Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Acquiring components for my cockpit mockup

At 5'8" and 225 lbs., I'm not exactly a small guy. With a 44" overall width (42" inside the gunwales of the car), the locost isn't exactly a big car. If at all possible, I hope to avoid the tragedy of building a car I don't fit into.

In the product design world (my day job), we build a prototype to check fit and functionality before committing to manufacturing. I don't see any reason why I shouldn't do the same for this project.

To that end I've been collecting the various components I'll need to construct a plywood mockup of my cockpit (a list of what I need is located in my Specification Sheet). The idea is to simulate the seating position, controls and critical panels so that I can get an idea of how comfortable my finished car will be.

These goodies were delivered yesterday. Those are the brake and clutch pedal assemblies and the clutch master cylinder! These Wilwood parts are quite beefy and light! Perfect. The single master cylinder clutch assembly and the dual cylinder brake assembly are both pretty standard components used in Locost builds.

The dual cylinder brake will allow me to fine-tune the bias between the front and rear brakes. For the record, I matched the Miata clutch master cylinder size by using a 5/8" Wilwood master. I'll figure out the brake master cylinder sizes when I'm farther along in the design.

Friday, February 20, 2009

What I kept from my donor

I've pretty well documented what I sold from Winky, but I haven't really laid out what I kept. Here's what I saved from my donor:

  • Engine (minus intake and exhaust plumbing before and after the manifolds, power steering and AC hardware)
  • Tranny, driveshaft, Torsen differential, propshafts
  • Shifter boot and shift knob
  • PPF (for reference)
  • Steering wheel, column, shaft, rack, tie rods (I have other plans, but I kept these as a backup)
  • Suspension uprights, lower ball joints, associated mounting bolts
  • Brake calipers and mounting brackets
  • E-brake lever, e-brake cables
  • ECU and mounting bracket
  • Complete wiring harness, relays, fuse boxes, horn, turn signal switches, etc.
  • Accelerator pedal assy, throttle cable, speedometer cable
  • Fuel pump/vent/sender assy
  • Fuel filter bracket, charcoal canister bracket, diagnostic plug bracket, fuse box brackets
  • 2 eyeball vents, in-dash HVAC plumbing (for my heater outputs)
  • Spare, jack, spare tools
  • VIN plate from dash and sticker from driver's door jamb
  • All of the rubber grommets, brake line clips and drain plugs
  • A huge box of all the nuts, bolts, screws and clips I could take off
Also noteworthy is what I didn't keep, but could have. Other Miata based builders have used more stock components to lower cost and complexity in their build. I've decided not to use:

  • Stock Miata seats
  • Instrument cluster
  • Brake and clutch pedals and master cylinders
  • Rear suspension and subframe
  • Wheels and tires (my donor came with heavy, ugly wheels, so I sold them; If it had the OEM 7-spoke "daisy" wheels I would have kept them)
It's easy to see why it's much cheaper to use a single donor than collect all of the parts separately. Even after keeping all these parts, I've made $500 off my donor.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A slight detour

Progress may be pretty slow in the next couple of months as I divert my attention to a pressing automotive matter...competing in the prestigious 24 Hours of LeMons!

My days of cooking for the team and wearing the mechanics coveralls are over! I'm driving baby! This will be my first experience driving in anger, so I figure it's best spent going wheel-to-wheel in a crapcan Merkur.

Unfortunately, it's also a pretty big drain on both time and automotive hobby funds, so I'm temporarily slowing progress on the build to compete. I hope I don't have to stop completely, but certainly this will delay the start of frame building a bit.

P.S. - Can you tell I'm stoked about my helmet and firesuit?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Ready for storage

After a very satisfying session of wrenching and hoisting, my engine is now affixed to its temporary home. I'm still debating whether to rebuild it now or not. I'm starting to lean pro-rebuild.