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Old 04-02-2021, 11:10 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Best practices for staging project mods?

Are there any guidelines and/or best practices for staging car modifications?

I appreciate that there are local maxima, in terms of efficiency gained in any one area of intervention. And as you relax your tolerances from what is optimum, usually the number of ways to achieve that relaxed goal increases dramatically, which can allow you to optimize in consideration of other characteristics (make vs buy decisions; appearance; durability; outlay; BEP; etc.)... all the while, there are synergies that can only be realized if there's sufficient intervention (ex. lightweighting).

I come from a project management background and work in the healthcare sector. I have a good number of basic sciences and math, but no engineering experience. Being in medicine, my habit-of-mind is this: as much as I enjoy problem solving, the last thing I want to do is go completely clean-sheet when I know there's a lot of really smart people have put a whole lot more thought into these problems than I could in a thousand lifetimes. My time is generally not well-spent finding solutions to problems but spending most of my time figuring out which problems are most likely going to change my decision, and the expected range of risk vs reward from the perspective of multiple stakeholders.

So I'm looking for frameworks to help me gauge where I should best be spending my time because this is entirely a passion-project/hobby for me, but leisure time is sadly very scarce.

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Old 04-02-2021, 01:03 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The stated question is very general. It depends....? Are you looking for a root for the decision tree, or a way to navigate it?

In the most general terms, I'd say 1/3 aero, 1/3 powertrain and 1/3 driver training.
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Old 04-03-2021, 09:56 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Decision process: Some do, some don't, some will, some won't. Pick a procedure see if it works for your situation. if it doesn't, that's why dewalt makes sawsall's and grinders.
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Old 04-03-2021, 10:36 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I did a poor job explaining what I meant by staging. I was using the term in the sense tuning-houses use it: a suite of modifications at a price point (or in my own case budget-range), often in consideration of higher tiers/stages at escalating price points that could be done later. Or in product development, features you build out within a time frame.

Freebeard, that's what I mean. So for example, if I budget $5k (+/- $1k) with a project deadline of 6 months; I'd want to bundle the modifications that are coherent with one another. Meaning rather than try and maximize mpg for that price point, I would want to focus on a few modifications and execute them well. All project cars are continual works in progress, but a lot of folk are okay with a project car living in "permanent-beta" while others live for "the big build." I'm trying to describe something in between.

I'm a tinkerer at heart, but I already do leatherworking and woodworking - I just don't have time to be that hands on with my cars anymore. Coming from a project management background, I learned I really enjoy researching suppliers and collaborating with vendors (incl. designers/fabricators). So that's largely how I'll be approaching this build.
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Old 04-03-2021, 11:37 PM   #5 (permalink)
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It's going to come down to the vehicle and use case. And your abilities and work space.

There are modifications that play well together. One example would be the synergy between the air dam in front and spoiler in the rear.
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Old 04-04-2021, 09:53 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freebeard View Post
It's going to come down to the vehicle and use case. And your abilities and work space.

There are modifications that play well together. One example would be the synergy between the air dam in front and spoiler in the rear.
Right. In my case, with this van having a large frontal area, reducing drag needs to be the priority.

That being said, in my use case, it'll serve as a weekend-camper that I'll schlepp along with me when I do travel nursing. That means, I can't necessarily control where I'll be parking this van for extended periods. So while I don't need things to look 'factory', I'm not making a sleeper, I do want it to look somewhat stealth: certain modifications can be obvious, but I don't want them to be too remarkable/memorable to most people.

Another consideration/constraining-factor is concern about cross winds, since it's even more of a brick in profile and its ride-height/COG is pretty high. So while reducing drag is a priority, I want to focus on modifications that don't make this too much worse. I plan to mount things under the body, probably insulated tanks for both fresh- and grey-water storage. So until I understand what's going under the vehicle, I suspect an air dam is a good modification to do, rather than trying to clean up the underbody aero. When it comes to something like side skirts, I have zero idea how that plays out.

Honestly, the framework that comes to my mind in the "MoSCoW" prioritization scheme for product development. It looks like if I clarify my "Musts" "Should/Could's" and "Wants" from a use case perspective, I'll gain clarity on the practice constraints that'll help me focus on which modifications are most feasible.

I guess that makes a lot of sense; like I said, I'm trying to identify a basket of mods at a budget that work well together or are at least not completely undone by/incompatible with a later 'stage' of modifications.

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