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T.J. MegaDork
7/31/18 2:24 p.m.
Joe Gearin said:

Love the thread Jack!  Looking forward to following along! 

Not sure about that... pretty much all of the posts in this thread have been on topic....wink

Interested to see more on this project and how it turns out.

Jack Heideman
Jack Heideman New Reader
7/31/18 3:36 p.m.


I hope to have those bushings replaced tonight. That being said its rare I get everything done as planned.



I followed a template out of Tony Brandas catalog. I had the later style A-arms which didn't offset the template. I do think you are correct about a castor loss. Hopefully if it is an issue, I can add shims to compensate.

Jack Heideman
Jack Heideman New Reader
7/31/18 9:23 p.m.

Updates from tonight!

We ordered wheels from wheelsforless.com yesterday and surprisingly they showed up today! It looks like our wheel math was correct but there isn't much clearance with the upper A-arm. The aluminum wheels are a little thicker and the stock wheel studs look a little short. Fortunately extended studs should be here tomorrow!

You also might notice the quarter panel in primer. Nick Hardie offered to touch up some of the paint and fix a dent for the car. Some of you would recognize his garage. Its been in the magazine a couple times. He is the master of patina. 


I added an oil pressure gauge. Last week I took a test run through one of our formula sae courses after a test day and my oil pressure light would come on in a long turn. It looks like the car was a little low on oil so hopefully that was the problem but the gauge will help me keep a better eye on it. 

After that we just did a couple small things: fixed the no charge issue (loose wire), tighten the alternator belt, and base lined the timing curve in preparation for the dyno on Thursday.

Jack Heideman
Jack Heideman New Reader
7/31/18 9:24 p.m.

Also, Here is a picture of the panhard bracing and the end link system on the sway bar. 

AngryCorvair MegaDork
7/31/18 9:35 p.m.

You will have to grind the edge of the upper control arms a little to clear the inner wheel lip with 17" rims.  Or drive in circles and let the UCA clearance the rim.

Jack Heideman
Jack Heideman New Reader
7/31/18 9:52 p.m.

I was wondering if I could trim a little off the UCA. I think I'll just add a 5mm spacer to be safe. 

kazoospec UltraDork
8/1/18 6:18 a.m.

This is awesome!  Going to run it at Grattan on Labor Day? 

AngryCorvair MegaDork
8/1/18 7:36 a.m.

In reply to Jack Heideman :

UCA can definitely be trimmed a little.  that turned-up lip around the UCA is (i believe) only there as a result / requirement of the stamping process.  and you only need to knock off about 3/16".   with the 5 mm spacer, you may be (depending on tire section width) getting really close to fender lip with outboard sidewall.

Jack Heideman
Jack Heideman New Reader
8/1/18 12:09 p.m.


I don't think I can make it to Grattan this year. I have class on labor day and am skipping the second half of the week for Solo Nationals.



That makes sense. I think I'll wait for tires before I try to make them fit.



759NRNG SuperDork
8/1/18 7:52 p.m.

Jack is it me or is Carl perhaps a relative?  Regardless, this build has so much that it speaks to me...carry on, awesome build and embarrass everyone at the next event. 

Jack Heideman
Jack Heideman New Reader
8/2/18 7:32 a.m.


Carl is my dad

759NRNG SuperDork
8/2/18 7:36 a.m.

You couldn't ask for a better mentor.........pssst he's right about the PSE(personal safety equipment).

Jack Heideman
Jack Heideman New Reader
8/2/18 7:44 a.m.

Update from last night!


Wednesday nights are our Formula SAE teams practice nights. I ran the wagon on the track last week with times in the high 23 second range (that's when my oil pressure light was turning on in turns). Last night the car ran in the high 22 second range so the sway bars made a pretty nice improvement. I also had a rider watching the oil pressure gauge and they said it never dropped. I guess I was just low on oil last time.  The car really needs faster steering. Slaloms were pretty tough.



klodkrawler05 Reader
8/2/18 7:48 a.m.

Love this project! can't wait to see it at a local event!

Jack Heideman
Jack Heideman New Reader
8/2/18 6:39 p.m.

Dyno data!

The engine made more power than expected! Still not much for a heavy car.

rustomatic New Reader
8/2/18 7:09 p.m.

As a note on what can be done with stock upper control arms, you can actually spin the mounting shafts forward (screw-like) to get more static caster.  All the caster you can get is a good thing, as it will nicely speed up your steering wheel's return to center.  You can also lower the UCAs more than an inch (up to 1.75 in some cases) for quicker camber gain, but even an inch will usually necessitate the need for a wedge (a guy sells them on ebay pretty cheap, but you could probably make your own) between the ball joint and the arm; stock ball joints will disintegrate in short time.

Check lower arms for binding, and if you feel industrious, make the strut rods into heims at the front mounting points, and install hemispherical bearings in place of the bushings in the arms.  This will allow you to pull the arms forward (without binding), further increasing caster options.  

Great job on that rear sway bar and Panhard!

Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
8/2/18 7:24 p.m.

We were betting on the power at the shop today and most of us were expecting even lower...this is a 302 out of a 1977ish pickup...and we know a lot of those early-emissions-era engines make terrible numbers.   After the first pull, we looked at the graph and thought the shape looked funny.  Then we remembered that this is a pickup engine, designed for low-end grunt, not a performance engine.  Notice how low the peak power and torque RPMs come in--2300 for torque and 3500 for power.  Peak torque might even be below 2300, but that's what it shows because that's where we started measuring the run.  That's what you'd want in a truck.  Honestly, I think it's going to work out okay for a heavy station wagon with a rear gear <3:1.  It ought to pull out of the corners okay if Jack can turn the steering wheel fast enough to make it through the corners.

klodkrawler05 Reader
8/3/18 7:13 a.m.

Rather than doing something fancy like a rack swap or geometry change for steering is there enough room under the dash for one of these?


That would probably help steering immensely


AngryCorvair MegaDork
8/3/18 12:09 p.m.

In reply to klodkrawler05 :

yep, a steering quickener would be a good "fix" in this case.  looks like it could use more spring rate all around, and less rear ride height.  i'm sure the pic is turning after braking so there's lots of forward weight transfer, but lower ride height is just about always better, then spring it stiff enough to not bottom out in the worst case.

Jack Heideman
Jack Heideman New Reader
8/5/18 9:34 p.m.

Weekend update

Replaced the shocks

Installed extended wheel studs for the new American Racing wheels.


A little "wheel clearancing" on the UCA for the new wheels as discussed earlier.

Replaced the strut rod bushings. One of the nuts was destroyed when disassembling. It turns out this shaft is 11/16-18, not a very common nut to find. Carl found his forklift's lug nut was close to the same thread. I will be replacing the whole strut rods down the road. 

Added the stock floor matt back in the car for CAM rules. 

I also rolled the fenders in preparation for the tires that are on their way. Once they're here we just need to corner weight and do a final alignment. Then its off to Peru. 


I think the steering quickener is a great idea but unfortunately I will not be able to have that done for this event. Hopefully the next one. 

FunkyCricket New Reader
8/6/18 2:09 p.m.
Jack Heideman
Jack Heideman New Reader
8/6/18 10:19 p.m.

Wheels and tires came earlier than expected!

The car is using Bridgestone RE71Rs. I used to run these on an ES Miata and loved them!

We managed to get them mounted and fortunately they fit with a modified lower front fender bracket pulling the fender out a little more.

It was another Formula SAE test night and I was allowed another couple fun runs. Previously the car was running the course in the high 22 second range but thanks to the new wheels and tires the car is in the high 19 second range!

Rufledt UberDork
8/6/18 10:22 p.m.

That thing looks seriously awesome like that.

wawazat Reader
8/7/18 8:49 a.m.

Is it just me or would the plaid in Rufledt's avatar pic above be a PERFECT interior fabric pattern in the wagon?


Car has a great vibe!  Love it.

Jack Heideman
Jack Heideman New Reader
8/7/18 5:41 p.m.

In reply to wawazat :

I think that is a great Idea!



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