Thursday, April 28, 2005

All For This One Moment


Does this picture remind you of someone? Does that smile remind you of someone? Does that bring back a memory?
Sure does.

I found this picture at the Inner Ring Road junction, at Koramangalal. Its an advert. for Lufthansa Airlines, which goes like this:

"Flying from 5 Metros in India, with the best connectionss to anywhere in the world.

All for this one moment."

Somehow, the picture reminded me so much of Mona. It really did. I miss her, and I miss her hug. So much. I couldn't get the picture out of my head, so I went and took a few pictures of it today, and showed them to my mum. She, without any suggestion, also identified it as a reminder of Mona. Its the smile. Its taht unforgettable, wonderful smile of hers that once you've seen, you cannot forget. Everytime I think of it, a smile creeps into my expression. And stays there. So, its not just my torn memory thats getting the better of me after all.

All I want is that one moment. Just once more, to be with her, to talk to her, to tell her how much I miss her still, and how much I love her still. I'll give anything for this one moment. All for this one moment.

Friday, April 01, 2005

The Garage

From the beginning of the week before last, I (finally) got my holidays. And the first thing that I did was applied to Valley school, so that even if I didn't get into MUWCI (Mahindra United World College, India) I'd not have to go back to Deeksha. Phew... That took a lot off my mind.
So the next logical thing to do is - SLEEP!!!!! Ok, apart from that little indulgance, I decided to go and work the length of my holidays in a garage as an apprentice to a mechanic. So I went to this place in Koramangala caled R.A.C (Ranjith Autocare Centre) to who I used to give my car to for minor fixes. I knew the guy pretty well, so he said "OK, you come at 9, leave at 5, six days a week." Which I was perfectly fine with. So, now I'm working at a garage intead of doing whatever I want to during my holidays. Actually, I'm doing just what I want - I'm learning quite efficiently about cars, by actually taking them apart by hand, examining them, modifying them, and putting 'em back together.
Over the past week, I've been working on a Zen which has been completey stripped of its parts, leaving just a metal body in place. When I started working on it, the engine block had already been removed, and I got to work on modifying an Esteem engine that we were going to transplant onto the Zen. I Checked the piston timing, cleaned the heads, adjusted the fuel injectors. Then we went about boring the engine out, giving us 0.2L more space to burn fuel, hence increasing the output by about 4 bhp. The next part was placing the engine in the (slightly) smaller engine bay of the Zen. Luckily it was all the same company (Suzuki) os there was not too many areas where a new hole had to be drilled to fit the engine. Now its not easy to fix the engine back and all, cause its pretty darned heavy, so we put it on a wheeled tray, and then raised the whole body of the car over it (using a hydraulic lift), and then lowered the body over it when it was in place.
Then we were under the car on mats, fixing the various screws into the cars body, securing the engine as tightly and snugly as we could. The tools are quite marvelous - necessity is the mother of invention after all. One thing that struck me as odd (and even when I think about it now, it feels a bit strange even though it is sorta DUH..) was the fact that the engine was attached by normal, ordinary nuts and bolts. I know that to someone who's not interested, you may think that I'm a tottal idiot, but when I thought about it, I always took for granted that the engine qould just be there. It never struck me that it was actually attached by normal screws. Anyways...
Next, we took the suspension apart, and stiffined it. We took the springs out, put in Esteem springs, and are planning to replace them with Koni springs (which, by the way, are THE BEST springs on the planet). Then we adjusted the vacuum tubes that help make up the shock absorber system, increasing them ever so slightly to make the suspension harder. There's a lot of welding to be done as well, which I didn't do. However we finally adjusted the height of the springs, and the suspension was much better equipped.
Then we took apart the steering section and worked on it. The last chap who used the car had ripped his rack and pinion system apart - it was all dented and bumpy and bruised, and the rubber boots were all worn out. We took the whole thing apart - it looks easy, but trust me, its not. We basically had to take apart four rods from three shafts, but they were so tightly placed togetther, it took us a total of three hours non-stop work just to take it apart and find the rods amongst the grime. Then we went about cleaning the rods, shafts, and fixtures - another hours worth of work - and after we'd finished it we realised that it was ruined. So then we waited a few more hours after ordering the parts from the Maruti/Suzuki showroom, and went about fixing the entire system up from scratch. It all required so much grease, I thought that I'd puke if I saw anymore for the rest of the day. Finally we got it working again, and we've left it to 'set', so to speak. We'll fix it back tomorrow.
The next thing that we've done is changed the wheel support system. Instead of keeping the Zen's system, we put in an Esteem one, which has a stronger support base, and has better performance brakes. Again, luckily we were transplanting parts from the same manufacturer, so there was minimal 'friction' between the transplanted parts and their corresponding slots. The Esteem has much larger disc brakes, which help decresae the braking distance, and making the car a safer package. We were going to put Brembo Brake Discs, but realised that we didn't have the money (about 20 grand... ouch.), and so stuck to brand new Esteem brakes (also freshly ordered from the factory).
We've also designed Headers and a new manifold for the car's engine. On top of the Esteems standard fuel injection system, we've taken apart the standard injector plate, and we've fabricated a much thicker metal plate as a support replacement and fixed it on. Then we fabricated bent pipes that we cut and welded onto the manifold plate. These tubes (which have a pretty decent diameter) pump fueel inot the engine, and we've made them arch over the mainframe of the engine, making it look like one of them American muscle-cars of yore, with the piping protruding from the bonnet like twin snakes rearing up for a viscious sting to the engine. Then, we custom made a free-flow exhaust system, making the exhaust tubes of equal length so tthat there's enough back-pressure on the engine, which increases the bhp of the car by about 5-6 bhp. We're still working on that particular aspect of the engine setup, as we are unable to fabricate the rest of the tube that leads upto the muffler.
I finally figured out EXACTLY how the famous Turbo-Charger works on a car. Basically it starts off at the exhaust pipe, using the presssure of the expelled gases to turn a turbine, which turns another turbine in another container, which sucks in COLD air and feeds it to the engine, which adds to the fueel/air mixture richness, making a more powerful engine. It can be made to work between a specific RPM (Revolutions Per Minute - The little meter beside the speeedometer on the display that says'1,2,3,4,5,6 x1000' on the instrument display in the cockpit of the car...) range, adding to the rate of increase of the acceleration of the car in that range. So when you hear that a car has a Twin-Turbo, it just means that there are 2 Turbo systems that kick in at different times, hance increasing the accceleration over two ranges of RPM, making the car even quicker.
Some total F*&ker has a Turbo-Charged Honda City over here. That thing is going to be a rocket.

This guy Ranjith is one of the best rally drivers in Bangalore, and he's a professsional tuner, so people come to him to do their cars up - engine mods, I mean. There's this group of car-crazy friends who come to him to modify their cars - 2 Cielos, a Honda City V-Tec(God), a Palio 1.6 GTX(God/s younger brother), and one more car that I haven't seen yet. I've made friends with them, and they are just nuts. They've spent ver 2 Lakhs EACH on their cars to extract the maximum perdormance from them. In my opinion, the guy in the City V-tec is the luckiest. He's got Free-Flow, K'n N Filters, Headers, the works on his V-TEC, which will eat anything alive even in its stock form.

Here is the cool part though. The Zen that we're working on? Ranjiths partner Sanjay is heading the operation. He knows I'm inoto design and all, so he asked me to design a front for the Zen. He wanted it done in a specific way:

1. A hood scoop for air for the injector pipes.
2. A new bumper.
3. No grille on the front, and the bumper muct slope up to the bonnet, not a 90* flat vertical line. It must look angled like a Camaro's bumper.
4. No other modifications - no skirts either, so I must work with the current dimentions of the Zen. Ouch.

So I drew him a concept with what he wanted - it isn't completely to my liking, as I think that it would look much, much better with skirts. But he has a good reason for not adding skirts or frills - weight reduction. Taking off everything in the car makes it go even faster, so the less on the car, the quicker it will be. He wants to Drag Race andStreet race this car, so He's oin to lower the car by about 2 inches, making it lower than the Honda City (Which is suicide for the bottom, so he's got a thin metal sheet under the entire car to protect the undercarraige) and hence making it more stable. Here's the drawing - He actually said that he'd build it!!! HOW COOL!!! I'm not even 18, and I got one desing under my belt!!!!! :-D

Zen - Modded