Closing Dragster for season "last resort"

Posted Friday, June 27, 2003 4:51 AM | Contributed by Gemini

If Top Thrill Dragster isn't repaired by mid-July, Cedar Point will officially close the coaster for the season and reopen it next year, according to Cedar Fair, LP CEO Dick Kinzel, the Sandusky Register is reporting. The problems revolve around contaminants in the hydraulic fluid.

Park spokeswoman Janice Witherow stressed closing the ride is "one of many scenarios and the park isn't focusing on that."

Read more from Virtual Midway.

Link: Cedar Point Virtual Midway

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Friday, June 27, 2003 5:04 AM
Sure hope this doesn't happen.. at least before I can get a ride in.

This would solve the problems of crowds being disappointed, because they would plan their trips knowing that one of the biggies won't be included.

I was initially left sad by this news, but the more I think about it, the more that it seems a good idea.

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Friday, June 27, 2003 5:11 AM
OK hydraulic experts... is it practical (or possible) to filter the hydraulic oil on the fly, at the level of granularity they need to?

I can see why this would be a serious problem, because little things like metal shavings, bits of rubber, whatever is actually in the system, would cause serious problems in valves, pumps and motors if they're passing through them at high speed.

My gut reaction is, "Why didn't they think of this," but then again, what other hyrdraulic application pushes this much fluid this fast?

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com - Sillynonsense.com
DELETED! What time does the water show start?

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Friday, June 27, 2003 5:13 AM
Well, I tried to post this in the Buzz post, but I wasn't fast enough -

Sounds to me like this is a problem that might sour relations of Cedar Fair with Intamin or at least with the manufacturer of that hydraulic system (or perhaps just Intamin with the hydraulic manufacturer). These breakdowns do not seem like a problem with a prototype or anything like that, it seems like there is a serious construction flaw in this ride, which comes down to bad project management or bad manufacturing quality. Either way, if this ride goes down for the entire season, I wouldn't be surprised if there wasn't a little bit of legal threats being thrown around.

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"As soon as you design something that's idiot-proof, the world will go and design a better idiot."
--Brett*** This post was edited by PittDesigner 6/27/2003 9:27:39 AM ***

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Friday, June 27, 2003 5:21 AM
"Closing the ride could have an effect on Cedar Point's future plans. Kinzel noted to the Register that the park's expansion plans are pivotal to what happens with Top Thrill Dragster this year."

Sounds to me like they are reconsidering going with Intamin for their next ride if they can't get this one working.

I have always thought that there might be a major design flaw in it. The downtime on it continued to become more and more instead of less and less. Maybe Intamin should not keep everything so hush hush and go ahead and construct one of these somewhere to test it. I would imagine that this is the only one that has ever been built because someone, somewhere would see it eventually. Not everything can be done on computers, sometimes it's best to try it out and see what problems come up.

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My knex coasters
GOCC member # 671

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Friday, June 27, 2003 5:25 AM
BeccaRaptor, Kinzel's quote IMO doesn't mention anything about Intamin. You're looking too far into it. This downtime is costing the park money. Money to fix the ride, they still have to finish the marketing deals (not completely sure, but it makes sense), and their new signature ride isn't open which will turn some guests away. Without money, nobody can expand.

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If at first don't succeed, find out if the loser gets anything.

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Friday, June 27, 2003 5:29 AM
Or you could look at it as actually saving them money - maybe they could market it as the "new ride" two years in a row since probably only 40% of the people that would have come to the park specifically to ride Dragster actually got there when it was open. To those people, its still the new ride, its still a huge draw and Cedar Point/Fair doesn't have to spend more money on a new ride for next year and keep the park "fresh" - perhaps them closing it would be good news for the Dorney, ValleyFair, Knott's and WoF people (although I wouldn't expect an Intamin ride)?

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"As soon as you design something that's idiot-proof, the world will go and design a better idiot."
--Brett*** This post was edited by PittDesigner 6/27/2003 9:30:07 AM ***

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Friday, June 27, 2003 5:41 AM
I'm no expert, but...

Hydraulic systems always include filters because it is the nature of hydraulic systems to tear themselves up from the inside during operation. Metal shavings, bits of hose, what have you. Typically hydraulic systems on rides have high-flow filters, often with a tattle tale flag on them to indicate when the pressure inside the filter has become too high (i.e. the filter has clogged) and the bypass valve has opened, meaning that the filter needs to be replaced.

If they are having problems with contaminants in the fluid, this is Really Bad News™ because it means that either somebody left the lid off the hydraulic tank, or it means the system is operationally scouring out the crap that got left inside during construction, or (MUSIC: dum dum dum) parts of the system are grinding up inside. Wrong kind of hose somewhere getting torn apart by the fluid; a mechanical component is breaking up; other Bad Things™ are happening in the system. Exactly what is happening would determine what kind of contaminants are being found in the system.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Friday, June 27, 2003 5:49 AM
Pittdesigner, Intamin Bid out the hydraulic system to another Italian company, that company I do not know the name of. So the problem lies in One, that main valve (or valve) was bad from the start and they still have not gotten all the contaminates out, thus causing a chain reaction and damaging other parts as time goes on. Two, the system was designed wrong....which I doubt.

Edit that I said so the problem lies. Let me say possible problem, I by no means am a hydraulic expert.

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Gemini 100*** This post was edited by Hooper 6/27/2003 9:56:00 AM ***

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Friday, June 27, 2003 6:02 AM
With that being said, I would have to agree. One of the problems could be if all of the fluid does not get back to the tank. If you cycle the motors, and let's say they suck 1 gallon of fluid. But from the motors to the tank there is 1 1/4 gallon of fluid in the lines. The fluid would then be going back and forth in the hoses and not all of it would get filtered.

However, this problem could be corrected with check valves that only allow the fluid to flow one way. The only problem with this is, it requires double the amount of hoses in the system.

Not seeing the circuit this is only a guess

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Why?

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Friday, June 27, 2003 6:04 AM
Irate customer: "Why isn't Dragster open?!?"

CP Customer Relations: "Charlie over there left the lid off the hydraulic fluid and now its eating itself"

I think that should be the company line from now on ;)

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"As soon as you design something that's idiot-proof, the world will go and design a better idiot."
--Brett

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Friday, June 27, 2003 6:04 AM
And yes jeff, its possible to filter this amount of hydraulic fluid on the fly.

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Why?

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Friday, June 27, 2003 6:08 AM
This having an impact on the results of future expansion may have nothing to do with a new ride. There was already news that Lighthouse Point was going to be expanded next year and I know they are still interested in future hotel expansion. If they were counting on TTD to increase resort stays then this may be an issue.

I wonder why they are saying it is July or not till next year. Does that mean that if this fix doesn't work then they don't know what to try next? Does that mean there may not be a fix? If that is the case then they may want to rush another coaster into the park.

Only time will tell.

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Friday, June 27, 2003 6:21 AM
Wahoo, what I think it means it they will be literally disassembling every part of the hydraulic system, and putting new parts in. I wonder if they can do that without taking apart the track that runs above the hydraulic building? And even taking part of the roof off? Anybody know that? Hopefully I am way off on that and they don't have to mess with that.

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Gemini 100

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Friday, June 27, 2003 6:27 AM
Well if they do have to do that, at least people wouldn't be complaining about not being able to see what's going on. I doubt they'd rush a new coaster in just because TTD goes down for the remainder of the summer. That's one heck of an expense compared to an overhaul of the hydraulic motor.

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"As soon as you design something that's idiot-proof, the world will go and design a better idiot."
--Brett

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Friday, June 27, 2003 6:39 AM
"We can't just keep telling the public, 'it's going to open,'" Kinzel told the Register. "If you are honest with the public, they are going to be forgiving. People plan their vacations around this."

Yes, that's exactly what I said to Guest Relations, but they weren't as sympathetic, hence why I'm not forgiving.

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Coaster Grotto - Over 1,000 coaster photos and 80 theme park reviews now online!

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Friday, June 27, 2003 6:42 AM
PittDesigner,

I didn't mean that they would rush a coaster in this season. That is not possible. But, if they had planned on skipping a year or two before the next one then maybe they are going to push that schedule up.

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Friday, June 27, 2003 6:48 AM
You have people working on this feverishly and if there was a quick solution the ride would be open right now. I think to invite a discussion of the remedy for this problem is ridiculous. Unless you are there working on the ride and have seen what the situation is you are just guessing. Let's leave the problem solving for the people that get paid for it.

It's not like this forum's users would find the solution quicker than the people working on the ride. Let's just see what happens.

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Friday, June 27, 2003 7:02 AM
I suspect the comment about future expansion is really based on potential plans people make for the summer. Thanks to the coverage of the ride outside of the general CP-going public, people all over the country have heard about it and will need to finalize their summer plans by about mid-July. This will affect attendance and on-site hotel bookings, so projections for this year's income will be off.

At least, I think it makes sense for them to revise the future plans based on slightly lower immediate income and perhaps plan something smaller than they expected or a longer period of time for those planned expansions.

At the same time, if it is necessary to bring the ride down for the year, this will give them plenty of time to do extensive testing and try to isolate were these contaminants are coming from.

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Friday, June 27, 2003 7:22 AM
"It's not like this forum's users would find the solution quicker than the people working on the ride. Let's just see what happens."

I have an idea, why don't you just let us moderate, OK? So what if we don't know, we're enthusiasts, we speculate on this kind of thing. It reads a hell of a lot better than the usual crap about paint on the sidewalk and cranes in parking lots.

Maybe you can't deal with it, but learning about how the ride works might actually be of interest to members.

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com - Sillynonsense.com
DELETED! What time does the water show start?

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