Monday, 26 May 2014

The 2014 Baja

The trip to Peoria Illinois is getting close and the 2014 Baja is coming together.



The design process of the 2014 car was highly iterative, meaning the car was completely re-designed about every 2 weeks.  There were lots of crazy ideas, like a 5-link rear suspension, that ended up getting scrapped, but helped prove that what is going on this car is as good as it can be.  The 2014 Baja has a new front suspension, gearbox, re-designed back suspension, and hundreds of small things to help save weight.



The 2014 chassis was the first chassis to feature out of plane bends.  The out of plane bends allowed the main part of the roll cage to be made from a single bar and also allowed for the front suspension to have caster.  The front of the chassis was widened to help improve driver comfort.  The rear of the chassis is shorter to improve rear suspension and powertrain mounting.



The drivetrain of the 2014 Baja features a completely new gearbox to improve torque and reduce weight.  The engine was set-up on a dyno and this data was used to create a Matlab model.  Using this information a final drive ratio of 12.25:1 was selected as this gave the best balance between torque, gearbox size and weight. Higher reductions were considered but were discarded because higher drive torque would exceed the limit of tire grip.  This year the brake calliper was mounted directly to the gearbox to help reduce weight, makes mounting easier, and improves alignment between the calliper and the brake disk.

For the first time in 3 years the front suspension was redesigned.  For any suspension nerds out there here are the parameter changes that were made for 2014:
The design values were achieved through the following methods: SimMechanics, inverse dynamics, Kinematic loops, SolidWorks and back of the envelope calculations. Simulations through SimMechanics/Simulink were conducted to estimate forces.  The biggest change is the caster of angle  so that there is much greater recessional travel to make going over logs and hitting big rocks easier.

The 2014 rear suspension offers a 2” increase in ride height,a 9 lb weight reduction, and better handling characteristics. The new bearing carriers are 60% lighter than the old ones.

There are lots of other small changes that will help make the 2014 Baja the best that Memorial has ever made, like an aluminium steering rod, improved shifter and very light body panels. The car is almost together and we're really excited to head off to Illinois next week!




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