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kevinatfms New Reader
3/19/19 6:45 a.m.

Saw you are Harry Grove on Saturday. I was in heat 2a with you. That thing took off like a rocket, heard the OOOOs and AHHHHs from the crowd then i heard the guy over the intercom state it had no reverse after the little cone incident(i was still in my car with my helmet on).

It definitely looked extremely quick. Had it been sorted better id assume you would have gotten close to FTD(that Tesla 3 was mind blowingly fast).

Good luck with it and i really hope to see it out more. Was extremely enjoyable seeing something like that flying around.

Apexcarver UltimaDork
3/19/19 6:57 a.m.

In reply to kevinatfms :

Oh, I'll get it sorted, will have to see about Harry Grove though. I was bottoming on the pavement transitions, plus I live an hour and a half away. Waldorf though...

Straight line speed isn't a problem at all, though I still need to regear, so there's more in it.

maj75 HalfDork
3/19/19 7:36 a.m.

Be careful!  I saw these running in a SCCA event at the old Moroso track in WPB, FL.  Guy got off in the infield and the nose dug into the grass.  He went end over end at least three times.  Worst looking crash I witnessed outside of Indy.

Hopefully there is something that can be done about keeping that from happening.

dculberson UltimaDork
3/19/19 10:26 a.m.

I think the old tires could be the bulk of your trouble. I didn't see how old they are mentioned here, but might have missed it. Even 200tw tires lose a lot of grip after just a couple years. I'm not familiar with the even stickier stuff, but I'm sure they can lose grip fast.

Apexcarver UltimaDork
3/28/19 9:26 a.m.

Been digging into the car and checking setup stuff, decied to open the canisters on the front end and check condition of the pucks. I'm glad I did. 




That should be sitting square in there.



How the canisters work, theres a convex and concave side that work the pucks. 


so that should be a 2 inch diameter, 1 inch thick cylinder.  it measures less than 2 inches.


Dont have pictures yet, but I got a sheet of the appropriate rubber from McMaster and made new pucks and replaced both fronts (both were twisted and undersize).  Will get to checking the rears soon.  


Making the new pucks, a 2 1/8 holesaw (because thats OD and I want 2 inch ID) with the center drill removed on a drill press set to the slowest speed possible using 50-50 water and dawn dishsoap liberally as lubricant.  Remarkably easy.  


To anyone who complains about the pucks: sure beats the expense of having shocks rebuilt!

T.J. MegaDork
3/28/19 10:10 a.m.

I used to run the same tires you have on the front on my Mini on all four corners for Autocross. They were way stickier than Hoosier TDs and Yokohama A008s that I ran before them. After I figured out the correct tire pressures, the car was a blast to drive with those tires. I ran them on 10x6 wheels. I figure they would not be so good on my car for track duty since my car is a lot heavier than a F500 car.

Here's a pic from 2007 or so.

Apexcarver UltimaDork
3/28/19 12:39 p.m.

That must have been a blast!  I'll bet you had more ability to get heat into them than I did!

TasdevEngineer2of3 New Reader
3/28/19 11:13 p.m.

Just ignore if you already know this stuff -you mentioned earlier your car was pushing a bit. Dont know if you have already made progress with that but you might do some reading on race kart handling and setup. I know you have a suspension but there might be some carry over as to front caster and static camber given the live axle. In a race kart you carry a ton of caster and use camber for tuning (as well as a bunch of other things).

I raced FV in earlier days and battled more than one F440.  Always wondered how things would have gone if I had chosen a 440 over a V - maybe less expensive. At that point in time, you could get a used FV with fewer dollars upfront but spent more on engines over time. What sucked was the tire bill and suspect it would be the same for a 440. I autocrossed my first V for a couple years and did learn quite a bit about the car before I went roadracing. And learned that low speed handling does not predict high speed handling.

More recently sprint raced (roadcourse) a kart for 3 or 4 years. Gained a respect for the tunability of a vehicle that has no apparent suspension - thus my suspicion of carry over. 

One other thought that may have been hinted at before. I think your car has a crashbox in the nose of the car to dissipate some energy should you hit something. It helps protect your feet. My suggestion is to make sure its straight and well attached. I did see a 440 hit a curb with the nose, seemed to dig in a bit, spun around and that was the end of his race - had a foot injury. Car needed a new nose and some sheet aluminum replaced. Think he also popped the rivets that attached the floor pan.

Regardless, I think they are great cars and look like a ton of fun.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
3/29/19 7:54 a.m.

In reply to TasdevEngineer2of3 :

Looking at some vendor pricing, a set of tires runs a bit less than $800.  According to a friend who runs a F500 in road racing, he'll get at least a season out of a set depending on how many races he does.  Friends who run them for autocross will typically buy a new set for Nationals and then run that set for the rest of the season and into the following season.  Guys who don't care so much run them for multiple seasons until they're corded. Obviously, rain tires can last almost indefinitely. Tire wear is one of the big advantages of the car being so light.  I think softeners are legal in race-tire autocross classes, which can also extend tire life.

As far as crash-worthiness, there are differences between the older F440 cars and current F500 cars.  The front toe box is one of them and why you'll often see F440 cars listed for sale as "autocross/F-Mod only" for that reason.  Bringing an older car to current safety specs typically costs as much as just buying/building a new car and an F440 is still a fun car for autocross.

Apexcarver UltimaDork
3/29/19 8:55 a.m.

Crash box visible in this photo.  Its straight and on there well. 


Brake masters are inside it.


I am comfortable with the safety level of the car for autocross use.  Track, well, I'm not comfortable with the idea of wheel to wheel quite yet and watching the 2015 runoffs at Daytona... well, they were going 150+ on the banks next to walls and that wouldnt make me feel comfortable AT ALL.




Adding caster is one of the parameters suggested on the class specific forum ( I have a thread there). Another is overall rake, having the rear 1.5-1.75 inches higher than the front. 


An upcoming project, setting the harbor freight manual tire changer up to do these. I will be pulling a set of never run Goodyear rains off the rear rims at least. Why ditch them if they have never been run?  Goodyear stopped making them something like 6 years ago...  Ever see a set of slicks with cracks in the rubber?

badwaytolive Reader
3/29/19 9:04 a.m.

Nice race report, thanks for sharing-

I raced 125cc karts for a decent amount of time. It was a bit of effort for me to get my head around how these solid axle machines actually turn; weight-jacking. I'm sure you know all this, but others may not:

The inside tire needs to be unloaded enough in a turn that it is relatively traction-free at key points. That way the outside rear is free to drive the tight radius one requests. As Tasdev mentioned, the kingpin angle (caster), front and rear track, chassis stiffness, axle diameter, wheel hub length, seat struts, tire pressures etc were all variables that could be adjusted to find the setup you were looking for.

Obviously it's not a perfect example given that you have the rubber-puck-suspension in the mix, but maybe some stuff to look at? One diagnostic tool I liked to use was a GoPro set on the highest frame rate recording the contact patch of a rear tire. It wasn't always obvious to me exactly what was going on from the driver's seat, so a video often times helped me on my way.

Looking forward to more-


Apexcarver UltimaDork
3/29/19 5:45 p.m.

Managed to figure out new front wheels and they are in the mail.


Keizer was really helpful working with me And answering questions.


Now to order new tires.

Woody MegaDork
3/29/19 9:13 p.m.

^Still jealous.


TasdevEngineer2of3 New Reader
3/29/19 10:30 p.m.

In reply to Ian F :

Good to hear about the long tire life - perhaps another advantage of F500. I was lucky to get 2 race weekends out of a Hoosier set and they definitely slowed as they got more miles on them. Rains usually aged out as opposed to wore out.

Now the kart tires - the spec tire could go a season of a dozen race days - maybe a little dicey towards the end.

Apexcarver UltimaDork
3/30/19 12:34 p.m.

The cars just weigh so little for how much rubber they have. Trade-off is that it's hard to get heat in them. I'd bet Vs on the skinny rubber are much better in that regard. 


I actually did consider vees briefly, but talking to someone running one, the 1200 motors are getting hard to find and to be competitive they need to be hand grenades. Plus no competitive autocross classing.

As far as the f500, I have heard of piston replacement done engine kept in car in about an hour. Hardest job is likely fuel cell replacement. Biggest pain may be seasonal crack checking the chassis due to vibration.

Woody, want me to repost deals I find?  Give me an idea of what, how much, and where and I'll be glad to.

Apexcarver UltimaDork
3/30/19 12:48 p.m.

Touch of humor, wheel costs just over half what a tire costs...

TurnerX19 HalfDork
3/30/19 3:17 p.m.

In reply to Apexcarver :

And lasts 20 times as long!

Apexcarver UltimaDork
4/3/19 1:48 p.m.

Well, the rear pucks were terrible...




Rims arrive Friday, need to get some concrete anchors for the tire changer (and maybe a longer tire iron), bolting it to a pallett didnt work out.


Just ordered a set of scales for the car. Car is light enough theres a type of shipping scale I can get that has a 330lb capacity for MUCH less than automotive scales.  $375 for 4 vs almost $700 for an automotive set. 



Any suggestions on best places to order a set of hoosiers bias plys?   I'm near DC and just wondering if some places are cheaper than others. 

TurnerX19 HalfDork
4/3/19 2:54 p.m.

I am wondering if someone deliberately cut that puck conical to change spring rate?

Apexcarver UltimaDork
4/6/19 4:55 p.m.
Woody said:

^Still jealous.


Join us! 


Autox only car for only a bit more than challenge money.

Apexcarver UltimaDork
4/7/19 8:22 a.m.

Ordered tires, smileys racing does free shipping on orders over $99 saved me $100 over other places.


Working on the tire changer, tried bolting it to a pallet, but will be getting concrete anchors. Also, the tool that comes with the harbor freight changer isn't great, so I ordered one from no-Mar.

jfryjfry HalfDork
4/7/19 2:52 p.m.

I dont know how the changer is set up but I made my own that slides into a trailer receiver on my truck.  Super solid. 

Nate90LX New Reader
4/9/19 8:36 a.m.

I just got through reading this thread. Keep the updates coming. 

I used to do FSAE also (2002-2005), and the F500’s and BMod’s always catch my eye. I wish the F600 (F500 with the 600cc bike motor) was competitive in autox, because it’s such a great combination of low cost and high reving motor. Plus, I like to shift. Sorry for the rant. 

Good luck with the set up and tuning. 

Apexcarver UltimaDork
4/9/19 11:38 a.m.

In reply to Nate90LX :

The F600 does sound awesome. I dont know that a REAL effort has been made on auto-x with one (national level), but on paper it just doesnt stack.  A factor may be that performance is equalized for roadracing (there are restrictors for the 600s) and they spend a lot more of their acceleration time in the right powerband rather than searching for it like autocross. 


I get the liking to shift, but having driven the CVT...  At least for autocross, most of the cars I have driven have been get it in 2nd and leave it there (mustang, miata, etc) especially with my mustang, I get down under the powerband digging out of lowspeed turns and it can be frustrating. The CVT, I dont have the 1-2 shift and I am ALWAYS in the powerband, it isnt even a band, its just THERE. All the power, whenever I want.  You really dont miss shifting in autocross. 


Right now my thoughts are pretty strong that the CVT is absolutely the best at autocross and actually more fun there. The CVT can also roadrace proficiently, but takes a bit more to nail the setup (in autox the difference of nailing the setup is a lot less). The 600 would be much more consistant performance at roadrace, but not nearly the fun for autocross.


Apexcarver UltimaDork
4/13/19 6:11 p.m.

Well I gave a go at mounting a tire yesterday and failed miserably. Couldn't even get it half on there.


So I punted and tried a local power sports and motorcycle place. Talking to them on the phone they said they had done race tries before.




Not a single tire on and one brand new Kaiser wheel bent beyond use. No scratches, but bent out of round on the outer face. 



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