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PostPosted: March 28, 2012, 10:02 pm 
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Been thinking lately about the ever increasing cost effective availability of Duratec engines, as well as the most cost effective transmission for longitudinal mounting...In other words, the planned basis for my own build. Not only are the Ranger M5OD-R1 transmissions roughly half the price of the NC Miata's 5 and 6 speed transmissions, but far more readily available nationwide. The only other option is the Quad4Rods bellhousing to adapt the Duratec to a Ford T5 or Type 9 gearbox, which I believe also is designed to use the Ranger flywheel setup.

However one of the nagging issues, for me personally, with the Ranger transmission is that nobody offers a proper sporting (lightweight) flywheel to go with it since apparently who in their right mind wants a low mass/MOI flywheel in their Ranger. Now designing a flywheel to do the job isn't a problem for me, as that was one of my jobs in a past life...But 1-off parts generally require a down payment of your first born child, and being without kids leaves me SOL. So I figured if I picked a setup that suited the most builders possible maybe...just maybe...I would be able to scrape together enough interested people who are building, or are certain in their plans to build, a Duratec/M5 drivetrain that we could get the price down to a reasonable level.

While I would eventually look look around to see if there were one or two Ranger owners interested, my first priority is to have this meet the goals for as many Locost builders as possible. Thus the idea being that the flywheel for would be the only non-standard part, allowing for standard OEM and aftermarket parts to be used for everything else...But not necessarily using Ranger parts for all of the associated pieces either, thus slightly complicating things for any interested Ranger owners. Obviously I understand that the pricing would play a significant part in this, and it would be impossible to get many firm commitments without that, but I wanted to at least get the dialogue started...Then again if this threat quickly meet its doom from a lack of directly interested parties, then I guess it will be on to the next wacky idea, for me.

Thanks for looking! :cheers:

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Last edited by Driven5 on April 26, 2013, 12:40 am, edited 4 times in total.

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PostPosted: March 29, 2012, 8:23 am 
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I am not an expert on flywheels but couldn't you just mount a stock one in a lathe and turn a lot of the excess weight off of it? Russ

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PostPosted: March 29, 2012, 8:58 am 
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How does a 9# flywheel sound?

http://www.sparktecmotorsports.com/fid-186231-8.html

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PostPosted: March 29, 2012, 11:08 am 
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That would be for the Lima motor, since it mentions 1983 Ranger.

I have a machinist friend that knows how to make aluminum flywheels, he's made them before. I've never asked him how much they would cost though.

If someone makes other applications of flywheel for the engine, I would think that would be the easiest way to go. Do you have a good idea of the differences or is that one of the hurdles?

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PostPosted: March 29, 2012, 11:32 am 
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trialsmangasgas wrote:
I am not an expert on flywheels but couldn't you just mount a stock one in a lathe and turn a lot of the excess weight off of it? Russ
To a point yes, but I'm not aware of any that can safely (at least in my humble opinion) turn more than a few pounds out of it...Let alone half or more. If there is a protruding ridge running around the outer portion of the flywheel, yes that's an easy way to knock a few pounds off. However I personally would not be comfortable taking any significant amount of material from the structural portion on a cast iron flywheel without doing a proper strength and fatigue analysis. And of course without doing such an analysis there is absolutely no way of knowing where the 'dead weight' stops and the structural material starts, even on that useless looking ridge. There is a lot of potentially destructive energy stored in a 20lb flywheel spinning at 7000+rpm, and I'd rather not be the one to find out just how much while essentially sitting next to it. There is also a reason that SFI specifically does not allow the use of cast iron flywheels for their approval. The weight can be reduced substantially further and more safely, both at the same time, when using high-strength steel or aluminum.

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PostPosted: March 29, 2012, 11:47 am 
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horizenjob wrote:
If someone makes other applications of flywheel for the engine, I would think that would be the easiest way to go. Do you have a good idea of the differences or is that one of the hurdles?
That's the basic idea, although it's going to be a "custom" job no matter how you slice it. There are available applications for both the Focus and NC Miata, but they are each specific to the transmission used. Add that each uses a different ring gear/starter as well. Basically different parts of it would need to mimic different aspects of more than one flywheel design. I know what all would need to happen before getting quotes, but I also know that it won't be worth my time and effort if I'm just doing it for myself.

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PostPosted: March 29, 2012, 12:04 pm 
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That would be for the Lima motor, since it mentions 1983 Ranger.


My bad :oops:

I see where Mark Fisher tried this a few years back. After mking the swap to the focus al flywheel and changing the starter, he found the thickenss of the Focus flywheel was too thick. He went back to the stock Ranger flywheel. You might see if he has made any further progress. If nothing else, he may become one of your customers. I think he frequents the "Locost North America" site a bit more than here.

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=8441

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PostPosted: March 29, 2012, 12:23 pm 
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it shoul be possible to remove some weight from the stock flywheel and as long as it is removed from the outer rim, it will have the most effect without compromising the structural strength, also it is common practice to face a flywheel.

any weight removed has a significant effect.

a question, are duratec flywheels neutrally balanced?

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PostPosted: March 29, 2012, 12:33 pm 
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rx7locost wrote:
I see where Mark Fisher tried this a few years back. After mking the swap to the focus al flywheel and changing the starter, he found the thickenss of the Focus flywheel was too thick. He went back to the stock Ranger flywheel. You might see if he has made any further progress. If nothing else, he may become one of your customers. I think he frequents the "Locost North America" site a bit more than here.
Yeah, his thread detailing his issues with this was one of my first useful data points. That's a good point, while I've been scrounging just about everywhere else I totally forgot to do any digging over at the Locost North America group.



john hennessy wrote:
a question, are duratec flywheels neutrally balanced?
Yes.

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PostPosted: March 29, 2012, 1:49 pm 
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I agree with the thinking on this setup, it's one of the most desirable routes to go. A good flywheel for this is a definite plus. It seems we need a little work on the intake / fuel injection stuff too.

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PostPosted: March 29, 2012, 8:00 pm 
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i would be interested. i was doing a duratec 2.0 swap in an mg midget. i had the type 9 and quad 4 rods bellhousing but even after shortening the shifter remote i couldn't get the shifter moved forward enough. then i saw the dimensions of the ranger transmission and it will work perfect for me. so i went and bought a ranger duratec 2.3 and transmission. this is ideal to me because you dont have to mess with aftermarket throw out bearings ect. the one thing i was wondering was about lightweight flywheels for the ranger, so if this could be done it would help me greatly. incidentally i have a quad 4 rods bellhousing for sale, the type 9 is gone 8). i should have done more research and measuring and i would have started with the ranger drivetrain!


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PostPosted: March 30, 2012, 1:00 am 
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Interesting. While I could see the possibility of having a problem with rear shift transmissions being too far back on a midget, I'm also surprised that the M5OD wouldn't also be too far forward. Either way, glad to hear that this could be useful for you too! :cheers:

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PostPosted: March 30, 2012, 10:46 am 
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You may want to call Spec Clutch and see what they can do for you. I know they don't list an aluminum flywheel for the ranger but I'm pretty sure if you worked with them they would help you out. They have a whole list of non-standard conversion flywheels as well for mating odd engine/transmission combinations. That is where i got the flywheel for the Northstar in my Fiero. Your best bet would be to see if they already make a flywheel with the same basic dimensions as you need and if they do, get them to change the center bore/bolt pattern to match. I see they make one for the Duratec in a Focus but I'm not sure on the dimensions and whatnot that you need.


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PostPosted: March 30, 2012, 11:37 am 
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It seems that the main issue is the Focus flywheel and clutch are too tall to work in place of a Ranger unit. Yes it might just be as simple as having them modify change one or two dimensions on an existing design. Although depending on the design, taking a quarter inch or so of material out could significantly reduce the strength (or unfavorably change the harmonics) of the flywheel too. Spec is already on the list of companies I would contact for a quote.

I guess that does bring up a good question for anybody who might be interested...Would a single piece steel flywheel or multi-piece (steel ring gear, aluminum flywheel, steel friction surface) be preferred, assuming all else (weight, cost, etc.) being equal? I personally lean towards the solid steel designs, as that's what I'm most familiar and comfortable with, but there are plenty of manufacturers well versed in aluminum such that I would not be opposed to it if that's the way the prevailing winds blow.

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PostPosted: March 30, 2012, 2:27 pm 
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Hi Justin:

Thanks for including me on this.

When I started this Journey, I purchased a used Ranger trans to go behind my 2.3l
Ranger engine. It wouldn't fit easily in my Spitfire because of the wishbone style frame. This (among other constraints) drove my purchase of a Locost frame and XI body panels.

Turns out the Ranger trans didn't fit well in the stock Locost frame either.
So, I bought and rebuilt a thunderbird TC T-5 And bought a quad 4 rods adapter.

While developing the engine, I decided to buy a Fidanza AL flywheel. Turns out the Focus 2.3l flywheel is different because of the FWD trans.

I had the flywheel machined to accept the Ranger pressue plate and clutch.
Turns out I also had to use the Focus starter.

We have wound up putting the Ranger trans & steel flywheel behind a 2.0l Focus engine in our 24 hours of LeMons car. I'll let you know how it works out.


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