Car Building Dynamics
Brake Balance Adjustment
Balanced stopping is as important as a balanced set up. To win, you need all 4 calipers doing their share of the work. Ensuring that your braking system shares the load proportionately will create a fast and stable car on corner entry. Your brake manufacturer can utilize past experience to help your team to select the correct components for your car weight, tires, horsepower, track size and banking. When I was young, my Dad taught me that 4 tires work...read more »
Brake Balance Adjuster
This Brake Balance Adjuster is lightweight and mounts without dis-assembly. The steel braided flex hose is reinforced with Nylon tubing on the interior nearly eliminating the chance of binding.
Understanding how the brake balance performs will help you to get the most out of your brakes and your driver accessible adjustments. By cranking on the adjuster you are changing the percentage of leverage force to each master cylinder. Adding front brake changes the angle of the pedal balance bar assembly. In a given amount of pedal travel – adding front brake reduces the travel distance of the rear master cylinder piston. Reduced travel equal less total braking force.
Adjusting the brakes with a brake balance bar comes with compromise. Today’s brake systems are very advanced. The small reduction in overall braking force is often a good trade off as gaining the adjustment ability can be the difference between winning and losing. At tracks that work the brake system to extremes, it is important to consider that overall braking force is reduced. If you run at the same track every week you may want to explore different brake components verses relying on the adjustment method. If you find yourself dialing to all front or all rear every week then replacing components may be a choice that allows your brake balance adjuster to be more effective.
Changing the leverage percentage to favor the front brakes promotes a solid corner entry. Getting your car into the corner in a stable fashion is mandatory for drivability and builds driving comfort. If you go too far with the front percentage then your car can exert too much force to the front tires and the car can begin to pick up the dreaded middle push. Adding front braking percentage is a great choice if the car is twitchy or uncomfortable at corner entry.
Conversely, if your car has a pushing condition then dialing more rear brake can help to set the car into the turn via the rear brake assist. More rear brake percentage can be a great tool that helps a car to turn. Use caution as going too far can create rear brake lock up should the driver need to smash the brakes to avoid an accident.
Caliper mounted Brake Pressure Gauges
Caliper mounted Brake Pressure Gauges allow you to check the pressure at each caliper. Regular use can help you to identify brake system issues. If you see a reading that is outside your norm you should inspect your brake system to find the root of the problem
At tracks that create bright red glowing rotors your goal should be to work towards having the rear brakes do as much of the stopping work as possible. Identifying the point where too much rear brake causes unstable corner entry provides a record of the setting to avoid. Once the maximum rear brake bias leverage point is established a few turns to the front for stability will help to minimize the potential for an unstable entry. Achieving the maximum from the rear brakes takes load off the front. At heavy braking tracks, obtaining maximum safe force out of the rear calipers can prevent overworking the front brakes.
There are many brake balance bar adjuster systems on the market. Be sure to mount your version properly. Utilizing a robust flex connecter at your pedal assembly prevents unwanted binding. Steel braided versions have a rigid Teflon interior that resists binding – a guide support and a straight shot into the pedal assembly promote smooth operation.
If your brake balance adjuster system is a speedometer cable style, be sure to have a straight connection point and provide a cable guide support near the pedal assembly. Speedometer cable style units can flip into a loop rendering your adjuster useless at exactly the wrong time. Proper installation will prevent the cable from flipping into a knot. The rubberlike coating on the speedometer style cable can melt with heat. Often, the melting happens with a new car when the rubber cable sleeve is strapped to close to sources of heat. Route away from heat sources or insulate the rubberlike coated cable versions to prevent the outer coating from melting onto the cable.
Driver brake adjustment, used properly, can be the final touch to get the last ounce of speed from a good handling racecar. Further, cockpit brake adjustment can help drivers to adjust to changing track conditions or wearing tires.
Gain can come with pain. Over use of the brake adjuster can cause teams to chase their car handling characteristics. If you think of the brake balance adjuster as a fine tuning tool you will rely on chassis adjustments to balance corner handling – keeping the balance adjuster in the center of the range when the green flag drops provides the maximum adjustment ability during the race. Starting the race with the pedal balance bar perfectly parallel to the frame in the depressed position puts your brake system in the center of the range and provides maximum braking force.
Brake Balance Adjusters with a measuring scale make recording your setting an easy task. You should record your brake balance setting as a routine part of your set up process.
Recording your brake balance adjustment should be a weekly routine. You can measure the setting with a cockpit adjuster system that utilizes a scale to indicate balance position. Another option is to track the amount of turns front or rear “off of center”. If you count turns you simply record the number of adjustment turns with center being the pedal balance bar being parallel to the frame when depressed. For more accuracy, you can use calipers to measure the pedal balance bar location by measuring the master cylinder rods before and after each race.
Dash Mounted Brake Pressure Gauges
Dash mounted Brake Pressure Gauges give you a quick reference to witness the line pressure difference created with just one turn on the Brake Balance Adjuster. Dash mounted gauges can give you an early warning to braking system leaks or problems.
You can utilize brake bias pressure gauges to witness the affect of turning the brake balance adjuster. Just one turn can make a significant change on the bias gauges. Understanding your bias gauge readings can help you to establish a baseline for your brake set up. Keep in mind, that pressure is just one element in your braking system. Variables such as piston size, quantity and master cylinder size must be taken into consideration. A brake bias gauge set provides an easily viewable baseline helping you to leave the shop ready to go – or should I say stop?
As with any adjustment, it is only good if you can repeat the change in a consistent and predictable fashion. With the proper hardware, your team can eliminate problems and orchestrate a bias towards winning.
To win, your driver needs to be up on the wheel all through the race. Proper cockpit layout will allow your driver to be there at the end. All components in the cockpit area should be precisely located and as much time as needed should be utilized to place your driver in position “A”. Designing a cockpit layout that functions in a seamless fashion will help your team to avoid crashes, make more passes and find Victory Lane on a regular basis.
Many...read more »
Steering wheels should be mounted close to the chest to give drivers increased leverage on the wheel resulting in more control and reduced back strain. Mounting the Steering wheel on the perfect angle and directly between the driver’s shoulders provides improved longevity. An adjustable steering column mount easily slides side to side on the dash bar making it simple to get the location right both left to right and up and down. Adjustment is so simple that teams can re-adjust until the steering wheel is in the perfect location. Adding a steering spacer can be the final touch in finding a comfortable wheel position for the driver.
Steering Column Mount
An steering column mount that is easily moved can be adjusted by the driver right from the seat. Adjusting the steering wheel location so it is close to the chest and at the perfect angle keeps drivers fresh.
Steering Wheel Spacers
Steering Wheel spacers quickly bolt on giving your team a simple way to locate the steering wheel perfectly. If your driver ate one too many burgers, your crew can install a different thickness spacer quickly. Keeping a variety of spacers of different thicknesses on hand is a good idea.
Adjustable throttle pedals allow for easy fitting helping your team to locate the throttle in perfect location. Mounting the seat leg support properly gives the driver a natural place to rest their leg. Battling centrifugal force for the entire night has worn out more than one driver. Driver comfort and position in the car are paramount. Leg angles, with pedals in a comfortable position, keep your driver fresh. A slightly bent knee gives the driver throttle control for a smooth drive off the corner. A floor mounted pedal can be precisely located to fit foot position and angle. The easy adjustment of a billet hanging pedal allows for quick adjustments in the shop or right at the track.
Steering Column Leg Brace
A steering column leg brace like this one bolts right to the adjustable steering shaft mount. For high speed high banked tracks a leg brace keeps your driver fresh for a strong finish.
Quality throttle pedal systems
Quality throttle pedal systems offer adjustability for comfort and precision for the smooth application of power
Switch Panels and Brackets
Switch panel brackets fit right on your roll bar so you can mount the switches within easy reach of the driver.
Switches that are in easy reach of the driver can save a motor. On those nights when the engine faces a problem, a well located ignition switch can save thousands of dollars. All switches should be within easy reach and located so the natural reaction of the driver can quickly slap the Red Aircraft cover in an instant. Gauges should be positioned so all information is gathered with a quick glance. At race speed, any distraction that takes the eyes off the action can result in a torn up car. Spending the extra time to find perfect viewing angles can save an engine and can reduce accidents.
Brake Balance Adjuster
This brake balance adjuster has an easy to operate handle that is designed for adjustment when wearing fire resistant gloves. Your team can mount this version right out of the package - wide mounting holes allow you to mount it with out the need for dis-assembly.
Brake Balance adjusters are a great tool for dialing in the set up. Often, drivers are dialing in brake bias adjustments at race speed. An ergonomic positioning of the balance bar adjuster allows the driver to focus on driving instead of blindly searching for the adjuster handle. A balance bar with a smooth action and handle that is designed for race gloves is a must. Regardless of the type of racing, fireproof race gloves are mandatory – whether it is a track rule or not. Racing without fireproof gloves is a game of Russian Roulette that should never be played. We race for fun and safety needs to be continuously in the forefront of every member of your racing organization.
Radios are smaller today - using the right size box protects your investment. The clamp on this model rotates so you can mount on a roll bar within easy reach of the driver. Radios should be mounted so that the driver can operate the controls. If turning on the radio is forgotten - the driver should be able to easily reach the controls. A rotating clamp keeps your radio level regardless of the bar angle.
Radios should be located so the driver can reach the controls. More than once I have seen cars where a team member needs to turn on the radio as the controls are out of reach of the driver. Too often, the race starts only to find out that the crew forgot to turn the radio on. Driver’s should be able to easily reach the volume control and on off switch. Changing channels is a reality so make sure your driver can easily reach the radio controls.
Drink bottles that are big enough to hydrate your driver for an entire night are a good idea. Anti-Siphon bite valves keep fluid in the bottle when it is most important. Be sure to sanitize the drink bottle and the end of every race night. The last thing your team needs is to have your driver ingesting a science experiment created by leaving fluid in a hot car to ferment.
Drink bottles with an anti siphon valve ensure that drivers get needed hydration even if the hose falls. An anti siphon valve is a simple solution – if the hose falls the driver can simply grab anywhere on the hose to get an easy drink. Drink bottle fluid seems to always end up all over the floor at the hottest races of the year. Be sure to use a sports hydration fluid that supplies the driver with needed nutrition during practice and throughout the race. On a hot race day drivers fuel their calorie burn with plenty of adrenaline. Assign a crew member to clean the drink bottle right after the race. Poisoning your driver with a moldy drink bottle is a bad deal. Feeding your driver liquid that is better suited for a science experiment is not exactly the best way to prepare to win.
A wide angle mirror side view mirror should be designed for the job at hand verses being a bunch of cobbled up junk that imitates a real race part. Cup Teams rely on this model.
A side view mirror and a rear view mirror need to be located so that the driver can see the entire envelope around their car in an instant. With your driver strapped in at the shop, verify that there are zero blind spots. A crew member can quickly walk around the car to verify that your driver can see everything directly with their eyes or with a rapid glance to the mirrors. Adjust and remount mirrors as needed to eliminate all blind spots. Mirrors are a safety device and while spotters play a great role – the buck stops with the driver and clear vision is needed at all times.
When it comes to mounting your fire bottle, safety is the primary concern.
Safety in the cockpit should be given the highest priority. Sealing up every crack keeps carbon monoxide out of the cockpit. A fire resistant shifter boot seals out fumes and debris and is a must have item for fire protection. Fresh air is a must and a cooling fan supplying outside air through the helmet maintains the health of your driver. A window net kit should be installed so the window net is stretched tight inside of the roll bars and an easy to grip handle should have free and clear access. 1/10ths of a second matter should your driver need to get out of the car. Spend the time on safety. Treat your driver like a family member – because they probably are at your family reunion.
A fire extinguisher is a high pressure cylinder. Can you imagine the chaos, in the cockpit, if a fire extinguisher were to come loose? With the contents of the fire extinguisher being randomly sprayed about, visibility would be zero at race speed. Breathing would be difficult and the mess is difficult to clean up. A billet fire extinguisher mount solves the problem and allows for a mounting location that provides instant access. Spending ample time on fire protection is a responsibility for any team at every level of racing.
By covering the basics of proper cockpit layout, you will improve driving focus and driver safety. Many of the covered topics may seem obvious yet, every time I am at the track I see numerous examples, from multiple teams, where proper time has not been spent on the obvious. Just about all racers have more time than money – spending the time needed for proper safety and driver comfort will actually gain you time. Proper effort placed into your cockpit layout will save you dollars that takes only a little time to spend.