January 4, 2012
It feels like we've been putting in lots of hours on the Locost lately, without a lot of progress to report. Probably because too many of those hours were spent polishing up the new suspension A-arms. They do look good. Our welder friend thinks we should get them sand blasted and powder coated. It would be cool to do that, but we can't really justify the cost when we can finish them ourselves with a can or two of Rustoleum.
You have to keep in mind that we're trying to build a true low cost Locost. Our primary goal is to finish the car before they haul us off to the poorhouse, so we just want to get the car running. After that, we can add features like powder coating as the financial opportunity arises. Nothing on the completed car can't be upgraded or replaced at some point in the future, except maybe the frame, which is the only place we won't be taking any shortcuts.
This past week we made up a couple of rear trailing links, with rod ends on one end and bushing tubes on the other, 11-1/2" on center per the book. We also cut brackets for the differential out of 1-1/2 x 4" RHS and drilled them for the trailing link rod ends. We'll have to wait and cut the holes in the axle brackets until we have our actual differential on hand, so we can measure the diameter of the tubes. The axle brackets are exactly book size, not intentionally, but because we cut and drilled them from memory instead of referring to our carefully-drawn PowerPoint plans.
The brackets aren't off by much. We wanted 4-1/2" between the trailing links (on center), and the book has them at 4-1/4". And now we do too. We could've started over with new pieces but a quarter inch isn't much. Our only concern about the spacing was interference between the links and the axle tubes. This will now occur at 15 degrees of deflection, or about 4" of wheel travel, based on a 2-3/4" axle tube diameter, which is the size we originally guessed (a.k.a. estimated). At 4-1/2" we had almost 20 degrees of deflection, or 5" of travel. But the tubes may be thinner than 2-3/4", and in any case 4" of wheel travel is more than the shocks will allow. So we should be fine. Unless the tubes are thicker than 2-3/4". In which case this wouldn't be our first do-over.
We're hoping to pick up the donor next week. We want to get it in the garage, strip it down, and get it out of there before it has a chance to get comfortable. We plan to build a dolly for the engine and transmission so we can wheel that around easily, and store all the other parts we'll need in various corners of our workspace. Every workspace needs lots of corners for just this purpose. We hope to put the M.G. parts we don't need on Craigslist, and put those windfall profits to good use on the Locost.
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