POWERTRAIN The Powertrain subsystem includes a standard un-modified Briggs & Stratton engine and everything that is responsible for transmitting its power to the wheels.  The first component after the engine is the Continuously Variable Transmission or CVT.  The CVT provides a dual purpose in our car; first acting as an automatic transmission allowing adjustment to the final drive ratio.  Second being a clutch between the engine and transmission as its pulleys allow for slip at engine idle.  After the CVT, power is transferred into a standard transmission allowing several gear ratios in forward and reverse.  This is helpful for different parts of the competition, or when we are behind a stuck vehicle.  Power is then transmitted to the differential.  The job of the Diff is to direct power to the left and right wheel and allow the wheels to rotate at different velocities around turns.  Out of the Diff power goes to the rear wheels via a set of CV cups and half shaft axles.  The CV (for Constant Velocity) cups allow for independent suspension on the drive wheels while reducing issues seen with other methods.

SUSPENSION Our car uses an SLA type suspension geometry.  It is a 4 wheel independent suspension setup that provides a considerable amount of control over important handling characteristics of the car.  In order to properly design a suspension we must utilize a combination of numerical analysis, Computer simulation and real world testing.  Every other system on the car is affected in some way by the choice of suspension geometry, tires and shock settings.  Members who work on suspension design will learn how the components of a suspension are designed and built, the purpose of each, data collection and analysis techniques along with much more.  We design and build nearly every component of the suspension that ends up on our car each year.

CHASSIS Every year we design and fabricate a tubular frame chassis for our Baja vehicle. In the fall semester, the focus is on designing the chassis using 3D modeling software. The completion of this is aided by real-life testing as well as simulations of the stress and torsional stiffness the car sees under given loads. Members of the Chassis subsystem work alongside all the other subsystems (Suspension, Powertrain, Steering, and Control Systems) to ensure that the strength and geometry of the chassis satisfies the requirements of their designs along with the safety stipulations set out by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). Fabrication of the frame begins during winter break; new and old members are encouraged to learn and participate in the building and assembly of the chassis. 

CONTROL SYSTEM The Controls Systems group works on the basics of how the driver
interfaces with the car. Cockpit ergonomics are researched to ensure that the car is useable and comfortable for the largest demographic. Transmission and steering controls are laid out to ensure that the driver can comfortably control the vehicle with reasonable amounts of force. This group is also tasked with the brake system. This includes designing and specifying the brake hardware and ensuring that the system will provide the necessary 4-wheel lockup required for technical inspection.  Lighting and electrical systems for the car are also handled by this team.

STEERING The Steering subsystem is responsible for providing the operator with maximum directional control over the vehicle via the steering wheel.  This steering wheel rotational input is transferred down the steering column to the steering rack.  The purpose of the rack is to translate the rotational motion of the steering column into lateral, linear motion by means of a rack and pinion gear set.  Attached on each side of the rack are tie rods whose job it is to transfer the later motion of the rack to the steering brackets, one mounted at each front wheel.  When the tie rods push/pull on the steering brackets they change the direction of the wheel.  The combined ratio of the gear set and steering brackets provide the final steering ratio of the vehicle.  In the end if the driver turns the steering wheel clockwise the car will turn right and when counter clockwise the car will turn left.

As as a member of Stony Brook Motorsports you have a choice to participate in any of five main subsystems; Suspension, Chassis, Powertrain, Steering and Control Systems.  All the subsystems are important and dependent on each other.  Students typically do not choose just one system to work on but instead divide their time where their help is needed most at the moment.  On the following page take time to browse through the different systems of the car to get a feel of what each does.


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