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Learning how to build Lotus Seven replicas...together!
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 Post subject: Geo Metro middy locost
PostPosted: November 1, 2011, 9:37 pm 
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Joined: October 26, 2011, 4:32 pm
Posts: 46
Location: Arkansas
Being inspired by Jack McCornack's MAX and then seeing his thread on ecomodders.com (http://ecomodder.com/forum/showthread.p ... -9852.html), where he mused about doing a book on "How To Build A Cheap Sports Car", I decided that was what I would like to do for my next venture into foolishness. And having arrived at a ripe old age it seems like a good time to get started while I am still able.

I have hyped this project to my wife as being a high milage sprots car. Her comment was "Why are you worrying about high milage on a car you will only be driving a few hundred miles a year." You can see what I am going to be up againist. A practical woman is a dangerous thing.

So, for $400.00, I have acquired a driveable 1992 Geo Metro with a current PA inspection and clear title. Hopefully this will make it easier to register once the project is complete. Yesterday, as a Halloween project, I started turning this reasonably nice looking car (rusted out rocker panels had been dutifully covered with pop rivited alunimum flashing), into a skeleton. All removable body parts are off and all wiring disconnects are tagged for later reference. My steptson set up a Craig's List account for me and hopefully I will be able to recoup some of the purchase price. I have projected this project will cost about $3.000.00 (read $7,000.00 based on past experience). I will be lucky to only spend 3G on the tools.

My firststep, after arriving home with the car, was to order a service manual from Amazon.com. That arrived today, but I haven't had a chance to look at it. Today I picked up an engine hoist from AutoZone. Got the 2 ton size. Wanted to err on the safe side. These Metro engines can get pretty heavy you know. Next step will probably be the build table. I plan to use 3/4" ply since I am working in a damp unheated garage and MDF tends to get soft and "grow" around the edges.

I have reasonable mechanical skills, although I have never been a "car person". Most of my projects have been of wood, other than an aluminum framed floding kayak (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pufe-AroqR0). I had done some gas welding about fifty years ago and took a weekend EAA aircraft welding workshop about fifteen years ago but haven't really practiced any. Fortunately (??) I have met a retired A&P type who is a certified aircraft welder.

Here are a couple of pics of the progress thus far. I hope they are not too large.

Attachment:
Geo Metro donor f Oct. 26, 2011.jpg
Geo Metro donor f Oct. 26, 2011.jpg [ 178.98 KiB | Viewed 9937 times ]


Attachment:
Geo Metro donor g Oct. 31, 2011.JPG
Geo Metro donor g Oct. 31, 2011.JPG [ 204.72 KiB | Viewed 9937 times ]


Last edited by BobM on December 14, 2011, 3:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: November 1, 2011, 9:52 pm 
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Joined: October 19, 2010, 11:57 am
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Location: Waterloo, WI
Ooh, this looks like fun! I'll be watching. Best of luck! :D

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PostPosted: November 2, 2011, 12:44 am 
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Location: Oregon, usually
I'll be watching too, and helping where I can. Do you have a plan for the chassis? Body?

I seems to me (way out west) that the states that have annual inspections AND salted roads in the winter must be wonderful donor sources. Bodies rust out while drive components remain usable, and it's hard to rivet flashing to rust...so where do they all go, once they flunk an inspection and the necessary repairs would cost more than the worth of the car?

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PostPosted: November 2, 2011, 8:23 am 
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Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Having been the happy owner of a Toyota Coroda that failed its annual inspection on structural corrosion (in the days before manufacturers cared, or had corrosion warranties) I can say that most such cars used to be parted out. Unfortunately, it is now far more profitable for owners to enter into 'cash for clunkers' programs, where they become soup cans rather than Locost 7 donors.

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Build Log: viewtopic.php?f=35&t=11601


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PostPosted: November 2, 2011, 9:03 am 
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Joined: December 6, 2009, 11:03 am
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Location: Toronto, Canada
You might get some ideas here - http://www.szott.com/zot2/zot2.html

Middy using Suzuki Swift drive train, brakes, etc.

Attachment:
z1.jpg
z1.jpg [ 296.82 KiB | Viewed 9874 times ]


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PostPosted: November 2, 2011, 10:41 am 
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Joined: October 26, 2011, 4:32 pm
Posts: 46
Location: Arkansas
Jack, thanks for dropping in and I will certainly be happy with any input you offer. And PLEASE everyone, don't worry about offending me with your comments, I have delt with my dumb mistakes too long to worry about what you might say.

As far as body and chassis go I am pretty much settled on the traditional "7" style. I know that for high milage sake a body shell like you have put on MAX would make good sense....but, I have been accused of a lot of things in my life, but having good sense hasn't been one of them. I think a four inch wider than "book chassis" with a 93" wheel base might work. I had in mind, after I get the engine and everything cleaned up, to do a wood mock up. Sitting the engine on some 2x2s and putting one of your "catfish" noses in front and a seat in the middle then move things around until they looked right. I would really like to go with a Midlana type roll cage, both for safety and to give me something to help in getting into and from the car, since at 73 I am not as agile as I use to be. However, that would vastly increase the complexity and cost. Probably be worth it though.

Thumper, I am definitely going to checkout your electric locost site. Thanks for the lead.

Thanks to all of you for your comments.


Last edited by BobM on January 25, 2012, 2:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: November 5, 2011, 11:56 pm 
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Joined: October 26, 2011, 4:32 pm
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Location: Arkansas
Those of you who have seen this thread before will notice that I have deleted a post. All I wanted to do was delete the pic but couldn't figure out how to do that.

The last couple of days have been interesting and profitable (for other people). In the aforementioned deleted post I said that the local welding shop guy told me about a chassis fabricator who is located just four miles from me. Yesterday I went to his shop and enjoyed a pleasant visit. He has been building race cars for over thirty years. Not only is he agreeable to do any fab work, at whatever level I want, he also has a good stock of tubing, ERW, DOM, and chromemoly, and will sell me whatever I need.

Today, while having breakfast with a bunch of guys from church, one, who owns a body shop, told me about a mega-wrecking yard not too far away. So...I just had to check it out. They had four Miatas and a RX7. Since I will need front spindles and brakes this was a good oprotunity to get them. And that steering rack looked nice, who could resist...and that complete rear end, WOW, oh well, not what I plan to use on this project, but what the heck, maybe next project. See what I mean about it being profitable for other people?

And then....I picked up a Millermatic 211, just like Pook has in his shop. Hey, if it is good enough for him it's good enough for me. So what if I have never used a MIG before and haven't gas welded much in the last fifty years. Also got the helmet, gloves, and green jacket. Should look the part anyway.


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Miata parts Nov. 5, 2001.jpg
Miata parts Nov. 5, 2001.jpg [ 181.11 KiB | Viewed 9668 times ]
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PostPosted: November 9, 2011, 8:38 am 
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Location: Fort Worth, TX
BobM wrote:
The last couple of days have been interesting and profitable (for other people). In the aforementioned deleted post I said that the local welding shop guy told me about a chassis fabricator who is located just four miles from me. Yesterday I went to his shop and enjoyed a pleasant visit. He has been building race cars for over thirty years. Not only is he agreeable to do any fab work, at whatever level I want, he also has a good stock of tubing, ERW, DOM, and chromemoly, and will sell me whatever I need.

Today, while having breakfast with a bunch of guys from church, one, who owns a body shop, told me about a mega-wrecking yard not too far away. So...I just had to check it out.....


Another local guy...nice. Would you be able to share the shop's name? I was ordering small amounts of stuff from Metal Express but Metal Supermarkets took them over. :(

Would that junkyard by Feezle's by any chance? I was up there two summers ago and they had a few Miatas sitting around. Millerstown Pick-A-Part had a ton of Geo's 3 or 4 summers ago. Not sure if they've been scrapped or not but it looks like you are probably covered since you have a complete donor.

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PostPosted: November 9, 2011, 12:11 pm 
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Location: Arkansas
The shop name is R.L.A. Chassis in Hookstown. I am not sure if he wants to get into selling tubing, since I was discussing having him build my roll cage, but he is a nice guy and would probably be willing to help you. I have called him and left a message regarding selling tubing and I will let you know as soon as he get's back to me.

Yes, that was Freezle's and the guys I dealt with there could not have been nicer, both the one at the counter and the one who pulled the parts.

Looking at the different builds to get ideas, it seems that the Midlana project is using 1 1/2" square tubing for the base frame since he mentioned that the roll cage was 1 1/2" and they appear to be the same size. Would it make sense to use that size on a low powered car like I am planning? My roll cage will be
1 1/2" .095 DOM and I can get 1 1/2" .083 square tubing for the rest of the frame. Jack, can your Geo motor mounts be adapted to a 1 1/2" frame?

Andrew, I would really like to get together with you, see your car, and ask you a bunch of dumb questions. Would you be up to that?


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PostPosted: November 9, 2011, 4:42 pm 
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Andrew, I got a call back from R.L.A. Chassis regarding selling tubing and he says he does it all the time. Helps him keep his purchase volume up, allowing him a better price. His name is Rich Anderson and the phone number is 724-573-9925.


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PostPosted: November 10, 2011, 12:42 pm 
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Always Moore!
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Thanks Bob that's great news. I'll have to add him to my list. Its tough finding local places with nicer tubing.

Mind shooting me a PM with where you are in the area? I'd be in for meeting up on a nice day.

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PostPosted: November 11, 2011, 6:02 pm 
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Location: Arkansas
Still in the process of dismantling the donor. Want to get everything out before I pull the engine. Last night I started on the dash and steering column. What a mess. What was wrong with the way they built cars back in the 60's? I can remember the turn signal on my wife's 68 Mustang had a simple switch for the turn signal. This cheap Metro has what looks like a computer.

Today I went to Home Depot and got stuff for the build table. Am using metal studs with 3/4 inch birch ply for the top and bottom. Overkill maybe but the MDF build table I made for another project has warped due to the dampness in my shop.


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PostPosted: November 15, 2011, 4:37 pm 
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Joined: October 26, 2011, 4:32 pm
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Location: Arkansas
Put my build table together last night. Boxed steel studs with 3/4 birch ply top and bottom. Haven't checked to see if it is level or not. If not at least it will make some little girl a nice tap dancing stage.


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Locost build table b Nov. 14, 2011.jpg
Locost build table b Nov. 14, 2011.jpg [ 171.53 KiB | Viewed 9212 times ]
Locost build table a Nov 14, 2011.jpg
Locost build table a Nov 14, 2011.jpg [ 184.12 KiB | Viewed 9212 times ]
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PostPosted: November 28, 2011, 11:23 am 
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Joined: October 26, 2011, 4:32 pm
Posts: 46
Location: Arkansas
I have been intending on using 15 inch wheels on this project, but that is the extent of my knowledge about wheels and tires. This will be a strickly street car with a goal toward good mileage. Would appreciate inputs on whether 15 inch wheels would be a good choice for this 50 hp car and what width, and also any tire recommendations.


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PostPosted: November 29, 2011, 5:27 pm 
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Hi Uncle Bob,

This is your nephew Patrick out here in Cali. Mom clued me in to your project and I joined the forum just to lend support and enthusiasm. I always wondered when you would build a car.

So, is your donor a 3 cylinder or 4? This is probably a bad idea, but that Miata rear clip looks so cool, you could use it, put the motor in front turned longitudinally, and fab a driveshaft from a lengthened halfshaft. I saw this setup on a mini rock crawler with a Honda motor and trans mounted sideways and I thought it was super-cool. Of course you would have to weld the diff in the Geo trans unless you were going AWD too, but you have that new welder so.......

Like I said, probably a bad idea bad idea.

Anyway, good luck. I will be watching. Let me know if there is anything I can help with.


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