Looking for a specific series of articles/blogs...

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Looking for a specific series of articles/blogs...

Postby blasphemy101 » Fri Sep 26, 2014 4:58 pm

In all of the car research I've done, E30-related and not, I've noticed there seems to be a pretty big jump from the typical enthusiast-level knowledge found on forums and full blown SAE-grade reports and technical papers (which most of us don't have access to). It seems like there's very little middle-ground for technically-minded enthusiasts who're seeking more in-depth knowledge about automotive topics. Does anyone know about any series or blogs that attempt to cross that divide between "turbos make your car go faster" and a full blown "thermodynamic analysis of a system with turbines/compressors"?

As an engineering student, I feel I have a constantly growing set of skills that allows me to get closer and closer to being able to actually understand some of those highly technical documents, but I can look back to a point, just a couple of years ago, and remember how frustrating it was when I had none of those capabilities. I'm thinking about writing up a series of blogs that roughly follows some of my course work, but written out in layman's terms so that someone who doesn't necessarily want an engineering degree can get a stronger knowledge base for how systems on their car works. I'm sure it would help me get a better understanding of the concepts we're working through in class, and others might find it helpful, too.

I used to write a lot for school, but since I've been well into my engineering course work, that's almost completely tapered off. Writing something like this would probably help me stop writing like an engineer and more like a human again...

Has this been done already? Do you think there's an interest out there? I know I find many of the topics we cover in class very interesting, but I'm already an engineering student, so I wonder if anyone outside of my peer-group would share my enthusiasm...


TL;DR - I want to write an engineering-minded auto blog! Do you know about any? Would anyone read it?
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Re: Looking for a specific series of articles/blogs...

Postby Yoshi » Fri Sep 26, 2014 5:29 pm

Hopefully this post doesn't get too long. Welcome to stage to of competency! You've probably been here a while though.

If you're unfamiliar, here's the general gist

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_stages_of_competence

1. Unconscious incompetence

2. Conscious incompetence

3. Conscious competence

4. Unconscious competence


IMO most communities are 90% stage one, 7% stage 2, 2% stage 3 and probably less than 1% stage 4. As a result, most car forum posts will be the first category. Things along the lines of "I bought a turbo kit, slapped it on my car. I'm cool now and know everything turbo charging". You've reached stage 2. You're smart enough to know that there are many things you don't know. Required oil viscosities might need to change when you slap on an oil cooler. An EBC should give you better response. Reading compressor maps but not fully understanding how to apply that math outside of some articles you read that speak in generalities.

The problem with stage 2 is that you finally come to terms with the shear amount of information you don't know. And you know that when you learn X, it will open doors to not knowing x^1 or x^2. And even THOSE go deeper. As a result, a few people open some doors and peak enough down to get the job done. But stay incompetent. After all, running the same weight oil with significantly lower oil temps will probably work. And your car hasn't blown up. Should be fine! Or EBCs makes the boost come on faster. What else do you need to know? Why? Psh, fuck that!

In cars, stage 3 isn't possible in all realms. you wind up specializing in one genre and settle for general knowledge of everything else. For instance, I've all but stepped away from turbos. Thermodynamics, manifold design, turbo selection, true reading of compressor maps, packaging, effects on weight distribution, fabrication of said parts because no one makes something off the shelf for my setup, and more. It's just too much and I didn't give a shit.

I'm attempting stage 3 for suspension setup and geometry. And I'm in small company. It seems like people that get to this point are very much less vocal. I hesitate to write anything because 2 days down the line, I find conflicting information from a reliable source. An example - I've been told to always run 0 to 1/8" toe out. A pro level drift car I saw had a 1/2" toe IN. IN! When I finally asked, it turns out that at high angle with regular ackerman, your wheels point too much in the wrong directions. Toe in helps alleviate that and help with high angle stability. Kills straight line stability though.

To finally answer your question - I haven't found jack shit. I read lots of books. The "XXX to win" series has been decent but is specific to open wheel racers. There's also the "ultimate suspension guide" on motoiq.com that I read over a few times. But that's suspension specific. I have purchased a few SAE articles and still haven't read through them but I consider them probably the best bang for your buck.

If you do figure it out. let me know. Because I am tired of searching for small nuggets of truth.

Side note: I feel like dabbling in stage 3 is the reason why I don't post much anymore. Too many "todos" in my research to formally post anything. Half the post would be markers of "finish research here" on 19 places.
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Re: Looking for a specific series of articles/blogs...

Postby blasphemy101 » Fri Sep 26, 2014 6:03 pm

What you're saying makes a lot of sense. I'm just looking for (or looking at creating) a good stepping stone from Stage 1 to Stage 2 for a handful of topics, because as you know, that jump is huge. Your compressor maps example stands out to me, because it's something I was discussing with a friend recently.

Almost anyone can follow a guide on using a compressor map, but understanding what that map actually means and how those numbers affect the rest of the system is a whole different ball game. Understanding the math underlying those is another, but once you get far enough into it, you HAVE to know things like basic calculus to even come close to understanding how you arrive those numbers.

A particular forum post brought about this idea of writing some of these articles. You (Yoshi) might remember posting on another forum a couple of years ago on the topic of "CFM vs. PSI" I'd seen it stickied there for a couple of years, but I finally went through it the other day. The thread goes on for like 7 pages with some very knowledgeable people chiming in without ever reaching a strong conclusion. It occurred to me that those with the knowledge weren't providing strong answers, because it's difficult/time consuming to do, and it could be very easy to overstep the boundary into a full-on college-level lecture/discussion.

Another example is the conceptualization of an engine as a pump - I was well into a lot of research before I even saw the concept mentioned, then I came to find it's one of the fundamentals in thermodynamics. It amazes me that with so many engineers who also post on auto-enthusiast boards, the topic is rarely brought up.
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Re: Looking for a specific series of articles/blogs...

Postby Yoshi » Fri Sep 26, 2014 6:14 pm

The CFM vs PSI post IMO boiled down to amps vs volts. They are related but not. I think it was an argument of semantics more than anything else. Turbo X putting out 10psi vs Turbo Y putting out 10psi will produce different levels of power. Though 10psi going into an M20 regardless of the turbo should produce the same whp. The thread was saying that wasn't true. Never did figure out why. I think it was just a pissing match, some mod went "this has good info" and stickied it. I agree I don't recall seeing a good consensus on anything. Just good info.

I try to find people smarter than me and ask for wisdom. Most people are more than happy to be the center of attention to a point. EG I recall getting kind of brushed off by a suspension genius because I was asking super basic questions. Stage 1.5 talking to stage 4 you know?
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Re: Looking for a specific series of articles/blogs...

Postby blasphemy101 » Fri Sep 26, 2014 6:20 pm

Exactly... I think I may write one up simply because I like to hear (read) myself talk (write) and see if it spawns any sort of reasonable discussion.
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Re: Looking for a specific series of articles/blogs...

Postby Yoshi » Fri Sep 26, 2014 11:24 pm

Lol start with CFM vs boost.
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Re: Looking for a specific series of articles/blogs...

Postby 87e30 » Fri Sep 26, 2014 11:32 pm

Yoshi wrote:I'm attempting stage 3 for suspension setup and geometry. And I'm in small company. It seems like people that get to this point are very much less vocal. I hesitate to write anything because 2 days down the line, I find conflicting information from a reliable source. An example - I've been told to always run 0 to 1/8" toe out. A pro level drift car I saw had a 1/2" toe IN. IN! When I finally asked, it turns out that at high angle with regular ackerman, your wheels point too much in the wrong directions. Toe in helps alleviate that and help with high angle stability. Kills straight line stability though.


Not trying to nitpick, but did you mean 1/8 and 1/2 inch ("), or did you mean degrees (º)? I never heard of alignment in anything other than degrees.
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Re: Looking for a specific series of articles/blogs...

Postby Yoshi » Sat Sep 27, 2014 1:18 am

I mean inches. When you use toe plates at the track, you can't convert to degrees so you go by inches.
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Re: Looking for a specific series of articles/blogs...

Postby M20_fever » Sun Sep 28, 2014 4:46 pm

Working in Engineering for around 15 years I guess I kind day forget that there is a distinct difference in how we talk and how "normal" people talk, lol. Write something up, I'm all for getting more people educated/interested in this stuff.
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Re: Looking for a specific series of articles/blogs...

Postby 87e30 » Mon Sep 29, 2014 2:13 pm

Yoshi wrote:I mean inches. When you use toe plates at the track, you can't convert to degrees so you go by inches.


I guess I stand corrected. First time I've heard anyone use inches instead of degrees though. I've never actually run a vehicle at a track though (yet).
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Re: Looking for a specific series of articles/blogs...

Postby Yoshi » Mon Sep 29, 2014 4:46 pm

http://www.jegs.com/i/JEGS/555/81680/10 ... oC9dnw_wcB

Pick yourself up a set. It's no replacement for a true alignment but it works wonders.
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Re: Looking for a specific series of articles/blogs...

Postby 87e30 » Mon Sep 29, 2014 8:09 pm

Good to know for the future, but for now my desk at the shop is only 40 feet from our Hunter alignment machine, so I'll just do a true alignment on my own vehicles. :-)
Schwarz 5-speed 87 325is (newest project)
Arktisblau 5-speed 86 325e (current DD)
Schwarz 5-speed 87 325e (parts car/LS1 swap?)
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Re: Looking for a specific series of articles/blogs...

Postby Yoshi » Mon Sep 29, 2014 11:35 pm

BOOOOO!
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Re: Looking for a specific series of articles/blogs...

Postby blasphemy101 » Thu Oct 23, 2014 8:41 pm

School has been killing me this semester, so this still hasn't happened. It looks like things might be lightening up soon. Suggestions on topics? Thinking about starting with something basic, like thermodynamic cycles - you know, explaining what the "Auto Cycle" really is...
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Re: Looking for a specific series of articles/blogs...

Postby Yoshi » Fri Oct 24, 2014 11:26 am

I always like suspension geometry. I wanted to figure out how to find my roll center and center of gravity so I can calculate my roll couple.
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