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obsolete
obsolete GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
3/20/23 5:57 p.m.

Thanks guys. Adding a double joint would be nice, since all three joints now are pretty close to their max angles, but I don't think I could get away with that unless I add another support. It's still on the table if I'm not happy with the 3 joint solution; I guess we'll see. It feels like I am really close.

I changed the bracket design to put the bend in the tube instead of mitering the end of the tube at the plate, which raises the rod end up a little bit and seems to help the angles. The tight spot feels much less tight now. I think this'll be the final design that I'll make a steel version of.

 

After this, I played around with phasing the u-joints on the splined shafts. The "correct" way is to have the u-joints phased like a driveshaft, which is how I started out in the picture above. Some of the OEM steering shafts I've seen are nowhere near so-called correct phasing, and I've never heard anybody complain about it, so I don't think it matters much. Driveshafts turn fast, steering shafts don't.

After moving all three joints 2 or 3 splines out of phase from each other, the feel changed from one noticeable tight spot to multiple almost unnoticeable tight spots--more like a very slight difference in resistance. I think a little more playing around with lengths and angles and I'll be happy enough with it. I sent the upper joint off to be modified to bolt through the end of the column, and I'll assemble this for hopefully the last time when I get it back.

obsolete
obsolete GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
3/20/23 7:56 p.m.

More on u-joint phasing.

Borgeson says to line it up like a driveshaft:

Sweet appears to actually recommend installing their joints 45 degrees out of phase as a rule:

Woodward has the most detailed recommendations. They suggest the standard phasing like Borgeson, but go on to say: "Shafts with both angular and parallel misalignment may require special U-joint phasing which can only be found by trial and error."

My conclusion from this:

jfryjfry
jfryjfry SuperDork
3/20/23 8:10 p.m.

This might be what is happening:

"Lining up your U-Joints this way will help to prevent the steering column from getting longer and shorter while
turning it."

 

That was from the Sweet page about the 45* phasing.   You don't have any slip joints I believe so maybe that's the issue.  Try loosening the column so it can slide a little and see if the binding stops 

yupididit
yupididit GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
3/21/23 1:54 p.m.

Okay, I'll be bringing home my  estranged Conquest next month. Its without a engine and trans. I'm going to go back over this thread because I'm not sure what I want to put in it. I do not want to do the g54b unless I get one nearly free and all working order. 

Dusterbd13-michael
Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
3/21/23 2:52 p.m.
yupididit said:

Okay, I'll be bringing home my  estranged Conquest next month. Its without a engine and trans. I'm going to go back over this thread because I'm not sure what I want to put in it. I do not want to do the g54b unless I get one nearly free and all working order. 

Drink the 60 degree v6 kool-aid with me and wvmtnbkr....

obsolete
obsolete GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
3/21/23 3:49 p.m.

In reply to jfryjfry :

Yeah, that part jumped out to me too. I know the VW steering shaft I have that matches this rack has a sliding element in the middle. I've seen enough steering setups without it that I don't think it's always necessary, but it's another variable I can play around with and see what changes.

yupididit
yupididit GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
3/21/23 3:56 p.m.

In reply to Dusterbd13-michael :

I hate the sound and want to avoid V engines this go around. Except for maybe another 1uz lol

obsolete
obsolete GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
3/21/23 4:01 p.m.
Dusterbd13-michael said:
yupididit said:

Okay, I'll be bringing home my  estranged Conquest next month. Its without a engine and trans. I'm going to go back over this thread because I'm not sure what I want to put in it. I do not want to do the g54b unless I get one nearly free and all working order. 

Drink the 60 degree v6 kool-aid with me and wvmtnbkr....

Cool, glad you're getting the car back finally! Build thread? smiley

60 degree V6s are great engines, they just sound like poo...

I've definitely been reconsidering my engine choice while working on the starter relocation (next thing I'll be posting about). I wouldn't do an Ecotec swap in a Starquest again, at least not without a wider steering rack or just keeping the stock steering. I started looking at other I4 options and for what it's worth, the Honda K starter is in the same place, so I'd have the same problem. 4G63 and Ford Ecoboost are both up higher and might work.

I think that unless you're dead set on being weird and being the first to do something (like I am) either a 4G6x or a JZ have the most support and are the best swap choices.

759NRNG
759NRNG PowerDork
3/22/23 7:31 p.m.

Pssst Atlas BWaHaahaaa!!!!!!.........Y'all can run but yu cant hide cheeky

obsolete
obsolete GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
3/22/23 8:58 p.m.

In reply to 759NRNG :

I like the Atlas engines, I tried to justify the 5-cylinder for a while but the Ecotec just makes more sense...at least in theory.

759NRNG
759NRNG PowerDork
3/22/23 9:02 p.m.

No no no your Ecotec path is the bomb, I'm just goofin.....carry on

wvumtnbkr
wvumtnbkr GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
3/22/23 9:40 p.m.

I think the 60 degree v6 engines get a bad rap on sound from crappy berretas and 350z.

 

Mine does NOT sound like that.  I actually like how it sounds.  I do NOT like 350z and old gm sounds.

obsolete
obsolete GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
3/26/23 6:22 p.m.

In reply to wvumtnbkr :

Haha, I spent a lot of time listening to the 60v6 in this crappy Beretta, so I'm very familiar with the sound. I think the horrible FWD log manifolds are probably to blame. I've never heard one with proper exhaust.

obsolete
obsolete GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
3/27/23 12:20 a.m.

Okay, back to the build. The starter cannot live in its designed spot on the Ecotec block, because the steering shaft is in the way. I'm too stubborn to move the rack forward after spending so much time getting the steering geometry dialed in, and I don't want to cut the firewall to move the engine back because this is going to be a street car and all the HVAC stuff is right there. The only option left that I can think of is for the starter to move to the other side of the block. I'm also excited about this idea because it allows me to eliminate the weak Ecotec flex plate, which is a known point of failure.

There's a nice open spot on the passenger's side of the block where it seems like a starter could go, probably because that's where a big chunk of the FWD transmission normally is. The first thing I did was buy the Danchuk 10100 starter plate suggested by Patrick quite a while ago in another thread. This plate allows an old Chevy 3-bolt bellhousing-mount starter to mount in the correct location to engage a 168-tooth SBC/BBC flywheel. I don't love stacking multiple adapter plates, but if this plate would be an easy enough solution, it seemed like the way to go. Here it is sitting on the bell housing adapter plate on the block:

 

The starter mounting location lines up pretty well with the available space next to the block, so this is looking promising:

 

I scribed the outline of the starter mounting hole onto my adapter plate to see how much I would have to cut out:

 

Oof, looks like quite a bit. I think I would end up cutting all the way through the plate there and making it into a C-shape. That would be fine, since pretty much all of the plate below the lowest bell housing mounting holes isn't really required, but I don't love it. Spacing the flywheel out 1/4" from the crank turned out to be a bigger problem. The spacer that comes with the Danchuk kit doesn't fit my crank adapter, and I can't come up with a good way to space the flywheel out 1/4" that doesn't require machining down the crank adapter and/or multiple spacers that aren't standard thicknesses, so they would need to be machined too. Doable, but not as simple as I thought it would be. Another thing is that the old 3-bolt starters are 20-pound direct drive beasts. I found one source for a gear reduction mini starter, and they want $290 for it. Not totally unreasonable, but combined with all the other factors, I'm not as excited about the Danchuk adapter as I was when I started out. I'm keeping it as a possible option, but I decided to keep trying to come up with another solution I like better.

No matter what, I'm going to need a 168T flywheel, so I bought a used one, and just for fun, I also bought the cheapest Hitachi-style Chevy mini starter on eBay:

 

This is a knockoff of a Powermaster 9100. I popped the billet block off the front of the starter and was pretty happy with what I found. The pinion extends pretty far out from the body of the starter. Maybe it would be possible to build my own adapter to bolt it through the bell housing adapter in the same location as the Danchuk plate? It's worth a shot. If I screw up, I can just cut a bigger hole in the bell housing adapter and use the Danchuk plate anyway.

 

After a bunch of measuring and playing around in CAD, I came up with an adapter plate design. Powermaster's instructions for the 9100 were a huge help in figuring out what the dimensions needed to be. The tube is 2-1/8" OD, 3/16" wall. It will need to be turned on a lathe to make clearance for the starter nose on the bottom and a pocket for a pinion support bearing on the top. The tube will be welded to the plate, which is .250" thick. No idea what the outline of the plate would look like yet, so I just made it 4" square.

 

Time to start cutting. I 3D printed a tool to spot-drill the center of the hole:

 

Nice. Man, the 3D printer is really handy for stuff like this.

 

Then I chucked up a 2-1/8" hole saw in my crappy old drill press and proceeded to drill a hole in $900. I forgot to put a spoil board underneath so I had to stop halfway through and fix that, otherwise it went just fine.

 

Nobody's going to mistake the results for CNC, but I think it'll be good enough for what I'm trying to do.

 

I installed a 3D print of my adapter design on the starter, popped the bearing in, and did some old-school CAD to trace the outline of the back of the block onto the adapter plate so I could cut it down for clearance:

 

First test fit. This might not suck!

 

Plenty of room to tuck the solenoid in close to the block. The downpipe will need to be routed past the starter, so I'll want as much clearance as I can get.

 

I did have to shave down the block a little bit to clear the body of the starter. Not much, like 1-2mm.

 

I clearanced the plate for the bolt heads by drilling holes with the drill press, then finished them off with a 2-flute center cutting end mill, also on the drill press. Experts on the internet say that running an end mill in a drill press is wrong, and in some cases it is, but this was fine, nobody died, and I got flat-bottomed holes. I also tapped the lower bell housing mounting hole on the adapter plate all the way through (it was already drilled to size, but only partially tapped from the bell housing side) and added a stud for third starter adapter mounting point.

 

After too many revisions, here's the final design:

 

Fits great! I left myself just enough room to get a bolt into that upper right mounting hole with a socket and extension.

 

Powermaster specifies a .020"-.035" clearance between a flywheel gear tooth tip and the starter pinion gear root. I got an old wire-type spark plug gap gauge to measure this. I had to open up the hole slightly bigger with a sanding drum, but I was able to get it within spec. The engagement depth came out perfect. I'm planning to wait until the steel version of the plate gets here from SendCutSend, then get the starter in position for proper gear mesh, tighten down the nut on the stud, and use transfer punches to locate the other two mounting holes. Hopefully that will be precise enough to locate the plate, and I will be able to easily remove and install the starter without losing the gear mesh clearance.

 

I also designed a cover plate for the stock Ecotec starter location. I'll probably try 3D printing this out of Nylon and see how it holds up. The vent holes make it look like someone on the other side is ready to take my drive-through order:

 

So, there we have it. With any luck, this will allow me to get the engine mounted in the car. Remember, I picked the Ecotec because I thought it would be "easy"...

therealpinto
therealpinto GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
3/27/23 3:10 a.m.

Great work! Starter relocation can mean a lot of work but when it works, I find it often solves many issues. Nice!

Gustaf

Dusterbd13-michael
Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
3/27/23 6:00 a.m.

Dude, amazing work!

madmrak351
madmrak351 Reader
3/27/23 7:37 a.m.

That is amazing! The 3d printing trial fitting prototype parts is so cool. Glad to see this coming together. Great work!

yupididit
yupididit GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
3/27/23 8:03 a.m.

Damn the m111 stater is in a very similar location. 

DrMikeCSI
DrMikeCSI Reader
3/27/23 12:16 p.m.

I can see you have way more patience then I have. 

obsolete
obsolete GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
3/27/23 2:02 p.m.

Thanks guys! I got the printer over the summer hoping to use it for exactly this kind of stuff, and it's been awesome. I've been stunned by the dimensional accuracy I've been able to get out of it after some basic tuning.

I didn't have any of the CAD skills when I started either, but I picked up FreeCAD, watched some YouTube videos, and boom, here we are. It's not a professional tool, I'm not a professional designer, but I can make the stuff I want to make.

What a time to be alive.

obsolete
obsolete GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
3/27/23 2:03 p.m.

In reply to yupididit :

I don't recommend a VW Rabbit steering rack then!

yupididit
yupididit GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
3/27/23 2:06 p.m.
obsolete said:

Thanks guys! I got the printer over the summer hoping to use it for exactly this kind of stuff, and it's been awesome. I've been stunned by the dimensional accuracy I've been able to get out of it after some basic tuning.

I didn't have any of the CAD skills when I started either, but I picked up FreeCAD, watched some YouTube videos, and boom, here we are. It's not a professional tool, I'm not a professional designer, but I can make the stuff I want to make.

What a time to be alive.

That's awesome. My wife bought me a 3d printer in November plus a bunch of goodies with it. I have yet to open it though. 

TurboFource
TurboFource Reader
3/27/23 4:02 p.m.

Nice work!!

obsolete
obsolete GRM+ Memberand Dork
5/5/23 6:06 p.m.

It's been way too long since I posted here, but it's Friday, work is slow, and I finally have time for an update. I put in my SendCutSend order for the starter adapter, steering column mount, and steering shaft support, and they all showed up in about a week. I got two of the starter adapter plates just in case I screw up the welding on one:

 

I'm a little disappointed with the burrs I had to clean up on the steel parts, but otherwise everything is perfect.

obsolete
obsolete GRM+ Memberand Dork
5/5/23 6:18 p.m.

I'm confident that the starter relocation will work, and it's not holding up anything else right now, so I set it aside and started on the steering column firewall mount. I tapped and counterbored the adapter and printed a new spacer ring the correct thickness out of TPU. I found that it had to be 3/16" thick, not 3/8" thick, otherwise the through-bolt in the upper u-joint would hit the firewall.

 

Fits awesome! The tilt mechanism works great and the column feels at least as solid as it did from the factory.

 

I also cut a gasket out of 1/16" nitrile rubber to make the firewall side a little more weatherproof:

 

I just eyeballed the location for the column hole and I don't think it could have come out much better:

 

I think I'll add some nylock nuts to the ends of those bolts through the firewall just for extra insurance, since they're now bolting together a metal-rubber-metal sandwich, and I can't really torque them down fully, because the rubber just squishes. Overall, I'm really happy with this solution, though. It'll definitely work.

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