Diff, Seats, etc

Another status update.

So, I’ve got a 1.6 liter donor, but of course I’d like an LSD, so I’m borrowing a torsen right now (which I may come to own eventually). I had no idea the diff in the 1.8 liter cars was so friggin huge. I’ve been working on making the transmission tunnel, and I’m going to have to have the passenger side body work bow out or something to make room for the diff/driveshaft.

I cut the front bulkhead tube (the one at the back of the engine) and am going to move it back/reinforce it somehow later, but I did this so that I could move the engine back significantly. Of course, that’s moved the whole transmission back and required some careful thought on the rest of the tunnel. 

I also decided to take a break from the tunnel and start making my motor mounts. I love this welder (Lincoln Pro-Mig 140), it practically does all the work for me.


Posted in General | Leave a comment

Frame is coming together

So much for frequent updates.. Anyways, I’ve recently started working on the car a lot, and hope to keep up the progress. I have the basic frame done, now I need to mount the engine and diff, and build the transmission tunnel.

I spent a little bit of time arguing with myself about the supercharger.. with its current mounting setup it sticks outside where the hoodline is. I was considering cold-side mounting options, or perhaps just lowering it to under the exhaust (where the a/c used to be) on the hotside, but nothing really worked out in my head very well. I ended up settling on just leaving it as it is, and worrying about it later. I could probably make a custom outlet manifold if I REALLY wanted to, and then it would fit under the hood. I’ll probably either put a bulge in the hood or cut a hole for fitment. That’s a long ways down.

Oh and by the way, having a completed car 5 feet away is very very useful. There were probably half a dozen times I wondered “Hmm, what will that look like when its all done?” and I just went and looked at evox’s and it answered my question.

Here is the past week’s worth of work:

Posted in General | Leave a comment

A Long Overdue Update

Alrighty, whew, its been quite a while since I’ve worked on this thing. You know that whole.. life thing? Yeah, that kinda got in the way :) I was working on this thing hardcore but then I had a TON of various crap happen (including moving twice within 4 months, getting in an accident on my motorcycle, buying another and then having that one stolen 3 weeks later..), and I’ve been really busy trying to get a few things sorted out. ANYWAYS hopefully I’m through the worst of it and I can devote a decent amount of time to this project.

So lets see.. Yeah I mentioned moving. I’m now living in a sweet 3-story townhome with a two car garage in the middle of downtown Atlanta with evox (see his completed car in my pics), and we have the most kickass garage setup ever. Also, this is a huge upgrade from my previous situation, which was working on the car at Mom’s garage which was a 30 minute drive away. Now my project is a 20 second trip down a flight of stairs. :)

I have my miata completely stripped and all the parts I need for most stuff, so its really time for me to begin construction (as opposed to deconstruction). Today I drew the base frame rail on my build table, cut all the tubes, cleaned them with my drill-press/abrasive wheel combo (so they’re nice and shiny/non-greasy and ready for welding), and cut the tubes for the L-assembly. The compound angles on the L-assembly took some figuring, and I’m not yet convinced that my angles are exactly accurate, so I may end up re-cutting those tubes. That will have to wait though, as its 4:20am on christmas day :)

Anywho, enjoy the pics. I have some of the new garage and of course of the progress I made today.

Posted in General | Leave a comment

Locost update – Miata disassembled, build table done..

Well, its been a while since I’ve updated on my Locost build.  First, I will post some text from my locostusa.com log:

Posted Jan 25th, 2008:

“Today I bought a donor car, finally. Its a 1991 Miata with 250k miles on it. 100k miles on the engine. What’s really cool about it, is it has a Jackson racing supercharger on it, and full exhaust from the headers back. Of course, I don’t care about the exhaust other than its worth some coin.. I paid $2500 for the, but I think I ought to be able to recoup most of that, especially if I sell the supercharger.

I’m waiting to start working on the chassis until I totally strip the donor, so that I can measure everything and appropriately decide on my chassis size.

I also need to sit in eVo-x’s car (book frame) and see how my size-13 feet fit.. From the sound of it, I’ll need to go with a Mcsorely 442, or perhaps the design presented in the Gibbs book, which is a “221″, I believe. We shall see. I would like to go with as small of a frame as I can and still fit.

Oh, and also, I bought 450 lbs of steel last week.. I know that’s a ton, but I got a good price on it and wanted to get a bunch of everything. The 4′x8′ sheet of 1/8″ (11 gauge) plate weighs 160 lbs!

My steel list:

1″SQR tubing, 16GA, 20′ lengths, 9 pieces - $115.56
3/4″SQR tubing, 16GA, 20′ lengths, 2 pieces - $22.72
1/2″Round STD (.84″ OD x .109″ Wall) 21′ lengths, 2 pieces - $35.70
Sheet, 11GA x 4′ x 8′ – $87.62
Sheet, 16GA x 4′ x 8′ – $52.00
Cutting Fee – $7.50
Subtotal – $321.10
Taxes – $25.69
Total – $346.79

Now that I actually have everything I need, I will try to post a bunch of pics this weekend of the garage, the donor car, and the steel.”

What I’ve done since then…

Not much, unfortunately.  There was actually a lot more work after pulling the engine and drivetrain to fully disassemble the car.  After I pulled the engine/drivetrain/suspension, I moved the car out into the driveway on moving dollies, where it sat for about a month.  BAD IDEA! When I went to move the thing back in, I discovered that it was completely and thoroughly infested with ants and a few other kinds of insects.  Ugh!  I spend a couple weekends spraying bug spray all over the thing after I pulled it back in the garage.  I also made sure there were constantly pools of bug killer liquid surrounding the four jackstands, sort of like a moat, so that no insects would escape the miata with their life.

Well, now the bugs are all dead, and the thing is almost entirely disassembled, except for some A/C components and the rear bumper (I didn’t have the courage to remove it at the time, for fear that there were still some ear wigs living inside, but they’re probably dead now).  I’ve yet to sell any of the parts on craigslist, including the shell itself!  Ugh.  Space is definitely one thing I don’t have right now.

In other news.. I built a.. build.. table.

I was originally planning on building it with steel, but then I realized how much cheaper wood is.  It actually took me two tries to build the thing to my satisfaction (the first one was done with mails, and imprecisely; this one is very square and held together with screws), but now I have a table that should be able to hold at least 1000 lbs (and is on wheels to boot!).

Please forgive my photos linking you to flickr right now.. I’ll try and resolve that soon so that you don’t have to keep going to an external site.

IMG_0185 IMG_0182 IMG_0181 IMG_0178 DSCN3350 DSCN3185 DSCN3124 DSCN3100

Posted in Locost | 2 Comments

My first Locost build post

Well, I finally have my very own build log. Almost a year ago, I became interested in lotus 7 replicas. I’m not even really sure what happened to make me interested in such a car, but I’ve been researching and considering building one for a few months now.

Over Christmas, I got a couple of books I was asking for. The two that mattered the most were: How to Build a Cheap Sports Car, and Build your own Sports Car: On a Budget. Also, I’ve done a lot of research and reading on the http://locostusa.com forums.

Anyways, after reading through those two books, and also buying a Lincoln Electric Pro-Mig 140, I made up my mind that I was going to get started on building a locost. My plan was to build my chassis based on the “book” frame, and to use a Mazda Miata as a donor vehicle.

I want to use a Miata for a few reasons:

  • Used Miatas with over 100k miles can be procured for fairly cheap (under $3k easily)
  • Miatas are very reliable and cheap to maintain. Engines frequently last over 250k miles
  • Lots of locost builders have used a Miata donor before me, so I will have lots of “expert” knowledge to tap into
  • Miatas come with double wishbone suspension on all four corners, and since I want to do independent rear suspension, this is perfect!
  • I’ve driven Miatas before and I love the responsive feel of the engine. Its got an awesome torque curve that is very fun to play with.

Anywho, I’ll post some pictures of my garage and when I construct my “build table”.

Posted in Locost | Leave a comment