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jgrewe
jgrewe
3/10/13 9:07 p.m.

I rediscovered this place while doing research on a project that I picked up recently. Its taken apart 76 Spitfire with a pile of good parts.

Backstory: A friend picked up a supercharged '00 Miata for some track fun. He has me keep things safe a running for him. He cracks a piston at Sebring and I need to figure out what to do for a more bullet proof engine. I find Tampa Bay Miata forum and find a few guys that know every bolt on the cars. Meet a guy at an evening get together and we start talking about other cars we have besides Miatas. I'm an RX7, RX2 guy and I also have a '59 Sprite and a 323GTX. He tells me about his stalled project taking up space in his garage. Its a Spitfire with plans to put in a 2.0L Duratec with a T9 5 speed behind it. "I'd sell it if I could get a fair price."

Wheels start turning, I start using my google-fu skills to see what is out there for the Duratec/MZR. I strike a deal and take the car home a month or so later.

What I got: A very clean BRG '76 Spitfire with no engine or trans. The duratec out of a Focus, quad4rods bellhousing, T9 trans, custom driveshaft and boxes of other things some Triumph, some Ford.

What I have in a pile after gathering stuff for the project: Megasquirt, GSXR t-bodies, turbo manifold,(I have a few turbos laying around) 1.8 Miata diff w/Torsen, 15x7 Konig Rewinds(Panasport copies)Miata spindles/uprights. Looking for Miata Sport brakes at this point.

The build should go pretty quick. Its the closest thing to a 'shake the box and it falls out assembled' project that I've done in years. And I plan on ripping off as many ideas as I can from the other projects here,lol.

I'll post pics tomorrow, here is the previous owner's blog

http://invisiblesun.org/blog/

irish44j
irish44j UltraDork
3/10/13 10:05 p.m.

interesting......

ransom
ransom UltraDork
3/11/13 12:03 a.m.

Looking forward to progress reports! That sounds like fun...

erohslc
erohslc HalfDork
3/11/13 6:49 a.m.

Ah, Loren's project car.
I really wanted to buy it, but too many cars already, & no spare $$.
Check out a Subaru R160 diff, can fit without any chassis surgery.
You will still need to do a rear supension, but the GT6+ bits can be used.

Winston
Winston HalfDork
3/11/13 7:32 a.m.

Excellent! More Spitfire builds is exactly what we need . AndreGT6 mentioned in my Spit build thread that the Ford swap is a popular one in the UK... maybe there's some additional info out there for you.

Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson UltraDork
3/11/13 7:42 a.m.

We need to instigate a pics or ban rule for new build threads

erohslc
erohslc HalfDork
3/11/13 3:33 p.m.

Various interesting Duratec versions.
The Ford Ranger got the 2.3 NS (NorthSouth) for RWD use, has the 'sump bump' at the back, exactly where you need it for a Spitfire.
But since they are internally the same, can use many of the go-fast goodies.
External stuff like intake and exhaust need tweaking to physically fit.

jgrewe
jgrewe Reader
3/12/13 4:28 p.m.

Build Thread, Now with Pics!

Here is the car. The bonnet is still in the PO's shed. You can see where a few cuts were made to prep for the transplant.

Here are some of the goodies. Went to LKQ and found some mint saddle seats. A little dusty and a smudge from when I grabbed them with a dirty hand. There is also the T9 trans, the rims.

I threw the main engine stuff together for one shot. Engine has the turbo manifold hung on it. A couple spare turbos that have needed a new home and the GSXR throttle bodies.

Here is the PO's efforts to rid the car of the demon Lucas. He had the Triumph engine on a megasquirt for a while.

Here is my Atelier. My wife is even afraid to step in the door. Perfect!

If you were curious what was hiding under the old bedspreads. Almost done with it, waiting for some parts to come back from being chromed.

jgrewe
jgrewe New Reader
3/12/13 4:31 p.m.
erohslc wrote: Various interesting Duratec versions. The Ford Ranger got the 2.3 NS (NorthSouth) for RWD use, has the 'sump bump' at the back, exactly where you need it for a Spitfire. But since they are internally the same, can use many of the go-fast goodies. External stuff like intake and exhaust need tweaking to physically fit.

The engine has the Ranger oil pan on it already. It is pretty deep and I'll probably end up making a new pan.

banzaitoyota
banzaitoyota New Reader
3/12/13 6:33 p.m.

Hey! I know u! Lol

mazdeuce
mazdeuce Dork
3/12/13 7:56 p.m.

I really want to own something, anything, with knockoff wire wheels some day. Just because.
As for the Spit, yes, we always need more of those. Always.

Winston
Winston HalfDork
3/12/13 9:32 p.m.

Cool! I get to see "the other path" with your build, since you're using the Duratec. Two green '76 Spitfires getting swaps at nearly the same time between the two of us... I'll certainly be following this build.

erohslc
erohslc HalfDork
3/12/13 9:40 p.m.
jgrewe wrote:
erohslc wrote: Various interesting Duratec versions. The Ford Ranger got the 2.3 NS (NorthSouth) for RWD use, has the 'sump bump' at the back, exactly where you need it for a Spitfire. But since they are internally the same, can use many of the go-fast goodies. External stuff like intake and exhaust need tweaking to physically fit.

The engine has the Ranger oil pan on it already. It is pretty deep and I'll probably end up making a new pan.

Easiest way slices an inch or so off the lower portion of the pan, and TIG's the pieces back together.
The oil pickup needs mod of course.
The crossmember that was sliced out of the Spit chassis (between the 'turrets' that carry the suspension) needs to be replaced with something equivalent.
A loop of rollbar hoop over or in front of the motor could do that, easily a bolt-in piece.

jgrewe
jgrewe New Reader
3/12/13 11:12 p.m.

banzai! Man, you are in a the cool forums! I've seen your posts on All Metal Shaping too. You'll like this

42" throat English wheel, frame is 10"x4"x3/8". Have to wait till next month to order wheels from Hoosier Profiles. Going with a 9x4 upper and 3" lowers.

mazdeuce, those wires didn't come on Bugeyes stock. I bought an entire 74 Midget and pulled all the rolling stock off of it. The car also has a 1275 and a Datsun 5sp

erohslc, I like the idea of slicing the oil pan but I think I want a little more oil in the sump. There is a guy on the UK Locost forum that made his own pan for his "7", I was thinking about that route. I have been toying with casting my own but the thin profile over that many square inches is a tough trick. I've been playing with casting small parts in aluminum and I'm not that good or lucky yet. I am going to try to make the motor mount arms out of cast aluminum.

Right now I'm trying to decide if I want to make front control arms from scratch or doing the mods that Curmudgeon has shown to fit the Pinata spindles. I'm leaning toward the mods because, well, if I start with stock parts I'm 95% done. I can make them pretty either way, the big silver box on the right side of the picture of the shop is my powder/ceramic coating oven. I hear about people boxing the stock arms, anybody know if its really an issue? I have a friend that has both a Turner and an Elva Courier and they BOTH use these control arms on sticky racing tires without problem.

NOHOME
NOHOME Dork
3/14/13 1:58 p.m.

Funny, I have a bugeye in same state of done. Also, I am approaching the english wheel thing from the other side, sent Joe Hoosier a check for the wheels a few years ago and still need to build the frame!

banzaitoyota
banzaitoyota New Reader
3/17/13 9:13 p.m.

Nice frame for the wheel! I used one of Kerry's wheels with the Hoosier wheels and it rocks! Currently without access to a wheel. I need to get one. My back probs have been slowing me down lately

jgrewe
jgrewe New Reader
3/27/13 11:17 p.m.

OK, Back to the Spitfire project. I was sidetracked when I got a call from a guy I own a car with a couple weeks ago. He says, "Hey can you get the Miata done in time for me to show it to people during the St Pete GP, we just became the Official Network of the race." Me: "What do you mean by done?" Him: "Not totally track ready, just so it looks like a race car" Me: "I think so"

The car was pretty much done mechanically but it looked like this the weekend before the StPGP

And this the Friday right before the race

Just in time delivery.

The Spitfire bonnet made its way to the shop finally. I had to take this picture to show just how small the car really is. That's a short bed Ram 2500 it is sitting in. There is a spot of shop rash on the nose from the last place to have the car before it came back to the PO's garage to be "re-stored".

I'm only two rotors shy of a complete Miata sport brake set. Pick up the rears on fleabay. The fronts I got off a local guy that had them on his LS2 powered Miata for about 400 miles. He found he wanted more braking for some reason...

This weekend I'll be mod'ing the Miata spindles and Spitfire control arms a' la Curmudgeon. Had to ask everybody I know to find the right tapered reamer. I also got a new set of stock rubber bushings for the control arms. I'm going with rubber because I've never found a urethane bushing that doesn't squeak after 6 months or so of daily driving.

erohslc
erohslc HalfDork
3/28/13 4:02 p.m.
... erohslc, I like the idea of slicing the oil pan but I think I want a little more oil in the sump. There is a guy on the UK Locost forum that made his own pan for his "7", I was thinking about that route. I have been toying with casting my own but the thin profile over that many square inches is a tough trick. I've been playing with casting small parts in aluminum and I'm not that good or lucky yet. I am going to try to make the motor mount arms out of cast aluminum. Right now I'm trying to decide if I want to make front control arms from scratch or doing the mods that Curmudgeon has shown to fit the Pinata spindles. I'm leaning toward the mods because, well, if I start with stock parts I'm 95% done. I can make them pretty either way, the big silver box on the right side of the picture of the shop is my powder/ceramic coating oven. I hear about people boxing the stock arms, anybody know if its really an issue? I have a friend that has both a Turner and an Elva Courier and they BOTH use these control arms on sticky racing tires without problem. ...

Decide if you want this to be an aluminum casting project, or a Spitfire project.
It's likely that you can do one or the other, but not both:

Casting your own pan, and making it work properly: hundreds of your own hours (yes! be honest)
Slicing and TIG welding the Ranger pan: 10 hours of someone elses hours.

Getting the pan flange dead on will be a real challenge with DIY casting, then you still have to get it milled flat, locate and drill the pan bolt holes, hope it doesn't leak, etc. etc.
Do you have access to a CNC machining center?

I'd not be too concerned with the oil pan capacity. but it's not so hard to have some 'bump outs' welded onto the sides.

Also, since the chassis crossmember is already gone, petrhaps a stock FWD pan will do just fine with no mods.
Clearing the rack& pinion is the real challenge.
You may wind up moving the entire motor back a few inches. Not hard to do with a Spitfire chassis.

Also, the T-9 and custom bellhousing are neat. But you can buy entire Ranger duratec motors with fully sorted RWD factory 5 speed transmissions, clutches, throwout bearings, etc. all day long for cheap $$$.
Part out the current setup to someone with a hard-on for it, use the money to pay for the rest of your project.

BTW, boxing the Spitfire arms is a total waste of time.

jgrewe
jgrewe New Reader
3/28/13 9:52 p.m.

All good input, thanks. Especially the control arm stuff. I had been reading that the people that have trouble with the stock arms usually have a V8 hung in the car with stiff springs and big sway bars. Other than that they seem to be fine.

The pan wouldn't be that many hours, maybe 97 hrs? I was planning on making a plug out of wood to pack in my flask for the sand casting procedure. I can cast it thick and machine it to a thinner profile later. My big hold up is a crucible that will hold enough aluminum. I picked up a hunk of 3/8 wall pipe about 6" dia this week, I can make one that will hold 6 or 7 pounds of aluminum out of it. Either way I go it will all be done in house. Way in the back of the shop where you can't see in the pics is an MSC vertical mill, 16" Southbend lathe, band saw, and Miller Syncrowave 300 tig. I've got the fabrication toys covered

I got the driver's side Miata spindle on the car today. Opened up the top hole to fit the Spitfire ball joint and cut the lower arm to fit the Miata lower ball joint. I need to throw a rim and tire on it to make sure it will clear the fender when I finish the arms the way I want.

jgrewe
jgrewe New Reader
3/29/13 9:29 p.m.

I double checked the fit of things with the Curmudgeon set up today. Took some measurements on both the Spitfire and Miata spindles.

With the thickness of the brake rotor added in the trunnion /ball joint bolt is within 3/4" of being the same. The Miata being a little shorter which brings the wheel in a bit. Perfect for the 15x7's going on the car.

Threw a stock Miata rim on the car to see how things look at ride height. It has 4 degrees positive camber but swings with plenty of room. Once I shorten up the upper arm I will pretty things up and powder coat the suspension bits.

Speaking of powder; I threw a few parts in the oven this afternoon. Normally I do suspension stuff in chassis black but since this car shows so much of it with the bonnet open I thought I would make it stand out. I can't bring myself to do the calipers red. The aren't that good looking and it doesn't fit the look I'm going for.

jgrewe
jgrewe New Reader
4/7/13 10:54 p.m.

Did a little more work on the car this weekend. Now, I know they can't put stuff on the internet that isn't true, but 25 Forum Bucks to Curmudgeon! I opened his GT6 thread and ripped the dimensions for the narrow steering rack. It was so nice to not have to think while I did the mod. I checked a few things along the way but couldn't find anything to disagree with.

I used different tools but ended up with the same result.

Prepping the shaft for welding.

Finishing the shaft after welding

Final shine with some sandpaper

Narrowed the housing too, did a quick reassemble so I can fit it in the car for engine placement. I'll take it apart again later to powdercoat it when I won't get banged up during mock up.

Made my big crucible today too. I figure I'm going to need at least 5 lbs of aluminum for my oil pan so I want a bit extra capacity for the melt. Aluminum is .043lbs per cubic inch, I figure at least 116 cubic inches to give me the pan thickness I want.

Tool Tip: I cut up my old tape measures and leave them all over the shop. Usually only the first few feet a screwed up when I get tired of guessing which little line I'm looking at.

Crucible fits pretty well in the furnace

I have a friend that makes kilns, the old bricks come in handy when he does a refurbish.

I'm going to go with a lost foam casting method. Look at the head on your Saturn, I'm pretty sure it is how they are made. I'm going to do my first foam casting when I make the engine mounts to see how things turn out.

erohslc
erohslc HalfDork
4/8/13 2:50 p.m.

With a thinwall casting, and vaporized foam to escape, make sure you give a lot of thought to the risers and sprues.

Do you have access to live steam?

Commercial lost foam uses steam to 'burn out' the foam after the sand has been riddled and rammed.
Eliminating burned foam and foam residue yields a better result.
They also sometimes do a semi-investment process, ie a light coating of investment to capture shape and surface, but backed up with rammed sand for better mechanical support.

Are you using a petroblend, or green sand with bentonite?

I assume you are using gas, rather than electric in your melt furnace?

Pix, pix, pix!

jgrewe
jgrewe New Reader
4/8/13 4:19 p.m.

Yep, propane fired. The bricks are just free insulation and the stainless bands of the kiln holds the whole mess together.

I've been using green sand. I was reading about a fluidized bed of sand for placing the foam and I'm going to try that. One of the reasons for going with foam is being able to use normal sand without having to mull it after use. For the fluidized bed method you have air blowing up through the box of sand that makes it 'bubble up like its boiling. You can place the foam form down into the sand then turn off the air flow. The sand settles around the foam pretty well and you can give the flask a few taps just to be sure all is settled. The whole thing has to have all the risers and sprue built into it, no carving out things in packed sand.

The best cast surface I've found online is from foam that has been coated with a very watery drywall texture mix before being placed in the sand. One guy claims he even got cast fingerprints he had left in the glue he used to hold the foam together.

The secret to the foam seems to be head pressure. I need to head over to Alro and get another hunk of pipe to make a tool that goes over the sprue that holds a lot of aluminum.

I put the word out to the scrap place in my business park. They had just gotten rid of a load of cast stuff but they are going to hold whatever comes in the next few days. I'm going to need a bunch of ingots in the next few weeks.

Yes, there will be pix, pix!

erohslc
erohslc HalfDork
4/9/13 3:53 p.m.

Great, looking forward to seeing this unfold.

jgrewe
jgrewe New Reader
4/10/13 9:10 a.m.

Negotiated some extra shop time during the week by going to a PTA meeting first. I dropped the engine and trans in the chassis for the first time since I've had the project. It fits, sort of. PO did a lot of cutting already, pretty surgical job too. For it to work it will need a lot more. I'm going to move it back about 1.5 inches and it also needs to go down more. As it sits right now the oil fill cap is probably a 1/4" below the bonnet. I WILL NOT CUT THE BONNET!

From the inside the bent shifter puts the knob too far back. With a straight shifter it puts it in a much better location than stock. It may need a slight bend forward once I move the engine back to clear the rack. Nothing a shifter boot won't hide and it won't mean the knob will move weird.

Under the car things lead to some head scratching. Right now the engine is resting on what is left of the stock cross member. This stuff needs to go but I will need to figure out how to handle the load that comes into the turrets. The little stubs that are there have the one bolt that triangulate the load from the spring perch and upper control arm.

The Ranger pan that came with the project hangs down 2.5" below the frame right now. Probably another 3/4" by the time I lower the engine enough.

Thinking about fitting those 24's that are laying on the floor on the car. Now THAT would be cool Rims are just there to be coated for a friend of a friend.

Picked up some stuff to melt from a friend. 1.6 Miata head that had a valve bounce around in the wrong part of the engine, a Miata trans case and some sort of Honda head. The Honda head is good he just forgot what it was off of and was tired of tripping over it. If anybody knows what it is speak up if its worth keeping, otherwise I can make it a pool of metal in about 20 minutes.

Here is the Honda

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