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BigD
BigD Reader
12/11/17 1:19 p.m.

PRI is done, had a blast as usual, had a great time with old friends and made new ones. I plan to change my trailing arms to rod ends and make the rear fully adjustable so I stopped by Aurora to chat. Later that night I went to a dinner with my friends from ANZE and it turns out they're friends with the guys from Aurora who were at the dinner... turned out to be really cool guys in addition to making the best bearings.

My diff flange arrived today so I'm ready for the driveshaft once I install the transmission and get the length figured out.

 

Speaking of the driveshaft, I stopped by FastShafts again to sync up on my driveshaft plans. I've been talking to them for 3 years and each time they refuse to listen when I say that my car is a road racer. Once I say I have 1000+hp they say there's no way they're making me a carbon driveshaft. Then I reiterate that it's a road racer that will never see a launch and they say ok you'll be fine. I still can't get over the price difference for domestic applications vs import. A one piece chromoly shaft for BMWs from DSS is 900, a carbon is 1400. A 3 1/4" carbon shaft for my application from FastShafts... 500 bucks.

BigD
BigD Reader
12/18/17 9:28 a.m.

IT'S HOME!!! After all these years... can't believe it really happened. I can't wait to see what it's like to drive. Need to put in the pump drive gear and pump, change out the shifter setback (it should sit right in the stock hole) and then it can go in. The only pieces left is to fab up the trans brace, then measure and order the driveshaft. I would add slam gears and make vroom vroom noises but I'm already there.

 

adam525i
adam525i New Reader
12/18/17 11:14 a.m.

Not sure if that should be marked NSFW lol

Adam

BigD
BigD Reader
12/18/17 11:17 a.m.
adam525i said:

Not sure if that should be marked NSFW lol

Adam

Only if you're transphobic!

BigD
BigD Reader
12/19/17 12:25 p.m.

First order of business for precious, field strip to install pump drive gear and pump, and shorter shifter setback console (shifter will now sit exactly in the stock location). It's hilariously beefy inside.

Ivo
Ivo New Reader
12/19/17 1:13 p.m.

Yes, it looks very strong. It's a car porn indeed. Can't wait to see it running on your car and hear your impressions. According G-Force, what is the torque and HP rating for that gearbox?

BigD
BigD Reader
12/19/17 1:17 p.m.

If I remember right, they said they officially rate them to 1000 ft lbs but that's just what NASCAR spec'ed, they've never seen one break, including with the multi-thousand HP drifters that run them.

BigD
BigD Reader
12/22/17 7:47 p.m.

Scored a Christmas present for myself off the classifieds - once used English wheel and metal shrinker/stretcher. I feel like berkeleyen Ralphie, except rather than shooting my eye out all my friends are telling me I'll squash my thumbs. Hopefully I'll be using these to mangle metal in 2018 and not body parts 

SkinnyG
SkinnyG SuperDork
12/22/17 8:08 p.m.

COOL!

Last month I picked up a slightly older used version of the same one. PA yellow as well.

I call them French Wheels.  I use a lot of French while working them.

SkinnyG
SkinnyG SuperDork
12/22/17 8:13 p.m.

Is that a shrinker as well, underneath it? They are gold!

BigD
BigD Reader
12/22/17 8:28 p.m.
SkinnyG said:

Is that a shrinker as well, underneath it? They are gold!

It's got two different jaw sets to be both a shrinker or stretcher!

BigD
BigD Reader
12/24/17 8:25 p.m.

Finished up the trans tunnel (or so I thought), bellhousing is in and torqued. Measured the tunnel relative to the mounting holes of the transmission and it's going to need over an inch of extra clearance above the trans. That's outside the scope of a hammer so, first english wheel project coming up this week!

 

My old driveshaft going to a new home, a turbo E36 with a 420G swap. Needed to shorten it. A friend of mine cut it apart and machined a press-fit sleeve into the joint so it turned out awesome, about 0.0025 runout which is less than what the "professional" shop managed that re-tubed it for me. I should have done it myself from the beginning, especially with my friend's help. Really happy with the weld too, autogenous root penetrating into the sleeve and then a cover pass, nice and smooth, barely above surface - minimal stress riser. If it fails it won't be there!

Ivo
Ivo New Reader
12/25/17 3:28 a.m.

A real craftmanship ! How did you weld it? A short weld on one side then another weld on the opposite side or just one continuous weld?

Merry Christmas!

BigD
BigD Reader
12/25/17 9:49 a.m.

Thanks Ivo, Merry Christmas!

When I'm worried about distortion I jack the amperage to the moon and hit it quickly so that there is as little penetration as possible. So I first tacked this guy every 120 degrees. Then the autogenous root about a half to an inch at a time on opposite sides. I did the cover pass in one go which was a mistake as it pulled quite a bit. It never ceases to amaze me how much things distort when welded. But I checked it quickly after welding and hit it with compressed air in the right spots and it straightened back out as it cooled.

Nader
Nader New Reader
12/26/17 10:31 a.m.

You need to quit your day job.  (That's a compliment)

BigD
BigD Reader
12/26/17 12:39 p.m.
Nader said:

You need to quit your day job.  (That's a compliment)

Haha, thanks! That's actually the plan... maybe I can get good enough and build a reputation so one day I can quit writing code for a living and become the grumpy old guy in town who the local performance shops go to for getting cool stuff made. I tried sticking out my thumb to freelance fabricate and the people I had coming in made me want to give up on the idea altogether. Things like a guy who wanted me to make him a pizza oven out of stainless steel for less than the material would cost. He said well for more than that I can buy a new one. Why even tell me that? What am I supposed to do, go OK you're right I'll pay for the rest myself? But I've been doing work for local shops who understand what things cost to do and appreciate the skill and equipment, so they just pass on the cost to the customer and they're just happy I do a good job. So those are the relationships I want to cultivate.

Like fixing a broken head instead of making the customer buy a new one

Nader
Nader New Reader
12/26/17 4:59 p.m.

I'm going to assume that last picture of the welded head isn't the final product ;)

Glad to hear you giving serious thought to that alternative career plan.  I've seen more than one instance of someone elevating their hobby into a business, and becoming very successful at it.  How cool would it be to wake up in the morning and actually look forward to  to your job?

Have you dabbled yet in welding titanium?  Let us know, because I have a couple small race car and race bike projects that need a little Ti welding done.  Would be great to have a resource like yourself who understands high performance vehicles and does such professional quality work.

BigD
BigD Reader
12/26/17 5:23 p.m.

Hehe, no that was before it got leveled and tapped for a new stud.

My main hesitation in pursuing my passion as employment is that there is no such job where you will wake up every day looking forward to doing it. I'm sure even porn stars wake up some days not feeling like it. I have many days when I really don't want to play with the car. A hobby is what you do when you don't have to do anything. The day you do it because you have to, it turns into a job and if it's also your passion, then it gets tainted. I like software engineering and I'm pretty good at it, good enough to where I can make a good living. It's sufficiently challenging and sometimes entertaining but it's not my passion. It does, however, afford me the opportunity to go home and do what I want - which is sometimes cars, sometimes not.

Which is why if I'd really only want it to be a retirement gig - something I would do by choice, if someone brings me something interesting enough for me to bother with, where I don't actually need their money.

I've done some titanium work to practice but nothing practical yet. This winter I intend to make a titanium exhaust past the downpipe to run it out of the passenger fender through the footwell. That way I can do a tight flat floor. Titanium is really easy and pleasant, it just requires all the argon you can throw at it. Ideally it should be welded in a purge chamber. I was successful doing what appear to be industrially passable welds with a good backpurge and a gigantic diffuser cup but I wouldn't want to do it on anything structural, just plumbing.

One of the first attempts, autogenous and filler:

 

Started on the first project with the new tools - a new top for the transmission tunnel to clear the GSR, out of 3/32 stainless. Going well so far, still have all my fingers but I am being careful with it and I had a few moments where I could see being careless with hand placement could easily suck a finger in

BigD
BigD Reader
12/28/17 8:22 p.m.

I wonder at what point I have to stop saying it's an E30 or even a BMW... when I'm down to the windshield?

Ivo
Ivo New Reader
12/29/17 11:18 a.m.

Don't worry about that at all. My hobby car has already adapted parts from more than 5-6 otrer brans, not to mention the custom built ones and is probably less than 50% away from the original. 

Think like you're improving the HUGE flaws of the factory model :-) 

Dammit
Dammit New Reader
12/29/17 3:49 p.m.
BigD said:
adam525i said:

Not sure if that should be marked NSFW lol

Adam

Only if you're transphobic!

I feel that this excellent Dad joke needs more appreciation 

BigD
BigD Reader
12/29/17 4:19 p.m.

Ivo, yes, like the flaw of not being able to clear a NASCAR 4 speed :)

Dammit, thanks I was wondering if I was the only one amused by that

The new top is in, should work well. Needs a shifter hole and transmission now.

NOHOME
NOHOME UltimaDork
12/29/17 5:46 p.m.

Have you discovered the value of a soft upper wheel on the E-wheel? Allows you to put curves in a panel without actually putting  any crown in the panel. Good for stuff like rocker panels.  Probably what I use the wheel for the most.

 

And I am on the same page when it comes to making a bit of $$$ on this gig. Fine to the point where it supports my own car hobby, but I would not want it to be a main source of income because I would soon hate everything about it. I think I have met a few of your pizza oven guys, but not many cause most of my stuff is referrals who vet the clients for me.

BigD
BigD Reader
12/29/17 6:00 p.m.
NOHOME said:

Have you discovered the value of a soft upper wheel on the E-wheel? Allows you to put curves in a panel without actually putting  any crown in the panel. Good for stuff like rocker panels.  Probably what I use the wheel for the most.

Not yet but I'm aware of it. I could have definitely used it on this piece because other than the one end, I just wanted a smooth curve on the panel. I managed it but it was a huge pain to keep it straight. I'm going to order the rubber band from Eastwood along with their leather bashing bag.

And I am on the same page when it comes to making a bit of $$$ on this gig. Fine to the point where it supports my own car hobby, but I would not want it to be a main source of income because I would soon hate everything about it. I think I have met a few of your pizza oven guys, but not many cause most of my stuff is referrals who vet the clients for me.

Yep that's the only work I take on now. "Normal" people are too dazed by E36 M3 from China, they think blue collar work should be free. 

BigD
BigD Reader
12/30/17 7:09 p.m.

Cue Rocky music. Was a bigger pain in the ass than expected, mainly because the bellhousing is machined precisely for the flange on the transmission but it wasn't going in for the last quarter inch. I was worried I was damaging something but I checked and rechecked and everything seemed fine, then I noticed that the flange on the transmission is tapered. So I hit the outer edge of the bellhousing opening with a burr and it went in.

It's such a dream to shift, it's hard to describe if you haven't tried it. I can't wait to see what it's like in practice. 

 

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