Sunday, June 16, 2024

NMS Kart-A-Geddon Showdown 2024!

Brian takes the top step on the podium at the Trackhouse Motorplex, with yours truly in 2nd place for the NMS Kart-A-Geddon-Throwdown 2024. 

Believe it or not, the NMS team once again ventured north for some automotive events, which included a duel, a la mano-a-mano, at the Trackhouse Motorplex kart track up in Mooresville NC. We've been there a few times before, back when it was the GoPro Motorplex, so this time it was some friendly competition under the Trackhouse brand name. The temperature hit 90 (Yes, Fahrenheit, not Celsius or Kelvin, we're in the USA man, come on!) We fought it out over 3 races of 10 minutes each, and we came away with one conclusion...OH MAN THAT WAS GREAT!


Later we stopped by the Team Penske facility.

Conclusion #2: Brian was the faster driver in all 3 events. Honest, I could show you some statistics, average lap times, fastest times, overall place in our races of 22 and 17 other drivers, but Brian beat me all 3 times. Way to go!

Conclusion #3: In addition to being faster than me, Brian also was the fastest overall driver in one race and took 2nd place in another race! I finished in the middle of the pack of each of these races, so nothing to write home about there! The races were 10 minutes each, with the placings based on your single fastest lap. The Trackhouse folks send you an email immediately with all the timings and include your overall average lap pace too! If you're anywhere near Charlotte NC, we highly recommend you find time to do some rental kart racing at Trackhouse. You can bring your own kart too, since they run both rental and owner sessions back-to-back all day. 

On a different topic, this weekend was also NEW TOOL DAY! This Ryobi ratchet can use 1/4-, 3/8-, or 1/2-inch bits. As Tim (The Tool Man) Taylor used to say: "MORE POWER!"

Conclusion #4: You need to be in good shape to take on the stress of driving a kart full tilt! 24 hours later, my arms, shoulders, and neck are all a bit sore. Sounds like I need to work out and stop whining! 




Friday, June 14, 2024

Automotive Technology Update #5

Brake Sytems class, at York Technical College!


I've been waiting a long time to tell this joke, and now that I'm in Brake Systems class, here we go:

Me: "I've become addicted to drinking brake fluid."
Brian: "Oh man, that sounds terrible!"
Me: "Yeah, it is, but I can stop any time I want."

I'll be here all week, try the veal, tip your server!

Bleeding a master cylinder on the bench, not on the car.
Not a paid endorsement of RC Cola.

OK, so, brakes. Week one was looking at brake systems in general, and then in week two we focused on drum brakes. That was educational, since I've never done anything with drum brakes. At least now I'm familiar with how they work, what all those parts are, and understand how they work. This includes most parking brakes too, so you just never know when you might need to know something. 

Some stuff your brakes might need. 

In week three we studied disc brakes, so even though this was more familiar to me, and I've changed pads and rotors before, there's always a lot more to learn. Here's a tip we've heard a few hundred times: every time you're going to drive a customer's car, check that brake fluid level AND pump the brake pedal a time or two, just to make sure you HAVE brakes! Our teachers have stories to go with bits of wisdom like that too!

Above the red flashlight is a Ford coil-on-plug and the separate rubber boot that covers it up. New to me is that instead of a wire sending the spark to the spark plug, that spring or coiled wire carries the charge. We were working on a Focus that had several issues and we got into checking a few things in brake class. Hey, stuff happens!

While I'm thinking about it, let me say THANKS again for whoever changed the GI Bill along the way and gave it to me and other veterans after 9-11. Specifically, this newer Post 9-11 GI Bill has been a really awesome experience for my family, since I was able to pass some of it to my daughter, used it for my master's degree, and it has taken care of two terms in the Automotive Technology program. 

One part of ABS systems, traction control, and other fancy stuff your car manages, relies on wheel speed sensors. In this photo, the ring in the yellow circle is next to the differential in back, and a sensor (up in the dark out of view) is telling the car computer the rear wheel speed so it can adjust ABS, stability control, etc. By the time the computer "sees" all 4 wheel speeds and combines it with other sensors like Yaw and lateral movement, it can brake or adjust engine output way faster than the driver can. Computers, go figure!

Now in week 4 we're looking at anti-lock brake systems, which you probably know is the ABS system. I have an idea how they work and can identify the little ABS module on a car now, so at least that's a start! One thing I'm not sure about yet is when the instructors will cover the Fred Flintstone braking method, so if you're familiar with that let me know. Ah heck, I'll just ask an instructor tomorrow and see what they say. 

Looking under the drum brake.




Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Cars and Coffee Doubleheader!

British made TVR! Something you don't see often in the US!

Last weekend, well, there were just too many automotive events in the greater Rock Hill - Charlotte area, so I visited two of them, and here's some photos. On Saturday, I was at the monthly (2nd Saturday) Cars and Coffee in York SC with a lot of mostly older cars, with a good mix of newer Mustangs. Then on Sunday, I headed over to Waxhaw NC for the monthly (2nd Sunday I guess!) Waxhaw Coffee Cruisers event. There I saw more classic older cars, and more modern super-cars too. 

Japanese domestic market (JDM) Nissan Figaro! I've seen 1 or 2 around Charlotte, maybe this is the same one! Now over 25 years old, so you can import them. 

Coffee wise, in York I always enjoy a cup of Java at Southern Touch Bakery since they sponsor the event, and it is good stuff! Over in Waxhaw, the organizers had some free coffee from Dunkin' Donuts, and as you might already know, "Free is My Favorite Flavor!" 

Mid-60s Belvedere! 

Now that the coffee is out of the way (so to speak, know what I mean Verne?), on to the cars! And trucks! And home-made cars! These first shots are all in York SC. 


Dune Buggy...SWEET!

OK, I forget what this car was, since I was focusing on the 2 brake lines coming out of the master cylinder and the cool circles in the lines. 

A Lil' Red Express Truck is still cool! Fight me!

Now heading over to Waxhaw NC...


This amazing BLUE interior is in another British car, a McLaren. 

More foreign car interior, late 80s Alfa Romeo Spider. Check out the gear shift lever up in the dash.

A Subaru Forester, because...SPOILER ALERT!

If you don't love this body style Corvette, taillights, and split chrome bumper, well, we just can't be friends!

Remember kids, "El Camino" is Spanish for..."THE CAMINO!"
I don't write the jokes folks; I just pass them along. 


Before Porsche developed the 911, they made the 356.

Voodoo 52 Mustang

Another British car, the Triumph TR7.

Classic Ford truck

Just taking a wild guess here, a 1986 air-cooled Porsche 911. 

There were a few Lamborghinis, here's a green one!

Before Ford sold millions of Model As, they sold millions of Model Ts.


Were there any hot rods? YES!
Any cars with flames? YES!


Going for the artsy shot here by focusing on the cool Packard hood ornament with the flaming hot rod in the background. 

Out of two Cars and Coffee events, I saw exactly one Ferrari. It looked like this!

I'm filing this under "Easy to change spark plugs!"

Let's review that Spanish lesson from earlier. "EL CAMINO" translates to what?
A: ELK AMINO?
B: Extra Large Camino?
C: THE CAMINO?
D: El Cam Nino? (Camshaft Kid?)