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2005 rules - frame notching


swhiteh3

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Scott,

 

I guess I don't understand something here. What is the competitive advantage that would be gained on an IRS car by notching the frame rail over a solid axle car given the constraints that I outlined in the IRS forum?

 

I honestly don't see it. If you restrict ride height/ground clearance what are you gaining?

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I'd also like to hear from the NASA officials that made this decision. I'd like to hear exactly what was allowed, when, and why. If this modification was allowed, then it's allowed, period. If NASA tries to go back on their decision, then that's the worst thing they can do IMHO.

 

Assuming it was allowed, then the only discussion here is how to write the rule that makes the Wilstone car legal, but prevents the other things we're all worried about - rules creep. That should be the core of this discussion. And in order to have that discussion, I think we all need to hear from the NASA officials that allowed it in the first place.

 

This goes for Greg's fenders as well.......

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This belongs in the other thread, but Greg's fenders didn't have to be allowed in. The rules make them legal.

 

How big of a notch is in the frame? I know once one exception is made, others will want it too. Something could be spelled out clearly.

 

I can't seem to find it, so maybe they slipped it out of the rules, but AIX used to be allowed to chop the rear frame rails off.

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John,

When do you call it a notch? How far can a "notch" go? If notches are ok, than cutting is OK too or how do you define the difference? Who polices which is which?

Once you start allowing cutting, you eliminate the rear frame. Once you eliminate the rear frame you are opening yourself up. What is keeping the fuel tank or cell from being smashed in an accident? Do we then have to make changes to the roll cage so that there is cage all the way to the back bumpers? Wouldn't it be simplet to not change the rules to allow notching than to police how far someone has gone?

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John,

When do you call it a notch? How far can a "notch" go? If notches are ok, than cutting is OK too or how do you define the difference? Who polices which is which?

Once you start allowing cutting, you eliminate the rear frame. Once you eliminate the rear frame you are opening yourself up. What is keeping the fuel tank or cell from being smashed in an accident? Do we then have to make changes to the roll cage so that there is cage all the way to the back bumpers? Wouldn't it be simplet to not change the rules to allow notching than to police how far someone has gone?

 

Mark, i see now that you are simply against letting the KB IRS into the show. You have made it clear that you are afraid that it is going to make all solid axle cars obsolete. I don't think this is the case.

 

There is no use for me to continue this dicussion you are simply not going to open your eyes. it's a damn shame. You can't see why we did what we did and you can't see the benefit of allowing this particular modification to be performed by anyone running the KB IRS. It's thoughts like yours that will may force this car to be relagated to run in AIX. If you get your way and outlaw this particular car you are also closing the door to one of the largest and oldest aftermarket companies that make parts for the mustang as well as two guys who have run more AI races than just about anyone else in the country.

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[quote="b_tone

There is no use for me to continue this dicussion you are simply not going to open your eyes. it's a damn shame. You can't see why we did what we did and you can't see the benefit of allowing this particular modification to be performed by anyone running the KB IRS. It's thoughts like yours that will may force this car to be relagated to run in AIX. If you get your way and outlaw this particular car you are also closing the door to one of the largest and oldest aftermarket companies that make parts for the mustang as well as two guys who have run more AI races than just about anyone else in the country.

 

Err...Brian......and your point is? If the right people read this they will outlaw blue cars just to get us not to run!

 

He is right about KB though and I wouldn't blame them. I believe everyone has presented their opinions and a decision can be made.

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It seems to me that the NASA officials would have chimed in long ago. If your car is legal they can tell everybody why they made this decision. Peder, John, Ryan, where are you???

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John,

When do you call it a notch? How far can a "notch" go? If notches are ok, than cutting is OK too or how do you define the difference? Who polices which is which?

Once you start allowing cutting, you eliminate the rear frame. Once you eliminate the rear frame you are opening yourself up. What is keeping the fuel tank or cell from being smashed in an accident? Do we then have to make changes to the roll cage so that there is cage all the way to the back bumpers? Wouldn't it be simplet to not change the rules to allow notching than to police how far someone has gone?

 

Mark, i see now that you are simply against letting the KB IRS into the show. You have made it clear that you are afraid that it is going to make all solid axle cars obsolete. I don't think this is the case.

 

There is no use for me to continue this dicussion you are simply not going to open your eyes. it's a damn shame. You can't see why we did what we did and you can't see the benefit of allowing this particular modification to be performed by anyone running the KB IRS. It's thoughts like yours that will may force this car to be relagated to run in AIX. If you get your way and outlaw this particular car you are also closing the door to one of the largest and oldest aftermarket companies that make parts for the mustang as well as two guys who have run more AI races than just about anyone else in the country.

 

The difference is Brian that I don't have an agenda. I don't have any of these suspension pieces on my car so I'm not just trying to keep what I have. I don't have anything against KB nor their suspensions. I think they are top notch. I also think that if that type of IRS is allowed, it opens up the doors for a lot of problems in the future. That is my concern which is why I am so passionate about it. Just becaue you and I don't agree, it doesn't mean my eyes aren't open. I am quite aware of the "big" picture, not just the little one.

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What you seem to fail to realize Mark is that with all the modifications currently allowed to a solid axle you can easily build a pretty exotic set-up which will make the mass produced solid axle manufacturers parts obsolete.

 

Don't believe me? What to bet?

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John-

 

The answer to your question is that Mark and Brian did ask Peder about this when they were building their car in 12/03. I didn't know this until recently and it was a surprise. Peder OK'ed the frame notches although none of us can remember the question being asked or the answer. However, they have the e-mail and we're not about to question their integrity on this matter. This problem is a big reason that there will be some changes in how we all ask tech questions and how we (NASA team) will answer. I will post a Tech Bulletin on this when I get a minute, but going forward all questions must come to Ryan and I or have us copied with our approval for whatever the issue is so we have one decision point and we can consistently manage interpretation. We really screwed up here with these notches, but it's our fault as a team for not communicating amongst ourselves and making a consistent ruling. Mark and Brian are not to blame, Peder isn't either, and I'm not going to throw any of them under the bus. This lies squarely on my desk because I didn't have effective oversight, a clear process, and team input in place. This happens when you grow as rapidly as we have with limited resources. Mea maxima culpa!

 

So, the question now is what to do about it. The frame notches open a slippery slope that we're not about to start going down, so there are three clear approaches. One is to tell M&B they're out of luck for 2005, they need to weld up the notches, and come up with a new approach which I don't doubt they can do given their technical ability and imagination. The other is to specifically allow the KB system as a complete unit with no deviations, notches and all. The final choice is to open this up, allow clearancing of the frame, open-ended IRS mods, and let 'er rip.

 

#1 sucks because M&B get the short end of the stick after we told them this was OK and they have to do more work over the off-season. However, they're big boys with sound minds and have a good understanding of the ripple effect this creates. #2 is OK and I think we can live with approving different approaches to the IRS as manufacturers and others develop new systems, but it's a great deal of work for us and could create allegations of favoritism and other sticky issues. #3 scares the bejeezus out of me because of where it could lead but is the least work for us. Frack, see how much fun it is to write rules and then puzzle out the consequences?

 

So, this is why M&B have not been hammered for the frame notches and what we're facing to solve this. I kept my yap shut until now because I didn't want to touch off more Internet firestorms, but now is the time to surface this and discuss it. Thus, this is why I asked you all for input and opinion to see if someone has a better approach. Anyone out there have a way to untangle the Gordian knot? Anyone? Bueller?

 

-JWL

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John,

 

I was feeling there were two issues here not one:

 

Firstly the rules should be decided based on what is right for AI. This is most paramount for the success of the series.

 

Secondly a decision needs to be made on Mark and Brians car, that may be grandfathering them into AI for 2005 and evaluating there performance. If they have comparative performance to everyone else is there really a problem letting them race?

 

From your recent post are you saying that frame notching/cutting is not allowed and hence the first decision is made?

 

If so lets clearly state it so we can focus on helping with the second decision.

 

Richard.

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I guess it's no surprise that I like option #2

 

It would not be considered favortism as long as you remain open minded on the subject when/if other manufactures come out with improved off the shelf IRS units. It will take some time but there will be others. There are too many Mustangs out there with the IRS for someone not to start making performance parts.

 

Remembering the TA/PB revolution, for a long time it was only Griggs, then MM came along and now EVM have their 3 link and it will continue.

 

My final bit of reasoning to allow the KB system as a kit (notches and all, small as they may be) is that it is an off the shelf item that everyone/anyone can purchase and the price is comperable to the Griggs/MM complete systems.

 

We want the Griggs, MM, Steeda, and KB cars up front in AI all battling for the win on any given track on any given day. The OH/IN region is doing a great job of this. We have all companies represented and there are usually 4 drivers in cars from the said manufactures battling for the win every time we get to the track. If everyone could have seen the Saturday race at Beave Run they would have seen cars from each camp running within 1 second on the track for the entire 20 lap race. That is how AI racing should be!

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So in Oct of 03 the rules states in Section 7.3 Frame: that modification to the frame rails isn't allowed, but two months later after the national rules come out for everyone one director OK's the KB suspension which suggests notching them. WOW! I don't envy you guys having to deal with that!

#1 sucks for Mark and Brian.

#2 sucks because essentially provisions would be made because of a contingency sponsor and that could be perceived as favoratism and potentially is a big waste of the tech guys time. If provisions are made for KB only than Joe Schmoe can't utilize the IRS and the stock IRS becomes un competitive. In order to run an IRS and be competitive, you would have to spend the money on the KB setup. This would particularly hurt for a person that already had one, or someone wanting to run their 99 and up Cobra which could be a deterant to future racers.

#3 sucks because of the potential "crazy" suspensions that could be created costing tons of money, and also wasting tech guys time. I won't even go into all the potential problems here again, I've already stated what "could" happen.

 

You guys have a big decision in your near future. I wish you luck making the right one for everyone.

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#2 sucks because essentially provisions would be made because of a contingency sponsor and that could be perceived as favoratism and potentially is a big waste of the tech guys time. If provisions are made for KB only than Joe Schmoe can't utilize the IRS and the stock IRS becomes un competitive. In order to run an IRS and be competitive, you would have to spend the money on the KB setup. This would particularly hurt for a person that already had one, or someone wanting to run their 99 and up Cobra which could be a deterant to future racers.

.

 

Could the same thing be said for a stock 4 link solid axle? Aren't the rules written so that you can upgrade the stock solid axle? Why would it be different for the IRS? If someone wants to run a 4 link stock solid axle they are more than welcome to. If they want to spend the money it takes to put a TA/PB in their car then that is their choice. Same thing with the IRS. Why is it any different? Why would anyone with an IRS be hurt by allowing the KB parts to run?

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Wilson you are not going to convince me that a stick axle with unlimited pickup points but one that is limited to within the frame rails without cutting them is going to be as competitive as a highly modified IRS that also requires cutting the frame rails. I don't know why you keep trying to.

So I am assuming that you think that the KB IRS should be allowed? Am I asssuming correctly that you don't want option #3 of allowing any IRS but only allowing the KB IRS?

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Mark,

 

I'm not trying to convince you of anything. All I am saying is that if your suggesting that you leave an IRS stock then you may as well not allow it in the series because the idea behind AI is to allow people to be creative and make modifications. While I'm not in favor of allowing someone to create an IRS from the ground up I don't see what's wrong with modifying the IRS the way KB has done and I feel it's well within the scope of what AI is all about.

 

Regarding the stick axle being competitive you might want to do some more suspension research because no one has yet really taken a solid axle car as far as they could given the current rules.

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I have no doubt that the stick axle hasn't gone as far as it can. I also have no doubt that if the IRS is given the same unlimited modification and allowed to cut into the frame rails above and beyond that, the playing field will no longer be level.

So do you think we should allow unlimited mods on the IRS suspensions? Do you think we should allow frame notching?

How much is a notch?

Who is going to measure it?

Can a stick axle then cut into the frame to "even" it out?

How ugly and expensive can all that get if we allow the frame to be cut apart?

 

We don't even allow the IRS suspensions in the GM crowd except for the GTO. Is it fair to allow not only the Ford IRS into this mess, but then go even farther and allow them to be modified with nothing to hold them back, not even the frame rails?

 

There are other companies out there with IRS parts that are involved in AI. Steeda, MM, Griggs, Pauls high performance just to list a few. If only a KB suspension is allowed, how is that going with the intent of AI?

How are you going to word it. Only KB IRS suspension modifications are legal in AI. Come on, that's what I call a monopoly not an opportunity to market aftermarket suspension companies.

If you word it to allow modifications like KB is doing, than the rules become open without even the frame rails to hold someone back. The only thing holding someone back at that point is money. Let's not forget this is an amatuer series. I've already mentioned that there are many companies that can build a stellar IRS to fit within the confines of the Mustang rear end for big bucks. Is that where we want AI to go?

 

There are other companies out there making parts for the IRS to make it better and faster. None of these require notching of the frame, or changing of the pickup points. I suggest we give the IRS time to be developed with the stock pickup points and not allow cutting (notching) of the frame. We have seen the IRS be fast in an AI/X car in stock form and with the other companies out there making products for the IRS, it would be prudent of us to allow them into our series and show us what their products can do. I have faith in comanies like MM, Griggs, PHP, Steeda (now that WM is in) and so on. In time if the directors find that the IRS is not competitive, than this discussion can begin again. Right now this all theory and plays of words.

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So do you think we should allow unlimited mods on the IRS suspensions?

 

I've already answered this many times.

 

Do you think we should allow frame notching?

 

To allow clearance for the upper arms, yes.

 

How much is a notch?

 

KB now provides a template and the metal to install in the frame.

 

Who is going to measure it?

 

As it only needs to be measured once I would say that it is well within the scope of the AI Director to do once during the year.

 

Can a stick axle then cut into the frame to "even" it out?

 

Explain EXACTLY what you think you are evening out. The car doesn't sit any lower, you gain NO additional suspension travel using this arm vs a stock upper arm. I ask again...what are you evening out?

 

How ugly and expensive can all that get if we allow the frame to be cut apart?

 

Probably no worse than the ugly and expensive jobs people current undertake to cut the floor for suspension fitment, removal of torque boxes for longer lower control arms, frame mods that are currently spelled out for electrical, plumbing, fuel cell fitment, transmission fitment, exhaust clearance and rollbar construction. Where is the added expense over any of these other modifications which also allow you to cut the frame apart?

 

We don't even allow the IRS suspensions in the GM crowd except for the GTO. Is it fair to allow not only the Ford IRS into this mess, but then go even farther and allow them to be modified with nothing to hold them back, not even the frame rails?

 

Then don't allow IRS's at all. Is it fair that Grigg's makes a complete suspension kit for the 79-04 Mustang but doesn't offer anything for a 69 Camaro? Is it fair that a Dodge Diplomat doesn't have an off the shelf suspension package available? Is it fair that some cars have SLA's and some don't?

 

There are other companies out there with IRS parts that are involved in AI. Steeda, MM, Griggs, Pauls high performance just to list a few. If only a KB suspension is allowed, how is that going with the intent of AI?

 

No one is saying only allow the KB suspension. We are discussing allowing the frame notching with the KB suspension. All of the companies listed above only offer bushings and as far as I can tell have no plans to offer anything else. If they do they will find out VERY quickly that unless they plan to create a cast upper arm ($$$$$$$$$$) there isn't anything they can do with a tubular arm without notching the frame for upper arm clearance.

 

I've already mentioned that there are many companies that can build a stellar IRS to fit within the confines of the Mustang rear end for big bucks. Is that where we want AI to go?

 

You have mentioned one company and you didn't state that they have actually offered anything yet. If it's prices sky high who is going to buy it anyway?

 

There are other companies out there making parts for the IRS to make it better and faster. None of these require notching of the frame, or changing of the pickup points.

 

Who? All I see is bushings. Who offers arms? or any other items?

 

My proposed IRS rules again are as follows:

 

"How about spelling out that aftermarket upper and lower arms would be allowed as long as they would work on a factory stock IRS (this would make the mounting points pretty close to the factory points). Also require the factory rear spindles with unmodified suspension pick-up points (there may be some modifications required to fit larger brakes so I'd suggest limiting it to suspension points). And require the use of the factory IRS k-member but allow the pick-up points to be changed. Coil overs are allowed but must use the same mounting locations as the factory shocks. Sway bars are unlimited. That isn't perfect but doesn't that severely limit what you can do?

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As always Cosmo, you seem to be the king of the one liners.

 

It would seem that Wilson's Brian's, Mine, and of course Cosmo's positions are clear. The last 20 plus replies have all been the same opinions with different wording. It's a discussion that won't ever end and nothing new has come up recently. I don't envy the directors to have to make this discussion. Especially with the upcoming last race of the year that will determine the championship here in Ohio/Indiana region.

To Richard C's point, I suggest in regards to this year that the Wilstone's car not face any potential scrutiny and to let everyone race at Putnam and see who prevails at the end of two days of racing four races. Best of luck to everyone! I'll be watching from the top ten.

 

As Brian and Wilson have both recently restated their opinions and suggestions, I'll restate mine.

 

Maintain the current rules regarding frame notching or modifying. Those rules would be no cutting, notching, or modifying are allowed with the intention of suspension clearancing. Clarify the rules to clearly state what a frame is. Clearly state that no modification of the factory cradle, carrier, or mounting points of said pieces can be modified. Change the wording of "factory IRS" to enable people to utilize bushings, IRS braces, half shafts, swaybars, toe pieces etc, that are all currently available from multiple aftermarket companies.

 

Allowing modifications to the IRS suspensions is impossible to police and that goes to option #3 of allowing unlimited IRS's into the mix opening up a can of worms in regards to costs, and competitive advantages. I don't see how there would be a choice of running a current modified IRS and not allow another modified IRS which would indeed open up that can of worms.

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