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Learning how to build Lotus Seven replicas...together!
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 9:04 pm 
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Location: York,Pa
What did you do with the donor Miata engine and the title? I see from the first post that you bought it last year so I'm guessing they are long gone but just in case they were still around I'd ask. The donor for my car came with a promise of paperwork later. "I have the title signed off by the previous owner" After a year of emails and phone calls I got a piece of paper that is worthless according to the fine state of Pennsylvania. Time is approaching when I'll need all of my paperwork to do the title thing and I have no proof of ownership for the Miata parts. I have been watching Craigslist and ebay for anything in my area for the last year but haven't found another donor car that is both cheap and has a title. I'm up in York so I'm not all that far away.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2012 2:09 am 
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Location: murrieta, ca
GoBerserk wrote:
Let's take a 2012 R1 for example: redline 13,750 rpm, primary ratio, 1.512, 6th gear ratio 1.269
When used with a miata rear end with a ratio of 4.1, that puts the max wheel rpm at 13,750 / 1.512 / 1.269 / 4.1 = 1748 rpm.
Tirerack says a Toyo R1R 205/50R15 has 903 revs/mile. So . . .
1748 rev/min / 903 revs/mile * 60 min/hour = 116mph.

I would say 116mph is a little slow for winding out to redline in 6th gear. If you can find the taller miata ratio of 3.909 you would get to 122mph. I recall Paul's build using a non-miata differential for this reason. But you'll have to check with him.


To tell you the truth I hadn't really thought about it until you asked... I don't think a miata differential would work without new internals. Of course the other issue with this is that the bike trannys are all really close ratios, if you are getting 116mph in 6th, you can get up to 58mph in 1st (using the R1 as an example still), 116mph in 6th is too slow, but it seems like 58mph in 1st is at least twice as fast as would be desirable. I guess that its acceptable on a motorcycle since they are so light, but I'm beginning to understand more of why you ended up going with the adapter and car transmission for the 7...


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2012 7:51 am 
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Joined: Mon May 10, 2010 12:46 pm
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Run87k wrote:
What did you do with the donor Miata engine and the title? I see from the first post that you bought it last year so I'm guessing they are long gone but just in case they were still around I'd ask. The donor for my car came with a promise of paperwork later. "I have the title signed off by the previous owner" After a year of emails and phone calls I got a piece of paper that is worthless according to the fine state of Pennsylvania. Time is approaching when I'll need all of my paperwork to do the title thing and I have no proof of ownership for the Miata parts. I have been watching Craigslist and ebay for anything in my area for the last year but haven't found another donor car that is both cheap and has a title. I'm up in York so I'm not all that far away.


Man, sorry about the saga. One of my biggest fears is that come title time, some duck will be out of the row.

Funny you should ask though . . . I still have the donor. I've removed the suspension bits, rear end and transmission, but the engine is still in there. I'll PM you and maybe we can work something out.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2012 8:03 am 
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henlybenderson wrote:
To tell you the truth I hadn't really thought about it until you asked... I don't think a miata differential would work without new internals. Of course the other issue with this is that the bike trannys are all really close ratios, if you are getting 116mph in 6th, you can get up to 58mph in 1st (using the R1 as an example still), 116mph in 6th is too slow, but it seems like 58mph in 1st is at least twice as fast as would be desirable. I guess that its acceptable on a motorcycle since they are so light, but I'm beginning to understand more of why you ended up going with the adapter and car transmission for the 7...


Yes! I have a convert! :D To play devil's advocate (and I do this all the time to myself) another factor in the decision is how the car is going to be used. If I was building a track toy, there is a good chance I would have stuck with the bike's transmission and just found a differential that was tall enough to get a decent top speed. On a track you definitely want that close ratio box. But, my car is going to be mostly street driven. And the street means a wider set of gears that allow for easy launching yet maintaining a good top speed as well as a reverse gear.

There is another solution for the wider ratios which is probably cheaper than doing what I did: get custom gears for the bike's transmission. Nova Racing, for one, has both wide and close ratio gearsets for various bikes. I wager they'd make a custom set for the right price. This way you'd get the light weight, the sequential shifter and good ratios. The only thing you give up is reverse, but you could use a reversing box for that.


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 Post subject: The kit is home!
PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 10:03 am 
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Posts: 74
I got my kit home yesterday! After travelling across the Atlantic on the OOCL California my container was offloaded in New York. From there, my crate was scanned in customs and then made its way to OST Shipping in Baltimore. I rented a uhaul and picked it up yesterday. I used IAN International to get through customs and I have to give a nod to my agent there, Jessica. Everything was very smooth.

My crate was in good condition when I got it and everything looked packed well. As far as I can tell nothing was damaged in shipping which is a big relief. Now, on to the pictures!

There are a lot more pictures here of the unpacking (scroll to the right). I've included some highlights below.

I got the garage all cleaned up and ready to go. It's not the largest in the world. In fact, it's pretty small. But it will work.
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Here's my truck parked next to and OST rig.
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Get in there!
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Home at last
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The first peak through the plastic is a good one.
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Pulling the crate apart
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Time to unpack
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Fenders
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Seats, nosecone and interior tunnel trim
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The worst thing is the packing tape leaves crazy residue. Nothing a bit of goo gone can't take care of.
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Lots of parts
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And we're in!
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 10:06 am 
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Joined: Mon May 10, 2010 12:46 pm
Posts: 74
I am really impressed with the frame. It appears well thought-out, good mitering and welds, and the powdercoat is a great finish. Also, MNR did a custom engine bay for me because my bike engine sits on the right rather than the left.

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 Post subject: Build table or not?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 1:37 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 10, 2010 12:46 pm
Posts: 74
I'm trying to decide if I should build the car on a table, or on the ground/jackstands. I always assumed it would be up in the air on a table - because that's what I've seen a lot here. But people generally already have the table built because they've made their frame (which I have not done). The directions from MNR suggest putting the frame on a few jackstands to do the building. That seems logical, because there isn't that much that needs to be done from the underside. And if the car is up in the air I have to lift the engine trans and diff that much higher to get them in and out. Also, I have to get the car down from this table eventually. The other thing is my garage is very small. So I imagine needing to move the car around a bit and at times roll it part way out of the garage to do things like insert the engine with a hoist. So my plan was to put my table on casters so I could roll it around.

Anyway, just looking for some advice on the matter before I get started.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 1:55 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2010 8:26 pm
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Location: murrieta, ca
Looks good! I obviously don't have any experience in the matter, but my plan is to use something like saw horses... I don't think I would want to use jack stands, too low to the ground for the amount of detail work that needs to be done! The table with wheels idea seems good too considering your space limitations. All in all I think its worth having to lift the engine/tranny a little higher for the convenience all around.

Did you order the seats and just have them shipped over with the kit or did MNR provide them?


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 9:38 am 
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henlybenderson wrote:
Did you order the seats and just have them shipped over with the kit or did MNR provide them?


The seats were provided by MNR. The chassis is so narrow that it's hard to find seats that fit. I wasn't crazy about buying seats that I've never tried, but I wanted to know that they would fit. They appear to be nice quality and well made. I had the sub-belt holes added as an option.

I sat in one on the floor in my living room and my initial impression is that the fit is a little strange. I'm not sure how the angle is going to be in the car so I can't say for sure yet. I always need more lower back support than typical seats provide though. I see making a cushion in my future.

My other seat buying experience was for my Miata. I went to OG Racing in Virginia and spent probably and hour or more trying different seats in their showroom and couldn't make up my mind. I ended up with a set of Kirkey's which to this day are comfortable but they only fit in the car after hammering the transmission tunnel and bending one of the shoulder ears on the seat. Some times with too many options I just can't make a decision so I opted to have someone make it for me here.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 9:43 am 
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Joined: Sun Apr 23, 2006 8:26 pm
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Location: SoCal
The look on your wife's face speaks volumes, something like, "Well I guess you're pretty happy, but I wonder how much work you'll be doing around the house now..."

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 9:51 am 
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henlybenderson wrote:
GoBerserk wrote:
I forgot to mention in my last post, I want to do basically what you are doing WRT the frame/motorcycle engine/miata running gear... Was MNR easy to work with to get that combination? What was the lead time like on the MNR kit?


Before the frame went to powdercoat I asked MNR for some pictures so I could verify it was what I wanted. Turns out they had forgotten my engine was going to be on the right side and built it as if it was going on the left. But they fixed it. Still it made me nervous as I waited for the kit to arrive. But arrive it has, and the frame looks great. It's definitely set up correctly for the engine on the right. The trans tunnel looks to be a little tight but I trust they know what they're doing there.

FWIW I went to fit the diff last night and it was a mixed bag. There are a couple details in the frame which were well thought-out to make installation easy and to have clearance around the diff. But it won't quite bolt right in and I'm going to have to make some spacers and get a larger bolt than they provided.

The lead time wasn't bad. After emailing back and forth to figure out all the options I sent the deposit on about March 7th. On April 17th I got the pictures of the frame before powdercoat. The crate left the UK on May 27th and arrived in New York on June 3rd. It made its way through customs and down to Baltimore and was ready on about June 14th but I didn't go get it until the 19th.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 9:52 am 
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KB58 wrote:
The look on your wife's face speaks volumes, something like, "Well I guess you're pretty happy, but I wonder how much work you'll be doing around the house now..."


:lol: Haha! Yeah, that's about right.


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 Post subject: Re: Build table or not?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 7:39 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 12, 2012 8:40 pm
Posts: 98
Location: York,Pa
GoBerserk wrote:
I'm trying to decide if I should build the car on a table, or on the ground/jackstands.


I started with a CMC frame and built on jackstands. I never missed having a table. Especially since the engine, suspension and wheels went on and off more times than I care to remember and my engine hoist would not have been able to pull the engine from up on a table.

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 Post subject: Re: Build table or not?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2012 4:45 pm 
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Posts: 74
Run87k wrote:
I started with a CMC frame and built on jackstands. I never missed having a table. Especially since the engine, suspension and wheels went on and off more times than I care to remember and my engine hoist would not have been able to pull the engine from up on a table.


Yeah, I know I'm going to have to take the engine in and out a ton, so I decided to go with a jackstand height rig. Also, my garage is really small so I wanted a way to be able to move the build around as I went. I ended up building a cart with caster wheels that keeps the car off of the ground and lets me roll it around as necessary. At times when I don't want it rolling, I'll just put the cart on blocks so the casters are off of the ground.

Cart in progress:
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Chassis on cart:
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Chassis on cart2:
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2012 4:49 pm 
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In other news, the first parts have been bolted to the car! The powdercoat had made the bolt holes too small and so I had to drill them out. I also removed some metal so I ended up applying Por15 to make sure the fresh metal was protected.

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Also, spent some time on the differential. I got the old bushings out, and the aluminum housing cleaned up and primed for paint. I think I'll do dark blue (to match the body) on the aluminum portion and keep the cast iron portion black.

Bushings on their way out:
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Grimy aluminum housing sans bushings:
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Clean housing ready for paint:
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Housing primed:
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