About

Hello and welcome to Automotive Thinker!

I created this site so that I could share my thoughts with anyone who thinks like me; that is, thinks about cars and automotive technology all of the time. With this site, I hope to add upon and to expand my thinking in anything car related and I hope to do the same for you. I will mostly be writing about topics that concern high performance and racing, but not just limited to that. I will share my experiences, but am also very happy to scrutinize anything that’s suggested so don’t hesitate to contact me.

I hope that you will enjoy my site and we can learn from each other. Don’t be a stranger, and happy thinking!

About Me: John Milmont

Even though I hold a degree in business from Northern Illinois University, I have been passionate about cars and racing for longer than I can remember and have always tried to be as well read as I could on the subject. I have been club racing on and off for around 15 years with various clubs around the Chicago area; and like any grass roots racer, I have always done my own work and fabrication. I am educated and have experience on virtually every machine found in a typical machine shop. I have setup, trouble shot, and programmed CNC equipment, worked in fiber reinforced plastics, and can also lay down a good weld on anything that’s weldable. I have also had the honor of being on my university’s Formula SAE team when it ran its most successful year in 2007, finishing 19th out of 100+ schools worldwide.

These days, other than my day job, I find myself tinkering on a race car that my brother and I share. The car, now amazingly considered a classic, is a 1989 Pontiac Firebird Formula 350. The car is fully caged a set up for road course duty. The car always seems to be in a constant state of development and I struggle to think of anything on the car that’s from the factory other than the paint.

Contacting Me:

If you would like to contact me directly, simply add a comment to this page and I will reply via email. Your comment will not be displayed publicly unless I have already approved a previous comment you made somewhere else on the site. Your email is not shared or displayed publicly. You can also contact me on Twitter.

 

10 Comments to "About"

  1. Rodney Cibura's Gravatar Rodney Cibura
    March 1, 2017 - 9:59 pm | Permalink

    Hi, I have a BMW 135i. I came across this website because of the 50/50 weight distribution article. I track my car frequently and have made a number of modifications, big front brakes, semi slicks, coil overs, front sway bar, some hp increase etc. I’m considering weight loss options where I can probably achieve 40 – 80kg additional weight loss at reasonable cost. The problem is the majority of this weight loss is from the rear. A 10kg weight bar BMW places in the rear bumper and a lightweight battery , rear seat removal. If you are faced with a.decision of less total weight and forward weight bias, or more equal weight bias and more total mass, would you always opt for less total mass and try and compensate the weight bias with tyre and suspension adjustment? Thanks.

  2. gabriel espiritu's Gravatar gabriel espiritu
    April 13, 2017 - 1:42 am | Permalink

    hi man i appreciate your article here about the carbon fiber repair can you email me for more detailed instruction i really need help please reply asap

  3. Mark Lupher's Gravatar Mark Lupher
    October 7, 2017 - 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Hi John. I love the articles and I’m taking the rear bias weight distribution to heart (and somewhat to the extreme), and have a related question for you. I’m rebuilding a Volvo P1800 as an electric autocross car. Of necessity most of the batteries and therefore weight will be behind the driver. I am trying to keep it as low as possible, but I am running into a dilemma, some of the batteries (Tesla packs) will need to either be placed above the rear axle and higher than I would like, or behind the rear axle but low and even with the differential. So my weight question is this: What would give better handling characteristics, a cg that is higher but more centered or a cg that was lower but more rearward?

  4. Gordon Forbes's Gravatar Gordon Forbes
    March 14, 2018 - 1:18 am | Permalink

    Stumbled onto your site and voraciously read everything! Some of the best explanations of complex topics in simple language that I’ve seen anywhere! If I may be so bold as to ask for your thoughts on a couple of esoteric items regarding fwd. I race a 1996 Honda Prelude on an asphalt 3/8 th mile oval (mild banking) in a Mini Stock class. “Rotation, rotation, where art thou rotation?” Fighting terminal understeer and getting some oversteer is an interesting suspension tuning challenge. At the moment the car has an open differential. I have done all the usual tricks: increased spring rates, poly bushings, Koni shocks with race valving, larger ARB front and rear, higher roll stiffness in rear, preloaded front ARB, stickier tires in front and old hard tires in the rear (no stagger allowed), using a pyrometer to set tire pressure and camber adjustments, widened front track width via wheel offset, lowered the car and used roll center adjusters, corner weighting with reverse crossweight, relocated mass (battery, fuel cell) low and left, set rear toe for rear steer, caster split at the front, etc.
    I almost find it more fun to play Crew Chief and test various changes more than the actual racing.
    Having done the above I’m down to a few ideas which I cannot find answers for. The wider track has of course moved the scrub radius from OEM slightly negative to very positive. This has numerous evil consequences but the reduced load transfer durring cornering by far outweighs the negatives. While I cannot run tire diameter stagger I was wondering if in addition to caster split what would be the effect of having the front wheels with different offsets so that one front tire had more/less scrub radius than the other? I read that changing scrub radius changed toe upon acceleration but the article only addressed rwd and I didn’t know how applicable this would be to fwd; in that I am trying to reduce understeer upon corner exit and also attempt to apply power earlier while still turning. If such a “scrub split” as described would help in any way would the front left want more or less scrub radius than the front right? Would the reduction of front track width with one wheel having more offset outweigh any advantage to such a scrub split or is it better to just get as wide a track width as rules allow?
    Would having a lot of Ackerman accomplish this also? I’ve read that “excessive” Ackerman slows the car down due to increased inside wheel slip angle but that was once again referencing rwd. In fwd I would think that I would prefer having the front left tire pull the car to the inside with more Ackerman than geometrically required (unless this would increase the slip angle so much that the tire lost traction and slid). Your thoughts?
    Finally, I’ve read that having the left side of the car lowered more than the right would not be beneficial, however this seems counterintuative. Wouldn’t having the car “pre tilted” into the left turn help, as in load transfer body roll could bring the car to level instead of the body roll inducing camber gain on the outside wheels as the suspension went into compression . A softer spring (or less ARB) could then be used which would help tire compliance with the track.
    Sorry for the long message. I just love this stuff but some things aren’t addressed by Smith, Puhn et all and Miliken is far beyond my ability to understand.
    Thanks in advance for your consideration.
    -Gordon

  5. Don's Gravatar Don
    March 30, 2018 - 5:45 pm | Permalink

    John, I am building a off road vehicle that could be used for daily driving all from scratch. I am having second thoughts about my brake system using solid rotors and wanted to ask your opinion on it.

  6. April 23, 2018 - 7:24 am | Permalink

    John, I have a 1969 Volvo P1800. It has coil springs all around. Rear wheel drive. This car needs noticeably less steering input to keep it in a straight line when it has a full tank of gas in it, about 70lbs. I think the front end geometry is changing slightly, perhaps toe in or camber with the full tank. What front end settings would change the most with the added weight of a full tank of gas? Rich B.

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