Let the games begin!
As the title says, it's a '75 that's getting an LS3 (Cracker's "old" motor - thanks Tony!) and Boxster 6 speed.
Also planned is zippidy doo-dah 911 front suspension with Boxster calipers all around. The rear suspension is getting 911 ebrakes, Tangerine Racing raised pickups and shock towers.
I have plans to stiffen the chassis with a partial cage.
Doesn't that sound like a great plan? I think so, too!
I got this as a roller that was purported to be "dry and accident free". And it was!
Except for all the rust and the place where it was hit. Yeah, yeah... But it's all good. The seller and I worked everything out.
But our little 914s are full of surprises and isn't that half the fun? So, first up is rust repair time!
Let's begin with some pics of what I started with. Wish me luck! Wait, forget the luck, wish me SKILL!!!
Hey, looks pretty good! Let's have a look under the carpet.
This is encouraging...
How about the hell hole? Hmmm.
The outer longs? Pretty nice! No problem! I mean, how much trouble could possibly be caused by those little hell hole perforations?
Remember the Monty Python and the Holy Grail? Where they have to cross that bridge and get asked "what's your favorite color?" and the first guy answers and gets to cross? Remember what the next knight said?
"This is easy!"
Remember what happened to him?
So let's pull the interior out and remove the tar.... "Hello? Restoration Design?"
Forgot the pic of the outer longs...
A real contributing factor to the rust issue was failed window seals and a horrid non-repair that used some odd goo to try and plug the leaks. So at some point, a PO figured that part of the solution was to add drain holes... !
The passenger long rust was exacerbated by water sitting in that area.
I would have thought water and hell would cancel each other out!
So... NOW we'll let the games begin. And I want to start with a disclaimer:
TO EACH, HIS OWN
By this I mean, I'm just a guy with an opinion. Doesn't mean I'm right, just that it's what I believe, think, feel, etc.
My goal with the car is to do as high quality work as I can muster. In my opinion, that means complete panels vs patching. Plus, some of the "interesting" things I want to do as part of this project are more easily accomplished this way. More on that as I get to it.
OK, back to the action. Let's find out where the rust stops and what needs replacing.
Turns out it's:
- back 1/2 of the floor
- seat mount/cross brace
- inner firewal
- outer firewall
- passenger inner long (from a bit ahead of the engine mount to not quite 1/2 way forward)
So out comes the bad!
I was hopeful that the first set of incisions (first pic) would be enough but upon reflection (and given the 400+ hp this chassis is getting) I decided to go all in - or maybe that's "all out"! (2nd pic)
Note that I've started fitting the front sleeve. More on that in a bit.
Good "skill" Chris...do that motor proud! I know you do really nice work and I will continue to look forward to the progress posts!
PS: So this means the latest acquisition is on the way out then, correct?
Whoa, that is going to be a little bit of work!
Nice sized shop so at least you are not hindered by lack of space.
Those Enkie wheels look to be in great shape, at least you'll be able to get a few bucks out of those.
In planning the fabrication of the sleeves needed for the long repair, I noticed I was going to have to deal with a bit of a structural raised section in the bottom of the forward area.
I recently treated myself to a bead roller and was able to put it to good use.
Gotta say, having the right tools almost feels like cheating. Nowhere near as much
I used it to form a nice, tight fit around that raised section then roll over the 90 degree bends to complete the sleeve.
Turned out pretty well.
I sliced the longitudinal repair section out of my parts car. That was a fair bit of work, in and of itself!
And here's the first goof of documenting my build:
I fabbed up the sleeve for the rear part of the long repair. It was FAR more complicated as I had to deal with the raised reinforcement "ribs" that are part of the doubler that runs up the inside of the long, past the engine and inner suspension mount.
I was so impressed with myself and how well everything fit that I immediately forgot to take any pics and commenced with tacking things into place...
Anyway, here it's trimmed and fit. Also gives a view of what these look like with no inner or outer firewall or back half of the floor!
Note the double/triple-up on the door brace. I'm super paranoid about keeping the very nice door gaps this chassis has.
I'm using Tangerine Racing's door brace kit.
*** Unabashed promotion***
If you need 914 stuff and Tangerine Racing makes it, save yourself a ton of time and just buy it! Chris Foley and his team (and products!) are the best.
Back to the build:
I used the door brace kit as provided plus added another diagonal from the upper seat belt mount to a plate/bolt that I welded just inside the front of the door opening. This means I have a brace in place but can mount the doors and check gaps!
Hell hole/long repair welding nearly completed! I opened up holes in the outer skin that allowed me to drill then plug weld the sleeve to the inner reinforcement panel.
A couple of those holes are yet to be closed up.
You may have noticed I've eliminated the heater tubes. V8 means no need. This opens the door to some custom fab I want to do:
I'm doing an inner long stiffener kit but because the firewalls are out, I can run them from the front of the long all the way to, and a bit past, the suspension console.
And I'm planning a center mount ebrake handle so these stiffeners will have no cut outs or heater inspection holes.
More as I get to that.
My paranoia paid off and another Tangerine product performs as advertised!
The door gaps are uber nice, body lines are spot on and the doors close with zero up/down movement as they latch and unlatch. These are early doors off the parts car and they end up with gaps a bit larger at the rear than the front. If I do run these doors, I'll add a small shim behind the hinges to even up the gap.
Also, since the windshield frame can end up tweaked for any number of reasons (being used when entering/exiting the car, etc.), the chassis measurement spec isn't always to be used as gospel. But in combination with other measurements, including door gaps, you can be sure things are where they should be.
That said, looky where mine ended up! This would suggest the windshield frame is straight.
CHASSIS STIFFENING: Version 1
LS3 = I need to stiffen this chassis. A lot.
I'll be adding an inner long kit but also need to do more. So, I started to fab a roll cage.
I want this car to retain as much street use ergonomics as possible, plus I want to have a nice interior. To accomplish this, Version 1 of the cage was designed to be a bolt in: A roll hoop with door bars that extended up to just ahead of the door opening and bolt to the top of the long. Something like the one pictured below.
This meant I could tuck it tight to the interior but since it comes in and out, I could install the trim panels, do all the other upholstery then bolt in the cage.
CHASSIS STIFFENING:Version 1
From a design perspective, I'm trying to add little things details that may be unique elements. I figured I see how close I could get the roll cage to match the shape of the car.
So out comes the roll bender!
Once the curve was where I wanted it, it was measure and bend the legs.
I'm happy with how it turned out.
CHASSIS STIFFENING: Version II - Change of Plan
As I've been thinking about the bolt in design, I spoke with a number of experienced folks (Chris Foley, Tony/Cracker) and some race car fab buddies and decided I didn't want to go bolt in. But I also didn't want a race car cage with full front hoop, etc.
What to do....
I understand the targa structure of our cars are pretty strong and since this is a street car that will see the occasional track day, I decided to build what I'll call a "roadster cage".
The main hoop will come up to just below the rear window, it'll have legs back to the top of the long near the suspension consoles. In the cabin, there will be a hoop under the dash and door bars with drops that tie into the tops of the longs. This will all be installed over the inner long stiffener kit.
That said, I also wanted to hide as much of this "cage" as I could. So I'm trying something a bit different. A "through the firewall" design!
Here's the initial rough-in of the rear hoop. It's roll bent to match the curve of the window opening.
The final fit will have the top of the bar just under the window and able to serve as the shoulder harness mount. The window and all stock interior trim can go in/out. I planned to eliminate the back pad so no worries there.
Interesting idea. It should provide some stiffness, without the bulky full overhead cage.
Now that is a very cool way to stiffen the car and do it as low-profile as possible.
Very nice Chris...have it running at WCR!
Very nice bar tuck. If your not planning on running anything up the logs, cut a slit in the lower rear firewall, and extend stiffing all the way from the front to the rear suspension console.
I would also highly recommend 914 LTD outer log kit. Brad's kit will make your car stiff, runs from the front log all the way back to the rear suspension console. I can jack inside of my car up and the back, and lift three tires off the ground. It also only twists about 1/8" That was with a Roll bar, and petty bar installed. Have not tried it with out the roll bar and petty bar.
You could also go full steel top, or bolt down your fiberglass top, and add re-enforcments to that to to help out.
I checked a 944 out, 18ga metal, and very similar design to the 914 A-pilars. though the Gas had a re-enforcment added to the lower A-pilars.
You can also build a box section going down the center of the chassis. Think Lotus back bone, very strong, and can be made very light.
You are on a very slippery slope.
BTW, LS3 excellent choice
CHASSIS STIFFENING: Front Hoop/Door Bars
In keeping with the "hide as much as I can" approach, I bent up my front hoop (if something 9" tall qualifies!) and started trial fitting.
No, that isn't the real footing. It's just blocking the heater hole...
Initial fitment suggests I have plenty of foot clearance, can remove/install the steering shaft and even run the stock fuse panel, if I wanted (I don't).
It lines up nicely for a bar that will run from the hoop corner, through the heater hose hole and tie into the front shock tower.
CHASSIS STIFFENING: Con'd
Next, I started on the door bar. I haven't landed on the final height. Taller = stiffer, but again, I want it to be as easy as possible to get in and out.
Comprise is the order of the day on this design.
The pics show an overall height of 5" to the top of the bar. At this point, I think that's as high as I'd want to go.
I'm not final on the design in terms of the drops to the long. It'll be two or three, I'm just not sure. Here's a pic of each. (Note that I hadn't yet coped the drop supports in that 2nd pic.)
One of my race car fab buddies is coming over later to take a look and make recommendations.
I don't think you need three verts. My choice would be the outer spacing, the middle is doing the least. The last pic. Remove the middle.
Chris - You don't need to have your bar that high - consider what I designed for you below (and if followed) - never look back.
The center support is important and I would not eliminate it from the design. The gussets at each end upright are absolutely necessary and should be implemented. Call me if you need to discuss.
I too will be re-configuring my cage in the next year or so - converting it to a more "hot rod" style like your car. I won't go any higher than the 4.5" (and probably even lower) from top of rocker to top of bar I've illustrated below when I do it (JMO).
Keep up the good work.
Oh boy. oh boy... is this going to be a full weekend in the shop!
Today, I got the blanks for the inner long stiffener. I got two 10' sections of 16 ga bent with a 7/16" inside radius. This is just a tick tighter than the corner radius of the long itself. I wanted to err on the side of tighter as too big a radius would cause the stiffener to rock on the long.
One leg is 4.5" and other is 7". This will allow me enough material to do the cabin as well as up the long, past the suspension console.
LOTS of , and for the next couple days.
And yep, I'll weld slowly, cooling as I go. But I sure am looking forward to having the floor and firewalls back in!
So, here's what a custom inner long stiffener looks like before the "custom" gets applied. (This has to be in the top 10 for "Most Boring Build-Off Challenge Picture"!)
More pics tomorrow as I start fitting!
I'd throw a seat in there 1st and test how much of a PITA it is going to be getting in and out of the car before settling on the height of the horizontal bar.
Fantastic fabrication. Way to go Chris. I'm paying attention here:-)
Something else to consider when designing your structure...Foley was sharing with me recently the importance of designing towards keeping the longs from twisting. However, you have a hot-rod - not a race car. Keep that in mind too so as to not over-build. Clean would be sweet - the less you see and only the necessary installed.
CHASSIS STIFFENING: Inner Longs
Got started on the inner long stiffener. Since I deleted the heater tubes, I'm going to skin the long "everywhere". And trying to keep it tight. I like the clean look!
Given the way the longs change shape behind the firewall, I'm planning to make each side in two pieces: the part seen here, and the second part for the "up the long" part.
That part will be more complex and I'm going to have to wait til I cut the suspension consoles out to prep for the Tangerine Racing raised pick up kit.
Nice. You don't need a bunch of tubage. This alone is going to make a big difference.
How are you handling the ebrake?
Another. And if you need to make large holes for things like seat belt mount in an inner long stiffener, use a knock out punch! (Crappy pic, in terms of showing that, I know.)
I treated myself to a set of KO punches from Swag Offroad and they're awesome. I use a HF hand hydraulic pump and wow. Super clean, accurate, etc.
I also got their dimple die set which I plan to employ on some of the tunnel and roll cage gussets. Pics as I get to that.
Your picture reminds me of a Fred Flintstone mobile...missing floor and all! As always Chris - the work looks fantastic. You better slow down as most projects take decades - you're going to hurt some feelings at this pace!
CHASSIS STIFFENING: Lower Firewall
Today's realization is that this really is a jigsaw puzzle. And I've determined I want to have all the pieces before I start putting any of it together.
So... My stiffening plan includes a tunnel from the firewall to the front roll hoop. Since this will tie into the lower firewall and it's all the way out, this is an opportunity to beef up that area of the chassis, too.
I was planning to run a bar across from long to long and sandwich that between the stock inner and outer firewall sheet metal. But with some additional head scratching and input from my race car fab buddy, Martin, I've decided to build a more substantial structure. Similar to what MichiganMat has done on his build.
If you haven't figured it out yet, I love curves. Arches are pretty strong, too.
Roll bender to the rescue! This is a different one from the one I used to roll the round tube. It's purpose build for flat/square stock. I got it for free and it saves me buying additional dies for the Swag Offroad roll bender.
So instead of running a straight tube across and running sheetmetal from the upper firewall down to the tube, I'm going to roll a square tube that fits right up against that curved lower edge.
First, I used the curve template tool to capture the radius I need. I was surprised at just how much arch there is.
Then it's roll, check, roll, check. Manual roll bending 1.5" .095 wall tubes is a pretty good work out, too!
This pic reminded me how fortunate I am to have a high ceiling in the shop.
I'm not so confident that I trust my measurements on what to me are the trickier bits. This firewall arch is one of them. I knew the bar would intersect the long in such a way that it was going to require an interesting cut. So I prefer to sneak up these sorts of things using the "measure, cut, trial fit, measure, cut, trial fit" method until I get it where it needs to be, hopefully avoiding the "I cut it three times and it's still too short...!" situation.
Here's the current state of things. The arch is dead on and overall fitment is looking really good.
The lower bar is a simple straight cut. I used one of those laser measuring devices and it was absolutely on the money. I cut the bar to that length and it's nice and snug.
And yes, I will be adding "footings" under all these bars so there will be more trimming.
I'm really happy with how this is turning out!
In the pics above, the rear floor is just held in place with a floor jack to help locate the lower bar.
Now, it's on to making up some bracing for the lower firewall area, removing the tunnel and fabbing the rest of the floor supports. Not sure how much more I'll get done this weekend but I'm feeling pretty good about how this stage is going.
I like it. One word of caution; however, don't do anything that is permanent until you can fit the drivetrain in place. Too much structure, in place and done with will be difficult to re-do down the road (psychologically).
I'd suggest you take a break from anything relating to the lower fire wall at this point and focus on installing the entire driveline to achieve the most forward positioning of the transaxle as possible. To get the angles absolutely correct - the firewall will need to be modified. Now is the time to do that. Have I made myself clear enough???
I'm really only dealing with one issue at this point - CV angles. If you are patient, you can remove this from the table. All the best.
Damn right those are slick...Foley does excellent work! My struts head up to TR tomorrow to raise the spindles (plug for Chris - he CAN raise the spindle hieght on the tappered BOGE struts). Thanks Chris for the hi-jack!
Oh wow our builds are very close, I like what your doing keep it up!
Thanks for sharing.
Wow the build is looking great. I really liked your curve template. Keep up the excellent work.
Engine & Trans: Mock Up
November activities commence with some new stuff: Engine and trans mock up install!
LS3/Boxster 6 set ups create pretty high CV angles and in detailed conversation with Tony (Cracker), not to mention his subtle hinting a few posts back , I'm taking his advice and mocking up the drive train before finalizing my firewall mods.
As you know, I have Tony's "old" LS3 engine. He used his considerable Southern charm and talked me into buying it. (OK, not much taking into required!). I figured it would save some time as it had already been proven in a 914 install, the intake was already flipped, it had low miles and I'd seen/heard video of it running.
Next, I purchased the Renegade Hybrids LS kit and their 6-speed kit. This was all maybe about a year ago. But after all that time, today was the first time I unpacked everything. It was like Christmas!
Gotta say, the Renegade stuff is really nice. Fit and finish is impressive.
I didn't install the flywheel and clutch as this phase is all about determining clearances and deciding if I want to do things like move the motor forward to, at least partially, address the CV angle.
Engine, meet Trans. Trans, Engine!
As I'm looking at this wild set up, I leaned up against the car... and felt something moving...
The car was trembling! But I have to admit, I don't know if it was from excitement or fear!
I've not spent much time around 'Merican power and I have to say, this thing looks fast just sitting there.
What in the world will it be like to drive?
I am so motivated to work on this project!!!
All that tooling in your shop I am just
No get back to it get that engine in there, and figure this stuff out. I want to see this at Okteenerfest I know long haul, but you could go for the Iron Butt award.
It was a frustrating weekend in that I didn't complete what I thought I could. I wanted to get the drive line mocked in but it quickly became apparent I would need some additional jacking capabilities.
But let's start off with this: I'm claiming the record. Not only is my 914 on jack stands, so are my engine and trans!
So the only progress to report for this weekend is that I've fabbed up a jack that should allow me to handle the drive train by myself.
Credit to AndyS for the basic design. I went a little overboard on strength but it's the material I had.
So if anyone asks, you better believe "I know Jack!"
And after all this hard work, I'm adding a little comic relief.
Here's the welding seat I built. Quite comfy with the full suspension!
And yes, that's an exhaust tip from an MV Agusta.
As my wife likes to point out, I'm the only person she knows who needs a muffler on his chair...
Amazing how compact an LS motor is!
Nice work Chris! You are making amazing progress! I'll have to come back out and take a look.
Something else that just came to mind Chris...if you move the drivetrain further forward you may need to slot the trans mounts. Before I forget...
PS: I like the welding seat - spring!
So... the good/bad news is that this week I had my 2nd skin cancer surgery.
A 30 mm x 23mm section of my left cheek removed. Good news is it's gone, bad news is that for a week I'm not supposed to lift more than 15 lbs or do anything that gets my heart rate up. This will limit my planned weekend progress re: fitting the drive train.
I'll just have to do something "light weight". Fine. I'll make some carbon fiber trim panels! I've always liked the Singer treatment where they cover and paint the longs and tunnel in body color so I've decided to do that, too.
The simplest thing to do was to use one of the stiffening blanks as the mold.
I have a bit of 50" wide, 2x2 twill weave left over from when I was doing all the motorcycle parts. Perfect width to make a long cover!
This is the "composite station". I found a giant self healing mat that you see at fabric stores. You can use razor cutters to slice the material and the mat couldn't care less. Very cool.
A little mold release wax and PVA, then 2 layers of carbon and one of fiberglass and I'll be set!
This is just a simple wet layup vs vacuum bagging. I have all the vacuum bagging tools but for something like this, that will likely be painted, this is quicker and less costly.
You think it's boring watching paint dry? Try watching epoxy cure!
And before you ask, yes, these covers are purely esthetic and therefore, break my Cardinal Rule of Composites:
Using carbon fiber to ADD weight!
But hey, with 430 hp, what's a few ozs?
So, fresh out of the mold with a bit of trimming, may I present: one carbon fiber 914 longitudinal cover blank!
Sweet, Chris...I can certify that you won't notice the extra weight!
A couple of pics to give you the idea.
I may have to leave them in raw carbon. Remember, it'll have this treatment on the custom tunnel, too. I kinda like it!
I played around and fitted it on both sides, just to get a feel.
Memo to self: REMEMBER to make the other one a mirror image in terms of the direction of the weave... That's why I didn't make one long piece. It's all about the little details.
Well this was a "long" weekend!
Got both carbon long covers done and drilled the stiffeners in prep for installation.
Having installed an Engman kit in another car, I have a new appreciation for parts that come with all the holes in them.
Fantastic work Chris.
I like your carbon fiber idea. I just may shamelessly steal it.
Before I install the long stiffeners, I need to close all the heater tube holes that are no longer needed as well as address the hand brake cut out. So this evening I fabbed up all the pieces to get a bit of a head start on the weekend's work.
For the hand brake area, I used a section of the long stiffener blank and trimmed it to fit. These are just sitting for the pic, not fully fit. All these filler pieces will be flush with the long surface so as to give me full contact under the entire length of stiffener!
Boring, I know. But necessary.
The ebrake void I get. But, don't bother welding sheet metal into the oval holes if you are putting that badass long overlay on. The ebrake shape void into the long is a compromise, but holes aren't so much when you are overlaying such a strong piece.
Well, if Rand is concerned I'm overdoing it re: stiffening, this may just send him over the edge!
"While I'm in there", I figured "why not?" and fabbed up this simple support for the hand brake filler. Even drilled if extra weight savings. (I want to be like like Rudy Curbandgutter when I grow up! )
This actually turned out to be a tricky/fun part to fab. I had to get it measured and fitted so that it would support the filler in line with the top and sides of the long. Lots of fit, cut, fit, grind, straight edge, trim, fit, straight egde. But it turned out nicely and supports the stiffener exactly as planned. You'd think I actually knew what I was doing!
So here's today's progress. All this just so I can FINALLY install the long stiffeners...
No concerns, lol. Just banter.
Major milestone! Got the engine and trans mocked in!
The throttle body isn't installed (clearly) so now it's time to formalize plans for mods to the trunk to get the needed clearance. I've got a couple different ideas and I need to choose one pretty soon.
But for now, I can finish the lower firewall and get the floor installed knowing I have all the space needed.
I've been feeling a bit stuck but after today, it's full speed ahead. A good feeling.
Wow, well done Chris!
With the trans located, I could verify the shifter cable length and order up the Numeric shifter and cables. Gotta say, I think it sure is pretty.
And I got a Black Friday deal on the shifter/cable package!
Hope to get the firewall and floor bracing mocked in over the coming holiday weekend.
OK, even I'm getting tired of pictures of this part of the car! I took today off and got the long stiffeners screwed in place and all set for welding. Then I figured I may as well beef up the foundation for the firewall arch and rear floor cross brace so I fabbed up a set of 90 degree bent 'pads'.
First step was to cut them using the plasma table. A few quick measurements and about a minute with the drawing program and I have the blanks. The hydraulic unit that powers the tubing bender has dry break connectors that plug into the H press.
Position the blanks and hit the Go button!
It all makes quick work of making and shaping these one-off parts.
The goal is that by the end of the weekend, I'll have the stiffeners and firewall frame welded in. Ideally, the floor will be at least partially in. Fit, cut and screwed in place for welding, if all goes well.
A little holiday video of the H press in use bending the support plates.
Some of this fab work isn't the most exciting but it needs doing. Tony (Cracker) has suggested moving the engine as far forward as possible to improve the CV angles. The stock engine mounts allow for a bit of movement but not as much as is actually possible. All I need is a set of custom mounts.
Plasma table to the rescue again! 1/4" plate cut to shape. Next I position the drive train where I want it, mount these plates and transfer punch the Renegade engine mount hole location.
The trans mount has some slots that I may be able to lengthen but I suspect there isn't enough material. It's a multi-part mount so if need be, I'll have to make new rear tabs that are 1" or so longer.
It's the sort of mod that will improve reliability so I think it's worth the effort.
It is very easy to push your mounts forward in the stock -4 mount brakes if that is what you are using.
My optimism regarding how much I'd get done this weekend was, well, optimistic.
I was only able to get the stiffeners welded in and the welds ground. Took WAY longer than I expected.
I did get the lower fire wall support pads fit and welded in and the upper brace fit and ready for welding.
CHANGES OF PLAN:
1. I'm tossing those motor mount plates in favor of modifying the Renegade motor mount. It has an offset at the ends to allow for the use of the stock engine mount location while pushing the engine back to clear all the stock sheet metal.
I've decided to modify the ends of the mount to move the mounting points to be in line with the mount. That'll get me a bit more than an inch and I think it's a tidier modification.
2. I'm also tossing the existing front hoop in favor of a taller one that will sit in a different location. It'll be way easier to show pics than to explain it. I hope to get the new hoop bent up this week.
Stiffeners look great, Love the firewall stiffener!!
Looking good Chris!
I treated the project to an early Christmas present! Ordered a set of GTS Le Mans seats done up like these: grommets, 5-point belt set up. I went with the oval headrest (vs the one pictured or the one that comes standard with the Le Mans)
I added heaters, too. Gotta keep SWMBO happy, don'cha know.
They are due to arrive end of January. And the rumors are true: Stefan is GREAT to work with, as others have pointed out.
OK, so I also have ulterior motives. I want the roll cage bar that runs from the main hoop to the door bar to match the angle of the side bolster. So I "NEEDED" to get the seats!
Plus, I'll just run them in the '74 DD until I get this one running.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
The firewall arch installation is FINALLY underway!
I have a TIG machine but:
I the spirit of full disclosure, this beautiful welding is thanks to my buddy Martin, mentioned earlier. He's a master fabricator who designed and build ProStock motorcycle chassis while working at Kosman. He's done all sorts of crazy cool projects... Anyway, we collaborate on various things and he said "Hey, you have a TIG machine. I'd be happy to do the welding on your cage tubes...", I didn't think too long before taking him up on it!
I'll continue to do all the other welding but I have to say, this has me looking forward to when I'll have time to learn and practice TIG. Until then, it's Martin on the final cage welding!
Cheater, cheater, apple eater!
Looks very nice Chris...just make sure I fit!
Nice. So great to see a good fish scale weld after all the straight run blobbing that's so common.
Love those seats. Those are the ones I'm thinking of using as well. Those grommets really add a classic look to the car. I'd like to sit it them before buying though. Maybe I may make a trip out there and see your build as well.
Dang. You must have house elves too. Very clean & i'm a little late to the party (jealous of the shop & your tig-welding elf) but I use cold rolled galvanized sheet metal when ever I can. Bitch welding (Maybe Martin can help here too) but no corrosion behind panels & overlaps ever again. FabFab.us - I've used a LOT of sheetmetal, all cold rolled
Lower Fire Wall:
I test fit the motor in the "moved forward 1.5" position and the harmonic balancer was thiiiiiiiiiis close to where the lower fire wall cross beam sits. So I opted to play it safe and clearance the beam in the spirit of "better to be safe than... have two different parts trying to occupy the same space!"
A bit of and then some and the beam can never say "Hey man, would you give me my space!?!?"
It should be fit and welded in this weekend!
Trust me...it is worth the effort.
Slowly making progress. Before I can install the roll bar, I need to reinforce the top of the long, then, in the tradition of "if more is good, too much is just enough", I'm plating in the engine mounts. I'll also add more once I get to installing the Tangerine Racing raised suspension kit.
For now, while it's not final fitment, this will give you an idea of what's planned.
It took most of the day to measure, cut, fit, bend, etc., but I did get both sides done.
Tomorrow, the lower fire wall beam and braces will be final welded.
I like it!
Best laid plans...
Didn't get the welding done that I'd planned. I did get the lower cross beam in place and partially welded in. The fun part was that because I want as much room for the motor to be moved forward, I located that lower beam a bit further forward than the upper, curved one. Those of you who paid attention in geometry class know what fun it was to get the uprights to fit well! They lean back and the top has to account for the curve.
It took about 367 fit, grind, fit, grinds to get them done but - they're done!
The driver side is (currently) offset to ensure no interference with the alternator. I say "currently" because I'm waiting to complete the mods to the front engine mount so I can fit the drivetrain in it's relocated position before final welding the uprights... just in case.
And that's not all I got done over the weekend: I was able to bend up the new front roll hoop as well as final fit the rear roll hoop. Also welded in the rear hoop pads.
Pics of all this in a couple days.
Chris, you are an artist. Enjoying the progress you are making.
To move the motor forward, I opted to modify the ends of the Renegade engine mount. As delivered, the bosses on the end are set forward of the cross bar by ~1.5".
Here's a pic of the mount, as delivered from Renegade.
And the main hoop is final fit and ready for welding!
I wanted to get it as tight to the fire wall as possible so I needed to relieve the top "corner" of the fire wall to get the bar to sit back at the proper angle. No one will ever see this area once the car is built but that "corner" area is essentially reversed from the stock shape.
I used a scrap piece of roll bar material and slowly hammered it into the top of the fire wall area until the bar fit as desired.
I'm not going to run a back pad so I removed the 4 tabs that the back pad clips into to get that last little bit of clearance. There's about 1/8" clearance between the bar and the firewall.
I'm developing an appreciation for why custom builds cost so much. Not that I'm highly skilled or efficient, but the work needed to get the hoop to sit back about a 1/2" (relieve the fire wall then grind the footing of each side of the hoop to the correct angle) took me the better part of the day.
It's all fitting just as planned. I how the roll bend of the hoop matches the curve of the window and how the hoop all but disappears.
It'll really disappear once I patch in the fire wall around each side. Can't hardly wait!
Amazing work Chris. It's going to be a rocket ship. BTW that dash looks a little tired..
Sweet work Chris. Really nice. You are kickin it out!
Did I say I wasn't efficient? Well, turns out I thought I should check to be sure my fabulous gussets would work... They wouldn't. They need to be flat for the first ~3" to clear the engine mount on the chassis. So that earlier work is throw-away. My own dang fault but, oh well.
So, I opted to design up the new gussets and cut them on the plasma table. The trellis look is more in keeping with the theme I have planned for the car so it's out with the holes and in with the triangles (ish). Another part of the car that will go unseen by essentially everyone but I do like these better than the first design.
That existing bracket is the electric water pump mount. I figured I'd just tie into it.
I hope to have it welded tomorrow.
Then it's on to the transmission mounting brackets and updating them to address the 1 1/2" forward position. I have what I think is a pretty good design. More on that in the next few days.
I applauded your effort,, and follow it ,,my question is ...Roll bar,,why not like this but just tall enough for a top..its my next roll bar.. right behind the latch..
Because it sticks out like a sore thumb? I appreciate it when the original lines are preserved. (I know, aesthetics go out the window with race cars because function first, but if they don't have to, all the better.) His car is going to be plenty stiff. Are you concerned with rollover protection beyond the stock hoop? (I know, I'm full of opinions, but I ask because I want to learn.)
That bar is at a functional height due to a safety standard. Damn with originality if its not legal and not safe if not legal. Many race cars are driven at speed with non-compliant upper roll hoops (which equals stupid in my book).
Nice work Chris! Make sure I fit - I want to take it for a spin this Summer! No breaks for you...
Do I have ADD? Maybe. Today, for sure. Too many things going at once! After I cut the gussets, I got distracted by the main hoop again.
I can't get the hoop into place with the final interior sheet metal in place - the shape of the hoop and angle it has to be at to be fit into the car don't allow it.
Before the hoop can be welded in, I have to fab a bunch of pieces of sheet metal that will be slipped onto the hoop, slid out of the way while it's set in place and welded in. Then all the sheet metal will slid into place to be welded.
It's hard to explain but maybe this series of pics will help.
This is the early fab and fitting of how I plan to close in the hoop. I punched and dimple died that top piece and started messing with rolling the other piece and using the bead roller to form the flange.
I'll use a combination of fabricated pieces and some of the stock firewall from the parts car. So at this point, it's really at the "see how this fits/looks, try again if I don't like it" stage. By the way, I don't like this. It'll be MUCH tidier, the stamped elements in the fire wall will terminate in an attractive way, etc.
But you get the idea.
its all good , I did not I'mply for it to stick out like a sore thumb , just integrated into the body ,similar to the pic but at the og body height with his small bend radius it would blend in...no race car...
Chris, so you're not going to use that good-looking roll-bar? You're engine bar (cross-bar) looks really nice too!
Finished the modification of the engine mount - gusset final welding complete!
I plan to get everything modified, installed and get the car running then blow it apart and do the powder coating, etc. So for now, I'll just rattle can primer parts like this.
With the engine mount complete, it's time to deal with the 1.5" position change on the trans mounts. The good news is that the Renegade mount is made of multiple parts and thankfully, their design allows for a pretty simple solution: make a couple spacers. 1 1/2 " spacers, but spacers, nonetheless.
Nothing like finding a block of aluminum that happens to be the exact right thickness! Got lucky on that one, for sure.
So here's an action shot of the worlds most kick-ass band saw making short work of roughing out said spacers. It cut through that block "like butta..."
Yes, this spacer means there's a big increase in the leverage on the mount. But fear not! The Boxster trans has a mount on the end that I'm going to use to add a 3rd trans mount. In all, the drive train should be well secured in it's new, forward position.
I hope to get it test fit in the next day or so. Once I've verified all the clearances, I'll go after closing in the fire wall and floor. I'll claim MAJOR MILESTONE at that point.
With solid progress on the mounts, I went back to working on the main hoop fitment.
I'm sure I'm not alone in laying awake at night, running through "... now how am I gonna make this work...? If it have to make tab A fit into slot B, first I'd need to..."
You know what I'm taking about, don't you?
So, after many sleepless hours, I figured if I split the hole the hoop goes through, I'd be able to finish weld the area that will end up being behind the hoop. This does 2 things:
1. it perfectly locates the hoop every time I remove it / replace it to do whatever needs doing, and,
2. it allows me full access to metal finish every bit of welding I need to do to close it in!
Again, no one but me may ever see this part of the car but I want it to look as factory as possible. So far, I'm happy with how this part is turning out.
Totally enjoying your build thread. It's so great to see thoughtful fabrication, attention to detail, and... quality welds! (Nice scales instead of straight blobs laid on top, or worse, what I jokingly call "eagle crap" lol)
Nothing like being on vacation to get things done! The spacers are nearly done. See how the trans mounts are slotted? When I test fit the drive train, the bolts end up tight against the end of the mount slot so I'm going to mill ~1/4" off the spacers. Better all around with that minor adjustment.
Plus, I'll dress the corners and probably add some relief pockets to lighten then up.
And this will start to give you an idea of the new mount I want to add to address the additional leverage those spacers give the Renegade trans mounts.
The Boxster trans has a mount at the end. I'll either use that by punching a hole and adding a boss that will support this 3rd mount or I'll fab up a new mount.
Then, when I build the rear part of the cage/stiffening, I'll run bars from the shock mounts, past the stock trans mount cross bar and out to support this mount.
I'll drop supports to the stock trans mount, too. More on this as I get to it.
Boy, I say that alot. But then, there's a lot to get to! But it's coming along.
And here are the money shots: What does moving the drive train forward 1.5" look like?
Well, the harmonic balancer/alternator belt will live juuuuust inside the engine side outer fire wall! That's the rear floor pan in the stock location. So a couple key points:
1. You can see that there's no way this would have worked without messing with the lower section of the fire wall.
2. Good thing I just happened to add an arched upper fire wall support! If I'd opted for a straight bar, I'd have had interference.
And there are a couple spots on the upper fire wall that I did have to relieve:
1. at the left side valve cover and
2. a small adjustments to provide extra clearance for the Renegade water block. It clears, but only just, so I figure better safe than sorry.
But best of all, this is exactly how it was planned to fit. And it did!
OK, I sorta lied. Turns out, I didn't HAVE to add that clearance crescent in the lower cross bar. But to be fair, right before that was welded in, I bumped it forward about 1/4", "just in case". Again, better safe than sorry.
The only concession is that I'll need one small access hole to access the allen bolt when adjusting the alternator belt tension. I've already verified I can get the belt on and off, too.
Next, the rear floor goes in and it's on to the custom floor bracing and tunnel!
Pick up the pace Chris...you are obviously taking your time!
I knew it would be tight but...
Love your work. Are you planning on adding lateral bracing in the open area of the lower firewall using sheet metal and bracing or only sheet metal? Loving the progress so far. I'm progressing on mine but I'm waiting until I reach a "milestone" before I post again. BTW loved how you slipped the sheet metal around your hoop so that you can weld it in later. Excellent thinking and craftsmanship!
Time to mill the spacers. Here's an action shot of the flycutter doing its thing , the finished products and the new spacers installed.
Prior to resizing them, it was a bit of work to get everything lined up and the hanger bolts in place. Now, both sides slide in just like that!
I know I caused you allot of extra work but I guarantee you - it was the right call to take it on! Merry Christmas to you and Lori!
PS: All of that "spacer" weight might slow the car down a bit...
Today was about closing up the main hoop and fire wall.
I started with this little spot above the fire wall arch.
First, cut a paper template (and remember to account for the flanges!)
Then I used the bead roller to fold the flanges.
Here's the template and the finished piece.
It's funny, I talked with Tony (Cracker) today and we laughed about how these build threads show all the pics but there's no real evidence of just how much work it takes to get from what was to what now is.
All told, this little piece took me about 2 hours to make.
I was feeling pretty good about fabbing sheet metal so I figured I may as well get started on the inner fire wall.
Template, metal shears, fit, fit, fit and...
Well, OK... There will be some more fitting. But it's looking good so far.
Next is laying out and rolling in some sort of bead to help it resist oil canning and to add some visual appeal.
That extra clearance for the pulley will just make it easier to replace the belt...
That looks really good Chris! You are very talented at fabrication! Fred and Wilma are going to love it!
Did the final trimming and fitting of the lower fire wall. The electric shears are awesome and make quick work of getting a clean cut right to the mark.
Got the final flange bent across the top. Happy with the fit.
Next I started on the boxing in of the main roll hoop, this time on the engine side.
I made paper templates to figure the location of the holes then used the dimple die to pretty them up.
These slide up out of the way to allow for the hoop to be welded to the pads that are welded to the longs. Then these slide into place and get welded in as part of boxing in the engine mounts.
Can't tell you what a relief it is to fit the second on and actually have it all fit!
Remember, this is the first time I've tried virtually any of this sort of fabrication and I hope it encourages anyone who's thinking of giving it a go. I just take my time, measure 100 times and only post pics of when it actually works out!
Very nice I wish I could weld like that.
Then I started on the final part. Here's a look at how I approach making the paper template. Once this is fitting as desired, it's transferred to 18 gauge and formed / trimmed til it fits. Easy, no?
Well, except then I get to (try and) make a mirror image for the other side. That's always the "interesting" part...
The ADD kicked in again and I got distracted with other areas of the car. I've been debating what to do re: keep vs lose the trunk. It would appear I've decided!
If you've seen Tony's car, you'll know why I think of this modification as partial "Cracker Replica". Imitation being the sincerest form, and all that.
It certainly eases access to, um, everything!
And yes, there will be roll bar/chassis stiffening added.
This will never be mistaken for a sleeper but I do want to be able to store the top so while I still have trimming to do, I will leave a lip all around the edge as I plan to make a removable "trunk tray/liner" to provide a least some protection for the top.
That darned ADD! Once the trunk was out, I played with an initial design for the console. This essentially gives away the styling cues I'm going with throughout the interior: a very industrial, trellis, open architecture-y look that leaves all the mechanical elements exposed.
A looooooong way yet to go but it gives you the idea.
That does look familiar...glad to have you aboard! After seeing your fabrication skills - I am very much looking forward to seeing the greatly enhanced "Cracker Replica" version.
Just make sure the cockpit fits a 6'5" frame (Um, drivers side...)!
Happy new-years to you Chris!
I don't see how this machine will remain earthbound.......
I did the final trimming of most of the main open area, leaving that lip for the removable cover I'm planning. I still have to remove the front of the trunk wall above and outside of the suspension consoles...
Then I started on fabrication on the stiffeners for between the consoles.
Another arch... Imagine that. The top bar will also serve as the point from which a bracket will extend forward to support the stock engine cover latch.
I'll end up plating around the consoles so neither of these are quite where they'll end up. But close enough for me to determine what I want to do. I have an idea for a panel that will sit between them. It'll add some additional strength as well as visual appeal!
That cutting up and gifting the pieces from the other car took up a bunch of your fab time.
Looking great though and you are further along then I am.
Totally agree with Ben. However Chris your build is mind blowing.
The shifter console structure is a work of art.
Truly unique approach tying the chassis together in the manner you have.
It will be very cool to see this 914 in motion!
Did the final removal of the trunk and up around the suspension consoles. Then I started fabrication of the plates that will reinforce the consoles in prep for installing the stiffeners.
Man, doing this stuff takes forever... but it REALLY opens things up and allows for optimal location of the rear part of the stiffening bars.
I have an idea for the trans mount cross member, too. Should be pretty neat looking and add some strength.
With the removal of the trunk sheet metal complete, we get to see a part of our cars I've rarely seen: The point where the long stops and sorta has a wimpy tie into the rear shock towers.
Gotta do something about that.
Any thought to some amphibious car features for the Beast? Might be handy if you need to run to town!
Happy New Year Chris!
Love following your progress on the car. You weren't kidding when you said it was going to be "top notch"!
Sandy and I would love to come up and see the car this spring.
I started messing with the intake. In running the Mass Airflow Sensor (MAF), I have to follow a few rules about where the sensor has to be, relative to the throttle body. I need a minimum of 10 inches from the throttle body, six inches of straight tube, the sensor has to be set at between a 9:00 - 3:00 orientation...
So, a bit of a puzzle and a bit of mystery?
A puzzle is when you have all the pieces and "just" have to figure out how they fit.
A mystery is "profound, inexplicable, or of secretive quality or character."
I really do have a bit of both going on here: I have some pieces, I have some pieces yet to make.
But I swear, as I start looking at how I'll have to build the intake to meet the above criteria, fit the stiffening bars, run a suitable air cleaner AND make it all fit under the targa top (which needs to somehow still safely store in this area...) ???!?!?!?!?
Well, it's currently a flippin' MYSTERY to me! Certainly, the "secretive quality" part...
But fear not, World. I will solve it.
ps. I'm loving how this is starting to look. That's a 4" intake tube. Small children and pets will need to be careful they aren't sucked in!
...ask the engine - it knows the drill!
I live in the South but am from C-A-L-I-!
Regarding the top - mine would fit if I actually wanted it to Chris. My fist LS conversion I did store it in the trunk on factory clips. No biggie.
So Southern California, Tony?!
Sorry Chris - last hi-jack + free bump!
Mom from Thousand Oaks; Dad from Bay area; Conceived (weirdly I know) in between on coast. I am an original "Central" Cali dude! Capiche!
Now past my family tree...back to Chris's lame build.
I've been remiss at commenting on your terrific build. Nice work; well thought out. I look forward to reading more as you progress. Keep up the good work!!
Feeling boxed in? My rear shock towers are with you!
After a bit more head scratching, I decided to go a different route: I wanted to run one piece of reinforcement from the long up to and around the tower. Since I'm not exactly sure how the removable trunk liner will work, I opted to retain the lip the runs up the tower.
So I sliced a channel for the sheet metal.
Then I made a pattern and fit a piece that slips down into that channel. This is the driver's side, which I just happened to tackle first.
I tacked it in, "persuading" it to wrap the tower, plug welding as I went along.
Then fit and tacked in the top part. It's plug welded, too. I still have to final trim the top part where it wraps the tower. I left it a bit tall for now as I may plate it to the Tangerine Racing raised rear shock towers, once those are installed.
Then I need to add a bottom piece to close in the box and seam weld everything.
Let me back up and show a bit more detail.
Here's the pattern and the trimmed and bent piece, then how it fits before I start tacking and wrapping it around the tower.
Exciting, I know...!
Now I can get on with the bars.
Here's the final design on the cross bracing. I'll add a filler plate between them with some fun/interesting cut outs.
The final shot is proof that I have clearance and can fit the top with the arched upper bar!
I then laid the trunk on and everything clears. Woop, woop!
Now I'll fab up some brackets for those clips that hold the front of the top. I also need a bracket to locate the hood latch. This part of the car feels like it's finally coming together.
Really enjoying your build Chris, thanks for taking the time to post.
Every time I come visit this thread there is less & less blue car there - gonna be a little sad when you start closing it in - great build tho - Napa Rocket Garage. Gonna have to come up n see Martin about some Mini stuff (he needs a transmission which I may have 4 more tomorrow), then he can tell me how much of the welding is yours...
No weld thru primer on that layer over the suspension tower?
I made up a new top cross bar because of I totally screwed up the angles of the end cuts as I was trying to final fit the first one I'd made. The joy of not using straight material is I had to duplicate the roll bend. Not that big a deal but it's another repeat effort and time spent that really gets me no further along. Ah, well...
Once that was done, I wanted to get some ideas for the filler plate so I made up a paper template. I measured it to get the dimensions for the plasma table's design software. Then I started messing with various design elements.
Here's the initial version, ready to cut.
The six little holes running across the middle are 'marker' cuts that simply locate where to drill for the lightening holes - you'll see once it's all done.
Then it's trimming to fit all the inevitable nooks and crannies and little details that happened when I plated around the shock towers.
Next, the knock out punches and dimple dies.
And here's V1 of the filler panel!
Yes, the throttle body is off-center. I opted to live with that being the asymmetrical element, rather than something else. I'm toying with making a removable panel that has a tighter fit to the air cleaner tube. We'll see.
This thing will be epic!
That's friggin awesome looking! Nice work Chris!
That is a badass intimidating touch!
Here's a V2 design. No, I won't be applying for a job as a Photoshop operator. All I have is MS Paint. Hey, it works well enough for me to test ideas.
Anyway, V1 had those cut outs that I wasn't sure I liked. Maybe a little too "hot roddy". Lightening holes seem more fitting.
Plus, with a physical example to play with and see from all angles, I decided I wanted to close up around the sides of the intake and get a bit more room under it. You can't see it but there was only about 1/4" - 3/8" clearance on the underside. I don't know how much the motor may move around but I want more room there.
This is one of the "fun" parts about design stuff: When to call it "done" and get on with other stuff that may actually get this car on the road!
At this point, I'll likely go with V2. Time for less and more and ! Oh, and some day:
Details, details. I don't have a dimple die the size of the of-cut outs that run across the top and bottom. Since I knew I was going to make a new panel, I figured I'd use this as a practice piece. I used he bead roller and tipped in a lip that I was hoping would match the dimples on the holes.
I think I was successful and IMO, without these, it looked incomplete. It's these sorts of things that REALLY finish off the look! I'm loving how this is turning out.
This was just practice and on the final version, I'll notch the corners of the dimples so they wrap the cross bar.
Can't wait to get started on the V2 design! I'm out of metal so the rest of this weekend is going to shop clean up - which is sorely needed.
(And wait 'til you see what's planned for the transmission support!)
I like the bead rolled edge. Recently saw a video on how to do it. Did you use the special dies? Coming along great, keep it up.
Chris - maybe I am looking at this wrong but I would like to see that as an enclosed panel...maybe you are doing that anyway. Make a duplicate in reverse and weld the seam. Understand?
I like the second one even better!
I did get the shop somewhat cleaned up but the car kept calling "Please work on me!"
I couldn't say no...
Before I weld in the top cross bar, I need to install some support pads. The fun part is the bar lands on the top of the inner fender, right smack on a compound curve.
I could do the 'tack, bend, tack' but I decided to "get fancy". First a bit of history:
Back in the fall of last year, I took a 3-day metal shaping class with Lazze at his place in Pleasanton, CA. It was a very cool class. You need to take it. But be careful: The only down side (as is Lazze's plan, I'm sure )is you come out of the class having used these awesome tools and, if you're me, you get home and obsess about having to have those very same tools. So yes, I treated myself to the bead roller, shrinker/stretcher and English wheel. I have to say, it's reeeeeealy nice stuff.
Back to today: So far, on this build, I've been able to leverage the bead roller and shrinker/stretcher but I've not yet had the occasion to need to use the English wheel. Well, when a compound curve is needed, it's the English wheel to the rescue!
I made up a little curve template, grabbed a piece of scrap and went to town, hoping I'd remember what I learned in class.
Seems like I did. It fits just so!
This may not be much to look at but it's one of the pieces I'm most proud of. Why? Well, you can't fit that small a part in the wheel. I had to "get it right" while this piece was part of a much larger sheet of steel. And I need it to be correctly curved before being able to test fit it. So essentially, I only had one chance to trim it correctly.
And once it's installed, virtually no one will ever notice.
(Now I get to do it again on the other side...! )
Funny... one of my longest posts and it about the smallest piece I'll probably fab.
Panel design, V2. Maybe some day I'll get this design thing figured out a bit better and not have to "build, fit, trim, fit, realize there was a (few) incorrect assumptions and now do it all over again". As much as I like doing all this stuff, it'd be nice to get it right the first time and not build multiple versions.
I guess that's what experience is all about!
Anyway, if you compare V2 to V1, you'll see I changed the 'wings' quite a bit to close a gap between the top edge of the panel and the cross bar. And I moved and changed the shape of the intake tube hole to add a bit more interest. I also changed a couple dimensions so I won't have to do as much trimming/fitting.
I think the holes vs the cutouts will be more in line with the look I'm going for.
Hope to get it cut before the weekend.
Wow Chris the way you treated that panel was MASTERFUL! Love it man. I was wondering how you were going to get the shear forces to transfer from the top of strut to the lower portion of the strut! Well done!! I tell ya......you're giving me ideas. Looks wicked by the way
You two should just "get a room"...
Really nice work! I like the details.
I changed my mind! (Nothing new there...) I decided that I want to run the console the length of the tunnel, from under the front roll hoop to the firewall, so I started playing with designs.
Here's a reminder pic of the 'shorty' Version 1 again, along with the new design. Version 2 is taller up front to get the shifter to the desired height.
This is just brainstorming as I still need to work out things like where the cup holders will go...
Chris: Honestly, it looks a little busy (to me). Are all of those "lightening holes" going to be exposed? There can be elegance in simplicity, ehh? Maybe I would like it more as a completed unit...cut it out!
PS: How about adapting a similar design to the rear shock tower panel to the console? Cool as hell and aesthetically tied to other components...you are doing a great (great!) job. These are just my thoughts...pal.
Chris you're doing a great job and you did say you want the comments coming right? I'm with Tony, make it a little simpler. Maybe something that has a combination of lightening holes and triangles that reveals a strut form. It seems too ornate. But heck if I had access to that plasma cutter I'd probably make something that looks like bad freeway art......you know like something that could be found in an Aztec pyramid.
Yep, yep, it'll be simpler. And speaking of things one can make with a plasma table, here's a sneak at something I'll be cutting soon.
A 4 foot tall crest! I plan to hang it in my office.
I'm cutting it in layers so the various elements will stand off the background of the crest.
Should be pretty cool. If I can fit it, I'll bring it to the WCR in June!
Please make a second copy for my hauler or shop...I won't charge you for my criticism - even trade!
I was swamped at work this week so didn't get any after-hours shop time so spent part of today completing V2 of the panel. The plasma table is just so cool!
Here's the panel after trimming/fitting. It looks so much better with the top line following the crossbar arch all the way across.
I'm REALLY happy with how I got it to fit. Nice and tight:
Then it was back to the knock-out punches and dimple dies. I did the same bead rolled tip edge on the large top and bottom openings.
I am so much happier with this design over the first one. The shape of the intake opening, the fact that the opening stays within the panel. Much better.
So I've proved yet again that I need to get a look at things in place on the car vs. on a computer screen. Maybe I'll get better at this. It'd sure be more efficient, both in time and cost.
So if you couldn't tell, I really like this piece.
(Know anyone who wants to buy V1? )
Badass - love it!
The stuff you can do with a plasma cutter...
Looks great! I agree the center console is a bit complex but it does look strong
I, too, think that initial console design is messy. Im redoing it and will post once V2 is ready for its debut.
Most of today was spent reorganizing the shop. It had gotten to the point where I could barely get around. Much better now.
So not much to report other than starting to work up the design for the rear trans mount. Having moved the drive train forward, there's more leverage on the existing trans mounts so I want to add the rear mount. Probably not really needed but I like to have a little insurance, just to be sure.
I'm still at the "hmmm, maybe this would work..." stage. These low bars will be triangulated with bars that run from the top are of the shock towers and tie into them at the trans cross brace. It may be that the top bars extend to the rear mount and the low bars tie into them. And these are just pieces I had laying around so it's all up for grabs. As I said, I'm still playing with design while trying to account for things like a removable trunk liner, etc. Fun all around!
Uh oh, this can't be good...
I think I may make panel V3. This one would be aluminum plate cut on a water jet, just like the shorty console plate. It would bolt to bosses welded to the cross bars and shock towers. It'd be a way bigger deal to do but...
I'm thinking I'd back it up with a carbon fiber panel.
Yes, I know I'll eventually need to decide and move on. But this design makes it far simpler for me to seal up the trunk area and keep (most of) the heat away from the intake and top, when it's stored.
We shall see.
Love the flourishes. Shows a confident build.
In planning the rear trans mount, I opted not to use the stock Boxster mount, nice as it was, all cast aluminum and all. It positioned the attachment point high. So I'm playing with designs for a mount that will keep everything under the height of the stock trunk floor's level.
This time, I'm going to try cutting the whole part and folding the sides and top into position for welding.
Last night, I cut and folded the rear trans mount. Here it is, before seam welding. And it turned out just like it was supposed to... Thing is, I don't like it. Too bulky, bigger than it really needs to be.
So January closes with another "let's do it differently on the next one!"
At least I'm consistent!
As long as I had the plasma machine fired up, I figured I'd play with a design for load distribution/attaching the lower stiffening bars. These would have sheet metal closing in the tops.
I may mock up a design that uses these pieces on the outside of the bars but where the inner piece runs all the way across between them.
My first thought when I set these in place was "Holy holes, Batman!"
I need to be careful of a couple things:
1. Too much of one design element and,
2. Creating a bunch of nooks and crannies for crap to get into
I have most of the rear trunk modification pieces figured out and cut or at least roughed out. Now it's time to permanently install everything. It's turning out that the first piece that has to be welded in is the Tangerine Racing raised rear shock tower kit. So here I go...
First, I have to give a shout out to Chris Foley at Tangerine - great products and even better support. Every time I've called, he's answered the phone and been more than willing to spend as much time as I needed to answer my questions.
VENDOR OF THIS BUILD, for sure!
Anyway, I copied Stephen's (914forme) approach and welded in a disc with a pre-drilled hole just to help. Then it's hole saw away, trying not to have my arms ripped from my body when it grabs.
The only thing I could think once the first one was done was "Well, I'm committed now..."
Rear trans mount when you have those beefy side mounts seems redundant but hey thats half the fun, right?
Hey Chris I too wonder if that support is required. Regardless though it does look trick. I'm thinking that if your tranny came off a 911 then you probably don't need it. However I'd leave it just cause it looks so good and you can never go wrong in over engineering. Sometimes belts and suspenders are good.
Hey Chris! You fab skills are awesome! I was wondering if you had considered putting one new support "tube" across the width of the trunk about 12" in front of the existing factory structure that the stock trans bolts to? It would be directly above the black bar that is already mounted to your Boxster trans. The tube could be welded to part of the shock towers as well. It would simplify you mounting and maybe save some weight. You could even elminate...dare I say all of the beautiful creations you have between the shock towers. Thats the minimalist me. I know you have a serious amount of time in the mounts/ bracketry . It just seems like that black trans "adapter" bracket is a working too hard for such an amazing custom build. XO brother.
So use the one you made at the rear of the trans and the new cross beam directly over the black bracket. How much support does the stock Boxster or 911 use to hold that trans up?
You might look at a Boxster spare tire. They are tall and very skinny. They are much newer than the collapsible old cracked space saver and are always inflated. I have one in my car if you'd like to try it on for size or have some measurements.
Before I can close up the firewall, I need to add some beading to the panel to prevent it from oil canning and to add some visual appeal. I'm just starting to play with designs.
The left side is, again, maybe to 'hot roddy' so I started thinking about maybe trying to make it look more factory-ish. The lines on the right side are just to give me an idea of how that width would look.
Out comes the trusty laser level (note the professional stabilizing mount! ). I figured I'd start by projecting the shapes on the upper firewall onto the lower area. It's kinda neat that, if I do this, I'll have a nice "V" on the panel - a nod to the LS3!
And, in typical "I didn't really think this through" fashion, since I already bent the flanges, I can't fit this already done-and-fit lower firewall into the bead roller. I'll be making another...
Remember: Pants first, THEN shoes.
I like the left personally...
I'd go with the left side version as well. Otherwise project looks great as usual.
A good buddy of mine brought his new drone (DJI Mavic) over to see how it would behave inside a metal building.
I'll post the "Shop Tour" video in a bit but for now, here's my new favorite pic of my car!
^^ Super cool shot!^^
It's a rare event that I get into the shop during the week but I'm feeling like I'll never make the 9/14 date with a "weekends only" approach.
It feels good to FINALLY be putting things back on this area of the car!
Tonight, it was the Tangerine Racing shock tower kit positioned and tacked in.
As well as setting the angles, I took the time to use a straight edge to align the bolt holes symmetrically from side to side. Again, something no one will likely notice but it's the sort of detail that I think adds up.
Nice! It's looking great! Symmetrical alignment is definitely one of those things that people notice when they're looking at the final product.
Just a question...do Boxster transmissions typically have a rear chassis mount? Putting a rear mount on more or less makes it a totally constrained stressed member in the car which will impart some forces into it as the chassis twists. If they weren't designed for that I just worry about some internal binding. Not sure if this is actually a real concern or not. I know stressed engines can be concerning because of slightly changing bearing and piston/cylinder clearances.
Yes. He is using the factory mount locations on the rear of the case...
Playing with the next iteration design for what I've come to refer to as the "console plates".
I may cut this design and see how I like it in real life. The trunk stiffening panel started out too hot-roddy, and while I like this new design (top pic) more than the earlier version (bottom pic), this may be a bit too art deco-y.
I'm planning to run no door panels and the early doors have a nice arch element that I'm trying to echo in the plates. "Trying" being the operative word...
This is likely throw away since I won't really know the dimensions I want until I get the seats and shifter mounted. But I enjoy the process and I'll have a better idea of what I want once I get to that point.
I like the pink version
What's with everyone giving me a hard time about "short"?
I will admit to rethinking the short vs. tall rear shock tower kit. I was going short so I could store the top. Do I really need to store the top?
I know, I'll make my own collapsible top! Sorta like the fold-able early 911 Targa roof. That'd be cool... I've actually been thinking about this for a while as storing the stock top forces a number of design constraints that limit what I'd like to do.
So, a folding top it is. I have an initial design in mind, too.
In the meantime, I've (again) changed the console plate design. V3 has separate front and rear sections. This will allow me to have a narrow(er) rear section between the seats and a wider front area for the shifter, etc. Varying widths open the door to some other, more interesting design elements, too.
Here's the front section. The rear section will bolt on to the end. I like this approach better. Feels like I'm getting close.
That's the direction I'm going with regarding the collapsible roof. I have no choice. I need to get a hold of the 911 collapsible roof and see how we can adapt to work with the 914 seals. Chris if you are compromising your suspension set up to get the roof to store in the back I say don't compromise. Make your suspension to your liking and then make the roof work later. It makes it more interesting. Keep up the excellent work.
it looks to be ok but just design the interior bits with: elbows, shifting and clearance in mind. I have my battery mounted against the firewall there so you are most likely ok with the new console design. looks good.
You could also relocate the damper mounts lower on the trailing arms add a little travel. It'll change the motion ratio slightly, but also let you go with the shorter tower kit and fit a solid targa top in the trunk. It is a bit of work since the mounts are a pretty integral part of the trailing arm. I'm thinking of going that route just because I really want to be able to keep the stock top in the trunk.
Hmmm... Not sure I like it now that I see it against the door. I'm going to update it to better reflect those shapes. Maybe scale it down a bit, too.
I think I'll name this car "It".
Short for "iterations"
metal roof solves your issue
The door shapes aren't that pleasing to the eye. Maybe you should make a panel for the door that matches your console piece.
I can't finalize the console plates until I get the floor in, the new tunnel installed and the seats mounted. So this weekend was focused on that.
Old tunnel out. Here's a rough fab of a plate to help distribute the loads from the tunnel tubes.
Boring, I know.
Cool. Are you dropping the floor anywhere?
My seat has a car around it! First time in over a year. It's just mocked in to help me get an idea of how much room I have (and where I have it) for the various things I need to get from the front to the rear:
- water lines
- brake line
- hydraulic clutch line
- shifter cables
And I'm planning not to run the water lines under the car.
A friend stopped buy and I explained what I was trying to do. He looked at me for a long moment and said:
"Have you considered wireless cooling?"
He's a real funny guy.
I love it when a plan comes together. How's this for a nice fit?
I'll claim this was all carefully calculated in my design specs... NOT.
Totally unplanned but come on, what are the odds?
I set the seat in place and noticed just how well my roadster cage hoop works with the stock seat. Too bad I'm not using them! Ah well.
I like the holes better...honestly. Its your build though...
PS: The REASON I like the dimple die holes is it looks more legit to me - the other looks like a plasma cutter made it - the holes look like it was crafted - more or less. I am being serious.
I like 'em both. Which one fits the 914 you're creating? Which one are you most proud of?
The more I look at your cad/plasma work the more I want to say keep it simple and light. I like minimalist on a build like this. I'd love to see you keep as much metal as possible OUT of the design without sacrificing strength. Clean and functional before intricate extras that add weight without contributing to strength.
Not criticizing, just thinking out loud. Adding a pic below... Outside the green makes structural strength sense. Inside the red box, I'm not sure it adds anything except visual noise?
Just keep doing what you're doing and make it your own. Thanks for entertaining feedback, but do your thing. We are all salivating at your amazing work.
Anything you come up with, and eventually settle on, is going to be killer. Hey, I am just a guy...and that means multiple-holes in the rear catches my eye *da truth*!
AAAAAAAnnd... into the gutter we go...
No, please don't. If your mind goes there, I understand. But let's keep this clean and back on track to Chris' build.
Hey...I was just trying to get Rudy to show up!
Hah. He'll be here. If there's a good gutter to run into, it's Curb's.
Zoiks, not sure what that was about but let's get back on track, shall we?
I need to make some progress on final fitment items like the seats and pedals. I took today off work to start on the tunnel mods. The base of the tunnel will essentially mimic the stock one. I'm using 1" x 1.5" tube set on edge. I'll drill holes where the original tunnel spot welded to the floor and plug weld these runners in place.
Started laying things out and will be working on how I'll deal with that small step up in the floor. And there are places where I want to shape these runners to the contours that are stamped in the floor.
So, here we go.
Oh, and the pedals are just sitting there to give me a basic idea of how they may fit, what I'll need to do to brace the floor under them, etc.
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