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Learning how to build Lotus Seven replicas...together!
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 Post subject: New old kid on the block
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2015 12:49 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2015 12:41 pm
Posts: 62
Location: Seattle area (Woodinville)
Hi. I’m Jerry Henneman, in the Seattle area. I’m new to this group although I was on the Yahoo group for a while some time ago.

I’m essentially starting over on a Locost project that had some issues, and then got overrun by events. My first attempt was a significant departure from the “book” chassis (more on that in a bit). I’ve discarded that chassis and am starting on a new one.

The new chassis will be pretty close to book (Champion), with stiffening mods and changed coilover attach points. I’m using NA Miata spindles and hubs, and a live limited slip rear end out of an RX7 GSL-SE. Steering rack and pinion will probably be a 18 ¼” Woodward. I’m one of those people who doesn’t want to shorten a rack.

At this point I’m cleaning up my shop, reading/re-reading everything I can find that’s pertinent (including the posts on this forum - until I get cross-eyed), and talking to some knowledgeable people about choices. I’m also collecting as many components that will affect chassis dimensions as I can before I start.

The jury is still out on drive train. It’ll probably be two litre Duratec or NB Miata. But I have a date of sorts to talk to someone far more knowledgeable than me about it and I’m holding off until after that to decide. I would, by the way, be very interested in hearing from anyone who has used an aftermarket ECU to the control variable cam timing on the Miata engine.

There’s a side of me that wants to stay with the apparent simplicity of carburetor(s) and stand-alone ignition. But I’ve been reading up on EFI and will likely go that route.

Regarding my first chassis, if you’re interested: It was mostly 1 ½” round 4130, two inches wider and one inch taller than book. I lengthened the engine bay two inches and shortened the cockpit accordingly (power was going to be Rover/BOP 215 aluminum V8, although I had a 4AGE & T-50 in hand for a while). Front upper A-arm mounts were going to be aluminum (2024 plate, I still have it) and bolted to the chassis so that I could tweak the mounting locations and play with anti-dive settings. I very carefully fitted and mitered all the joints, doing a pretty nice job of it (I have photographs that I can scan and post once I figure out where I put them). Then I completely botched the welding. I thought at the time that my somewhat rusty welding skills and fifty-something year old (now sixty-something) eyesight simply weren’t up to the task of welding the round chrome moly. I fretted about the frame for over a year, then discarded it and ordered new tubing. Then I got caught up in an intensive development program at work, several years of fifty to sixty hour work weeks, and some personal issues, and it’s been sitting.

But I was having trouble even seeing the joints and kept wandering off them with the welding beads. Something I read recently, possible on this forum, leads me to believe that my seventy-five dollar Harbor Freight welding hood might have played a part. It’s a little tempting to start over with the round chrome moly (it’s sitting out there in the shop), but I’ve decided not to. I’ll stick to the square mild steel and pretty close to book dimensions. And spend less far, far less time mitering tubing.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2015 3:39 pm 
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The voice of reason
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Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2008 4:47 pm
Posts: 6801
Location: Massachusetts
Welcome to our clubhouse, we're happy to have you!

I haven't had trouble with my welding helmut, but a strong set of reading glasses and strong light make a big difference. Small powerful halogen lights are available now and also safety glasses with bifocal magnifiers too. Now every time I start a bead and realize I'm having trouble, I know it's because I forgot the glasses. I use stronger glasses than I need for reading to do welding.

I like the Duratec choice and I'm designing an ECU, maybe it will be done in time for you...

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2015 4:28 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2005 8:12 am
Posts: 1170
Location: 4AGE in S.E. Michigan
Welcome to the madness.
Us old farts need help seeing those welds. If you go to your local welding supplier, they will have magnifying lenses that snap right behind the standard helmet lens.
Dave W


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2015 4:41 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 12, 2012 8:40 pm
Posts: 436
Location: York,Pa
Welcome, I was on the Yahoo group from 2008 until it disappeared. We have pictures here! You'll find that we all like pictures so be sure to post them when you start building.
I'm curious why you want to use an aftermarket ECU on the Miata engine. I had to do it because of the Immobilizer. I didn't have the ignition switch and key from the donor so the stock ECU was useless. It caused me plenty of grief and I wished that I could have used the stock one. I can't answer about the variable cam control because I have a Madzspeed turbo and they don't have variable timing.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2015 4:51 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2012 6:38 pm
Posts: 1773
Location: worcester county, Massachsetts
Welcome! I've got a $45 HF auto darkening welding lid, and it works fine. You also have to make sure you haven't got it adjusted too dark, or you'll have trouble seeing the bead under the spark.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2015 5:00 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 11:57 am
Posts: 346
Location: Waterloo, WI
davew wrote:
Welcome to the madness.
Us old farts need help seeing those welds. If you go to your local welding supplier, they will have magnifying lenses that snap right behind the standard helmet lens.
Dave W


This x10. I used to do a lot of TIG welding in my 30's and early 40's. Then after a few years gap, I finally bought a TIG welder of my own and a HF auto-darkening helmet and I thought I had totally lost it. Of course, in the intervening years I now have bifocals. I figured out that my problem was that I just wasn't seeing the weld the way I used to. I got a "cheater" lens and now I have my mojo back! 8)

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2015 5:19 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2015 12:41 pm
Posts: 62
Location: Seattle area (Woodinville)
Hmm. So the problem with my welding probably was with me and my eyes. I did have the cheater lens. Oh well, I know that I can do a straight bead on a flat surface (or could last time I tried). Good thing that I'm reverting to the square mild steel.

Why an aftermarket ECU with a Miata engine? For the ability to fine-tune it (I have the impression that I'd be operating outside the parameters of the stock ECU). Also because I don't have donor car with the stock ECU and all the associated wiring. Besides, why take the easy route when I can do something new and different, possibly digging myself a deep hole (I have a lot of experience with this one).

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Jerry Henneman

Jack of many trades
Master of unfinished projects
build blog/log at https://jerryslocost.wordpress.com


Last edited by JerryH on Wed Aug 19, 2015 5:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2015 5:58 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 19, 2014 5:17 pm
Posts: 620
Location: England
[quote="JerryH"]Hmm. So the problem with my welding probably was with me and my eyes. I did have the cheater lens. Oh well, I know that I can do a straight bead on a flat surface (or could last time I tried). Good thing that I'm reverting to the square mile steel.
.[/quote

Blast a load of weld onto some scrap and post up some pics of it. I am sure there will be enough help on board here to get you on the right path.

Bob

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2015 6:34 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2007 5:11 am
Posts: 442
Location: Seattle area
Welcome Jerry,.

There are some builders in the Seattle area that would be glad to talk over their projects. Mine is practically complete, some interior clean up and I'll start a post in 'Complete Builds'. Contact me any time. Larry in Burien haws his car on the road, Seattle Tom is well on his way with a Car9, Driven5 has a good start, Jon Rounds in Port Angeles is a terrific fabricator, and JEB in Olympia has been racing his for a few years. Even have a Mega Squirt expert in Bellingham that is always helpful.

I had all sorts of problems laying a straight bead with MIG. Even with the brightness of the arc I couldn't see where I was going. A bright light on the work surface helped more than anything.

I, too, didn't have a donor so went with Mega Squirt for my EFI and Ford EDIS ignition. This is on a 4AGE 20V.
Have seen a couple of DuraTec builds and don't think you could go wrong with that choice. Of course what ever comes along at the right time and right price can't be bad.

Cheers and happy building!

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Larry in Seattle


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2015 7:08 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 26, 2008 6:06 pm
Posts: 2550
Location: Under the weather. (Seattle)
Welcome aboard! Glad to see another local build, even if it means one more Locost hitting the roads around here before mine gets completed. Like Larry said, we've got a pretty good local group that manages to get together every once in a while. Well once every year, but every year we talk about getting together more frequently...So I have full confidence we'll figure out how to make that happen within the next few years. :cheers:

Personally I would go with the Duratec...Because I did. Although admittedly each option does have its own set of somewhat builder specific pro's/con's. If you want me to take any measurements on it for you, or want to come take any measurements for yourself, just shoot me a PM.

Good bright lighting of the work piece definitely makes welding easier for hacks like me.

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Also follow my build on blogspot, tumblr, or instagram and twitter (GarageOdyssey)


Last edited by Driven5 on Tue Aug 18, 2015 7:26 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2015 7:21 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2007 6:04 pm
Posts: 1458
Location: BC
I sometimes use a halogen light to see and also I got a helmet with large viewing window.
Trying to look through a slit with bifocals is useless.

Al

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2015 10:54 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2008 2:08 am
Posts: 263
Location: Olympia WA
Welcome back Jerry.
Took me a while to figure out I should have been using an auto darken mask from the beginning.
There a lot of folks around here who can be helpful.
I bounce back and forth between carbs and fuel injection. FI is great and then there is a programming problem so I go back to carbs.
I tend to go for "the simpler the better" and all the really means is that I find a way to drive sooner.
Planning/building is good, and driving is great!
JEB

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2015 11:18 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2015 12:41 pm
Posts: 62
Location: Seattle area (Woodinville)
Thanks all of you. I am looking forward to meeting everyone in the Seattle area. I'm actually in Woodinville, get into Seattle a lot, and am happy to drive anywhere in the area (except during rush hour).

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Jerry Henneman

Jack of many trades
Master of unfinished projects
build blog/log at https://jerryslocost.wordpress.com


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2015 12:14 am 
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Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2007 5:11 am
Posts: 442
Location: Seattle area
You're braver than me. There are areas I avoid no matter what time of day it is!

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Larry in Seattle


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2015 1:16 am 
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Joined: Sat Apr 26, 2008 6:06 pm
Posts: 2550
Location: Under the weather. (Seattle)
Alright, another Eastsider. I'm just a stones throw away, in Kirkland.

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-Justin

Also follow my build on blogspot, tumblr, or instagram and twitter (GarageOdyssey)


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