Sunday, December 16, 2012


Starting assembly now. Today I did a trial fit of the engine and found problems. As you can see the engine bay has brake lines that will interfere with the air filters. Also the one running down the middle hits the clutch release lever. It's really tight in there. There were two fuel lines going up the sides of the engine bay and the first try I couldn't get the engine in. After removing those and the starter motor it went in fairly easy. All three brake lines will have to be re-routed.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Finally I have the inside and bottom of the tub painted. The sides, bonnet and boot will be a bright red but I'll do that after assembly.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Finally finished the louvers. Now it's time to paint the frame tub and start assembly.

Monday, November 5, 2012


Made some progress today. I received the louver panels and have started cutting them into the rear of the body. These relieve the pressure bubble that builds up at the rear of the car. The old Morgans had these and I like the look. I also cut a hole in the side so the rear axle can be removed without removing the shocks.

The rear shocks that came with the car are unusable so I bought a pair of Honda GL1200 air shocks in e-bay. They turned out to be too stiff. These have 2 springs inside the upper portion so I'll remove one of these and try again. The idea is that as one or two people get into the car the ride height changes. My plan is to add a Honda air compressor, a switch and a pressure gauge so I can adjust the ride height depending on load. More to come on this later.

Monday, October 15, 2012


I have gotten a lot done the past couple of days. The drive shaft is in except for welding the rear bearing plate. I went back to using the Guzzi double joints and they need to aligned to the shaft and the front and back splines. To get the shaft and u-joints at the right angle I used the single joint i made earlier first at the front and eyeballed the shaft at the rear end. this told me where the first bearing had to go. Once the plate was tacked in place I put the single u-joint in the swing arm and did the same procedure to fit the rear bearing. that then told me where the center brg. needed to be shimmed.

The next part of that process is to make sure the bearing is swiveled in line with the shaft. I used a .0015 feeler gauge. If i could stick between the shaft and brg at the front but not the back I knew the brg. had to be shifted a bit. The brg. is a tight fit in the housing and cannot be moved by hand. I used thin punch and a small hammer so i could tap the outer race to get it set properly. I can now slide the shaft in the 3 bearings by hand. That's a good fit.

Then I put the indicator on the shaft and adjusted the brg. collar and tightened the set screws to get as close to zero runout as possible. There is about .001+" clearance between the shaft and the brg. so I rotated the collar so the set screws were on each side of the indicated high spot. That put it right on target. I marked the shaft so i can take it apart and out it back.

The next job is fitting the reverse motor. I have it where it needs to go and the gears engage well. I'll make some brackets to weld to the base and bolt it all to the floor.

Reverse update:
I found that the thin floor will distort quite a bit when the motor is energized. I ended up adding a 1/8" plate under the motor and bolted it through a cross member tube nearby. This makes it all much more sturdy.

Drive shaft update 10/29/13
After all the fuss to get it right I found in test driving that there was a scraping noise in the rear u-joint. In studying it I found that both ends were not right. The front end was too high which meant lowering the front bearing. That meant also lowering the reverse motor mounts. Fixing the front pivoted the rear a bit lower which fixed the noise back there. It's not easy to get that shaft exactly right.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


I welded in the plates for the pillow block bearings today and started fitting the shaft. It is important that the u-joints are as straight as possible from the top view. Since the shaft is offset a bit at the rear it isn't possible to get it perfect so I'll do the best I can. when I'm satisfied I'll drill the bolt holes. Then it's a matter of shimming the bearings and aligning the bearings in their housings.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

New Drive Shaft

Finally after a hurricane, a week with a cold, a week in Italy and much studying I finally am getting some work done on the driveshaft. I bought a piece of 1.125" .094" wall chrome molly tube. I got it from these guys and I cannot say enough good things about them. They took the time to measure their stock and picked out a piece that was .001" under my bearing size so it fitted just great.

I machined bushings to fit the tube and spline stubs and used ER70S2 rod to TIG weld it all together. Actually a buddy did the welding and did a great job. The pillow block bearings are rated to 7000 RPM so they should work.

More pics to follow as I start mounting it all.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

a-arm brackets

Welding finished on the frame brackets for the upper a-arm. This should sort out the camber issues.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Drive Shaft Issues

I started studying the drive shaft and realized the rear bearing is at such an angle that no grease will get to the bearing. The fix was to make a bearing bracket to make the bearing more vertical.

The next issue is the intermediate bearing. It has a pressed steel housing but no grease fitting. I'll order one with a cast iron housing with grease fitting.

here are the u-joints and the splined end of the old shaft.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sound Proofing

Over the weekend I finished welding the new brackets to the front frame and stripped the frame down for primer and paint.

I want to paint the inside of it with something like Lizard Skin and found it is only latex paint with micro spheres mixed in. This will help with sound deadening. The first step in this process is to calk all the vertical frame members. i used 3M 5200 marine calk. this is really great stuff, sticks to anything and is paintable. the difference in sound when knocking on the side panels was amazing.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


I bought a Triumph Spitfire rack on e-bay. This turned out to be a good choice as it was dead simple to shorten. I removed 6.25" from the right end of the rack and 3" from the housing. the housing is smaller in dia. which allows it to mount lower and further back.

The result of all this is that the tie rods are much straighter than with the Chevette rack. with it mounted lower it puts the outer tie rod ends at the height they need to be to correct bump steer. Ackermann looks great too.

today i found that the rack bushing wouldn't fit into the cut off end of the rack. i had to bore out the rack to fit the bushing.

Monday, July 16, 2012


Today i started the revision of the front end. First the existing front end. The upper arm slants the wrong way and gives positive camber with body roll. the tie rod end is too low and causes bump steer.

The solution is to lower the upper arm brackets. The new brackets will also be located more to the rear giving more caster.

The pic doesn't show this very well but caster is improved. With this setup I now get negative camber as the wheel moves up as well as when the wheel is turned into a curve.
i'll try to get better pic's of the caster change.

Here is a pic of the front end with both sides modified. Since i removed the upper a-arm bracket i now don't have an upper attachment for the SS front support bracket. I saw on the JZRUSA site a pic of a different way to do that and i copied the idea. The tubes now connect to the new a-arm pivots and down to the engine mount.

The next issue is that with the upper a-arm moved to the rear the shock no longer fits in the upper bracket. i cut off the rear leg and made a new part to fix that issue. this all may look complicated to do but it took one morning to complete each side. it took many, many hours of study, drawing and working with the Wishbone program to sort out just what to do. sure hope i got it right.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

where does it go?

Yesterday I went through all the stuff that came with the car. It is like a puzzle figuring out what the previous guy was doing. I found out where the electrical parts go as well as most of the brake plumbing and fuel pump. In the the lower corner left side of the dashboard is a brake proportion valve and a brake lock knob. This will act as a parking brake. you push the brake pedal then push the knob and the rear brake will stay applied.

I did a trial fit of the dashboard instruments.

The output from the tranny has a boot on it with the bike so i made an alum. flange that will bolt to the firewall and seal off the driveshaft from the cockpit.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Transmission Repair

the legs that hold the clutch release arm were broken. i machined a piece of alum. to fit the case to fix it. worked great.

next was to fit the gear shift lever.

now for the steering column and dash board.

i'll have to order the bits for the intermediate steering column. plan to use polished SS since those are so visible.