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Learning how to build Lotus Seven replicas...together!
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PostPosted: December 24, 2012, 6:25 pm 
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We are Slotus!
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I'm setting a goal of being able to drive the car around the block by the end of January. All I need to do is mount the clutch/brake pedal assembly and plumb all the lines, mount the steering rack & attach the tie rods, locate the steering column, tie down the differential, install the fuel cell and plumb the lines, finish hacking the harness and wire everything up. Simple, yes?? (Any encouragement will be appreciated.)


Awww, shoot... Is that all? I thought it was gonna be hard...

Keep chipping away at it, it'll happen. End of January, maybe, but it'll happen!
Good luck!
:cheers:

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"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: December 24, 2012, 9:45 pm 
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While I really want to encourage you, I think I have less to do on my Locost and I'm targeting April for a first drive. If nothing else the weather will be better.


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PostPosted: January 7, 2013, 10:21 pm 
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Tom completed the steering arms and we've tacked in the steering rack brackets - pictures to follow. We're going to the junk yard this week to get the universals and parts needed to complete the steering column. I made a wooden template to help locate the steering column & wheel before I cut any metal.
Attachment:
IMG_3030.jpg


After three attempts, Bob figured an excellent way to tie down the differential in the Miata subframe on his car and he just happened to have everything needed to do a second car...mine! Miata's use a PPF (Power Plant Frame) to do this, but it's WAY too big and heavy to incorporate. Without going into great detail, Tom used a hole saw and grinder to cut a semi-circle in the subframe. A washer was welded on the bottom end of a 2.25" ID tube and the tube was centered and welded directly above the forward of two vertical holes in the differential (used by the PPF):
Attachment:
IMG_3021.jpg

Rubber suspension bushings (Bob thinks from a '55 Chevy) were put on both sides of the welded washer (with a bushing running through the center of both bushings). We used a cold forged, roll threaded rod, washers and nuts:
Attachment:
Differential Lock-down.png

Two views of the completed job:
Attachment:
IMG_3028.jpg
Attachment:
IMG_3029.jpg

It looks like the differential is now snugly tied-down now with just a little give from the rubber bushings. It sure helps to have help from guys who've built 7s and are clearly creative when it comes to resolving stumbling blocks (that appear to be around every corner!)

I'm hoping my fuel cell, nose and scuttle will be here soon. I need to order brake lines and all the necessary fittings ASAP so I can plumb the brakes!


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PostPosted: January 8, 2013, 12:52 am 
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Very ingenious and clean looking.

The only thing I can't see is how well the washer was welded in, but since it was on the end I'm presuming access wasn't an issue and therefore the welding is secure.

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PostPosted: January 8, 2013, 3:29 am 
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If you don't have a brake tubing supplier already selected I would suggest you check out FedHill. The cunifer tubing was great to work, much easier than steel. Really bends great. Double flares were a snap with their loaner flaring tool, too.

No connection, just a satisfied customer.

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PostPosted: January 8, 2013, 11:07 am 
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thegarman wrote:
Regarding the seat brackets, I've searched to see how others are mounting similar seats and I believe my set-up will work great for my needs...

For something as critical as seat mounting - it doesn't matter how others do it. Mounting the seat straight to the floor panel means it can break free in an accident. Even in normal use the floor panel will flex and crack due to seat-flex, leading to eventual failure. Also, in an accident, as the chassis starts to collapse, the seat - attached to the floor panel - will sit static and get hit all at once. If the seat is attached to the chassis, it'll begin to accelerate sideways gradually instead of getting hit all at once.

I stand by my statement that seats need to be rigidly mounted to chassis tubes. You've made your decision but at least new builders will be warned of what they're risking.

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Last edited by KB58 on January 8, 2013, 12:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: January 8, 2013, 11:57 am 
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KB58 wrote:
I stand by my statement that seats need to be rigidly mounted to chassis tubes. You've made your decision but at least new builders will be warned of what they risking.


I called up Randy LaJoie's competition seat company http://joieofseating.net/ to ask. Talked to a good ole boy who was soooo southern he could barely speak (the kind of guys NASCAR has run out of the sport, I might add). NASCAR has got to be the kings of surviving bad accidents in vehicles made out of tubes. I know that NASCAR vehicles are crash tested in labs (NASCAR and Ford proving grounds that I know of) as well data gathered from accidents.

Sheet metal floor = definitely no no.

What the NASCAR guys do is to mount the back of the seat on the roll cage, and the bottom onto 2 tubes that are part of the frame.

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PostPosted: January 8, 2013, 12:00 pm 
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I think that it depends on the floor material/thickness and what you intend on doing with the car more than anything and no two cars are going to end up being alike.

My Cherokee really surprised me the first time I removed a front seat. There are four bolts that hold the seat to the floor; the front two bolts and the outside rear bolt were about 5/16" diameter and all three went into stamped threaded areas in thin sheet metal (the front two went into a small channel that was spot welded to the floor and the rear outside went straight through the floor to the bottom of the car). The only substantial bolt was the inside rear near the transmission tunnel that also tied the seatbelt to the floor - it was probably 1/2" diameter but it also went straight into a (slightly) reinforced area of the car's floor.

I would say the back supports are infinitely more important than the supports for the bottom of the seat. The harness typically does not attach to the seat in a Locost so in a front impact it will be transmitted into the harness and the seat will only see inertial loads. In a side impact the seat will see some load; the chassis and tunnel will restrict lateral movement some and the chassis will also restrict rear movement but most of your weight is in your upper body. In a rear impact you are completely relying on the seat - I would not trust a Kirkey aluminum seat to be capable of transmitting this load unless the back is tied into the chassis.

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PostPosted: January 8, 2013, 12:35 pm 
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File under FWIW, or "Yes, Gonzo is being an A-hole today"...

Every production (read "unibody") car I'm familiar with attaches the seat(s) thru the floor. Some mounting points seem more "solid" than others, but still, they're mounted to the sheet metal of the floor. In my MGB race car (also unibody), I mounted the seat to the floor, but put 4X4 inch steel reinforcement plates underneath at each mounting point. The back of the seat was bolted to the roll cage.

That seems to work for production cars, however, they have big side rails in their unibodies, side impact protection built into their steel doors, a steel roof and A/B/C pillars, and generally more "structure" around the seats than a typical 7 does.

On the Slotus, since we had those nice, strong frame rails right there any-hoo, we welded steel tabs onto the frame and bolted the seat to them. The seatback is bolted to the cage. (All grade 8 bolts, too!) Partly, the frame mounting was for convenience, but it was mostly for the safety aspect of it all. "I ain't no engineer" but it seemed like the best way to attach the seat, and by extension, attach my precious l'il white arse to a solid object.

I mostly agree with Andrew's point, it does depend on the car's intended use and the material/strength of the floor. If you're going racing (not autocross, racing) or going to be on interstates or main highways, I'd be concerned about the strength of seat mounts to the floor. My cynical side says, "Iffen ya get hit by an F-250 that's doin' 80 straight at ya, it ain't gonna matter." The good "Me" says to do whatever you can to be safe, and attaching seats solidly to the frame is a very, very good idea.

So after all that, what I'm saying is "Maybe you oughta re-consider..."
My .02, but for you, no charge!
:cheers:
JD Kemp

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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: January 8, 2013, 3:46 pm 
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KB58 wrote:
...it doesn't matter how others do it. Mounting the seat straight to the floor panel means it can break free...the floor panel will flex and crack due to seat-flex, leading to eventual failure....the seat - attached to the floor panel - will sit static and get hit all at once...I stand by my statement that seats need to be rigidly mounted to chassis tubes. You've made your decision but at least new builders will be warned of what they're risking.
Kurt, I trust you're not flaming the builder because he has fastened his seat to the floor, since he clearly hasn't (indeed he clearly hasn't got a floor), is it that you don't like his adjuster? Admittedly for NASCAR the seat should be planted permanently to suit the driver, but street cars with a variety of drivers have had adjustable seats sliders for years and they seem to work. Indeed most cars have A) adjustable sliders that are B) bolted to the floor, which should be a double whammy, and yet the Feds keep approving them.

I've been driving with a bench seat lately, a la The Prisoner, because I found my '60s F1 replica bucket seats fit a limited number of buckets. It would probably be good if I'd add some bolsters to the sides for side impact protection, but I don't think seat attachment security would make much difference (caveat: with my seats) in an accident. If I get hit from the front, my seat belt and shoulder harness are what limit my motion, and as long as my seat is light weight it won't add much load to me, even if it isn't bolted in at all. If I get hit from the back, the chassis behind the seat will stop me (and the seat) from moving backward. If seat-flex caused the floor panel to fail, that'd be bad because I'd fall butt-first onto the highway, but my floor shows no signs of failure to date and I presume it would be gradual enough that I'd notice it before a Jack-sized hole opened up.

Mind you, I'd approach a track car differently, with a wrap-around seat etc, but from a roadway safety standpoint I don't put this high on my list. I think I'm safer in a seat bolted to the floor and a helmet on my head than I'd be in a seat bolted to the chassis and a snap-brim cap...and I vary my headgear with situation and mood. This is just my opinion, but there it is.

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PostPosted: January 8, 2013, 4:08 pm 
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Wow...my last posting took off in a weird direction and I'm not sure how that came about...all I talked about was steering system and a creative differential tie down and I guess "KB58" wanted to revisit my older seat mount posting. In regard to that, a few comments: I don't even have floor panels in my project yet...the structure looks like this:
Attachment:
Welded-in seat structure.png
The side brackets that I made and are using are very similar to those used on my nephew's full race 911 and his Spec-Miata. Instead of buying aluminum seat brackets sold by OMP for $139/pair, I made my own (the locost way!) AND the seats are bolted with grade 8 fasteners to the brackets which are bolted with grade 8 fasteners onto my welded-in frame crossbars. My MA degree is in Education, so I won't argue with the engineers on this forum, however I'm not real clear on some of the comments posted above. For example, on any wreck (minor or severe), where COULD I go if I'm belted firmly into my 5-point G-Force racing harness (with lap belts attached through the seat to the frame using welded-in tabs and the shoulder belts attached through the seat and wrapped around the rear roll bar?) I don't know how the seat I'm setting in could pull out of the brackets/mounting with me strapped tightly into my harness! There would have to be some voodoo physics involved for any seat to go anywhere in this situation. I just hope any further arguing about seat mounting will be done in a different forum and not on my site...I would be very happy for any emails or PMs from anyone who really wants to share their opinions on this topic with me personally : - )

That said, to "carguy123", the washer at the bottom of the tube was VERY WELL done by Tom (who takes great pride in his MIG and TIG welding. He just loves to weld!) To "Larry in Seattle"...thanks for your Fedhill tip. I'm planning an order this week and they are my #1 choice in brake lines!


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PostPosted: January 8, 2013, 4:12 pm 
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JackMcCornack wrote:
Kurt, I trust you're not flaming the builder because he has fastened his seat to the floor, since he clearly hasn't (indeed he clearly hasn't got a floor), is it that you don't like his adjuster?

I'm basing it upon my original post on pg 3 pointing out that bolting it to a thin floor was a bad idea, and his reply:
thegarman wrote:
Regarding the seat brackets, I've searched to see how others are mounting similar seats and I believe my set-up will work great for my needs...

So... fair enough, I do not know for a fact if he's going to run the bolts of the adjuster down through the floor panel. Also, my comments are the same regardless whether it's just the seat, or the seat/adjuster assembly that's mounted that way.

[Edit] As I typed this the OP posted above, showing that indeed, he is bolting the seats to cross-tubes - good, and I apologize for going off in the weeds. My rant was based upon the assumption that because he didn't correct my post on mounting the seat to the floor panel, that he was defending the practice with the post quoted here. Good to see it done right.

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PostPosted: January 8, 2013, 7:23 pm 
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And moving on to more fun things...I really enjoy researching, scouring the Locost forums for ideas, suggestions and recommendations...then determine what exactly I need (or want!) followed by searching for parts online and ordering. So today I ordered a set of 7" halogen headlights and a set of stone guards like these (this is not my car!):
Attachment:
Stone Guards.png
a set of side "peep" mirrors:
Attachment:
92550745_L.jpg
and a dash mirror:
Attachment:
Dash Mirror.png
These are similar to the mirrors I had in my Bugeyes. Tonight I'll order a pair of G-Force 7100 5-point camlock harnesses:
Attachment:
G-Force Harness.jpg
I've read myself silly to learn as much about 5-point harnesses prior to ordering and have decided to go with wrap-around 3" shoulder belts that "pull down", 3" bolt-in lap belts that "pull up" and a 2" bolt-in sub belt. The wrap-arounds will be properly fitted through the seats & sized precisely to the rear rollbar and the bolt-ins will be attached through the seats to tabs welded onto the frame. (Those seats won't be going anywhere!)

Lastly for today...one picture I posted a while ago showed a laser-cut shock tower we were proud of taken just after we bolted in the Miata subframe:
Attachment:
Early shot of shock tower.jpg
but that pic created several comments about not being strong enought and needing more support, gussets, etc. I should have waited a while to show the finished product instead, so for anyone interested, here's the ALMOST finished product:
Attachment:
Later shot of shock towers.png

As Tonto said: "Life good."


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PostPosted: January 8, 2013, 8:09 pm 
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thegarman wrote:
As Tonto said: "Life good."


I also recall that famous Tonto quote: "What does Paleface want now?"

That DOES look good as you've finished it.

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PostPosted: January 8, 2013, 8:18 pm 
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Him got that right, Kemo Sabay.

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