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Old 08-22-2011, 09:15 AM   #1
grambles423
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Drives: 2008.5 BMP GTI
Join Date: Jun 2009
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The ULTIMATE GTI Engineering Thread (How to Analyze Your Car)

To reply in this thread, please bring some insightful and progressive discussion to the table. PM for any questions or concerns or debates. I'll raise the disucssion and add to the thread what needs to be added. I welcome criticism as well. Once this thread is finished (Or if it ever is) I would like to ask the Mods to sticky and let the newcomers come and understand their vehicles, so its only fair to leave out unneccesary squabble. UPDATE: Stickied!

Step 1: Physically Decompose Your Vehicle

The first step to understanding your car is easy. Grab a pen and paper or computer or some sort of media to create a "list. What you ultimately want to do is start with a higher order system and gently begin breaking down each component.

Start with Components of Design:
  • Propulsion
  • Braking
  • Suspension
  • Structure
  • Steering
  • Design for "X"

Design for "X" is simple. Its a vague statement to lump the rest of the systems together. Such as: Safety and Convenience. I kept it simple and left it at those two...but you could do more if you wanted.

Next, Break it down into Design Concepts:

This step is a little hazy to me and I dont really understand it, but apparently it helps you actually "see" what each system wants to do and how you design for it.
  • Propulsion
    • Potential to Kinetic Energy
    • Potential Energy Storage
    • Forward Acceleration
    • Supporting Components for Efficiency
    • Vehicle Component Energy Source
  • Braking
    • Retard Kinetic Energy
  • Suspension
    • Ground Continuity
  • Structure
    • Containment
  • Steering
    • Directional Control
  • Design for "X"
    • Convenience
    • Safety

Finally - List each individual component that has some effective mass to the whole structure of the vehicle. (Meaning, list every damn part on your car you choose to.)

What I did in this step is list systems along with parts to sort of "group" together the weights and measurements. This way you can list systems for items you know you would never change, and you can list parts that you might change later and what you would want to see in weight savings or other performance gains. If you're completely lost about what I'm talking about, just reference the list below and you'll see how I did it. Obviously I'll miss a lot of parts, but its better to get the "Main" ones.
  • Propulsion
    • Potential to Kinetic Energy
      • Block (Heads, Injectors, Rods, Cams, Valves, etc. etc.)
      • Oil Pan
      • Oil Filter
      • Intake
      • Exhaust Piping
      • Exhaust Manifold
      • Muffler
      • Turbo
      • Gas Pedal (Should Be Interior, but its a key component to energy propulsion)
    • Potential Energy Storage
      • Fuel Storage (Tank, Lines, and Pump)
    • Forward Acceleration
      • Transmission (General and to the point, you can break down further if you'd like)
    • Supporting Components for Efficiency
      • Radiator
      • Coolant Reservoir
      • Fan Assembly
      • Intercooler
      • Coolant Pump
      • PCV System
    • Vehicle Component Energy Source
      • Battery (The plastic doesnt matter....its negligible weight)
      • Alternator
  • Braking
    • Retard Kinetic Energy
      • Rotors
      • Calipers
      • Parking Brake
      • Master Cylinder and lines
      • Brake Pedal
      • Brake Booster
  • Suspension
    • Ground Continuity
      • Springs
      • Struts
      • Shocks
      • Upper Control Arms
      • Lower Control Arms
      • Front and Rear Sways
      • Wheels (MAKE SURE you seperate these!!)
      • Subframe
      • Various other components (End Links, Braces, etc. etc.)
  • Structure
    • Containment
      • Body (I will include, Doors, windows, Fenders, Hatch, etc.)
      • **** This section, if you wanted, you can break down to individual components to see ultimate racing weight savings. Make sure you know what you want out of it before you do so.
  • Steering
    • Directional Control
      • Steering Wheel
      • Tie Rods
      • Steering Assembly
      • Power Steering Pump (Lines Included)
  • Design for "X"
    • Convenience
      • Interior
        • Seats (L and R, Front and Back)
        • Instrument Panel (Dash assembly)
        • Center Console
        • Shift Knob (Just for Giggles to see the weight savings lol)
        • Rear View Mirror
        • Interior Trim
      • Exterior
        • Bumpers
        • Wipers
        • Washer Fluid Reservoir (Nozzles Included)
        • Side Mirrors
        • Spoiler
        • Grille
        • Hood (Dedicated to see carbon fiber savings)
    • Safety
      • Head Lights (L and R)
      • Tail Lights (L and R)
      • Horn
      • Seat Belts
      • Air Bags

Any Parts that I missed? List them and I'll add....I didnt do this in front of my vehicle so I'm sure I left out some. I left out the Wheels on the first go around lol

You've successfully Decomposed your vehicle. You results may vary, but this exercise definitely helped my knowledge of what all it takes to put the vehicle together. Every component has its own "mass and contribution" to the entire design, and its amazing to see it all listed. The best thing to do now, is list it all in excel. Group what you want to, and seperate what you need to. Distinguish between left and right hand parts, front and rear. Dont forget your suspension components!!!! Once you have it all ready, sit tight and wait for the next lesson. (Trust me....its a doozy!!)
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Last edited by grambles423; 01-18-2012 at 04:16 PM.
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