FV Intake Manifold Rules Clarification July 2016

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FV Intake Manifold Rules Clarification July 2016

Postby Mike Kochanski » July 27th, 2016, 10:13 pm

Below is a letter I wrote to the SCCA CRB on February 10, 2016 asking for a rules clarification regarding color on the exterior surface of the formula vee intake manifold. Following my letter, is a rules clarification issued by the CRB in the July 2016 Fastrack that states the following: [u] "Other than the allowed clear coat for rust protection, any type of coating including conversion coatings or the addition of color are prohibited." [/u]

There are many manifolds that have a black coating said to be the result of the manufacturing process. Not to worry, all you need to do is glass bead the outside and apply a clear coat and you are legal.

Not everyone reads Fastrack so I thought I would post it here and at Apex Speed.

February 10, 2016

Mike Kochanski
------------------
Inverness, IL 60067
SCCA Member #------
Cell -----------
----------@.net

Dear, SCCA Club Racing Board

My name is Mike Kochanski. I am a current SCCA member in good standing who will celebrate my 26th year membership as of July 1, 2016. I held a National Competition license for 18 years, racing in the formula vee class. I have also been a manufacturer of formula vee intake manifolds for 19 years.

I am writing the Club Racing Board to ask for a rule clarification regarding intake manifolds for the Formula Vee Class. My question relates to section 9.1.1. paragraph 20-d. on page 335 of the Formula Vee Specifications from the 2016 GCR that outlines the exterior surface of the Formula Vee intake manifold.

Paragraph d. states the following: “All exterior surfaces shall be in original condition. Bead blasting is permitted for cleaning only. Manifolds must remain unpainted with color but may have a thin, transparent coat of rust proofing material or clear coat type material applied. Removing material from the outside of the manifold to achieve the legal dimensions is not permitted.”

The question that I would like clarified is based on this statement in section d. “Manifolds must remain unpainted with color but may have a thin, transparent coat of rust proofing material or clear coat type material applied.”

Question: If during any process to make a US imported VW Type 1, 1200 sedan manifold meet the current General Competition Specifications in section 9.1.1. paragraph 20-d, alters the exterior surfaces of the manifold by turning it blue, black, red, orange, or any other color, and left in that condition, which would impede the Chief Technical Inspector or their assistants, from visually inspecting the “original condition” of the exterior surfaces, would this manifold be considered legal?

If the Club Racing Board could please review my question and provide an answer. If anyone has any questions, please feel free to call or send me an email.

Thank you for your time

Mike Kochanski


The CRB replied with the following rules clarification in the July 2016 Fastrack.

FV
1. #19056 (Mike Kochanski) FV Intake Manifold Rule Clarification
In GCR section 9.1.1.C.5.D.20.d, make the following changes:
“All exterior surfaces shall be in original condition. Bead blasting is permitted for cleaning only. Manifolds must remain unpainted with color but may have a thin, transparent coat of rust proofing material or clear coat type material applied. Other than the allowed clear coat for rust protection, any type of coating including conversion coatings or the addition of color are prohibited. Removing material from the outside of the manifold to achieve the legal dimensions is not permitted.”

Good luck to all competitors this year.

Regards

Mike Kochanski
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Re: FV Intake Manifold Rules Clarification July 2016

Postby cendiv37 » July 28th, 2016, 12:56 am

Wow Mike. Thanks!

I had no idea tech was having so much trouble with manifold colors. AFAIK, there has never been a complaint from tech that they cannot see the "original condition of the exterior surface" through the transparent, thin coatings being applied to some of your competitor's "unpainted with color" manifolds. I do believe that tech may have no idea how to actually measure a manifold completely by the rules, but that's another story altogether...

Thanks for helping out the FV community by setting this straight for us. We will all rest easier tonight.
Bruce
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Re: FV Intake Manifold Rules Clarification July 2016

Postby hardingfv32 » July 29th, 2016, 1:40 pm

Or the fact that Tech is being asked to measure to the .001" accuracy on a curved surface. Generally micrometers are used to measure to the accuracy of .001". I know that most micrometers read to .001" BUT you do not see the crankshaft for example being checked with calipers. So why is it that our manifolds are measured with calipers? There are special micrometers that can measure on curved surfaces.

Could the spec's for the manifold be set at the wrong tolerance level?

Brian
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Re: FV Intake Manifold Rules Clarification July 2016

Postby brian » August 1st, 2016, 3:04 pm

This class has embarrassed itself in front of the CRB and club for long enough. This class survived for decades without manifold issues until the modifiers decided to read the rules differently. Done in secret for a couple of years, one group of racers lead most fields. Others, having learned they had been had, started up their own development programs and the class went from manifolds that cost hundreds, to manifolds that costs thousands.

When the idea of a reasonably priced "SPEC" manifold was discussed as becoming an unmodified alternative, this class, not SCCA, shot the idea down. Some said the decision makers didn't want to give up their high priced manifolds. There's a lot theories of why this happened and plenty of blame to pass around but the reality is that WE, yes us, shot ourselves in the foot by not acting to stop the rule creep.

Now we're going through another meaningless and embarrassing cluster F@##$%^ in front of the CRB and Club. All this over tortured interpretations and vendettas between suppliers. The worst part is: it's the same group that begged the CRB for spec tires to save money. It's a joke guys. Credit to the Canadians, I understand they have tried to control the manifolds and tire issue, but have become a market of American takeoffs.

Just like POGO said, "we have met the enemy and it is us,"
The above post is for reference only and your results may vary. This post is not intended to reflect the views or opinions of SCCA and should not be considered an analysis or opinion of the rules written in the GCR.
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Re: FV Intake Manifold Rules Clarification July 2016

Postby cendiv37 » August 3rd, 2016, 12:23 am

Brian,

Indeed, the class voted for the "current" manifold rules. But that new rule set went through the entire "SCCA rule change process" in 2010 and the new rules went into effect the following season as desired by the class overall. The fact that the new rules obsoleted about 30??? previously legal manifolds was extremely unfortunate yet clearly intentional, driven by what I dubbed at the time, "The Manifold Cartel". When that mess was finally over, the CRB warned us that, like them or not, these were now the rules and that we should not expect the CRB to be open to any changes in the foreseeable future. So "put up and shut up" we did.

Good, bad or otherwise, other than the 2014 Runoffs where tech couldn't seem to measure a manifold per the rules, things did settle down.

Now the FSRC/CRB has "carefully" considered the request of a single SCCA member, an on and off supplier to the class with a clear conflict of interest, and has issued a "rules clarification" that appears to have as its sole intent, making another "lot" of manifolds illegal. There was no discussion this time, no member input, just a quick "clarification" issued by the CRB that has set a large part of the class on edge and scurrying around just before the Runoffs. I may have my facts wrong, but it is my understanding that manifolds with the offending "tint" have been declared legal on the Runoffs winner at least 3 times since 2010.

We've just witnessed the first volley in the next round in the manifold wars which I'm dubbing: "The Cartel Eats It's Own". AKAIK, none of this is being driven by any actively racing members of the class, just a supplier that let himself get left behind and wants back in.

So "we the class" are to be embarrassed?
Sorry, not this time.
Bruce
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Re: FV Intake Manifold Rules Clarification July 2016

Postby Chris » August 3rd, 2016, 10:33 am

Bruce

Why would this clarification make a "lot" of manifolds illegal? Can they not just be glassbeaded to remove the color/coating or whatever it is?
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Re: FV Intake Manifold Rules Clarification July 2016

Postby cendiv37 » August 3rd, 2016, 11:35 am

Chris,

One could certainly bead blast most of the coating off and then re-coat it with a clear lacquer or whatever. I know someone who has tried this and the result was a lightening of the color, not it's complete removal. Of his three manifolds this one is still the darkest. Is that good enough to meet the new clarification? Is tech now going to have to bring a "Pantone" wheel to each event so they can judge whether the manifold color is in spec.?

The bigger question is, why should the competitor be made to remove the coating in the first place. Typically, it is thin (very) and transparent and therefore has been considered legal until now. The "original condition of the external surface" is readily visible through the coating. This is the intent of the rule as it stood prior to the recent "clarification". These manifolds are not painted with an opaque paint which the original rule prohibits. An opaque paint would obscure the original surface from view.

Maybe these coatings are getting too thick on some manifolds. If the coating (of whatever type) on some manifolds is so dark and intense that the condition of the external surface cannot be determined, then those manifolds should not have been sold or used. Declaring all manifolds with a "conversion coating" illegal was unnecessary and highly disruptive. There was nothing in the original rules intended to control the type of coating used, only that any coating should not obscure the visibility of the exterior surface.
Bruce
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Re: FV Intake Manifold Rules Clarification July 2016

Postby brian » August 3rd, 2016, 3:08 pm

So little time, so many issues. Bruce, you're rehashing a 6 year old argument. What's done is done. Let's move on.

Our vendors get involved because competitors call them and complain. The only viable solution to stop non compliant parts is for competitors to protest. If they're in doubt, they need to ask their builder. Vendors have no standing in the protest process unless they become an entrant for one of their customers. Don't expect them, or SCCA, to go on witch hunts for you.

All this discussion about color is a misdirection. The real question that we should be asking is, "is the coating being used to mask outside removal of material ?" Per GCR" 9.1.1.5.D.20.d from the carefully crafted rules of 2010, clearly states: "Removing material from the outside of the manifold to achieve the legal dimension is NOT permitted." I see no option but to protest questionable manifolds on this basis.

My preference would be to rely on the upcoming AD HOC committee to resolve this issue but there's too little time before the Runoffs. If anyone feels strongly enough about this issue, I'd suggest you file a protest at your next event and hope we don't loose too many Runoff competitors in the process. If we wait until MId Ohio, and expect tech to resolve this for us, it will just be another embarrassment for the class.
The above post is for reference only and your results may vary. This post is not intended to reflect the views or opinions of SCCA and should not be considered an analysis or opinion of the rules written in the GCR.
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Re: FV Intake Manifold Rules Clarification July 2016

Postby cendiv37 » August 3rd, 2016, 3:49 pm

brian wrote:My preference would be to rely on the upcoming AD HOC committee to resolve this issue but there's too little time before the Runoffs.


Fine. Whoever is on the new committee can deal with this but with the rule change already in place, only after the fact.

Why the "heck" did the CRB issue this "clarification" now and thus close the door on discussion prior to the upcoming Runoffs?
THAT is what is most upsetting. The CRB should have let it rest this late in the season. Even more so if they seriously want to delegate things to the new committee.
Start a discussion maybe. Issue a very questionable clarification now, just stupid.

That Mike wants to sell manifolds is a given and he has a right to plead his case with the CRB if he wants.
Let's just not forget what his motivations are.

I just think we should expect more from the CRB than for them to throw a wrench in the works at this point in the season.
Bruce
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Re: FV Intake Manifold Rules Clarification July 2016

Postby hardingfv32 » August 5th, 2016, 1:50 pm

brian wrote: All this discussion about color is a misdirection. The real question that we should be asking is, "is the coating being used to mask outside removal of material ?"


No... The real question: What is the purpose of NOT allowing the removal of material from the exterior? The removal of material from the exterior could make the manifolds less expensive and allow DIY manifolds. What is the purpose of this rule other than to make manifolds more difficult to make?

This latest rule change does nothing to clarify the clear coating issue. 'Clear' does not mean no tint. How can 'clear' be defined without first stating the exact finish that the base must be?

Brian
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Re: FV Intake Manifold Rules Clarification July 2016

Postby brian » August 5th, 2016, 9:06 pm

I don't really know why that provision was included but would imagine that making these manifolds any thinner would be a fire hazard. They crack very easily and that can lead to a disaster.

Acid dipping is a very volatile and difficult to control. Some makers prefer to size up then thin the outside to dimension. If anyone would prefer to change the rule to allow that process, write a letter to the CRB.
The above post is for reference only and your results may vary. This post is not intended to reflect the views or opinions of SCCA and should not be considered an analysis or opinion of the rules written in the GCR.
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Re: FV Intake Manifold Rules Clarification July 2016

Postby hardingfv32 » August 5th, 2016, 9:59 pm

brian wrote: ...would imagine that making these manifolds any thinner would be a fire hazard. They crack very easily and that can lead to a disaster.


For those out there who do not have an understanding of FV manifolds: The manifold thickness is controlled or dictated by the weight limit.

No fire has ever been started by a broken manifold.

Brian
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Re: FV Intake Manifold Rules Clarification July 2016

Postby brian » August 6th, 2016, 10:47 am

The ID of the manifold is what effects flow. The larger the id, the more flow you get. You can etch to the weight and ball size to OD limits and accept the id that you have achieved. If one ball sizes a stock manifold to the largest id possible and you'll find the manifold od too large to fit the rules. Sand down the outside and you'll pass the OD rules and get a larger ID.

I've repaired dozens of cracked manifolds and would not be surprised if we did get a fire someday.
The above post is for reference only and your results may vary. This post is not intended to reflect the views or opinions of SCCA and should not be considered an analysis or opinion of the rules written in the GCR.
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Re: FV Intake Manifold Rules Clarification July 2016

Postby hardingfv32 » August 7th, 2016, 12:34 pm

brian wrote:...would not be surprised if we did get a fire someday.


We have always had thin manifolds. So after fifty years you are still expecting a manifold to cause a fire?

Brian
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Re: FV Intake Manifold Rules Clarification July 2016

Postby gbrianmetcalf » August 8th, 2016, 1:44 pm

I have a question about the manifolds. Why do we go through all this hassle? Why not check the internal volume similar to CCing a head? Have a max volume spec and quit worrying about what the o.d. is. Just a thought.

G.
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