Thursday, February 25, 2010

Lemon drops #1: hood pins

I love checking out the other cars in the paddock at 24 Hours of Lemons events. I really love watching for when I see something the team has done to their car to make life easier that is cheap, easy, and clever enough to make people say, "Dang, why didn't I think of that?" It's time to start documenting these Lemon Drops like I've said I would for so long.

Today's topic: hood pins. While they're not required by the Lemons rulebook, they are highly recommended by those who know better than I. Last weekend at Gator-O-Rama 2010, the team driving the Gremlin had their hood pop open on the track, so odds that they will have hood pins in the future are very short.

On TetanusNeon, we have installed captive hood pins, where the pin is always kept in a track that is screwed to the hood. I think they cost us a tiny bit more than normal hood pins, but have since realized their greatest advantage-- it's impossible to misplace the pin. Well, at least without losing the hood too, in which case you've got greater organizational issues than first thought.

radiator hose around the postOur captive hood pin (back when it had Oktoberfest coloration). Other teams will often use a screw or rivet and just run a ziptie or some wire to normal hood pins to keep them attached to the hood, and our friend Brian at Property Devaluation racing has a long habit of zip-tying a few extra hood pins onto the roll cage just in case someone manages to lose one during a pit stop.
captive hood pin, screwed to hoodBut hey, hood pins aren't cheap and clever. Clever was what our teammate Andy did -- he cut off a few inches of discarded radiator hose (you did have enough budget in your Lemon to yank that ancient dry-rotted heater hose, right?) and put pieces over the hood-pin's posts. This means we have to slightly push the hood down to compress the hoses when sliding the pins in, and then it springs back against the pins, keeping everything from vibrating as much and keeping the pins from sliding out too easily.
Have you seen a neat-but-cheap racing trick I can turn into a Lemon Drop post? If so, send me a note through the comments and we'll turn you into a guest author for a day.

No comments: