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The Mighty Midgets Often referred to as the purest form of racing these "mighty midgets" are a racing history teasure.



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Old 01-06-2012, 06:38 AM   #1
WesGPS
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Default What is the hand pump for?

The red arrow in the picture below points to a hand pump. This generation of a midget is a bit before my time. Can someone tell me what it was for? If you know, tell me if it was common to a specific type of engine - was it an engine that used a carburetor or was it fuel injected and so forth. Whatever you know will be appreciated. Inquiring minds want to know.



I borrowed the picture from another post.

Thanks, Wes
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Old 01-06-2012, 08:27 AM   #2
Mike Croley
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Default Re: What is the hand pump for?

Thats the fuel pump . That system was used on just about every open wheel race car for many decades , up to the 1960s
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Old 01-06-2012, 10:45 AM   #3
Mitch G.
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Default Re: What is the hand pump for?

Mike is correct, it actually was an air pump that "pressurized" the fuel tank, forcing fuel into the injectors, or carbs.
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Old 01-06-2012, 07:00 PM   #4
cemar
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Default Re: What is the hand pump for?

WesGPS.
I answered your email as soon as I got it to tell you what it was for.
Like most things on here I am having trouble at first performing it correctly and I guess you didn't get the reply, sorry.

I have found many have questions about other devices on the old Midgets.
One is this: Next to that pump is a long lever. Would anyone care to tell those who don't know what that was used for.
Here are a couple pics from 1951 showing that handle.
Check out the 3 drivers pulling on it with their laft hand, while they are in the middle of a wreck. (two cars out of the pic are spinning infront of them)
Imagine, in a turn in a wreck one hand on the steering wheel and one on the handle!
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Old 01-06-2012, 07:58 PM   #5
Olen McGuire
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Default Re: What is the hand pump for?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cemar View Post
One is this: Next to that pump is a long lever. Would anyone care to tell those who don't know what that was used for.

Just a guess on my part and I've never driven one, so I would say that's the BRAKE handle and I've heard that some had a KILL BUTTON on top of the handle.
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Old 01-07-2012, 12:44 AM   #6
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Default Re: What is the hand pump for?

Thanks all for the answer on the pump. It happens that I know the answer about the other handle question. Check out the picture of my 4w in the pits at Black Hills Speedway in Rapid City South Dakota. There you can see such a handle. All that follows goes under the heading of "If I remember right"

It was a mechanism that had linkage leading to the torsion bar for the right rear wheel. Pulling on the lever would apply additional down force to that wheel - hence, additional "bite" - kind of like putting an extra (momentary) turn to the torsion bar stop screw.

Now I'll have to clarify the "If I remember right part" - I took the thing off at the end of the first season after I bought the car. I was way too busy doing everything else to get that thing around the track; I sure didn't have time to fool with that lever. If Steve Troxell is on here he may have a better answer, he drove the car for Ken Slocum when he owned it. There you are guys. WW


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Old 01-07-2012, 07:51 PM   #7
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Default Re: What is the hand pump for?

The hand lever was for the rear brakes. Many of the early cars only had rear brakes.
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Old 01-08-2012, 11:12 AM   #8
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Default Re: What is the hand pump for?

Many more modern cars had the "weight jacker" handle on the car, check out many photo's of Edmunds midgets in the early 70's, most had the "weight jacker", handle. Wes is right, depending on the builder, you could add weight to the right or left rear torsion bar. Some sprint cars had a lever and long rod running to the left front torsion bar, check out USAC sprint photo's from the mid 70's (I'll try to find, and post a reference photo). But the midgets of the 30's and 40's had a brake handle on the left side of the car. Old timers will tell you that with the advent of hydraulic disc brakes operated by foot pedal, they would leave the brake handle on the car. During a race when entering the corner (especially on small paved ovals), they would reach out and pull on the brake lever even though it was not operational (they had installed modern hydraulic brakes), but the drivers behind may or may not know that the brake handle was a dummy, so they would brake as well. The dude with the old hand brake was suckered into slowing way down in the corner, the guy with the new brakes took off like a rocket out of the corner. My dad said the hand brake on the midget he drove in 1959 was so weak some times he had to use both hands to pull it back far enough to stop the car in the pits, after a race.

Don Edmunds built midget, 1972 SESCO power, see the lever or handle sticking straight up where Jim Beckly can easily reach it and put weight, or take weight out of the right rear torsion bar.
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Old 01-08-2012, 12:01 PM   #9
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Default Re: What is the hand pump for?

The hand pump was to pressurize the fuel tank. For carbs, they provided enough pressure, although some folks put various mechanical fuels pumps to avoid forgetting. Typically, the driver could pump it up before the race for short events like a heat or dash, but would have to pump a few times for the main.

On the left side the level was for brakes, not limited to just rear brakes, but that depended on the car. In a Kurtis, the level was also tied into the foot pedal. Original midgets only had a lever and no pedal, chassis builders kept the lever even after foot pedals were normal as many drivers learned the hand brake and were not as comfortable using the foot pedal.

Also, Kurtis had a bottom on top of the lever handle. This was a "starter" switch. It didn't run a starter, but it did short the system (same as flipping the toggle to off). Guys would start the car by holding the hand brake to skid the tires. After releasing, they would continue holding down the button until oil pressure came up, then would release it to let the car fire. Same process as today, but the driver did not have to move his hand around to the dash. It also served as the emergency kill switch.

On the right side, a lever was usually a weight jacker. While few were tried on parallel bar cars, they became very popular on cross torsion cars. The handle was tied to the torsion stop on the right side of the car which controls the left rear bar. This allowed ****-pit control of the left rear ride-height and weight while driving. While very popular, not every one could use successfully, as they would lose track of what they did and "jack themselves out of the race".
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Old 01-08-2012, 12:12 PM   #10
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Default Re: What is the hand pump for?

Here are some pics of the hand brakes in use, in 50s, 60s, and 70s:
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