DMSBD Tech Tips

DMSBD Weight & Balance Clinic 
Written by- Ian Carsten

MSX International, 1426 Pacific Drive, Auburn Hills, MI, Saturday, March 23, 2002

The Weight & Balance Clinic began with some announcements by Detroit Metro director, Joe Flynn regarding plans for events for the 2002-racing season. Joe said he was working with the Detroit Auto Dealer’s Association on putting together a standard sponsorship package that has a value of $500 per racer. He mentioned that to show our appreciation, all Detroit Metro racers would be asked to display a DADA logo decal on their cars. Also, he said we would focus our efforts on the planned post-Akron race, which we expect will take place on old Woodward Avenue north of 15-mile road in Birmingham.

It is currently envisioned as a Region V rally. He commented that two dates were under consideration. The first date would be in August. Joe mentioned that with DADA’s sponsorship, one of the pluses we could expect was considerable publicity, especially if the event were in some way tied in with the Woodward Avenue Dream Cruise. However, on the downside, He said the weekends involved would schedule the event two weekends after the national championships in Akron, and one weekend after the NDR championships in Saginaw. He claimed that after two consecutive events of such prominence, that could hurt participation. Joe said the second date, Labor Day weekend, probably entailed too much competition with weekend travel plans and other events. After polling the attendees, he concluded that his first inclination, the August date was probably the better choice. He said he believed that even with the major events of the previous two weekends, if we publicize this properly and soon enough, it should draw a significant number of competitors.

Next, Joe announced that it has been decided to make the May race an open rally. Also, we had the four-platform digital scales set up so that anyone could see them and check their car’s weight and balance with driver in position. Joe said we would have the scales set up at the remainder of the clinics in this series. Then he displayed the special derby tools that are available for our racers to use at he clinics. He explained their use and the benefits they offer. They included the Dennis Wilt spindle gage, axle stands, bending wrenches, and Fischer gage. Further, he discussed the use and potential benefits of various kingpin tension settings. Joe showed an assortment of some of the weights Ted Schafer has developed in conjunction with Ideal Steel. He said as soon as our racers are ready for them, we can take orders to have them made.

Next, the racers worked on their cars in various groups. Some used the tools provided to layout their axles for triangulation prick punch dimples. Another group watched Joe and Jim Scotti demonstrate assembling the axles and kingpins to the floorboard. One of the kingpins wouldn’t initially go through the hole in the axle. That was remedied by a few gentle strokes of a round file to remove the burrs left in the hole by the drilling operation. They also installed the brake/steering assembly and the brake plunger. After that they put on the pulleys and installed both the brake and steering cables. Tex Finsterwald demonstrated closing up the steering turnbuckles and orienting them for minimum air drag. Also, Jim Scotti cautioned the builders to get the cable clamp setscrews bearing against the widths of both pieces of cable rather than against one piece, which in turn bears against the other. This wording, although somewhat awkward, was made clear by the drawing in the article, “Construction Tips for a First-Time Car Builder, Article 4: Starting Construction”. This is available at our clinics and can be read on our website If you need a copy, go to “Tech Tips”, then simply use your mouse to highlight the entire article, click on “Edit”, then “Copy”. Then click on the minimize icon, “-“, start Word, click on “File”, “New”, click on” Edit”, then “Paste”. Now you’ll have a copy you can save and /or print. Jim warned that getting this wrong is dangerous in that it could cause the sudden unexpected loss of either brakes or steering depending which cable was involved. Several builders were ready to begin the triangulation procedure to set their rear axles 90 degrees to the centerline of their cars. They used our 6-foot trammel to get this set precisely. Other builders worked on various tasks and availed themselves of our tools and advice, especially on construction rules clarifications. A very popular tool is our two newly acquired Swiss made Felco C7 wire rope cutters. They are the very best tools of this type and have unusually hard, sharp, curved cutting jaws that keep the cable nearly circular as the cut is being made. This results in an unusually clean cut without fraying the cable at the cut end. Several builders took Jim Scotti’s advice for selecting which side of the axles should be made the top. He prefers inspecting the axle with a straight edge and determining whether one of the sides with the kingpin hole is bowed upward. If so, he makes that side the top, as he feels it will help add spring to the axle in that orientation.

Theresa Young conducted a drawing for the drivers. The lucky winners and their prizes were:

  1.  Allyssa Schafer—2001 Old #3 Hot Wheels

  2.  Sally Guimond—AST Suzuka

  3. Tori Balough—Shredster

  4. Valerie Forsyth—1940 ford Coupe

  5. Josh Barkus—Rodger Dodger

  6. Kyle McClain—Milenium Mug

  7. Sam Watson—Corvette SR-2

  8. Al Farrah—1934 3-window coupe

  9. Kyle Scotti—Super Smooth Truck

  10. Kelsea Klein—Power Piston “Flyz”

  11. Matt Forsyth –Merorail

  12. Jordan Barkus—Fandango

  13. Maddie Klein—Cuningham

  14. Justyn O’Green—Skin Deep Series Pro Stock Firebird

Next week, we will present our Alignment and Crossbind Clinic on Saturday, March 30 at MSX at the address in the heading of this article.

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