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Learning how to build Lotus Seven replicas...together!
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PostPosted: March 13, 2014, 6:27 pm 
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I mean that there is a big industry out there doing business in used, modified, reworked and generally diddled British car parts. Witness the uprights used by Spridget Mania having a core charge. This stuff might be better than the original but than again :roll:

Are you using the standard arrangement on the bottom knuckle of the king pin? That pin tried to saw it's way thru my lower A arm and was a b**** to get out. I am planning on using a bushing and high grade bolt similar to what the Westfield 11 uses. Custom A arms to (hopefully) improve the geometry.

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PostPosted: April 22, 2014, 10:30 am 
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The spindles showed up a few weeks ago and all seems well. Along with upgrading the axles they replaced all four bushings and reamed them to match the new swivel pins which were also included. Its kind of a shame since the front of this car wasn't really worn. On the plus side everything is now new.

I needed to do some gusseting to finish the cage so of course that meant making a taco maker. It works just like the press brake but instead of making a 90 degree bend it leaves you with a nice radius.

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After a little tweaking and cutting and you're ready to go.

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The stock seat bolts right through the floor. Since the back of the seat is attached to the cage, I figured this should work with the race seat as well. Just to be safe I used some large diameter washers on the under side to help spread the load. After two tries on the Locost I think I finally have a Kirkey seat mount I like.

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Next was the dash - the stock dash was pretty used up from years of modifications. It was originally covered with a piece of sheet metal and a vinyl wood grain sticker. I was thinking about repairing the original dash but it was too much work. For the sake of time I made a buck from MDF and began hammering away....

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I think its safe to say it looks close enough to the original. After a quick coat of truck bed liner spray it was complete.

In late March the 948 I bought off of Craigslist went in. I knew it was tired and leaked some oil but hoped it would be one of those engines that made no power but ran forever.

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Now for the big news - at 1:13 PM on April 8th the Sprite returned to life after several decades of hibernating.

After tracing an electrical issue down to a bad generator, the car was ready for its first outing. Unfortunately two days before the track day I discovered that some idiot ordered front brake lines that were 1" too short. :BH:

Of course it was 2 hours after the cut off for next day shipping for Summit and I had to work late the next day. While I'm sopping up puddles of brake fluid from the garage floor my amazingly wonderful girlfriend mentioned that she could drive to Summit the next day. Needless to say she saved the weekend. :mrgreen:

The track day on April 12th started off well. There were enough cars that they were able to do a slow and fast group. The slow group consisted of a turbo RX7, McLaren, an Exige and a British sports car from the 60s turning out 40-some horsepower. Yeah I was out gunned but it was interesting to see what 50 years worth of automotive evolution yields.

The car ran the first session with no over heating. I noticed the oil pressure was a little lower than I would have liked but figured there were some larger than stock clearances to thank. I checked the oil level between sessions and all was well.

I always hate to tape the first session since it seems to tempt fate - sort of like "hey guys hold my beer while I try this..." The second session seemed like a good time to get some video to prove that it runs since it may not be running later:



About 10 minutes into the second session the engine started losing power (not that it had much to give up to begin with....), the oil pressure dropped even more, the oil temperature skyrocketed to almost 300 degrees, and I limped it back to the pits. Either someone dropped silverware into my crankcase between sessions or something big failed inside. I haven't had a chance to tear it down yet but it should be interesting.

The SCCA driver school is this Friday and Saturday and a double regional race is this Sunday. If I make it through the school I can run Sunday. A newly rebuilt engine is in the car and last night was devoted to figured out why it wouldn't pump oil. I think I have it fixed and the first start/break-in should be occurring this afternoon - this reminds me too much of the week leading up to an FSAE competition. I'm getting too old for this stuff. :mrgreen:

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PostPosted: April 22, 2014, 1:57 pm 
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Andrew, Sweet! that's awesome man, good luck on the next event!

Oh my, that rod knock got loud...

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PostPosted: April 22, 2014, 6:10 pm 
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Congrats on the first shakedown, and good luck at the driver school/1st race! :cheers:

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PostPosted: April 23, 2014, 9:48 am 
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Andrew
I suggest that you make an offering to the racing gods before taking the newly rebuilt motor to the track. [did you leave any blood on the new engine] The car looks greats! You did an excellent job on the fabrication and the new dash really came out good. Dave W


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PostPosted: April 23, 2014, 10:55 am 
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Thanks guys.

Funny story Dave - my buddy came over Monday evening to help start the new engine. We did everything we could think of but the oil system would not prime. After several hours we gave up.

After retreating back into the garage and downing a few Guinnesses while scratching my head, I removed the cap and spring for the pressure regulating valve, replaced the spring with a 1/2" bolt, held the valve shut with my thumb (okay a pry bar wedged between the starter and the bolt), cranked the engine, and low and behold it primed.

The lesson of the evening - British car gods like stouts. :cheers:

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PostPosted: April 23, 2014, 12:49 pm 
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Hi Andrew-
Sorry I got here late... Many congrats on the successful shakedown, well, up until the engine went kerr-flooey... Looks like the car handles pretty well. The fab work you did, especially the dash, looks great!

When you say "pressure regulating valve" are you talking about the spring-loaded "bullet" that allows the oil flow from the pump to bypass back into the pan? The idea was to keep very cold oil from over-pressuring the seals on start-up, I think. Common cure for too much bypass is to put spacers under the spring. Usually start with .010 to .015 spacer and the preferred way is to spin the oil pump with no ignition (and plugs out, of course) and see what kind of pressure your gauge shows. Is that what you meant by "priming" it? Don't know iffen it's a good idea to run the motor with the bypass solidly locked shut or not. Somebody in here will know, if we wait a minute or two....

:cheers:
JDK

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PostPosted: April 23, 2014, 1:22 pm 
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Cranking with no plugs and no fuel is how we primed it. I only had the bolt in place during priming; after it pumped oil I put the spring and cap back in place and all was well. I don't know if there was a giant air bubble or what but apparently it worked.

We even tried filling the priming port on the left rear side of the engine. After dumping almost half a quart of oil into it still nothing.

I'm guessing there will be oil everywhere and stuff blowing apart without the spring in place. On the plus side at least most of the seals are scroll style seals so the standard leak will probably just be a little larger. ;)

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PostPosted: April 23, 2014, 1:26 pm 
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The thing I always liked about the A series is that they are nearly impossible to destroy. I had an oil pump fail in my 67 sprite. Pulled the engine, dropped in new bearings and driving the following day. I didn't even need to turn the journals.

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PostPosted: April 23, 2014, 1:39 pm 
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Andrew, let me add my vote to the great job on the dash.

lolz on the "Standard leak" ;-)

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PostPosted: April 23, 2014, 10:56 pm 
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Great job! I'm really jealous how much work you get done.
One question what do you think about moving the center of your crossed door tubes out into the door? It would seem to me to give a little more protection in a side impact without losing much chassis stiffness. This isn't a criticism, only a question.


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PostPosted: April 24, 2014, 9:32 pm 
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TooBusy wrote:
The thing I always liked about the A series is that they are nearly impossible to destroy.


I sure hope so. I actually have a full set of bearings and stock sized rings for the engine. Someone I know may buy it to rebuild. If not I'll look into doing it. If nothing else it can tempt me to build an actual 7 replica.


vroom wrote:
One question what do you think about moving the center of your crossed door tubes out into the door?


I personally think its a good idea to do it a little. The force of an impact will force the tubes straight instead of bending them. I've heard the argument that the bent tube can rotate and snap but I think if it is gusseted and supported by the other half of the X then it will be fine. Its hard to tell but mine does have a few degrees in it.

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PostPosted: April 25, 2014, 8:51 am 
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Andrew,

Would a 'bent outwards' door bar actually be stronger than a straight one? The T-bone load on the door bar will try to bend/buckle a bent bar, but bend/stretch a straight one. Is the ultimate strength of the bending/stretching bar more than the bending/buckling one? It all may be moot, since both will be trying to bend the hoops to which they are attached.

My thought arises from some skin failures in aluminum yachts due to wave slamming many years ago. Rounded bilge plating failed whereas flat bow plating didn't, despite seeing higher wave loads. It was found that the flat bow plating was stronger because of membrane strength; the curved bilge plating failed in a panel buckling mode. It may be an inappropriate analogy for these door bars.

Regardless, I imagine there would be comfort in increased distance between you and the intrusion bars.

I do like those wrapped gussets where the bars cross!

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PostPosted: April 25, 2014, 11:15 am 
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Warren Nethercote wrote:
I do like those wrapped gussets where the bars cross!


I agree with Warren, those "taco" gussets are bomber.

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PostPosted: April 26, 2014, 12:47 pm 
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Enjoyed the vid. That thing really goes (at least until it went)! Surprising with such a tiny motor.

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