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bgkast
bgkast Dork
11/24/13 11:58 a.m.

I have been wanting to build my own car for about 5 years. I originally was thinking about building a reverse trike with a sportbike as the rear half, but difficulty registering it in my state and the long wheelbase that was required to sit in front of a typical motorcycle engine and swing arm eventually made me switch to a Seven type car. I have always wanted a Lotus Elise, but can't justify the cost. My Midlana should have as good or better performance at less than 1/3 the cost. I will be shooting for a challenge budget...it's going to be tough!

While waiting for the build book to come out I decided to source all of the parts I could so that I could start building as soon as possible. In January I came across a Miata in the wrecking yard and grabbed all the parts I needed for the build.

I de-powered the steering wrack using Flyin’ Miata and Moto-IQ instructions. In February I bought a wrecked SRT4 on copart to serve as the drivetrain and miscellaneous parts donor. It was a local auction so I was able to go check it out before I bought it. The engine, transmission and suspension avoided damage when it was wrecked. Copart is a good place to find donor vehicles, but the fees are killer!

bgkast
bgkast Dork
11/24/13 12:00 p.m.

Once I got the wreck home I got it running and drove around the block a few times to make sure everything was working. I then hit the engine with marine fogging oil to keep it fresh during storage, changed the oil and pulled the engine.

While I was parting out the rest of the donor car I picked up some more parts. Wheels were harder to source than you might think, had to find the right size, width, offset (front and rear) and bolt pattern. Not hard to find all of these, but not easy to find them all in the same set of wheels. I eventually settled on XXR 501 wheels in 15x7s for the front and 16x8s for the rear.

bgkast
bgkast Dork
11/24/13 12:02 p.m.

Next I pulled off the oil pan of my engine, Nice and clean inside, not bad for 100,000 miles. I yanked the balance shaft assembly and built a windage tray to take its place.

If I were to make the windage tray again I would mount it to the pan instead of the block. It took about a week of trial and error fitting and grinding to get it to be located correctly in the oil pan. I made full size templates of the parts if anybody wants to try to duplicate it.

bgkast
bgkast Dork
11/24/13 12:04 p.m.

I then moved on to building up a megasquirt 2 for the car. I had never done any circuit board work, but enjoyed it. I first built a JimStim "simulator" kit that will allow me to test out the megasquirt and to give me some soldering practice. I built the megasquirt to run the stock wasted spark coil setup and two banks of two injectors. I also added a circuit for a knock sensor, tach output, shift light and launch control.

bgkast
bgkast Dork
11/24/13 12:06 p.m.

Once the Megasquirt was finished I finished cleaning and detailing the engine. I also replaced the timing belt, water pump and tensioners.

I pained it to match my planned color scheme.

The next item to complete was the build table. I found some 6x3.5” I beams to serve as the main structure of the build table. The table construction took quite a bit longer than I thought it, mostly because I made it bolt together so I didn't end up with a 5x10 foot 400 lb chunk of steel to deal with when I am done with it. 1x2 cross pieces are notched to fit flush with the tops of the I beams are held in place with 24 brackets fit to the inside profile of the I beams. Legs are also 1x2 bolted to 1/2 inch plate brackets welded to the beams and cut to fit the inside of the legs with no slop. The table is topped with 9/16 hardwood plywood.

bgkast
bgkast Dork
11/24/13 12:08 p.m.

Once the table was done I wanted to finish up the engine and re-join it with the transmission. On the SRT4 the clutch forks are cast iron and the harder bearing wears groves which causes less and less throw and in extreme cases like mine the fork rubs on the pressure plate and makes a horrible noise. Mine had worn over .1 inch or just the thickness of the head of a 4mm bolt. A new stock piece is $175 and upgraded pieces are even more. This fix cost $4. Before (Not my picture):

After:

Before I bolted up the engine and transmission I weighed them. Engine: 375 lbs, transmission: 165 lbs. Both weights include everything needed to run including oil. Next I bolted up the transmission, hoisted the engine up onto the build table, and posed for a picture.

bgkast
bgkast Dork
11/24/13 12:10 p.m.

It took some thinking to figure out the shift cable arrangements. In the stock SRT4 the cable leave the transmission at a 45 degree angle to the centerline of the car towards the rear center of the drive train. When the engine is moved to the rear the cables will need to exit towards the front center to run through the center tunnel. This means that the cables are moving 90 degrees to the stock arrangement, and the arms on the transmission also need to rotate 90 degrees. The arms are attached with roll pins pins that need to be driven out, the larger arm has a pin inside a pin and the smaller one needs to be driven out before the larger one, don't try driving them both out at the same time. Smashed my finger trying to do that.

Due to the large counter weight on the bigger arm you can't just rotate the arms and call it a day.

A little cutting and grinding on my previously freshly painted arms and they fit!

I had to cut off the counter weight, grind down the thickness of the larger arm so it would clear the smaller arm and grind off, and grind off the back side of the smaller arm flush with the shaft. The larger arm is cast iron and I'm hoping it did not get weakened too much by all the material that I had to remove. Another option would be to get a second smaller arm (which is made of steel), cut it apart and weld in some extra metal. This would also allow you to change the length of the arm to give shorter shift throws. I also had to drill new holes in the arms for the roll pins 90* from the stock holes.

bgkast
bgkast Dork
11/24/13 12:11 p.m.

I made up the shift cable bracket from bits of the stock bracket. It looks like a welding practice piece. It's not pretty, but it's not flexible! Still need to finish some cleanup and paint it. The throttle cable will tuck in with the shift cable routing nicely, almost like it was designed that way!

Unfortunately it looks like the stock shift cables will be too short. Thanks to a suggestion from Vigo in another thread I ordered a shift cable for a 1992 Dodge Daytona and found that it fits the stock SRT4 mounts and shift levers and is about 7 inches longer than the SRT4 cables. I will have to wait until the chassis is built to see if that is enough.

bgkast
bgkast Dork
11/24/13 12:11 p.m.

Yesterday I scored a bunch of 5052 aluminum sheets for $1.05 per pound! I got five 4.3x8 sheets of 0.05, one 4x8 sheet of 0.065 and one 4x10 sheet of .125 for just over $200! All of it is missing the protective plastic so it has minor scratches. Should be more than enough to skin the car, and it would have been almost $1000 of metal new!

pres589
pres589 UltraDork
11/24/13 12:13 p.m.

Hey, your images aren't showing up, and they seem to resolve to a dead links on a different forum.

bgkast
bgkast Dork
11/24/13 12:18 p.m.

Thanks, they are linked from the midlana board. I'll have to figure something else out...

Edit: Moved pictures to photobucket

pres589
pres589 UltraDork
11/24/13 12:24 p.m.

Odd thing is, some are showing up now for me.

When I copy the URL to one that isn't showing up, I get a link like this;

http://www.midlana.com/forum/download/file.php?id=567&mode=view

And I get told I'm not allowed to download the content. Probably need to host them somewhere else that isn't locked away. Smugmug or something like that perhaps.

Mr_Estrotica
Mr_Estrotica Reader
11/24/13 12:27 p.m.

I made an account on the Midlana forum just to watch this build.

If you need an extra hand at any point, let me know. I'm local and would love to lend a hand/ see a tube frame car come together from scratch.

bgkast
bgkast Dork
11/24/13 12:38 p.m.

In reply to Mr_Estrotica:

Thanks. I just may take you up on that!

I moved all the pictures over to photobucket. Let me know if any are still not working.

This concludes the pre-build and is all of the progress to date. The book should be in my hands in a few weeks, then I can really get rolling!

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
11/25/13 9:39 a.m.

Watching with interest. I remember I made some design suggestions for that oil pan. Don't remember what they were now though

bgkast
bgkast Dork
11/28/13 10:44 a.m.

Reading the Kimini book yesterday I realized that I screwed up my shift assembly. My original theory (which was good) was that the shift lever operates the same if it's in front of or behind the engine. All that is needed is to move the shifter to be in front of the engine, run the cables out the back and hook the cables up to the opposite sides of the arms on the transmission. The cables would now push instead of pull and vice versa.

This would have been a simple matter if the transmission arms were perpendicular to the centerline of the car, but in my case the arms were not, and moving the cables to the opposite sides of the arms would have pointed them towards the left side of the car rather than the center. I needed to rotate the arms, but when I did I rotated them the wrong direction, making the whole shifter operate backwards.

Luckily it's a simple fix, I just need to put the arms on 180 degrees from where I have them and re-make my bracket that holds the cables.

efahl
efahl New Reader
11/28/13 3:46 p.m.
bgkast wrote: making the whole shifter operate backwards.

Sort of like driving a right-hand-drive car, you should be able to adapt. :)

bgkast
bgkast Dork
12/4/13 10:46 p.m.

The book is here!

bgkast
bgkast Dork
12/10/13 1:30 p.m.

The book has been read, and I have finished tracing out the bottom of the chassis on the table. I hope to put saw to steel tonight!

One idea I am tossing around is narrowing the rear of the chassis a few inches, tapering back from the main roll hoop. I would then use Cycle style fenders like the example below.

I am using 1" narrower wheels than the prototype which will provide a gap between the body and the tire. Any comments on the aesthetics of the narrow rear compared to the book look?

Here is the overall rear look I am shooting for regardless of narrowing up the rear.

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
12/10/13 1:36 p.m.

I think the narrower rear would look good but it's hard for me to condone skinnier tires

bgkast
bgkast Dork
12/10/13 1:53 p.m.

Ha! They are still 8" wide. I am running 7" wide in the front. Should be plenty on a 1609 lb car. The Elise uses 7.5" rears and 5.5"!!! Fronts.

bgkast
bgkast Dork
12/13/13 3:50 p.m.

Any other comments before I take the saw to the back of this thing?

nosleeves
nosleeves UberDork
12/13/13 3:58 p.m.

I almost posted before and then didn't, but I'll chuck it out anyhow: I think the narrow rear makes the car look much lighter and more "buggylike". OTOH, some of that may be those skinnier tires on the example...

I like Midlana's rear, but it in turn makes me start thinking more about enclosing the wheels completely rather than doing cycle fenders, somewhere between a Can Am car and the somewhere-in-there-is-a-Seven Mannic Beattie: EDIT: whoops, looks like first source is no-hotlinky...

Anyhow, that's a whole other tangent. I don't think I have a real strong opinion, but for cycle fenders, I think the narrower rear may be compelling...

bgkast
bgkast Dork
12/13/13 4:03 p.m.

In reply to nosleeves:

I can definatly see your point about the "buggy" look.

Here is a 3 view sketch of the narrow rear option I made (wheels are way to low in this drawing, they should be about even with the top of the shock)...sorry about the scan quality.

onehundredoctane
onehundredoctane New Reader
12/13/13 5:04 p.m.

Very cool project!!!

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