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Learning how to build Lotus Seven replicas...together!
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2007 2:26 pm 
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Well I finally took the plunge, the build has begun :headbang: . After a year of planning/modeling/dreaming/saving/trash talking on the forum/ and pleading (with the wife) I actually started work on the fly-w8.
Here are the stats:

Donor: 1994 Miata M-Edition, 5speed, LSD rear, 1.8L 189k miles :shock: but it still runs like a top!
Chassis Design: Custom. Loosely based on the book, a little wider and a little shorter. (like me)
Chassis tubing: 1" square 16ga ERW and 3/4" round 0.030" wall tubing
Brakes: Wilwood pedals/cylinders w/ miata rotors-calipers
Bodywork: +2 nosecone from Coveland w/ traditional fenders front and rear.
Interior: Corbeau seats (planned) w/ autometer guages
Budget: $5-$7k
Amount spent thus far: $3.5k ---so I think I see a budget over-run in my future. :wink:
Schedule: 2 Years maybe?

So far so good. I've only had to cut apart tubes and re-weld once so far... lets see 10 tubes with 1 redo... 10% isn't bad right? It's going to be a long process.
The day I have to take something off the Miata that makes it inoperable will be a sad day. Right now I'm driving it and having a ball. With the build table in the 3rd bay sideways I can actually still park the miata in the garage with the nose under the table.
- But I'm committed. I found a buyer for the hardtop (hanging on the wall in the upper right corner.) Goodbye spec miata dream, hello Locost.


Attachments:
File comment: FlyW8 build day #1
DSC00040.JPG
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Miata based, custom chassis build in progress. First Drive!!! http://locostusa.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=2269&start=375
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2007 2:59 pm 
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Nice, glad to see another Miata builder at it. Don't forget to budget the coilovers, they are likely the most expensive bolt on component you will have to buy.

BTW- nice bike.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2007 11:46 pm 
^what he said!!! Figure on roughly $1000 for your coilovers - you will eliminate a large source of future problems, simplify your front end design, and start from a known point in your suspension. I bought GAZ units from England - a little bling, and a whole lot of qauality for the build.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2007 1:20 pm 
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Location: PHX, AZ
I have a set of Nice Koni's for the front already and I have a set of springs for the rear. They were a good find. I got them from a friend, it was kind of a "you gonna use these" "Nope, you want 'em?" "sure how much?" $50. SOLD.
I'm hoping I can find a good set of rear shocks on ebay for under $250. - We'll see.

Chet, I'm glad you like the bike Lemond makes a very comfortable bike. I do the 206 mile LOTOJA relay race (Logan UT to Jackson Hole WY) every year, and just did the MS150 a few weekends ago. I do love to ride. If I rode it a little more and was in the shop a little less I wouldn't have to make the chassis quite as wide. :)

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2007 12:39 pm 
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Made some more progress last night.
I just had to clamp the fenders and nose cone on for a look-see. The days of the miata are numbered. I can't in good conscience weld up the tunnel and footwells without test fitting the engine and tranny. - I hope it fits!
I've already resigned myself to hanging the oil pan a couple of inches below the frame rails and having some kind of a hood scoop/power bulge. My main concern is just how far back can I get the engine? I don't think I can fit the slave cylinder down the tunnel and still have any passenger footwell space. - Solid models only take you so far...

Open wide little Miata... :crying: I need to pull that mill. :twisted:


Attachments:
Flyw8 10-July-07.jpg
Flyw8 10-July-07.jpg [ 65.26 KiB | Viewed 15396 times ]

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 Post subject: Miata Tear Down
PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2007 7:58 pm 
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The miata has seen it's last mile. :cry:
Here is the "before" picture as I started disassembly.


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Picture 052-1.jpg
Picture 052-1.jpg [ 67.79 KiB | Viewed 15357 times ]

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 Post subject: Custom Mods...
PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2007 8:04 pm 
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And this is my favorite "custom" modification the previous owner installed.

Mazda OEM heater hose: $37 (forget that!)

so...

copper elbows: 69¢
copper pipe nipple: 29¢
hose clamps: 79¢

solving a $37 problem for $1.77,... Priceless.


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Picture 061-1.jpg
Picture 061-1.jpg [ 84.68 KiB | Viewed 15349 times ]

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2007 8:52 pm 
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wow - that Miata looks to be in rather good shape too. Good luck with the build


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 12:32 am 
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So I'm not the only one who's engine oil dipstick broke off on their miata? Good to know...

Good luck with the build. How do you like the coveland fenders? I assume you got the fiberglass ones?

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 10:19 pm 
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The miata was/is in really good condition. I think I got a great deal on it. It has 189k miles on it, but it still runs good. It's got good tires and everything is fully operational. I actually registered it and drove it for a few months. It was a real crossroad to pull off the first piece of the miata that made it inoperable.

"Are you really committed to this you fool?..."
:?: :?: :?:

Anyway I only paid $2500 for it, then I sold the hardtop for $900. So I'm only into it $1600! I figure I can sell off everything I don't use and make all my money back. eBay's going to make me a "Power Seller" by the time I'm done. :wink:

As far as the Coveland fenders go, I'm not thrilled with them. the front set is pretty good, but the rears leave a bit to be desired. The lower corners have some porosity and they are really thin. I realize thin=light, but too-thin = weak. I'm afraid they are on the border.

Also he sent me two identical fenders. (I forget now whether it's two rights or two lefts, but that's irrelevent)

If you look close at a real Lotus you can see they are not symmetrical about the wheel centerline. The taper on the leading and trailing edges are different, and the wheel opening is supposed to be off-set to the front.
I have emailed Jim but he has not replied. He has a bunch of excuses for why his service is so poor (some of them rather convincing), but the fact remains, his communication and service leaves MUCH to be desired.

I don't expect he will ever exchange my fenders no matter how much email I send.

In short... NOT worth the $300 a set he charges (plus shipping)
Save your time and heartache and buy some trailer fenders, or make them yourself.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2007 9:20 am 
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FWIW Jack at Kinetic says he soon will be offering fenders. Rears that you can cut down to whatever width you desire. Keep an eye on his site and maybe you can sell the rears you don't like and get some from Jack. Was that $300 just for the rears?

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2007 12:34 pm 
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Yup. $150 a piece. Ouch.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 1:33 pm 
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The miata has finally released its grasp on the engine. :cheers: It took a lot longer to break it free than it should have, but I wanted to be meticulous about marking connections and putting groups of fasteners in ziploc bags etc. I shouldn't have too much trouble getting it all back together in its new home.

The engine and entire lower engine bay were covered in a digustingly thick coat of 10W-40/90 weight/road tar/sand, salt and anything else that has even the remotest chance of sticking to a car. ICK! :puke:

I started with a citrus cleaner, then stepped up to Purple Power, then GUNK engine-brite and finally said "to heck with it!" and pulled out my parts washer. I tarped off the floor and went to town with a rough bristle brush. It seems to be working. I still have many hours of cleaning/painting ahead. I want this thing to shine! 8)

- Note to self, add in to the budget front and rear main seals, as well as a valve cover gasket.


The test fit in the chassis went well. It's sitting a little high in the chassis because I haven't removed the center section of the lower members. But I think I'll wait till the engine/tranny are a little cleaner before marking everything out for the tunnel.

This is getting exciting!


Attachments:
File comment: Hmmm. Something seems to be missing here...
Picture 026-1.jpg
Picture 026-1.jpg [ 72.66 KiB | Viewed 15059 times ]
File comment: Test Fit in Chassis
Picture 021-1.jpg
Picture 021-1.jpg [ 76.11 KiB | Viewed 15051 times ]
File comment: Test Fit in Chassis
Picture 025-1.jpg
Picture 025-1.jpg [ 81.64 KiB | Viewed 14987 times ]

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2007 8:11 pm 
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Engine, meet Chassis, Chassis, meet Engine. The two of you are going to have a long, amazing relationship. :)

I finally got the engine more or less de-yucked. I wouldn't call it clean, but at least it's degreased.

I wanted to see just how far back in the chassis I could get the engine, and I think this is the limit without making major concessions in the footwells.


Attachments:
File comment: Test Fit
Picture 064-1.jpg
Picture 064-1.jpg [ 79.04 KiB | Viewed 14789 times ]

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2007 8:16 pm 
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Not much room here...

I'm going to end up with either a small 'power bulge' or hood scoop right in the middle to get over the high spot on the cam-gear cover.

I've toyed with the idea of just tilting the nose forward to lift the "bonnet" side up high enough to clear the entire engine, but it just goofs up the proportions too much.

It looks like I'll have a small bubble over the throttle linkage there too.

hammer, dolly, leather bag here I come. Anyone in the mtn west have an english wheel they want to donate to my cause? :lol:


Attachments:
Picture 067-1.jpg
Picture 067-1.jpg [ 67.19 KiB | Viewed 14753 times ]

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