Ol' Blue is at the chassis shop getting a new 25.5 Cage installed right now and several other top secret upgrades. Riffel Motorsports is doing the work and I'll probably post some progress pics here next time I get a chance to take a look at how it's going.
While I've been waiting, I've been working on various other parts of the car. The lastest project is a home made battery box similar to those fancy Jerry Bickle models, but not "quite" as light. I missed his by about 1/2 lb but hey, the price was right!
After spending 6 hours building this thing, I got to wondering if it was the smart thing to do vs just buying one of Jerry's for $90. It does make you scratch your head, but at least I can claim I did it myself with flaws and all. And building stuff like this does help with fabrication skills, the more you do the better you get at it.
Now if I could just get my welding to look as nice as a pro I'd be in seventh heaven!
Also on the project list is converting the Stroud 430 chute over to the air launch design. If you call up Stroud, they are going to charge you $300 for the conversion kit which consists of a new deployment bag, air cylinder, aluminum plunger and a handful of fittings, hose and 3-way valve. Well, being a cheapskate, I got to digging around and found the Bimba PN Stroud uses, it's a SR-129-D which is a 1 1/4" x 12" long cylinder with a stainless rod. I'm not sure why he uses a stainless rod, but you can find these on ebay for a decent price. I snagged one for $30 last week from plccenter.com. Next you can buy the deployment bag only from Bickel for $70. Grand Total approx $100. You'll have to drill a hole in the backing plate of the parachute and either buy or make a parachute plunger - the round disc that goes on the air cylinder. I made my own out of a hard plastic cutting board (quit your laughing!) you can buy at Wal-Mart. Cost? Zip... Got it out of the kitchen - well I did have to replace it with a nice wood one, but hey I saved $25 which is what Bickel charges for an aluminum one. They also sell a carbon fiber model for $85 if you have deep pockets. Not sure how robust the plastic one will be but I'm going to give it a shot.
The parachute will be powered by the Nitrous system which solves two issues, no additional weight for the CO2 bottle and the chance of not having the CO2 tank on (or out of Co2). If the nitrous isn't on, then it's not going to be fast enough to need the chute anyway. I'm also going to incorporate a check valve in the supply line at the chute to hold pressure on it in case of a fire melting the lines, and a three way valve mounted at the rear of the car such that you can't put the trunk lid on without closing the air valve for the chute. That setup, I hope will stupid proof it - but time will tell.