Track Timer A True blessing ! Alignment break through

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sporty
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Track Timer A True blessing ! Alignment break through

Post by sporty » Sat Jul 11, 2009 9:31 pm

Well I can certainly say that finally getting a timer for the test track was a true blessing !! :bigups:


It has made the process so much easier and faster at doing a car.


being able to see the times is a just something I should have done many years ago.

It brought about two break throughs in less than a week.

RailRiding-, I finally was able to get done and fast ! A test track without a timer is just not gonna do it. (all four wheels on the groung RR)

I am not even sure RR is something I would attempt without a track, let alone a track and a timer.

for the past few years. I had a pretty good alignment process that I have been able to prove works. But now in reality. It only gives you improvement if you do not have a track and timer.

Even with a track, but no timer. Results are just to hard to see and what those real gains or losses are really at.

As most of you may know, for many years, I did not test with lube as council does not allow relubing and after many races, the lube is gone and the car is performing without lube.

I still feel this is the way to go. but leave final testing with lube.

Now onto my alignment break through for me. I found that once you think you are dialed. Start with one wheel and just work with that one wheel.

Having a timer, you can turn that axle just like a clock. with 12 turns on the axle, each turn made run and test and see the track times.

when the car is faster and you cannot get any better. go onto the next wheel and do the same thing. repeat the process for all 4 wheels.

In the end you should have a faster car. This does have you doing allot of testing and test runs. so if you choose to test with lube or without. I recommend without. then if you feel you have over ran the wheels and axle, with the axles marked re polish them, toss out the test wheels and add on the good ones and see what you have for times.

I spent 8 hours doing this process and I am now as fast as the fastest car we have ever built. We are also not done yet.

What took us weeks/months now we can do in just hours.

Sporty



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pwrd by tungsten
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Re: Track Timer A True blessing ! Alignment break through

Post by pwrd by tungsten » Sat Jul 11, 2009 10:11 pm

Sporty,

I am excited for you! :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:



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Re: Track Timer A True blessing ! Alignment break through

Post by FatSebastian » Sun Jul 12, 2009 10:59 am

sporty wrote:Well I can certainly say that finally getting a timer for the test track was a true blessing !
Neat post, Sporty. :goodpost: Thanks for sharing and encouraging others with it.
sporty wrote:It has made the process so much easier and faster at doing a car.
So how would you use a test track before without a timer?
sporty wrote:Having a timer, you can turn that axle just like a clock. with 12 turns on the axle, each turn made run and test and see the track times.
How many track times do you collect between adjustments?
sporty wrote:when the car is faster and you cannot get any better. go onto the next wheel and do the same thing. repeat the process for all 4 wheels. [...] We are also not done yet.
Do / Will you iterate this process (that is, after all 4 wheels have been adjusted, go back and work again with the individual wheels again)?



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Re: Track Timer A True blessing ! Alignment break through

Post by sporty » Sun Jul 12, 2009 2:22 pm

Using a test track without a timer,
i would use the fastest car that we had each year and try and beat it or use the fastest car as a guide to improve upon.

Sadly this process is allot of eye ball and visual judgement down at the finish line.
while not perfect, has worked well for us in the past. But took alot more time and small improvements are very hard to see, without a timer.

But a test track is still better than nothing. Yet you still need a fast car to race against to get where you want to be at. But thats why the years went buy slowly. We just took are best car each year and the goal was to build one faster than the last.



How many track times do you collect between adjustments? (FatSebastian)

I did three or four runs on each small turn / adjustment. My middle lane is pretty consistant with time and I ensure my staging is the same or darn close to it.


Do / Will you iterate this process (that is, after all 4 wheels have been adjusted, go back and work again with the individual wheels again)? (FatSebastian)

I go back over again, only if still the times are not what I want them to be at. This could be needing to add or bend a axle or better wheel bore prep or axle prep.

I might not be seeing what I want as I watch the car run down the track, wiggle/rub ect.

After all this process once, if you still are not pleased with the speed. Then you need to dig deeper, axles, wheels, more bend on the axle or less. weight adjustment...

Depending what you have all done and tried, it may be time to build another and try again. It is gonna come down to how far away you are from your goal.

If you are within 1/10th, then stay with the current car. But say if you are 3/10ths or 4/10ths still yet away from your goal in time. then you have to really look at building another car or look deep into your axle and wheel prep.

Naturally I asume as I mentioned before, you still do you're basic alignment before track running. You know wheels not going into the body or to much pressure on the axle head.

Sporty



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Re: Track Timer A True blessing ! Alignment break through

Post by FatSebastian » Mon Jul 13, 2009 7:37 am

sporty wrote:Using a test track without a timer, i would use the fastest car that we had each year and try and beat it or use the fastest car as a guide to improve upon.
Gotcha. A pretty good strategy actually. Now that you have a timer, may I recommend that you keep records of the nominal times of your best car for your test track? We've also had the goal to beat the time of last year's car on the test track by rerunning it this year; however, a potential concern is that last year's may be slower after a year in storage for a variety of reasons (e.g., alignment changes due to storage or body warping, oxidation of the axles, etc.) This gets into the question as to whether the timer remains accurate from one test scenario to the next. It seemed to me that our particular timer may be affected by ambient air temperature (a consideration if you are operating in a poorly heated garage in January), so records help.
sporty wrote:But took alot more time and small improvements are very hard to see, without a timer.
I think many people hesitate at spending +$100 for a millisecond timer because of the cost. But the value may be more apparent if one considers how much Father & Son's time are worth. If a competitive race team is spending hours and hours fine tuning, that's expensive too (not to mention boring for the tikes). You made a smart investment. :thumbup:

Our kids put a lot of time into their cars. Our motivation for a test track and timer was to allow our kids to play with their cars the way they were intended for more than the ~30 seconds they spend on the official track. It became a Christmas present one year. The testing advantages were realized after the fact.



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Re: Track Timer A True blessing ! Alignment break through

Post by sporty » Mon Jul 13, 2009 8:24 am

I do keep track of my times, even the older cars, ran at the pack, I keep those times. They print them off for me.

Lucky enough, the times have not really dropped off much, like I mentioned non lube testing and the car from council stays pretty well sealed and secure for testing after it is no longer legal to run again.


Sporty



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Re: Track Timer A True blessing ! Alignment break through

Post by PWD Rookie » Mon Jul 13, 2009 10:50 am

Sporty,

Congrats on the new timer and your new found efficiency in wheel alignment. You can't beat quantitative, data-rich, analysis while optimizing your car. :thumbup:

Question: How long is your test track? Do you simulate exactly your Pack track, or do you use something "smaller" for your alignment/optimization?



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Re: Track Timer A True blessing ! Alignment break through

Post by Stan Pope » Mon Jul 13, 2009 12:13 pm

I think that it is important to note that a timer / track alone is not the solution. The essential ingredient is the knowledgeable builder who understands which variables to tweak and by how much. The hardest variables to adjust are those which are interdependent ... those that must be altered in tandem in order for improvement to be noted. For those, altering either one alone may result in worse performance.

With that in mind, kudos for Sporty for being able to use the equipment to make meaningful improvements to his car's performance! Now, get him to share the methodology! :)


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sporty
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Re: Track Timer A True blessing ! Alignment break through

Post by sporty » Mon Jul 13, 2009 12:29 pm

PWD Rookie wrote:Sporty,

Congrats on the new timer and your new found efficiency in wheel alignment. You can't beat quantitative, data-rich, analysis while optimizing your car. :thumbup:

Question: How long is your test track? Do you simulate exactly your Pack track, or do you use something "smaller" for your alignment/optimization?
My track is a 32 footer, while it is close to the pack track, it's not exact. As the timer location for the pack is at 28/29 feet if I recall. My timer is a little farther down. The packs track is also a 32 footer.

The track I have is non commercial built, Where the pack has a commercial wooden track.

I did not try and match the times yet. It may be something to do. But I actually try and keep in mind council packs which are more like what I have for a test track.

The real key is having a timer so you can judge your cars peformance and work from there.

I do think that while having a track and timer location set up to match the packs is nice to have. My overall goal has been to improve and learn each year.

Now If We had to run on say 35 or 42 foot tracks, then I would have to go with a longer track for testing.

Sporty



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Re: Track Timer A True blessing ! Alignment break through

Post by sporty » Mon Jul 13, 2009 12:33 pm

Stan Pope wrote:I think that it is important to note that a timer / track alone is not the solution. The essential ingredient is the knowledgeable builder who understands which variables to tweak and by how much. The hardest variables to adjust are those which are interdependent ... those that must be altered in tandem in order for improvement to be noted. For those, altering either one alone may result in worse performance.

With that in mind, kudos for Sporty for being able to use the equipment to make meaningful improvements to his car's performance! Now, get him to share the methodology! :)
I try and share as much as I know with the forum. I use to pose more videos and pictures. But with someone months back taking my private info from my photobucket account.

I had to adjust my account settings, which does not allow for more than 25 views now. Then the link is dead. I wish I did not have to go to that, but it created some unwanted attention and issues that where meant to be private.

It also is sometimes is more easier to discuss matters in PM or over the phone. I can easily spend many hours typing up info and posting.

But I think we all know my spelling and grammar is not very good either.

Sporty



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Re: Track Timer A True blessing ! Alignment break through

Post by sarge » Mon Jul 13, 2009 2:55 pm

It makes it allot easier doesn't it. You will be amazed at how much faster your cars will get now. A test track is good but a test track with a timer is ten times as good. You just never know without a timer. It can look really good to the eye but only the timer can tell you if it really was.



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Re: Track Timer A True blessing ! Alignment break through

Post by subnet99 » Thu Nov 19, 2009 12:20 pm

sporty wrote:Having a timer, you can turn that axle just like a clock. with 12 turns on the axle, each turn made run and test and see the track times.

when the car is faster and you cannot get any better. go onto the next wheel and do the same thing. repeat the process for all 4 wheels.

Sporty,

Using this 12 turn method on a 4 wheels down car is there any shimming or canting involved?

Thanks,

Subnet99



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Re: Track Timer A True blessing ! Alignment break through

Post by sporty » Thu Nov 19, 2009 1:15 pm

subnet99 wrote:
sporty wrote:Having a timer, you can turn that axle just like a clock. with 12 turns on the axle, each turn made run and test and see the track times.

when the car is faster and you cannot get any better. go onto the next wheel and do the same thing. repeat the process for all 4 wheels.

Sporty,

Using this 12 turn method on a 4 wheels down car is there any shimming or canting involved?

Thanks,

Subnet99

Subnet,

You ask a good question, I do not recall all what I posted. So I will asume I didnt mention it previously.

Honestly, shimming yielded so little results versus time and effort and I do not use it anymore. The differances / improvements were small.

You get to a area of the axle whole ending up getting bigger / looser and sloppy by trying to keep adding shims to resolve the issue.

It really only works for a minor issue and i mean .003 or less issues. Many racer do not get to the level in owd racing to need it. Most of the time there is so much more that can be done in other areas for improvement.

Hope this helps answer that question.

Now the 12 small turn clock type rotation adjustments can work on canted axles also. As for canted wholes, That I do not know about. But
I will asume that you are either going to get faster or slower by dialing in the car. So either way the process is going to yield you the best possible axle alignment in the end.

Now naturally when you have done all of that and are still not happy with the best time possible, you have to look at canting, or less cant or more cant and try that also. Or it could be a weight or other issues at hand.

The process is to give you a good solid base to work from to get to having a better alignment and faster car.

It's pertty hard to eye ball performance or lack there off, without track testing and a timer to have times to go buy.

I used the board method for years and then a track for a few without a timer, all are a step forward and a plus to not doing it at all.

But there does come a time, when to go faster you really need a track and timer and sometype of process or idea to go buy to lead you towards faster cars and a better check and balance process to aid you in getting you there.

Some people I know have the track and timer and do not have a set dialing process or some place to start with. So they fumble around for hours, not really understanding what is making the car faster or slower.

THis base tip / process will lead you towards the direction you want to go, understanding what you do and what works and dont and can also eliminate or show you the cause of some of the performance issues slowing you down.

With canted axles, you may need to go even finer in the dialing process, 24 or 36 rotation. but you really only need to go so far forward and so far backwards. The timer is going to show improvement or slowness with canted axles pretty fast.



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Re: Track Timer A True blessing ! Alignment break through

Post by subnet99 » Thu Nov 19, 2009 1:30 pm

Sporty,

Thanks for the quick reply. I just wanted to confirm your methodology. We have never had great success with canted axles. We just shoot for a straight running alignment and make small adjustments as needed to keep the wheel centered between the axle head and car body. We press our axles in the Derby Worx press before we prep them. I assume there are still small variances in the axle and the axle hole. I would guess that the variance is what makes rotating each axle until you find the sweet spot actually work.



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Re: Track Timer A True blessing ! Alignment break through

Post by sporty » Thu Nov 19, 2009 4:24 pm

subnet99 wrote:Sporty,

Thanks for the quick reply. I just wanted to confirm your methodology. We have never had great success with canted axles. We just shoot for a straight running alignment and make small adjustments as needed to keep the wheel centered between the axle head and car body. We press our axles in the Derby Worx press before we prep them. I assume there are still small variances in the axle and the axle hole. I would guess that the variance is what makes rotating each axle until you find the sweet spot actually work.
subnet,

do not feel alone, before we started doing some axle canting for RR, it took us awhile to figure it out, espeically with all four on the ground rules. But now i have a good consistent method that works well.

sporty



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