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Learning how to build Lotus Seven replicas...together!
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PostPosted: June 1, 2008, 9:36 pm 
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As I go through the build logs, numerous questions come up. I'm not close to any of these points but here goes anyway.

1. I see lots of builders skin the bottom side with steel rather that aluminum. I know of the possibilities, but has anyone ever had a problem with something come through? Is it for rigidity? Wouldn't glued and rivited aluminum be as rigid. How much weight difference?

2. Does POR-15 come in anything but black? If not are there any other good rust inhibitors that do?

3. What should I look for in a steering rack? There seems to be plenty of the Mustang II, Mustang, Pinto etc. on ebay. I didn't see any of the high perf. after market racks on there. Should I be holding out for one of those?

Like I said, I don't know if questions like this are appropriate for this thread. If not, move me to another spot cause I'm sure I'll have more.

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PostPosted: June 1, 2008, 9:46 pm 
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Usually people use the steel floor like I did--so I can stitch weld rather than drill and rivet. I am not going to rivet anything on the entire frame. I'd rather use Dzus fasteners or other methods that require adding on, rather than drilling holes. It may not cause any major structural issues, but I'd rather not.

Another thought would be that having a steel floor, while being heavier, it does help lower the center of gravity a tad.


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PostPosted: June 1, 2008, 10:03 pm 
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Since you don't have the sealer (glue), do yo seal or caulk the floor to keep moisture out?

Oh' and how heavy of steel 16ga.?

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PostPosted: June 1, 2008, 10:15 pm 
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I believe it was 20 gauge, and I have not used sealant. It is stitch welded inside and out, and will be POR-15'ed with the rest of the car.


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PostPosted: June 1, 2008, 10:45 pm 
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Since I plan on running mine on the road I wanted a welded steel floor. Mental security if I end up hitting something I shouldnt.


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PostPosted: June 1, 2008, 11:07 pm 
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I think I will probably do steel also. I guess I was just fishing for validation. Has anyone heard any horror stories of problems with broken chassis, things coming through the floor, suspension welds giving up?

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PostPosted: June 2, 2008, 12:34 am 
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RacerDan wrote:
I think I will probably do steel also. I guess I was just fishing for validation. Has anyone heard any horror stories of problems with broken chassis, things coming through the floor, suspension welds giving up?


Legs are very heavy... in a violent situation I could imagine them slamming a delicate aluminum floor panel kicking it out... leaving them exposed and endangered. I wouldn't feel good about anthing less than 0.063" aluminum for a floor. For the same weight you can weld on 24ga steel (.024") that would never tear loose. That's plenty thick for steel floor... the entire Ford GT40 (MkI, MkII, and MkIII) chassis was made of 24 ga and 22 ga (.030") steel sheet, and had a torsional stiffness (without bodywork or glass) of 12,500 lb-ft per degree.

You might maybe overcome the corrosion and loosening tendencies of aluminum/adhesive/rivet attachment to steel frame if you use all the right materials, preparations, and procedures, but I'll bet most aren't done perfect. If you're not an airframe technician you'll probably end up doing a better, stronger, tighter car long term with a welded steel skin, IMHO.

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PostPosted: June 2, 2008, 1:26 am 
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RacerDan wrote:
Since you don't have the sealer (glue), do yo seal or caulk the floor to keep moisture out?
Here in the PacNor, we don't seal the floor, so the moisture can get <out>. Non-locals may think I'm kidding, but nooo...

BTW, I used 18 gauge steel on my two most recent chassis. The book says 16 but I think that's overkill. I might go lighter on a pure race/track car (see SportsCarDesigner's comments) but...hey, I've only rolled a car inverted once, but I've gone off the road a number of times, and sometimes onto big rocks and things. I think objects are more likely to invade the cockpit from the bottom than from the top, yet I've seen a fair number of cars with good rollover protection and flimsy floors.

It's funny, but many people get a feeling of security and safety as long as something opaque is between them and trouble. I've flown a lot of aircraft that had fuselages covered with dope and fabric, and most folks are fine in that, but you take them for a flight in the same aircraft without the cloth covering on the cockpit, and they flip out.[/list]

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PostPosted: June 2, 2008, 3:42 pm 
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I used steel because it was the low cost solution and I'm not racing. All the sheet I used was 16ga. for simplicity. I used it for the gas tank, scuttle, foot well fronts, tunnel sides, etc. Real easy to work with.

POR-15 comes in black, gray and one or two others. Check the web and you'll find a number of vendors. I used black, but if I were to do it again, I would go with gray. Photos are much better with gray than black and I'm getting tired of all the black.

I used a Pinto rack because I used a Pinto donor. But also, it fit perfect in my +4 down the middle build.

John


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PostPosted: June 2, 2008, 8:27 pm 
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I just finished my chassis completly and primed it today. I'm using an ali floor largly because it just looks so much better.

My feeling is that there is nothing safe about these cars no matter what you do. They are just one notch above a motorcycle in my thinking. On the street I think your much more likely to have your head lopped of by an SUV than anything else. But then I'm 60 so I look at life a little differently than an a 30 year old.

You want a steering rack that is either the length betweeen the pick-up points of your front suspension or one that can be easily be shortned to that length, if you feel that bump steer will be a big problem for you. (I suspect most people just don't notice it.) some do. A pinto rack is very long and I don't know how difficult it would be to make shorter. But, as mcntioned previously you could make the caar 4" wider and maybe it would just fit. IF you are going with a stock book size chassis you want a rack that is about 18" long. Only racing types are that short, and about $400 new.

I'm painting my chassis with industrial hammerite from Sherwin Williams
The por stuff is really nasty to apply and the other colors besides black don't seem to hold up as well. I don't like the black.
Hope this helps and good luck
wayne


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PostPosted: June 2, 2008, 10:38 pm 
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elewayne wrote:
IMy feeling is that there is nothing safe about these cars no matter what you do. They are just one notch above a motorcycle in my thinking.

Agreed in concept. And like motorcyles, much can be done to improve one's odds by prepping for unpleasantness. The only thing the cafe racer craze did to improve motorcycle safety was make it cool to wear a helmet. There's some of that in our hobby too; you'd look like a dork wearing a five point harness in your DeSoto, but it's cool in a Locost.

BTW, my experience with wearing helmets in street cars is, if you wear a 3/4 helmet you look like a harmless eccentric, but if you wear a full coverage helmet you attract the wrong kind of police attention.

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PostPosted: June 2, 2008, 11:39 pm 
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JackMcCornack wrote:
BTW, my experience with wearing helmets in street cars is, if you wear a 3/4 helmet you look like a harmless eccentric, but if you wear a full coverage helmet you attract the wrong kind of police attention.


However, it is impossible to look cool in an open faced 3/4 helmet. ;)


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PostPosted: June 3, 2008, 12:07 am 
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but if you wear a full coverage helmet you attract the wrong kind of police attention.


I was basically afraid of that. Wearing a helmut seems reasonable in a Seven.

Jack, I think your point of people taking comfort in symbolic barriers is very true. We are all so worried about getting tee boned by an SUV. Yet that is not a very survivable accident in most small cars. Your head goes right thru the door window and hits the hood of the SUV either way. And the steel door skin won't help much.

Last winter I glanced to the side on the highway and happened to watch someone in a Camry touch a snowbank, and proceed to roll the car several times across the highway and out into the median. He landed right side up, but he had a lot of blood on his head. I am sure he banged his head on the road. The car was not all crushed up. But nothing keeps your head inside the car during an accident.

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PostPosted: June 3, 2008, 9:21 am 
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JackMcCornack wrote:
It's funny, but many people get a feeling of security and safety as long as something opaque is between them and trouble. I've flown a lot of aircraft that had fuselages covered with dope and fabric, and most folks are fine in that, but you take them for a flight in the same aircraft without the cloth covering on the cockpit, and they flip out.


Sounds like a mechanical implementation of security theater

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PostPosted: June 3, 2008, 10:11 am 
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Much of the post-9/11 security can be explained by this as well. I've often talked about the National Guard troops in airports right after the terrorist attacks, and the fact that they had no bullets in their guns. As a security countermeasure, it made little sense for them to be there. They didn't have the training necessary to improve security at the checkpoints, or even to be another useful pair of eyes.

Exactly. Who's fooling who?

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