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wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L)
wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
4/3/22 8:31 a.m.

Inspirational work. Kudos to your determination.

PMRacing
PMRacing GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
4/3/22 9:23 a.m.

Can't tell from the pics of those are twin tube or monotube shocks. If they're twin tube make sure the oil stays above the base cage when the shocks are at full extension. Otherwise you'll get some loss of damping the gas goes where it isn't supposed to.

Loving the project!

EDIT: Nevermind. I didn't see the remote gas chamber on my phone.  Carry on.

SDet
SDet New Reader
4/7/22 11:55 p.m.
maschinenbau said:

The best thing about this project, as said before, is that it's half custom fab and half restoration. When I'm burnt out on one, I can do the other. I hate suspension right now, so how about the steering column.

Goodness this is a lightweight column. The housing is paper-thin aluminum tube. The thicker steel rod is actually hollow, so the thinner steel rod can collapse into it. No U-joints, just a rag joint straight into the rack. I love how simple and light this unit is. These parts were RUSTY. This is after knocking all the rust off. Also pictured is the pedal assembly - a whole 'nother project in itself.

The steering wheel is ground all the way to the frame. I assume this is for the horn, since power comes from a single wire slip ring, which means it must ground through the steering shaft. Funny things about fiberglass cars.

Instead of a u-joint, early Europas use a "rag" joint that is actually a steel disc. There are 2 little conical rubber grommets for each of the 4 bolts, which could use refreshing. The bolt themselves are safety-wired since they are only compressing rubber. The original joint is P/N FAM1718 which I can buy new for $45 or replace with an "equivalent" TR6 (and standard for later Europas I think) u-joint P/N 145377R for about the same. There are also universal 9/16-36 spline options. Seems like a surprise budget hit no matter what, unless I slap it back together as-is. 

The shaft rides in the housing on these little bushings. Some kind of plastic sleeve inside a metal bearing inside a rubber bushing. All are pretty hammered and stuck. It was a pain getting them out. I think I can turn some 1-piece bushings out of delrin and send it.

Also, I need a steering wheel? On the lookout for anything simple, classic, and 3-spoke. It's a simple 6-bolt hub.

Don't worry, I did some custom fabrication too. Strut housings are now modified for Daewoo Lanos / Toyota MR2 / Koni aftermarket inserts. Basically anything with a 13.5" long body. I extended the bottom 1", the max amount before hitting the axle boot at full droop.

May not look like much height difference, but the insert rod (right) compresses all the way in, while the Avalon one (left) sticks out about 1.5" at full compression. For the same total travel, I now have about 3" more head room than before. At ride height, the rod will be about half extended - just over 3" bump. Now I need some way to retain the insert in the housing. On normal inserts, the housing is threaded for a hold-down nut, but mine aren't, and that tap is like $300. I might try to include something in the spring sleeve it to keep it held down.

I haven't given up yet on the rocker pushrod. Those springs are en route courtesy of Dusterbd13! So this could all be wasted effort.

If you would still like the lemans threads and nuts, pm me your address and I'll cut them off tomorrow. 

maschinenbau
maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
4/8/22 7:31 a.m.

In reply to SDet :

Thank you for the offer, but I'm abandoning the strut idea and moving forward with double wishbone 

maschinenbau
maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
4/10/22 6:29 p.m.

Struts are officially out. Custom upper control arm is the new hotness. But how do you build custom A-arms on such a low budget? Reuse parts from the donor car, of course! I cut up the remaining rear links from the Avalon. The forward lateral link is especially nice because it has one of those OEM quality spherical joints, so I put those on the knuckle side. Everything connected to the knuckle is a spherical or ball joint, so binding should be negligible. 

Other fun facts: the custom upper + knuckle bracket + coilover + rocker levers and all hardware is 15.4 lbs per side. The McPherson strut, including custom housing + insert + springs + perches + top hat: 17.6 lbs per side. And they're within a few bucks in the Challenge budget. But now with a proper camber curve. Win.

Don't forget the brackets. I really need a plasma table...this is all by hand with the cutoff wheel.

In the photo above, the rear is sitting a little high because the frame is on blocks. At proper ride height, the UCA is angled and everything is matching the VSUSP model close enough. I did get the suspension to support its own weight, and I jumped up and down on the chassis many times until satisfied with the stiffness. Also because it's fun to bounce.

Passenger side had the engine roll mount in the way.

Overall I'm pretty happy with this solution. It's also somewhat future-proof, because I can add a proper coilover in place of the sportbike one just by welding in a different bracket. Speaking of that chassis bracket...

This time I'm using the fancy aluminum threaded bracket that comes with the GSXR coilovers. Washers can be added as spacers it in case I run out of spring adjustment, now that I have all the droop travel I could want.

I also made some bushings for the steering column. You can buy new rubber/steel ones from Europe, but those are too expensive for a Challenge car, so I turned some solid ones from delrin plastic. The grease zerk fittings keeps the bushing located axially. Shouldn't be necessary to grease it, but hey why not.

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/11/22 9:48 a.m.

In reply to maschinenbau :

Awesome progress!

maschinenbau
maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
4/17/22 10:22 a.m.

Roller day! But not without more challenges. I still wasn't happy the suspension after last update. After a lot more thought and bouncing up and down, it just seemed too soft and the shocks were still nearly bottoming out. Back to the math... turns out I was wrong! Though my ride frequency calculations were within a few % of Daniel's, I was using the incorrect wheel rate elsewhere in my spreadsheet to figure out preloads and wheel travel. Basically I thought my wheel rate was like 2x higher than it actually was, hence the sagging and bottoming out. He was very smart to suggest a motion ratio in the range of 1.3 if I was to keep these coilovers. Though this stiffens up the rear quite a bit, and reduces wheel travel to only 3 inches total, it will ensure I'm in the right part of the shock travel so I won't bottom out. If Daniel gives you suspension advice, I suggest yall heed it!

To do all that, I had to cut up my fancy laser-cut bellcranks. Which turned out to be a good thing, because these were constraining what angle I could mount the coilovers at, and inducing some falling spring rate because trigonometry. Not this time.

Instead of 5.5" : 2.75/2.25", this will be 5.5" to : 4.5/4.0", which is a MR of 1.22 and 1.38.

A bit awkward shaped, but working with pieces I had.

If this ratio works out, I made re-design them in CAD to something more elegant and have them laser cut again. 

The new bellcranks allowed me to mount the coilovers more horizontally, attaching to the frame upper tube. I think this looks nicer too.

While we're talking suspension, I also turned some delrin bushings for the front shocks. Mine were missing.

And assembled the newly painted springs to the ancient but authentic and totally functioning 80's era Spax brand Europa coilovers. I should have dyno'd these springs, but they feel quite stiffer than the OEM 100 lb/in rate...they didn't compress much from me standing on one. Maybe stiffening the rear won't be so bad after all. 

It's nice fitting freshly restored parts to a car.

And with that...it's a roller!

4th suspension re-design is the charm?

How about some brake hose mounts while we're on a roll. Salvaged from the Avalon struts, of course.

The hard line to hose mounting tab is a hard one to broach by hand with a file. It's an oval with flat sides.

I leave you with a haiku:

My scrap pile grows large

But so does my knowledge pile

Lacking space for both

Brotus7
Brotus7 Dork
4/17/22 10:44 a.m.

Looks great! Making good use of the very limited available room under the Europa body.

johndej
johndej Dork
4/17/22 11:04 a.m.

Great work! 

GM > MG
GM > MG New Reader
4/17/22 11:13 a.m.

Huge milestone, Congrats.

Rear suspension is wild. Cant wait to see the body on it....

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
4/17/22 12:18 p.m.

Feels like you're making amazingly fast progress on this.

NY Nick
NY Nick GRM+ Memberand Dork
4/17/22 12:39 p.m.

Great work. I'm glad to see new life put into a project that was brought very far by the PO. 

vwcorvette (Forum Supporter)
vwcorvette (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UberDork
4/17/22 4:19 p.m.
maschinenbau said:

Roller day! But not without more challenges. I still wasn't happy the suspension after last update. After a lot more thought and bouncing up and down, it just seemed too soft and the shocks were still nearly bottoming out. Back to the math... turns out I was wrong! Though my ride frequency calculations were within a few % of Daniel's, I was using the incorrect wheel rate elsewhere in my spreadsheet to figure out preloads and wheel travel. Basically I thought my wheel rate was like 2x higher than it actually was, hence the sagging and bottoming out. He was very smart to suggest a motion ratio in the range of 1.3 if I was to keep these coilovers. Though this stiffens up the rear quite a bit, and reduces wheel travel to only 3 inches total, it will ensure I'm in the right part of the shock travel so I won't bottom out. If Daniel gives you suspension advice, I suggest yall heed it!

To do all that, I had to cut up my fancy laser-cut bellcranks. Which turned out to be a good thing, because these were constraining what angle I could mount the coilovers at, and inducing some falling spring rate because trigonometry. Not this time.

Instead of 5.5" : 2.75/2.25", this will be 5.5" to : 4.5/4.0", which is a MR of 1.22 and 1.38.

A bit awkward shaped, but working with pieces I had.

If this ratio works out, I made re-design them in CAD to something more elegant and have them laser cut again. 

The new bellcranks allowed me to mount the coilovers more horizontally, attaching to the frame upper tube. I think this looks nicer too.

While we're talking suspension, I also turned some delrin bushings for the front shocks. Mine were missing.

And assembled the newly painted springs to the ancient but authentic and totally functioning 80's era Spax brand Europa coilovers. I should have dyno'd these springs, but they feel quite stiffer than the OEM 100 lb/in rate...they didn't compress much from me standing on one. Maybe stiffening the rear won't be so bad after all. 

It's nice fitting freshly restored parts to a car.

And with that...it's a roller!

4th suspension re-design is the charm?

How about some brake hose mounts while we're on a roll. Salvaged from the Avalon struts, of course.

The hard line to hose mounting tab is a hard one to broach by hand with a file. It's an oval with flat sides.

I leave you with a haiku:

My scrap pile grows large

But so does my knowledge pile

Lacking space for both

Haiku needs to be on a Tshirt from Blipshift

maschinenbau
maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
4/22/22 8:54 a.m.

Designing new rockers to get laser cut. The windowing saves 0.35 lbs per side...hmmm

Also, tomorrow morning is body test-fit day. If you're in the Atlanta area and would like to lend a hand, please let me know! 

nocones
nocones GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
4/22/22 9:13 a.m.

I will be with you in spirit.  Bodyfit day is best day.

maschinenbau
maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
4/23/22 4:52 p.m.

Body fit day! Not to be confused with body attach day. Today was just to make sure the frame is okay to be welded and finished. 

First I took more careful measurements and made a lot more cuts in the back.

First fit - first problem. Passenger side sits a little high. Much creaking and crackling noises from the strained fiberglass.

The roll mount is just too high to work. The best thing to do was remove it entirely.

Unbolting the roll mount leaves a nice planar attachment point on the engine...that will make fabbing a new, lower profile bracket easier. 

Much better. Dang that engine is tall though. 

The intake is a little too tall for the hood. This is as far down as the hood would go.

Obviously the body will need a good widening. These are 15x7. The other set I've had on with tires are 15x6 with the same backspace. I plan to account for 15x8.

These 15x7 Jeep wheels almost look like classic Revolution wheels if you squint...

I think the rear of the body was sagging a bit since it was completely unsupported past the frame backbone. I can fix that when building rear body mounts, which may also help the engine hood clearance.

Plenty of clearance for this suspension. Glad I spent so much time figuring it out. 

Lots of cutting out back...unfortunately had to lose the rear 2 body mounts. I will have to glass in something structural back here for the rear body mounts.

Near the frame V it is very close, but just clears. 

Afterward we put the body on a rolling table instead of the previous furniture dollies, which looking ahead will make bodywork easier. Thankfully I had a lot of good help to assist with lifting. 2 people can do it, but 4 makes it so much easier. 

Not to be joined again until the chassis is completely finished and painted.

Today was pretty great. I now know that the frame design will work with the body, with just a few tweaks to make.

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/23/22 5:32 p.m.

In reply to maschinenbau :

Awesome progress!

Snowdoggie (Forum Supporter)
Snowdoggie (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
4/23/22 5:32 p.m.

Wow. Very impressive build.

Vorpal
Vorpal HalfDork
4/26/22 3:06 p.m.

I still need to digest the last half of this thread, but you're blowing me away with everything you're doing here, Travis! 3D scanning the drivetrain... just wow. As a former owner of this car (the guy between modernbeat and Snowdoggie) and a certified Lotus nut, I have to say you're doing this car justice. You're pretty much doing what I wanted to do with the car (3SGTE in my case), but you're *actually doing it.* Hopefully I can visit it at some point :) When you do make it to the Challenge, I'll do my best to be there as well.

-Winston

maschinenbau
maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
4/26/22 8:07 p.m.

In reply to Vorpal :

Good to hear from you, and glad you're liking it. Funny thing about the 3SGTE is that's the engine a lot of MR2 people are swapping out for 2GR V6s these days. A lot has changed during the long history of this car. Seems we both had the same vision of basically a lighter, more British MR2. Paul had a similar plan when he owned it.

Recon1342
Recon1342 SuperDork
4/26/22 8:56 p.m.

In reply to maschinenbau :

Looks fantastic. I think you should dress up the engine/engine bay and do a hood delete.

Dusterbd13-michael
Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
4/26/22 9:03 p.m.

Is there a pretty intake manifold available for after the challenge? Or itb's to poke through the hood?

Gambit
Gambit New Reader
4/26/22 9:49 p.m.

In reply to Dusterbd13-michael :

Hotrod clear plastic scoop over the intake or stacks

maschinenbau
maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
4/27/22 9:40 a.m.

I will probably just cut a clearance hole for the intake and glass in a power bulge. If I use a cone filter, it will end up under one of the oval holes in the hood. Scoop would be cool too.

Picture below stolen from Clifton :) He got his to fit under the hood, but he also didn't use a subframe, so his engine is slightly lower*. edit: not slower

SV reX
SV reX MegaDork
4/27/22 10:17 a.m.

In reply to maschinenbau :

Slower, or lower?

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