Sunday, October 18, 2020

A good afternoon in the shop

Back to the shop for an afternoon round!

Here's the next piece of aluminum for the interior, marked and drilled. This took a bit of care, because there are some places where frame members get in the way, and I wouldn't be able to get a drill or a rivet gun in there. You can see a few places I have colored out to remind me not to mark for holes there.

Then here it is all Clecoed up onto the frame.

 And here it is riveted into place. For an example of places I could not reach with the drill, look at the lower edge of the panel, closest to the floor pan. The two black steel tubes that form the X shape kept me from putting rivets at the very front and rear - about the first and last three inches.

Overall, a very satisfying day. It feels good to be unstuck, and putting pieces on the frame always feels like real progress. All the side sub-projects are good, but not as good as actually building the car.

A good morning in the shop

 Well, I didn't get as much done as I had wanted to over the last couple of weeks. I've been kind of stalled because I was so pissed off at myself after destroying the bearings and seals in the rear knuckles, and because other things have been getting in the way.

But today, I finally cleaned off the workbench and got started on interior aluminum. Here's the first panel of the day on the bench for marking. Also featured here is my home made rivet marking gauge.

And after drilling, deburring, Clecoing, and sealing, here it is all riveted up.

There's another panel aft of this one I am hoping to get done this afternoon, after lunch.

In other news not related to the build itself, I am getting a few spam comments submitted on various posts. This is why I have moderation turned on - every comment that's made gets sent to me for approval. So if you do make a comment - and you're encouraged to if you're not a spammer! - but it doesn't show up right away, please be patient; I'll approve it as soon as I can.

Friday, October 9, 2020

Interior panels - first test fit


Since I am stopped on the rear suspension, I'm moving on to the nest step of the build - installing interior aluminum panels. Here we see the first test fit of a couple of panels, which showed me one place I will need to remove a small amount fo material to clear a weld on the frame. There are two more panels which will go forward of these to finish closing up the side, and form the dead pedal to the left of the clutch pedal - and, of course, matching panels for the passenger side.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

More pressing concerns!

Another session on the shop press today. The goal was to press in rear bearings and hubs, and I did manage to get that done.

The new hubs came with standard studs, which I wanted to upgrade, so first I pressed out the stock ones.
... and pressed in the new ones.

Then I pressed in the bearings. Not shown here is the seals going in, or the actual hubs going in.
But here's what the assemblies look like, completed.

And right this minute is when I realized I forgot a part - the brake plates I spent so much time on.

So I had to go press out the hubs and bearings again. I did get the brake plates installed, but now I have to order new bearings and seals - the hubs I can re-use.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Some weeks suck


I guess this week did have some redeeming qualities - I spent a day brewing, for example. But there has not been a lot of progress on the car just lately. I'm a little bit stopped on the rear suspension as I need to get some time on my uncle's shop press, installing the bearings and hubs in the rear knuckles, before I can bolt them up to the various arms.

But I have been stealing a few minutes here and there to get these brackets painted. These will also bolt up to the rear knuckles to allow the connection of some adjustable control links for the independent rear suspension.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Front suspension - check!

So, as noted earlier, the sway bar I was waiting for showed up from the Subaru dealer the other day, and I spent some time putting it in yesterday. This required partially disassembling the suspension I put so much effort into previously, and it was a complete pain getting the bushings compressed into place, but it did all go together. And then I reassembled the front suspension again.

It's not truly 100% yet, as it would be meaningless to adjust and torque everything until it has wheels on it and it's supporting its own weight, but all the parts are on the car.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Parts day!

 Well, the replacement sway bar showed up today. I had ordered it online from the local Subaru dealer (cheapest place I found it, oddly), and the parts truck just drove up and dropped odd the new bar and matching bushings. Here is it in comparison to the bar I took off the donor car - the donor part is both wider and thicker, and has several mounting points on the ends, where the stock part only has single mounts. I have no idea what the donor part is, but it seems to be some kind of go-fast aftermarket part.

I believe that this is the last piece I need for the front suspension, so at the weekend, I'll be putting all of that back together.

Monday, September 7, 2020

To the rear!

Well, I am stopped on the front suspension for the moment. I've ordered the correct sway bar and the bushings it needs, but until it gets here, the front of the car is stopped. So I moved to the rear end.

This is a trailing arm off the donor, bolted up to the chassis. It's really very satisfying when I can actually put parts on the car.
 Next up, the toe links, which will allow adjusting the toe angle of the rear wheels. Again, this uses the link from the donor car, and it mounts up with this both with an eccentric head and a matching eccentric washer.

I knew I had saved these eccentric bolts and washers, but they were somewhere in a box of donor parts, so I had to dig through the shed a bit to find them. As a backup plan, I had found them from a local Subaru dealer's parts department, but it turned out that I didn't need to go down that road.
And then the forward lateral links got bolted up. This is the right side of the car, looking forward. Where those three arms come together is where the rear suspension knuckle will live. There are a couple more arms still to add, and of course a coilover on each side.

For now, I have a bunch of spacers and brackets to paint, and I will need to press bearings and hubs into the rear knuckles.

I need to buy the bearings and hubs.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Too hot in the shop today

 I got an early start in the shop today, because temperatures are just stupid - it was 83 degrees when I woke up before sunrise, and aimed at 110 this afternoon. I knew that if I was going to get anything done, I had to do it early, before it actually got dangerous.

So I pulled in the spacers from the paint bench, and I got the front shocks reinstalled.
 More of the spacers were earmarked for the steering rack brackets, so I got the rack bolted to the car as well.
And I even got the steering rods connected to the front knuckles!

Unfortunately, I then discovered that the sway bar from the donor is an aftermarket piece that does not fit in the kit. I have a line on the correct sway bar, so I will get that ordered up this weekend.

By the time I got all that done, it was too hot in the shop, so I had to call it a day and go do other things.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Shocking News!

 I got the Koni coilovers for the front suspension all assembled and ready for install
 And then I got them mocked up in the front suspension.
And then I took a bunch of spacers and a bracket out to the paint bench for corrosion protection!

So not a giant update, but progress is still being made. Once these are well painted and dried, I'll be able to mount the coilovers for real, and get the steering rack bolted up, too!

Monday, August 24, 2020

Depowering the steering rack.

Here's the steering rack off the donor car. The WRX had power steering, so the rack has ports on it for hydraulic lines. The 818 is so light that is doesn't need power steering, so the rack gets depowered as part of the build. The issue here is that these ports could collect dirt and gunk - and also, residual fluid in the rack keeps puking out whenever I turn the thing over or turn the steering shaft. So, to stop that from happening, I am going to make some plugs.
These don't have to hold any pressure, or I would buy the appropriate plugs, What I did instead was to cut short bits off the ends of the original lines, because the rubber seals on the ends of them are what actually keeps the oil in. I cleaned them with degreaser and brake cleaner, together with the threaded fittings that hold them in place.
Then I just taped them up and filled them with J-B Weld. The stuff takes hours to cure fully, so I've got them held in clamps so they won't fall over or roll away. I do think it's slightly amusing that there are four plugs in three different sizes.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Steering rack and ruin

This here is the driver's side inner tie rod off the donor car. That 30-ish degree bend in it is not supposed to be there. That's the damage that actually made the donor undriveable.

Interestingly, replacing these when the steering rack is on the bench is way, way easier than when it's bolted up to the car. Every video and description I have seen about pulling these out calls for a special tool which amounts to a (very) long reach offset wrench to get at the flats on the inboard end of this assembly. But on the bench, I was able to get at them with a regular Crescent wrench. The hardest part of the whole process was dealing with the rack puking hydraulic fluid all over the bench when I was unstaking the lock washer.

So anyway, I have new inner and outer tie rod ends on order, because they were all pretty munched and why not. And I am going to be building plugs for the ports on the steering box to prevent the depowered rack from spewing more hydraulic fluid. When the car weighs 1800ish pounds, and is light at the nose anyway, power steering isn't needed, so it's going away.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Steering knuckles are on!

Today, I got the steering knuckles installed on the chassis. First, I bolted on this bracket which connects the knuckle itself to the upper front ball joint. I also replaced the lower ball joints, since the one from the donor were thrashed. My torque wrenches got their first outing today, and they worked flawlessly.
 Here's what the installed knuckles look like. At this point, the upper ball joint is not fully torqued up though.
And - momentous occasion! I actually pulled some donor parts out of the shed and put them on the car! These are the axle stubs from the donor front CV axles. Since the kit is RWD only, the entire inboard portion of the CV axle has been removed and discarded.
Axle nut goes here.

This has been a good week for the car. With recognizable suspension bits installed, the frame is looking a little more like a car and a little less like low-grade playground equipment.

Finally, something besides brakes!

 I've been putting in time and effort on the front suspension this week. I finally got the lower shock mounts installed on the lower front control arms, for one thing. Also, the rear bushings for the arms had to be swapped and then retorqued. After that, it was pretty simple to actually get them installed on the frame, as seen here.
 The upper control arms are assemblies. The design allows a lot of adjustment - but of course that means they have to be adjusted. The dimensions shown here are the recommendations for rough alignment at install time - further tweaking will be needed later.

To facilitate measuring to the centers of things, I designed and printed these widgets - it's not apparent from this screengrab, but they have dimples at the centers, and in the case of the dogbone-shaped one, a groove along its length, so I can get a caliper into it. This allowed me to get everything adjusted.
This is the first mockup install, before the adjustments had been made and before the upper ball joint was installed.

And here's both arms on the car. Between them, there will be the steering knuckle, which will hold the hub and the brakes, and also a coilover shock. Those are next steps.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

A big week; a big push

 I've got a week off of work, so I am going to try to make some good progress. Of course, I had to schedule my week off on the hottest week of the year.

The brake plates at left are all in their final shape, so today I started prepping them for paint. You can see the dark grey mill scale on the plates, which is just an oxide coating created as a by-product of the manufacture of the steel plates. But it had to be removed before I could paint the parts. I have a wire wheel for my 8" bench grinder, but I had never used it, so I mounted it up and got the bare metal showing on all the parts.
 Then I got the parts set up for painting. After all, these will be under the car and exposed to weather and water, so they need protection from corrosion. I wiped them down with acetone to remove any residual oil and metal dust, and then set off with the primer.
As always, I love it when my hobbies support each other. I printed these little tetrahedral painting standoffs to avoid an issue I have had before, of the paint actually adhering the parts to the work surface.

So the stopping point today was that the first side of these parts is thoroughly primed. Tomorrow I will prime the other side, and perhaps start on the paint. Nothing exciting, just flat black - because that is what I have on hand, and because these will be under the car and behind the wheels and brake rotors, so they will be effectively invisible.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Big ol' brakes!

I did not get a lot done in the shop today, but I did get this mockup set up - this is the assembled front knuckle from yesterday's pressing efforts, plus a bracket I ordered online, a 12.8" brake disc, and the Caddy Brembo calipers. In the rear, I will be using exactly the same calipers and discs on the custom bracketry I've mentioned before, plus the Wilwood parking brake caliper.

Yeah, there's going to be plenty of stop.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Pressing concerns in the front of the car!

Today, I spent some time in my uncle's shop, pressing things apart and then together, to finish the assembly of the front knuckles. I got some work done on this a few weeks ago, pressing the old hubs and bearings out. I also about half-finished pressing in the new bearings, but I just ran out of time and wasn't able to finish the job.

In this pic, I am pressing wheel studs out of a new hub in preparation for pressing in new, extended studs. Once the new studs were in, I was able to press the assembled hubs into the bearings I had previously pressed into the knuckles.
 I didn't get a process shot, but one of the other things I needed to do was to press one size of threaded bushing out of the brake calipers, and press in another. This is because, unlike the rear brakes, I am using an existing bracket to get the big Caddy Brembo calipers mounted up - and they use 12mm bolts rather than 14mm.
So here are the bits I did today - assembled front knuckles and calipers. I also ordered some new ball joints to get the knuckles connected to the lower control arms, because the ones I pulled off the donor were complete rubbish - the boots were both torn, which means that grit is inevitably in them.

For the rest of this weekend, I am hoping to get some good work in on assembling the front suspension on the actual car. I need to get some bracketry assembled on the control arms and start getting things mounted up.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Nearly the end of the rear brakes saga?

 More work on the rear brake plates today. I started with tweaking the shape of the sub-plate so it would bolt up to the Brembo caliper, as shown to the left. Once I had that done, I also had to work the shape of the main plate a bit so that it would bolt up, allowing clearance everywhere. And there are some spacers that needed shaping, too; they go between the main plates and the sub-plates to center the calipers on the disc.

Here's what it looks like all bolted together! There's a giant brake disc that will be centered in there, of course. the Wilwood caliper for the e-brake will go forward on the car, and the Caddy/Brembo caliper will go aft.

All that's left for these parts is cleaning up and paint. I think from here, I will be working on actually assembling the suspension, front and rear.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Continued rear brake massaging

Today, I've been working on the rear brakes more. These are the two sub-brackets that will connect the main brackets to the big Brembo calipers. I've got them bolted together here to make sure that I get all the holes in the same places, and I have been drilling and reaming them to size.
 Tomorrow's project is to spend some more time with the bench grinder so that they will line up with the mounting holes in the calipers themselves. Then I'll bolt the main brackets to the sub-brackets and check to see if there are any new interference points. Of course, there will probably be some, so I'll clear those up, too.
And there are a few places where the brackets are not quite the same shape, so I'll be working to clean all of that up along the way. Then, finally, I'll assemble the whole thing, clean up any new issues I might find, prep, and paint.

This whole sub-project has taken me way, way longer than I thought it would. But I am still making forward progress, so that feels good.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Fresh ground steel?

Another heavy day on the grinder and the Dremel today. The main rear brake adapter plates are at or near their final shape. The first one was the hard one. I had to check the fit and grind away bits a number of times until the emergency brake caliper would bolt up well. But since the plates are mirror images of each other, one the first one was done, I just bolted them together and ground away all the protruding edges. That cleaned up both plates to near-final shape very quickly.
 And the sub-plates for the Brembo service brakes are half-done. I've adjusted the clearance where they fit near the suspension knuckles (the outside edges in this picture). I need to massage the clearance where they will fit with the Brembo calipers. The right bracket has the locations punched for the mounting holes, so I need to remove metal until the caliper can actually locate on those.

I'm pretty sure I will do the same trick here as I did previously - I'll get one working, then bolt them together so I can remove any excess from both pieces.
Here's the Wilwood e-brake caliper bolted up to the main bracket, just to show what that will look like. The Brembo service brakes, on the sub-bracket, will mount on the other end.

This has been a really good couple of days. I have some better perspective on the project, so I am focusing on the sub-project of the rear brakes right now, and I've been able to get a lot done.

Next, I need to drill bolt holes for the sub-bracket, and get that all in shape for mounting. Once I get these brackets to their final shape, I'll be prepping them for paint and turning back to the front suspension.