More Manx upgrades - Suspension

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More Manx upgrades - Suspension

Post by jhitesma »

I know...finish one project before starting another. And the last set of upgrades to the manx still isn't finished!

But the reason I've been putting of solving that is I didn't want to come up with a solution that would get in the way of my next set of plans...more suspension!

Well, MLK weekend our friend Dave impressed us with what his budget car could do...and in talking about it and what I wanted to do to the manx with the bus tranny I had to go in it I discovered that Dave had all the parts I still needed.

His car is VERY similar to what I'll be doing...but with a 6" wider torsion and beam:
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What I got today was:

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3x3 boxed arms, stub axles, brakes...all assembled and ready to roll (heck we had to push the car from around the back to get them off..rolled nice and smooth)

and
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28mm Torsions (the red ones are 22mm and were in my buggy a long time ago but were way weak,) heavy duty spring plates, axles the proper length for for the arms and bus axle, and in the bag 2 CV's (I still have the other four that came with the bus tranny when I got it...but David said the outer CV's on this have a larger bolt than the inner which is why he had them set aside.)

Tomorrow he's going to drop off a set of weld in pivots which he left at his dad's house - and there are two bus to bug mounts (setup for different cage mounts) that I didn't take photos of.

This weekend I already have plans...and Rick has a project or two that need to be finished at his house before there's room to bring the manx to the welder. So it won't be for a few more weeks that we'll start.

While we're doing this much of the tinwork is going to have to go as it will be in our way:

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But this is also where I have a lot of my fuel system mounted (which I've never felt safe with...it needs a more secure mounting surface) :
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And it already rubs against the Type1 tranny...so no way it will clear the bus:
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So the plan is to cut out the thin sheet metal. Take the car over to Ricks where we'll pull the motor and transmission. Then figure out the center pivots. Once they're in mount up the new torsions and trailing arms so it's back on wheels. And finally figure out the tranny mount and get the motor re-installed. Then it's just axles and CV's to be installed to drive it back onto the trailer.

And with that metal out of the way we should have more options for a permanant fuel system (I would still like to find room to make it a dual fuel selectable...it's just space for the pumps and filter that make it difficult.) It will also give more options for the radiator and fans now that I have a cherokee radiator to try. And it will make it easier to figure out upper shock mounts once I buy some shocks (The one final thing I need.)


The interesting twist to all this...it's also going to spawn a second buggy project. The rail that all this suspension was attached to was tossed into the deal I got if I haul it away. I can't bring another here. Tommy's is already here and Rick has a pan here...and my rail and manx already fill the garage! But our friend J has been thinking about a buggy...and has room at his place :D

So the transmission that comes out of my manx...along with a 1600 that needs a cam (which I have on hand) that I got as partial payment when I sold my 1776 will make that almost into a complete buggy. Rick has some fiberglass seats and then it would be driveable.

J's not sure if it's a buggy he'll want for long...so it may be more a matter of he drives it while we try to sell it once it's built :D But it will get his feet wet on putting one together and give him something to drive for himself for a change!

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Post by Woodglue »

Wow Jason, sounds like it'll be much better once you're done. Keep us posted on your progress!
What's the latest on that other project?
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Post by jhitesma »

Tommy's rail is just waiting on parts. He hasn't had a chance to ask his step-dad if he remembered to order pistons yet. In all likely hood they're ordered and just sitting there waiting for Tommy to stop by and pick them up.

We should be moving forward on it very soon.


Back to the manx. I just happened to get a call from Rick while I was typing this. It sounds like he's going to work on building a jig for the clips this weekend. In talking we also came up with the idea of test installing all this on the pan in my backyard first. That way we'll know how the larger arms go together...make sure the axles/cv's are correct and be able to test the tranny mounting....all with no vehicle in the way.

So I may have a mid-travel pan in my yard for a few days...heck I may start on that tonight even.

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Post by jhitesma »

Not much of an update on my own project either.

On Tuesday I started on a 5 week garage cleaning plan. I'm tackling it one corner at a time so I don't overload our limited trash cans :D Then the 5th week I'll handle all the stuff that is sure to wind up in the middle after I'm done with the corners. But tuesday was a lot of progress, I no longer have stuff stored under the manx for the first time....ever! Ok, there are still a few old detergent bottles I'm saving to collect old oil in and a few shop rags waiting for the wash....but they're easy to move out of the way!

I cleaned out the one corner of the garage that I literally haven't cleaned since moving in - it was still full of mainly my landlords stuff. Which made enough room for me to finally assemble the heavy duty (700lbs per shelf) shelving I bought....oh about a year ago. The shelves aren't even full and already the difference is remarkable. Oh yeah, I also moved my table saw out of the garage and into the backyard store room since it doesn't get used very often and takes up a lot of space.

So I now have plenty of room to store the motor while the manx is getting it's upgrades...and room to finally walk all the way around the manx and work on it.


With all that done so early in the week how could I not have made some progress this weekend?


Well, wednesday night I got sick. Real sick. Haven't been this sick in a LONG LONG time sick. Felt fine all day. Then around 10:30PM got a rumbling in my gut while driving home from Matts house. Around midnight the flood gates broke and my body started purging itself of EVERYTHING in every direction. Every hour I was in the bathroom and it was not fun - I went through two whole rolls of TP that night alone :sick:

By thursday morning I was in bad shape. But still thinking it was just something I ate disagreeing with me foolishly did not seek medical attention. By thursday afternoon I still wasn't keeping anything down and was becoming severely dehydrated as a result. Amy rushed me to the urgent care and $500, 5 hours, and 3L of saline through an IV later I was told to go home and plan on feeling lousy for a few more days.

Friday the drugs kept me from throwing up anymore....though they didn't stop me from feeling like I was going to. They also didn't do anything to help the other end. I was hurting bad and was still down for the count. To put things in perspective I didn't even look at a computer for over 48 hours even though I was in my own home with the electricity and internet working :shock:

By Friday night I was starting to feel a little better and even managed to eat a few pieces of dry toast - then Saturday around 6AM it hit Amy :(

I had to call her a cab to get her to the doctor since I was still in no shape to drive and thankfully we seem to have caught it with her quick enough to keep it from taking hold like it did with me. She's still real sick and out of it today...but not 3L of saline sick like I was on thursday.

Thankfully today I'm feeling a LOT better. Still not "healthy" though and the doc says I probably won't really feel well until at least wednesday. Original guess was food poisoning but now they're thinking it's a flu or viral infection since Amy got it a few days later. Last night I managed to eat some real food and that got me a lot of strength back finally. I even started feeling restless and went out to the garage to remove a few easily removed bits from the manx.

I'm hoping to feel up to pulling the motor tomorrow night, (tuesdays are my garage cleaning day due to the trash schedule) and then if Rick gets the jig built by saturday we may be back on schedule.


I did test install one of the 3x3 arms on the pan in my backyard before I got sick...need to get the tranny mounts back there to test out before I take any photos to share though.

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Post by crash »

Sorry to hear about the hospital trip. Had a run in with a "puker" this weekend as well, so I'm counting my days!!! We were at a big party and one of the twelve year olds started chuming all over the patio. Dogs immediately start licking it up, and the mom, instead of taking care of the impact site, just yells at the kid for not throwing up somewhere else. Me and another guy had to be the ones to break out the bleach. Then the parents say "oh, it's just something he ate" and allow him to keep playing with all the other kids. Needless to say I quaranteened my kids, who are very young and didn't understand what THEY did wrong, and got all upset, etc, etc. About an hour later he's at it again and starts walking through the kitchen.......well, that's when the hostess lost it and told them to hit the road!! Major drama, etc, etc.

Everything else was good until the host let his brother drive his new Rhino.........You guessed it. Rolled it within the first 20 minutes!! The host was the passenger and got a hole in his leg from the cage requiring 15 stitches or so, and it looked like a broken ankle. Off to the emergency room at 12:00 AM. The hostess had a nervous breakdown because even though she only invited about 10 people from her family, the WHOLE alternative lifestyle neighborhood showed up to make it a party of about 50-60!!! Excellent party!! :D They all moved to another persons house when the beer ran out and the host went to the hospital, so at least the party was over early. :wink: I think the hostess took a couple valiums and finally about five of us could just sit around the fire pit in the back yard and relax. :mrgreen: =D>

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Post by jhitesma »

Well today I felt like myself again for the most part and got quite a bit of work done. So to celebrate I dug in a spent about 3 hours working on the manx.

I had managed to get the speaker box out on sunday even though I still wasn't feeling very well. And started by making room for it out of the way on the top of my new shelves where it will be nice and safe during the next few weeks.

Then it was time to yank the motor. Took me longer to get the cage off than all the other steps combined. Thanks to the nice clean harness I made it takes less than 5 minutes to get all of the wiring disconnected, and the AN fittings on the fuel make it quick and easy as well. The motor mounts only take about a minute each and are super easy with the radiator lines already removed. But the cage. Ugh. That's a major pain by yourself. The lower bolts are like 2" long and there's only 1/2" of clerance. So you have to let the top hang then hold the cage back with one hand while loosening the big bolts with the other. And only go about 1/2" at a time on a side before you go do the other side or they'll jam up.

Eventually I got it, put the motor into the space I cleared for storage...and found that the evening was still pretty early. So I dug in on removing the fuel system. No real surprises there...did see signs that one connection was leaking a little bit so I'll have to reseal and snug that one when it all goes back together. Only other surprise was that there was nothing left in my tank...could have sworn I had a gallon or two in there still...Hmmm...

With the fuel system off I went ahead and pulled the starter since it's staying but the tranny it's attached to isn't :D

And then the real fun. Out came the drill and the dremel and out went a bunch of rivets holding in the old tinwork. I got all the rivets out...but have to borrow some tin snips so I can get the last piece of metal out as it has a number of lines and wires I don't want to mess with disconnecting running through it. Should have those tomorrow.


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With the one trailing arm temporarily mounted on the pan in my yard I was able to get a feel for where the lower shock mount will be and started eyeballing where the upper mount will have to be. It looks like it will be pretty easy to deal with....should place the shock near where the upper hoop and vertical bar meet in this photo with just a hole in the inner wheel bulge for it to clear:

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Though I'm also thinking it may be nice to add a diagional from that point down to the lower side rails for some extra strength.....

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Post by jhitesma »

Made a little more progress today. Tossed a new disc on my grinder and got rid of the radiator mounts for the radiator that didn't work out. Zapped a bit of primer over the raw spots to keep them from rusting...then ran over to Ricks to get his snips.

While I was there we took a look at my GTP to see if he could help me figure out exactly which idler was making such a horrible racket since saturday...and pretty quick we nailed it to the forward supercharger idler. No big deal, the SC has it's own belt so I can run with that off and just get no boost for a few days. It's well within the computers ability to adapt for the SC not turning and the furthest I drive is the parts store and back anyway :D It's probably the easiest pully on the motor to replace so I figure the $17 autozone will be ok since it's in stock and nicer replacement pullies would take a day or two to get. Besides if it does go out again it's easy to replace, and if it failed it would just mean I'd have to disconnect the blower until I got a new one. Will have to take care of that tomorrow.

Came back home and dug in with the snips. About 5 minutes later I had all that I'm hoping to remove, removed. I may still take the side pieces off...but I'm not going to unless I have to. Also still not sure what I'm going to do as a replacement. I have a few ideas in my head (including an aluminum tunnel over all the stuff in the center of the car.) but until I get the new stuff in I'm not sure how I'll want to cover it.

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I'm starting to play around with NOT reinstalling the second tank. I think I've decided that if I can install it with a separate fuel filter/surge so there's minimal cross-tank contanimation when I switch tanks so I can run dual fuels easily I'll keep it. If I only have room for one surge and the second tank would be most usefull for a second tank of the same fuel....then I may not bother with it. Then again it did save me at least once when I ran out of gas out in the back-roads...and I do want long range on this thing despite the turbo.

If I do keep it I have to move it a little since as you can see in the photos the bars from the old seat mounts are in the way of the IRS pivots...so they have to go. Besides the old location made it hard to get my camera bag in once we had installed the seatbelt cross-bar...and impossible to carry even a small cooler without strapping it on TOP of the tank. (which I don't like since the tank is on aluminum legs.) Moving it just an inch or two back would help a lot...but it may have to come a few inches up to clear the bus box. Just have to wait and see I guess.

Starting to get excited now that I can see some obvious destruction :D Tomorrow I'll get the rear brake lines disconnected (and capped off so they'll stay clean.) and try to move everything else that's in the way of what I have to remove. If I'm feeling up for it...maybe the old seat mounts will even come out.

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Post by jhitesma »

Didn't get much done last night. I didn't feel like firing up the angle grinder and making that much noise, so I broke out the hack saw with a fresh blade. Surprisingly it wasn't much slower than the grinder at getting through the 1" bars that supported the old rear seat...but I did run into a bit of a clearance issue which combined with my rapidly tiring arms means I didn't quite fully remove the bars.

Afterwards Rick sent me an e-mail of his progress on the Pivot jig:

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Today I'm going to pick up a new box of discs for the grinder and finish off those old bars. Tomorrow will be lots of grinding and hopefully a good bit of welding as well since Ricks jig is looking good!

Looking at the bus mount I have though there are some issues. The first is my rear cage mounts, and the second are the upper supports attached to my current tranny mount. So we'll either have to modify the mount I have or make a new one before this is all done...need to get the other bus mount off the chassis that came with the suspension too as it may be more suitable.

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Post by jhitesma »

Just got an e-mail from Rick saying that the jig is done and fits great on both sides of the Baja he has in his shop.

I just finished grinding off the two old back rear seat mounts and making some first cuts into removing the stuff in the way of the IRS pivots....but I'm going to have to take the tranny out to remove the center strap that was on it...and without removing that strap I can't do too much more grinding. Plus it's getting kind of late. So the rest of the grinding will have to be done tomorrow once the jig is there so I can make sure to only remove what's absolutely necessary.

In other news I had to run up to Glamis tonight for some goodies. Got a PM this afternoon from Sixstring Sandslinger saying he was on his way out for the Extreme performance customer weekend and wondered if I'd like some of his old parts. So for the 4 gallons of gas and 2 hours that it took me I got a 12" spal fan and a 2.3 head with oversized valves and a roller cam. Should be a nice step up from my stock N/A non-roller head. The oversized valves don't excite me too much - on these heads the ports are the bottleneck not the valves. But it probably means they're at least the upgraded SS valves which I should be running with the turbo (this head came off a turbo motor.) The cam in it should be better for me as well so this will get cleaned up a little and then hopefully find it's way onto the manx motor before I get around to a final tune on the computer :D

Assuming Rick has time Tomorrow is the big day that the IRS pivots should go in!

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Post by crash »

This is cool Jason. Thanks for posting. :)

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Post by jhitesma »

Just got an e-mail from Rick that we're on today. I just have to eat some breakfast, see Amy off to work...and then find a way to get the manx onto my trailer so I can head over there :D

Tonights update (if I'm not too tired) should have the manx up on it's new legs!

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Post by jhitesma »

Well I got a slower start than planned today. Didn't make it to Ricks until almost 2. So as a result the manx is NOT on it's new legs yet. That isn't to say we didn't make a lot of progress though because we sure did!

Rick had finished his jig and even painted it up a nice Chevy orange - he's thinking about using this one to make a jig for making jigs and then selling them if there's enough interest:

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I thought we were going to get to use Ricks carport...but it turns out the baja he's working on wasn't quite done. So I got the driveway to work in. Which meant we also had to take time to setup an EZ-up since it was a little bright and warm today. Eventually I got going and got the old swing axle out:

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(Please ignore the pile of wires that is my harness. One of the last steps of this re-assembly will be to finally clean it up and finish routing everything once I've decided what kind of battery to use and where to finally mount it.)

Usually at this point out would come the degreaser and simple green to get everything nice....but that's my driveway. I didn't want to stain Ricks up like that - so that step will have to wait a little longer.

At this point we hit delay #2. I finally found a VW part that Rick doesn't have three spares of on hand. The washers between the pivot bolt and the bushings on the IRS. So we had to go back to my house to get the ones off Ricks spare pan in my backyard. Plus I had forgotten my memory card for the camera! We only took one side and figured we'd get some more washers at Lowes on the way back. No dice. They didn't have any. Neither did the next three places we stopped. Oh well. One set was enough to jig and weld the pivots...just not enough to assemble it all when we were done.

Once we were back I dug in with the grinder. I started small. I just took off the plate that is welded on top of the seam along the frame horns since it was just tacked in place just past were we needed clearance. Then I ground down the seam in the area the pivot would be going...and finally I started holding the pivot in it's jig up and eyeballing where I needed to remove material.

Unfortunately this was where the big mistake was made. We had the angle of the bracket wrong and thought we needed to remove quite a bit of material along the bottom for the bracket to fit. It wasn't until after I had done that that we realized we actually needed to remove more from the top.

Then once I got the top close getting the last bit of fit was real tricky and I ended up removing a bit more than I wanted in a few places there. Around this time discussion starting getting serious about the possibility of just cutting the frame horns off completely and replacing them with tubes once the pivots were on. That may still happen in fact since it would make it possible to get better welds on the pivots...but it would also raise new issues about locating the rear tranny mount...so we'll probably just end up plating in my gaps.

Another problem came up in that Rick is almost out of gas on his welder. And the gas shop closed at 1PM. So there wasn't much of a chance of fully welding both pivots tonight anyway. But that aside here's the hole I ended up making:

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We also discovered that the front of the horns hadn't been capped on this car. The tops were covered by the tin I removed earlier this week...and the lower part was left open. Which I realized I had known and just never realized as that's where the skid plate bolts on. The result of this was a TON of sand coming out of the hole I cut. Here it is with the jig in place:

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Clearance past the nub of the old rear back seat mount was tight...and I'll probably end up grinding more of it off...but it does clear:

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Here's another view of some of the sand we found inside...there's still more in there too...I keep scooping and blowing it out but more keeps coming!

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Finally the moment of truth....the pivot on the jig for its final test fit:

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I know it' not a perfect fit...but it appears that's an issue with the clip itself as even just held against the torsion it didn't follow the curve of the tube exactly.

After some work with the wire wheel it was ready for some weld bead:

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Rick just put down a couple of spot welds so we could test the location of the pivot before committing to a full bead. Plus being low on gas he wanted to save some for the other side.

With the pivot well tacked it was time for the moment of truth and test install of the new trailing arm. We left out the torsion bars so we could move the arm...but the old rubber torsion bushings are pretty shot...so I'll need to get a new set of those (I may have some in the garage actually.) before we can fully install the arms. I want new bushings for the pivots as well and need those washers so a trip to the buggy shop is going to be necessary before the manx comes home from Ricks. And since the gas shop isn't open on sunday that basically means it won't be until at least monday night that the manx can come home.

Sorry for the lousy photos...but it was dark by now and the battery on my camera was going which means the flash gets iffy. But the test arm was on!

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We had to remove the "upper stop" that had been added to the manx as it basically preventing any movement with these arms. Rick was concerned that it looked like the arm was sitting kind of high...but test fitting a wheel it sure looked about the same height as the swing did before. And once the tranny is in and this is all bolted up good we can work it through it's travel - measure the angle on the CV's...and probably end up notching the spring plate to get a bit more down/up travel before this is done.

What surprised me is just how much wider 3" is. I had measured it with a tape and eyeballed it before...but now that I see it...I'm starting to think I may have to trim my fenders and make some flares to keep the tires under them! I thought I had plenty of room but now it's kind of cutting it close. The paddles will be entirely outside the fenders - which is kind of good (They won't get hit anymore on compression) but also means the fenders do basically no good in the sand :D

Rick took some angle measurements and we cycled the arm and it all looked good...as far as the pivot. The spring plates and stops may still need some work - but that has to wait until the pivot is fully welded. So at this point we took the arm back off so as not to stress the temporary welds on the pivot...and dug in on grinding the other side.


This was after removing the plate I mentioned in my description of the other side:

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And Rick got some action shots of me doing my thing with the grinder:

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Note I am actually wearing hearing protection as well as eye protection. I don't go near my grinder without eye protection but I'm admittedly not very good about ear protection. But with this much grinding to be done and with the echoes under there I gave in and used the muffs.

On the other hand despite knowing better I did this in a T-shirt and shorts. So my arms and legs now look like I have some kind of funky rash from all the little burn marks thanks to the showers of sparks I got covered in on some of the trickier angles. And yes...tomorrow I will make the same mistake again because it's just too warm out there in the sun to cover up like I know I should. (plus all my long sleeve t-shirts look like they were attacked by moths already thanks to being worn while running a chop saw.)

We didn't finish the passenger side. I got about 80% of the grinding done before declaring it too dark and too late to do anymore. I'll be back at Ricks tomorrow to finish the grind and let him tack that side. Then we'll see how long his bottle lasts getting some better beads on and starting to plate in the gaps. The passenger side should require far less gap filling since we now have a better idea of what we're doing.

I may try to hit ORBS tomorrow on the off chance that they'll be open for a few hours in the morning. If so and if Ricks gas holds out then I may get to bring the manx home tomorrow. But at this point I'm not expecting it to be ready to go back on the trailer until Monday. Then the fun really begins with mounting the tranny and playing with angle on the axles!

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Post by jhitesma »

Well we got more done...but as expected Ricks gas ran out so we weren't able to finish.

Unfortunately I forgot my camera. We got a few progress shots on Ricks cam but I'll have to wait for him to get them to me. I also snapped a few with my phone (finally upgraded to a decent phone last week.) and surprisingly they're not half bad...so with that in mind here's where we are now.

Rick first tacked on the passenger side, and like the drivers side we temporarially installed the trailing arm to test it out:

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Looked good so Rick dug in on the final welds. We kept the jig in place for most of the welding/cooling to keep things from shifting due to the heat. But for the inner welds there was no avoiding it and the jig had to come out to get clerance.

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The fit on the passenger side was MUCH better. There are one or two small places were we may have to plate it...or Rick may just be able to build up a bead or two and fill it that way. The gaps are that small. The photos that show that are on Ricks cam though so they'll have to wait for later. The drivers side we will still have to plate the bottom for sure...hopefully later this week we'll have time for that.

But since we did get the root edge of both pivots fully welded we went ahead and test fit both arms and one tire to get a feel for it:

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My photos are a bit crooked...but in person it does look like the passenger side is sitting a little bit higher...then again the car may just be crooked and making it look that way. We didn't break out the tape measure to tell for sure.

At this point there are no torsions installed - just the urethane (I did have a new set on hand!) bushings so it's easier to cycle the suspension. Measuring at the center of the stub axle we got about 7.5-8" of travel. The upper point is about as far as it will ever be able to go in that direction - as you can see in the photo the tire does clear the fender (Woo Hoo!) But just barely! What seems odd to us is that the arms see awful high even when sitting on the lower stops. So we suspect it will be possible to get a few more inches of droop by either removing the lower stop or notching the spring plate. (If we remove the stop I'll add some limit straps to set the extent of the travel.)

Since the VW shock towers are already bent I'm planning on cutting them off already...just not 100% sure exactly where we'll make those cuts and how much if any of the stops we want to leave behind.

Tomorrow Rick is planning on refilling his gas bottle and we should be able to finish welding up around the pivots. And I'll try to remember my real camera for some good final shots.

I'm also going to do some shopping tomorrow to try and find those washers...and a bus tranny mount. The one I was given just isn't going to work out for this. I want to do a solid mid-mount in addition to the usual front and rear and have a call in to Jim at sandcars.net/FMS parts to see if he has what I need for mounts. If not ORBS will at least have the rear mount if not the mid-mount which I can always add later.

Once the gaps around the pivots are plated and the tranny is in I can start experimenting with angles on the CV's. I'm just going to be running stock Type 2 CV's so I can't go more than 17 degrees on them (and I'd rather keep it around 15-16 for a margin of safety.) I may be able to dig up some Type 4 CV's (good to 22 degrees but they use the same flanges as Type 2's) but for now budget says stick with the T2's that I have.

And with the tranny in I can also get the motor mounted again and start figuring out what will need to be done to the motor mounts as well as where the radiator and fuel systems will work in.

Lots of work left to be done...but it felt good to see that wheel cycle today! Clearing the fender was icing on the cake for sure! When we saw just how much wider it is now we thought for sure there would be rubbing. Overall the rear tires are about the same width as the front now though so I'm going to be in real good shape! Not sure just how the paddles will clear...but they have no offset on their rims so they should stick out even further and not have any major issues with the fenders as a result.

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Post by jhitesma »

Got the photos from Rick of how the passenger side came out:

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As you can see I was a lot closer on this one. The bottom came out perfect in fact - with a little adjustment from a 5lb persuader the bottom of the frame horn matched up to the clip exactly. (not shown in the photos though.) There was one spot on top where my grinding wheel got a little off course, and the back side was just a little more carved out than necessary...but overall MUCH better than the first side which will take a good deal of plating to finish up.

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Post by jhitesma »

Todays photos aren't that much different than yesterdays...but they were taken with a camera and not a phone so they're a little better :D

First a few daylight shots of where we left off on the welding:

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As you can see on that side I was pretty tight with the grinding and there wasn't much to fill. We did use two small plates for the biggest gaps but for the most part it really came out good.

The other side is where I had to make some serious patch plates today:

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This was the largest patch needed for the bottom of the drivers side:

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And here it is welded in place:

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On both sides we had a bit of difficulty welding around the spot where the brake line tube used to run through the housing. Those tubes had filled with oil and grease and although I tried like heck to get them clean the heat of welding had to take care of the rest:

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With the car this far apart Rick had some fun playing on the monkey bars finding his favorite angles for welding:

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In the end it's not the prettiest but it should work!

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I also found out that Jim doesn't have any bus mounts so I went up to ORBS today. $2.50 each for those washers on the pivot bolts! Yeouch! He said they're running out of them though and he's got to take a few more old VW's apart to get more. Apparently having that shop at Glamis this year those were popular parts due to how easy they are to loose in the sand :D

I found a mount that looks like it will work...but didn't buy it yet since I wanted to talk it over with Rick first. And after doing so it sounds like the mount I'll go with. It will retain my old rear tranny mount - but add two flanges to it to match the rear of the bus tranny. Then there's a weld in mid-mount like the one I run on my rail:

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Only the one I'm going to get for the manx is designed to match a bus tranny instead. Keeping my old rear mount solves the problem of how to tie in the cage and the tubes that help support the tranny/motor.

Tomorrow will be a day off for Rick. If I have time I'm going to work on cleaning up the arms and getting some fresh paint on them. Wednesday will be brew night so thursday is when we're hoping to get the mid-mount welded in and tranny mounted. At that point I'll be able to install the arms again along with the torsion bars and get this thing back home to work on for a few days.

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Post by jhitesma »

Made some progress today...but no photos of it. And no tranny mount yet. I forgot that march 29th is when my yearly fees for my photo hosting site are charged :(

But we will be heading to ORBS tomorrow morning to get the mount. So tomorrow the manx will hopefully be coming home.

Tonight we did discover a mistake we unfortunately made in installing the pivots. We didn't think to leave the rear/lower tranny mount installed while doing it. As a result the frame horns shifted outward a little. We had to put a come along on them to pull them back together before the rear tranny mount would bolt back up. Hard to say how straight it is back there...or was before we started...but it should be good enough...just not sure how this will affect the street performance :(

Tommy worked on the heads for is 1835 got them cleaned up to where they'll go back together tomorrow for sure. And I test assembled the drivers side with torsion bar - only to find that with the torsion bar installed the spring plate is a major bear to get lined up with the trailing arm since this spring plate doesn't have slots - just holes. Eventually we got it on but so much for my nice paint job on the arm by the time we were done!

Tomorrow should be a "real" update complete with photos and some major progress. Stay tuned!

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Post by jhitesma »

Well, Rick called me up today asking why I haven't posted any updates in the past week.

Basically it's that old "If you don't have anything good to say" thing :D

I'm a little frustrated on a few points with the Manx and had to "step back" for a few days before I could get on with it. Plus last weekend I forgot my camera both saturday and sunday then this whole week I've been too busy to touch much of anything.

So....when I left off the plan was to go to ORBS and get the tranny mount. We did...and that was a bit of a disappointment. The mount included a weld in mid-mount and some brackets that bolt onto a stock Type1 rear mount to hold the bus tranny. It also included the studs for the midmount and hardware for the rear mount. For $40 it seemed pretty good.

First sign of trouble was that the package had been taped closed and whoever opened it originally cut through the (rather poor) instruction sheet. Based on the sharpie around the outside of the bracket and what parts of the packaging were disturbed I suspect someone was just making a template for their own brackets off of it is why it had been opened.

Second sign of trouble was that one of the four bolts included for the rear brackets was the wrong size. These were still in the original packaging and looking at the shrink plastic you can clearly see that one bolt was an odd size.

Third sign of trouble was after installing the studs when I went to bolt the mid-mount on...the nuts included with this kit (again still sealed in the original shrink plastic) were the wrong size. I'm going to be writing an annoyed letter to bugpack this weekend about their quality control :(

The biggest sign of trouble though was the instructions saying that this kit would mount the tranny slightly off-center and two different sized axles would be needed...uh..oh...that's not good. I already have axles I need my tranny centered.

Also found when bolting up the mid-mount that it doesn't line up very well with the bolt holes, now studs, on the tranny. But I did get it on there and lifted the tranny into place only to find.....

The midmount won't work at all with stock arms. It's designed for a fugitive chassis with 1.5" tubes running under the torsion.

I can cut some slots into the frame horns to make it fit...but we're looking at other options for a couple of reasons (the frame horns being bent as described in my last update.) For now we just took the mid-mount off and used the front mount that came with my arm package and the rear brackets.

That was enough to get the tranny up and test fit. Excuse the messy tranny, it's straight from a bus and I hadn't had a chance to start cleaning it up yet:

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With the tranny and arms in I started taking some measurements:

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The problem is the right arm IS sitting almost an inch higher than the left arm...which is even more troubling when I started looking closer at the frame and realized that the right side is if anything drooping slightly down.

To help visualize things I added some horizontal lines to the one photo so I could see how far off some things are:

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So with the arms not even it's kind of hard to get reliable measurements and tell if the tranny is centered or not.

At that point though I decided to bring the car home since Rick was going to be out of town for a week. So we got it on the trailer and brought it back here. Since I had the axles and CV's here I decided to just take a look at how they fit.

Now this is where I really got frustrated. In a number of online searches I found that apparently the axle length is found by measuring from the inside of the tranny flange to the inside of the wheel flange. I did that and found 21". I was then told to take 1/2" off and that's the axle length you should aim for which would be 20.5". I measured my axles and they're 20.25" if anything from what I've read they may be a little bit too short but should be fine.

Only problem...I can't get them in. They're too long. Measuring from the outside of the flanges I only get 19".

I've tried measuring at full droop and full compression on the passenger side and while the numbers change I can't get the axle in at any point...and that's the side that measures as slightly wider!

At that point my week started and with the county fair going on (demo derby was wednesday and was one of the best I've seen down here.) there just hasn't been any time for much manx progress this week.

On thursday I did start working on it (wanted to remove the torsion spring I did install on the drivers side so I could do more experiments with cycling the suspension.) but my helper showed up late so all I ended up doing was starting on cleaning the tranny (that thing is COVERED in crud!)

I have snapped a few more photos but they're basically just the same thing only in my garage instead of Ricks driveway. I may post some of them tomorrow if I make any progress...but I may take this weekend off.

I'm still trying to figure out why the passenger arm is so much higher...and we're debating just cutting off the frame horns and doing some tubular supports instead so we can recenter everything. Few more days of scratching my head and measuring things and we should be back on track.

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Post by jhitesma »

Finally made some progress on this today. Since I'm buying a new house and we close next friday I want to get the manx back into once piece so it will be easier to move. So this weekend I'm not so much focused on finishing the manx...as I am just getting it back into one piece.

Today I removed the pile of empty boxes that have been collecting in and on it in anticipation of the move....got all of my tools out of the 4 boxtops that have served as my "toolbox" for the past couple of years and into a temporary - but real - toolbox. The new house does not have a garage - I will have a GREAT carport and 2 sheds though so a way to move my tools from one place to another was a necessity. Hopefully soon I'll be able to justify a nice roll-away but for now I found a cheap plastic Stanley thing that rolls well over rough ground and has me at least somewhat organized.

I got the stock trailing arms off the pan in my backyard and Rick showed up just in time to help me test them out on the manx. We quickly discovered that the spring plates on the manx are a bit of an issue...they're just cut down swing axle plates - which worked ok with the longer/wider arms. But on the stock arms they didn't clear - a little work with the grinder solved that little problem.

We also discovered that something seems to have happened to the passenger side pivot. The bolt was VERY hard to remove. When it did come out...the threads are NOT pretty. Rick's guessing that when we bent the frame horn back into position it caused it...but I'm not convinced. I think the bolt may have gotten cross threaded during a fit of frustration. Either way it's not pretty and I'm going to have to track down a tap to clean the threads on the pivot now.

The good news is with the stock arms on the manx actually looks pretty good. If there is a difference from one side to the other it's less than 1/8" - which is all the more accuracy I could achieve on my less than level driveway. (The new house has a nice pad in the backyard which I'm hoping will be good and level for this kind of project!)

So it looks like the pivots are NOT the problem after all. Unfortunately that means the arms I bought ARE the problem and won't work out for me.

So right now it's looking like I either need to find a new set of 2x3 arms that aren't bent - or a set of 15-5/8" long axles so I can run the stock arms. Only problem is with moving into a new house there aren't going to be any buggy funds for awhile - so the manx probably won't be making progress anytime soon. I may end up mounting the radiator now that I know where clearance issues are and putting my swing axle back in temporarily.

One possible saving grace...with the new house I'll have room to get the chassis that goes with the arms and start working on it. So if I can get this broken 1600 in my garage rebuilt, toss it on the swing and put them in the chassis that the arms came out of I can make a nice super cheap budget buggy and sell it to finance new arms. Just not sure when I'll have time for that :D

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Post by jhitesma »

Now posting from the new house for the first time so I thought I'd give an update.

After my last post I put the real tires back on instead of the stock VW tires...with the larger tires it was apparent that the problems were NOT solved. The shorter arms and smaller tires just made them harder to see.

So I took the arms out back and put them on the stock pan...they look great on there!

So I'm back to the plan of cutting off the torsion and swapping it for the one on that pan. But it will be awhile. I'm still in the process of moving into the new house and due to the rain last weekend wasn't able to get my shed put up so the garage has not yet moved. I have mixed emotions over this weekend...part of me wants rain for the sake of the PMV...but personally I need a dry weekend so I can get my shed up and do some painting!

Even once I get the shed up and the manx/rail moved over here I won't be able to do any work on them for awhile. I've got quite a list of things to tackle...starting with the dishwasher...I need to get it installed so it's out of the living room :D And now that's turning into a bigger project than anticipated due to a gas line for the oven that is in the way. There's an easy way to re-route it so it's not a huge issue...but just all these simple projects turning into big ones are eating my time fast!

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Post by BHenry »

Welcome to the wonderful world of home ownership Jason! There's always projects to be done!
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Post by jhitesma »

BHenry wrote:Welcome to the wonderful world of home ownership Jason! There's always projects to be done!
Thanks! Luckily I enjoy the various projects. It's just tough right now to prioritize which ones get done first :D Security door on the front was an easy #1 - the front room of the house has 4 large windows...but none of them open. So getting the security door in gave us a way to get some fresh air in here.

Dishwasher is another high priority...it's been 7 years since I had one and I'm SICK AND TIRED of washing dishes :D Same with the sink disposal, I miss that too. And since the sink is the only thing in the kitchen that isn't stainless we also picked up a new stainless sink - so the sink/disposal/washer is going to be a combined project since they all interact.

The storage shed is a very high priority...but is a tough one to schedule. That's a full day project...and the only full days I have available it's either been too windy or it's been raining. But I need that shed up ASAP so I can get my garage stuff moved out of the old house.

Dog door is a high priority too - there's no direct door into the backyard so letting Psammy in and out is kind of a hassle. Oh yeah, adding a door directly into the backyard is another on the list...but that has to wait a month or two.

Painting is Amy's department so at least I don't have to worry about that!

Most of the rest are just little things like trim the trees and reseal some flashing on the roof...with the short days though and a lot of work work to get done I haven't had any daylight hours to deal with them yet.

But like I said I'm excited. Just like I enjoy working on my vehicles I enjoy working on on houses. And now I'm finally doing work on my own house instead of a landlords or my friends. So I'm enjoying it even more!

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Re: More Manx upgrades - Suspension

Post by jhitesma »

PPPFFFFFHHHHHHHH

There that should get the dust off this thread.

Well, the shed has been up since Dec 16th:
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It filled my backyard pad more than I expected :( But it give me room for all of the "non 4 wheel vehicle" things that were in my old garage :D At least the mounting holes for a tubing bender are still in the open. But I can't really use that pad for working on things now.

The dog door has been up even longer, and I even built her a little patio for it out of some bricks that were left in the yard. The door is a nice high efficiency double door model:
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No finished photo...but the dishwasher has been in since the end of January and we're loving having it finally. We also replumbed the laundry room and added a laundry tub while we were at it:
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And most of the rooms that were high priority to get painted are painted...including Amy's "Bright and sunny" dining room (and no, we're NOT Michigan fans!):
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I even built cabinet doors for the outside kitchen using wood that the previous owner left behind. I did build then differently than he expected though - I added a horizontal band across the top where I'm going to put some outlets and switches:
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So....the house related honey dos are getting crossed off the list pretty quickly. Yeah, there are still a few things we're changing and improving, but for the most part we're settled in and getting back to our normal lives. I do need to get some roof vents in quick now that it's getting hot out...might have to do that tomorrow. But Amy is starting to pressure me to get the manx going...gotta love a wife who insists on getting the toys back up :D

Rick is working on another one of his project rails and proved that the jig he made does work properly by adding some pivots on that one. He also needs his stock IRS arms back to get more work done on that rail so....that means we have to do something with the donor pan and get the manx moving again since the arms are on it right now.

So today Rick brought over his engine hoist and we finally pulled the motors off the pan (and cleaned up the mess last weeks rain left in my yard...all the much in the flower bed I was building got washed up against my rear gate...couldn't get the gate open until we cleaned it up.)

Then I went next door and borrowed my neighbors cutting torch (as well as checking out the latest projects in his yard!) once Rick and I brushed up on our cutting torch adjustments we went to town and in a few short minutes:
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Unfortunately we ran out of oxygen on the torch and weren't able to finish "reducing" the pan to where it can be disposed of. So the project is again on hold until monday...but soon this project should get rolling again!

As long as the other new project in our group doesn't distract us:
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But that's not really sandrail related so I won't go into details here :D

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Re: More Manx upgrades - Suspension

Post by MattV »

IS it just me, or does somone have way too many projects...
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Re: More Manx upgrades - Suspension

Post by r erfert »

MattV wrote:IS it just me, or does somone have way too many projects...
It's just you :lol:
With all the ADD running around :roll: We all need 6 projects to keep us grounded.
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June 4th it looks like this today =D>
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Re: More Manx upgrades - Suspension

Post by jhitesma »

Too many projects just means I need to get some finished!

And I still prefer the term "multi-tasking" to ADD ;)

Sure looks like a lot of progress for a year....I got those two bars back on!

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Re: More Manx upgrades - Suspension

Post by r erfert »

Sure looks like a lot of progress for a year....

Been a year already :roll: That just means one of my projects is 2 going on 3 this year.

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Re: More Manx upgrades - Suspension

Post by jhitesma »

r erfert wrote:
Sure looks like a lot of progress for a year....

Been a year already :roll: That just means one of my projects is 2 going on 3 this year.
Remember...this all started as a "Quick" motor swap scheduled to happen in 3 weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas ... that was 2 years ago. I did get the motor in and running and did make it out to the dunes with it just a little late (MLK cleanup weekend that year) - but it wasn't running nearly well enough for me to call it done.

The big problem was that to make room for the new radiator I decided it would be good to do the suspension at the same time. I'm getting hyped now though...few days of work and maybe...just maybe I'll have suspension again!

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Re: More Manx upgrades - Suspension

Post by jhitesma »

Well, progress was made today. I have photos to prove it...but I don't feel like going out to my office to get them off the card tonight - so that will have to wait until tomorrow.

Before the heavy cutting we removed the floor. It's back here at my house to get a good cleaning but we had to remove it to get access to parts of the torsion housing, and so we can put in some reinforcement where the pedals mount (The original pedals were mounted to the aluminum floor...which was OK...until I put the heavier clutch in! Now they need to be more solidly mounted.) Removing the floor also gives us access to work on the drivers seat sliders.

We got the original drivers seat rails cut out (we're relocating them an inch or so lower so I'll have more headroom.) We also got the last bits of tinwork around the wheels removed - which revealed that the car was painted AFTER the tinwork and fiberglass were put on...lots of surface rust hiding under there. Going to have to clean that off, treat it and paint before putting things back together.

And finally we got the old torsion housing cut out! There was still a TON of sand hiding in it - the new one we're definitely going to have to plate up.

By that time it was getting dark, I was getting hungry, and we were both starting to yawn a bit so we cleaned up and called it a night.

Tomorrow out come the tape measures, straight edges and any other devices we can come up with to make sure things go together straighter than they were. We will be moving the torsion forward in the chassis about 1/2" due the cuts...but that's OK by me since I like the short wheelbase and with the longer arms that will help keep the wheels inside the fenders.

We're planning on referencing off of the front beam for the most part - neither of us is convinced that the rest of the chassis is necessarily straight based on our past attempts at measurements. So we're thinking that what's most important is that the front suspension matches the rear - as long as the wheels are in the correct relation to each other the rest of the frame can be as crooked as it wants and the car should still track straight and handle well...right?

I hope!

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Re: More Manx upgrades - Suspension

Post by MattV »

Try to find something you know is straight, such as a wall, or make your own lines on the concrete. String is a great tool, too. Do it just like you would find the corners of a foundation for a house. And if it doesn't drive straight when you're done, fix it by adjusting the tie rods. :shock:
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Re: More Manx upgrades - Suspension

Post by crash »

Alignment is something that most off roaders don't usually care much about, but I just can't bring myself to do THAT much work and disregard alignment. My suggestion would be to find the centerline of the chassis and then work off of that. As Matt says, referrence marks on the floor are a good thing. A plumb bob and long string are great tools. It may seem like a PITA, but it does make a difference in the end, especially if it will be driven on the street. First thing I would do after finding CL on the chassis and marking the chassis, would be to referrence mark the floor to the chassis. This will give you a large flat surface for suspension referrences. If there are any saw cut thin lines in the concrete, those can be aligned to the CL and it makes things easier. In your final alignment steps, when you are adjusting the tie rods and such, a pair of jack stands, long string, and ruler will do the trick, but if you have aligned to the chassis CL up to that point, it will make things much more accurate and easier. Make sure to check that the frame doesn't move in referrence to the floor before making any critical attachments/adjustments. When I build a frame it is welded to the frame table, but no matter what, once it is rolling, I have to use floor referrences. I have found it convenient to clamp two plumb bobs to the frame over the floor referrence at front and rear so I can continually make sure things haven't moved. When it comes to alignment, fudging in the early stages just leads to compounding fudges later on that can have a significant effect on how your vehicle handles. Do it right from the start. Even if it is a PITA.

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Re: More Manx upgrades - Suspension

Post by jhitesma »

Yep, since the manx is primarially driven on the road with occasional off-road trips alignment is pretty important to me. Plus I want my wife to be able to drive it so that gives me extra incentive to do it right.

I'm not too sure that centerline of the chassis is all that great to go off of though...my concern is that the chassis itself isn't necessarily straight.

What we're planning on doing is dropping plumb lines off the front beam at the shock towers and then measuring back an equal distance from both. I suppose we could also find the center of the beam and measure back from that as well.

But I'm sure there's going to have to be some "fudge factor" in there since I really doubt the chassis itself is straight. Since we know the rear torsion is in good shape, and the front beam is in good shape...my objective is to get them into the proper relationship with each other as close as we can to what's in a stock VW. Since we haven't messed with the front end it seems like the most likely point of reference to use for finding our bearings.

The other big question is what angle to put the torsion housing in. I'm talking about looking from the side of the car. If you draw a line through two of the bolts on the torsion cap what kind of angle should that line have off the chassis. Looking at the stock pan before we cut it - it looks like it's almost a 90 degree angle. Which is what I would assume is right. But looking at Rick's rail it's tilted at almost a 10 degree angle (putting the rear of the torsion housing, where the plate under the tranny bolts up, higher in the air.) Looking at my rail it also appears to be tilted a few degrees.

I wish we had had the time/material/space to build a chassis table using the stock pan as a reference. Unfortunately that just wasn't possible.

I figure we'll aim for as close to vertical as possible...but maybe give it just a few degrees of tilt. A bit of tilt will help keep the rear of my motor off the ground (which will help keep me from burying it in the sand and causing the timing belt to jump!) and help the oil stay in the deep part of my pan. But overall my aim is to get things as close to stock on a vw as possible.

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Re: More Manx upgrades - Suspension

Post by crash »

Well, the problem with just using the front end is that even though the measurements from front to rear may be the same on both side, unless you do a diagonal or off the CL measurement, while the distance maybe the same, it could just result in both front and back ends being skewed and the car going down the road "sideways". You must align in two dimensions in order to get it right. Another way to say this is that just because the front and rear are parallel to each other, doesn't mean they will also be roughly perpendicular to the CL of the chassis. That needs to be checked.

A laser 90 degree device could be used to determine if the front end is roughly straight to the chassis. I use these on bigger projects and they work well. The shorter the distance the less accurate it is.

Since you basically have the rear of the car off, you can find the center of the beam, then find the center of the torsion tube and then roughly put the line down the rough center of the chassis. then check the distance front to back between the torsion caps and the beam. Probably a good way to estimate if the beam is attached in the middle of the chassis is to measure between the ends of the beam and the beam mounts. If not, unbolt the beam and adjust till both measurements are equal. I suggest you do all this with the shocks off and the chassis laying on the concrete. This removes most of the third dimensional issues. Measure every which way you can think of. differences left to right should be kept under 1/8th of an inch maximum I would think.

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Re: More Manx upgrades - Suspension

Post by jhitesma »

And here are the progress photos:

Flintstone style!
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And with no seat...the plastic bag has all of the wiring shoved into it:
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The original drivers side seat sliders, I suspect they were originally mounted the way we're going to redo them (down between the floor bars instead of above) since there are some ground off nubs where bars used to be connected. I think they moved it so they could slide further back. We cut out the cross bar they used to be attached to. Our plan is to make two sets of sliders with a new cross bar further forward. The seat won't be able to slide as far...but to be honest most of the it's travel right now is useless...unless you happen to have 10' long legs. With the old worn out seats the extra height was nice...but with my new seats I need the extra headroom that dropping the seat an inch or so will give:
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And this would be the project that put a fire under Rick to get going on the Manx...this green buggy has been an ongoing project of his that he just keeps improving. He previously cut off the entire rear and redid it...and now he's decided to go IRS with it. So he needs the stock arms I had on the manx which is why we're making progress on the manx now:
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While I was snapping photos of his car Rick dug in on cutting out my old seat mounts:
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And then shortly after loosing sun we cut out the torsion, notice all the sand that continues to pour out of the torsion due to the front side never having been plated. I must have been carrying an extra 15lbs of sand around! (there was even more that came out last year when we added the IRS pivots):
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Really, Rick doesn't do ALL of the work...he's just scared to pick up my camera I think :D

And finally the Manx and it's torsion go their separate ways:
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The torsion is still usable for a swing axle...or an IRS car where you really don't care much about alignment.

Also the photo is a little misleading...it looks like the four cut tubes were all that was holding the torsion. There are also two tubes that came off the top of the torsion that are harder to see. When we put the new torsion in I want to do some bracing between it and the bar we added up higher where my shoulder harnesses attach. Rick thinks it's overkill...I think with the new suspension and turbo motor I'll need every bit of overkill I can get :twisted:

I'd rather have a few extra lbs of tubing that I don't need than leave them off and end up with a bent torsion again. So they'll probably end up happening.

You can also see the surface rust on the outside of the bars where they never got painted. We may end up taking the diamond plate off the sides of the car so I can check for rust there as well...Since we have it this far apart may as well go all the way. I just really like the color of grey that the frame is but have had no luck finding a match for touchup anywhere. So I may end up repainting it all. The body needs at least a fresh coat of clear...so I know I'll be doing some painting at one point or another anyway....

Well, that's all the photos for now. Hopefully late tonight or tomorrow I'll be posting some of the new torsion going back in!

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Re: More Manx upgrades - Suspension

Post by jhitesma »

crash wrote:Well, the problem with just using the front end is that even though the measurements from front to rear may be the same on both side, unless you do a diagonal or off the CL measurement, while the distance maybe the same, it could just result in both front and back ends being skewed and the car going down the road "sideways". You must align in two dimensions in order to get it right. Another way to say this is that just because the front and rear are parallel to each other, doesn't mean they will also be roughly perpendicular to the CL of the chassis. That needs to be checked.
Yeah...I hear what you're saying...crab walking wouldn't be much fun.
A laser 90 degree device could be used to determine if the front end is roughly straight to the chassis. I use these on bigger projects and they work well. The shorter the distance the less accurate it is.
Hmmm...I do have a little line laser will have to bring it over tonight to see if it helps us at all....
Since you basically have the rear of the car off, you can find the center of the beam, then find the center of the torsion tube and then roughly put the line down the rough center of the chassis. then check the distance front to back between the torsion caps and the beam. Probably a good way to estimate if the beam is attached in the middle of the chassis is to measure between the ends of the beam and the beam mounts. If not, unbolt the beam and adjust till both measurements are equal. I suggest you do all this with the shocks off and the chassis laying on the concrete. This removes most of the third dimensional issues. Measure every which way you can think of. differences left to right should be kept under 1/8th of an inch maximum I would think.
[/quote]

My big concern is that whoever built the chassis didn't seem to pay much attention to any kind of center line when they did it. One example that comes to mind is that when I first got the car shifting was a major PITA. Turns out they didn't bother to center the shift box. So when I put in the Scat shifter we cut out the old box and put in a new one properly centered to the tranny - and now it shifts like a dream since it's not binding from going off angle.

The bracing and floor aren't exactly symmetrical either. The cage isn't exactly level either. The top and the mid bars don't quite lay in the same plane....with the sides on it's kind of hard to say for sure but I think the floor bars are at yet another angle.

I think we're both describing the same thing...just not in the same way :D I'm also hoping that the front beam is more or less centered already - but do plan on checking that before we use it as a baseline.

There will be lots of levels, straightedges, angle finders, protractors, strings, lasers and tape measures out tonight. I know that for sure! While I do want to get this done and am excited...Rick is thankfully a good voice of reason who can slow me down and make me stop to think about whether we really have measured every possible way before he even pulls the welder out...and then double and triple check it all before he starts to tack things in.

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Re: More Manx upgrades - Suspension

Post by crash »

I notice the gas tank in the one picture. BE CAREFUL!! :wink:

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Re: More Manx upgrades - Suspension

Post by jhitesma »

crash wrote:I notice the gas tank in the one picture. BE CAREFUL!! :wink:
There's not much if any Gas in there right now...but I still ran over and put my hand over the input while Rick was cutting near the front ;)

We removed the lines from around the rear before working back there. It's only 4 bolts to remove the tank...but it's actually further away from the sparks than it looks in the photo.

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Re: More Manx upgrades - Suspension

Post by crash »

Well, I'm sure you know this, but the most dangerous gas tank is an almost empty gas tank. Remove it or fill it with water. Also, make sure the battery is nowhere near. Had an acquantance have one of those explode in his face when I was in high school. Yet another reason I tend to only use AGM or gel batteries. He will never be the same.

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Re: More Manx upgrades - Suspension

Post by jhitesma »

Yep, it's the fumes not the liquid you need to worry about most. But like I said the photos are a little misleading as there really were no sparks anywhere near the tank.

The manx has been apart for so long I don't even have a battery for it anymore :( Well, I do...but I doubt it will still hold a charge.

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Re: More Manx upgrades - Suspension

Post by r erfert »

I did do a smell/sniff check off camera on the fuel tank not much for fumes left....very slight wiff of varnish.
In my defense there was a blue rag shoved into the hose that must have been used to clean hands #-o It will get replaced with another rag :)
If I remember right the fuel tank fitting was seeping fuel and needs to be repaired also before more fuel is added, so the tank will come out again.

And for the Multi taskers and ADD folks :D
Made a little progress on the low buck green car.
Image

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Re: More Manx upgrades - Suspension

Post by jhitesma »

IIRC we fixed that fuel seep already...but I could be wrong.

I'm dragging today on getting started. Amy was out playing poker until 3AM so I didn't get to sleep as early as I had planned. Trying to finish up a little bit of office work so I can get over to Ricks and make some progress.

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Re: More Manx upgrades - Suspension

Post by jhitesma »

It's in. 11 hours working in the 100+ degree heat with minimal shade...but it's done.

Well, mostly. We ran out of daylight and Rick didn't want to weld on his back in the dark (TOTALLY understandable after the amount of work we put in today!) so it's not totally welded...but it's pretty much there.

We have maybe...MAYBE 1/16" discrepency in the diagonal measurements. But that's well within the range of error of our measurement technique so I'm VERY happy with it. I'll give full details a little later. I need to get the photos off my camera and uploaded...and get in the shower! Then I'll post the gory details.

Short version - 4 hours to get a centerline we could agree was accurate. The body is almost 1" off center we finally determined and there is about a 1 degree twist in the chassis. It's not on 4 wheels yet...but it will be very soon.

Ok...off to the showers with me now!

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Re: More Manx upgrades - Suspension

Post by jhitesma »

Oh almost forgot...it looks like we did fix that fuel seep issue. There's a shutoff on there now that replaced the factory original tube which was leaking. Rick just forgot that we had already fixed that problem :D

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Re: More Manx upgrades - Suspension

Post by jhitesma »

Ok, photos from today are still uploading. But the ones from Friday are up so I'll start catching up on the progress there....

After work on Friday I started out cleaning off unnecessary bits on the donor housing, and cleaning up the rough edges I left with the cutting torch:
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It was HOT...I was dripping in sweat and figured it would be a good time for a self portrait:
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After some work with the angle grinder and Rick's circular saw (with a fiber metal cutting blade in it) I was making good progress. I did take a bit more than I planned on off the bottom of the arms, We're going to plate them up once it's welded into the car so I was trying to get them even. But did one of those things were one side was shorter so I had to trim the other side...which was then shorter so I had to trim the first side which was then shorter...hey, like I said it was hot!
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Meanwhile Rick worked on his green buggy making good progress:
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Hard to tell from the photos but the green buggy is looking good. He's got a 1776 that's going to go in there once he finishes converting a swing axle tranny over to IRS. The car sits real high on those tires and will be a great desert buggy. Though with the current front tires it does look a little small in the front end now! I need to finish up the manx and get it out of there before Rick decides to see how my front tires would look on this car!

By then it was starting to get dark...but we got out some jack stands and did some test fitting of the torsion:

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Overall it was looking pretty good. I went home feeling confident that we would get a lot done on Saturday and there was a good chance of my car being back on 4 wheels by the end of the weekend!

What I didn't realize was that Friday night is my wifes poker night with her co-workers...and she was determined to break the bank this time (after taking home $10 in winnings last week.) So she didn't get home until after 3AM. As a result when Rick called at 9AM on Saturday I don't really remember answering the phone :D By the time I was awake enough to call him back it was getting into the heat of the day - and Rick had a family event planned he had forgotten about the night before that would have left us with only a few hours to work. So we decided to call off Saturday and wait until today to continue.

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Re: More Manx upgrades - Suspension

Post by jhitesma »

Today I made it over to Ricks around 10AM and we dug right in. First thing we did was get the car leveled out with some shims under the jack stands. First we leveled the front beam...then put a level across the two outer frame rails in the back and leveled the rear...then re-leveled the front...then the rear....until eventually determining that the frame did indeed have a slight twist in it. Not more than a degree or so which was actually less than I had expected to find. We decided to put the rear torsion on level with the front beam and let the frame rails be a little off to compensate for that twist.

Once the car was level we started working on determining our center line. As I already mentioned this ate up about 4 hours. We messed around with various measuring devices and improvised plumb bobs - but were unable to agree on what we were doing and got somewhat frustrated with our improvised tools. So I ran up to Harbor freight and got myself 3 shiny new plumb bobs, another angle finder (Rick had one already and I've been wanting to pick one up...oh, roughly forever,) and a cheap unassembled adirondiak chair. Hey I've got NO outside furniture at the new house and figured I'd need something to relax in when this is all said and done. I figure even if the chair is as cheap as I knew it would be it would at least be a decent pattern to make my own off of :D

While I was at the Store Rick made a giant T-square out of some tubing he had on hand, and welded a section of 1" square tube across the back that we could use as a reference point for some of the upcoming measurements:
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With shiny new measuring tools in hand we dug back in. We dropped a plumb line from each end of the front beam and used them to draw a reference line on the ground:
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I did some more cleanup work on the torsion so we'd have clean surfaces to weld to:
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We found the center of the beam again, and dropped a plumb line from it. Using Ricks giant square we tried to extend that out as our center line:
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Using a plumb bob at the back end we tried to bring that line back up to the reference bar Rick had welded in:
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About this time things got a little decisive. It was hot, we'd been at it a few hours and still couldn't agree on where the center of the car was. I wasn't convinced that Ricks giant square was actually square - and he wasn't convinced that my method of using a carpenters square against our reference line with a 6' ruler pressed against it was straight either. There was a 1/2" discrepancy between our two measurements at the rear of the car.

We tried using my laser line but that was no more effective than putting a third watch on your arm to try and tell exactly what time it was. Being a dollar store special I wasn't convinced my laser was all that accurate...and neither was Rick - even though it tended to agree with his measurement :D

At that point I called for help. My friend Mark has been building cars longer than I've been around. He, his brothers and his dad used to race in the old wide world of sports sand drags at Glamis back in the 60's and once built a car overnight just because they could. In fact he recently bought that car back from his brother and restored it for cruising the beach down in Mexico:

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The hand formed backseat/battery compartment, while not very comfortable is still quite nicely crafted:

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Unfortunately Mark was tied up helping his girlfriend move this weekend and wasn't able to give us assistance...he was however able to loan us his high quality Bushnell laser square and his laser level. We were fairly rapidly able to get the laser level precisely aligned with the front beam so it projected the center line right down the car. At which point we determined that Ricks giant square wasn't - and my "haphazard" method of placing one ruler against another got surprisingly (to Rick at least :D) close. We marked our center line on the ground and on the reference bar Rick had welded in.

We then proceeded to even up the hacked off ends of my chassis. Ricks modified circular saw made that pretty easy. We made sure that the reference bar was centered and even then clamped a 1/2" spacer to it to use as a fence. With a small level clipped to the front of the saw it was quick work to even out the ends:

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We also determined that I needed to do some MORE grinding on the torsion - the ridges from the factory welds between the end castings and tubes were in the way and the center tubes on my chassis were closer to the center of the torsion than I had expected:

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I then made an attempt at fish mouthing the frame bars using the angle grinder...but quickly realized I was going to end up in the same "this one needs to be shorter, now this one, now the first one again, now the other, back to the first one" routine so thankfully Rick stepped up with his skills and patience to fine tune the fit and alignment:

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After several more test fits, rounds of measurements in various ways, grinding sessions and head scratching it was looking pretty good. Rick then decided to weld up the holes in the torsion housing so no grease would seep out into the upcoming welds (with the other side effect of no sand being able to work it's way back INTO the center of the torsion either):

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By this time it was getting nice and shady in our work area finally. So this overall photo doesn't really show off just how hellish our work environment was. But I will say that in the heat of the day the EZUP does not give much shade and I suspect we both have mild burns on our hands and knees from contacting the exposed bits of pavement! I really miss having a garage on days like this. Or at least having a welder at my house so we could have worked under the shade of my carport!

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But things were now looking square and level and we were finally starting to think the end may be in sight:

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We used some tie-downs and clamps to pull the two center bars up into alignment with the rest of the chassis...and Rick proceeded to put the first tack welds in:

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We took another set of measurements and felt confident that things were going in nice and straight, square and level! But before finishing the welding we decided to take a break, eat some dinner and then come back and measure again before putting down any more welds.

After some tasty salads (with more chicken breast, veggies, mushrooms and other goodies than lettuce) thanks to Lynn (Ricks long time girlfriend and apparently, soon to be wife) who is incredibly good about letting me keep Rick busy with my crazy projects despite his own list of Honey Do's we went back out and measured again.

The torsion housing had tilted a bit due to the welding. We had put it in with a 3 degree tilt (measured off the bolt holes on the end castings) which put the trailing arm mounts at 10 degrees. After welding it tilted just one degree more leaving us with a final measurement of 11 degrees at the center pivots - matching the measurements Rick had taken off a stock bug last year when he made the jig we had previously used to try and add the pivots to my swing axle housing. We were perfect! We double checked the levels and they were all in agreement, the center points all still lined up with the center line, and when we did the diagonal measurements between the front beam and rear torsion they were within 1/16" of each other. Considering the possible variance in measuring points due to the layers of paint on the beam and accuracy of the VW stamped steel or cast parts - I think that's well within our tolerances!

We did determine that the body sits almost one inch more towards the passenger side of the car than the drivers side. The original torsion had apparently been installed centered within the fiberglass body - and not centered to the front beam. We did install the new torsion just slightly (maybe 1/8" maybe 3/16") towards the passenger side based on our center line measurements. But based on the diagonal measurements I think we'll be well off.

Rick put a few more beads on - but it was getting dark, we were tired, and the idea of laying on his back in the dark to get the last bits welded really didn't sound like much fun to him. There is enough weld on there that it's not going anywhere so we decided to call it a night.

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Depending on Ricks schedule we'll hopefully be finishing this part of the project up in the next few days and get the car back on it's wheels.

There are still some issues ahead of us:

1) The motor cage will have to be modified since the torsion housing has been moved forward in the chassis around 1/2" or so.

2) The support bars that hang from the cage down to the ends of the torsion housing arms will also likely have to be modified for the same reason.

3) We will still be adding some additional bracing to the torsion to address some potential weaknesses in the design of the chassis. And I'm hoping we can incorporate mounts for the radiator into those supports. We will probably also add some gussets to the torsion/chassis connections.

4) I never did test fit the axles with the tranny and a stock torsion housing. I know they fit on the car they came out of though so I'm cautiously optimistic that I won't end up having to buy another set of axles.

5) We still have to redo my drivers seat mounts.

6) The floor may need some slight modifications due to the torsion housing being moved forward.

7) Weld in new mounts for the pedals.

And of course I have to clean up the wiring, finish mounting the computer, re-install the motor, I'd really like to rewire the rats nest of a dash that the car came with:

Image

I also have to buy a new windshield since mine got smashed when I dropped a Kayak on it - I can take the car out to the dunes without one...but I'll need it to start driving on the street again!

And the part I'm dreading the most - making new tinwork to separate the motor/tranny front the car and replace the firewall (we removed the 1st half of the firewall to make room for the new pedals, today we removed the other half to make it possible to take more measurements between the beam and the torsion.) I'm still undecided about whether to use the sheet of aluminum I have that was earmarked for side panels on my rail for this - or if I should attempt to do it in fiberglass. What will be the deciding factor is probably whether Rick or Mark are available to help me when I get that far. If Rick isn't totally burned out on me by then I'd like to attempt some custom glass work and save the aluminum for my rail. Mark is amazing at that kind of thing in metal - but he's REAL busy with his new business right now - and his own pile of vehicle projects!

Overall though I'm hyped and feeling renewed about finishing this project finally.

Now if my friend Chuck can just finish selling his old boat so he can get his new boat out of my driveway so I can park the Manx under the carport instead of in the backyard once it's back on it's feet!

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Re: More Manx upgrades - Suspension

Post by crash »

It looks pretty good. I'm just wondering cause you didn't say anything or show a picture. How did you level the chassis? Or what level referrence did you use? Usually if you do it in the air, you need to use an electronic level with alternate zero, or screwed jack stands in order to get things level. This is why I suggested putting the pan on the concrete, so that that third dimension was removed from the job.

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Re: More Manx upgrades - Suspension

Post by jhitesma »

Well we didn't have any totally flat level concrete large enough to put the pan on. So that wasn't really an option.

To adjust the corner heights we used various thicknesses of wood shims under the jack stands. Not totally idea since over time the wood can compress - but for the 11hours we needed it it seemed to hold level just fine. When adjusting the torsion we also sometimes twisted the jack stands so things would sit higher or lower in the V - but we didn't do that on the chassis.

To find level we used a couple of levels and angle fingers. We started with the front beam, then a LONG level across the outer frame rails (the inner were sagging so it was easy to ignore them at that point.) as well as a using the level on the sides to check front/back level. We had to go back and forth quite a few times to get everything level...and eventually had to accept that the rear was going to be just a little bit out due to the twist in the chassis. So we got the front level and then left the rear of the chassis tilted by about 1 degree. But when we put the torsion tube in we leveled it to match the front beam - so the suspension is aligned with itself - even though the chassis still has about a 1 degree twist in it.

I really was surprised to find so little twist in the chassis. Given how uneven most other things on it were (like the body/cage being 1" offset towards the passenger side at the rear, or the cage bars not being in the same plane as each other, or some of the lacing in the sides not being welded all the way around) I was expecting more like a 5 degree twist. It's pretty obvious that what they did was build the cage/chassis to match the fiberglass body rather than fit the body over a well built cage.

The guy who sold me the car said the guy who built the cage for him usually builds class 9 cars. I'm wondering if there's anyone known for making 9 cars that don't finish races since I really can't see anyone with a good track record building race cars doing a lot of the things I've found on this car. Kind of like the "pro engine builder" who built the 1776 that was in it...who neglected to install the nut that holds the oil pickup down (resulting in the pickup bouncing and sucking air resulting in a spun bearing fairly soon after I bought the car.) Things like shoulder harnesses mounted to the floor. Passenger seat mounted to the aluminum floor instead of the chassis. That forrest of clip splices that makes up the wiring (he did put silicone on the gauge connections to keep them clean...but all those snap in splices that make up most of the ground buss are unprotected and have led to a bunch of goofy ground issues.) The wet battery being mounted directly over the motor with no box around it...in a position which meant it was basically impossible to install without dripping some acid on the motor - resulting in a hole slowly appearing in the top of the VW case. The rear shock towers being completely unsupported resulting in them quickly bending even just with the weight of the original VW motor.

I just have a hard time believing that anyone with experience in race cars would do some of the things I found...let alone ALL of the things I found :D But I also don't think the seller had any cause to mislead me. Either the builder makes some really lousy 9 cars ... or he figured the guy I bought the car from would never notice the problems and just tossed it together real quick and dirty even though he left his tape measure at his other shop that day.

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Re: More Manx upgrades - Suspension

Post by crash »

You would be surprised at what "race car people" do. Then again, after this vehicle experience maybe you wouldn't be. :wink: In any case, sounds like you are doing the right things. What you have noticed has been my experience also and why I warned you not to fudge too much. Many times if you really sit and stare at a car for awhile, you can figure out why "it just doesn't look right". A car designed and built right will look it at first glance, and upon closer inspection will prove it. Unfortunately, doing it "right" is ALOT more work and most people don't/won't notice it or even care about the details, but in my book it is very important. I know, Manx and precision don't really go together, but at least you are making things much better than they were.

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Re: More Manx upgrades - Suspension

Post by jhitesma »

I've spent a LOT of time sitting and staring at it :D

There are a LOT of things that are done well, it's just that there are also a lot of places that corners were cut.

Ideally I'm aiming for something like the DeJong moster manxes - basically a good solid tube chassis with decent suspension that just happens to have a fiberglass body hung over the outside. With this car at least someone else did all of the work I hate dealing with - getting the title and registration worked out to make it street legal. What amazes me is that they did it in CA first :D

Well, the car started as a standard pan based manx here in AZ with a street title. Then it was taken to CA where the tube chassis was built and it was retitled as a special construction with a new VIN. It was then moved to NV and titled there and finally sold to me back in AZ. When I got the AZ title the guy at the DMV was very helpful and gave me some history on the car that he found in their system.

I'm not looking for a high end long travel car with gobs of power or anything. Just a nice mid-travel suspension that I can again enjoy running around town in as well as drive it out to the desert from time to time. Remember the reason I put the turbo on the motor was because it was easier than trying to make the N/A exhaust fit :D

It will always be a work in progress...but I'm hoping that within another month or two it will at least be a driveable work in progress again :D

(And yes, I am trying to up the post count a bit so we can get to page 2. Getting tired of waiting for all the images on this page to load! I tried to tweak this forum last night to be 30 posts per page instead of 50...but unfortunately the only setting for that affects the entire board. Not sure if we really want to shorten the posts per page site wide...need to discuss that with the moderators before I make a change like that.)

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Re: More Manx upgrades - Suspension

Post by MattV »

Amen to getting tired of waiting for the pictures to load. Add this one to the post count....
Water is just beer that hasn't reached its full potential.

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Re: More Manx upgrades - Suspension

Post by MattV »

Grrr.. That one wasn't enough.
Water is just beer that hasn't reached its full potential.

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