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Learning how to build Lotus Seven replicas...together!
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PostPosted: January 15, 2018, 3:50 am 
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Got six (Four! :BH: ) more of the long cockpit tubes tacked in.
Then I sat in the full cockpit for the first time.
Two uppermost rails are getting relocated just a little further out, I'm not as skinny as I used to be. :cry:

Got to sit the nose on the chassis, which confirms that the rear edge of the "power bulge" lines up with the 5" rear-set upper firewall tube.
That means I can set the engine back another 2"-3". :)
Looks like the engine itself will just fit under the bonnet but I may have to cut a hole to clear the tops of the Webers and air filters. Not a tragedy as that was pretty common for the original racers.

Also played with the rear three-link mounting concept.
Trying to not have to modify the rear axle.
Looks like it should be fairly simple except fabricating the upper link.
Since I don't think I need to bend any 1.5" dia. tube it should not be too bad.
I'm thinking rod ends at the axle side and bushings at the frame side.
With Dzus fastener body mounting I already have plenty of built in rattles, want a firm ride with adjustments but not too harsh.

Spitfire steering column is plenty long.
Front A arms, upper chassis link, and steering rack mounting are now the most difficult items to finalize.
I think I'm going to build an adjustable mock-up before committing to that fabrication.

Also looks like seats will be pretty much built into the chassis.
Between the outside of the chassis, driveshaft tunnel, and rear bulkhead the seat is almost a default. :wink:

Found my flip top GT6 fill cap, fuel tank will have to be custom.
Thinking a shallow area above the rear axle and a deeper sump behind it.
And yes, a big fat tube at the back to protect the tank.

If only the fabrication was as quick as conception, this would be done already!

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PostPosted: January 16, 2018, 5:16 am 
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OK, back at six chassis tubes and a smidge more room.
Next up some vertical and nearly vertical elements at the front and rear hoops.
Hoping that those will make the assembly rigid enough that I can take it off the table for more welding without distortion.

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PostPosted: January 17, 2018, 2:46 pm 
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You can always tack weld a few pieces of spare tubing as diagonals through the cockpit to keep things square up while moving the chassis around. With a cold tack you can knock the tubes loose with a mallet when you need to remove them.


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PostPosted: January 18, 2018, 4:01 am 
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Two vertical tubes at the rear hoop are fitted but not tacked yet.
Much more challenging when angles and junction tubes are added to the equation.
But I am getting better at minimizing gaps. :)

I may have to locate some more long stock to tack in some cross diagonals so that I can turn the assembly over to weld the bottom without undue twisting.
For now it's securely clamped to the table in the hope of remaining flat while tacking in tubes.

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PostPosted: January 20, 2018, 11:56 pm 
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Trying to keep some forward momentum going.
Today the two nearly vertical tubes at the front hoop are fitted but not tacked.
That is enough of the main structure tacked up that I'm hoping to bring in a "Ringer" (Pro) to do a lot of my welding.
I'm not so good as I would like with vertical or overhead welds so I will pay to move this along faster.
Have to get several junctions made solid before I can put the vertical members in permanently.

Once it's all solid enough I will use my auto body rotisserie to be able to flip it around for final welding side and bottom.
Expect I will be putting it back on the table frequently to confirm it remains flat and true.

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PostPosted: January 21, 2018, 10:53 pm 
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Looking at temporary cross-bracing for the cockpit area to prevent twisting as junctions are fully welded.
Found a limited amount of surplus 1" steel tube to use.

Thinking that two diagonals in an X from the top to the bottom perimeter would be more effective than an X only at the top?
Also thinking of temporary front and rear diagonals across the main bulkhead hoops.
I hope this will be enough bracing, need to be able to reach all the tube junctions.
Once the temp tubes are tacked I will release the clamps holding the main rails to the table.
Hope to see no deflection/twisting.

If this works I should be able to put the chassis on my rotisserie to flip it around for easier final welding.

Image

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PostPosted: January 25, 2018, 4:58 am 
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GAAAAAAAA! :BH:
Trying to make sense of front suspension basics.
Broke down an Alfa front spindle to take measurements.
Will have to do it over with better tools but it seems to be surprisingly similar to Mustang II. :shock:

Bare spindle is light, about 6.6 Lb.
Complete assembly with calipers and pads is heavy, about 39 Lb.!
Stock caliper is 9 Lb. with pads.
These weights are without A arms or ball joints.
I may be able to reduce some weight if I can replace the stock rotor mount with aluminum.
If I'm doing that, maybe make it to take lighter rotors?
Also going to look for some aluminum calipers, Alfa's have been raced in the U.S. for decades so there should be a set available.

It seems there is no built in caster, upper and lower BJ's are on center with the spindle so swapping from side to side should not be an issue. :D
This will also move the calipers to the back of the wheel.
Camber appears to be about 11.5º.

Checking threads here it seems I should be measuring upright height from center of lower to center of upper ball joint? :?:
The Alfa may be a bit odd, both ball joints mount from the top side of their mount.

So far V-Susp is not working out for me.
Will try again when I have my measurements confirmed.

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PostPosted: February 9, 2018, 2:51 am 
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Finally have the main cockpit welded up.
Also sat the chassis at ride height and put the rear axle up on the table.
Now I can see how well existing axle mounts will work, or not.
Also helps to finalize mounting points for trailing arms and the triangulated upper arm.
These may not be the sexiest wheels but they are very light genuine Cromodora that were only available as an option for one year.

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PostPosted: February 14, 2018, 1:46 am 
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"Best laid plans of mice and men".

I got a bit frustrated with the weight and near total lack of aftermarket support for my planned Alfa-Romeo spindles.
So I thought I might use the Pinto set-up I have on hand for another project that I will not get back to until this one is done.
PCD is correct and anything Ford "Should" have more support than Alfa, right?
Pinto (*And I do mean 73-74 Pinto, not Mustang II*) spindles are a bit lighter and it turns out very similar in most dimensions to the Alfa parts except that the steering arms are significantly shorter.
So far so good, until I tried the hub in a wheel. :BH:
I've had these same hubs in Enkie/Alfa wheels with no issue at all.
But for the factory Alfa wheels I am determined to use they do not clear the wheel center.
So, I can see if the wheel center can be opened up, perhaps turn down the OD of the hub, or see if the $$$ alloy hubs might be a bit smaller in that dimension.
I think I used to have a link to alloy 4-lug hubs, probably in the old computer that crashed.
Wilwood does not make them and will not sell blank hubs.
Not sure if there is enough material available to re-drill them myself.
Also finding that Pinto* aftermarket performance support is about as good as Alfa, virtually none. :BH: :BH:
More research to do before deciding.
I've started to completely strip an Alfa hub with an eye to making them lighter. :)

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PostPosted: February 14, 2018, 3:18 am 
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Ah. looks like I may have found 4-lug alloy hubs to fit Pinto spindles, Speedway Motors.
http://1speedway.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=83
May be useful for other folks builds too.
Price requires asking so may be high.

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PostPosted: February 14, 2018, 6:26 am 
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RichardSIA wrote:
Broke down an Alfa front spindle to take measurements.
Will have to do it over with better tools but it seems to be surprisingly similar to Mustang II. :shock:


Doesn't look far off the spindles I have that I have that are copies of the 1989-95 Toyota Pickup. Has removable steering arm so you could fabricate your own as I did previously

You are aware of this thread of course, post 7 shows those spindles ..

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=1292


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PostPosted: February 14, 2018, 2:40 pm 
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Yes I have viewed that thread a few times.
Sent an email to speedway asking the price of their hubs.

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PostPosted: February 14, 2018, 3:01 pm 
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Speedway MINI STOCK HUBS*
PART # DESCRIPTION
5307-1 Front Hub, Bare — 4x4-1/4" BC $215.91 ea
5307-10-1 Front Hub Assembly — 4x4-1/4" BC $266.15 ea

Maybe I will do these if I cannot reach satisfaction with parts I have. :?

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PostPosted: February 14, 2018, 7:59 pm 
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I've dealt with Speedway Engineering in my past! They do quality work, but they're proud of it!

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PostPosted: February 19, 2018, 10:16 pm 
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Really do not want to steal the Pinto spindles/hubs from the project they are intended for.
There is not that much difference in dimensions between the Alfa and Pinto spindles.
Alfa are actually lighter than Pinto until you add the heavy rotors and calipers.
Alfa uses bolt-on steering arms so I can make them any length I like.
Wilwood has light bolt-on calipers and I think I can make the aluminum hats to take lighter Wilwood rotors.
I can drill and slot them myself if needed, but I doubt that it will be.

As is often the case with these builds the solution to one issue creates another. :BH:
Lowering the engine as far as I need to clear the bonnet and keep the weight low means I have to dry sump it. :cry:
It would actually be simpler and cheaper to go with a V6 or V8 but I am determined to use the Alfa Romeo and Webers.
Stubbornness can be expensive, but the Alfa is what I want, it is what I will have. :wink:

So I need to piece together a dry sump system.
I think I can re-use the original SPICA pump crank pulley.
Looking for a 2 or 3 stage pump, front pulley, and reservoir.
I should be able to find a used oil collection pan.
Weaver Bros. are just up the road from me but the phone number is dead.
I sent an email to try to confirm they are still in business.
The may sell rebuilt pumps.

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