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Thread: Very old bird gets updated aero

  1. #61
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    It's been over a year since I last updated this thread. During that time I've been working on other parts of the project, started a small business, and come up with a basic plan for the under tray and diffuser.

    The bodywork on the car is done and I've got almost everything in final sealer. Car was assembled for panel alignment and bodywork, then taken apart for paint. Because of the added pieces and custom painting there's a lot of hours involved in prepping everything. Here's some of the small pieces ready for paint.



    During the past several years I've been designing and fabricating structural reinforcements and reproducing certain parts for 2nd gen F bodies that haven't been available for restorations. I was selling them to members on some of the Camaro, Firebird, and pro touring forums through PMs etc. and eventually formed a legal biz with an online store to sell through. Laboratory Fourteen is the company name and products are available at lab-14.com. Here's some of the components used in conjunction with G-Braces.

    Last edited by NOT A TA; 03-02-2017 at 10:04 AM.
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    During the past year I've been working with Dave at Pro-Touring F-Body who makes suspension packages and other components for the 2nd gen F body platform. Most of my Lab-14 products are designed to be compatible with his products and compliment each other. He offered to sponsor my car and provide me with a full PTFB suspension. So I sold all of my old Hotchkis and Global West stuff to a friend who is also a customer and wanted the suspension installed on his car along with all new steering components, solid body mount bushings, and frame connectors. The car was shipped to me and he wanted me to put a hundred or more miles on it to test everything before shipping it back. So I thought this presented a perfect opportunity to do some baseline aero testing since his car is the same body style and would now have the same ride height, rake, etc. as my car was before I took it apart for the rebuild. So I asked him if it would be OK for me to do some highway tuft testing which he was fine with. So I put yarn tufts on half the car and got a couple buds to "crew" and got a bunch of still shots as well as some 360 3D videos which gives me a good idea of how my car was which I'll compare to info when I test my car with all the aero changes. Using a projection TV I can blow up the pics and videos big enough to watch individual yarn tufts. For the guys who thought they got some ram air affect with a shaker scoop at highway speeds it's disappointing as I suspected it would be. The high pressure area at the base of the windshield doesn't go that far forward at speeds up to 70 MPH.

    One of the videos https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KQA9BzpN50



    Last edited by NOT A TA; 03-02-2017 at 10:37 AM.
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    So, no ram air with a shaker, but at least it's a low pressure area, or one that feeds the opening to the air cleaner, right?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ucfbrett View Post
    So, no ram air with a shaker, but at least it's a low pressure area, or one that feeds the opening to the air cleaner, right?
    Yes, that's what I observed at the speeds tested. The test mule had an operational shaker flap and when I hit the throttle to open it (at 65-70 MPH) tufts would be pulled into the opening. So ambient air benifit but if there is any increase in pressure pushing air into the scoop it's probably not enough to have a measurable effect on engine performance. When I get my car out on track (with a sealed air box fed by the shaker) I'll do some pressure testing with manometers.

    Pic below is when throttle was opened.

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    Love this.
    Yer pal,
    Force

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    Administrator ucfbrett's Avatar
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    This is probably the most extensive aero testing the second-generation Trans Am ever saw.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ucfbrett View Post
    This is probably the most extensive aero testing the second-generation Trans Am ever saw.
    My plans include a lot of testing once my car's back on track. Of course I'll do some preliminary testing on the streets and highways at lower speeds before taking the car to a track. I'd really like to get the car in a wind tunnel eventually to test various configurations for drag race, Land speed racing, and road track set ups and also compare it with a stock 70 TA.

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    After my aero testing on the highway with the blue car I decided to do some work on my 67 CAmaro. Then I had a heart attack which slowed me down for a few months but I've been working on the Firebird recently. I've put most of the new PTFB suspension in the car and got it assembled enough to work on the splitter, under tray, and rear diffuser.

    It's been quite a while since I updated so here's a quick review for those who were following along or are just popping into the thread. Keep in mind I don't have any sanctioning body rules and regulations I have to adhere to.

    1. Front splitter is 2 piece so I can test different lengths just by making a new (cheap) plywood section. Will be replaced later with nicer lighter permanent one piece unit once testing gets me in the ballpark.

    2. Front splitter is hinged at the rear attachment point and suspended by wires in front to the bumper so it can tilt up if I hit corner curbing on road race track. I realize it may "flutter" and require me to make the front supports solid to the bumper, need to test.

    3. The entire splitter, under tray, and rear diffuser will be height adjustable and quickly/easily (well fairly) removable.

    4. There will be five sections to the whole contraption allowing me to change the heights and angles (relative to the ground) of the sections. This will allow me to adjust the entire splitter/tray/diffuser distance from the asphalt independent of the rake of the car itself. This should give me a lot of "tuning" capability. It also allows me to change different sections with different styles and sizes of diffuser tunnels and other features I might want to test.

    5. The entire splitter/tray/diffuser assembly will be suspended on poles hanging from the chassis and floor of the car. This is much different than any other set up I've ever seen. Most under tray installations are bolted/screwed directly to the car and mostly sealed pretty well to the bottom of the car. My set up will allow air to freely flow between the floor and the tray from engine compartment to rear and the sides will be open. Hopefully that will allow enough heat dissipation so I don't have to add more coolers for the transmission, rear end etc. I'm calling it the "Lab-14 Under Tray Design". If it works well others will copy and if it doesn't work, well, it'll get tossed aside.........

    6. With the splitter/tray/diffuser hanging from poles it allows me to have it set as to how far it hangs down but at the same time it can easily be pushed up if it was to hit the ground hopefully reducing the possibility of damage should I have to run over something taller than the ground clearance the tray is set at.

    The problem with muscle car era Pro-Touring type cars is that there's a whole bunch of very hot exhaust stuff under the cars. That makes it really difficult to make a smooth floor attached to the body transitioning into a diffuser that actually works to help increase down force (reduce lift). It also makes it difficult to have a dual purpose car used for Auto-X or road course activities without turning the passenger compartment onto an oven if you box in the exhaust between the floor and a proper under tray. The Lab-14 Under Tray Design will allow air to flow around the exhaust removing the heat (while the car is moving) and be completely removable so folks can take it off when they're just using the car on the streets where they'd be sitting in traffic etc. Now, while the contraption I'm building will be a bespoke combination for my particular car if the concept proves itself to work it could be used on a lot of different types of cars that are used for certain things where there aren't regulations covering what can and can not be done with splitter/under tray/diffuser. Most sanctioning bodies have very specific rules for racing classes that what limit what can be done.

    The concept here is that the amount of down force or reduction in lift is determined by the pressure difference between the upper and lower surfaces of the vehicle. The air pressure between the floor and under tray of my design should have a (relatively) similar pressure difference applying up and down so it doesn't change the amount of grip the car has just like having the windows of the car open or closed doesn't really change the amount of grip by any measurable amount. Meanwhile the very high speed air under the tray will have less air pressure pushing up on the tray (Think of it as a slight suction increasing the weight each tire receives). The combined area of the splitter/tray diffuser I'm making is roughly 11,000 Sq. In. so a change in air pressure of .1 lb (sea level is about 14.7 Lb) would result in an increase in down force (reduction in lift) of over 1000 lbs. That would result in a tremendous difference in cornering capability so even if I don't get anywhere near that the whole project might be worthwhile. If nothing else I'll learn something even if it's that my idea doesn't work.

    On to some pics! This one shows the splitter and how it hinges on the tubing inside of the box tubing as well as the tubes inserted in the sub frame. The vertical aluminum tubing will have holes drilled through it that a spring clip gets inserted through so I can set the splitter at different heights. I was trying to use up old scraps of stuff to make my test pieces so thats why there's panel sections in the tray part under the engine. If everything works I'll make nicer lighter pieces later on after testing.

    Last edited by NOT A TA; 07-24-2017 at 07:29 PM.

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    Toward the rear of the engine compartment there is another set of vertical tubes welded to the sub frame for aluminum height tubes to slide into like the ones at the splitter along with another hinge set up where the panels join. This separates the engine section from the section under the cowl area.



    There will be a set of height tubes in the cabin by the base of the A pillar and another set in the rear seat footwell. They will function similarly to the ones in the engine compartment except that instead of being welded in place they will be inserted through the floor of the car through a rubber grommet. The steel tubes have a washer welded to them preventing them from sliding down. I will make some caps that insert into the grommets for when I don't have the under tray installed. The aluminum tubes will function the same with a spring clip holding them up and still allow the tray to rise if necessary. I made a set for the rear supports in the trunk also. These will allow quick changes to the height and pitch of the under tray from splitter to diffuser without having to go under the car.





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    Last edited by NOT A TA; 07-24-2017 at 07:34 PM.

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    Fantastic stuff!

  12. #72
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    I remember No. 16 heads from when I played with Pontiacs. '68-'69 400 HO. Hang onto those.

    Glad to hear you're back to having some fun with cars after your heart attack.

  13. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by ucfbrett View Post
    I remember No. 16 heads from when I played with Pontiacs. '68-'69 400 HO. Hang onto those.

    Glad to hear you're back to having some fun with cars after your heart attack.
    Good eye!!

    The engine came out of a 68 Judge clone I bought and parted out after it'd burned in the POs driveway. Story was he was installing a stereo and must have left some wires that shorted out. It's kind of a mystery engine, no clue on cam etc. I run race gas on track because of the compression and cut 50/50 with 93 for occasional street use.

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    Couple more pics of the Lab-14 Under Tray Design to give a better idea of how it is set up since I had it out in the drive to work on it. Need a few more pieces of box tubing and 4 more support rods. I'm on a budget so I buy a few pieces a few at a time so I can keep progressing since there's a lot of labor involved to keep me busy. Also, I buy drops at a local industrial metal fab shop so I have to wait for are considered "scraps" to them I can buy that are suitable for my projects. The white 4 X 8 sheets are corrugated plastic of 2 different thicknesses. With side pipe exhaust I don't have some of the heat concerns under the car from firewall back those with traditional exhaust have. Under the engine, side pipe headers, and side pipes I'm only using aluminum.





    Last edited by NOT A TA; 08-13-2017 at 08:07 AM.
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  15. #75
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    Under tray section is completed and working on rear diffuser now.



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  17. #77
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    I'd be surprised if the last 1/3 of the diffuser wasn't stalled.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuntman View Post
    I'd be surprised if the last 1/3 of the diffuser wasn't stalled.
    I agree. The cardboard pieces were made with the expectation of cutting them down when I put the car on the ground at ride height. So I'll actually only be using a section of those. With their current configuration and 3" ground clearance under the floor section the area ratio would be over 7.3 which is waaay too high and I'll make sure the final ratio is less than 5.

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    You must have made some amazing things with Lincoln Logs or Legos when you were younger!

    Love the passion!

    craZee

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