton of sponsors to please and we wanted to put our best foot forward. On top of the chassis and suspension, we pulled the magnesium centers from our brand new Keizer three-piece wheels and brought them over to be powder coated to match. Worth every penny. Perfect Finish sand blasted and powdercoated every part to ensure a…perfect finish.
To break up the sea of blue, all of the suspension pieces and the roll bar braces were done in yellow. We knew the blue and yellow (UD’s colors) would look cool, but WOW did this blow us away. The result is stunning to say the least. Heavier than paint? Yes, but we’ve also never had a better looking car. We felt the tradeoff in performance was worth the presentation for our sponsors. After all, our car represents their work as well as our own!
The final push began the moment the car came back from powdercoating. To prevent another rear end failure, we had replaced the failed 0.035” wall tubes with 0.049” wall tubing. We also welded in our chain guard (3” wide, ¼” thick steel mandated by SAE) which made a big improvement in strengthening the rear end. When I say ‘we,’ I actually mean Extreme Machining
in Newark, DE who saved the day when our TIG welder decided to stop working the day we needed it most. Finally, we added two bolt in braces to the upper diff mounts to triangulate them to the suspension pickups. We could not afford another rear end failure, so we wanted to be triple sure we had the strength we needed, even if it meant added weight. At this point we were well versed in assembling this car so the rebuild only took a couple days.