Bad Ideas

Bad ideas for prepping a derby car

A lot of people have emailed me with suggestions for preparing a car. While I'm sure they're all borne of the best intentions, some of them are just plain bad ideas. Here are some things not to do.

Water in the Tires
The origin of this is probably with some old-timers who may have done this with their farm tractors or Model Ts. The idea is to increase traction by pressing the tire harder into the ground. However, there's two major drawbacks. First, this adds an extraordinary amount of unsprung weight that the suspension was never designed to handle. If you get one of these tires spinning the shock simply wouldn't be able to control it and it would just bounce uncontrollably. Second, and worse, this extra weight also adds to the rotational inertia. The result is way too much stress on u-joints and trannies, especially when rocking the car.

Oil in the Cooling System
The theory is that oil doesn't boil the way water does. While that's true, using oil won't work- your car will overheat in no time flat. If you want the technical explanation, here it is.

Remove the Thermostat
Someone probably had a thermostat stick once, and decided to get rid of it altogether. While it's not a matter of life or death, you should definitely keep it in. First, it keeps your motor at the correct operating temperature, which will allow it to run better. Second, when you remove it the water can flow too fast to allow it to adequately transfer heat from the motor or out of the radiator. If you think your thermostat is suspect, spend $5.00 at Wal-Mart and put your mind at ease.