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MiniBuild #14 ~ Project Baja Racer

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Damian Grihalva

High Wheeler
Joined
Mar 14, 2002
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Colorado Springs
After wrapping up and sending out the remainder of the cage kits. Did this

mb14_176.jpg

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Looking good. Only problem is that the bender took a dump on me after 9 years of faithful service. Nothing a few hundred $$ can't fix though :eek: Lucky Tom wanted all straight gusset tubes. :D
 

Damian Grihalva

High Wheeler
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Finishing off the back shock area was fun. Tom will be pleased that we haven't used a single bent piece all day....yet

Since he didn't comment on the drawn in marks other than 'you're heading in the right direction' or something like that, I took that as a green light to build it.....and weld it all in. So what you're about to see, is permenant, a bit overkill, yes. But cool all the same.

Finished up the "W" bracing the shock mounts with the main hoop.
mb14_178.jpg


Started the rear X
mb14_179.jpg


Finished the rear X
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From the back.
mb14_181.jpg


This shot I found interesting, while cutting more tube for bracing something else, I looked up at the cage and saw this.
mb14_184.jpg



Looking at the tube work from afar is fine, but when you get up close and personal, it starts to make you dizzy. In fact, I've found that its hard to follow a tube from start to finish without getting side-tracked or following another tube. Go ahead, give it a try.
mb14_183.jpg


How many X's do you see?
mb14_182.jpg


In a conversation with the ever-quiet Rob ~ he said something to the effect that he wants to get Tom out of his current racer, and put him into something fresh ~ and safer. When I look at the bracing in this cage, I recall that conversation and think: Gotcha covered.

FYI ~ While all stuructureal tube is 2" x 1/8" wall DOM, the tube used to gusset is .095" HREW to save weight.

Next, we started building the fuel cell area. Luckily I had bent this tube up a few days ago ~ prior to the bender eating itself.
mb14_185.jpg


The fuel area will hang 9-9.5" below the main frame bars and is of the normal .120 wall stuff. This is not enough to hang below the axle so it'll be safe, but there is a chance of it getting smacked on a rock or rocks. Therefore three of these bars will form a protective cage under the cell.
mb14_186.jpg

A plate will form a nice floor above them, and Paul got permission to TIG a cell up at his CC welding class. I'm hoping we can make it out of aluminum!

Paul looking oh-so excited to be hole-sawing.....again...
mb14_187.jpg
 

Damian Grihalva

High Wheeler
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Location
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Little more progress...

Fuel cell area needed to be low ~ as low as we could make it, so we started with this. As you can see, the bars drop down directly after the rear axle ~ its pretty tight at full stuff but works.
mb14_188.jpg


Should be strong enough to hold up the cell.
mb14_189.jpg


Paul burned them in.
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You know the office doesn't have any leather chairs to match this comfy seat! So ergonomically(sp) correct!
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Last picture. Wish we had the freakin' bender working so we could finish up that back section :shaking:
mb14_192.jpg


There will be some tube gusseting on top of what you see, I can imagine a nice aluminum skidplate ~ with speed holes ~ there as well...
 

Aaron Snare

Farmall Cub
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Gee tom, when you said you were going all out you weren't kidding:eek:

Damian, I am in aww of you're fab skills:beer:
 

Tom Mandera

Dreams of Cub Cadets
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Thanks Aaron, Just trying to build something Tom will be able to use for a little bit ;)

Y'know, the current chassis is on it's 9th season.. (built it 98/99, first raced in 99).

It's a little long in the tooth, and it's showing it's age. :D

Say, Aaron, want to buy a race Scout? Only driven one or two Saturdays a month, and almost never in the winter. :D
 

Aaron Snare

Farmall Cub
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Jul 23, 2007
Messages
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Location
Helena,MT
Y'know, the current chassis is on it's 9th season.. (built it 98/99, first raced in 99).

It's a little long in the tooth, and it's showing it's age. :D

Say, Aaron, want to buy a race Scout? Only driven one or two Saturdays a month, and almost never in the winter. :D
I'll write you a check:stuart:
 

Damian Grihalva

High Wheeler
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Yes, tom had a few boxes dropped off yesterday ~ or was it yesterday's yesterday?

Anyway, we've been working on the tube work and mounting a rather large fuel cell, should be done now (Pauls welding it up while I return some calls) ~ No pictures to post yet ~ or at least not enough to make a good post but we did get some stuff that'll get this project rolling!

D
 

Damian Grihalva

High Wheeler
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Messages
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Tom sent me lots of stuff to play with almost a month ago. Problem is that I work on the racer between jobs, so when I got the stuff, I didn't nessesarily have the time to work on it again. But times are a-changing, and I'm hoping to post the progress and get working on it again coming up quickly.

D
 

Tom Mandera

Dreams of Cub Cadets
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Here are a couple of the few updates I've seen over the last month or so.. we're picking it up in July in whatever state it's in to get it up to Montana before it snows again..

Did I mention the 5.83 9" drop out was in hand?

DCP_0358.JPG


Need to buy a 31sp full spool and a gasket set and re-set things up. It has a 28sp mini spool in it, and while I could throw a 31sp unit in, a full spool will be much stronger and they're cheap for a 9".

This was a mock-up shot of about where we think the IH Only North anti-sway bar (rear) will be mounted.

60408b.jpg


Rear suspension at or about full bump, with the air-bump cans mounted.

60408f.jpg


Those are 16" Sway Away remote reservoirs, in a 2.5" diameter. Still needs the 3" extended lower eye installed and the coil-carrier equipment, which will take up some of the exposed shock shaft and put us at/near full bump.. with 16" of droop available, which translates to 20+" at the axle.

I believe the axle is "higher" than the frame would've been at full bump and the rear driveshaft should ultimately come UP in altitude.

Damian also sent one wide-angle shot.

60508d.jpg


Dale Durham sold me some old Kentrol 118" quarters - they lack the integral end-cap like the Howteron product, but maybe I'll get off my duff and make molds, since the Kentrol design is a much simpler part without the complicated end-cap. Might still need a 2-piece mold because of the curvature of the part and the lips on top/bottom, but much simpler.

I've made a little phone-tag with Jim Maulis Jr that I need to get back to (now that I can talk again, been laid up with a bad sore throat) about some of the engine work (head porting).
 

Damian Grihalva

High Wheeler
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Official updates.

Originally, the plan was to build the fuel cell into the rear area we created like so (gray shaded area). This would have held about 30+ gallons and we even got Pauls welding teacher to give us permission to TIG it with the schools machines.

But the problem is ~ as with any racing org ~ you normally need a dual wall cell. In SCORE and related org's that Tom races in, having a rigid cell with an internal blatter is required, so this idea of an ultra cool alum. TIG cell was out since we couldn't find a good enough universal blatter for it.

That said, Tom and I talked and decided on this 32-gallon RCI cell. It has a blatter..and therefore will work.
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Even got things labeled so even I can't screw it up! :laughing:
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The cell is 18" x 25" and is 18" high. Massive yes, but it has capacity and even better ~ weight to the rear end.
 

Damian Grihalva

High Wheeler
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With the fuel cell issue settled and delivered, we needed to 'modify' our rear chage plans to fit the new cell. To do this we wanted to build a shelf for the new cell. Sure this isn't required, but having two layers of steel between it and the fast-moving ground makes me a little more at ease. So Paul started one out of 14-gauge steel.
mb14_198.jpg


The full lip will help keep things in place.
mb14_199.jpg


Installed. These boxes are misc parts Tom sent to finish up the interior and front axle (will be covered later).
mb14_200.jpg


Cell installed on shelf.
mb14_201.jpg

I don't have pictures of it, but to protect the cell from the ground, there is some more 2" tube that goes around the rear perimeter of the cell. This was do give plenty of support/protection.

Next we finished up some frame work. Before we didn't box in the stock frame to the tube work ~ so we took some plate and did just that.
mb14_202.jpg

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mb14_204.jpg

This helped keep the rear tube work and frame rigid. What's interesting is without a motor ~ the chassis is now perfectly balanced between the front and back. Seriously, if you sat on the fuel cell, the chassis would do a wheelie on the rear jackstands (under the rear links).

Although Tom covered it in his catch-up post ~ which I think was more of a cow-prod to me to post pictures than anything (ZAP!) :eek: ~ We had to decide between two mounting locations for the IHOnlyNorth sway bar kit. At first, I wanted to and planned to mount it above the fuel cell, but with the fuel cell change, so did the plans for it.

As seen in this picture...
mb14_205.jpg

We could still mount the swaybar above the fuel cell. Paul is holding the arm so far above as if its in its compressed location ~ since the axle is also fully compressed. But that would mean the link between the sway bar and the axle would be way to long.

So we decided to put the mounts below the cell ~ in or around this location.
mb14_206.jpg

Normally this is NOT the place for a swaybar ~ since it can get banged on every rock and small car you happen to be driving over. But with a racer, things changed a bit. Tom shouldn't be driving over small cars, and this is no rockcrawler. Since this location is still at axle hieght, chances of it getting hit by something will be slim.
 

Damian Grihalva

High Wheeler
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Location
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After a brief conversation with Tom, the location of the sway bar was confirmed, and we built the mounts.
mb14_207.jpg

The kit did not come with the proper mounting tube for these bushings ~ Probably because we are using a bigger size swaybar for the racer than a normal Scout would need (The racer will need a higher strength torsion bar for the extremely high speeds and cornering it will see). Jeff cautioned us to make sure that we use a tube that the bushings aren't 'too loose' ~ as that would cause some slop, and premature/repeated/often failure of the bushings. So we took the bushings to my metal supplier and started playing with dail-calipers and different size tube. Turns out that the bushing has a 1 5/8" diameter (which means the tube we select will need that same size I.D.). We decided on 2" x 3/16" wall DOM tube.

The bushings for the sway-bar were pressed into the mounting tube.
mb14_208.jpg


Speaking of which. Here is the sway-bar kits Jeff sent us. A SPECIAL thanks to Jeff @ IHOnlyNorth for his support of this project. These kits are not cheap, and he's the only shop to support Tom's racer build with a full sponsership of his product. If you are having problems with too much body roll, give him a call at 916-652-4706 or stop by his website at: http://www.ihonlynorth.com. Jeff's swaybar kits will certainly help keep Tom's Scout sturdy around those high-speed turns.
mb14_209.jpg


With that, here's the other side w/ bushing pressed in.
mb14_210.jpg

Turns out that the DOM was just the ticket. The bushings needed to be tapped in with a rubber mallet and fit snug.

Jeff doesn't recommend trapping the sway bar's torsion bar in a tube as you see here.
mb14_211.jpg

The reason is that as it twists it'll distort and a tube that 'traps' it can interfere with its natural distortion. However, I mounted the tube like shown to make sure both ends of the tube were true with each other. Now that its securely in place, the middle of the tube can be cut out...if Tom sees the need to do that.

Although I'll post more pictures of the actual installation of the swaybars later, I plan on mounting them to the axle with these shock tabs.
mb14_213.jpg


It mounts to the axle tube as shown.
mb14_214.jpg


This is not the way Jeff normally mounts the bottoms. The reason I'm doing it this way is that it'll provide a double-sheer on the bolt that'll hold them in. Although a single sheer will be fine for a normal scout, for the racer, I want to make sure we're covered...and then some.

The rod ends that were sent have studs pressed/screwed in them, so I'm going to ask Jeff to send me a part number ~ or just different ones without this stud.
mb14_215.jpg


On the sway bar side, we'll mount them single sheer. The reason is that the steel arms are about 3/4" thick and so they are plenty strong enough to use the stud.
mb14_216.jpg


Last picture in this post is a little unrelated to the swaybar setup. Here's the bottom of the fuel cell's tray. As you can see, there is 2" tube protecting it in case it has a run-in with a rock....or three.
mb14_217.jpg

You can even see the sway bar mounts underneath the tube work.
 

Damian Grihalva

High Wheeler
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Messages
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Location
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Next is the rear bumps. Tom has found the air bumps work extremely so the call was made that they are also going onto the new racer. Bump cans are thinner metal 'cans' that wrap the bump stops (also called air bumps) and uses 'squish' to hold them. Here is one can and air bump.
mb14_219.jpg


The air was then taken out of the bumpstop (being careful to make sure no air got INTO the bump), and with the axle at full compression, we mocked up the bumpstop where we'd want it.
mb14_218.jpg

Note: the air bump is about 1/2-3/4" from full bump, the reason is that we will be welding on a 'landing pad' of sorth to the axle to give the bumpstop a nice level/flat pad to push against. Should make for longer life of the urethane ends. We also wanted the bump stops to mount at least as far out as the rear links. This will insure that if Tom lands on one tire, the axle can't compress on that side enough to bottom out the shocks.

With the bump stop's location set, we built a tube to come off the main tube and hole-sawed each end.
mb14_220.jpg


Welding the bumps in. Pauls one happy guy.
mb14_221.jpg


We also welded a support tube that gives upward bracing to the bumpstop. This is needed as this racer will see some REALLY strong hits, and we wanted to make sure the bumpstops are up to the task ahead of them.
mb14_222.jpg

Tom, if there is any more bracing you want in the bump can mounts, please let me know.

Next is the upper shock mounts for the rear. We used 3/16" thick, 2" wide plate for these. Everything on the shock is in double sheer, and we used spacers to get the correct width. After everything is final, we'll add another plate making the mounts 3/8" thick where the bolts go through.
mb14_226.jpg


Shocks mounted up.
mb14_223.jpg


Currently the coil-over is int he back. The axle is still at full stuff/compression. As seen, there is 3" still left in the shock before full compression is reached. We have 3" extended lower mounts to take up this slack.

Here's an interesting thought.
mb14_224.jpg

The distance from the shock's top mounting holes and the bottom mounting holes is the same when compressed. However, when fully drooped out, the rear hole is longer. This way Tom can use a by-pass shock ~ or just another coil-over shock in its place.

With the 16" coilover in the rear hole (as shown) ~ the rear will have over 20" of wheel travel ~ quite a bit of travel! A shorter shock can be used up front to help with dampening duties. However, my personal preference, is moving the 16" coil-0ver to the front hole and using an 18" 'helper shock' in back. This would give more travel as well as give the helper shock more advantage than it being in the front hole.

Although we still have some work to do on the shock mounts before they're complete, that wraps up the rear end of the racer. At least.... my part of it.
mb14_225.jpg
 

Damian Grihalva

High Wheeler
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Next big obstacle was to mount the motor. To do this, we needed one. Luckily the RMB group is a really nice and helpful group of guys. So with a call out on the email list, I had one old 304 and two guys at my disposal! ;)

The day started off with driving up to Monument/Palmer lake to pick up Jacob and his motor. This is his spare 304.
mb14_227.jpg


We bolted a gutted out TF727 to it. This will allow us to make a good trans mount at the same time.
mb14_228.jpg


Jeremy (another RMB guy) showed up and was ready to lend a hand...so he and Jacob started measureing the firewall to get a good place to start cutting!
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Here's Jeremy getting and double checking the center line.
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The motor/trans was then lifted into the engine area.
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As you can see, the front jack stand was lowered all the way to allow the motor to be lifted into place without lifting it to the moon!
mb14_233.jpg


EWwww... old engine puke.:barf:
mb14_234.jpg
 

Damian Grihalva

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Obviously we want to keep the new racer as balanced as we can. Most of you know that IH made the Scout similar to all their other equipment ~ that means a big HEAVY powerplant. I saw one guy who stated that 'IH' didn't stand for "International Harvester" ~ rather "ITS HEAVY" ~ and friends, that aint no lie.

And with physical size of a chevy big block 454 with a meger displacement of 304 ~ the IH motor tips the scale about about 750 pounds, which is a good few hundred over the nearest auto maker. However, with all that weight up front Scouts normally are pretty good climbers.

But racing? There are two philosophys. Some say that having a heavy front makes you fly straighter ~ like a dart, if you get the heavy front flying in the right direction, the back will follow. However, I've seen Tom lawn-dart his current racer at least once ~ With any luck, maybe Tom will post a link to the video that shows what I'm talking about. I think he'll admit to lawn-darting 2-3 times ~ and when I say lawn-dart ~ I MEAN those 5# childhood toys that you'd throw up in the air, and it'd come back down with a quick and abrupt stop, stuck into the ground (they don't make toys like the used to :shaking:). Picture that with a Scout. Tom throws it into the air....and....well, you'll have to see the video.

The other philosophy is having a more balanced rig ~ and is the generally accepted one. The new racer we hope to have this characteristic. We want this scout to fly a little straighter ~ land a little ... softer ~ and if at all possible, not be so prone to pulling a 'lawn dart' on the track.

So we marked the firewall and started cutting.
mb14_235.jpg


Here's Jeremy starting the trans tunnel area.
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....and up the passenger side....
mb14_238.jpg


..mating the cut with the cuts I made with a cut-off wheel from inside the engine bay...
mb14_239.jpg


Jacob taking care of the driver side...
mb14_240.jpg
 

Damian Grihalva

High Wheeler
Joined
Mar 14, 2002
Messages
2,158
Points
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Location
Colorado Springs
Why cut the poor trans tunnel out? Well to get the 'balance' in the racer, we want to move the engine back. How far back? About this far back.
mb14_241.jpg


Gee did we move it at all? How about this angle.
mb14_242.jpg


You know we moved it a TON when if you count the exhause ports...
mb14_243.jpg

...it looks like we installed a BIG V6! Yup, that's a full 12" back from its stock location!

mb14_244.jpg


Yes, it isnt' recommended to move an engine back that far normally. I mean, now we have to relocate the gas pedal since the original spot...well, its gone. But we're confident Toms new racer will be a bit more stable at high speed, around corners, and flying through the air!...so its worth it.
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With the engine centered and the back trans output mostly centered, we started making adjustments to the pitch of the drivetrain. Normally, IH set 2-3 degrees down to help with rear driveshaft angles ~ I've got to confirm with Tom if he wants to keep that, but everything is tacked in with a degree and a half for good measure.
mb14_248.jpg


With the engine mounts HEAVILY tacked in (more like a short weld than a tack) weight was completely put on the new mounts, and angles/measurements double checked for good 'measure'.

That wrapped up the RMB 'Help with the racer' work day. Here's the crew.
mb14_249.jpg

Starting from the top ~ going clockwise. Jacob, Jeremy, myself at the bottom and of course, Paul with his signature pose on the left.
 
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