16 Jul 2008

Stopped by an off-road shop, one specializing in fabrication parts for dune buggies, Jeeps, and hard-core off-road race trucks. Boy, things have changed since the last time I was there (to buy Kimini’s steering wheel 10 years ago). They have all sorts of cool fabrication parts: rod-ends, tube thread inserts, gussets, fuel cells, steering and brake components, and aero-type plumbing fasteners. They were a treasure trove of information about who in town bends tubing (for fabricating dune buggies and race trucks). I checked out everything they carry and left with a Momo steering wheel and quick-release hub adaptor. I bought that particular adaptor (made by Sweet Mfg.) because it had virtually no play, very surprising for a spline-type adaptor. While all these parts are on the Web, sometimes it’s nice to be able to hold a part in-hand and test it for feel.

Waiting at home was the radiator along with a case of construction paper. Yes, big sheets of the material of what’s on the back of a pad of paper. I got a great deal – 70 sheets of 26″ x 38″. I went through a lot of it during Kimini’s build and it’s well worth the investment, using it for patterns and simulating paneling on the mockup.

This about does it for the parts needed to build the mockup. Now it’s just a matter of placing frame members everywhere the major parts aren’t… Some tube placement isn’t critical, which allows aesthetics to decide position. I’m looking forward to completing the basic layout and stepping back to see just what it looks like.

A reader suggested that I encorporate an RSS feed for this site, a good idea. I just have to buy the plug-in for Dream Weaver and find the time to hook it in. For those who don’t know (I didn’t), an RSS feed means you receive notification of when my site (or any site) has been updated since your last visit.

13 Jul 2008

Started in on the wood mockup. With Kimini I had a crutch; the pre-existing shell confined the chassis so I couldn’t mess up too bad. With Midlana, I have total design freedom, a mixed blessing. I haven’t cut too many “tubes” yet but am already changing things. It’s nearly a hard requirement to have all the major parts on hand; it would have taken a ton of time to do all of this in CAD, then a mockup would <em>still</em> be needed. The changes being made aren’t anything major, but it’ll be easier, simpler, and lighter to build – I doubt anyone minds. The part in question is the bodywork covering the front face of the rear fenders. Right now it “looks” simpler to just leave it out, more like a tradional Seven. Of course that means rocks will beat up the fenders just like in a Seven, so we’ll see. Regardless, the side air inlets will stay, ducting cooling air into the engine compartment.

Ordered a radiator, a sweet two-row, double-pass, aluminum unit. It, like all the other parts already on hand, are needed, now, to find exactly where to put all the tubes. I’ll post a few pictures this week.

11 Jul 2008

The Honda, like most modern engines, uses one long serpentine belt to run everything. Since Midlana doesn’t have power-steering or air-conditioning, the stock belt setup won’t work; simply using a shorter belt won’t work because the routing counts on the accessories to change directions. An alternator adaptor from┬ák-tuned.com relocates the alternator to where the air-conditioner was, down near the pan, nicely lowering the CG about a foot. I ordered it now because it’ll absolutely be needed, and it’s good to have a solution now for one of the nagging issues before it’s a problem.

Ordered a Mugen oil pan which solves the oil starvation issue these engine have when run at trackday events. Researching the oil issue, while half a dozen pan makers claim to have eliminated oil starvation, only the Mugen part seems to have really done so, as attested by their customers, who grudgingly admit that while it’s expensive, it does indeed work. They got my business because I don’t want to spend time solving an oil starvation problem using my motor as guinea pig when I rather be enjoying the car. Since Mugen produces true road-race components in Japan and their cars usually win, that’s good enough for me.