As parts are made they will be featured here
Well you have to start somewhere! Don't worry I won't feature EVERY part.
Hardly need describing really, the front lower wishbone pivot brackets. Made from 2 x 2 x 1/8 RHS with the seamed part cut out. Much easier than bending.
Some more development on the front suspension design. Basically a conventional lower wishbone, with upper rocker and inboard coilover. The main difference is the top rocker is in two parts with an adjustable link for easy ride height adjustments. The reason for going inboard is to put the main suspension load onto the upper end of the knuckle as originally designed rather than transferring onto the lower end. The upper wishbone brackets are offset rearward 0.75" to give a nominal castor setting of about 5 degrees, but each will have 0.25" spacers each end for further adjustments. Camber adjustment will be by the stock eccentric bushings in the knuckle. Several gussets, bushings, spacers etc. are not shown in this view.
The front of the chassis was tacked up as a separate sub-assembly. I made a simple fixture that could be used on both sides (first picture). It should ensure that the castor is correct and that all the wishbone mounting holes line up. On the lower part of the fixture the screw head does not contact the bracket, only the neck touches the hole to provide alignment.
Chassis front section taken off its jig/base board and set at ride height (5") on the floor. This basic front section would be similar if I was using a different drive train.
This is the lower front ball joint from the MR2 (to be replaced at the final build up) next to the new taper bore bushing I made to weld into the lower wishbone assembly. (You don't need a lathe to build cars, but it certainly helps......a lot!)
Most of one side of the front suspension built. It still needs some gussets, the inner top wishbone, and the top link making before it will be sprung. So far it seems like it's going to plan. The hardest thing to measure was lower ball joint position (stock MR2) so a mock up lower wishbone was made first to verify that it was correctly positioned. (It wasn't, so the exercise was worthwhile!) The ball joint adapter bracket worked as planned and the camber adjusts as per stock MR2. The castor as shown (without the castor shims) is about 5 degrees. The preliminary rack position will be checked accurately for bump steer, but first rough checks show none visible to the naked eye.
The front left corner is now sprung. Usual disclaimer applies: Some diagonals, brackets, welds, spacers, bolts, washers etc. not shown, the picture is just to show work in progress. The picture on the right shows the current ride height. The square is leaning back (to stop it falling over during photo.) and the block represents my target ride height of 5". The top link has been made to the theoretical length for my design ride height and currently it is riding about 0.75" higher which is to be expected as there is all the weight of the front of the car to add! The next step will be to complete the other side and then look at the rack mounting.
The first two pictures show the front end now fully sprung. Notice that one top link is solid alumin(i)um and the other is a steel tube fabrication. The real reason was that I'd run out of bar, but seeing as neither will end being the correct length (unless I'm amazingly lucky), I thought it would make a good comparison. Picture 3 is more of a tip really, if you've never used 1-2-3 blocks you don't know what you're missing. They are hardened precision steel blocks and at exactly 1" x 2" x 3" can be used for spacers, packing, etc. In this case I was tacking a tube 4" below the upper tube. If you buy the cheap import blocks I think they are around $10 a pair. Picture 4 is the first fitting of the steering column.
All pretty self-explanatory. A lot of fiddly work, with little to show for it, but it is a very important component and worth the effort to get it right. (Which I hope it is - the laser test, and calculations prior to that seem to suggest it will be OK) The extra cross tube adds extra stiffness to the front while being convenient to mount the rack from. The mounting clamps are stock MR2, as is the U/J.
This is the pedal assembly design as of 12/13/01, almost finished. Followed
by the actual pedals, and assembly at 01/05/02.
Starting now to work at the rear a little. On these pictures you can see where I made some legs that are bolted to the engine so it can sit on the floor, but at the correct ride height. As usual there are loads of tubes to add, welds to finish etc.
Some idea of what I intend at the rear, certain detail is not yet shown (non-steer rods for example) but I'm sure you get the idea. I decided to go with a pushrod/bellcrank/horizontal coilover arrangement, mainly for space reasons. Three more pictures now added showing the lower trailing link and transverse link (radius rod?) and the top bracket which mounts to the MR2 hub/knuckle and picks up two links and the pushrod.
Four links now fitted on one side. Non steer link and bumpsteer check is the next job.
The rear is now all sprung and rolling. These pictures were taken after welding brackets onto the non-steer arm mounts and were too hot to re-connect the arms. As usual this is shown as a work in progress, with missing welds, tubes, brackets, wrong bolts etc. My next job is to mount the engine and get it fully rolling.
Engine mounts, partially complete (some gussets and welds are inaccessible at this stage). I made up some mock engine mounts that represent the ones I'm going to use but in their fully compressed (less 0.030") form. The rectangular block of aluminum has the correct overall size and mount thread. Two of the mounts, the front and the rear ones, use the existing MR2 engine brackets but with aluminum adapters in place of the original rubber mounts. The other have the original mounts modified. I don't like modified parts, I prefer either new custom parts or original OEM parts, but in this instance the modifications made the most sense in terms of time and cost.
The chosen mounts are a McMaster-Carr part and will appear on the new parts page when I have them. Why use mock up mounts? Well, a) the solid mounts don't move and hold their position while you fine tweak the engine, b) you don't get dirt/spatter on the real ones, and c) I don't need to buy them yet! (but they aren't expensive, about $5 to $6 each)
Rolled out for a better look, and then back inside. The rest of the chassis build is now more tubes, gussets, brackets and mountings for the gear change, handbrake, fuel tank, radiator etc.
Starting on the minor, yet all still important jobs. First the exhaust manifold (header). I used the flange I bought off E-bay and bent some 1.5" x 16ga DOM tube that I had spare. Now, I really need some tighter bends to sweep under the sump (oil pan) and into the collector, so the this job is on hold until some catalogs and info. arrives. I'm planning to re-use the stock EGR fitting and the oxygen sensor. It's frustrating not to finish it, but at least there's plenty of other stuff to carry on with! Speaking of which I moved onto the gear change (shift) which was very easy, just two simple brackets. The handbrake (parking brake) was/is a little more challenging (just a little more) I decided to use the existing bracket that carried the equaliser/bellcrank assembly, but mount it vertically instead of horizontally and trim the ends to fit the space I had. The MR2 handbrake assembly is very slim and compact and mounted simply outside the tunnel tubes (it protrudes into the drivers space maybe 1/2" at the most). Currently I'm working on mounting the cable.
The radiator is mounted at 30 degrees up from the horizontal. The previously made pedal box has now been welded into the frame, and the pedals re-fitted (just to make sure they still DO fit) The radiator uses the original MR2 lower rubber bushings and the upper mounting brackets.
Working on some of the minor stuff. First picture shows the front flexible brake pipe mounting tab, I'll be using standard MR2 hoses (new ones) so it needed a round hole filed into a hexagon as did the clutch flexible mount. The second picture shows the path of the hose and where I'll need to make a bracket that mounts to the ball joint adapter. The third picture shows brackets that serve as upper seat belt mountings, brackets for engine bay ancillaries and corner gussets. The fourth picture is just a view rearward.
After 9 months I'm making parts again. Picture 1 shows the hinges that bolt into the rear end molding, prior to having the boss welded on and the bore finishing to size. Picture 2 shows the clevis part of the hinge on it's threaded stud and square stub awaiting welding into the chassis (now done) Picture 3 (01/03/03) shows a better view of the now finished clevis assembly, with tubular chrome-moly hinge pin and hitch pin in it's retaining slot (both hinge pin and clevis stud are over length at this stage, they will be trimmed later)
Picture 1, filler cap in progress, while still working on the bodywork. I'll show the computer model when it is finalized. Picture 2 shows the 2 pieces TIG welded together (nice job Ron, thanks...and thanks to Gerry for the use of Ron's time). Picture 3, is machining the weldment (yes, I know the the lathe needs a clean...that filler dust gets everywhere), and pic 4 shows the first stage of machining complete. (Hmmm? this is a project in itself....I get the feeling I may end wishing I'd bought one.....oh well)
Finishing the frame
Added the body mountings. Picture 1 is the rear mounting, note there is still welding and gusseting required around the trailing arm bracket. Picture 2 is a center mounting around the footwell area. Picture 3 shows the front mountings, and pic. 4 shows a general view down the other side of the frame, notice the dust from the bodywork still everywhere. At least it will look great after cleaning.
More room for one's feet
After investigating the room I had I decided that I could give a little space back to the footwell. I did this by moving the clutch pedal over to the left. Pictures 1 and 2 show the pedal box expanded leftwards by adding an extra "bay", a longer pivot bar, and an extra bar support bracket. It should be fairly self-explanatory from the pictures. Pictures 3 and 4 show it with the pedals back in giving a lot more room. When completed the clutch master cylinder will have some sort of water/stone protection.