Saturday, December 29, 2012

Under-Guard Body Deadener

I have painted under the wheel guards with thick and gooey body deadener. This was for two reasons, firstly to provide some body deadening (duh) and provide a more "solid" on-road sound. Second is to provide some level of protection for the paint. While the vinyl ester resin in the Classic Revival body is very strong and quite thick in places, there's always the chance that a large stone strike from under the wheel guard could cause a crack in the paint on the other side of the guard - hopefully the deadener will help to reduce that chance of this from happening.

To do all four under-guards took just on half of this 4-litre tin

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Penske Shocks

A couple of months ago I received the Penske shocks that I am using for my Cobra. Penske shocks are all hand-built and custom made to-order to individual specifications. They are truly a work of art, with astounding quality and finish

 These shocks are the PS-7500-DA double adjustable for bump and rebound with 48 settings for compression and 20 settings for rebound, and are an adjustable coilover-spring-seat design for a 2.5" spring. These shocks are a good deal more expensive than an off the shelf shock such as AVO, QA1, KYB etc, but Penske have a reputation for being the best and if build quality is any indication then I would have to say they are up there at the top!
Here are the spec sheets on the front and rear shocks that were built for me;

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Hunt for Seats

Seats are a problem in one of these cars. The space in the cockpit for the seats is very narrow. Coupled with the fact that to get ICV engineering approval and subsequently registration, the seats must be ADR approved. As far as my search has taken me I have not be able to find an off the shelf aftermarket seat which both fits in the cockpit space available and is ADR approved, let alone happening across one that actually looks good. There are a couple of custom made options floating around, but frankly they're expensive and not necessarily the type of look I am after, although they do of course actually fit in the space.

It's off on an OEM search we go. The current ADR 3/03 came into publication in February 2007 and applies to vehicles manufactured after 1 July 2008, so I need seats from a car that is no older than 1 July 2008. So recently I hit the second hand car dealers one Saturday with a tape measure in hand. The plan was to find an option which fits, hopefully is aesthetically pleasing, and then source some good condition second hand units. On one Saturday I visited about 8 different car yards and measured the seats in at least 15 different cars, small cars, compacts, convertibles, sports cars, you name it, I could not find a seat which would fit in the confined space.

Then the other day I was driving along behind a small car and I thought *bing*  - I haven't measured that car. The car was a Suzuki Alto. In case you're wondering, a Suzuki Swift has bigger seats than the Alto. So I found a second hand Alto, measured it, and it looked promising. So a quick visit to the local Suzuki recycler and I have a pair of very good condition 2009 Alto seats, cheap too. There appears to be a couple of different options on an Alto of this vintage, some with height adjustable drivers seat and some without. I opted for without as it would just be more "stuff" I would have to remove and I would not be able to get the frame any lower with that option anyway.

In some of these pictures the seats are reversed which is why the airbags are facing inwards. This was a test fit to see if they fit better on opposite sides, but both diver and passenger seats appear to be the same dimensions.

I have recently been thinking that I really want to get this car on the road ASAP, so will not be spending coin on things like fancy custom made seats, interior trim, radios, etc, until after registration. With this in mind I purchased the seats and hope to make them fit.

In this picture the Alto mounting brackets and sliding mechanism are still attached to the seat, as you can see the seat is too high up. That mechanism adds at least 40mm to the height.

The seats have side air bags in them which I will need to disable/remove at some point. The air bags are not required by the ADR. As a side note, ICV's have exemption from requiring front air bags, ABS, and Electronic Stability Control.

Like all modern car seats the Alto seats are bulky and quite high. I have unbolted the sliding adjustor mechanisms and associated brackets, and the seats are now low enough (just) to be usable. Another 1 inch further back and 1-2 inches lower wouldnt hurt, but they're definately usable.

I will need to make some stand-off brackets to bolt the seats to the floor/chassis mounting points provided (the brackets that came on the seat prop the seat up to high in the air and are not positioned well for mounting anyway). I cannot find anything about sliding (or tilt) adjustment being required by the ADR, and in fact the ADR says in several places "if the seat is adjustable." I will check with my ICV engineer but if sliding adjustment is not required then I will go without for now.

Removed the plastic mouldings and the slide adjustors;

This picture shows where the tilt adjustor mechanism hits the body, stopping the seat from being placed any further back:

Provided I can fabricate suitable brackets then these seats should fit the bill nicely to get the car on the road. I will not be able to accurately tell comfort level of the seat position until it's drive time, but if they prove comfortable then there's no reason why I could not get them re-trimmed and in the process shave off a bit of padding (or just have then repadded from scratch) to effectively move seating position lower and more rearward - the factory padding is very thick so there should be plenty of scope for work there.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Custom-Made Ball Joints

A few of us building round-tube CR's had some issues with the ball joint supplied with the front suspension so we went about finding a replacemnt. This was not a trivial task, as we needed a ball joint with a very specific sized housing to suit the suspension arm, and correct taper to suit the VZ Commodore knuckle. Howe Racing to the rescue! The guys at Howe stepped up to the plate and made us some custom made studs to our specification, and mated to their existing "hybrid" housing we had the solution. These ball joints are very awesome, beautifully designed and machined and are totally rebuildable.

From left to right we can see the dust boot, outer housing (already
screwed in to the arm), stud and nut, and seat and grease nipple.

The Howe part numbers are 2247102 for the stud and 22329 for the housing

The dust boot Howe supplied is not ideal for this application as it is quite large and doesn't seat very well due to the design of the suspension arm. Five minutes at Repco solved that problem, and the TE8 dust boot ($7 / pair) is a perfect fit, and nicely concertinaed so it doesn't deform under stud deflection. The springs are not used in this application, and I may actually glue the boots on to the outer of the housing to stop them "popping" off under stud deflection.

The Howe boot on the left, TE8 on the right

After dropping the stud through the housing, the seat screws
in to the housing, and the grease nipple screws in to the seat

The boot is a nice snug fit over the protuding part of the housing

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Rear disc backing plates

The rear suspension of a Classic Revival Cobra chassis uses VE Commodore suspension, except for the upper control arm which is custom made. The suspension knuckle, arms and brakes are all standard (I am using aftermarket toe-links, but more on that in a future post). In my case I will be installing brakes significantly larger than stock, partly because I will do some track days and partly because I like big brakes :)

The big brakes however mean that the large rear discs will foul on the OE disc backing plates. While the backing plates on most front brake systems simply serve as stone-guards, on many rear braking systems (VE included) the backing plates also serve to hold the handbrake assembly together so the plates cannot be simply discarded. I would have liked to discard the immensely complicated (you will see in a future post) VE handbrake assembly altgoether and use a seperate small hydraulic handbrake-caliper as you see on many race cars, because it is clean, simple, and saves weight, but the approving engineer frowned on the idea of a non-OE handbrake, so the VE system will remain.

To clear the large discs I am planning on using, the backing plates need to be trimmed down. This is a simple 5 minute job with an angle grinder and cutting wheel, and then cleaned up on the bench grinder.

The original plate, purchased new from Holden.
This is the right-hand side part number GM-92195997. The left-hand is GM-92195996.

Excess removed, easy done by clamping the plate to the table and using a cutting wheel

Cleaned up on the bench grinder
The mounting holes etc you can see are for the handbrake mechanism

There was of course the option of using a HSV backing plate, as VE HSV uses a much larger disc than Holden VE's, however I will be using a different caliper to the HSV such that even the HSV plate would have required modification.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Parts are back from blasting

The suspension parts are back from being soda blasted, and have come up nice and clean. A couple of small rust spots remain which will get a dab of rust treatment, and then the whole lot will get new poly bushes and satin black enamel paint

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Rear Suspension Knuckles Stripped

I have stripped the second-hand rear suspension knuckles now. This involved removing the drive flange, the handbrake shoes and mechanism, the OE rubber bushes, a pressed-in heim-joint and the main driveshft-carrier bearing. I bought a new 20T press from Radum, it's very heavy duty, solid and works great.

In the below pic you can see the two rubber bushes in the left of the knuckle, the mounting at the bottom right is where the heim joint is pressed in. First job is to get the inner flange out of the main bearing. This is not an easy job. Pressing it out would be nice, but it doesnt really fit in the press due to the width of the flange which is designed to mate the face of the disc rotor. It is standard and expected procedure (according to the GM workshop manual) that the bearing will be destroyed while removing the flange, and they're spot on. I used a large socket as a drift to knock (bash!) the flange out, and it destroyed the bearing in the process, but that's ok it's supposed to come apart at disassembly.

A 32mm socket fits perfectly.

With the flange out you can see why the bearing is destroyed in the process. The inner bearing race mates to the flange during installation, and presumably after receiving load and heat through normal operation the inner race is basically inseparable from the flange. This is why I bought new flanges in advance, I knew I wouldn't be able to use them again (thanks Dave).

After taking out the flange the remnants of the bearing can be seen.

With the flange out of the way, there is a large circlip that needs to be removed before the bearing housing can be removed

...and then the bearing housing can be pressed out fairly easily in the press - its a massive unit!

Then the kncuckle is stripped and ready to go to for sandblasting

I have also removed all the bushes from the other rear suspension components, lower arms, trailing arms etc, they too are all heading off to be sandblasted and then will get painted up nice and new, and get new poly bushings.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Components are coming...

I spoke to my local supplier today, and some components are on their way from the US for local assembly of some important parts for my build. I'm excited. Watch this space.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Monday, May 7, 2012

Not much happening

That's right, not a lot happening of late. No time! I did buy a thermo fan, and even found 3 minutes to bolt it in and take a photo!

Aside from that, I am spending more time researching and buying parts than actually building, but then again I suppose that is part of the "building", and is actually quite an enjoyable process. It turns out that it is possible to balance a baby with milk bottle in one arm, while typing an email, a blog post, and buying stuff on ebay with the other arm, all post midnight of course.

New rear VE hub flanges;

New front VZ bearings with integrated ABS reluctors;

VE rear lower arms, knuckles and handbrake assembly
(not as bad as they look, but will rebuild them anyway);

Custom made handbrake cable, to facilitate the BA handbrake lever with the VE rear handbrake (this part comes from ClassicRevival;