Bonneville updates

(this is a slightly abbreviated version of update letters sent out earlier this year to the sponsors of our fundraising efforts for the next trip to the salt flats) Thanks for reading!

August Update

Well here it is and it is nearly the end of August.   It has been a madhouse around here, trying to get ready for testing the fueler at Byron and then the progress that needs to be made for Bonneville. 

Byron’s testing on Aug. 3 & 4 was no small feat as any two-day test with the fueler involves at least five runs per day.  That is a lot of work, especially if you are chasing tuning issues as wew were.

The five runs on Saturday were all in the low nine second range.  We were testing a new ignition and the capacitors didn’t seem to be the trick.  We had them in and out and then lost the tach and then replaced the pickup plate to combat what seemed to be a lean-aggravated misfire.  Working in some areas we normally aren’t messing around with, namely the Secondary jet can and fattening up the Main jet settings got us some information on how much richer it could go without sacrificing acceleration and the resulting exhaust gas temps.  We still hadn’t found the silver bullet.  A phenomenal calzone at a little Italian restaurant called Cimino’s in Durand IL courtesy of Nick’s dad Gary was a welcome end to the day.  I have to thank him for putting us up overnight in the quiet that only comes in small towns.  

Back to Byron the next morning, we were looking for the quarter mile performances, as opposed to the Bonneville midrange information we worked on on Saturday.  We were getting some funny feelings from the back of the bike so we decided to use a GOPRO to show the rear tire at the hit of the throttle.  The results showed we needed a half pound more air in the tire and things started to improve.  This camera work can be seen on our Facebook page.  Chasing various demons and messing up a couple of tuning calls we were on our fourth pass later in the day Sunday when some issues with the shift button got us a 9.53.  Damn!  Once back to the pits we were deciding what to do next when a Top Sportsman car owned by a promoter known as “Big Drag” grenaded a motor going through the lights at nearly 200 miles an hour.  The explosion set the car alight and the fuel and nitrous added in from the broken lines made for a huge fire.  Luckily the driver got out with flash burns on his back and legs, but the car was a total loss.  It was the first day and the second pass on a brand new car.  There went nearly a hundred grand…  Sort of makes our problems look small, doesn’t it?

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Looking at the data and deciding on bypass areas I was able to look at the formulas thanks to the help of Jacki putting a program on the laptop that allowed the calculation of the areas when you substituted different jets and nozzles in the mix.  We pinched down the rear nozzle, added some main jet and took a little fuel away on the second high speed.  Just at the start of the last run I figured we needed to go somewhere we hadn’t been yet this week end so in went more timing.  The beast came alive and we got out second best 60 foot time and ran an 8.76 at over 151 mph., our third best e.t. to date.  A very nice way to end the session.  Getting back to the shop and leaking the motor down it showed 25% leakage on the rear exhaust valves, which is horrible.  The worn guides wouldn’t allow the valves to seal properly, hurting power output.  The pistons and rings and front cylinder all looked good so now it’s time for the experimental valve guide work on that back head.  Unfortunately we won’t have a chance to test it before Bonneville so it is a bit of a roll of the dice.  The good thing is we have three more heads and great guys working on the bike.   

Well, off to work on the oil plumbing on the long bike and you can see by the photos the bodywork is coming along very nicely! The paintwork is finished, the windscreen is cut and screwed into place, belly pan modified as needed to incorporate the new exhaust setup… getting closer every day!

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At the Indy race we didn’t get to Chris Hand, a truly nice guy, with his wife Sharon finally marched down the quarter mile and went a 5.89 seconds at over 230 mph!  One of the passes I would have really liked to see.  I have known Chris and Sharon since 1982 and I always try to cheer them on even when things look dim.  They always dug deep and I am so proud of them and congratulate them wholeheartedly!!!!  

Also see Kickstarter for a chance to get in on the distribution of the movie “The Bonneville Project”.  This will only be available until the second week of September! Help make a DVD out of this great film!

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