Monday, June 27, 2005

Bad Habit

Music: Scissor Sisters
Movies: Batman Begins (rocks!!!)
TV: None, baby, I'm free!

I think I'm forming a bad habit. I like to drive my car, and I like to drive it hard. Two weekends this month, I've been drawn in by temptation, and put my car through the wringer. Twice we've driven West--RCM members and I-- to tackle some of the wild mountain roads that Virginia has to offer.

The first time we (Will, Samantha, Tony, and I) did Rte 250 from Staunton to the WV border. Very exciting stuff, with video! Yesterday, Chris and I hit Rte 56 from Vesuvius to Tyro. This was not as mind-bogglingly intense as Rte 250, but perhaps a bit more interesting, as there were beautiful vistas and sections that did not require 100% of your concentration to maneuver.

The bits in yellow are what we drove, and, once again, I got video. I forgot to use the G-meter for the first half, but lowered it on the way back up the mountain. Unfortunately, unless I can figure out how to lighten an area on the tape, it won't show up.

So why is this such a bad habit? Well, there's Lumpy, for one. It's not tremendously responsible of me to go putting my life on the line every couple of weekends when Lumpy is coming. Also, there's my loving and wonderful wife, who does not need to be my somber widow.

But there's an actual technical issue that makes this habit really bad from a financial standpoint: the brakes. My brakes have a rotor that is bolted on to a rotor-hat, unlike the stock system, where it's one piece. These bolts lie on the same plane as the ball-joints for the control arms, and, when not moving, are about 4mm away from that ball-joint. However, when turning hard, that distance is chopped as the suspension works, and there's a rapid-fire ticka-ticka-ticka-ticka as the bolts hit the ball-joint. This means there's friction, which means there's heat. I've read about one MINI where the control arm broke, and the car plowed into a curb. That guy was lucky: if I break a control arm on a mountain switch-back, I'm going over the edge or plowing into the mountain.

Somehow that doesn't appeal to me.

There are three options: grind down the ball-joint 1 or 2 mm (which will stop the rubbing and heat-transfer, but will also degrade the ball-joint's structural integrity), get different brakes, or find after-marked control arms.

None of these options are cheap, but all are preferable to major mechanical failure and potential bodily injury.

Lumpy: 11 weeks, 1 day.

1 comment:

Manda said...

Okay now, did you tell me about this potentially life-threatening situation you've got with your car?

If you have, sorry. I swear I was listening. It's just that your car-speak becomes pea soup in my brain.

I'm already a Mini Widow; let's not make this title literal, SillyPants.

Burn the land.

Boil the sea.

You can't take the sky from me.