November 17, 2011
The lower control arms are now just about complete. Per all of that earlier mess about axle widths and increasing the front track to 52”, it goes without saying (until now) that we did in fact need to build a new LCA jig, and the LCA tubes that we’d carefully cut and filed last month had to be replaced with longer tubes. Fortunately we've had a surprising amount of practice building suspension jigs, and also filing tubes. Plus, the old tubes didn’t go to waste, they were just recycled into the new upper control arm tubes.
We really like the design of the lower control arms. They look like they'll provide good support for the shocks and springs, and also for the giant MGB kingpins. They might be a bit on the heavy side, but that has more to do with the 12 gauge tubing than the design itself. At least that's our excuse. The various parts fit together nicely so far, and it’ll be great to have them all welded together. Actually, it’ll be great to have them all attached to the frame. And holding up the wheels. And speeding down the road.
It’s kind of interesting when we're working on a part, filing it to shape or grinding an edge or just trying to get it to fit into a jig, and we hold it up and realize that someday this part will be hurtling down the road, wind whipping past, working in concert with a thousand other parts we once held in our hands on a dark winter night, carefully cutting, filing, and shaping to get it just right. And I wonder if we’ll remember, during those joyful days of hurtling roads and whipping winds, those late nights and long hours when... Okay, sorry, that was a bit much. Back to work.
The only issue we ran into with the LCA is trying to clamp everything into the jig. We thought it would work to wedge the main tubes between the bushing tubes in back and the brackets up front, and that’s the way we drew it up. But the angle at the bracket is too steep, so the main tubes want to slide forward, allowing the bushing tubes to just kind of roll around. We’ll figure something out.
Meanwhile we've been slowly working on the suspension pickup brackets. The book calls for 26 of the little buggers, but we only made a dozen of them and even that feels like a lot. We chopped these out way back in October, and it’s been quite a chore to get all of the sides squared up and sanded down to the book width of 1-5/8”. And they are all within .002” of 1.625”, thank you very much dial caliper. But now that they’ve been cleaned up and drilled and rounded to the proper shape, they look mighty impressive if you don't look too close.
The fourteen suspension brackets that we won’t be making are specified in the Locost book for mounting the shocks. Our shock mounts will be a little different from the mounts in the book. We're making ours slightly more integral to the structure on the rear suspension, and in front we want the shock mounting points to be adjustable, because you never know. So the twelve brackets we have now should be enough. Still, we're a little curious why the book wants you to make 26. After a dozen for the front and rear suspension pickups, the shocks need eight and the Panhard rod needs another two. That adds up to 22. So we're four brackets short. It’s a mystery.
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