When you start building your car, remember that there will be a lot of changes in the future as your car
evolves. We are constantly making improvements and updates to all our cars. It seems that nothing stays the same
for very long as we are constantly looking for ways to go faster and make the cars better.
try to think ahead as much as possible. Leave room for changes and improvements.
keep in mind that good components cost good money! You may not be able to afford to just jump in and buy all the
best stuff to get started. You might have to start with whatever you can get your hands on and then make improvements
as you can afford to make them!
As you are building your race car, you need to remember
just how extreame this sport can be! We reach speeds on some hills in excess of 60mph! We also race on open public
roads that don't have safety barriers designed to control a vehicle of this size.
and self preservation should be the guidelines you use when building.
Build your car to
withstand the most violent crash you can, and you should be able to enjoy a lot of races with out having to worry about what
might happen to you should it get out of control.
Build for the BIG one!
|Plan for the BIG One!
|This could be YOU!
Brakes! Brakes!! Brakes!!!
brakes are by far the MOST IMPORTANT aspect of your car!
mind, we run on OPEN PUBLIC roads! This ain't no sissy straight line play time. We have HIGH SPEED curves, extream
elevation changes, pot holes, curbs, telephone poles, guard rails, traffic, other competitors, animals, rain, ice, snow, and
maybe even meteorites to deal with.
You need to be able to control
and stop your ride quickly and safely!
DO NOT over look the importance
of BRAKES when building your ride. We want everyone (even you) to go home in one piece and unhurt!
When we started, we didn't know where to go for parts and pieces, so we had to build all our own stuff. Just
about all our cars used scrub brakes, where a plate rubs against the tire.
These worked OK in the dry on most cars, but in the wet, many of them didn't work at all.
At this point, we have cars running with scrub brakes, drum brakes and disc brakes. And many of our cars now
have 2 brakeing systems like drums and scrub brakes that both work independantly of each other. This gives the driver
a back up system should one fail. Many of the scrub systems are now operated by a hand lever, so this makes getting
into the cars a lot easier as you are able to use the hand lever to hold the car from rolling as you get.
We have access to a few different drum brake set ups. And we have developed fixtures to be able to adapt them
to many of the wheels they were not designed to be used on. This helps us to keep the cost down and to also have some
commonality in the parts we use to build with. This helps reduce the number of different spare parts we need to have
So if you are just getting started, or you need to make
an improvement, be sure you ASK about what you need and what the cost will be to those parts. Keep in mind, as a MISFITS
member, we have some serious discounts available to us on a lot of parts!
Bearings & Wheel Mounts
lot of the wheels used aren’t exactly what we would call “high speed wheels”. The bearings in these things are not fully packed or lubricated.
It is possible to over load or burn up a bearing to the point of failure in this application.
the balls or rollers blow up and part company, they leave a big hole in the hub. This
allows enough room for the outer race to slide over the inner race and the wheel and hub leave the car.
large flat washer that is bigger then the outer bearing race will help to keep the wheel from leaving the car in the event
of a bearing failure.
use of a cotter pin or other fixed pin to keep the wheel nuts from coming off is also highly recommended.
We have also found that we can use some of the more low cost wheels if
we replace the bearings with better bearings that may last all the way to the bottom of the hill. Don't laugh!
We have had several of the cheap wheels that burned the bearings so bad on one run, that they couldn't be used again!
Keep in mind, that most low cost wheels are designed for low
speed applications. That means they are designed for WALKING speed. We push things far beyond that limit!
We do have high speed precision bearings that can be installed in most wheels at a very affordable cost.
So if you arn't sure about your wheels and bearings, take a look at what we are running and ask for
Tires & Tubes
Once you have your braking system worked
out, wheels, tires and tubes are the next big concern.
This is another area where you need to pay to play!
The cheap wheel/tire set ups made for wagons and hand trucks just won’t stand up to the extremes of what we do.
These low speed wheels/tires are designed for walking speeds and much lower side loads and G forces then we are asking
them to perform.
Many are also designed for much lower air pressures then we want to run.
found that these tires have several different problems when used for this purpose.
One, they don’t
stay round. They tend to get bulges and flat areas and this can really cause a loss in speed to your race
car. If your tires aren’t round and somewhat balanced, they just do not roll as well as they should
and that slows you down. The more you run them, the worse they get.
is they are made from very soft rubbers that will not stand up to the abrasiveness of the road surface. If
you lock up a wheel and skid for any reason, those tires are usually so flat spotted that they aren’t usable any more.
So this is an area where it pays to dig a little deeper. When you are getting started, you may
want to go with the cheap wheels and tires to save money. And you may be able to get through a season with
the cheap tires, but not if you want to go fast!
MISFITS can help you save money on your purchase of good
quality Go Kart tires for your racer. We have a selection of several different tread and tire designs in
a variety of sizes. And if properly cared for, these tires should allow you to run several seasons without
One way to save money is to buy the cheap wheel/tire package, then change the bearings and
the tires. You still save money over buying a good karting wheel! And we may be able
to help you adapt drum or disc brakes to your wheels.
Crash Protection comes in many forms, such as roll bars, side impact protection, padding, a good seat, and a safety
harness to keep you in the car. It also comes from the safety equipment you wear such as a helmet, gloves,
eye protection, a Hans Device, neck collar, elow and knee pads, leather jacket and pants, etc.
While a few guys are still running open cars with no protection, we prefer
you think about adding crash protection to your ride! Even a 10 mph crash can do serious damage to the driver, and if
your car gets away from you at 30, 40 or even 50 mph, it's probably going to ruin your day if you are not well protected.
Roll Bars and Side Impact protection
When we first began in 2008, and into
the beginning of 2009, all our cars were open cars. None of them had any type of crash protection.
Little by little as the speeds increased, we began to get a little worried for our safety.
Jerm began work on his new car, the Punishing One, and we built that with roll over protection. Then Jola’s
Roller got some roll over protection after the June 2009 race when we got to see her get the wobbles at over 50mph!
Drscope’s car got a new body and some roll over protection as well.
Nasty Neal had
taken the black car for his own, and when he returned, he had fitted the Monte Carlo bodied car with a full NHRA Funny Car
style roll cage. We all thought that was a bit of over kill.
We were making slow progress on things
and then we had the big crash during our race in October 2009. Just as we flew over
a berm in the road, traveling at speeds close to 50mph, Nasty Neal hit his brakes and tried to turn. The
result was his car instantly spun around, then rolled over in the air. At that point, Drscope who was right
behind him when this all started, slammed into the bottom of the over turning car.
car slid about 100 feet on it’s side before ending up in the ditch. Drscope’s car lost steering
as a result of the impact and his car also ended up on it’s side in the ditch about 40 feet farther down the hill.
Jola’s Roller spun 360 degrees trying to avoid the accident, but she was able to get stopped without incident
and render assistance. These three cars all had roll over protection, side impact protection and a 5 point
driver restraint system. For Drscope and Nasty Neal, this was an extremely violent crash, but neither of
them suffered injury.
However, behind this group was Ice Man Brice on the open DW1386X. He also
panicked and tried to stop. His car left the road where he hit an immovable object. He was ejected out
of the car and violently slammed into the bottom of Nasty Neal’s over turned car. Then the DW1386X
fell from the sky and landed on his feet causing serious injury.
In the impact, something was able to
get up inside the back of Ice Man’s helmet causing a sever gash to his head that required several
Following that incident, we decided not to allow anyone to use our loaner cars until they
had full roll over protection. We still allow open cars to compete, but we highly recommend that anyone
participating in our events have full roll over and side impact protection!
For a vehicle of this size and weight,
it’s not very difficult to fit an adequate roll bar at a very affordable price. A simple roll over
hoop behind or over the driver, and a pair of down tubes triangulated towards the front of the car is all that’s needed.
We have chosen to use black pipe available from any hardware or plumbing supply store. It takes
about $25 of pipe to do each car.
While this would not be suitable for roll over protection in
a 3,000 pound race car, it is more then sufficient for our needs on a 300 pound soap box car.
use 1&1/4 inch pipe for the main hoop and 1 inch pipe for the down tubes.
This can be nicely bent with a $100
tube bender from the Harbor, and that’s what we used until it stopped working. Then we discovered
if we pushed hard enough and had a long enough handle, we could do a fairly nice job of bending this pipe by sticking it into
the fork of the holly tree out back.
So when you look and see crooked bends in the pipe on our cars,
those were made after the bender stopped working! While it may appear that this tube is easily bent, that is not the case. And once
it is welded in place and properly triangulated, it will withstand a very violent and severe impact.
Your seat is a very important part
of your car. If you are not comfortable and properly supported, you can’t drive the car well.
Choose a seat that fits you. You want something that will hold you in the car, not just during
your run, but also in the event of a crash, or extremely bumpy ride. You need to fit snug in the seat so
you aren’t sliding around.
And you want the seat securely fastened to the car! Keep
in mind, the seat needs to support all your weight. And in a crash or an event when things are not going
well, your body will be putting a lot of strain on the seat mounts. The force of your body during an impact
can be several times greater then your normal body weight.
If you have roll over and impact protection
on your car, you want to make sure you stay in the seat during an incident. There isn’t any sense
in having roll over protection if you roll out of the car during a crash!
So choose a seat that keeps you in.
And if you are going to be using a driver restraint harness (seat belts) make sure the seat you choose has provision
for the belts.
Driver Restraint System
A Driver Restraint system or seat belt
is very important in a car with roll over and side impact protection. After all, that roll over protection
won’t help if you roll out of the car during a crash.
A 5 point harness is probably best
for our use. That consists of a lap belt, a set of shoulder straps and a submarine strap that comes up
between your legs and attaches to the buckle.
The lap belt helps keep you in the seat.
The shoulder straps help keep your upper body from being throw forward during impact.
submarine strap keeps you from going out under the lap belt in a violent crash. It also keeps the lab belt
down low on the hips where it is most effective, and does not allow it to rid up on your belly.
sure that your attachment and mounting locations are strong and secure. Again your weight and the force
your weight puts on those mounting points multiplies several times during an impact.
And you want
to make sure the ends of your belts aren’t too long and dragging on the pavement. If you have the
tail of one of your belts go under your rear tire during a run, it’s going to seriously affect your speed.
Also, you don’t want those belt tails flapping around in the wind. They just create wind
resistance and slow you down even more. And if you have a camera on the rear of your car, they can make
for some really annoying video footage! If you need help locating a driver restraint system, let us know! We not only have
new sets available, but we may also know where to get some used sets to save a few bucks!
While the above photo may be funny at first glance, there is a MAJOR problem
with the safety equipment for this woman passenger.
She is wearing a 4 point harness
with no crotch strap. Notice how the lap belt has riden up to the point that the belts appear to be a large red "X"?
If this car has a sudden impact, this poor woman is going to suffer multible internal
organ injuries as a result of the harness NOT being located where it needs to be to protect her.
This is why we require a 5 point harness with a crotch strap!