Home of K-fab, The Deztazes
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The Gen IV's

The New 10Dez

Back in October of 2008, the 10Dez suffered a severly broken right front leg while running through a set of deep desert whoops. It was obvious that the stock suspension that came on the car was not up to the task. (Ironically, James - the fabricator of the 10Dez - made the comment that the suspension was way underdesigned after our first desert race last April.)
This lead to the beginning of a large change over to a new(er), more worthy desert racing vehicle.

The changes required are as follows:
A) New front a-arms - upper and lower.
II) Remove and replace the left rear trailing arm mount (it was originally installed crooked) and make new boxed trailing arms.
3) Get rid of the inboard brakes on the transmission and switch to outboard brakes to gain ground clearance and rid the issue of the skid plate being bashed into the rotors.
d) Switch from micro-stubs to mid-board hubs (this moves the brakes outboard.) so I can change over to a conventional axle and plunging 930 CVs instead of the plunging axle and non-plunging, high angle 930 CVs.
V) Switch the rear rims out and run the same rims I use up front on all four corners (part of the new trailing arms - wider overall, but no gain in actual wheel track width.)

As I got into upgrading the suspension, Best In The Desert, a.k.a. BITD opened up a new class called the 3000 class.
This class has basically two rules:
1) Wheel base dependent on suspension type.
II) bone stock GM Ecotec power plant.

I'd not wanted to run the Honda power plant from the inception of the 10Dez, but if I wanted to go race, well it was pretty much the only option I had at the time. There was no 3000 class, the car had to have a 1600cc engine and I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. ATV Racing (who makes the Tazcar that the 10Dez is based on) had been using the Honda engine for a while, but had recently upgraded to the Ecotec and it was a real bummer that I wasn't able to use the Eco from the start. It's smoother, easier to get put in, has less electronics and sensors and all sorts of other crap that the Honda requires to make run. It doesn't vibrate like the Honda either. And, to add insult to injury, my Honda ran like crap.

With the new 3000 class rules showing up (and I believe that SCORE is now running a class of the same rules, but who knows what they're calling it.), I realized that I can ditch the damn gremlin plagued Honda and run the Ecotec power plant. The 10Dez ended up getting prepped for even more changes. It was time to drop in a new engine too. Made sense, as I was going to have the car stripped down to the bare bones anyhow, so timing was perfect.

So, to get this section of these web pages up and running, I'll cut and past from the 11/29/2008 installment up to present from the 10Dez's first web page and then build this page from there. I figure it's a "new" car, so I may as well start up a new page for it.


11/29/08
Slowly getting things in order.

I pulled the front end off the car, got the shock shipped out and started figuring out the game plan for replacement/upgrading of the front end of the 10Dez.

After a few pms between myself and bdkw1 (a fabricator I know from MBN, it was decided to go with 1.5" x .125" chromoly tubing for the suspension components. Unfortunately I don't have any .125" wall in stock and I'm not willing to pay $16+ per foot for any either. I do have a bunch of .095" wall, though, so that's what's going to get used.

I've been trying to figure out how to make a mirrored set of jigs. Most shops I've been in use two separate jigs that are, hopefully, close in dimension. At first I was resigned to making a pair of jigs and as I started drilling holes and setting things up, it hit me - hey, just use the other side!

Since all my tubes have been drilled in a mill, I've been able to copy hole patterns pretty precisely. Everything is centered in the tube and all the holes are exactly 1.000" apart. Makes it nice and easy to move things around and have everything fit everywhere. Just drill through both sides of the tube and "tada" a mirror image jig.

I machined a set of aluminum saddle blocks that get bolted down to the jig to accept the tubing and hold it in place when welding. The tube sits .1" below the top of the blocks, just to make sure it's held nice and tightly.

All of the blocks are exactly the same, so I can use them in any position needed.

I'll also make an upper a-arm jig in the same manner and it will use the same blocks, so that's just one thing less to worry about having to make or set up.

Here's the "good" a-arm in the jig. I've had to sort of find the locations of a few key items. The spacing between the mounts to the chassis are a bit off on this arm, but the arm that was so torn up still had good spacing. So the end mounts got located from the torn up unit.

This arm's bent back quite a bit. I had to figure out the placement of the ball joint. I still have to make the pad that will hold the ball cup in the correct position and I also still have to make the shock mount location jig. Both of them will be bolt on and reversible.



Here you can see just how far back the arm was bent. I've not looked hard for cracks yet, but I'll bet that it wouldn't have lasted much longer than the other one.






This shows how close and tight the saddles hold the tubing.

The saddles are held in with 3/8" bolts (should have tapped them 3/8-20, not 3/8-16, but oh well - didn't have a fine thread tap)




The bung holder. This is set up so that the center of the heim is located over the (visible in the pic) bolt farthest away from the face that the bung goes against.

 

 

 

12/05/08
The two lower arms are tacked together and test fitted.

Getting the pieces coped to fit nice and tight was a lesson in patience. Grind a tad, check fit, grind, check. Take lots of notes in the process. I made sure I wrote all the dimensions and angles right on the jig. I figure that's the best place to keep the notes.

I still have to figure out just where the ball cup is going to sit and at what angle and I have to do the shock mounts too.

I'm really pleased w/the jigs. They hold the pieces exceptionally well (to the point of having to use a dead blow and a pry bar to seat/pull the pieces).

I've run into a clearance problem on the front of the arms to the steering rack. I need to do a bit of grinder clearancing on the plate that the rack attaches to. It's just a webbing area that's not really doing anything (other than get in the way!).

These things should be tough when done.

I'm really happy w/the jigs. I can take either arm and fit them to either side of the jig. The fit is just about perfect. I'm getting less than 1/16" draw at the ends.

I now need to put the unbent upper arm back on the car, fit the spindle to it, get the ball cup set and then make a jig/mount to hold the ball cups in place. Once I get the ball cups in place I'll work on building new upper arms out of 1.25" x .095" chromoly.

1/03/2009
Let's do this all over again. It'll be fun! (Yea, right!)

Spent the last two days cutting the spuds out of the two lower a-arms that I made, tossing the "old" new arms in the garbage and starting anew. This has become a challenge of "I WILL DO THIS CORRECTLY", not "I'll make it work with compromise."

The root of it all started with the steering rack. That changed the entire front end of the car. Tearing off the a-arm, due to it being unworthy of the pounding the car put on it was just the final straw, if you will.

First off, with the new rack, I lost clearance for the arms to swing up and down. About four inches from the pivot point, the new rack has a very large mounting boss that's not present on the aluminum Howe rack that was originally in the car. Strike one.

To fix this clearance issue on the stock arms I took out the torch, heated up the interference section of the arms and beat them senseless until there was clearance. I wasn't afraid of this hurting the arm "too" much, as that section of the suspension is in tension for the most part. Yea, the occasional slide into something puts compression on it, but it's life is in tension. A notch is not going to hurt it. (even though it's the incorrect way to fix it...)

The bump up in tube size from 1.125 to 1.5, caused even more of a loss in clearance. LOTS of clearance. About six inches of travel worth of clearance. Strike two.

Time to put a notch in the new arms. Argh. Still, since it's in tension, blah, blah, blah. Works, but it's not what it should be.

The next aspect of the new arms being wrong was the rear mount. They are at too much of an angle to the mounts. ATV Racing puts a little kicker in the end of the arm so it's more in line with the mounts on the upright in the frame under the A-piller (this is where the A-pillar actually ties into the chassis). I didn't put the kicker in. The arms fit, but they wanted to hit the chassis at full droop a tad - would have rubbed the paint off the panels. The heims didn't bind, but it was close.

Third, and worst of the issues, was somewhere along the line of making the jig for the new arms I screwed up major league. I'm still not sure how I ended up placing the ball cup 2" farther out on the system, but I did. I'm going to blame the builder's square that I'm using - I tend to read the wrong side of the stupid thing on occasion and I think this is what bit me in the arse (very hard I might add).

When I finally got the right side arm jigged up in the mill and cut the hole for the ball cup, then went back and compared it to the (fairly bent) stock arm, I discovered that I'm making a front suspension that's 4" wider overall that stock. Uh, no. That's not going to work.

DAMN!!!

I spent the last day of 2008 throwing a small temper tantrum and my newly made a-arms around the shop, attempting to bend them. They're tough! After taking a little time to cool off I proceeded to start on a new jig and new arms and I'm addressing each and every aspect of the stupid things and the issues that have arisen from the changes in tubing diam, steering rack and shock mounts as I move ahead.

The new jig started out with me drilling and tapping 160 holes in four piece of 2x2 tubing so I can place the aluminum tube holders anywhere needed. This lets me move them about so I have clearance for what ever may be in the way.

The end of the arm that attaches under the steering rack is now kicked so that I have clearance at full compression and there's no frame hitting at full droop either. I have an honest 20.375" of available motion from the arm. By the time I get the shocks mounted (the lower mount location is giving me fits and, of course, I'm out of the tubing I use for the mounts.) I should end up with about 19 to 19.5" of travel.

The end of the arm that attaches to the A-pillar mount has the kicker back in it so it aligns the heims up more correctly to the rotation of the arm about it's pivot and it gives me more clearance.

The shock mounting location on the jig was simplified too. On the last setup I was using a locator that worked off the ends of the arm and went over the top of the arms. It was long, bulky and probably not real precise.

Being that the ends are no longer on straight tubes, but on angled ends, I can't use that setup. I pulled out the old arm, located a jig fixture that's under the arm, not over the top and is totally reversable from side to side. Just flip the little thing over and Tada, there's the location it's supposed to be.

I guess this really isn't much new for me. Do it once, realize that it's a total screw up and then do it again, hopefully more corretly. If nothing else, I'm getting good at jig design!

1/07/2009

And the frustration continues...

I have a new jig.
I have a new left lower a-arm
I have two ball cups from McKenzies and I have no spherical balls that fit these cups, of course...

The ball cups I planned on using are 1.125" tall and use a 1.5625" OD spherical ball. The tubing I'm using is 1.5" in diam. .375" of clearance is a bit much.

started looking through my stock of rod ends and cups and such and came across two ball cups that are 1.375" tall - perfect. They give me .125" of overlap so the ends of the tubes and the edges of the cups will be a nice corner to fill in with weld.

Give McKenzie's a call "I have two of these part# so and so's". I went on to describe the cups. They use a 1.625" OD spherical ball - all the spherical balls I have are 1.5625" OD .
"We don't have that part number. I need to go look up some info. May have been a screw up by the vendor."
DOH!!!
Each step I've attempted in making the front end of this car correctly has in turn kicked me in the nuts. I'm walking away from this project for a few days before I go postal.

Looks like I'll be making ball cups. It's not that I'm not capable of doing it, it's just that it's one more project that I'll have to deal with, more material to purchase, more time and frustration.

AAAAARRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here are the pix to show the issues I tried to jury rig around and then how I went about doing it correctly:
Notch for clearance:
While it would work, as the leading leg of the a-arm is in tension (generally), it's still a piss poor way of dealing with the clearance issues.
Pulled my head outta my arse and did it correctly by putting a 10 degree bend in the tube right after the spud. Mucho better.

The other issue I had was the rear mount. It needed to be kicked a tad so the heim aligned better. There was a small kick in the original arms, but I decided, in the idea of strength, to just run the arms straight. It would have worked if the mounts were more in line with the arms. But alas, the mounts are not getting changed, so I had to put a kick in the new arms. The clearance was needed anyhow due to the larger diam tubing.

As strong as these new arms are, the kick shouldn't be an issue. I still want the a-arms, or even better the heims, to be the weak point of the system. Fixing an arm's easy (well, it's supposed to be ), fixing a frame's a pain in the butt.

As stated above, I'm walking away from this for a little while - probably the rest of this week.

Fortunately I have stuff to do and get my attention away from the 10Dez.

3/16/09

I'm finally back working on the 10Dez. There have been so many other little things that have taken up my time, that I've not had a chance to do squat for over two months. Getting home from out west with the two Ecotecs was a good start to get the fire burning under my butt again. I've made quite a bit of progress this past week too.

Tuesday - pulled the VTEC and transmission out of the car. It went quite smoothly. By the time the day was done, the chassis was pretty much stripped bare other than the dash, the wires attached to the dash and the controls like pedals and steering stuff.

Wednesday - got the back half of the car stripped clean - all the tabs and mounting hardware for the transmission and engine were cut out of the chassis and I spent a lot of time grinding smooth all the welds.

I also got new Tatum 930 Mid-board hubs ordered. I decided to switch to this setup for two reasons: A) I had to go to outboard brakes. The rotors on the transmission were a problem - they hung down below the back of the chassis and caused the loss of about 1.5" of ground clearance and they were in a spot that was easy to hit them. 2) I'm switching the rear rims out from a 7" wide with a shallow 1" offset to a 5" wide with a 3" offset - a gain in trailing arm width of 2". I'll be running the same rim on all four corners now.

By switching to the mid-board hub I will also gain about 4" of trailing arm width too - that means I'll have axles that are 6" longer than I'm running now, so hopefully I'll be able to run race prepped plunging 930 CVs instead of the plunging axle, high angle CVs I'm using currently. There's a chance that I may just have the plunging axles lengthened too. We'll see when I get to that stage of the build.

Thursday I got the final grinding work done and started in on turning the transmission around. The VTEC setup had the input shaft to the RPM box pointing to the right side of the car. The Ecotec needs the input shaft pointing to the left.

I cheated and went the lazy route. I pulled out my spare transmission and used it instead of messing w/the one that was in the car. There's a small baffle plate inside the RPM that needs to be moved for a regular rotation setup. It was easier to do the mod to the new, clean tranny than it would have been to do it to the old unit. The CV cups on the old RPM are extremely tight and require a puller to be removed. I haven't made a puller yet. I can't use the CV cups anyhow, as they are set up for rotor attachment. Just made sense to use the new box.

When I started putting the tranny back in - I had to cut a top mount and the front mounts out - I discovered that the back of the chassis was twisted about three degrees. As I started trying to figure out what was bent where, it struck me that we'd used 1.25" tubing for the rear lower clip of the engine bay. Why we'd used 1.25" and not 1.5" was a mystery. So the rear clip was bent and the wrong size. Out came the Sawzall and out came the clip. I wish I'd figured this one out the day I was grinding everything - probably three hours of time would have been spared, as I'd ground a bunch off of the section I'd just cut out. Oh well.

Since I had the back of the car clear, I also cut out the driver's side inside trailing arm mounts. The right side trailing arm has 1.8 degrees of camber, while the left side had zero degrees. I remember James and I arguing over the installation of the left side and somewhere along the line, the mounts got put in incorrectly.

Friday - spent most of the morning getting the new mounts installed with the correct camber and then fabbing up the lower rear clip. It's been a while since I've done any compound angle coping, but I took my time and was able to get the tubes in nice and tightly and everything ended up lining up nice and square to everything else.

The tranny went in smoothly and easily and I was able to get it in perfectly square to the car also.

The engine will be next to get installed. I'm waiting on some parts from ATV Racing - I need to be able to put the drive clutch and flywheel on the engine so I can get the belt and rear clutch all aligned and square to each other. I'll use the same technique I did on the Briggs cars when I installed the Phazer engines. Tie downs, squares, clamps and all sorts of stuff will be used to located the Ecotec in the chassis.

Tomorrow I plan on turning the car around and working on the front end. I still need to make the right side lower a-arm and then I need to make a jig for the upper arms and make them. I would imagine that the front end takes up most of this week.

Hopefully about the same time I finish up the front end, the mid-board hubs and the parts for the engine will arrive. I want to work on getting the engine installed before I start working on the trailing arms. One of the members of MBNoffered to help me design and draw up a set of boxed arms, so I think I'm going to take him up on it. It would be nice to head to the water jet place with a set of plans.

3/17/09

The lower arms are coming along:
Got the ball cups installed and also started the end capping/shock mount bracing. Just one plate thus far and I'm not sure where or what gets the next plating treatment. I think I'll probably do some webbing/boxing on the bottom of the arm next, boxing the shock mount tubes in completely, then I'll do some sort of lower leg that parallels the front main leg. Bridging is good!

3/25/09

Both lower a-arms are almost finished!

I still have to close in the box section between the top of the arm and the bottom - this is going to be quite interesting too. Not exactly how I'll go about it yet. Cardboard and then .0625" aluminum templates.

I also got my rear mid-boards in. Forgot to take pix... I'm really glad that I went with the Tatum setup, as Gear One makes one mid-board setup for the 934 (or Type 30) and then spaces the center down for 930 cvs. The mounting plate and the whole setup, in general, is massive. The Tatum 930 setup is appropriately sized, so I have a "930" sized mid-board setup. Sweet!

Discovered a small clearance issue on the bottom of the spindles - nothing a new spacer couldn't take care of - will weld the spacer onto the spindle body tomorrow. TIG stuff is starting to become fun, so I think I'll try that to put the two pieces together.

I'll start working on the upper arm jig as soon as I figure out how/where I'll box in the lowers.
I'm having a blast - been too long since I've sat down and done some real fabrication, not just repairs and mods.

3/27/09

Yesterday was plate #1 install - the larger piece. Since the hole in the upper plate is roughly 4.5"diameter I made my aluminum template by rolling a sheet of .0625 around one of the back shocks. Next I laid the now formed tube into the a-arm at the proper angle (full droop) and drew a line around the aluminum tube where it fit into the arm.

Cut that line, insert the tube a tad more and start forming and bending so it fits like I wanted. Cut, file and work the aluminum piece until it drops in place. Pull it out, flatten it out and transfer to .125 sheet and play with the plasma cutter.

Before long, I have parts!

Beat, grind and work the long arched piece into submission.

Insert into arm and then weld away.

There's very little clearance - in fact a couple of the weld beads interfered with the lower spring keeper, hence the grinding. Once I started grinding, well I got carried away and laid down more bead, then ground it smooth. Swoopy! (Audi R8 has swoop, Honda Element has NONE...)

Spent the better part of this afternoon getting the little plate bent, cut in two (drats - buddy of mine said I couldn't do it in one piece. He said three pieces. HA! Only one cut.) and welded in place.

Then spent a bunch of time grinding and sanding in more swoop. Oh the joy of thousands of tiny razor sharp needles being spewed from the carbide cutter onto me.

I'm pretty happy with the way this one's turned out.

I might add one bridge bar along the front of the arm - not sure yet. May end up just being extra weight.



3/31/09

Both lower arms are done. I'm tired of being covered in little sharp needles of ground up metal.

Upper arms have been started and of course I'm discovering clearance issues with the 1.5"tubing over the 1" that was used. Right off the bat, I'm having clearance issues with a bolt head that holds the power steering onto the bulkhead.

This crap of having a car built around small diameter suspension components and then trying to upsize is getting to be a major PITA. Oh well, I'll deal with it and have a better ride when it's all done.

4/01/09

Driver's side upper arm is coming around. This has ended up being quite the challenge.

I had to put a bend in the end of the tube, like I did on the lower arms and rotate it so that as the arm swings through it's arc, the tube doesn't hit any of the bolts holding the power steering in place. That only took two attempts to get correct. But that was after three attempts (read pieces of 31, 32 and then 33" long tubing) of getting the leading tube long enough and in the correct position.

I had to put the lower arm at ride height and then work on getting my caster (5 degrees) and camber (3 degrees) built into the arm. I can adjust on the heims, but why not try to build to spec right off the bat and have less heim sticking out than I would have with my first couple tries? After I got the arm long enough, then I had to work on getting the bend and the ball cup aligned up to each other so that everything worked correctly.

It was a fairly long day, but I'm happy w/the results.

Tomorrow I'll figure out where the outer and inner triangulation braces will go - outer one has to go around the shock w/o hitting it or getting in the way of the wheel as it turns.

Once I get those tacked in place, I'll make the jig off the arm and get the other side done.

It's coming along, I guess.

4/02/09

Upper driver's side a-arm is complete - as far as cutting, bending, fitting. Just needs to be fully welded up and then braced.

4/13/09

Upper arms are finished! Just need to go through and remove splatter balls and clean them up for powder coating.

They cycle through 18.75" of travel w/o any issues or anything hitting anything else (whew...)

After I finished the first upper a-arm I built a jig off of it and got the right side upper arm done. I am really pleased with how well it all turned out.

Pix from left to right:
1 Jig for the arms
2 Upper view of the arms at full droop. There's about 1/4" of clearance from the shock and spring.
3 Bottom view of the upper arm and the recess between the upper and lower plates so the spring clears at full droop.
4 Another view of both the upper and lower arms.
5 Comparison between the stock ATV Racing arm and the new K-Fab upper arm.

1 2 3
4 5

I'm still waiting on a clutch adapter from ATV for the Ecotec power plant. This morning Neil said that he may have a unit that I can use for setup, but it won't work under load. Something about a bolt pattern.

Once I get that stuff, I'll be able to start getting the engine installed.

While I wait on the stuff from ATV Racing, I'll start working on the trailing arms. Now I need to get off my butt and get the dimensions I need to work with.

Hopefully I'll get a mock up for the new mid-board hubs and all the points needed tomorrow. From there it will be draw it up, water jet out the parts, weld them together. (don't I wish it was this easy?)

5/13/09

Finally - I have a chance to start working on the car again.

The past month has been another whirlwind of things - kids, a week trip to Vegas and back (what a killer drive! and the Supercross race was great. ), small shop projects, CLEANING the shop - yea, so today's the day to start installing the engine.

I unboxed my exhaust system - nice setup. Simple, straight forward and clean. Won't take much to get it together and mounted once the engine's in place.

Unboxed the electronics. Redline makes an absolutely beautiful wire harness. Everything is well marked, shrink wrapped, wrapped in that stretchy stuff, mounted well - this is the way a wire harness SHOULD be. Cool.

Fitted the clutch adapter that Neil sent me for mock up to the end of the crank - it works, sort of. The recess isn't quite deep enough to fit fully over the nub on the end of the crank and it's an eight bolt pattern instead of the six bolt pattern on the end of the crank. As long as two holes line up, it's good. I used feeler gauges all the way around in the gap that was present to make sure the adapter was on straight.

Figured out how to pick up the engine with Ol' Stinky (the $700 bargain fork lift that graces, and fogs, the shop. It works, but man it needs valve guides. It's a blue smoke world after running it), got it set up above the engine bay of the car, started dropping the engine in and of course, there's an issue.

The bar that runs across the back of the chassis, behind the fuel tank is in the way of the intake system of the engine. The engine's now snugly stuck between this bar and the transmission.

Okay, obviously there's a problem. I pull out my camera and start going through the pictures I took of an Eco install when I was ATV last time. Hmmm.... yea, looks like the engine's farther forward AND the tranny's farther back. Sure, why shouldn't it be???

I cut the upper tranny mount out, then pulled the transmission. Still, things didn't look right.

Time to call James. (since he's made something like 80 Tazcars)
"Hey, the bar in the middle is hitting the intake. Is there something different about my chassis than the regular Eco chassis?"
to which I hear "Yea, I figured it would - that bar has a big kicker in it to make it clear the intake on the Tazcars. I knew these mods were going to be a bitch and am glad it's you doing it and not me." (laughing as he says this).

I walked away for the day. It's been a stressful one and this didn't help. Maybe tomorrow I'll cut out a tube and see about fitting the engine. Maybe not. This project has managed to kick me in the ass at each step and, well, my ass is tired of it.

5/28/09

There's actually some progress.

I cut the front and upper rear tranny mounts out, rolled the tranny back, dropped it a bunch and the Eco now fits.

Suspend the Eco from Ol' Stinky, drop it in "place".

Once I got the engine dropped down onto the frame rails I was able to take three bars and run them across the back of the chassis, making support rods. Three long bolts and mounts for them and I had a system that would let me move the engine around in the chassis and get it located.

I machined a large billet bar so it fit on the end of the Eco's crank nice and snugly and then punched a hole in it 14.75" away from the center of the crank to get my belt tension correct. The hole slides (very tightly) over the input shaft of the RPM tranny. This setup let me get the two pieces aligned fairly well.

Once I got one engine mount tacked in, I checked the alignment of the engine and transmission using a bunch of straight edges and such (like I did on the Briggs cars). Tack another mount in, check alignment.

I've spent the past two days making mounts and getting everything in w/o letting the engine move at all. I'm quite pleased with the results - I'll post pix later.

I may end up having to rotate the RPM a bit less - which would mean cutting out the mounts again (there may be an axle to drive belt clearance issue - of course...), but the majority of the mounts are just tacked in so it's not that big of a deal.

Feels good to have a revived sense of fab desire.

I'm not quite sure what the axle and CV setup will be yet. If I go w/the plunging units, I'll have to cut them apart, extend them, weld them and such - don't know if I can talk the place I got them from into doing that or not. I actually think I can probably do it myself. Engine and tranny - engine hanging from support setup.
The Support setup
Alignment
Rear Support
Front right engine mount
Front left engine mount
Clutches and belt

I'm welding my nut capturing devices to the back side of all the tabs that would have a nut against it - and I also cut them into the lower mounts. It's making taking apart and putting the car back together very easy. I'm able to pull everything with just a couple 3/4" wrenches.

I'm also using the same bolts (1/2-20 x 2.5") and lock nuts for everything I can. Almost all the suspension mounts, all but three, engine mounts and some other smaller things.

I figure the more places I use the same bolt, the less sizes of bolts I'll need. Trying to plan ahead and make my required items less in variation.

6/03/09

Here's the header in place. It almost hits quite a bit of stuff. With the collector and 180 bend to locate the muffler in place, the muffler ends up sitting behind the car's tail. I could rotate the collector 90 degrees and get the muffler inside the tail - may be what I do. Problem is clearance between the header/collector and the secondary clutch.

You can see just how closely the header comes to the clutch and frame rails. Not good.

6/09/09

I pulled the block off plate that was covering the pump mounting boss and the end of the cam shaft is sitting there, staring out of it's hole at me, but there's no drive boss or anything that would appear to be able to drive the pump.

The end of the shaft is flat with a tapered hole in it - and the taper's shallow, not like a sled engine snout. No way to drive anything off of it.

Hmmm... Now what?

Got the rear upper tranny mount done. It was one of those lucky days where I didn't throw away a single piece of screw up. WOO HOO!!!

Put in a support bar for the transmission input shaft. I need to brace it a bit more, but I'm not quite sure how to yet.

I want to get the clutch guard figured out tomorrow and then work on modifying the exhaust header to make it fit.

It's moving along! Gonna have to start working on the trailing arms soon...

6/11/09

It would appear that the cam in my engine(s?) is not the type designed to drive the pump. There's no drive on it and the pump's drive shaft hits the end of the cam.

Here's the end of the cam:

It doesn't appear to be in quite as deep as the pic that was posted on a thread about this build on Minibuggy.net.

Ah, now that I look at both pix back to back, yea it's about the same. Looks like I'll be replacing the intake cam. Great.

Just one more thing to deal with...

Here are a couple of pix of the upper rear tranny mount:

6/13/09

I'll start searching for a cam. Auto Zone quoted about $240. I wonder what a GM dealer charges?

What's involved in changing out a cam? Are there toleranced bearings that I have to worry about (like in the bottom end of a car engine) or can I just pull the bearing caps, yank the cam and switch it out? I've not had the valve cover off yet.

One thing that always bothered me about operation of the RPM's gear selection was that I always had to have a funky layout for the Morse cable that controls the input arm on the transmission. It had to run along the upper frame rail and then come down to the shift lever, behind and under the seat up front. The back end of it had to run over the engine and down, hanging out in the open a bit - never was in a "good" place. I decided to modify that a bit.

I've been able to make my shifter cable run right along the bottom frame rail, under the engine and stop just under and behind the right CV flange. I made a new lever arm for the input of the tranny and now I'm in the process of making a bell crank that will effectively change the direction of the push/pull cable from parallel to the bottom of the chassis to parallel to the back side of the tranny.

It's similar to the bell cranks you see on the suspension systems of F1 and Indy cars - or similar to the link you'd find on a motocross bike's suspension. It changes the push/pull direction by about 70 degrees. It made a nice tight, smooth, unobtrusive setup. No more worries about a shifter cable getting in the way or snagged on anything.

The piece is a bit overkill - as I'm using 3/8" heims for the link between the input arm of the tranny and the bell crank (it's what I had handy, and since it gets put in compression when I select Forward, I'd rather have something that's not going to flex).

The bell crank rides on a pair of bearings. The little unit is be bolted directly to the 1/2" aluminum plate that makes up one side of the RPM box.

Since it's a push/pull setup, I figure overbuilt (especially for the push aspect) is probably just fine. Should be a trouble free setup and I can now adjust the system even more than what was originally set up.

What the heck, I have a mill, I have the time, I'm not having to pay someone for this stuff, so I'm having fun making those little one-off "K-fab Factory" parts for my car; rocker arm, nut capturing devices, dash, hood...

Too often, it's the little details that are overlooked the tend to bite you in the arse, so I'm trying to pay attention to them. They look cool too.

6/20/09

I've actually have made some progress this past week.

The radiator's installed - well, it's together. Easy install - four bolts. The test fitting and such works great. Takes about a minute to install, then I need to plumb it.

Clutch guard came out nice. It's far enough off the clutches that I won't have any issue getting belts on/off.

I also worked on the exhaust system. I had to remove about 1/2" off the header pipe length and then about 1" off of the end of the headers where they meet in the collector.

I started out by cutting out and then tacking each header tube in place, at a new angle so everything fit and cleared - then I realized that I was going to have clearance issues - more like wasted space below them, wasn't quite sure where to put the muffler and such, so it was drop back and revamp the setup.

Since I was really careful about the install of the header pipes, so that they allowed the collector to slip right on, I just cut one of the header pipes out, rerouted it so that it ran down low, just above the transmission. Having the collector positioned where I needed it, then being able to work back to it made this mod easy.

I'm still going to have to purchase about 2' of tubing and rework the one header pipe so that it runs a bit diagonally and comes in under the muffler. It's probably going to add about 3" of length to the one tube - not sure what that's going to do for the engine's tuning.

I may look at the option of taking the other inside header tube and rerouting it to fit the spot where the open tube is thus far, then making the open header fit in the other's place. I believe that I can make it all work a little more neatly and keep the header tubes much closer in length. I guess I'll see...

Here are some pix:
Clutch guard

Engine to upper front tranny mount
Had fun making this piece. The clevis end that attaches to the tranny is machined and I cut pockets in the end that the tubes just slip right into. The reason there's no hole right in the middle of the plate against the engine is that I had originally planned on doing a v-shaped brace that went from the middle of each leg to the middle of the mounting plate, but this thing's more than sturdy enough. It's in compression, so there's no reason to build it large and burly.

Exhaust system: Here's a look from the back at the first setup, with the pipes coming out "high". The fit is great, but there's no place to put the muffler.

Bad pic, but you can see how the pipes came out "up" and there's all sorts of room under them, above the tranny.

Here's the reworked setup where I've run the header pipes lower and closer to the transmission. It's allowed me to put the muffler right above the header setup. I still have to make the one tube from what I'm guessing is cylinder #3 to the collector and I still have to make the mounts for the muffler. I'll have to figure out where the exhaust is going to exit the car too.

Another view - gives an idea of where the muffler will end up sitting.

Now I have to figure out where the spare tire's going to ride.

It's always something else around each corner...

7/20/09

Two things have gone my way this week, one thing not so much...

First off: Got the cam back in the engine with the newly edm burned hex hole for driving the power steering pump. Man this setup is nice and sweet. Simple, bolt on (now...) and should be great.

Here's the business end of the cam shaft after machining:

Pump installed:

A-arms arrived either Monday morning before I got to the shop or Friday (wasn't there on Friday). James had the say on what color they were going to end up (was threatening pink). It's a nice dark, metallic blue with a shiny clear coat. I like them!

Now if we could just find the tie rods. I boxed them with the arms and sent them out, but nobody's seen them since they left the shop.

Looks like I'll be making bungs, cutting tubing and making new ones this morning.
Damn.
Oh well...

Just for the sake of having one, I made a spare - so now I have three! (whoopie?)

Got the new tie rods installed and started working on the rear of the chassis again.

Spent a bunch of time redoing one of the exhaust header tubes (using stuff from the one that's getting replaced) so the flow out of the head is better and started working on making the muffler mount.

By the time I get the exhaust finished, it appears that my system will be about six longer than when in started. I've lost about an inch and a half on the headers, up to the collector, but I'll be adding about four inches in the tube after the collector and then probably add close to another six to eight inches after the muffler to get the exhaust gasses heading out and down.

I think the system's going to end up being a lot nicer than I anticipated.

7/03/09

Still waiting on two J-bends for the header to collector for cylinder #3 (or it may be #2? - not sure which side is #1) and a 90 for the muffler to spark arrestor, but I was able to get the rest of the system put together.

The collector to muffler section is done and welded. Two of the three header pipes to the collector, along with the piece that's missing, need to be welded up.

I'll probably make a couple of heat shields out of .0625" 3003 aluminum plate and then mount it using the same sort of bolts, nuts, washers and spacers that CRF50's use on their header setup. Should work nicely and keep anyone from burning themselves.

One shield will probably go over the muffler and attach to the two mounting tubes (which are rubber grommet mounted to the frame)

One shield will go over the short piece that goes between the collector and the muffler - I see that as a wrist biter. (and I'm just now healing up from a killer welding burn on my wrist, so I don't want to do that again!)

The 90 will feed from the exhaust end of the muffler down and back and the spark arrestor (not stolen off the old Honda's exhaust system yet) will feed out just under the upper frame rail. I want to keep it tucked in under the frame rail and in front of the down tubes so it doesn't get crunched when a faster car comes up behind me and gives me one of those wonderful Desert Racing Love Taps.

7/12/09

Exhaust system's finished. Everything slip fit perfectly when tacked but the moment I started welding on the stainless it was Draw City.

The collector barely slips on - requires some persuasion with a rubber mallet. Fortunately a buddy of mine is pretty good w/header building (helped me do the one on the old Deztaz when I did the RX-1 install) and said that he knows where to heat/quench the tubing to make things slip fit again.

I also got the heat shields done, just haven't taken pix yet.

After I get the system tweaked so it all fits correctly I'll be ordering ceramic paint. I've been informed that there's a spray on, let air dry ceramic coating that works really well.

Starting on the trailing arms now. Design time, get them to the water jet guy then hopefully start building them.

Half of the radiator's plumbing is done - the other half is on order. I'm afraid of what 2' of -20 stainless hose and a -20 90 degree elbow are going to cost.

7/19/09

Trailing arms are designed and have been sent to the water jet guy - need to call him on Monday and ask what the status is. (and tell him I need two sets of parts... I managed to overlook that little tidbit of info when I sent him the file. )

The body of the arms are going to be .085" thick and the two ribs that the shock attaches to is .125" thick. So is the plate that goes between the to ribs.

I windowed the ribs to save a little weight.

I did all the edges so that the arms fit together like a jig-saw puzzle. Everything's keyed so hopefully it will make assembly go easily and be self jigging.

I'll have to make a couple of adapters that go between the heim and the trailing arm body.

7/25/09

Trailing arm file is off at the water jet place. I think I'm happy w/them. The mount for the heim is going to be sort of funky - quite large... Not sure exactly how it's going to look, but it should function just fine. (and why do I already see a second set of arms being done???)

I did manage to screw up and get 1/2" wall tubing for the section of the arm that the mid-board mounting plate will get welded too. Not quite sure what I was thinking by getting 1/2". Overbuild!!! Looks like I'll be doing a bunch of machining and taking the thickness down to 1/4". Those are going to be fun little chips do deal with! (as bdkw1's informed me).

The engine, radiator, exhaust and tranny are all installed. I'll still have to pull everything back out and weld in a few things, though.

It's now wire time.

The Ecotec's wire harness is just amazingly simple compared to that damned VTEC. It's a few wires and they're all done nice and neatly. Redline's ECU setup is sweet, simple and to the point. Heck it even comes with a dual fan relay setup. I have it wired so that if I loose on circuit, all I have to do is move the plug over from the bad circuit to the good one.

So, being that my last wire harness was a rat's nest, I've decided it's time to step back and redo the entire system. The last setup kept having things added in as I built and added components. Now that I have everything that's needed in the car, I know where the harnesses need to run.

I've also been seeing some of the harnesses that are highlighted in a couple of the Dirt Sports projects and it gives me a guideline of what a real harness is supposed to look like.

I was running 14 and 16 gauge wire for everything. There are quite a few components and leads that only need to be 18 gauge. So, this next harness will have the appropriate sized wire for the job running through it. No more of that coil cover stuff either. It's now all going to be heat shrunk and run through the braided sleeve stuff. I'm also using some different mounting techniques instead of zip ties.

I'm trying my damnedest to make this car as professional as possible. It's all those teeny tiny attention to detail things that make the difference and I'm working on covering them all.

7/30/09

Spent the day working on wiring. I'm very happy with my dash! (it's about time [I]something[/I] on this damned machine goes right!)

The number of small zip ties (all pointing the same direction - ah, attention to detail at it's finest!) used today was insane.

I pretty much used what I saw and read in Dirt Sports as my blue print.

The dash removes by undoing three Dzus buttons, disconnecting the four Delphi connectors and unbolting the power in from the master kill. Only takes about a minute to pull it.

I ran everything that's switched to the dash. The unswitched things like the Lowrance, radio and intercom will get their own dedicated circuits and be location on the car where the ECU for the VTEC was. (aluminum plate on left side of the pics)

The Ecotec harness is so much more simple than the VTEC.

Tomorrow I'll start working on the rest of the chassis. I have some more goodies to work with (braided loom, mounts). I'll separate some of the components that go to the roof (gps, tracking module, camera, light bar and control) into their own harnesses and get them all run correctly.

bdkw's helping me get my trailing arms figured out. I'm not even gonna bother talking about them at the moment...

8/27/09

Trailing Arms by Brian Knight, or as he's known, bdkw1 from Minibuggy.net:

That looks much better than what I had planned!

The mid-boards should add almost 4.5" of axle length.

I switched to running the same rim all the way around and no longer have a different offset from front to rear. That let me move the rear hub out some and then the difference in CV placement between the micro-stub and the mid-board makes even more room.

I really hope I can get away with running an off the shelf axle and regular 930 CVs - have a race prepped set just waiting for use.

I'm actually going to get to work on the car today!

Vacation a few weeks back, kids still not in school (they started this week - YEA!!! - and one of them can drive now so I don't have to play taxi in the mornings! DOUBLE YEA!!!), my VMC finally (after a year and a half) has been moved to my shop... All sorts of things have kept me from working on the car.

Wire harness will be my focus today. Pix later.

9/01/09

Talked to Ronnie at Revolution yesterday. I think I'll be sending my rear shocks back to him so he can install 14" shafts and 2" ends with a 2" spacer above the ends instead of me trying to make a set of 4" ends.

After talking to Ronnie, it would appear that we'll have a better, stronger setup this way. The long extensions will put more torque at the junction than the shorter ones on a longer rod with a spacer.

Wiring's coming around. Redid the majority of the roof stuff yesterday so that only the camera box and the Iritrak remain mounted to the roof panel.

Now all the other stuff's (antenna, GPS antenna, onboard camera and some small tabs) attached to the roof frame and the roof panel drops down over them.

Before this, I had to remove all sorts of crap to get the roof panel off. Now it's just a couple quick plugs. Should get this section finished to day and I hope to get back to the engine side of the wire world and get it all tucked away and dialed in.

Still waiting on a clutch adapter and my clutches.

They're sitting at ATV Racing and we're waiting on the latest set of adapters. Poor Neil's on his third set of adapters, hopefully this set will get through heat treat w/o being screwed up again.

First set was damaged by heat treat, second set was machined by a different source and the finish work was horrible. Bolt seats that weren't flat (dull bit), bad finish, poor work. They ended up going to heat treat before Neil got a chance to look over the machine work. If they'd been inspected first, Neil said they could have been finish machined and usable.

So, to finish the 10Dez I need to modify shocks (of course! what else that's been touched hasn't needed modification???? ), get my trailing arms done, finish wiring and finish assembly.

Maybe, just maybe this damn car will be done by 2012...

I must say it feels good to work on the car again. Been a bit too long, but what ever. End of summer took up a bunch of time and such.

Almost have the wire work done. Got in at 8:00 this morning and put in a solid six hours. I'm trying to do this stuff as professional as possible - man, it takes time! I'm happy w/the results, though. I'll try to get some pix up in the next couple of days.

9/02/09

Whew - almost done with the wire work!

I still have to clean up the engine area and get some of the sensor wires run, but overall, the main stuff's done.

This was the end of Monday's work:

All the mounting points are on floating trees.
They push into the tabs and have a floating "T" that the looms are either heat shrunk or zip tied to.
Makes for a floating system that's solidly mounted and pretty vibration proof.
You can see one of the trees fairly well in the upper middle of the picture.


Here's the end result of up front.
Everything's been mounted, zip tied and snugged down.

I've gone through a ridiculous amount of tiny zip ties. I figure that I've tossed close to 30% of them as I've used them for temp mounting to get everything in place and in order.

Everyone needs a wire diagram!


-----------------------

Trailing arm update:
I'll be sending the rear shocks back to Revolution. We need to extend the shock by 4" to get the lower mount down inside the trailing arm so we have correct shock geometry through the travel.

I machined a pair of 2" spacers that will sit on top of the lower rod end and under the shock spring cup. It's a fairly common setup on the trailing arms of the Trophy Trucks that we're copying.

Each and every change on this car's required another change or modification. ARRGGHH!!!

Can't wait to get the arms together, mid-boards mounted and find out what sort of axle issues I'll have. Surely they can't go nice and easily!

9/16/09

Spare tire mount's done.

Still working on some of the wire harness. Still need to connect some of the stuff around the engine and the fuel tank.

Still have to make an airbox. Not quite sure where/how yet.

Waiting on 14" rear shock shafts w/2" extensions. Instead of me sending the shocks back to Revolution Racing, we decided that I was capable of doing the work. The new trailing arms have the mounts for the shocks more centrally located in the body of the arm, giving a better geometry through travel.

I actually got my driven clutches and adapters! Now I'm waiting on new weight arms and springs for the primary clutches.

It's coming along and not fighting with me too much. There's bound to be something here soon that bites me in the arse.

9/26/09

This week's progress:

Got the fuel tank re-plumbed and the return line bumped up from a -6 to a -8. The Honda power plant ran a smaller return than the Ecotec, so I was afraid that a smaller return line might mess with the fuel pressure. Easy enough to fix; just had to drill the plate out for a -8 bulkhead fitting and make a new hose. I was quite happy with the results - any time you can work w/steel braided line and NOT get poked or bleed, it's a good day.

I also figured out why my fuel gauge was always so screwy. The sensor that goes down in the tank had been installed incorrectly. Who every did the bladder fitment into the tank put fuel foam under the plate and when the put the plate on, they managed to break off the sensor at the base of the sending unit. The newly installed sending unit goes straight down into the top of the tank and the foam now. Hopefully my gauge issues are fixed.

One thing that does sort of worry me, though, is that the old sending unit had the ability to adjust the upper and lower level readout. There were a couple of adjustable pots that let you put the needle of the gauge where you wanted for both the upper and lower level. No pots on the new sending unit. Hmm... Same part number... Guess I'll find out soon enough, eh?

I also started working on the airbox. I did the filter clamping/holder on Tuesday.

The filter's pretty straight forward: Ford E-450. It's easy to get (I believe it's the same unit among all the E-line 7.3L Diesel vans.), cheap ($13.78) and it's dry. It also has a lot of surface area.

To hold the filter in place I machined a pair of frames that have grooves in them that capture the filter in place and then are bolted together to pinch down around the soft rubber/foam filter surrounding material. There's about 1/8th of an inch of squish.

Here are the three main parts of this setup: Filter, front and back frame.

Here's the front frame and the groove the filter fits in:

This is the frame that will get welded to the back of the airbox: - you can see the valley that I cut for it to fit into.

This is how much the two frames squish the filter:

The assembly:

Close up of the two frames after being bolted together:

The filter will go on the back of the airbox above the driver's side trailing arm. It's a fairly clean, dry area to pick up air. Hopefully there won't be any funky low pressure zones there. That could make things interesting and would require some sort of scoop to intake the air. Fortunately there's room if the need arises.

Here's a side view to give an idea of where the filter will ride once the box is done and installed:

The airbox sits just above the fuel tank behind the driver's seat. The opposite side is taken up by the fuel lines and filler for the tank.

Side view:

I'm trying to source a good 90 degree elbow that will allow me to attach the throat of the throttle body to the side of the airbox. Soon I'll make a velocity stack that fits inside the airbox and feeds the throttle body.

I have to get air from the side of the box to the throttle body throat. This will be an interesting piece...

There's a bit of a clearance issue between the throat of the throttle body and the chassis cross brace. This makes the elbow that I need quite unique and a total pain in the arse.

I got my quote on the trailing arms - this is for the material, laser cutting and bending (not sure what's being bent - someone ask Brian...) - under 400 bucks!!! It was close to 2K locally. WTF??? Should see them in around two weeks.

I'm going to have to do something for Brian now - he put in some great time and effort designing them and getting them done for me. THANK YOU BDKW1!!!!

I got the 14" shock shafts and 2" extended ends yesterday. I get to go inside the Revolution shocks! This should be quite interesting. Don't know if I'll post pix - need to talk to Ronnie about that. If he says it's all right, I will. I don't want to make him mad for showing off something that he may not want seen. He's treated me exceptionally well - probably some of the best customer service I've ever had - so I feel quite a bit of loyalty to him. Treat me nicely and I'll be a customer for life.

I'll probably attempt the shock shaft change over after I get the airbox done (or am waiting on my non-existent 90 degree, 2.75" i.d. elbow).

Still need to mount the fuel pump.

Still need to run wires to the relocated Parker Pumpers. They were originally mounted on the ends of the rear body panels and they flopped all over the place. I cut out some trick little mounts and welded them to the braces that hold the body panels. No mo flex.

Still need to get the throttle and shifter cable either modified or replaced with the correct length pieces. The shifter cable's about 4" too long and the throttle cable's outer part is about 5" too long and the inner cable is another 6" too long. No sure how I screwed up that measurement so well. I want to blame it on the drawing I sent to Neil at ATV... (I need a scape goat!)

I need to find a small diameter thread (1/2" diam., pipe taper, I think?) water temp sensor. I can probably drill out and re-tap the current hole if need be. Not sure how much meat's there to drill out, though. It needs to be a body grounding sensor too - I don't want to have to run a separate ground lead. It's just one more terminal to fail.

Waiting on a new Odyssey PC925 battery. It was sort of interesting when I took the old one to a battery place. The guy behind the counter asked me what the application was and before I could say "Desert race car" he threw in "s this going in an airplane?"

Really? An airplane?
He said yea, that they'd sold a few and they always ended up in an airplane. That's sort of cool. I have an aeronautical battery!

So this week's been fairly good and I've not run into anything frustrating.

I bet the frustration comes when I start working on the axles. That should be interesting.
"Please oh please great Fabrication God, let regular race prepped 930 plunging CVs and a single piece axle work!"

9/26/09

I didn't take any pix of the insides of the shocks - I pretty much took a bath in shock oil while learning how to bleed all the air out of the first shock and never even thought about taking pictures after I got started.

Let's say it was quite the learning experience and I'm glad to say that Fox shock oil doesn't burn the eyes! (but man it makes the world look fuzzy!)

The first shock took about three hours to change out the shafts.

Pull the dust cap off the end, remove the bearing assembly from the shock body (there IS a trick to it!), pull out the piston and shaft and switch everything to the longer shaft.

I had to machine the piston's center from .5" i.d. to .625". Ronnie (from Revolution Racing Shocks) told me that this was an upgraded item now. I had to make a new spacer too. The mods to the piston and the spacer were the easy stuff.

Then it was time to assemble. Easy enough. I've done all sorts of shocks.

Yea, right...

Getting the shock bled ended up being quite comical. With the res charged to 125 psi, Dumbarse here removed the bleeder screw thinking that there was air in the system and no where near that much extra oil. Last thing I saw was this sort of funnel shaped fan of oil leaving the top of the shock and heading straight for my face, chest, hair, wall, work bench, drill press, rolling stand...

I let go of everything and ran off to the sink to try to deshockoil myself. As I tended to the greasies, the shock shaft slowly started downward, purging most of what was in the shock out through the bleed hole, all over the shock body, vice, leg of the work bench and finally into a nice pool on the floor.

I didn't spray myself quite as badly the second time (I'm thick headed and have to try things two if not three times to realize "that's not the way to do it.") I ended up trying three times... Fourth time I figured it out and bleeding these shocks is quite easy when you know what you're doing.

Second shock took 30 minutes.

We added two inches to the shaft length and two inches to the shock end. I machined a couple of two inch tall spacers and slid them over the shock shafts. This effectively keeps the shock a 12" travel, but 4" longer overall than the original configuration.

The arms Brian designed put the pivot point in the middle of the trailing arm instead of on top so I don't have over perpendicular geometry (was about 10 degrees) at full compression.

Top one in this picture put up a pretty mean, slippery fight during the bleeding process. You can see the difference in the ends:

Close up of the two shaft ends:

Completed units: They look like they're new!

Close up of the spacer and how it fits into the spring cup:

10/5/09

Started working on the airbox today and for once, something actually went fairly well and smoothly.

I had to machine a few things: a tube for the elbow to slip over, a sensor mount and also mounting spuds (not installed yet).

My tig welding of aluminum is rusty... You're not getting any close ups! I'd lay down a beautiful bead for 2" and then leave a trail of goop, then nice work again. Man, the guys that can make it look the same from start to finish make me envious.

Here's the back side of the airbox with the filter holder attached:

Side view:

Front view of a test fitment after getting everything welded up and the elbow cut accordingly:

Backside view of the same:

Elbow junction into the side of the airbox and some sort of sensor - I think it's temp, but not sure:

Getting the elbow in place was a task. I kept nibbling off the length and adjusting the angle of the cut until it all fit in nice and snug. I'm pretty pleased with the results.

The elbow does rub up against the cross brace in the car, but:
The elbow is one tough unit. It's about 1/4" wall, has all sorts of reinforcing fibers and weaves.
It's nice and soft and quite pliable. It's a good piece.

I'll keep an eye on it anyhow...

10/24/09

The 10Dez LIVES!!!

Filled it up with fluids, plugged in the computer, hit the ignition switch and once the fuel system was primed it took about 5 seconds for the little Ecotec to roar to life!

It fired right up and then sat there at 3K rpm. Uh, hmm.... that's a bit fast, isn't it?

I called Neil at ATV Racing and he said I had an air leak. I needed to plug up two small ports on the throttle body. Ports plugged, engine dropped to about 800 rpm and it idles as smooth as glass. WOO HOO!!

Throttle response is impressively quick too w/o any mass on the end of the crank. I'd removed the primary clutch before starting, as the clutch isn't set up yet. It will be interesting to see how much the rev slows with the clutch on it.

I'm really pleased with how quietly the engine runs, how quiet the exhaust note is and how vibration free the engine is. No VTEC buzz bomb anymore!

Another really sweet thing about this Ecotec is that it drinks the cheap stuff! No race fuel, no high octane, just plain old every day pump fuel.

Temp sender's not the right unit - or the gauge isn't the right ohm range. With the engine cold, it reads 150. Gonna have to figure this one out.

Oil pressure is reading 75 at idle and over 100 with the revs up. I'm running Mobil 1 Synthetic in a 10w/40 weight which is what the cap on the cam cover says to run.

I have one pin hole in the radiator. Looks like I burned through when I welded on a small bung.

The throttle and shifter cables showed up yesterday morning and while my help took a lunch break I got them installed. Now it's just assembly time for everything from the front of the main roll cage hoop. It's finally getting close to being a viable, moveable machine. I'll be able to get everything ready to roll and as soon as we get the trailing arms done I'll get the axles figured out and the car will be DONE!


Monday I went next door to the shop and picked up a package that had been dropped off last Thursday. My trailing arms were here.

The box weighed 37 lbs.
Really? Only 37?
Three lbs of package means that's only 17 lbs per arm. Wow.

Inside the box was a bunch of laser cut stuff. A lot of it was slightly bent for strength. Really precise, good work.

I futzed around trying to figure out how things fit together a little bit:

The trailing arms are in progress. The work that bdk1 did in designing them is killer. They are about as self jigging as anyone could ask for. Everything fits perfectly.

I had to turn down the main body tube's wall thickness. Started out with a 10" diameter, 12" long, .250" wall tube. I was told to take it down to .170" wall.

My boring bar's a bit small and I had a lot of chatter. It was worse on one end than the other, but oh well. This is a race car, not a show piece. Chatter marks just add to the character of the ride. (or at least that's my story and I'm sticking with it.

We started out by getting our mounting points set on the Titanic (my work bench) and then aligning everything up to the drawings that were already on the top of the Titanic and specs that we had.

My buddy Steve (used to be a fabricator for the Momo racing team, also helped me make the old Deztaz's RX1 exhaust system.) is helping me out on this one.

He's done a lot of jigged stuff and a lot of suspension components so he knows where things will pull and draw and how to go about welding everything together so that there are no issues.

Here's the beginning of the layout setup:

Main tube fitting. That 10" diameter, 12" long piece of tubing was not fun to cut in two.

Test fitting. Full droop and everything looks good and clears.

Back view of the arm. The shock end fits in the hole perfectly.

Full compression. Once again no clearance issues!
The shock geometry is right at 90 at full compression - maybe just a hair over. Regardless, it's close enough that any over angle's not making any difference.

We cut the tube into two with a sawz-all. That was fun! Found the points on the tube where the cut was to run, then aligned a laser level with the two points, put the laser against a 90 degree block and slowly moved the laser up the side and across the top of the tube. We'd mark a spot every half inch or so. This technique gave us a straight line to follow for the cut. Looking straight down on this line you'd think it was "S" shaped, but it's not - it's a funky optical illusion that made this quite the challenge.

Once the tube was cut in two, we chucked it up in the mill and machined the saw cut surface flat. I'm covered in tiny burn marks from all the little chips that we made. What a mess!

Where we quit yesterday.

Hopefully we'll get the arms done on Monday.

I have to call bdkw1 and ask him where a couple small pieces go. We have one that looks like a metal popsicle stick and it makes no sense...

I asked the guy who works in the same building with me to pick up some paint when he ran to Homo-Deepoot. - sort of knew I was setting myself up for disaster... He came back saying that he originally planned on screwing with me by getting some bright color like orange or green, but as he wandered around in front of the spray paint display he changed his mind and picked up a basic blue and started to walk away.

Then he saw it - Satin Sweet Pea. I was screwed.

So, as you can see, in honor of stetler (a Minibuggy.net member) and the relentless "paint it pink" comments from me, I guess Karma's decided to catch up with me and bite me in the ass.

I asked for paint, I got paint, I used said paint.

10/28/09

I got to the shop at 8:15 this morning - Steve had been there since 6:30 welding away.

He got the arms finished today. Took him about 5 hours worth of seat time.
We got the right side arm finished up and then I went about making sure it fit correctly and adjusted it so it was aligned correctly too.

To get it all set up, I took a straight edge and mounted it to the carrier tube then ran it down the side of the car. I then measured from the center tube of the chassis out to the straight edge and messed with the heim until I had what I wanted.

Once I got the heim set up, I pulled the arm off the car and went about cutting the clearance for the brake caliper.

Steve welded the backing plate in place and the arm went back on the car.

While I messed around making spacers and fitting and testing things, Steve finished up the second arm too.
Here's the mid-board installed:

Brake caliper installed:

Full droop. I'm going to have to put limit straps on - I'm at 27.5 degrees with the axle...

Side shot of the car:

I found this interesting: The arms that came off the car, with hubs and micro stubs attached, weigh 34 lbs each.
The new trailing arms weigh 33 lbs each and the mid-board setup and caliper weigh 33 lbs. I've doubled the weight of all the suspension stuff. (okay, so I'm sort of guessing about the weight of the front arms - but I'd say it's close to double if it's not double.)

I'm waiting on a spring for the primary clutch, a couple of mounting tabs for the arms (need to modify the mounts), do the axles and this thing is ready to run.

I can't believe it's finally almost done. It's been right at a year since I tore the arm off of the car.

10/29/09

Spent the morning waiting on UPS - they showed up with a box for the guy that works in the same building, but not my clutch parts and tabs for the suspension mounts. Drats!

Worked on getting the left side hub installed and then set about getting my axle situation figured out.

With race prepped CVs I can get 26 degrees w/o clicking. Whew! Only have to limit travel about 1.5" overall. Being that we had 20.5" with the new arms, loosing a little doesn't hurt at all.

Limit straps will be ordered this afternoon from McKenzies and I placed my axle and drive train parts order (few cv parts, boots, grease, etc.) with Tatum. Ended up ordering 33.5" long 300M axles.

Setting up - get the axle horizontal between the CV joints and then make sure that they have about 3/8" of play in between the CV cup on the tranny and the cap on the mid-boards.

Two and a quarter inches of plunge on the mid-board end of the axle is available. I don't use this much, though. (whew):

Inside view of the mid-board w/the axle fully sunken into the CV:

The shock is not installed yet on the rear end - but I had to put everything on and take a look. Man it's CLOSE!!!

And then you walk around to this side...

Sort of looks like those cut-away models, eh?

11/04/09

Parts!

I've never seen a coating this color. Weird stuff.

Axles in - no grease, not done yet - just in.

Close up of the left side axle:

Limit strap:

It wants to go play!

Started it up, drove it very slowly outside to check the GPS and on the way back inside the steering started acting really weird. Very hard to turn and very delayed feeling.

I get the Dez parked, get out and there's a trail of liquid where I've been.
WTF?

Looks like, egad, power steering fluid.
Sure enough the casting around the body of the pump, where the retaining clip rides and keeps the back plate on is missing about 1/4 of the casting. The pump blew up!

I can't return it - I welded fittings on the body. I'm screwed on this one.

No clue why the casting let go. It's no where near any of the welding that was done.

The pump came from Vato-Zone. Reman from Mexico. So that meands it's an OEM pump to start with, right? OEM casting?

I called Howe to see if they offered pumps for the Eco. Nope. They just modify stockers.

So now I need to go get another pump, weld on fittings to it and start again
Damn.

But the car does move all on it's own!

Here are a couple pix of the pump. No clue what caused it other than karma for me messing with stetler a (Minibuggy.net) member.

11/18/09

Other than my power steering pump dilemma the Dez is almost finished!

Today I got the rear brakes plumbed and the whole system bled.

I kept getting mushy front brakes for the first part of the throw, then they'd firm up. WTF?

After paying attention to the front calipers as I'd push the pedal and discovered that the pads, which had a small spring, riding on the pin, between them, was pushing them back, away from the rotors about .020" or so.

The mushy feeling was the pedal pushing the pads w/o any load until they hit the rotor. Remove springs, nice firm pedal.

My transmission leak ended up being quite the idiot's issue.
I couldn't find where the leak was coming from. I'd cleaned the cases and kept looking for a source, but it wasn't until the car sat for over a week (I was out of town last week and haven't had a chance up until today to do any work) that I was able to find the leak.

It ends up that the mount that I made for the shifter linkage was the location of the leak. I'd snapped a tap off in the case and it never crossed my mind that it would come back to haunt me later.

I ended up turning the mount about 30 degrees or so, redrilling and retapping the mounting holes, put a good sealer on the back of the mount and then put it all back together. No more transmission leak!

Drive train is finished. Got the CVs and axles lubed and installed. Thank goodness for the internet - you can find just about any info you'll ever need there. I've always heard that it's good to clock the CV joints on the axle. I've always tried to do it, but I wasn't quite sure which way they're supposed to go in relation to each other. Turns out that they should sit so the grooves of the outer race are oriented in the same direction on both ends of the axle.

I guess the easiest way to explain this would be that the narrow section of the CV joints should be directly across from the wide sections - thus putting the orientation of the CV bodies, in relation to each other, the same. Guess we'll see how it works.

I still have to:
1) Put the skid plate back on. That was removed when I discovered the tranny leak.
B) Align the car.
III) Fix a pin hole in my radiator. Burnt through where I'd welded on a stand off. Damn.
4) Deal with the power steering pump.

The pump issue is a bit of a quandary... I'm not sure which way to go yet.

The second pump is the one that went poof-kaboom. This one (blown up pink unit) was actually going to end up on the other Ecotec engine that will go in the next project. But since I did a crappy job (or so I thought) of welding the return line bung to the first pump, (I had a small leak) I figured it was easier to just put the second pump on the car, fix the first pump and be done.

Of course, this was not to be the way things went.

I got my buddy Steve, who welded the trailing arms, to fix my leaking first pump. Turns out that the casting is total crap and he kept either finding sand pockets or the metal was so dirty that it wouldn't weld up. Just pool, then run. But not stick.

That makes two Vato-Zone pumps be deemed junk. I figured a remanufactured pump would be fine and save some money. Should have known. Two junk pumps at about $100 a shot sucks.

So now it's time to go figure out what GM vehicle has the power steering pump built onto the 2.2L Ecotec. I think I'll just go on down to the local GM dealer and see what I can find. I want to take a long hard look at the casting before I do squat.

My second option would be to make a new billet pump body. I've not taken apart the broken pink pump yet, so I don't know how involved this would be. That's one of the projects for tomorrow.

I called Howe about the pressure and volume issues that were discussed earlier in this thread. They say I need more flow and more pressure. bdk said that they just modded the pump to raise the pressure (I'm guessing it has something to do with the spring in the part of the system that unscrews). If I can figure out how to up the pressure a bit, I can't see that as being a bad thing.

Not sure how to get a higher flow rate, though, w/o changing the internals. Like I said, not had the pump apart yet, so I don't have a clue how it works yet.

Howe doesn't offer a pump - they just upgrade the OEM unit.
What do they do???
And why can't I do it too, on my own?
Like I said, I'll dig in and find out here tomorrow or the next day.

I want to fire it up and do some donuts in the parking lot, but w/o a power steering pump I'm not going to do squat. Arrgghh!!

11/19/09

HOLY CRAP! GM wants $595 for a new pump!
I'm waiting on a reman Delphi for $110.

11/20/09

AAARRRRGGGGHHHH!!!!!!

Just got back from Chevy. The pump they got in for me is not hex driven. They can't find a hex driven pump either. My friend Steve helped me set up my spare Vato-Zone p.o.s. and we got it installed.

The steering still sucks. Looks like I'm going to have to figure out a different approach.

I'm almost to the point of mounting the reverse rotation Honda pump I got from Howe so that it spins correctly (turn the pump around) and use it. More plumbing, more mounts, more belts, more pulleys. This is a pain in the assssssssss!

I was directed by one of the Minibuggy.net guys to a site called Revolution Racing Engines. They make all sorts of stuff for the Ecotec engines. They offer a power steering pump that bolts onto the water pump drive train. It's made for the 2.4 liter engine, but it would appear that the 2.2 engine (what I have) is the same setup. I need to take some measurements and see if their setup will work. If so, I'm in.

Soooo close, yet so far. I WILL get this thing finished yet!

11/20/09

In my quest to find a working power steering pump, I followed up on the Revolution Racing Engines lead and talked to Keith Iaia.

Here's the e-mail I received from him:
We can do a P/S only direct drive pump.
It has output capability all the way to 3000 psi and is internally pressure regulated.
It is user-adjustable on the pressure.

The pump, with adaptor and drive hub, costs $540.00.

Keith's a really nice guy to talk to. He wants to know more about the off road world too, so I get a feeling that if I like what he's selling, we'll develop a good working relationship.

It looks like his setup works off the water pump drive system. There's some plate that covers a drive sprocket. The sprocket drives the water pump and he's adapted the p/s pump to work off that and mount it where the plate goes on.

I want to look at the room I have and also see if the 2.2 and the 2.4 Eco's are the same in this area.
If it'll work, I'll probably go ahead and pony up for it. I will more than likely put this system on the next car too along w/a couple other goodies he sells.

The Car moved around on it's own... Steering sucks. I threw things...

11/24/09

Here's a lap around the shop. (this sucks - my Mac won't play mpg files. DOH!)

The power steering's still an issue. I have parts coming from Keith @ Revolution. Killer dude. Spent a bunch of time on the phone with him. He's sending me a p/s pump that is driven off the water pump drive train. Bolts right on. Adjustable up to 3K psi and high flow.

It bolts on here:

I'm also getting the oil filler relocation setup along w/the cooler and accumulator. Keith's really wanting to get into the off road market - lots of Ecotec powered cars showing up. From what it would appear, he's making some nice stuff for them.

I think the new car's Eco's going to get a few parts from him too... I'd like to get about 250 hp out of it and he thinks he can help.

Anyhow, I finished getting it aligned this afternoon, made sure everything was tight, all lines in order and such and then took it for a few laps around the shop.

To align it, I had to take the arms off - which required taking pretty much everything off. I can now change out the entire front suspension in under 20 minutes a side! Over, and over and over...

Finally ended up with 5.5 degrees of caster and 2.5 of camber. Seems like a good starting point.

Almost finished - hood was off while I was adjusting the brake bias.

The suspension is just amazingly supple. There's a lot of body roll, but it doesn't seem like the car's going to tip over.

Weight transfer seems good.

The car leans to the passenger's side quite a bit. I ended up dropping almost an inch of preload out of the left rear shock to get the car to sit level. I'm having a hard time thinking the engine is that much weight off center. What does a 2.2 Eco weigh? Battery is on that side too.

Front brakes are weak! Brakes are squishy too. I seem to suffer from this often. I'll get them bled out eventually. I don't have room for four piston calipers on the front - they'd hit the a-arms and limit my turning radius a bit, but I may have to bite the bullet and put four piston calipers on anyhow. I HAVE to be able to stop and right now, it's not stopping so well. The back brakes are nice - they'll lock up when pushed hard enough. The back end squats quite a bit under braking too. In the grass it was (too) easy to kick the back end out under braking. It was pretty slick and sort of squishy, so it just made it worse.

The clutching isn't right - Neil thinks I possibly have too much tension or too strong of a spring in the driven. It's close enough to get an idea of how things work, though. I need to pull the driven off tomorrow and see what's inside of it.

Engine is smooth and fairly quiet. Seems nice and reactive to fun pedal movement. It sounds and seems solid. I think I'm going to be quite happy with it.

Acceleration is not too bad. The bad clutching lets the engine bounce off the rev limiter, so I have to feather the pedal and take it right up to 5700. Over that and it bounces off the limiter and the drive/acceleration gets jerky. I don't think the rev limiter's set correctly.

No clue what sort of top end it might have yet. The limited and sort of slick area that I was making laps in doesn't allow for much at all. I was able to hit about 40 just before I bailed off into the grass one time (like in the video), according to the GPS.

I think it's going to go to the motocross track with me this weekend. I'll be able to run around the fields there and get an idea of what it's going to be like.

May squirt it around the MX track if it feels decent... Would be a good way to test the suspension!

Yea, I know - no helmets... But we did wear our belts!

After my last run around the shop in it, I got out, stood there and looked at it for a few -man, the thing works again. It's running and ready for testing. It's sort of weird feeling - it's almost done. I've been at it for so long and now it's, for the most part, done. Wow.

11/29/09

Went to my local motocross track today. Got done, loaded the car and realized I took no video at all. Total "Duh" on my part.

I'm pleased!

Clutching isn't right. The engine is easy to bounce off the rev limiter. I think I have too stiff of a spring in the driven or there's not enough rpm out of the engine.

The car runs up to about 45 quite well - pretty quickly - and then starts getting legs. Once again, I think this is a clutching/rev limit issue. If it would stay in a "lower gear" longer, it'll accelerate even more quickly and not have the clutches feeling topped out at 45.

I saw 70 mph before I had to shut down for a corner. I'm thinking it's a 100 mph car.

It goes over large ditches at speed quite well. The guy that owns the track got all tense and I could hear him yell something just before we hit it. (I'd already been across it earlier and knew I could do this...)

Tire pressure was too high - rear end was squirrelly. Easy to spin them with throttle input even at higher speeds.

The chassis settles into the suspension in corners really nicely. Slides were really easy to initiate and control.

Power steering - yea, right... more like dead feeling very dampened steering. New pump is on the way and should solve the issue.

Brakes. What brakes? Rears are decent, fronts are almost non-existent. There's definitely air in the lines. I really would like to figure out how to put a set of four piston calipers and larger rotors up front - the interfere w/the a-arms at full lock and droop. LONG squishy pedal action. Not good.

Charging system seems to be amuck. Not sure what's up with that, but it should be easy enough to trouble shoot.

Overall I'm very pleased. There's a lot of room for improvement and tuning - but I expected that. I need to get it out to actual desert type terrain (ROAD TRIP!) and tune there, but this was a great shake down area.

And then Brian, the guy that designed my trailing arms, had to go post this on minibuggy.net
"Plaster city race on new years........... Were taking the 8 truck out......... That is if your not chicken........"

Here's the race that Brian mentioned: MDR Racing Bud Light Dash, Dec. 31, 2009, Plaster City, CA.

I know Plaster City. It's where we did the 24 Hours of Le Fud back in 2003. Fun place.

11/30/09

Just got off the phone w/Neil; he called me just now.
The rev limiter's supposed to be set at 6450. I'm down 700 rpm.

I have another computer for the pre-runner's engine. I'll put that in tomorrow and see if that helps. If so, I'll send the computer in the car back to red-line and have them redo the limiter.
This would explain my odd clutching too. Neil sent me a setup that should be very close and we're not seeing that at the moment.

12/01/09

Ronnie Ryerson, from Revolution Racing Shocks, had to go post this on minibuggy.net too:
"If you could bring the car there, I would help you dial it in. We will have our class 1 car there chasing after a third 1st overall."

I really smell a road trip in my future...

12/05/09

The temptation's too much. It's been too long since I've had a chance to drive in the desert and way too long since I raced last. It looks like I'm gonna head west the day after X-mass and give it a shot!

I'm still waiting on the stuff from Revolution Engines... No power steering pump yet.

12/10/09

Got the power steering pump this afternoon. It's a really nice little unit too.

It has a drive flange that bolts to the drive gear that powers the water pump. The gear has three bolt holes in it for a puller. The drive flange uses these three holes for mounting.

The drive snout of the pump is a hex drive setup that goes into the drive flange.

The base of the pump comes off and mounts to the engine block.

And then the pump's main body housing bolts to the flange.

It's a well though out setup. Pressure's supposed to be adjustable up to 3000 psi.

I have to re-route the high pressure line, since the old pump is on the driver's side of the car and the new pump sits on the passenger's side. I also have to lengthen the feeder line (from the res to the pump). I went to a local hydraulic supply house to get hose - nobody has high temp hose, though. I have some on order from Howe and it should be here on Monday.

12/17/09

Power steering is in and plumbed.
All the air has supposedly been bled... Can't tell what it's like - both my ECU's are in CA getting reflashed. I hope to see them either tomorrow or Saturday.
Trailing arms will be picked up from the powder coater tomorrow and installed. (dropped them off on the 16th).
My entry to the MDR race on Dec 31st was sent in today and I talked to MDR 5 times today trying to get my entry in to them. What a deal that was! Stupid computers.

The Dez is moving along.

12/19/09

The Dez is ready for what ever's next. I finished it up this evening. It's waiting on the ECU's to come back from Redline and I discovered that I put a female plug where a male plug should have been for the light bar, but other than that, it's race ready.

The arms look good. Stickers look okay... The Yellow Dog Racing stickers look like azz, but they're temporary.

I'll fix the pig tail, get the ECU installed and head west with, what essentially, is a new car. I'm looking forward to getting OUT of Ohio, OUT of the cold and getting a chance to go play in the sun a little bit. This has all the makings of another great adventure!

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12/19/09