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Learning Moment - Crash damage


thewheelerZ
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Hello all.  I thought I would post up some info on our recent crash that we had and some pics of the damage it did.  Any comment are welcome.  We are fairly new to racing (this was our 2nd build) and learning a bunch along the way though certainly haven't seen all the things that other teams have.

 

Background info: 1993 Mazda 626. Very little rust and unibody in very good shape (most of the surface rust in pics is really just from sitting out in the rain for a few weeks). 

 Crash at T1 of Calabogie.  Hit the front right into tire barrier that guards a secondary pit entrance.  Rear swung around and slammed the actual concrete portion of the pit wall. 

 

 Video and Pics here.  Driver error is definitely the cause with not enough conviction to get back on the throttle after turnin.  Slight breath off the throttle around the apex with a slight steering correction to tighten the line.  Not enough countersteer in either quickness or total steering lock.  He then gives up once its past the point of no return. 

 

Though, I will say, the car was a lot more loose all weekend than it normally runs.  Normally it is very neutral and easy to drive.  Obviously we cant go check the alignment settings... but I think they were as normal.  We were running previously tires run tires swapped front to rear.  We see very little rear tire wear so put a decently worn (though definitely still with tread, just very well heat cycled).  Maybe that contributed to the balance.

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Now, on to the damage.

 

We found our seat mounting to be wholly inadequate.  We used OEM sliders mounted with a welded tab bolted to the OEM mounting locations. The side mounts for the seat were bolted to the OEM sliders.  The sliders stayed mounted well to the floor, but the bolts pulled right through the metal.  No washer was able to fit within that inner part of the slider, we always assumed that if that is how they bolt the OEM seats, then good enough for us.  Definitely not adequate.  We will be going to a proper racing slider for our next build.

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Though I have no pictures, the seat was too far from the seat back brace.  When the seat pushed rearward, by the time it hit the brace, it had enough downward trajectory (pivoting on rear bolts) it simply pushed the I/O Port aluminum style brace downwards and provided no support.  The result was that the drivers head went back and hit the diagonal bar on the cage. 

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In my opinion, the cage held up and did its job properly.  The base plate to the rear shock mount ripped itself clear off of the shock tower.  Though, Im not sure if there is any better way to have done that.  Thoughts?

 

Here are some pics of the cage that we had before.  This is all I had:

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Factory seat mounts are not allowed in most series. Use a fia rated slider mounted really the side of the seat, not bottom for better protection. 

 

Rear cage mount did it's job. 

 

I really dislike your door bar very I understand why you went that way. Discussion for later.

 

Helmet did it's job also. I like HJC helmets, they are a little soft but absorb energy well. 

 

Seriously glad you didn't get hurt. That was a hell of a hit. 

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And, here it is after:

 

Looking down from front passenger door.  Rear is to the upper right.  You can see the seat tray has been totally crumpled.

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Looking directly down from passenger door, rear is to the top. Base plate of the main hoop. THe hole in the floor is from the trailing arm doing a "can opener" and just peeling the floor back.

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Looking backwards at rear shock tower and base plate.  Can see the weld and plate simply ripped the sheet metal from the tower.

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Same tower, looking from drivers side "though" the back window.

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Looking directly down through the rear passenger door/window.  Can see the seam weld of the sill torn apart.

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Looking through the rear passenger door.  See lap belt mounted in top right.  Rear seat tray totally crumpled.

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So as part of the crash, the right rear got completely pushed in.  This in turn crushed the fuel tank which was in its OEM position under the rear seat.

 

You can see where the seam weld started to tear in the close up in 2nd pic..  Fortunately this did not completely open as the exhaust had been pushed up against this area of the tank.  The tank stayed together though.

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Finally, shots of the front right shock strut.  Toe the mount right out of the bolts.  We also notices (but forgot to take pictures) that the tranny cracked where it mounts to the firewall side of the engine bay. 

 

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You can see the bend in the front unibody in this shot of the engine bay.

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A note on the driver and safety gear.

 

Momo Daytona XL seat with head restraint.  RaceQuip 3" 5 point harness.  HANS Device.

 

He walked away without a scratch.  He only noticed a spot where his left foot flew up and ankle hit some of the fuse panels and electrical stuff that we left in there.  Does a lot of Aikido Martial Arts, says that they teach you how to relax when being thrown.  Was actively trying to relax his body instead of tensing up as he hit the wall.  Credits that for not even being stiff the next day.

 

We drove him home that night with no signs of concussion.  He went to hospital for a further check up that night as well with his girlfriend.  Doctor says: You feel fine... then what are you doing here (our great Canadian medical service!).  Driver: SHows doctor picture of car.  Doctor: Oh, well have a seat, let me look at you!

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13 minutes ago, cagedruss said:

I really dislike your door bar very I understand why you went that way. Discussion for later.

 

Discuss away!  That's why I posted this up.

 

Without gutting the B-Pillar in a sedan for a tall driver (i.e. sitting even with the B-pillar), what's the best way to get door bars installed.

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Scary

As someone that did not walk away from a side hit where our economy kirky seat failed, no helmet contact but concussion+ full torso sprain, no cage fail ( more rigid= more g load to driver?)

 

Our lessons were all about better seat, better mounting, there was no slider then or now in fear of what you show.

 

Perhaps larger spreader plates? (something we did on the next build based on observed stress)

 

 

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  • Technical Advisory Committee

  Well thank the Lord cause the outcome could have been different . What a hits and glad your guy is OK , sorry about the loss of the car but it did its job . We ÀLL need to see that these things can happen and be prepared to go beyond the minimum safety requirements with our builds ..

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I can't tell from the video if your driver actually does this, but I've been encouraged to let go of the steering wheel when major contact is imminent, then cross my arms over my chest and grab the harness shoulder belts. I know that this is not the first thought that comes to mind in the split-second that you realize the wall is coming fast, but the steering wheel can move violently very quickly if the front wheels make contact with something solid.

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The cage is there to protect the driver. That is all its supposed to do and yours looks like it did its job well.  The car can crush, tear, deform all around as long as the driver is protected by the cage.  From what I can tell, the only significant safety failure was the seat mount and I think you now understand why many of us won't run a slider or bolt the seat frame to the floor.  The safest way is to get those seats and belts mounted to a frame that is welded to the cage.

Edited by Bremsen
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 We discussed the multi bend door bars a lot inthe past . They are weak on  direct side hit because that are in tension (and tug on the ends.)    The best bars wil push on the ends ,Compression.  Single bend / arc into the door  . 

 The cage did a good job. 

   Mounting the seat to a cage cross- the-floor -bar or two is best . That way the seat box moves withthe cage and not the crappy floor pan .

 Tabs and long floor pad panels will reduce the cage pull out /punch through .  Consider the body pan as a water repellent, not structural. Make a safe car inspite of the crappy pan.  

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27 minutes ago, revvhappy said:

I can't tell from the video if your driver actually does this, but I've been encouraged to let go of the steering wheel when major contact is imminent, then cross my arms over my chest and grab the harness shoulder belts. I know that this is not the first thought that comes to mind in the split-second that you realize the wall is coming fast, but the steering wheel can move violently very quickly if the front wheels make contact with something solid.

 

In my first DE years ago, the instructor told us to pretend you're a "turtle" on impact.  Meaning, grab the belts, like you mentioned and bring your legs off the floor - do not brace them on the floor to resist the impact.  You're right that it's not first instinct to do this, but as silly as it sounds, I've practiced this on my sim to work it into my brain.  Thankfully, I haven't had to test it in real life.

 

Glad your driver was okay and hope to see you out there again next season!

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57 minutes ago, DEE DEE said:

Any roll bar padding ?

 

Yes, this is a good point.  Padding was only in spots that we thought the driver may hit when properly belted into properly mounted seat, (More or less just the bar above the door and the cross bar going across the roof).  So the cage that would basically be directly behind (and below the top of the seat) did not have any.  Our next car will definitely have a more liberal use of padding.

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  • Technical Advisory Committee
2 hours ago, thewheelerZ said:

Re: the door bars, the only way I can think of doing this better in a sedan where the driver needs to sit even with the B-pillar (or further back even) would be to do like @mcoppola did and cut out the B-pillar itself.  Am I wrong or is there another way to do it with NASCAR bars?

 

2 minutes ago, hcsi99 said:

I've seen some great examples in this forum of ways to build a safe cage in a 4 door car without using the S bends.  

Thanks for the shout out, but as @hcsi99mentioned above, the way to do Nascar bars on a 4 door is to graft them into the B-pillar.

That's how we originally did our car, then we decided to remove the B pillars completely.

Here's some pics with and without...large.IMG_4708.JPG.1925cad208e1563f193c7c74b2ab8999.JPGlarge.IMG_4707.JPG.fac1921fc02c7a3b5785a4129d5a099c.JPG

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  • Technical Advisory Committee
34 minutes ago, revvhappy said:

I know that this is a cage thread, but is that fuse/relay panel custom or something you can buy?

That is the stock fuse panel that comes in the car. We just made an aluminum plate for it to mount to, and placed it where it is readily accessible.

If you're looking for something similar, look at a Chrysler 300/Dodge Challenger/Charger at your local scrapyard. they have a nice fuse/relay panel in the trunk where the battery is mounted. There is also a secondary fuse/relay panel under the hood. Both would work quite nicely in a racecar. 

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On 12/4/2017 at 4:05 PM, thewheelerZ said:

Video and Pics here.  Driver error is definitely the cause with not enough conviction to get back on the throttle after turnin.  Slight breath off the throttle around the apex with a slight steering correction to tighten the line.  Not enough countersteer in either quickness or total steering lock.  He then gives up once its past the point of no return. 

 

 

Agree that it looks like the steering correction to tighten the line when maybe he should have tracked out under throttle could have been the culprit.  Also, what is the track like at that point?  Does it have a domed surface, wrong camber, or just a good bump?  Looks like surface camber not helping him out, combined with the steering correction.  I haven't been there but the video, as with most videos, doesn't show the whole picture.

 

Glad he was ok, that was a hell of a hit.

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