A few things happened during the final design and manufacture of the front suspension components, besides the previously mentioned, a mad rush to get the side glass replaced with polycarbonate units, steering completed and a bunch of small items taking ages.
The main idea around the steering were to keep things simple and that was done to the end, only a 13mm spanner is needed to assemble and dissemble the new components. Luckily only 1 new bracket had to be welded to the cage to facilitate the new changes, the rest consisted of a few bend sheet metal parts and a flange bearing.
Polycarbonate Side Windows
Dust problems, yes you could have guessed it, we have it, the primary reason for changing from glass to polycarbonate plastic were to install some much needed vents, the idea around them is to create a higher pressure inside the cab than outside, this way keeping dust out. At a earlier stage the vents, also polycarbonate units were sourced from the UK at a company called ACW Motorsport Plastics http://www.acwmotorsportplastics.co.uk/, great bunch of lads to work with. For those that use mainstream vehicles, changes are good they have kits for your car or will be able to make a set, unfortunately for me, I had to use all my CAD(Cardboard Aided Design) skills. As with the majority of work done, everything was designed and build in-house, even the machining of the slides, as a lot of keyboard ninjas reckon you need very special equipment to work on plastics, it turned out a jigsaw with a wooden blade and a 10mm end mill is very special. At the end of the day, the windows turned out looking very good, just hope they will help with the dust, otherwise I will have to give in and mount some sort of roof intake.
Who would have ever thought drilling a few holes would remove 250g of weight, before the holes the units weighted 3kg each, now boosting a slimmed down weight of 2.75kg each. Drilling the holes was quite nerve reckon, considering all the time and money already invested, luckily everything worked out as planned and they are done.
This was another beast altogether, seeing that the CNC bug bit with the spindles I search high and low for a company to create the uprights at an affordable price, at the end I had to settle for a few dozen drawings with different measurements, a few sharpened end mills and some serious hours in front of the manual milling machine. Even the fiancée tablet went from house gadget to milling machine DRO. Just looking at the raw material was quite intimidating for a while. For those that have worked with a mill previously, would be able to understand the amount of man hours that went into these, but at the end of the day, I’m glad I did them myself, now I know I can make a set between event, hell I’ll be able to make a set in two weeks without rushing it. For those with a sharp eye, you will be able to see a mistake I made, just to prove I’m human.
Lower Control Arms
I’m pretty sure the set of pictures will be able to explain these a lot better than I’ll ever be, but let me take a stab at it.
All started with a piece of tube and a few lasered metal pieces with a lot of small holes, these holes had two tasks, the first to allow me to align items on top of others and secondly as the basis for all the stitch welds. These were designed in such a way that they can be used on the left or right side of the car. The tube forms the basis, with a threaded bush on the one side and a spherical bearing retainer on the other, in that configuration it would be strong enough for any normal road usage, then all the ribs and internal strengthening parts were added and then covered with sheet metal just to keep them all in place.
One of the only items on the new suspension that is orientation specific, bend a left unit and you will have to have a left unit in the parts bin. I’m very glad that my brother managed to design them entirely on real CAD, which making more or changing a few geometry specific settings quiet easy, a matter sending a file to the laser cutting company, wait for the parts, weld them together and off you go, brilliant.
Seeing that I made the calliper mounting brackets a few days earlier, mounting the callipers was a breeze, I think it took the longest to tap the tread for the bolts securing the callipers. Almost hoped the picture showing the pads would not make it to the internet, seeing that we are a privately funded team, we just had to use the old damaged pads again, they will age good with time.
All in all, the new suspension took more or less a year to develop and build, more than I actually wanted it to take, but sometimes live happens and something must be placed on hold, a crap load of man hours were spend on each and every component, these 3 pictures combines all these hours:
Left- all the hand made parts, Middle-complete front suspension in parts, Right – assembled
The only thing left to do is setting the car up with the new suspension and enter a rally, hopefully the suspension will survive.
More Pictures – April 2015 – Front Suspension V3 Complete
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