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Learning how to build Lotus Seven replicas...together!
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PostPosted: August 30, 2017, 9:20 pm 
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Joined: August 27, 2017, 6:20 pm
Posts: 80
Hello all!

It's time to build another car! It's time to spend too much time at the shop and too much money on parts!

I love building cars, maybe more than I love owning them. So, while my current 350z is waiting to be sold (which I traded a Miata for), I'm starting my long-lusted-after Locost build. Anybody want a cheap Z?

I'm still not sure which chassis I want to build, buy I'm leaning towards a Haynes possibly with Vodou mods. I am tempted to use the stock miata rear subframe for ease of build and to cut time off the total. I'v been down the long, windy car build road before. I know that every little project you take on, every new system you try and re-engineer can add weeks or months to a build time. The less you try to make it perfect and the more you just try to make it, the better. I'm all for super nice builds and people who geek out over math and design, but I just need to jump in and start progress. I really want to build this thing in under a year.

It started with free diff bushings and leftover Miata wheels. A friend of mine gave me a set of Energy diff bushings when I had my 1996 1.8. I never got around to using them. I also upgrade to 14x7 RPF1's on the Miater and had my stock wheels still. Well that settles it, I can't just throw these things out.

The journey begins 8/20/2017 with a freeee Miata roller. Borrowed truck, borrowed trailer, free donor. I think I have this Lo Cost thing figured out. Now, if I can only get the picture to load.


Last edited by Car Sick on October 3, 2017, 10:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: August 31, 2017, 12:22 am 
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Joined: February 8, 2007, 4:20 am
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Location: British Columbia, Canada
Car Sick wrote:
I really want to build this thing in under a year.

Welcome! you've come to the right place for advice. Building a Locost in under a year is pretty ambitious, even if you're okay with it being less than perfect. How much time do you have available to work on it per week? It took me just over 3 years to finish mine, working on it a couple evenings per week. Hopefully you have more free time than I did! :)

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PostPosted: August 31, 2017, 9:25 am 
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Good luck Steven it can be done in a year if you have the time to work on it. I have bin working on mine in my spare time for 9 months and think it is about half done. Time to build will depend on skill and tools plan on 1500-3000hr of work/fun to get it done.


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PostPosted: August 31, 2017, 11:12 am 
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Joined: April 23, 2006, 8:26 pm
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Location: SoCal
The only person I know of who completed a car within a year worked on it 8+ hrs every day. Building a car can either become a job, or something fun you work on only when you want. Imagine if you get get sick and stop working on it for several days, then having to work "overtime" to get back on schedule?

The others here are being patient and kind - I just come out and say stuff. I think you're setting yourself up for failure even before you start, but please prove me wrong!

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PostPosted: August 31, 2017, 4:30 pm 
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Joined: July 4, 2006, 5:40 pm
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Location: Novato, CA
I have to agree with Kurt. A Locost is a 2000-hour project, give or take. Mostly give. It's great to want a Locost, we all did, but you have to want to build a Locost just as much. You have an advantage having done this sort of thing before, but in building a Locost there are few (if any) shortcuts.


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PostPosted: August 31, 2017, 5:08 pm 
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Joined: September 22, 2005, 8:12 am
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Location: 4AGE in S.E. Michigan
One more Locoster agreeing with kurt!
Steve, you need to factor in the suppler that takes your money for a critical part and then tells you that is back ordered and will take 5 weeks, and then ships it 12 weeks later.
Rethink timing or you wil be frustrated big time. These builds are suppose to be fun projects, not work. Dave W


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PostPosted: September 1, 2017, 7:54 pm 
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An end goal is just something to shoot for, it's not like I will stop working when a year is up. I feel like setting an aggressive goal can help move you along. If it takes 2, sure, if it takes 3 ok too. My super in depth v8 240 build took me 5 years from the start date, though I did take a year off when the house situation wasn't too good. I love building things and always will, I've wanted to build a 7 clone since I was about 15, so this isn't an impulse decision and I'm well aware of how long things tend to drag out.

It took my a while, but I finally found a way to upload pics, I feel this is a lot harder than it should be. Is anybody else having a hard time attaching files?

Picking up the free Miata roller from St. Pete
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Did I get it? AM I DOING IT PETER?

Got the front subframe out.
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Steering rack out
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Making a mess
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Steering rack rack out
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Power steering delete processing, please wait
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Rear subframe out, do you think the quarter panel is salvageable?
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Wire harness is out.
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I think I'll keep this left rear quarter panel. Anybody need one?
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USDM front end swap anyone?
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Look at these SawZall skillz
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Wont be needing this anymore!
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Ohhh, what do we have here?
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All clean and blasted
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I took the steering column apart so I can weld on a quick release boss without worrying about the bearings. It took too long and I've had good results just welding straight on it before. I figured what the heck, I've always wanted to take one apart. These kind of thing are the things that add months to the build though.
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That's where I sit right now. I am also keeping track of every dollar and every hour of this build, though I may not like what it actually looks like on paper. So far I'm at $95 and 35.5 hours, not including driving and gas/tolls.


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PostPosted: September 2, 2017, 8:44 am 
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Location: 4AGE in S.E. Michigan
Sorry Steve :lol:
But Locost rule number 743. Do not track money or time.
Well I did track monies, but hours are way to many.
You really do not want to know! Dave W


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PostPosted: September 2, 2017, 10:16 am 
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Location: West Chicago,IL
Quote:
I am also keeping track of every dollar and every hour of this build,.....I'm at $95 and 35.5 hours, not including driving and gas/tolls.


Already you are fudging your own numbers in your favor. I approve of that. Don't bother tracking time. It will only take away from your available build time. And as for tracking $$, If you must, you can subtract $$ that would have been spent on other things (like dinners and movies and bar tabs, etc.) that didn't get spent. :cheers:

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“Any suspension will work if you don’t let it.” - Colin Chapman

My RX7 powered Locost is now for sale http://www.locostusa.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=40&t=18460

or visit my Cushman Truckster resurrection log: over HERE


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PostPosted: September 2, 2017, 6:19 pm 
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davew wrote:
Sorry Steve :lol:
But Locost rule number 743. Do not track money or time.
Well I did track monies, but hours are way to many.
You really do not want to know! Dave W


I wonder how many hours I've spent researching. But, something like that is more fun than watching TV, so I don't count those as work. Actually, building the car isn't work either, so, do I count it as entertainment?

I would like to give somebody a close-to-actual number when they ask how long did it take to build. I'm sure I'll get the "well, you don't have any kids so you must have a lot of free time" response as well.


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PostPosted: September 2, 2017, 6:23 pm 
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rx7locost wrote:
Quote:
I am also keeping track of every dollar and every hour of this build,.....I'm at $95 and 35.5 hours, not including driving and gas/tolls.


Already you are fudging your own numbers in your favor. I approve of that. Don't bother tracking time. It will only take away from your available build time. And as for tracking $$, If you must, you can subtract $$ that would have been spent on other things (like dinners and movies and bar tabs, etc.) that didn't get spent. :cheers:


Well, maybe a little. I didn't count the race seats I already had that will be going in it, hopefully. Or the shop rent, or any tools.

Speaking of tools, has anybody changed out their blade on a miter saw with good results for the frame? Maybe I should just man up and buy a band saw, I've been needing one for years. Anybody ever use an Evolution Rage 2 saw? I have a friend with one who saws it cuts nicely. I was thinking about asking him to borrow it before I buy something.


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PostPosted: September 2, 2017, 7:17 pm 
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Location: Seattle area
Old wooden boat building saying...'If you can make it, don't buy it. If you can find it, don't make it'. In my mind the 'find' part can also mean 'borrow'.

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PostPosted: September 3, 2017, 7:59 pm 
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Day off! That means playing in the shop all day. I got the rest of the donor car cut up and in the dumpster. I also cleaned up all my spare parts and tidied up the shop. I bought a transmission a couple weeks ago for $100. If I end up buying another donor car for the engine and it has a trans, its always good to have a spare.

Oh, also, my friend gave me a spare 1.8 head he doesn't need anymore. He makes motorsport grade wiring looms and was using it as a mock up. This car may end up with another mil-spec harness, thanks to KSV Looms. He really wants me to use a Motec, but come on, that is like the opposite of low cost. I do plan on using a Megasquirt though. I had great success with my previous car with it. The best part of having a friend like Kevin, when it comes to building cars, he lets me build my own harnesses at his shop with all the best of the best wiring supplies. Concentric wire laying, Raychem DR25, Deutsch connectors, brand new factory connectors, things like such. The engine harness for my v8 240 cost me about four days worth of labor to work off the cost of materials. It took me an additional 50 hours to actually build it and I estimate it around $3k. That's what he would have charged a customer to do the same thing. I really like nice wiring. Can't wait to see what we come up with for the locost.

Free 1.8 head. Do I find a 1.8 so that I have this for a back up? Or just stick with the 1.6. I guess if I build my own harness, it doesn't really matter.
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$100 Miata trans
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Goodbye front of the donor Miata
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Started cleaning up the shop
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These were free racks by the way
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Here's a cool one. A few months ago, my friend JT, good friend and neighbor with a race car fab shop, asked my if I wanted two of these stainless box things. I'm not sure where he got them from, and he didn't want them taking up space anymore. I took them because it's hard for me to pass up junk, especially nice metal like this. Fast forward a few months later and I'm looking at them like, hey, these would be perfect for a fuel tank. Just need to do a little trimming, hole filling and adding fuel sending unit and filler, and I have a tank! I can bring them over to JT's and TIG them up easy peasy. Another plus of having a shop by your car guy friends. Win.
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PostPosted: September 3, 2017, 8:07 pm 
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Here's my last harness, for my 1UZ-FE 240SX using DIYMS2
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Labeled, heat shrunk, new Deutsch connector
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Concentric wire lay, the yellow wires are filler to get the roundest cross section you can.
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Strong, flexible, uniform. The tape is Kapton, and the twine is kevlar.
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This kind of stuff makes me happy
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PostPosted: September 4, 2017, 12:50 pm 
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Location: Carlsbad, California, USA
That yellow plastic material over your wire bundle looks like a really good tool for keeping things neat and tidy. Do you have a product name for it? I take it you applied it by hand?

Cheers,

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Damn! That front slip angle is way too large and the Ackerman is just a muddle.

Build Log: viewtopic.php?f=35&t=5886


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