Thursday, November 29, 2007

Bringing stuff to the garage, relocating the clutch slave sylinder, finishing the rear compartment

In the beginning of this project I wondered why everything weighs so much...

Not anymore. The plastic engine cover has to cope with transporting lathe chucks from village to village, and I guess they have quite big lathes in Germany... While on the subject of lathes, we're getting a "new" lathe to our garage.

If we need to do some turning on under 40" rims, we should be able to do it in the future. The size and current drain of the machine were both estimates. We also brought some metal we saved from going to garbage.

We also relocated the clutch slave cylinder to a better position.

Lenghtened clutch actuation arm.

In "stock" form the slave cylinder is right next to the turbocharger that you can see on to the right.The previous slave cylinder didn't like being so close to the turbo. Well actually only the rubber seal melted, but the clutch pedal feel was a bit odd after accelerations.

We also finished the rear compartment. The holes will be covered by aluminium, but they will still haunt us if we won't do them well. At the same time we lost a bit more weight.

Now it's starting to look like it should.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Lovering the oil pan, testfitting the intercooler

Lowering the oil pan, and at the same time wondering where to put the baffles. The oil pan was lowered ca. 50mm. The oil pan is longer to the rear to get a bit more displacement for oil.

Picture of what's inside.

Done, you can see the first spot for the drain plug.

Height compared to stock.

We also testfitted the intercooler, and in the process had to remove more metal from the cars body. The engine has been raised ca. 4cm compared to our previous project, so now the intercooler is even closer to the firewall. Cool air to the intercooler will be directed through the right side air channel. The intercooler will be moved forward, so we can put the air ducts in the firewall instead of the engine hatch. Intake air will be drawn through the left side air channel.

The shifter is also installed. Someone of the previous owners had of course adjusted the shifter wrong, so just reassembling it like it was when we got it didn't work. The reverse gear lock was in a wrong angle and bent a bit, so it took a while to wonder how it works and to get it like it should be. Luckily we have another car as a model.
After cleaning the parts the shifter all the friction is gone and the parts feel like new, I guess this has to be done on our other cars too...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Making the front brake adapters

For a start we're using T4 VR6 parts for the brakes. The front brake discs will be ventilated and the rear discs will be solid. Legal and smart brakes seem to be hard to find for such a heavy vehicle, but we will continue our search and upgrade once we find some.

First I measured the needed measurements for a preliminary CAD model. Then I printed the model on paper, made final adjustments with a scissor to get the final shape right. The other way would have been to make CAD models of all parts, but it would have required so much more measuring and modeling that I thought making it this way was much faster. It took about 15 min to make the model.

At the same time I had to measure the weights of the parts. The spindle with hub and disc weighs 20,5 kg and the front caliper weighs 8,4 kg. And you still have to add the suspension arms and wheels to get the whole unsprung weight. We just have to remake the front suspension using lighter parts.

CAD model

CAM model. Toolpaths are visible in green.

Virtual machining, a friend took some pictures with his phone of the actual machining, I just haven't had the time to get them yet.

Finished part. About 11 min of machining time each.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Installing steering quickner, testing coil overs at rear

The steering quickner arrived and we installed it right away. I'm not sure what the internals look like, but I'm guessing it has a planetary gear that makes the steering double as quick. This model is nice because it has the input and output aligned, so you can just put it somewhere in the steering column without changing the angles of the original joints, so it's quite easy to install.

You can guess that we joked about installing it the wrong way, making the car a handful to drive, so of course it was installed the wrong way at first. Before the steering was four revolutions from end to end, now it's only two (and in the middle it was eight).

The steering column was pressed to the coupler, and it will be also welded.

We had to make a hole in the cabin floor to make some room for the quickner.

A picture from beneath. The quickner was installed as close as possible to the frame to ensure an as rigid mount as possible. If you would have installed it more rearwards, the mounting would have been more complex.

And a picture of the floor after the mount is almost done.

We also tested the locost's coil overs on the rear, because we already happen to have them. We just had to test the stock mounting points, and of course it didn't fit.

At this height it is starting to look okay, sadly you can't really lower the front as much.

The coil over is almost in line with the trailing arm, not good.

There's still a bit room for bump.

Looking good. I guess we will have to think of something for next year to get the car really low. At the moment the car doesn't look normal compared to a stock height Multivan, because you can see over it.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Making panels and floors

Not much progress during the weekend. We finally had to clean the garage, so most of our time went in to that.
We had to do something to pedals, as can be seen from photos,if you want to push clutch or brake pedal, you had to raise your foot quite a lot. So, plan is to shorten the pedals about 8cm to get them in the same level as the throttle pedal.

Test fitting the Multivan side skirts.

Aluminium panels for floor and front seat frame.

Extra space for middle seat passengers feets.

We also measured extension for clutch cylinder rod. Cylinder is too close to turbo so the heat burns the rubber parts. Plan is to move it about 15cm. to better clear the turbo.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Making mounting points for the front seats

We didn't get the roll cage tubing for this weekend, so time was spent making mounting points for the front seats. We also tested the right seating positions for the car, and visibility forward is good even from the last (third) row of seats. The gap between the seats becomes smaller as you go rearwards, so the last two seats are as close to the center line as possible. The temptation to reduce seats is big, because with it we would lose so much weight. But we set 6 as our goal, and we will try to keep it that way.

The mounts for the front seats turned out great, and they will be the frame for the metal covering the front floor. The front seats will be mounted from the bottom with four bolts, and there will be approximately 10cm of length adjustment for the drivers seat. Height adjustment will be done with some kind of "cushion".

The mounting for front seats is starting to take shape. We used tubes that were left over from our locost. It became quite much lighter than the stock, and stiffer.

Hammering a lip to the sheet to make the plate stiffer, it's quite loose unless you stiffen it.

You can see from the pictures that I have trouble with white balance. It's really difficult to photograph a pure white car, you have to adjust the camera all the time and sometimes you forget to do it.

And a closeup of the lip...

Only finishing left! The panels that will cover the front floor will be removable to ensure easy access to the front suspension.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Penkkien sovittelua

I took seats from our Porsche 914 and Urhon Ajot Bug and test fitted those to RaceTaxi

While i had the saw in use anyway, i continued to cut some more metal. I had to make little more leg room for the middle row.

Measuring roll cage tubes, first FEA analysed part

We measured the lengths for the roll cage tubing. We need 12m of the thicker and 42m of the thinner tube. The weight will be approximately 90 kg, and that's the weight of one passenger.

Calculations of needed tube lengths. Some tubes missing from the picture, e.g. the tubes where the shoulder harnesses are going to be mounted.

First Fea analysed part, the mounting for the shoulder harness for the middle seats, seems to hold up well.
I thought that we wouldn't need to make Fea models and calculations for this car, but I guess I was wrong. No sense in guessing if safety related parts will hold up. The solution reminds me of something in a roller coaster.

We decided early on not to model the roll cage in a Fea program. Even though the roll cage in itself is easy to model, it's interaction with the car body is very difficult to model. So it's very complicated to get reliable results for improving the stiffness of the car.

Side skirts arrived, testing the aluminium floor

The Multivan side skirts finally arrived. We ordered (or won) them through and after a few delays, we finally got them. Soon we can begin the fibreglass work!

We also tested the front bumper with round headlights.

Reiska cut for us aluminium sheet for the floor. Now it's really nice to walk around in the passenger compartment.

Rest of the time was spent sanding. Feels like last two months that's all we've done...

Big bumper with round headlights. Doesn't look that bad. The VW factory never offered this combination.

Testing the fit of the aluminium floor. We had some doubts that 2mm would be thick enough, but it seems to be fine.

Side skirts and sanding...

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Lightening, finishing the interior and testfitting the engine

We took all unnecessary metal off the rear of the car, and the interior only needs a couple finishing touches before installing aluminium to cover up all the holes. We removed the beam from front that directs fresh air to the sides, on the left side we had to keep a bit of it, so the pedals and steering wheel would have the mounting point.

We test fitted the engine, and there isn't at least a need for more access holes... Without the rear valance, you don't really have to lift the car or the engine when installing it.

There is a big temptation to drive it. All we would need is a seat, battery, and some patent for to get fuel to the engine to get the car moving forward. This light it would probably be very fun to drive around with. This would mean a couple days of work, and sadly we cannot afford that, time is tight already.

The lower frame beams were also boxed.

The rest of the time was spent preparing the right side for painting.

The interior at it's worst (=most lightened) state.

Mika has just welded a piece of metal to keep the steering wheel and pedal mounting points stiff, because the beam from the fresh air system is removed.

Because of the removed rear valance, installing the engine is a one man job. Others can for example take pictures undisturbed.

The engine "installed". There was still 8,5 cm ground clearance under the engine, the minimum amount for a street legal car is 8 cm in Finland. The oil pan will be lowered to gain more ground clearance, as will the exhaust. We will also install a skid plate under the engine, to protect the oil pan.

Stock engine? Fits really well into the engine bay.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Checking the limit of bump travel for the front suspension

We didn't really know how much you can lower the car before something binds in the front suspension, our guess was that the ball joints would be the first to limit the travel.

The information lying around on the net wasn't that helpful either, usual answer to our question was that with lowering of 80mm or more, the upper suspension arm hits the frame, limiting travel. According to a fellow builder, you can go over 100mm, and that then the front wheel hits the wheel well. So we couldn't find any real info.

About hitting the inner fender. We have experience of that when it happened to Mika with his Porsche on Ahvenisto's fastest corner (a Finnish race track). When a rear wheel hits the inner fender, it's like pulling the hand brake. Luckily nothing bad happened.

But back to the point, checking how low we can go:

Upper front suspension arm. The angle is quite bad, and it's close to hitting the inner fender. With the tires we're running the tire would be 3,5 cm above the fender.

The left side is at it's limit, and the right side is at our normal ride height. Only about 10cm makes the suspension look that wrong.

The steering rod is the first to bind, not the ball joints. You could modify the frame to get even lower. Also the suspension geometry limits lowering, even at the ride height we will be running at, we cannot get the camber values to the recommended stock. At this point we have no need to go lower, because it would take so much more effort. Maybe next year...