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A Letter to Fans of Green Racing from the Greenspeed Research Team–Back on the Salt

Competitions, Contests, Education, Green Racing, Idaho, Performance, R & D Focus, University/College Programs, Utah
August 24, 2016

by David Schenker (Greenspeed Research)  Yes, we have been quiet lately. We’ve been able to work twice as hard now that Dave and Patrick are both graduated. We have been heads down and focused.

Greenspeed Team and Truck at 2016 Speed Week, Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah, USA

Greenspeed Team and Truck at 2016 Speed Week, Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah, USA (BluePlanetPhoto)

It has been a very successful month. This update will focus there and we will send another with more general info soon.

The New Machine Shop

June 30th of this year, the land speed racers got notice Speed Week would reopen after 2 years of cancellations due to inclement weather and poor racing conditions. This year, The Salt was in good shape and land speed racing got the green light by the SCTA. We were suddenly waaay busier than we expected to be.

Our regular machine shop couldn’t squeeze us in in time so the search for another machine shop was on. After talking with Tim Boyle of Salty Box Racing we were introduced to Sean Cleary at SPC Diesel & Performance in Denver, CO.  Dave drove to Denver for a week to work with Cleary and was able to visit with new Trophy Truck sponsor Peterson Fluid Systems. Both were quite impressive.

At the Dyno

The guts of the Greenspeed truck

The guts of the Greenspeed truck

Patrick, Chris, and RJ prepped the truck in the meantime and the engine went in over the following weekend. We had her fired-up by that Sunday afternoon.

A day before we were scheduled to hit the dyno at Adrenaline Truck Performance, a small panic ensued when 5 of the studs wouldn’t go beyond 135 ft-lbs during the hot re-torque (they were supposed to hit 150 ft-lbs)!! These were the original head studs from the original engine that was built in 2011 that we broke the first vegetable oil record with…may they rest in pieces as an offering to the speed gods. Lucky for us, Big Twin Diesel had a set of brand new ARP head studs sitting on the shelf, so on they went just in time for the dyno.

Fueled by Straight Vegetable Oil (SVO)

Fueled by Straight Vegetable Oil (SVO)

As usual, we started the tuning session on regular old diesel to get a baseline (much more predictable). Hovering around 800hp uncorrected, we switched over to 100% vegetable oil. We only lost about 13hp in the switch, putting down 787 uncorrected horsepower on veggie oil!! These are very similar to our results from 2013. Idaho Rob of ATP even got to see something he’d never seen before: the overspeed alarm going off! Apparently we were the first to break 200mph on the ATP dyno too…

Dyno tuned and ready to go on Tuesday evening, and racing doesn’t even start until Saturday??? “What the heck is going on here” you might wonder. Well, the Greenspeed Research team has learned quite a bit over the last 5 years. We have made it a point to carefully plan ahead. There will always be last minute “sticks in the spokes”, but those are much easier to deal with after a good night’s rest.

Racing truck doubles as stovetop

Racing truck bed doubles as stovetop

Special Guests

Will McKnight of Mahle/Clevite fame was our much welcome guest at the Dyno. It was great to have him around. He shared some knowledge with all in attendance – plus he’s a general good time.

With everything ready to go by Wednesday afternoon, Eddie the Pyro (Patrick’s father and our illustrious Camp Cook) had a chance to practice his skills on a team BBQ. Will McKnight had a guest, Alex Rogeo, AKA ‘Alex the Car Girl’. She is a drag racer and does tutorial videos for Mahle/Clevite. She is going to be driving a landspeed truck next year, so Will thought it would be good for her to get a taste of things. It was great to have them both as guests in our pit this year!

A New Addition to Our Green Power

Solar quietly charging

Solar quietly charging

One of the very special additions to this year’s pit was a solar charge station. We decided to bring a single solar panel from one of our off-season High School Solar Go-Kart Challenge carts and a couple of our Odyssey Batteries. Patrick wired these up at the edge of our shade structure at the Salt. We had silent power for the entire event. All the computers, phones, cordless tools, etc were topped up, and the loudest thing in our pit was our neighbor’s generator. We will be continuing this from now on.

Welcome Back to the Salt

Friday morning we all woke up on the salt, and it was great to be there again. You don’t realize how much you miss some things until you get back. The salt is that way. If you haven’t been, you must join us next year. If you have been, you must join us again next year! We breezed through tech, just needing an inspector come to our pit to sign off on the new DJ Safety harness.

All day Friday and a good portion of Saturday morning were spent tracking down a pre-entry form from a team who wasn’t able to make it. HUGE thanks goes out to Roy Creel and JoAnn Carlson from the SCTA for making sure we were able to save a few hundred dollars on our entry, it was a huge help. With that taken care of, it was time to go racing!

Time to Race…Nothing but Veggie Oil

Lined up for a turn on the salt

Lined up for a turn on the salt

The turnout was HUGE and the lines were long. We had heard during tech inspection the short course was going to be the good one for Saturday, so we headed over there and waited it out.

By the time we got on the course 5 hours later, it was already rough. The truck ran well though, and we had a top one-mile average of 184.332 mph from mile markers 2-3. First run and we already had a new (unofficial) record under our belts! Not Bad, but our goal is to beat the petroleum diesel record in our class of 215.091 mph – which also happens to be the fastest diesel truck record – but we will do it with 100% veg oil.

Looking over the data collected from the 184 mph run, the team was very confident the truck was running strong. Dinner in the pit with 5 star cooking from Ed, then camping.

Race Day Two – Roughing it

Sunday we decided to give the long course a try, waiting another 5 or so hours in the hot sun before getting on course. This time, the course was pretty terrible. The report from the starter was “do you want the truth or what you want to hear?” Our top speed was only 181.706 mph that day, because the course had potholes down its entire length. The team examined the data again. No signs of the engine experiencing difficulties, so we got as much as we could prepped and ready for an early Monday morning.

Race Day Three – Monumental Monday

202 timeslip credit Greenspeed

Timeslip showing 202.390 MPH record speed

In 2013, we hit a top speed of 203 mph, but that was running on petro diesel, not veg, and still during licensing runs.

That all changed on this day though. Greenspeed Research, vehicle number 1337, became the first vehicle on planet earth to break 200 mph while burning 100% vegetable oil, with a one mile average speed of 202.390 mph.

A very gratifying moment for all of those who have been involved in the project, as well as those rooting for us. The pic of that timeslip was shared by 52 people on Facebook, has over 150 likes, and 18,500 views. All more new record for us! While this was awesome news, all it did was stoke our fire to beat the diesel record.

Race Day Four – Change of Gears

Tuesday, the course was even rougher. By the time we got to the start line, there had been at least 5 spins, 8 in total that day. NOT good.

Our top speed was only 191 mph. Worried about the worsening salt conditions, all we could do was prep for another day. By late afternoon, the crowd was beginning to thin and pits were getting torn down. Many racers had either blown engines or other critical parts, or were throwing in the towel due to the ailing salt.

Refueling with SVO

Refueling with SVO

It is difficult to imagine just a few short years ago, the salt was in so much better shape. Hopefully the efforts of the ‘Save The Salt Foundation’ (http://savethesalt.org) will start to shift the tides of what has been happening, and improve the stability of the race courses.

Another new issue: for the first time we were running out of fuel!! You wouldn’t believe how difficult it is to get GALLONS of veggie oil in the middle of the desert. Patrick and Chris ended up on a 4 hour road trip to find what we needed!!

While the guys were chasing fuel, Dave spent time discussing driving styles with some folks who have spent many years on the salt and decided to change things up next time he was on course. Previously, it had been an all out blast off from the start line, trying to “get ahead” of the fuel curve and get the turbos spooled up as quickly as possible. Instead, he wanted to try and “sneak up” on the course, taking a much longer approach to reaching top speed.

Racing on SVO 2016 Speed Week, Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah, USA (BluePlanetPhoto)

Racing on SVO 2016 Speed Week, Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah, USA (BluePlanetPhoto)

Right about the time we were wrapping up for the day, we heard the long (5 mile) course was getting shifted over 100 feet to compensate for the roughness. This means fresh salt. This means smooth as silk. This means FAST.

With literally minutes to spare, we rushed the truck to the start and ended up 3rd in line for the next day’s runs. Back to camp, it was nothing but dreams of virgin salt and race fuel.

Race Day Five – What’s Bigger than Monumental?

Wednesday morning was cool but we were hot and ready. The truck was loaded with ice for the intercoolers, the engine was warm, the truck was on the course, and the salt was nearly perfect…

It was our fastest yet between miles 2 and 3 at 207.365 mph!!

Timeslip showing 207 MPH in a diesel truck using SVO

Timeslip showing 207.365 MPH in a diesel truck using SVO

A peak speed recorded on the in-cab GPS of 209.x mph!!

We were unofficially the fastest diesel vehicle on the salt this year and officially within 1 mph of the fastest diesel on the salt at this years meet.

Fastest Diesel Truck on the salt for the first time ever too!

Only 6 mph away from breaking the diesel record!!!

Then the exhaust gas temp started getting rapidly higher. Seeing this on the ISSPRO dash, Dave decided to abort the run. SO CLOSE!!

So What’s the Problem?

Back in the pit again, data was getting combed over to see what could have caused the EGT spike. The culprit was found to be the intercooler ice water pump.

The wiring, the relay, or the pump itself suffered a temporary fault. Halfway through the run it had stopped pumping cold water to the intercoolers. This allowed the intake air temps to go from the normally chilly 80-100*F to over 300*F, and the turbos themselves to reach temps of around 550*F on the compressor outlet.

The carnage

The carnage

Much consultation was sought (Garrett, SPC Diesel, Big Twin Diesel) and testing carried out. We did leak down tests, adjusted valves, and conducted a very thorough inspection. When all was said and done, we felt we had an engine that was sound, so we headed back to the start line for an afternoon run.

A Grinding Halt

By the time we got back on course, conditions had deteriorated again. When things started going south during the next run, Dave just thought it was the course…that is until he felt things hitting the bottom of the truck.

He pulled the chute and slammed on the brakes.

By the time things came to rest, one of the course workers came pulling up asking “is this yours?” It was a wrist pin. NOT the kind of thing anybody wants to see in an official’s hand after a run.

Back at the pit, the engine parts were plenty hot, but that didn’t stop the amazement of how much damage the engine took. Patrick pulled piston 4 out of the side of the block with a pair of pliers. The piston itself looked like something from a motocross bike! Close examination of the piston showed a very small amount of melted aluminum in the bowl area, so the high temps from the earlier run were blamed for unseen damage.

The pit

The pit

Never underestimate the stress testing that is the Salt Flats. It is great for R&D departments.

Yet A Huge Success

Obviously this put an abrupt end to our Speed Week adventures, but we all were very excited about what was accomplished. 209 mph on pure Veg Oil!!  Now there is little doubt that we can take the record next year.

We are already thinking and scheming how we will get a new engine together and can’t wait to get back on the Salt.

Once again, we have found that the student designed and built chassis is a very solid platform and works quite well. With another set of quickchange gears in the toolbox and another 800-1000 RPMs in the engine, the gang is pretty excited about the potential of this truck.

Cross your fingers and toes that the salt restoration efforts have the desired effects, and allow us to keep pushing the limits of technology.

Thanks from the Greenspeed Team!

Thanks from the Greenspeed Team!

A Huge Thanks to All of YOU

We could not do any of this without ALL of our sponsors, donors, volunteers, and supporters. Everything you’ve done is just as important, if not more, than what we’ve done. You have proven that small teams can accomplish great things, especially when they have such a strong support base.

This is the same approach we are bringing to our other projects, where we are lending our support to future scientists and engineers.

Inspected.

Inspected.

Last but not least, a HUGE thank you goes out to the Southern California Timing Association for putting yet another successful Speed Week together. Over 170 volunteers work tirelessly throughout the year to make these events happen, all so we can go FAST!!!

Thanks,

The Greenspeed Research Team

http://greenspeedresearch.org

 

Photos by Greenspeed unless otherwise noted.

Related articles:  https://advancedbiofuelsusa.info/?s=Greenspeed&x=0&y=0

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