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Learning how to build Lotus Seven replicas...together!
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2014 8:09 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2010 2:34 pm
Posts: 16
Location: West Coast Canada
Well, I think it’s about time I started a log here!

First, I guess a little introduction! I’m Glenn, I’m Canadian, and I’ve been quite involved in my local autocross community for eight years now. It started with my stock V6 Fiero and my dad’s Rx-7 convertible, but it wasn’t long before the Fiero magically sprouted a turbo and some sticky tires, which was good fun. Again though, it wasn’t enough, and as I had been dreaming of a tube frame build for a while, I started off down Locost Lane. That was about 6 years ago (egads) but progress was impeded by a geology degree.

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The chassis was going to be based off the book, but grew from there. I almost wondered if I should put this in the non-traditional section... it is far larger than your average build, with about four inches added in height, six in width (more towards the front) and the wheelbase is 108 inches! Probably the best ting is to not think of it so much as a locost, and closer to the style of the front-engined Le Mans prototypes, the Panoz LMP-1 roadster.
Image (image borrowed from MulsannesCorner.com)

Target weight is 850 kg (~1900 lbs), which I think is reasonable considering that I would like this car to be as safe as possible (enough of a windshield to allow me to survive a dear strike) and because everything is overbuilt to prepare it for lots of track use.

Engine! I have always liked the Honda C engines, as used in early V6 Accords, Legends (and the NSX!) and found one in great shape for free! It’s got six bolt main bearings, and isn’t too heavy. It is also 90 degrees, which helps keep the hood line low enough for me to see out of. Stock power was just 161, but with some intake and exhaust work, along with a good tune for 94 octane fuel, I hope to push that up to around 190 hp. That clearly isn’t enough, and I don’t want the hassle of making headers, so I have some K03 turbos to go on as well! They’re tiny things, and lag should be minimal, but they should support up to around 360 hp to start. Later on I may look at larger turbos, but we will see.

Image Apologies of the state of the garage, it was a long day of work and I didn't get around to cleaning it yet!


The transmission is from a ’84 300ZX, the suspension is primarily from my old Supra (the turbo of which made it onto the Fiero) with the rear subframe being welded directly to the chassis, and the front geometry re-used, along with the steering rack.

I think that will suffice for an introduction! It’s been a fun but slow journey, and I look forward to sharing progress as I go along!


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2014 8:24 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2010 2:34 pm
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Location: West Coast Canada
Today's work was to get the steering connected to the wheel. As I had been thinking about it for a while, it wasn't too tricky, although I used one more U-joint than I would have liked (four in total - three original Toyota, one aftermarket).

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The fuel tank is also mounted, apart from drilling the holes for the bolts and adding some spacing material to allow for it to sit properly on the mounts, rather than on the corner welds. Planning on using RTV sealant, unless someone has a more recommended material?

I have to admit that I wasn't too impressed with the tank (RCI - nothing to prevent sloshing or fuel starvation), but it was close to what I needed in size and the price was right. I added a sump to allow for about 10 seconds of full throttle acceleration without fuel starvation, which I think will be more than enough... 10 seconds will have this thing travelling faster than I will want to go. It is a 55 litre tank, so good for perhaps 450 km (maybe more like 200 with lots of track use!). Learning to weld aluminum was SO MUCH FUN (/sarcasm) but educational - I had a weird grainy texture on the weld surface, but it was otherwise fine. I didn't want it to be porous, and it turned out that my filler rods were a bit old, leaving oxides on the weld surface. The alloy may have also made a difference. It is nice to have a good weld shop where you can rely on good advice (Air Liquide on Gorge Rd, for anyone in the area - talk to Steve!).

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Since the engine was originally transversely mounted, a substantial front engine mount bracket was needed! it doubles as a chassis brace, so it should be worth the extra weight. The mount doesn't keep the engine from rotating, just vertical and longitudinal motion.

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It was fun comparing my newest welds with some of the first a few years ago:

Image Image

I'm not too concerned about the strength of either, since the margins are at a shallow angle (penetration is fine and I tested many welds early on) but I sure did use WAY more metal than was necessary!

Glenn

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Slowly getting it built! LMP-inspired Locost: Honda C27A V6 with 2 K03 turbos
Heavy but reliable (I hope)
http://www.locostusa.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=16511


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2014 9:17 pm 
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We are Slotus!
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Joined: Tue Oct 06, 2009 9:29 am
Posts: 5223
Location: Tallahassee, FL (The Center of the Known Universe)
Hi Glenn!
Nice lookin' project you got going there... But first, that geology degree. What do you do with it, or plan to do with it? Hardrock mining, copper, bauxite? Or drilling oil shales and such? Or good ole-fashion oilfield work? Environmental, maybe? My degree is from NC State, I work in the environmental business here in Florida. I don't know the market in your part of the world, so I'm being curious/nosey.

Front engine, bigger chassis, not really a Lotus 7 clone, but something with swoopy bodywork. Hmmmm.... Sounds familiar... Don't tell your racing buddies what you're building or they'll give it some tacky name like "Slotus" or something. :mrgreen:

Looks like you're off to a good start, good luck with it and keep the updates coming. It's always fun to see a new build get started and watch it turn into a car!

:cheers:
JD Kemp
(FL Prof Geologist #1990)

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JD, father of Quinn, Son of a... Build Log
Quinn the Slotus:Ford 302 Powered, Mallock-Inspired, Tube Frame, Hillclimb Special
"Gonzo and friends: Last night must have been quite a night. Camelot moments, mechanical marvels, Rustoleum launches, flying squirrels, fru-fru tea cuppers, V8 envy, Ensure catch cans -- and it wasn't even a full moon." -- SeattleTom


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2014 10:46 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2010 2:34 pm
Posts: 16
Location: West Coast Canada
Hi JD, nice to meet a fellow geologist! I'm freshly graduated, and don't yet know for certain where it will take me! I'm on the west coast, and am leaning towards the environmental monitoring side of the spectrum. First though, I'm off for another piece of paper, with a master's opportunity starting in September (geochemical hydrology, perhaps leading to groundwater reclamation or contamination work). Because of this, I'm hoping to charge ahead with the project, so that I can work on smaller items on the weekends if there's time (I can wish!)

I have to admit I'm not yet familiar with your build, but seeing the picture in your signature, I will be soon! Doesn't look like it deserves "Slotus".

It's strange, but after so many autocross events, I'm starting to get a little bored of the driving, as my 1996 328i just isn't quite up to delivering the speed and challenge necessary. Happily though, I've found a something more challenging at autocross - photography! I only mention this because there is a Locost which has just started driving lately, and was wondering if anyone recognizes it from a build log.

Image

Glenn

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Slowly getting it built! LMP-inspired Locost: Honda C27A V6 with 2 K03 turbos
Heavy but reliable (I hope)
http://www.locostusa.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=16511


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2014 12:48 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2010 2:34 pm
Posts: 16
Location: West Coast Canada
Well, if I post updates every month, I'll be doing better than my other attempts at a build log! Everything was slowed due to some amazing road trips and hiking!

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The steering is now finished, with the linkage and mounts welded in, and the engine mounts are finished too! Today was the first day of working on a car, rather than a chassis and an engine, which was very encouraging.

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The driveshaft is also cut, welded, then balanced and rebuilt by my local shop. Decent price, good service and it should be strong. The Supra diff needed some slight modification and re-drilling for the Nissan driveshaft, which is also done. Apart from the clutch, It's amazing to think that the drivetrain is all connected!

Image

Speaking of drivetrain, I reinforced the original Nissan transmission mount with my favourite Devcon 80 polyurethane (amazing stuff). It came out pretty nicely and should be stiff enough. The engine mounts are made of the same stuff, and the engine hardly moves! The only annoying part was that it started to leak out the bottom, so for 45 minutes I had to spin the thing in the air by hand to balance the gravitational flow!

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The turbo adapters are coming along nicely, although I need to source a second manifold. Luckily, I won't have to weld the adapter to the manifold, since it is made of cast iron. I have welded it in the past, but it is iffy stuff to work with.

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And, on a final note, I spent a bunch of time clearing up this mess... 35 lbs of crazy coolant hoses and vacuum tubes! As it is a 2-stage manifold, it uses coolant to not only prevent the throttle from freezing, but also the butterfly valves which control the second stage. Since I live in balmy BC, and will have turbos to warm everything up beforehand, I think it'll be fine without them.

Image

Glenn

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Slowly getting it built! LMP-inspired Locost: Honda C27A V6 with 2 K03 turbos
Heavy but reliable (I hope)
http://www.locostusa.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=16511


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2014 8:26 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2010 2:34 pm
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Location: West Coast Canada
Wow, two updates in two days - I'm on a roll!

The question is not "why does everything take twice as long as you think it should" but rather, "why do I not learn that things ALWAYS take twice as long as I think they should?"

Today ended up being just the transmission mount, which turned out alright. Like everything else on the car, it is overbuilt since I was tired of previous cars falling apart from weak components. I'd rather sacrifice 100 lbs on the total weight than need to worry about certain components when I'm thrashing a car with 300+ hp on track, or when I start upgrading the engine further in the future!

Image Image

On another note - if anyone on Vancouver Island reads this - I'm hosting a garage tour this Saturday. Send me a PM if you're interested!

Glenn

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Slowly getting it built! LMP-inspired Locost: Honda C27A V6 with 2 K03 turbos
Heavy but reliable (I hope)
http://www.locostusa.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=16511


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2014 9:30 pm 
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We are Slotus!
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Location: Tallahassee, FL (The Center of the Known Universe)
Two stage manifold??? Looks more like sumpin Jacques Cousteau would have captured at 22,000 fathoms... :mrgreen:

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JD, father of Quinn, Son of a... Build Log
Quinn the Slotus:Ford 302 Powered, Mallock-Inspired, Tube Frame, Hillclimb Special
"Gonzo and friends: Last night must have been quite a night. Camelot moments, mechanical marvels, Rustoleum launches, flying squirrels, fru-fru tea cuppers, V8 envy, Ensure catch cans -- and it wasn't even a full moon." -- SeattleTom


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2014 10:54 am 
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Glenn
You get bonus points :cheers: for the bolt in trans cross member. Nice job.
I wish it only takes twice as long! I'm lucky if it's only 3 times.
Dave W


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2014 1:24 pm 
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Location: West Coast Canada
GonzoRacer wrote:
Two stage manifold??? Looks more like sumpin Jacques Cousteau would have captured at 22,000 fathoms... :mrgreen:


Ha! It looks slightly less other-worldly now, but it's still weird. Nothing compared to my early Porsche 928 manifold though - that truly looked like an alien!

davew wrote:
Glenn
You get bonus points :cheers: for the bolt in trans cross member. Nice job.
I wish it only takes twice as long! I'm lucky if it's only 3 times.
Dave W

Thanks! Nutserts to the rescue! Discovering those things was the best thing that ever happened. Ever.


Today is a good day. Today, yes, today is turbo day.

Image

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Slowly getting it built! LMP-inspired Locost: Honda C27A V6 with 2 K03 turbos
Heavy but reliable (I hope)
http://www.locostusa.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=16511


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2014 9:43 am 
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Well, as always, things take forever. Cutting out the turbo-exhaust adapters is taking forever, and the garage got a good clean. I've got some other priorities, but will get back at it this week In the meantime, here's some dramatic build photos.

Image Image


I had a few friends over for a garage tour, and got some great ideas. There isn't too much room at the front for a good-sized radiator, so I might try to mount it in the rear, just behind the trunk. There's lots of room, even for fans, and the coolant connections of the engine are at the rear anyways, it's not too much more cooling line. As long as I can get it over the diff, it's the easiest option.

Glenn

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Slowly getting it built! LMP-inspired Locost: Honda C27A V6 with 2 K03 turbos
Heavy but reliable (I hope)
http://www.locostusa.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=16511


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 7:54 am 
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We are Slotus!
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Location: Tallahassee, FL (The Center of the Known Universe)
Quote:
There isn't too much room at the front for a good-sized radiator, so I might try to mount it in the rear, just behind the trunk. There's lots of room, even for fans,

If you do a google search for "Del Long Jeep" you'll find a D/Mod beastie that sorta kinda resembles a Jeep CJ, but it has a tube frame and a four cylinder power plant and strongly resembles a Locost underneath. The radiator is mounted at the back end of the car, with a small scoop in the rear decklid and two fans pulling air through. Works just dandy...

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JD, father of Quinn, Son of a... Build Log
Quinn the Slotus:Ford 302 Powered, Mallock-Inspired, Tube Frame, Hillclimb Special
"Gonzo and friends: Last night must have been quite a night. Camelot moments, mechanical marvels, Rustoleum launches, flying squirrels, fru-fru tea cuppers, V8 envy, Ensure catch cans -- and it wasn't even a full moon." -- SeattleTom


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2014 7:16 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2010 2:34 pm
Posts: 16
Location: West Coast Canada
Question time!

I am relatively uneducated in terms of cooling systems, and wanted to ask some radiator questions before I start mounting the one I've chosen.

I spent two hours searching through the parts catalogue today, and finally decided on this:

http://ecat.spectrapremium.com/produits/specifications/CU1833

The good news: it fits my requirements, of a wide radiator with less than ~16 inches height, and has a pretty large area (way bigger than a new BMW Z4 rad - my other possible option). It will fit very nicely in the back of my chassis with a couple of fans, and is easy to mount.

The (possibly, you tell me!) bad news: It's from a Passat TDI. I'm not worried in terms of cooling ability, since it is huge, but should I be concerned about coolant flow? It has inlet and outlet on the same side (great for how I plan to mount it) which may or may not restrict flow.

Any thoughts? Do diesels typically need more cooling than gasoline? Thanks!

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Slowly getting it built! LMP-inspired Locost: Honda C27A V6 with 2 K03 turbos
Heavy but reliable (I hope)
http://www.locostusa.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=16511


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2014 9:02 pm 
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Many cool their Locosts with the eBay Civic 2" aluminum radiator. I use it for my rotary which is reportedly difficult to cool. Not with the Civic rad. I think the Stalker guys, even those with the 3.8L supercharged engine, use a Hyundai Stellar radiator which is slightly smaller than the Civic one. It is ~16.5" tall but tilting it slightly will reduce that height. Tough to beat a radiator delivered for less than 50 bucks.

YMMV.

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“Any suspension will work if you don’t let it.” - Colin Chapman

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2014 9:36 pm 
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Radiator cooling ability is more about pressure differential than outright size. Get the outlet right and you won't have any problem with even a small radiator.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2014 3:28 pm 
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Thanks for the radiator advice - I'm pretty happy overall with the Passat item, just as long as the water pump can move enough water with the added pipe length and slightly smaller pipe diameter of the radiator.

How is it that connecting one piece of bent round tube to a flat plate via a curved piece of flat plate could take so much more time than making a huge difference to the chassis of a car? The turbo adaptor has taken forever, but it is close now at any rate.

Image


On the other hand, I made the side-impact bars, which I'm quite happy with. For a few hours and 23lbs of metal, I'll be happy knowing that the car will have better side-impact protection than most normal cars (well, if it is a car or a tree at least). These will certainly help with the aerodynamics, since I'll be encasing them in the bodywork later on, moving away from the open-wheeled look.

Image Image

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Slowly getting it built! LMP-inspired Locost: Honda C27A V6 with 2 K03 turbos
Heavy but reliable (I hope)
http://www.locostusa.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=16511


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