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The Enduro System - How to set up your car with multiple steering wheels for multiple drivers in endurance racing events

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The Problem

If you are running your car in an endurance event with multiple drivers and driver changes, different drivers want to use their favourite steering wheel for their stints behind the wheel in enduros, and different drivers have different driving positions, due to factors that cannot be changed such as different driver heights and arm reach lengths etc.

In the past, your only option was to come up with a compromise - a compromise on which steering wheel to use, and a compromise on driving position.

But you end up with a driver position that is not correct for any of the drivers, and a frequently a steering wheel that only one driver likes.

Put any driver in a compromised, uncomfortable driving position, and the end result is always increased fatigue, and less driver endurance.

And anyone who has ever competed in an endurance race knows that as soon as you get fatigued, your concentration drops, lap times get slower, you lose ground against your opposition, and safety is compromised.

So we sat down and thought "there simply must be a better way", and set about solving the problem ...

The Solution

What we have come up with is a package of products that we nicknamed "The Enduro System".

The Enduro System is made up of a number of modular products that you can mix and match to solve once and for all the problems inherent in endurance racing.

With The Enduro System ...

The parts that make up The Enduro System

Lets take a look at the parts that go into the system ...

The heart of The Enduro System - the Works Bell Rapfix II Quick Release

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The Works Bell Rapfix II Quick Release is the original product that started the entire bolt on quick release revolution.

It is 100% manufactured in Japan.

Works Bell developed and received the patent on the Quick Release (Rapfix Ball Lock System) in 2001.

Since 2001, Works Bell have manufactured and sold more than 30,000 units of the Works Bell Rapfix II Quick Release Rapfix system.

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The Works Bell Rapfix II is used extensively in D1GP and various Japanese racing classes. It was also chosen by iconic Japanese tuner JUN Automotive for their mindblowing Mitsubishi Evo X project car.

On the steering column end, it bolts straight to virtually any 6 bolt Momo bolt pattern steering wheel boss / hub. It can also be attached to 3 bolt competition style using a machined adapter.

The part that attaches to the steering boss / hub can also be attached to many compatible 6 bolt Nardi bolt pattern steering bosses / hubs (PCD 74mm), by using the Works Bell Conversion Spacer.

At the steering wheel end, the Rapfix II ships pre-machined with bolt holes in both standard 6 bolt Momo bolt pattern steering (PCD 70mm), and 6 bolt Nardi bolt pattern (PCD 74mm), so it allows an enormous choice of steering wheels to be used. It can also be used with 3 bolt competition style steering wheels by using a machined adapter between the steering wheel and the quick release.

Of course it is also compatible with all Works Bell steering wheels, including the Works Bell Original Steering Wheel, the Works Bell Team Orange Steering Wheel, and the Works Bell Yoshioka Steering Wheel.

You can read an article on our site about how the Works Bell Rapfix II is manufactured by clicking here.

It is simply the best quick release system on the planet.

Click here for more information about the Works Bell Rapfix II Quick Release

The Works Bell Flipper For the Rapfix II Quick Release

Close up photo showing how the Flipper automatically depresses the release button on the Rapfix II when the Flipper is pulled towards the driverClose up photo showing how the Flipper automatically depresses the release button on the Rapfix II when the Flipper is pulled towards the driver

The Works Bell Rapfix II Flipper for the Works Bell Rapfix II Quick Release is an optional product that attaches to your Rapfix II.

It allows you to release your Rapfix II Quick Release with a simple pull on the Flipper, which automatically depresses the release button when pulled.

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This eliminates the need for you to manually depress the release button on your Rapfix II - you just pull the Flipper towards you, and in a simple motion the Flipper depresses the release button on your Rapfix II Quick Release and releases your steering wheel.

The Flipper is also very useful for releasing the Rapfix II when wearing driving gloves, because it eliminates the need to depress the release button on the Rapfix II when wearing gloves.

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Also available is a brightly coloured version of the Flipper for race cars for JAF & N1 Racing Regulations.

You can find more info on the Works Bell Flipper by clicking here

The Works Bell Paddle Shifter NEO Universal

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Though the Works Bell Paddle Shifter NEO was initially designed as a paddle shifter kit for semi automatic transmissions, many racing teams expressed a desire to be able to purchase the Paddle Shifter on it's own (instead of as a vehicle specific kit) so that they could use it for different custom switching applications - virtually anything where a driver needs a switch but needs to keep his hands on the steering wheel while activating that switch.

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Works Bell in Japan reacted to demand from The Tuners Group's racing customers, and in November 2008 released the Works Bell Paddle Shifter NEO Universal - a universal paddle shifter ideal for custom installs on racing cars.

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Click on the image above to view an online video of the Works Bell Paddle Shifter Neo Kit being demonstrated by Japanese driver Toshiki Yoshioka.

As you can see in the video, Yoshioka-san's car has a manual transmission, but he uses the paddle shifter kit to trigger the nitrous in his mind blowing AE86 drift car.

Click here for more information about the Works Bell Paddle Shifter NEO Universal

Putting it all together - The Enduro System as a whole

We have assembled a sample of The Enduro System on one of our display stands, as shown in the photos below.

This guide is provided for informational purposes only and as a general demonstration of the capabilities of The Enduro System - the exact steps needed to fit it to your car will vary, and all components should be installed by a qualified automotive engineer and / or electrical engineer.

As with any fasteners used in steering systems, you must use high tensile fasteners of the correct grade, ensure the correct number of fasteners are used, ensure adequate thread engagement, and ensure that all fasteners are torqued correctly.

Step 1 - Install the Works Bell Paddle Shifter NEO Universal

If we are simulating an install where one paddle shifter will be shared by all drivers, then the Works Bell Paddle Shifter NEO Universal would be attached to the steering boss.

If each driver will have their own paddle shifter attached to their own steering wheel, the Paddle Shifter can be installed later - see below for details.

If you are just using one paddle shifter on the car, you simply wire the paddleshifter into the systems you wish to control using the paddle shifter.

A number of teams wire up their paddle shifter with one paddle controlling the pit lane speed limiter ...

The Works Bell Paddle Shifter can be used to control a range of electrical systems such as pit lane speed limiter systemsThe Works Bell Paddle Shifter can be used to control a range of electrical systems such as pit lane speed limiter systems

... and the other paddle controlling the car to pit radio ...

The Works Bell Paddle Shifter can be used to control car to pit radio systemsThe Works Bell Paddle Shifter can be used to control car to pit radio systems

... but the paddle shifter can be used in all kinds of custom installs - eg as scroll buttons on a datalogger's display screen, a nitrous oxide switch, a fuel level reset switch, or even a headlight flasher to let slower vehicles ahead know that they are holding you up. You can probably think of a number of uses for it on your car.

If you install the paddle shifter using a relay system, then instead of the switches being momentary, you can pull the paddle once to talk to the pits, then pull it again when you're finished talking. Similarly, you then pull the pit lane speed limiter paddle once to turn it on as you enter the pits, and pull it again at pit exit to deactivate the pit lane speed limiter.

It is recommended to have indicator lights on the dash of the car so that the driver can see at a glance if the pit lane speed limiter is currently active, and if the radio is transmitting - visual aids such as these are always useful to drivers.

The switches in the Works Bell Paddleshifter are high quality precision Japanese made microswitches, so they are very well engineered and robust, but no microswitches like heavy current loads, so it is always a good idea to have the switches trigger relays which then turn on other systems - any qualified auto-electrician should be familiar with relays and know how to wire it like this.

Step 2 - Attach the Steering Column End Of The Quick Release

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Next we attached the part of the quick release which attaches to the steering column. This part is known as the quick release plug (shown above).

If you look closely at the photo above (click it to enlarge it) there are two copper electrical contacts that are used for electrical connections to the horn.

Works Bell also makes a 4 contact version of the Rapfix II.

If you are using a paddleshifter attached to the steering wheel, you will need the 4 contact version of the Rapfix II.

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If you are attaching the paddleshifter to the boss instead of the steering wheel, then it will now look something like the photo above.

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And when the part of the Rapfix II Quick Release which attaches to the steering wheel (known as the quick release socket), is attached to the plug, it will look something like the photo above.

The steering wheel has not been attached to the quick release socket in the photo above - it is simply shown to demonstrate how the two parts of the quick release connect to each other.

Step 3 - Attach Quick Releases To Your Drivers' Steering Wheels

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Now we simply install the Works Bell Flipper to each quick release, and attach the socket part of the Works Bell Rapfix II Quick Release to each driver's favourite steering wheel.

Compatible 6 bolt Momo pattern and compatible 6 bolt Nardi pattern steering wheels bolt straight to the Rapfix II.

If one of your drivers prefers to use a 3 bolt competition style steering wheel, a 6 bolt to 3 bolt adapter can be used to bolt the 3 bolt wheel to the Rapfix II Quick release - contact us for details.

Step 4 - Determine the steering wheel spacing

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If the steering wheel is too far away from the driver, Works Bell makes a huge range of steering wheel spacers. Works Bell makes high quality Japanese made aluminium spacers in 10mm, 15mm, 20mm, 25mm and 30mm. Shown above is one of these spacers between the steering wheel and the female part of the Rapfix II Quick Release.

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And if a 30mm spacer is not long enough, Works Bell also makes a product called the Works Bell Rivet Spacer (shown above). The Rivet Spacer range consists of 14 spacers in 11 sizes different lengths from 50mm-100mm in 5mm increments, and total length of 110mm, 120mm, and 130mm.

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Shown above is a Works Bell rivet spacer installed in the system.

If the steering wheel is too close to the driver, you can also use a Works Bell Short Boss / Hub, which is specifically designed to compensate for the extra length of the Rapfix II quick release.

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Shown above is an example of a Works Bell Short Boss

The Advantages Of Having A Paddle Shifter For Each Driver

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If you are fitting a separate paddle shifter for each driver to the back of each driver's steering wheel (instead of just one paddleshifter mounted to the steering column), then you can sandwich the paddle shifter between the steering wheel and the Rapfix II quick release as shown above.

Here are photos with a paddle shifter mounted behind the steering wheel with two different spacer lengths ...

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There are significant advantages to having a paddle shifter for each driver, mounted to each driver's steering wheel.

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As shown in the photo above, if you mount the paddle shifter to the steering boss / hub then the distance from the steering wheel to the paddles can be too large for some drivers to reach the paddles without removing their hand from the steering wheel.

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In the photo above however, by attaching the paddleshifter to the steering wheel (with one paddle shifter for each driver), the paddles are always right behind the rim of the steering wheel, which means that the driver can simply extend a finger to the paddles, without removing their whole hand from the steering wheel.

The spacer shown in the photo above is 100 mm long. So by attaching the paddle shifter to the steering wheel instead of the steering boss / hub, even with a 100mm spacer, the driver can still use the paddle shifter without removing a hand from the steering wheel.

Obviously running a paddle shifter for each driver attached to each steering wheel has increased cost, but given that the whole aim of the exercise is to increase driver comfort, and reduce fatigue, running a paddleshifter for each driver on each driver's steering wheel is definitely a superior solution.

For installs where each driver will have their own paddle shifter attached to their own steering wheel, Works Bell makes a version of the Rapfix II which has 4 electrical contacts instead of the standard two.

If you are setting your car up where each driver will have their own paddle shifter attached to their own steering wheel, then in Step 3 you run your wiring from the male section of the Rapfix II quick release to the systems you want the paddle shifter to control, and you wire the paddle shifter on each steering wheel to the 4 contacts withing the female part of the Rapfix II Quick release.

This way, as soon as the steering wheel is re-attached to the car, the built in contacts engage automatically and the driver has control over the attached systems such as the pit lane speed limiter and radio.

The Completed System

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Above is a photo of the completed system, showing the Shift-I shift light, the Works Bell Rapfix II Quick Release, the Works Bell Paddle Shifter NEO Universal, and a Works Bell Original Steering Wheel.

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In the photo above is a side view of say "Driver A's" steering wheel, with Driver A not requiring any spacers.

When it's time for a driver change, Driver A simply disconnects his steering wheel and paddle shifter shown above ...

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And Driver B attaches in his steering wheel (shown above with a Works Bell 100 mm Rivet Spacer). Since the Works Bell Rapfix II Quick Release uses Works Bell's patented Ball Locking system instead of splines, unlike splined quick releases there are no arkward splines to line up.

The incoming driver simply slides his steering wheel on at any angle of rotation, then spins the steering wheel, and the Rapfix II locks the steering wheel into place automatically at the correct angle of rotation, so the steering wheel is always straight on when the wheels are straight.

When it reaches the correct position, the Rapfix II Quick Release locks automatically - it's simple, fast, and saves valuable time in pit stops.

The electrical contacts between the paddle shifter and the car are made automatically by the Rapfix II Quick Release - there are no fiddly wires on the steering column to try to plug in during driver changes with this system.

In Conclusion

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So that's the system we have nicknamed "The Enduro System".

All the parts in this system are standard off the shelf Works Bell and Shift-I parts, normally kept in warehouse stock for immediate shipment. All parts in this article are available from The Tuners Group, and of course we ship worldwide by express air courier.

To recap on the benefits of The Enduro System ...

Will you be running The Enduro System in your next endurance event ? Or coming second to a team who does ?

created on 2008-11-17 06:19:10 by adamr