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Mechanical. BY David Hardy And Matt Carter. Safety. Work Safely- wear personal protective equipment when working on the car: Safety goggles/facemask (including welding masks!) Protective clothing Gloves Closed-toe shoes

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BY David Hardy


Matt Carter

  • Work Safely- wear personal protective equipment when working on the car:
    • Safety goggles/facemask (including welding masks!)
    • Protective clothing
    • Gloves
    • Closed-toe shoes
  • Adequate Equipment- make sure your tools are in safe working order. Check power tools for loose parts, frayed wires, or anything else that just doesn’t look right.
  • Safe Design- follow or go beyond all rules and regulations (roll cage,etc.). Remember that you are irreplaceable and that your car is VERY expensive to repair!
  • Keep it simple
  • Make the steering system easy to operate, repair, and maintain.
  • Rack and pinion is highly recommended
  • Make sure that you meet the turning radius rules for scrutineering.
  • A power steering apparatus may sound like great idea but they are heavy, difficult to operate, and messy.
  • Hydraulic disc brakes are ideal!
    • Lightweight, easy maintenance, all shapes and sizes to suit your car’s weight.
    • Mechanical brakes have inherent design flaws and are prone to fail!
    • Drum brakes are bulky and inefficient.
  • Mount brakes securely to car!
  • Familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of how your braking system(s) work.
  • Test, test, TEST!
    • Drivers should have full confidence in slamming on the brakes.
wheels and tires
Wheels and Tires
  • Ideally, wheels should be lightweight and durable enough to support the car.
    • Historically, wire spoke wheels have not been a safe option.
    • Become very familiar with how to mount and remove the wheels from the car, and always have a spare!
  • The most popular tires in high school solar racing are Bridgestone Ecopia tires.
    • High-pressure tires with a thin vertical profile are ideal.
    • Become very familiar with how to change tires off the wheels quickly.
  • Expect expensive, but search for all your options.
    • Hub motors are gaining popularity, but are expensive.
    • If not using a hub motor, decide which type of drive works for your car: chain, belt, or direct, for example.
  • Experiment with the gearing of your drive system. There is no simple, set formula to gear ratios, so find what works for your car.
  • Suspension types, designs, and cost vary greatly by vehicle. Find what works with your budget and vehicle.
  • Familiarize yourself with how to make small and large adjustments for the varying conditions your car will go through.
  • Learn how to keep your wheels correctly aligned. This will save you $$$ on tires and other wear and tear on your vehicle.

Safety is the key element of building every

aspect of your car. If you work with safety in

mind, your car’s structure will be both durable

and efficient.