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PostPosted: October 5, 2007, 4:01 am 
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Joined: August 10, 2007, 12:05 am
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Location: Champion, Ohio
While waiting for my order from Kinetic, I completed the rear suspension mounts.


Attachments:
File comment: My own design, and they're sturdy enough to hit around with a hammer or bounce on when the shocks and wheels are in place... they're 1/8" steel, if I remember correctly.
Rear suspension mounts.jpg
Rear suspension mounts.jpg [ 69.71 KiB | Viewed 9836 times ]
File comment: I'm happy.
Rear suspension mount side.jpg
Rear suspension mount side.jpg [ 58.01 KiB | Viewed 9833 times ]
File comment: These were going to be my upper coilover mounting points.
Upper Shock Mounts.jpg
Upper Shock Mounts.jpg [ 113.51 KiB | Viewed 9831 times ]
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PostPosted: October 5, 2007, 4:19 am 
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Location: Champion, Ohio
My suspension arrived. I have the first production pair of Jack's Quick-Adjust Control Arms.

I realized that the upper control arms were going to need to be shortened, but to do so, I'd need to make a slug to thread down into the threaded end, so when I cut it, I'd be able to unthread the slug, and clean the end of the threads. I'd also then need to get a die and thread a little further to make up for the 3/4" I cut off. I needed to cut both the main and the secondary upper control arms to be able to apply negative camber. As it was initially, with the lower control arms extended out as far as safely possible--with the rod ends unthreaded 2/3 of the way--, I had -1.5 camber on one side and .7 camber on the other, or something along that line. Definately not enough.

The only problem was that they have regular 3/4-20 on one end, and 3/4-20LH on the other. The one I could get bolts to cut into slugs anywhere... the LH, on the other hand...

I eventually ended up having to buy a 6' threaded rod, and used 3/4" of it for one slug to clean the threads as I cut each. I also had to buy a die to ream them a little deeper, but that I was able to do locally.

Overall, the fit and finish of these are great. They look good, and are easily adjustable.

More about on the next post.


Attachments:
File comment: Secondary control arms.
Completed Secondary Control Arms.jpg
Completed Secondary Control Arms.jpg [ 106.03 KiB | Viewed 9814 times ]
File comment: Main control arms.
Completed Main Control Arms.jpg
Completed Main Control Arms.jpg [ 114.55 KiB | Viewed 9820 times ]
File comment: Compare the cut and uncut. If you look closely, you can see that the rod ends aren't identically threaded...
Upper Shock Mounts.jpg
Upper Shock Mounts.jpg [ 104.81 KiB | Viewed 9812 times ]
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PostPosted: October 5, 2007, 4:29 am 
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In tradition to the fact that almost everything I have made for this thing ends up being one-off, the suspension mounting brackets couldn't be simple U-mounts. I had to install two-piece non-equal-length brackets.

When Jack builds a frame, he modifies the front uprights that the suspension mounts bolt/weld to. He tilts them inwards a little, making it easy to mount regular brackets. Not so for mine.

It took a while, but eventually me, my dad, and a friend managed to get them all equal and level. Unlike regular brackets, you can't just run a rod between 'em all and check with a level--you have to make sure each set is level, and then that the bolt will fit through them. Easier shown than explained.

Looks great, though. I can now get a -5 camber, not that I'd ever need that much.


Attachments:
File comment: Complete upper control arms.
Upper Shock Mounts.jpg
Upper Shock Mounts.jpg [ 118.85 KiB | Viewed 9802 times ]
File comment: Shock mount welded to lower control arm. Notice that both upper and lower can be quickly adjusted without being removed from the frame.
IMG_2046.jpg
IMG_2046.jpg [ 72.68 KiB | Viewed 9799 times ]
File comment: All brackets finished!
IMG_2044.jpg
IMG_2044.jpg [ 84.4 KiB | Viewed 9795 times ]
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PostPosted: October 5, 2007, 4:33 am 
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Location: Champion, Ohio
At last! On it's own four wheels for the first time! Even if it's not real coilovers...


Attachments:
File comment: Note the excessive negative camber, and the temporary coilovers.
IMG_2052.jpg
IMG_2052.jpg [ 69.71 KiB | Viewed 9794 times ]
File comment: On it's own four wheels for the first time.
IMG_2056.jpg
IMG_2056.jpg [ 78.66 KiB | Viewed 9795 times ]
File comment: Closeup
IMG_2061.jpg
IMG_2061.jpg [ 76.17 KiB | Viewed 9788 times ]
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PostPosted: October 5, 2007, 4:52 am 
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One of the next things on the list, while waiting for my coilovers to get here, was the differential bracket, or the replacement for the PPF.

I'm going to cheat here and show the finished product, rather than the initial setup.

It's 3/16" plate.


Attachments:
File comment: From the top.
IMG_2130.jpg
IMG_2130.jpg [ 52.89 KiB | Viewed 9785 times ]
File comment: From the side, area cut out to clear the subframe. Notches cut on the end towards the mounting plate to clear the driveshaft, and on the other end to clear the axles.
IMG_2128.jpg
IMG_2128.jpg [ 61.57 KiB | Viewed 9784 times ]
File comment: Here's the mounting plate.
IMG_2131.jpg
IMG_2131.jpg [ 28.23 KiB | Viewed 9784 times ]
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PostPosted: October 5, 2007, 5:03 am 
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Location: Champion, Ohio
Coilovers. Yay!... oh, wait.

First off, the QA-1 Proma Star coilovers I ordered were a little bigger than I thought. The springs are 3.5" OD, and it's really fun trying to compress those with a regular spring compressing kit. I spent 2-3 hours grinding some stock spring compressing tools down to fit in the 3/4" space between the coils on the coilovers. Once compressed, I found that my original coilover brackets were too far out... so I cut the tube, took out 4", and re-welded it together in the middle.

I then took some 1 3/4" tube, cut one side off, and slid the 1 1/2" bracket tube inside, wedging it in with a steel shim to keep it from rattling. I then drilled 4 1/2" holes in all of it to keep it all together, bolted it in place, and then welded it onto the frame. Now, if I ever have to switch coilovers, I don't have to cut anything off the frame, just unbolt the old bracket bar, and drop a new one in. (Thanks, Jack!)

Luckily, the coilovers have bearings, not bushings, and they can allow some play, as the lower control arm coilover bracket doesn't align perfectly with the upper bracket. Everything fits, though, snugly, and they seem to do the job.


Attachments:
File comment: Slightly abused from the compressing tools.
IMG_2101.jpg
IMG_2101.jpg [ 65.07 KiB | Viewed 9780 times ]
File comment: Just clear the upper control arms.
IMG_2103.jpg
IMG_2103.jpg [ 75.88 KiB | Viewed 9785 times ]
File comment: Just right.
IMG_2104.jpg
IMG_2104.jpg [ 66.22 KiB | Viewed 9783 times ]
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PostPosted: October 5, 2007, 5:16 am 
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Location: Champion, Ohio
The engine is now in for real, bolted in on it's own weight. Last time it was in, it was resting on blocks. It sits nicely on the 500lb coilovers I bought, and the oil pan sits 1.75" below the frame rails, which sit 5.5" above the ground. The rear sits roughtly 8" off the ground, but I expected that, and have to go see if I can find some 300lb Miata lowering springs.


Attachments:
File comment: I like this shot the best.
three quarter.jpg
three quarter.jpg [ 79.62 KiB | Viewed 9775 times ]
File comment: Getting there...
Front side.jpg
Front side.jpg [ 68.82 KiB | Viewed 9776 times ]
File comment: Front
Dark front.jpg
Dark front.jpg [ 38.56 KiB | Viewed 9780 times ]
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PostPosted: October 5, 2007, 5:22 am 
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Location: Champion, Ohio
Monday I picked up my new driveshaft from Custom Clutch, Joint & Hydraulics in Cleveland, Ohio; about 40 minutes from me. They took the Miata spline, and diff mounting plate, and built a new driveshaft between.

Very nice.


Attachments:
File comment: Here it is, quite a bit shorter than the original. 26" from u-joint to u-joint.
Driveshaft.jpg
Driveshaft.jpg [ 39.11 KiB | Viewed 9775 times ]
File comment: In place.
Driveshaft in place.jpg
Driveshaft in place.jpg [ 69.74 KiB | Viewed 9780 times ]
File comment: Fits snugly, with enough room to pull it out.
Spline closeup.jpg
Spline closeup.jpg [ 42.79 KiB | Viewed 9773 times ]
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PostPosted: October 5, 2007, 5:25 am 
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Location: Champion, Ohio
Final post for tonight... been posting and sorting pics all night. These are the latest pictures, from Tuesday.

One shows the engine height above the frame, and the other shows the cant of the differential. Anyone know if that's a good angle, or too sharp?

I'm trying to draw a 3-dimensional picture of the nosecone I want... very hard to describe. I want the grill opening about 2" lower than the regular Locost, with a very agressive angle, almost like a shark's nose, and for it to be as low as possible while still allowing the hood to clear the engine.

I ordered brake cylinders, clutch cylinder, bias controls, rims, rear calipers, and e-brake parts. Hopefully they'll mostly be here early next week.

I also have my roll bar setup, just not on the car yet until I roll it over the last time to weld some stuff on the bottom.

I'm out for tonight.

Nate
SteyrTMP


Attachments:
File comment: Engine height.
Engine dimensions.jpg
Engine dimensions.jpg [ 65.84 KiB | Viewed 9778 times ]
File comment: Engine's definately higher.
Driveshaft cant.jpg
Driveshaft cant.jpg [ 55.76 KiB | Viewed 9769 times ]
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PostPosted: October 5, 2007, 9:08 am 
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Wow, looks very nice. I am particularly impressed with your ingenius design for your front upper shock mounts. :) J/K, I thought it was neat that you did it the same way I did. Our transmission mounts are also similar. I always feel better when I see that someone else solved the same problem in a similar fashion.

Have you modified your steering rack yet?

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PostPosted: October 5, 2007, 9:28 am 
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Why was rectangular tubing used on the front lower A-arm?

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PostPosted: October 5, 2007, 11:11 am 
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KB58 wrote:
Why was rectangular tubing used on the front lower A-arm?

It’s one of the new arms he bought from Jack at Kinetic and has been discussed in the threads below. Feel free to revive these threads if you want to discuss them. (so as not to hicjack his build log since he didn't build them anyway :wink: )
http://www.locostusa.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=1612
http://www.locostusa.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=1702

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PostPosted: October 5, 2007, 11:38 am 
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Let me guess. You bought those first suspension parts from my "favorite" vendor.


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PostPosted: October 5, 2007, 2:01 pm 
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Nice build. If your duplicating oem geometry, a L-shaped jig could have been made that bolted to the lower control arm flanges in the subframe and the upper shock mounting points in the unibody. You know the shock travel would be correct.

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PostPosted: October 6, 2007, 12:50 am 
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Thanks for the input. You'll notice my posts grew slightly more terse as the time went on... I finished around 5:30 am. Also, there's been less activity lately, as most of the stuff I can do without outsourced parts is already done.

I figured out that doing this type of thing very often has the "chicken and the egg" syndrome, causing bottlenecks. Point in case: I'd like to get my steering column extension figured out and built, but I need to design my headers, but to do that I have to get my brake cylinders in first. They are on the way, but I'm waiting pedals too, so I can't put 'em in until I have everything. It's frustrating, but things fall into place when they get here. I just wish I had a mill and lathe; that'd take care of a lot of things. Most of the parts that aren't stock have to be one-offed, and I usually have Jack from Kinetic fab stuff when it requires more than a dremel tool and a grinder. He does great work, but as he's on the other side of the US, it's not like I can drive over and pick it up the next night. I'd really like to eventually spec out my diff mount, blueprint it on SolidWorks, and post it, so others can do their own without having to go through all the hassle. Likewise with anything else I've had to fab, I'd like to make it a little easier for the rest out there. I know several people that have been interested, just not mechanically inclined enough to go through the work.

Honestly, if I knew what it'd take to get this far, I'm not sure if I would have done this, because I already knew it was over my head when I started, but although a lot of this stuff is way out of my knowledge, I really enjoy learning about it as I go along. As I mentioned in one of the blogs, this is the first time I've worked on a RWD vehicle, so the whole differential/driveshaft thing is new to me. That was covered pretty much while dissassembling the Miata, but that's just an example.

Chet: No, I haven't modded the steering yet, but that's tonight and tomorrow. I'll have pics of the stuff I had Jack build for me, as long as they fit. I'm not using the stock miata steering rack, as it's way to big for what I need. I'm using a '71 MGB rack. More detail soon.

Miatav8: I had to leave the donor car shell at the first garage when the frame migrated here, therefore leaving me with no way of comparing. It got crushed not long after. Before making my rear shock mounts, I looked at several other builts, mainly Mark Rivera's, and figured there's not really much room for play when you have the entire suspension setup bolted in, and that helped a lot. I'd be surprised if I'm more than 1/2" off from the stock setup.

Nate
SteyrTMP


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