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PostPosted: January 3, 2021, 2:47 pm 
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Joined: December 27, 2019, 4:14 pm
Posts: 3
Hi Everyone,

I stumbled into the Locost idea about 2 years ago, and actively read the boards. I bought the Keith Tanner book, and have read through it, as well as previously read "How To Make Your Car Handle" by Fred Puhn. We (my fiancee) and I finally bought a house this summer, with garage space, and she's blessed the project to move forward.

There's a stalled project that's up for sale near me, and I recall a few members mentioned that a stalled project is a great way to get a head start on your first project. As it stands, it's a roller but from the photos looks like the rear suspension design needs some work and finish welding. The donor was an NA 1.6l Miata, and it includes all the necessary pieces.

I'm hoping for some feedback on what I should be looking for when I look at it, here's what I've come up with so far.

-Check the frame for level of completion
-Need to determine what frame it is
-Check donor parts for condition and that they're all there
-Inspect welds on the frame?

Thanks!


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PostPosted: January 4, 2021, 8:50 pm 
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Joined: March 19, 2011, 10:22 am
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Location: Holden, Alberta, Canada
Hi Mad, welcome to the forum. Looks like it's fairly quiet on here last couple of days, don't let discourage you, we sometimes post hard and then sometimes not.
Reading your post it looks like you're on the right track. There are just so many ways to approach a build. You have to find one that's in your comfort zone.
madhatter wrote:
-Check the frame for level of completion
-Need to determine what frame it is
-Check donor parts for condition and that they're all there
-Inspect welds on the frame?
My main concern would be the welds, I would also check the front suspension geometry, I know that's a tough one to do without some basic equipment and also being at the sellers place.
Remember this - If man made it, man can fix it. Ask me how I know this :lol:
You could also try a find another local builder and ask them to help you check out the project you're looking at.
And.......if the price is right on this project, then you have wiggle room to change things to your liking. :cheers:

And when you do pull the trigger post lots of pics.
Also, where are you located, interests, etc.

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'If man built it, man can fix it'
"No one ever told me I couldn't do it."
"If you can't build it safe, don't build it."

Perry's Locost Super Che7enette Build
Perry's TBird Based 5.0L Super 7 L.S.O.
Perry's S10 Super 7 The 3rd
Perry's 4th Build, The Topolino 500 (Little Mouse) Altered
Perry's 5th Build, the Super Slant Six 7


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PostPosted: January 4, 2021, 9:53 pm 
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Joined: December 27, 2019, 4:14 pm
Posts: 3
Hi Perry - I'm glad you replied, you were one of the guys I was hoping to hear from! :cheers:

Quote:
My main concern would be the welds, I would also check the front suspension geometry, I know that's a tough one to do without some basic equipment and also being at the sellers place.
Remember this - If man made it, man can fix it. Ask me how I know this :lol:

I like your attitude! I'm not sure I'll be able to measure accurately when I go look at it, but definitely would give it a good ponder if I bring it home.

Quote:
You could also try a find another local builder and ask them to help you check out the project you're looking at.

This is such a good idea, I'm embarrassed I didn't think of it myself. I met a local builder at an autocross this summer, and when we were talking he had offered up a jig for Miata IRS that he used. He's a friend of a friend, so I'll reach out and see if he's willing to look at it with me!

A bit about me: I'm also an Albertan (raised in Medicine Hat), but live in a small town 40mins outside the Greater Toronto Area now. Interests are all things cars (obviously), but primarily centred around motorsports. I compete in Autocross locally, in my "GS" prepped GTI. I'm competent mechanically, I'm able to diagnose and repair most things on cars I've owned in the past, and am an excellent "bolt-on" car modifier.

What drew me to the Locost was the small, nimble, lightweight principle; I've always been drawn to that idea. I crewed for a rally team while building their competition car about 9 years ago, and got my feet wet with some fabrication and suspension setup. That's been a burning ember in my mind ever since, I really want to learn to design and fabricate, and I'm lucky enough that I do have some resources through friends to help me with the principles along the way. The Locost seems to be a perfect platform to do that with, especially with the support from forums like this!


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PostPosted: January 4, 2021, 10:01 pm 
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Joined: December 17, 2010, 1:24 pm
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Location: Gainesville, Mo.
I'll second (in my own lovable style) what Perry said ... LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!!! If you find that you're close to one of "The Guys" here, they may be able to help with suggestions, a "Watch For" list, Local "Gold Mines" for parts, ETC! Perry is a good source (on his third Locost, if my tally is current), and so are many others. I'm still a "wannabe" builder, but that should change with first robin of Spring. Once again... WELCOME! and Good Hunting! :cheers:

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PostPosted: January 5, 2021, 1:00 am 
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Joined: March 19, 2011, 10:22 am
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Location: Holden, Alberta, Canada
ngpmike wrote:
Perry is a good source
Whoa here now Mike, I appreciate the mention but I can think of a dozen guys here that have way more knowledge using Miata donors. That being said I still do like to add my 2c now and again especially when the discussion turns to rubbish :rofl: , then back on track again

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Perry

'If man built it, man can fix it'
"No one ever told me I couldn't do it."
"If you can't build it safe, don't build it."

Perry's Locost Super Che7enette Build
Perry's TBird Based 5.0L Super 7 L.S.O.
Perry's S10 Super 7 The 3rd
Perry's 4th Build, The Topolino 500 (Little Mouse) Altered
Perry's 5th Build, the Super Slant Six 7


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PostPosted: January 5, 2021, 3:13 am 
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Joined: April 26, 2008, 6:06 pm
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Location: Under the weather. (Seattle)
madhatter wrote:
There's a stalled project that's up for sale near me...
I hope you're referencing Portland, as that could alleviate any temptation for me. I've never bought a stalled project, only had projects stall. So take this with a grain of salt:

If there is a decent build log available, you can learn a ton about the car by reading through every post of it. With a few notable exceptions, you would find out more from that than anything you can glossing over it in half an hour in somebody's driveway or garage. Ultimately, as long as you would be happy with the majority of component selection and design decisions, and the price is fair for both what has and hasn't been done, I don't see much else to stand in the way of purchasing outside of extremely poor craftsmanship.

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PostPosted: January 5, 2021, 11:35 am 
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Joined: October 19, 2012, 9:25 pm
Posts: 3323
Location: Summerville, SC
I've bought more than a few stalled projects. :lol:
First off, There's nothing done that can't be undone or fixed to your satisfaction.

Look at the frame dimensions and see if it suits you.
Sit in the cockpit and see if there's room for your hips, legs and feet. If it's too small, walk away and don't look back.

Look at the donor bits, especially the motor and diff. Run a compression check if you can, look at oil, plugs, and inside exhaust ports if you can't. You're looking for the usual indicators of a dead or dying motor. As for the dif, get an idea of ratio by turning the input and counting revs per the output 1 revolution. You won't be perfect, but you can narrow it down.
Look at the diff some more and see if you can tell if it's open, viscous, or torsen. There are good ID guides on the Miata forums.

Look at the rest of the donor bits and try to get an idea in your head about what it would cost to buy on the open market.

I typically buy a stalled project for a % of the donor bits value.

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PostPosted: January 5, 2021, 12:46 pm 
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Joined: December 27, 2019, 4:14 pm
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Apologies if some posts go back-to-back. Because I'm a new user, my posts all need to be approved by mods :(

ngpmike wrote:
I'll second (in my own lovable style) what Perry said ... LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!!! If you find that you're close to one of "The Guys" here, they may be able to help with suggestions, a "Watch For" list, Local "Gold Mines" for parts, ETC! Perry is a good source (on his third Locost, if my tally is current), and so are many others. I'm still a "wannabe" builder, but that should change with first robin of Spring. Once again... WELCOME! and Good Hunting! :cheers:

I'm outside Toronto, I'm not sure if there are any Gurus from the forums - maybe someone will chime in? There are so many knowledgeable people here, it's a great community.

I tried to update my profile, but it's returning an error. :?

Driven5 wrote:
I hope you're referencing Portland, as that could alleviate any temptation for me. I've never bought a stalled project, only had projects stall. So take this with a grain of salt:

If there is a decent build log available, you can learn a ton about the car by reading through every post of it. With a few notable exceptions, you would find out more from that than anything you can glossing over it in half an hour in somebody's driveway or garage. Ultimately, as long as you would be happy with the majority of component selection and design decisions, and the price is fair for both what has and hasn't been done, I don't see much else to stand in the way of purchasing outside of extremely poor craftsmanship.

Sadly, not Portland. Your project would be great for me, especially because of the build log - but it's very similar. There's no build log on the forums that I know of, but the seller says he has a notebook somewhere with ideas, design intentions, etc. The asking price is about the same as a running/driving donor, the NA chassis' up here have skyrocketed in price lately.

I will say it's not my "dream" locost. But, I think a 1.6L Miata based project will be able to achieve the goals of my first Locost build: to learn and build a safe, fun, reliable car.

TooBusy wrote:
I've bought more than a few stalled projects. :lol:
First off, There's nothing done that can't be undone or fixed to your satisfaction.

Look at the frame dimensions and see if it suits you.
Sit in the cockpit and see if there's room for your hips, legs and feet. If it's too small, walk away and don't look back.

Look at the donor bits, especially the motor and diff. Run a compression check if you can, look at oil, plugs, and inside exhaust ports if you can't. You're looking for the usual indicators of a dead or dying motor. As for the dif, get an idea of ratio by turning the input and counting revs per the output 1 revolution. You won't be perfect, but you can narrow it down.
Look at the diff some more and see if you can tell if it's open, viscous, or torsen. There are good ID guides on the Miata forums.

Look at the rest of the donor bits and try to get an idea in your head about what it would cost to buy on the open market.

I typically buy a stalled project for a % of the donor bits value.

Great attitude about what can be done/fixed with enough time/effort/money!

It's supposed to be a +442, so I should fit comfortably enough. (6'1, 230lbs)ish. But one of the things I want to do when I go see it is bring plans and measure it out to know for sure.

Good call on inspecting the donor components. He told me the donor had 23x,xxxkms (143,750mi) and ran when it was disassembled, but it's been sitting for a while now... I'm not banking on this 1.6 lasting forever, but at least a replacement isn't crazy expensive, nor is a 1.8 non-vvt?

Interesting that you buy the projects at a % of the donor parts value, that's some food for thought.


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PostPosted: January 7, 2021, 1:53 am 
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Joined: December 24, 2007, 5:11 am
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Location: Seattle area
Can't say mine started out as a stalled project, just that the originator wanted to go racing and the Locost was going to take too long. So he bought a Formula Ford and put what Locost parts he had up for sale.

i got a frame that was said to be 30% done that was more like 10%. All welds had to be redone and more than a little reengineering to get it like I wanted it but all in all it was a big timesaver.

The deal included a lot of Miata parts but no drivetrain. So I basically didn't have a donor. That meant to me that i wasn't limited by what I had. I could use whatever i could source and afford. Perhaps the cost ran little higher but I have no complaints. Got a beauty of an engine from a guy that was going to put it in his drift car but changed his mind. It's a JDM 20V 4AGE Toyota that was very complete. So after strippng off and selling what I wasn't going to need it wound up making me $35.

Good luck whichever way you go.

Cheers!

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PostPosted: January 7, 2021, 11:01 am 
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FWIW, I had 6'1" 230 lb friend drive my book chassis (long torso, short legs). A lot has to do with seats, steering wheel location (I modified the tilt feature and added an NRG quick release) and the pedal setup. A 442 chassis is not necessarily required to fit your body.

As far as picking up a stalled project, so long as the price is appropriate, it can be a good starting point. I bought mine that was setup for a Pinto drivetrain. I cut away a lot of stuff related to that and went on from there adding different control arm mounts and IRS vs solid axle. In the end I would have been better off building from scratch. But the price was good as it came to me with nosecone, fenders and virtually new GAZ shocks.

It all comes down to the price and keeping your project expectations reasonable. If you are scrapping a bunch of parts that you will not use, figure your offer price accordingly. For instance, old tires no matter their visual condition are likely worth $-50 to $-100. I meant that. They are a liability not a gain. They will likely be past their best-by date and it will cost you to have them removed and disposed of properly.

Good luck on the build and definitely start a build log here when you get it. :zoom:

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PostPosted: January 8, 2021, 1:28 pm 
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Joined: November 6, 2020, 6:29 pm
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Location: Spring, TX
I'm considering doing the same. There's one about 5 hours east of me.
But, we just had a big cash outflow (new tires on the wife's car & our large HOA dues, and some around-the-house maintenance), so it's in a holding pattern for now.
Hoping the guy still has it when we're back on budget.

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PostPosted: January 9, 2021, 11:49 am 
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Joined: June 20, 2019, 12:34 pm
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Frame construction and welds are very important! My frame was straight and the welds very good. Plus lots of items were brand new (seats, tires, wheels, etc) Also get as many receipts from the seller for the parts and sourced items that you will need to get it inspected and licensed.

But the front suspension geometry was so wrong I had to start all over with a new design. To keep with the locost theme I used what I had (Mustang II parts). Was not ideal, but it will work. Would do it different now if I had it to do over.

Good Luck!

Thom

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