Racing The Moskito
(5/28/01) After TWO YEARS, The Moskito HAULS A$$ and I'm a HAPPY CAMPER!!!
(??/??/00) Topeka Was No Fun....More broken CV's and I'm very very tired of this stupid thing. :(
(7/3/00) I didn't get to make Crandon last week, but this weekend, I ACTUALLY GOT TO TRY RACING THE MOSKITO!!!
(4/28/00) I STILL have drive train problems - well, sort of. Can you say Broken Axles?
(3/19/00) I HAVE CV FLANGES!!! No More Drive Train Problems!
(12/21/99) I have the Bodywork Just About Done, a Front Bumper, Nerf Bars and a Hood (sort of?)
(12/5/99) There's more body work and I think I've Fixed the CV.
(12/3/99) This Thing's FUN - but that rear CV has me concerned.
(11/21/99) The Moskito WORKS!!! With some teething problems.
A list of my Sponsors and Parts Suppliers
One of the most common questions I have e-mailed to me is "Where can I get plans for a Stadium Lite?" Well, I don't have a clue. The design of the YDR Moskito has come from many hours of studying other Lites (spy photos, stealth use of a tape measure - you know, James Bond type stuff), talking to people that have raced and built Lites, my observations of what does and doesn't work and a HUGE amount of imagination and guessing. I have a degree in Mechanical Engineering, so I have a descent understanding of the physics, dynamics and scientific "junk" that comes into play, but the truth is that I'm doing nothing more than taking many different ideas and turning them into a maze of metal tubing and mechanical parts.
And "No, you can't have my plans, 'cause it's MY baby."
To kinda quote Bob Briggs (who has designed four different very successful Stadium Lite chassis), "With each new design, I realize just how much I really don't know what I'm doing."
YDR MOSKITO: DESIGNING, BUILDING AND RACING A STADIUM LITE
The time has come to start building a new Stadium Lite car!
After taking second place overall in the Pace Off-Road Championship Series the past two years, and only winning once each year, it's come to my attention that I've pushed my Pilot to it's limits, and beyond for that matter. I need a car that has a better weight bias to enhance turning ability and better handling. I also need a suspension that can handle more of the obstacles that I've encountered on the different tracks. The Pilot is great for jumps and most straight sections, but when it comes to turning and rough stuff it's limitations begin to come out. I'm going to get around these limitations by making new car. My killer beast (yea, right!) Samantha keeps me company while I work.
Enter the weird world of the YDR Moskito and join my journey in producing a new Stadium Lite Race Car.
Once again, I want to thank Jay, Neil and Donny of ATV Racing, Bill Moeller of Bore Tech and my family for sponsoring my racing efforts.
Please do me a favor; if you contact either of my sponsors, please mention
that you've heard of them from my web pages.
Table of Contents
Part I - Designing a Stadium Lite that works
Part II - Selecting Materials and Gathering a Parts List
Part III - The Drawing Board
Part IV - Let The Machining Begin
Part V - The Chassis Comes to Life
Part VI - The Suspension
Moskito Testing Begins!
(11/21/99) The Moskito made it's maiden voyage to the test track yesterday. Some of the test was good, some was bad. Over the past ten days or so I've been running around our yard checking things out. I went over the suspension and matched up all the links, set the camber, caster and toe of the front and rear and basically set up a base point to work with. I've not experienced any more screwy things since I forgot to attach the radiator and the car's been working quite well - that is until I took it to the test track.
When I arrived at the track and unloaded, everything seemed to be O.K. As usual, the engine was a bit sluggish when I first started it, but normally this blows out and the engine cleans up in a couple minutes. Not today! I took the Moskito out for a short lap to see what it would act like, thinking that the engine would clean up. It just got worse. It acted like the main jet was too big (or loose?) and I ended up chasing my tail trying to figure out what was wrong. It ended up being a fouled plug! Guess there's always a first! - never had the engine even hint of fouling a plug. Install an new plug and it's up and running (What fun that 500 is!!!) and I start to make a few laps. The car felt pretty good! I didn't have enough air pressure in the tires, so it was a bit mushy in the corners, but I liked what I felt handling wise. Over a couple doubles and it seemed to be quite plush on the landings. Smooth and progressively firm - just what I was after. I managed a couple nose dives and it never dug in or did anything odd either. I did have a problem with the brake bias - way too much front brake and I didn't have the correct adjustments available at the time - fixed that today - so when I would go into a corner it would just squat the front end and slow down. I wasn't able to get the rear end to snap around like I wanted to set up for a corner, but once I got it into the slide, the car was very neutral and seemed to work like I was hoping.
Lap four decided to display an ugly problem. I had a snap ring that holds the inboard CV on the axle let loose. This in turn let the CV work its way loose and that ended up knocking out the snap ring that holds it all together come off. I heard a weird noise from behind and it seemed like I would suddenly have one wheel drive - then it would seat and work again. I couldn't quite figure out what was up. Finally, the CV came out far enough that it wouldn't reseat and I was able to pinpoint the problem. So I loaded up and headed for home.
I pulled the axle, recut the groove that the clip rides in, reassembled the axle and the car's ready to run again. I plan on getting in another test this Tuesday. Life with the Moskito is good!
First, my friend Vic (the guy with the motocross track in his backyard) has laid out a "Pace Track" for me in a field. No jumps, but the shape and size of the track is very close to what we ran during last year's series. This track gave me a chance to see how the Moskito would work in the sweeper and tight corners and all I can say is "YEEE HAAA!!!!!" The Moskito TURNS like it's on RAILS! And I don't even have it set up right yet. I still need to adjust the cross over height of the rear shocks to eliminate some of the body roll, mess with the spring rates a bit and adjust the rebound damping of the rear shocks, but what a RUSH. I could dive into a corner, stab the gas and it would go right where I wanted. No fighting the "Pilot Push" that I've been so familiar with for the past few years.
As expected during a test session I did have a couple of problems - well one that counted and one that didn't. The first thing I was concerned about was that I kept hearing a metallic buzzing sound that I couldn't quite figure out. Turns out that when the engine throttles down the drive belt can just barely tap the clutch cover. No big deal, as it's a worn belt and fairly loose. A new belt should solve this. I also think I was hearing the body work (yes, I now have the beginnings of the side panels on - pix to follow soon - the car's still in the trailer as I type) buzzing. It's only secured in one spot and the engine vibrations may have been making it rattle a bit.
Now the problem. My left inner CV has me a touch worried. For some reason the same thing as last time happened and the clip that holds the CV inside the joint came loose. I'm not sure why the CV is able to get up to the clip, but it does. Fortunately it just knocked the clip loose instead of eating it like last time. I'm thinking that the CV cup may have been damaged just a bit last time and allowed the clip to come loose again. Regardless, the cup is shot and I'll have to go in and replace it and see if I can figure out where the clearance problem is. I'm going to do a careful inspection of the other CV to see if there are any signs that I'll have the same problem there. I wondered about a possible clearance problem after loosing the CV last time, thinking that my full extension angle may have been just a hair too much, so I spent the better part of last night redoing the rear shock mounts - making them stronger and moving the location of the shocks upper attachment point about 1/2 inch higher, thus lowering the car and reducing the axle/CV angle at full extension. I also need to check the distance between the inner and outer CV's on both sides and make sure they are the same. If my right side is even an 1/8" shorter, it may be just enough that I'm not getting the clearance problem of the left side.
(12/5/99) There's supposed to be a fairly deep groove where the arrow is and the entire ridge has been worn away. This is where the clip is supposed to sit. After inspecting both CV's I'm beginning to think that the cup that gave me the problems was from a quick rebuild using old parts when I was in San Diego after Stacy Fay tagged the rear of my Pilot and shattered the axle stub and broke the axle. There appears to be enough clearance in the CV's all the way through the suspension travel stroke, so I'm hoping that the new CV cup is the fix I needed. I do have one other thought on fixing the problem if it still exists, but I'll worry about that later if I have to.
The weather here in Ohio has been amazing - 60 degrees on December 3! and hopefully I'll be able to take advantage of it early next week. I'll go in and see what I can figure out with the CV's this weekend.
(12/21/99) Not a lot to tell. The weather's finally taken a turn for the worst (we're supposed to get to a lovely 8 degrees tonight!), so I've not been able to get out and test - not to mention that this time of year becomes VERY busy (go figure). I started out by trying to get the rest of the body work set up and on the car. A couple nights with cutters and a couple sheets of aluminum and I had the basics done. I still need to finish up the edges and such, but at least I'm enclosed now.
The past couple weeks has also produced a hood. When I used to run remote control race cars, my business partner (a former General Electric Composites Engineer) and I used to lay up our own carbon fiber chassis. I still have all the material required and figured that a nice carbon fiber hood would be the hot ticket! Lots of heavy paper, masking tape, some very thin plywood and I had the basic shape of a hood laid up. I covered it all with the carbon fiber weave and resin and let it dry for a couple days. The result is a nice strong light and bumpy hood. OK, so I'm not real good at panels!. It works and I'll try to get it smoothed out sometime soon - provided I don't run out of time! One thing that had to be modified after I made the hood was the dash board. I wasn't really happy with the original layout anyhow, as it was too tall and I had put too many of the items on the dash too far out near the edges. My original thinking was keep things away from my hands and the steering wheel. I guess I went overboard. The new layout lets me see/reach everything very easily and I still have more than enough clearance for my hands as I work the wheel.
Another two night project was getting the suspension set up and square to the car. My original setup - called "just bolted together" - had about 2 inches of toe out in the rear end, the right side suspension was about 1/2 inch farther back than the left side and the rear end was slightly to the left compared to the front end - could it be my problem I was having with my CV? I narrowed the rear end by about 1/4 inch - mainly bringing in the left side (CV Problem Side) and this brought the car about square side to side, then I had to bring it back square front to rear. One little twist on one of 5 links on each side would change just about every dimension, so it was turn a link, measure everything, turn another link, measure everything. Like I said, two nights worth of work. I can't wait to get back out and test again to see what this does for handling. I get the sneaky suspicion that my major over steer problem was directly related to the huge amount of toe out on the rear end.
Last, but not least is the "protection" for the car. I worked out a front bumper that should work great. It's not designed as a full frontal protection unit, but it will keep me out of other cars and WILL NOT get hooked up - at least from my end. Same goes for the nerf bars. Pretty simple, but effective pieces. The front bumper is chromoly - so it's about as solid as a tank, but since it's mounted straight to the frame any shock loading should just be transferred right down the main rails of the frame. The nerf bars, on the other hand, are made from .063" wall mild steel. These things are designed to bend if hit. This helps absorb any impact and diverts damage away from the chassis.
A little more body work - basically bending panels around some tubes, window netting (Jay?), paint, hood work - maybe and a relocation of a vent tube on the fuel cell (dummy here put the vent at the bottom of the tank, so when the pressure builds up, it leaks out past the one way roll over valve - what WAS I thinking?)
I'll try to get a ride in before the beginning of the new year and post my findings. 23 days until I leave for Houston!
Being that the weather here has been horrible, the track conditions for testing have been even worse than the weather and that I am really put out by what's happened at PACE, I've not done squat to the car since my last update. This weekend I'll do the final body work and load up. Trial by Fire is the way the Moskito's gonna get tested. Time will tell. I guess I can always sign up for the Thunderbike class since I'll have my YZF with me!
Keep checking back and hopefully I'll have some sort of update soon. I leave for Houston next Wednesday evening - puts me there Thursday night. Will I go on to Phoenix? We'll see how Houston goes.
On the lighter side of the racing scene, it looks like there will be somewhere in the neighborhood of eight to ten outdoor races this year "This side of the Rockies", so I do have time to get more testing in and something to look forward to. The winter season has sneaked up quickly, fizzled, revived and then?
This journey (of insanity?) was started around the middle of April, 1999Return Home