Safety Question (Torsion Stops)

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Brian Exner
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Safety Question (Torsion Stops)

Post by Brian Exner » Mon Dec 09, 2013 7:58 pm

I see the ball is rolling in regard to driveline safety. That's great stuff. I worry about the torsion bar (suspension failure) problems that have become a terrible issue. Brian Leppo's sudden right turn into the wall at Susky was a scary event. Are torsion stops an answer to such incidents? If so, are they worth the expense?

If torsion stops can improve safety, should they be mandatory? I hate diving into someone's wallet in regard to that, but with what drivers/owners are paying for motors and chassis, would it be worth the extra expense? The Zemco car looked trashed after Leppo's hit (glad he was okay - didn't like the silence immediately after the crash...).

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Re: Safety Question (Torsion Stops)

Post by SLINKMASTERC » Mon Dec 09, 2013 8:35 pm

everyone was glad brian was ok after he took the hard hit from kreitz.
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Re: Safety Question (Torsion Stops)

Post by rahmer_nation_fan » Mon Dec 09, 2013 8:36 pm

I believe every car has torsion stops because they are suppose to hold the bar into place
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Re: Safety Question (Torsion Stops)

Post by bigbrad115 » Mon Dec 09, 2013 9:17 pm

You are thinking of a torsion stop and arm retaining device. This is a piece of metal rod that is run through the torsion bar. It has large washers on both ends, both secured by lock nuts. The washers rest against the outsides of the torsion stop and torsion arm. When they are secured by the lock nuts, they prevent the stop or arm from coming off of the bar. If a stop or arm comes off of the bar, the corner that is supported by that bar quickly sags and bottoms out. If this happens in the rear of the car, it can cause problems. But if this happens on the front of the car, it can cause BIG problems like a quick turn to the left or right. If the bar slips out of the torsion tube, it will jam into the front wheel, not allowing any steering at all.
These devices have been around for a while. They can be easily made from materials found at any hardware store or bought pre made from any racing parts supplier. One can be made for around $20.
That is a very cheap price for a lot of safety.

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Re: Safety Question (Torsion Stops)

Post by THE LOUD PEDAL » Mon Dec 09, 2013 9:55 pm

The zemco car broke his bottom right radius bar on the restart.

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Re: Safety Question (Torsion Stops)

Post by Warthog » Tue Dec 10, 2013 3:37 pm

bigbrad115 wrote:You are thinking of a torsion stop and arm retaining device. This is a piece of metal rod that is run through the torsion bar. It has large washers on both ends, both secured by lock nuts. The washers rest against the outsides of the torsion stop and torsion arm. When they are secured by the lock nuts, they prevent the stop or arm from coming off of the bar. If a stop or arm comes off of the bar, the corner that is supported by that bar quickly sags and bottoms out. If this happens in the rear of the car, it can cause problems. But if this happens on the front of the car, it can cause BIG problems like a quick turn to the left or right. If the bar slips out of the torsion tube, it will jam into the front wheel, not allowing any steering at all.
These devices have been around for a while. They can be easily made from materials found at any hardware store or bought pre made from any racing parts supplier. One can be made for around $20.
That is a very cheap price for a lot of safety.
Did they ever definitively determine that this was the cause of Jason Leffler's fatal crash? I had heard it tentatively mentioned as a possible cause shortly after the crash, but I don't recall if there was any official announcement after the investigation. I was there that night, and he hit the wall right in front of me, about 20 feet away, so it's still something that has a special resonance. I don't ever want to see that happen to anybody else.
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Re: Safety Question (Torsion Stops)

Post by c4 » Tue Dec 10, 2013 9:17 pm

yeah, NJSP found the torsion stop in the 4th turn.

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Re: Safety Question (Torsion Stops)

Post by steve petry » Tue Dec 10, 2013 9:49 pm

The seat of the 13 car is more of a concern (specifically the area that contains the helmet of a driver) than the stop (torsion).
The torsion stop may have caused the car to change direction but it was secondary as to what really happened.

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Re: Safety Question (Torsion Stops)

Post by Warthog » Wed Dec 11, 2013 6:49 pm

steve petry wrote:The seat of the 13 car is more of a concern (specifically the area that contains the helmet of a driver) than the stop (torsion).
The torsion stop may have caused the car to change direction but it was secondary as to what really happened.
From where I sat in the stands, it appeared that when the car came to rest, Jason was slumped over, with his head down around where his left knee should have been. Or at least that's where it appeared that his helmet was, whether or not his helmet was still on his head - IIRC, he had a dark driver's suit, so the rest was hard to make out as far as what part of his body was where within the cockpit.

I might have not been perceiving what I was seeing correctly, and I could be mistaken, but that's what it looked like to me. I have not yet read or heard any reports mentioning any sort of failure of his safety harness, or the entire seat coming loose, or his helmet coming completely off, but those are the only things I can think of that would match up to what I think I saw.

Of course, once the safety crew came over and started working, my view was blocked, but if I saw what I think I saw (and I was only about 20 feet away), then yes, something was seriously wrong besides the torsion bar failure that caused the accident. I'm no expert, but it appeared that if the safety equipment had functioned correctly, or been fastened correctly, or whatever, the actual impact might have been survivable.

But as I said, I've not seen any account that even mentioned what I believe that I saw when that car came to a stop. I'm not sure it that's because I'm mistaken (and I admit that I might be) or because there are aspects of the accident that nobody has talked about publicly.

Again, because I can't emphasize it enough, I'm saying what I think I saw - I could be mistaken, but what I think I saw haunts me. I'd actually be glad if somebody could explain that I'm mistaken, because it would take away some unanswered questions.
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Re: Safety Question (Torsion Stops)

Post by Hat Creek Motorsports » Thu Jan 09, 2014 4:31 pm

Torsion Stop Retainers are mandatory for the WoO for 2014 according to a memo they put out in December.

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Re: Safety Question (Torsion Stops)

Post by the27kid » Fri Jan 10, 2014 8:39 am

Torsion stop rule is a good rule to have; hopefully the rest of the tracks will follow suit. After my nasty crash I put my focus on the seat and making sure that you use the manufacturs recommedations when mounting. Not to many of us get a second chance to make that change. Also I'm not sure if many drivers have noticed other drivers having their seat belts mounted directly under and beside the seat. I think this should be a must for the belts. When I had my car I had a set of hooker harness belts and had Lps chassis weld in some bars to mount my belts to. I will tell you I felt that when I pulled the belts tight I was in a capsule and that I wasn't moving an inch. Thanks all goes to Brian Butler of butlerbuilt seats for opening up my eyes for areas of concern.

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Re: Safety Question (Torsion Stops)

Post by sprintcars-4-life » Fri Jan 10, 2014 5:59 pm

Warthog, I also was standing right along the fence after the crash. I also noticed that he appeared to be slumped over more than he should be, after he was extracted I looked at the seat, and it appeared that the entire seat had been jarred out of place, it looked like the top was aimed forward about 30 degrees. Hope that helps answer some questions and/or open some eyes to everything that went wrong that night
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Re: Safety Question (Torsion Stops)

Post by c4 » Sat Jan 11, 2014 6:35 pm

if it pulled forward, the belts could have been mounted below the holes in the back of the seat that the belts come thru. the belts should come thru the holes and attach to a bar on the cage at the same height as the holes. im surprised the NJ inspectors didnt catch that WHEN/IF they did the inspection.

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Re: Safety Question (Torsion Stops)

Post by okbob » Sun Jan 12, 2014 7:54 pm

The bolt fell out at the bottom radius rod where it connects to frame. The bolt could have broken,or just worked loose,but the rest of damage was the result of missing bolt.It looked to me that Brian had just tripped on cushion the corner before the yellow came out. He was very lucky,and very fast. With a 1400 lb min. weight we might do away with halfnuts on steering componants.

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