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Learning how to build Lotus Seven replicas...together!
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PostPosted: March 25, 2016, 11:56 am 
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Location: Tecumseh, MI
So, I'm a Subaru guy. I've got an EG33 swapped Impreza that I used to DD, and now it's a rallycross beast. Love the car, been working on it for decades. Unfortunately, the chassis is rusted all to hell because I live in Michigan, and the car is 20 years old. My plan has always been to strip the engine/drivetrain out of the scooby by using the subaru subframes to build a front-engined AWD Locost.

So I've been doing my due diligence, research and whatnot. Bought the books and read up on other's builds.

While I'm doing all of this, a buddy at work decided he wanted a dune buggy. So, he went out and found a used frame that no one had ever finished. I told him when he got it, that it was a HUGE undertaking, and he probably wouldn't finish it, as he's the type to buy a new car every six months.

Sure enough, six months later he hasn't done anything with the dune buggy project. Instead he bought an ORV.

This has led to my current situation.

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As you can see, he got as far as chopping off the front end, and mocking up a dune-buggy long-travel front end with PVC. I TOLD him when he bought it, that he'd end up selling it to me in six months.

So, question: Can I turn this buggy frame into a racecar frame? It's a 4-seater model, but I figure I can stuff my H6 subaru engine with a FWD transmission in the area of the 2 rear seats, and have a mid-engined beast. I'd of course have to fab up a front end, rear suspension, etc. I might be able to use the front subframe from the subaru for both the engine mounting, and the suspension if I replaced the steering rack with some sort of (toe adjustment) tie-rod ends.

And, if it's not worth the time and trouble to 'fix' someone else's half-finished project, do you think the tubing is worth the $200 he wants to sell it for?

My inspiration, another mid-engined EG33 beast: http://imgur.com/p6qkdIf

Thanks guys! I look forward to the future, whatever it may be!

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PostPosted: March 25, 2016, 8:10 pm 
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Considering your inspiration, I think you'd be better off fitting your own tubes between two front subframes rather than trying to reuse a third of the rail buggy. That third may not even fit you.

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PostPosted: March 25, 2016, 11:39 pm 
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I love the buggy look and it wouldn't be all that much trouble to put a road height suspension on either end.

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PostPosted: March 27, 2016, 1:02 am 
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carguy123 wrote:
I love the buggy look and it wouldn't be all that much trouble to put a road height suspension on either end.



Ditto.

That looks like a Berrien Buggy Longback.

Tom

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PostPosted: March 28, 2016, 9:43 am 
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Well, I've decided that I'll at least buy the thing, and take a look at the feasibility of what I'm thinking.

Though a lot of that motivation was because I found the Lot Lizard thread on the GRM forums. (Though my build would be completely different in pretty much every way. Those tires though!)

https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum ... 288/page1/

Image

Now, I still don't really have a plan for the front suspension. I suppose I could use VW stuff, but I'm not really well versed in 80 year old suspension technology. I'll probably end up with A-arms, maybe even bell cranks. Being a machinist does have perks after all. I'm also mulling over ditching the Subaru sub-frame idea. Sure it's an easy way to do suspension (McPherson strut and all, just make an upper mount and it's done!), but if I'm going to be doing all the cutting and welding to mount the sub-frame, I might as well take the weight savings and just make my own engine/trans mounts and suspension.

So yeah. It begins. Now, to see how long I can hide this project in the barn before the GF finds out!

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PostPosted: March 28, 2016, 10:19 am 
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but if I'm going to be doing all the cutting and welding to mount the sub-frame, I might as well take the weight savings and just make my own engine/trans mounts and suspension.


This makes sense...

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PostPosted: March 29, 2016, 7:51 am 
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Yo, Buggy Guy...
About that signature. Actually, Bubba had a 4" angle grinder with a cut-off wheel. He damn near created himself an extra finger when he cut into one of 'em lengthways. Sumbich bled all over the chassis and the shop floor. We wrapped it in a blue shop towel and electrical tape and put him to doin' something else the rest of the afternoon.

I like your concept, the buggy frame would give you a headstart on building your locost racecar. It'll work, just keep noodlin' around with it.

:cheers:
JD "Bubba" Kemp

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PostPosted: March 31, 2016, 9:17 am 
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Looks like a winner to me!


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PostPosted: April 2, 2016, 11:46 am 
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It begins...

Image

And five minutes later...
(It's not going to be that high, but it was easier to lift the frame over the engine, than drop the engine in the frame)

Image
Image

Clearly I've got work to do!

Which includes getting a trans (Tuesday!) so that I can see what my axle/suspension (and therefore engine) location is going to look like. The steering shaft goes right through the footbox, and I don't know how I'll fit 3 pedals in there (probably by cutting out that shaft, and using the one from my subaru that's sitting on a shelf, but putting it above the front bar instead of below it).

More clearance issues involve: Oil pan hitting that rear crossbar. Either the bar moves or the pan gets modified (Dry sump? lol). Either way, the motor is going to sit a couple inches lower than the pic. I'm also wondering about axle length and motion of them. I'm limited on how far forward I can mount the engine by the position of the axles and the lengths I'll need for the suspension. Again, the whole back half of the frame will probably get chopped further on in the project.

I do really like how the sides buldge out a bit, for clearance with your arms. I do not like how with my 6' tall self sitting on the floor (when the frame was on the floor) my head was ~4" from the rollbar. Add a helmet, and we might be outta room. I also like the engine cradle on the way back for the rear-mounted (corvair) engine. It'd make a nice trunk or tire rack, since I'm going to have TONS of room back there (depending on fuel tank, radiator, and other considerations).

Speaking of ancillaries, if the engine gets pushed back by suspension necessities, that will open up the area behind the seats to radiator or fuel tank positioning. As it is, the radiator is going to be a hassle for mounting (depending on how big of one I go with). I've had... Issues... with EG33's overheating in the past.

I'm quite sure I'll be chopping 2/3rds of this thing apart to modify it. BUT even if I end up completely scrapping it, it's still a useful tool for me to lay eyes on actual, professional-level, tube-frame building.

So yeah. I'll probably use this thread for a journal. Progress is going to be slow I imagine. Hoping to have this thing on the road by the end of next summer (realistically), but middle/early next summer (hopefully).


Now, if I could just figure out how to tell the GF about it, so that I can quit hiding it in the barn... :oops:

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PostPosted: April 2, 2016, 12:17 pm 
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Now, if I could just figure out how to tell the GF about it, so that I can quit hiding it in the barn.


Time to Man-Up, and just do it. If she's the right kind of gal (see Gonzo and TWWTFH for example) she'll be fine with it.

Good Luck!!! :cheers:

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PostPosted: April 3, 2016, 8:28 am 
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ngpmike wrote:
Quote:
Now, if I could just figure out how to tell the GF about it, so that I can quit hiding it in the barn.


Time to Man-Up, and just do it. If she's the right kind of gal (see Gonzo and TWWTFH for example) she'll be fine with it.
Thanks, Mike, Gayle (TWWTFM) and I appreciate the compliment... We just had a wedding anniversary (on April Fool's Day, no less!). She understands and almost-kinda-sorta-maybe-sometimes approves of my car addiction. She's a rare one... OK, maybe medium rare... :mrgreen:

Cory- Try telling her AFTER you spring for a day at the spa... Or after a trip to the jewelry store... Or, at the minimum, when she's NOT in the kitchen in easy reach of sharp implements... :rofl:

:cheers:
JD "Lousy Husband" Kemp

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"Gonzo and friends: Last night must have been quite a night. Camelot moments, mechanical marvels, Rustoleum launches, flying squirrels, fru-fru tea cuppers, V8 envy, Ensure catch cans -- and it wasn't even a full moon." -- SeattleTom


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PostPosted: April 5, 2016, 11:00 am 
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Whelp, told the GF. She was VERY not okay with it. "You have 3 cars already, what do you need another one for?!" "That's thousands of dollars that aren't going to go towards house improvements!" "What about the upstairs closet that we were going to put in?!"

So, I guess it's time to double down!

That being said, not much progress has been made. I'm picking up the mockup trans later today and that should help me determine the rear suspension location, quickly followed by the rear suspension setup.

I'm not *really* sure if this is the forum I should keep my build log on, but I'm going to do it anyway. Sure, it's a dune buggy. But It'll be heavily modified, and you guys are cooler than the off-road crowd.

I figured out what the frame used to be. Hi-Jumper Sand Sprite II.

Image
Image

I also got most of the stock VW suspension from my work buddy. I'll use exactly none of it.

Once I get an idea of where the rear end sits, I can determine what I want for a wheelbase. I know that shorter is better for tight low-speed turns (autocross), and longer is better for high-speed stability. I'm pretty positive it'll end up over 100", probably closer to 110" or 120".

Current thought process is to either:

try and replicate locost front suspension geometry
or
use a Miata front subframe for position, and replace the heavy stamped piece with tubes.

I've also thought about putting the front wheels back closer to the driver to shorten the wheelbase.

For rear suspension, I'm looking at FSAE BAJA stuff. Trailing arm with dual lateral links.

Image

Seems like it'd be a good way to adjust camber easily, while still jiving with *some* of the current design for suspension points on the frame. If you guys give me a good reason not to use it (or if I google-fu one), I'll have to engineer some sort of frame for dual a-arms in the back.

So yeah. Fun stuff!

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PostPosted: April 5, 2016, 4:51 pm 
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Source another subbie front end for the front suspension. Gut the outer cvs and machine off the cup. You can do a lot worse than having the same parts all the way around.

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PostPosted: April 6, 2016, 7:54 am 
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The pictures seem to show the upper and lower main frame rails ending rather abruptly at the front. Seems to me you could build a "box" for the front end like the Locost chassis (or Car9!!!) uses, and hang the control arms off the frame rails you already got. Would take triangulation pieces as well, like you already have down the sides. (It appears the one on the rt frnt is missing?) Several Lotus designs had the "main" arm of the LCA mounted in single shear off the front of the chassis and perpendicular to the frame rails. (I'll find a pic in a little while, remind me...) Or, it could go in a br@cket on the outside of the rail near the end. The other arm then angled back from the ball joint to the frame behind that point.

I like MV8's idea of using the same upright on both ends. You could also use the same hubs, brakes, bearings, etc, etc. Makes life simple. (Same brake pads all around, for example...) Not sure what Subie uprights look like, but I bet some of the Smart Kids in here can guide you. Converting from strut to coilovers takes some fabricating, but it can be done and has been, several times. (Not by me...)

Any-hoo, keep after it, looks like a fun build. Sand Jumper + Subaru = Jump-Aru? :mrgreen:

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JD, father of Quinn, Son of a... Build Log
Quinn the Slotus:Ford 302 Powered, Mallock-Inspired, Tube Frame, Hillclimb Special
"Gonzo and friends: Last night must have been quite a night. Camelot moments, mechanical marvels, Rustoleum launches, flying squirrels, fru-fru tea cuppers, V8 envy, Ensure catch cans -- and it wasn't even a full moon." -- SeattleTom


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PostPosted: April 6, 2016, 1:02 pm 
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Picked up a mockup trans for free! Now I can see how far back I'll have to set the motor to get the suspension where it needs to be. It also allows me to see where the engine is going to sit, and now I can modify the rear lower part of the chassis to clear the oil pan. I could probably get everything 4" or so lower if I went with a dry-sump, but that's a very expensive and complicated solution to a small problem. The upside of the engine being back a bit further than originally planned is that now I've got a gaping hole behind the seats, for the gas tank and battery to sit in. I even played around with the idea of a low-mounted radiator with an air intake coming from the bottom, but I think that much heat behind the seats would suck on a hot day.

So, now that I've got the trans, next step is rear suspension I suppose. I found out that the Factory Five 818 (subaru-donor middy kit car) uses special Factory Five axle shafts to mount an OEM Subaru Front-axle inner CV joint (From the trans) to a rear-axle outer CV joint (For subaru rear hubs). They're $95 a piece. Plus another ~$60/pc for 4 axles from NAPA, as my donor car has all aftermarket axles that have weird proprietary spline shafts. That's all assuming I *want* to use subaru rear suspension/hubs, which would be really simple to convert to a dual a-arm setup. Kinda. It'd be an A on top with lateral links on the bottom.

Honestly my head is spinning with ideas. I think my problem is that I want to be in the *Build* phase, but I'm stuck in the *Design* phase for the forseeable future.

So, maybe I'll find some more suspension design books and read up more!

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