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Learning how to build Lotus Seven replicas...together!
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 2:55 pm 
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Just thrown together to make sure it all fits, still need to adjust everything...


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 11:01 pm 
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The voice of reason
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Just wanted to say, you deserve an award for the first animated suspension gif on this site - at least that i've seen. That's actually useful, to see the parts move.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2011 8:12 pm 
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My goodness has it ever been a long time since I posted anything on my build log. Life has that nasty habit of getting in the way. Lets see, since October, I have gotten engaged, moved, gotten married, moved again (for the last time in a long time) and the usual life stuff. Anyways, enough excuses and on to the updates! I've been slowly working on getting the front suspension together and fabbed up engine mounts.

Engine mounts were pretty straightforward, just took lots of measurements and made a simple angled mount with a slot. Sandwiched in between the lower mount and the one on the engine is a simple hockey puck (hard to get more locost than that!).
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My next step is to do the transmission tunnel, but I have a question in regards to how to design the tunnel. The transmission just hits the C tube. Am I correct in assuming I can cut this when I put in uprights to support it? I can't find anyone who has had to do this, but there is no way it fits the way it is, unless I raise the engine 3-4 inches.
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On the suspension side, I think I have the front suspension all figured out, just need to get it put together.

The arms are Jack's kit, and the shocks are Yamaha R6 (as has been discussed here and other places, they should work). The steering is going to be an appleton rack, and in order to run circle track gear, I am boring out my Miata spindles to 5/8" (having a machine shop do it right). That will allow me to run high misalignment rod ends as my outer tie rods and standard rod ends as my inners. Seems to be fine in mockup in terms of bump steer.
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File comment: This is why I need high misalignment rod ends!
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Oh, and what are people doing to manage rust? This project used to sit in a shop where not much happened, so it never rusted. I moved it to my house (finally have a garage!) and with the salt brought in by my wife's car, its starting to rust. I've been spraying it with WD40 and wiping it down, but that doesn't seem to last.

I think that is all for now. Hoping to make some real progress this spring and get it rolling at least! Gotta get cracking before I have kids and it rusts to death!


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File comment: Front left suspension mockup.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2011 10:17 pm 
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Always Moore!
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I thought everyone removed that tube after the frame was more complete? I made mine two separate pieces and never bothered to connect them - probably wasn't the easiest or smartest in terms of keeping things aligned.

I wouldn't worry too much about the rust as long as its just surface rust. Just keep where you are welding clean and before you paint remove everything with an emery cloth. Unless you live in the desert, you will probably be fighting a losing battle keeping everything 100% rust free during the build.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2011 7:31 am 
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Location: S.E. Michigan
Nathan
I think its an excellent idea to keep the "C" crossmember in place. The "C" tube completes the rear engine bay shear plane. Think of the opening of the tunnel as a tube. The "C" crossmember closes the end Vs having a large slot in one end. I had the same issue. All I did was remove the center section and install a lower 2nd tube that spanned between the two "H" tubes. This gave me the one inch of clearance that I needed. The lowered crossmember section will still be higher off the ground then your oil pan or bellhousing. The only thing you need to check is clearance for removing/installing the engine-trans. With the crossmember, it will require a steep entry angle into the engine bay. Check it first, you may need a bolt in crossmember or bolt in trans mount. The effort is well worth the torsional improvement.
Dave W


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2011 8:04 am 
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Location: Saint Cloud, Florida
I get my first 100 feet of tubing tomorrow. I live in central Florida where the temps & humidity are high. I have no HVAC in my garage and eventually everything ferrous seems to get at least a light dusting of rust. I don't have any issues with aluminum unless it's outside.

My plan for rust.

Depending on how nasty the steel is when it arrives, I plan to condition it with a scotchbrite pad made for an angle grinder, after that I'll clean with mineral spirits. Then coat everything with acid etch primer. When it comes time to cut and weld, I'll depaint the appropriate area, tack, then reprime with weld thru primer. The weld thru primer is supposed to be a welding promoter. When it comes time to finish weld, I'll just need a quick wipe down with a degreaser to get rid of dust and fingerprints.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2011 8:49 am 
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Joined: Mon Jul 26, 2010 10:37 am
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Location: Tennessee
Have you done the math to calculate installation ratio and desired wheel rate? I'm suspicious that bike shocks can have decent wheel travel AND proper wheel rate. I had some R6 shocks, 2" travel and 600 lb springs. Your installation ratio appears to be about 1/2, so you'll have 4" of travel - on one-wheel bumps only! - and a wheel rate of 150 lbs. Is that what you had in mind.

Kurt

Question. I'm no engineer, and I don't know exactly how to pose this question, but is this the same math as used on a balance bar system with dual master cylinders? Same as a see-saw?


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2011 9:44 am 
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I have 3 inches of suspension travel (2" bump, 1" droop), and a wheel rate around 140. As I say, it should at least get me going, and if it doesn't I can change it in the future. The suspension was getting to be a real roadblock for me, so I decided to go ahead with this solution and see how it does, move on to other things.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 11:30 am 
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So I think I have hit a major impass towards getting this thing done... ever. My life has changed a LOT since I started this project. I've moved 3 times, gotten married, bought a house, and just this month, the biggest change... we had identical twin girls! I've made some progress over the years on the Locost, but FAR from what I would like. Its near the "rolling chasis" stage if I just sorted out the rear shocks, BUT its all in parts with the chasis hanging in my shed, and parts all over the place.

So I need some advice... I could slowly work at getting it done, but over the next few years I don't see myself having the time to do it. I mean if I haven't gotten it done in the last 5 years (has it been THAT long), do I really see it getting done with 2 little girls to raise? So I am considering parting everything out and moving on. I have a Miata that works just fine as a track car, and I could modify it a bit to make it better. I don't really have excess money to throw at the Locost anyways.

So, can you convince me not to sell it all off? I HATE to do it, but I think its the smarter decision at this stage.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:33 pm 
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As the father of a 26-yr-old who now lives across the country, I would suggest spending as much time as you possibly can with your girls. You'll never get that time back. Not saying you have to part with the Locost, I just wouldn't pressure yourself to finish it over the next several years.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:54 pm 
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Well...... are you able to store everything safely out of the weather? Perhaps a smallish shed in the corner of the property?
If you can then I'd say hang onto it until the girls are ohhh about 8 or 9.
Once they get to "that" age (you'll know when that time arrives) you'll be able to bring it out for show and tell days and so on :D
They'll be so proud of you when you show off even a partially built car on a trailer that your heart will "be swollen with joy" to use an old phrase. (Gads am I really quoting Shakespeare? :roll: )
There is no feeling like putting a huge grin on your daughter's faces in front of all their peers. Trust me on that one.
Time and the shared experiences with them when they are young is very special and very important (for all four of you) in so many ways.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 6:04 pm 
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Well here is how my journey is going;

I read Ron's book in early 2009 after finally finding a reasonably priced copy. I had seen a Locost at a track day I was at in 2008. I thought about building one and browsed this forum since the day I saw the car. I've always altered my street cars to be poor auto-x and track toys. I decided I wanted a car that I could build for that purpose, and maybe it would be a poor street car at the very least. My personal goal was $4000.00 and 18 months, and I really thought I could do it. My wife just laughed. I started in January 2010. I am now on month 25 and about $5200 into it. I am married, the main household provider, we have an amazing 4 year old son with autism and a beautiful little 2 year old girl. Most of the fabrication work was done between my daughter's 9pm and 2 am feedings. She was bottle fed from birth, and I fed her every chance I got. I am also more of a night owl than my wife, so the nights were mine. I'd lay her down with a full belly, rush outside and work, then return when she was hungry again. It was great. We had a lot of bonding time during our nightly feedings.

Work changed and so did a lot of other things. We've moved, I had my appendix out, and plenty of other family adventures along the way. For the move the car was in parts on a flatbed trailer, and it seemed to rain all the way from Michigan to Alabama. The frame that I had worked so hard to keep rust free was absolutely covered in rust (even thought I sprayed it down with WD-40 just before the drive and had a tarp over it the whole way). That set me back quite a bit. Through it all, it has been a fun journey and something I have always wanted to do. My wife tries to send me to the garage more than I go, because she knows that it is something that calms me, and I enjoy doing. I have a great time figuring out the big puzzle of building a car.

Through the whole job though I have had a helper.

My little man believes that it is his car, and he drives it every chance he gets.

He helped me make sure the table was level:

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He was so excited the first day it rolled on wheels outside that he forgot his pants:

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And he still loves helping me today:

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(He doesn't get to weld or use the grinder yet, and as you can see he always has his glasses on for safety. I just watch him close because as soon as he finds a screwdriver or hammer he is working on something.)

My children are my greatest joy, and nothing will take away from that. I know I am a happier, better husband and father when I find an outlet for my stresses and play in the garage for a few hours. It doesn't happen everyday, or even every week, but the project is there and there is always something to be done. I am going to see it through.

Decide if a Lotus Seven inspired car hand built by YOU is something you want to have one day, and go from there. Only you know if you've got the drive to turn that pile of parts into a moving car one day.

Spend as much time as you can with those little ones, they grow fast.

Congratulations, and good luck!

Steve


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