Step 4 - Creating access for the gearchange mechanism
I recently re-read the stuff in this section and realised that none of it made sense. So here is the latest revised section that hopefully will be a little easier to read. Here is the step-by-step process:
The other issue to consider is the redesign of the actual actuating arm(s) themselves. A bit of judicious bending or cutting may solve the problem. But remember that the arm was probably designed to be this length to supply adequate leverage etc, and shortening and bending in or out can undermine the level of leverage. Either way there are solutions and not particularly radical ones so I will supply pictures etc as usual, once I have finalised the solution.
Update 15 June 2005: Well I still haven't completed the gearchange. I am procrastinating a little. But below are a few pictures of what is presenting as a rather large problem (not a show stopper but close).
Creating the apeture
Basically, I marked out the area where the apeture needed to be while the engine and the gearchange were in the subframe. After doing some more complete marking up I then drilled some holes in the cone tower with some large drill bits (ie. 10mm). From here I used the angle grinder and also a flat file to create a neat squarish hole.
Originally I was thinking about creating a type of metal dish to fill in the aperture. But this proved extremely difficult so instead I went with a simple V shaped cover that was welded in place from the other side. I have also put a frame around the outside of the apeture and welded it in to add a little more strength.
Creating the mount for the gearchange
In the Starlet the gearchange lever mechanism is housed in a plastic setup that sits on a platform welded to the floorpan and transmission tunnel, as you would expect. The only trouble is that this is far removed from the way Austin/Leyland designed the Mini 45 years earlier. So basically you can either graft the original cradle onto the Mini or create a new one.
Creating the firewall aperture
This is particularly tricky as there are so many variables. The aperture needs to be as far away front the gearbox actuating arms as possible. But equally you can have the cables exiting the gearlever in the car at a very strong arc either as this will make the gearchange very stiff and awkward.
I proceeded to measure the whole thing out so I could get a rough idea of where things were going to sit.
Creating the gearchange linkage
The solution. Basically I am going to make a new arm. The arm will maintain the current pivot point and the arm that actually moves the rod backwards and forwards. But I will have the arm move over the top of the rod and the connect to the gearchange cable much further forward of its present position. The drawn images below is a rough mockup of what I am going to attempt. It will be tricky but should work. As my engineer said to me at the start "anything is technically possible if you have endless time and money!"
Also because this arm is being moved forward towards where the engine bracket for the gearchange cable sat I will have to make up a custom bracket (image 18) to move this cable back (to the left) to ensure that the movement is ultimately the same in comparison to how it was in the Starlet.
Due the cramped conditions experienced around the cone tower and gearchange mechanism I had to get very creative. The aperture in the cone tower for the gearchange is proving a tad difficult to get completely right, but I will get there (but this necessitates removal of the engine each time so this weekend I am determined to get it right for the final time).
Update 19 June 2005: As you can see below. I have pretty much finished the linkage. Quite a bit of work involved and alot of pondering. While it won't win any design awards I am quite chuffed at the design. Hopefully it will work I can't too much reason why it won't.
The other issue outstanding is the new mount bracket for the cables. As you can see in Image 7, the bracket staggers the mounting for each cable as secondary arm sits behind the primary arm, so a greater distance away fromt the mounting point. The bracket will make the mounting points flush with each other I am also going have the right cable sit a bit higher and almost sitting on top of the left cable. Watch this space.
Update 29 June 2005: Well some progress to report. I have made the bracket to hold the cables that bolts to the engine (images 15 -21). I ended up having to make the bracket a stepped arrangement (image 18) to give the cable that attaches to the highbrid gearlinkage enough movement. This seems to be successful so here's hoping. I have also started making the hole in the floor through which to pass the cables so when this is done I will post more pics. There was a lot of work sorting out the gearchange and it ain't over yet, but I am getting somewhere. I think this is getting so long it will have to be a step by itself...
Update 10 July 2005: I welded the gearchange pedestal to the floor of the car today and that went pretty well (it certainly isn't going anywhere). Pretty straightforward in that where the fingers of the pedestal touch the floor pan a weld was made. Below are a couple of pictures.
As well as the floor pan I also moved the exit hole through the firewall to a slightly higher position. Only problem with this is that it left me with a reasonably large hole as the two holes kind of joined together. So I got some plate steel and have made a nice plate that will be seam welded around both holes and strengthen this area up again. Very close to finalising this part so I would say by next weekend the engine should be out again and then I can start on the rear spar and put the engine back in. Then it is onto the exhaust.
Update 25 July 2005: As you can see in image 23 I have finally got around to welding a plate in to recess to finally block it up. This should add back the strength and also obviously make for a neater arrangement. Hopefully this will also allow enough space for the gearchange to move back and forth properly. We will soon find out when I reinstall the engine hopefully for the last time (fingers crossed).
Step 5 - Getting the Exhaust Done
I have now started to get the bits together to assemble the exhaust. I have recieved the mandrel bends ($140 inc postage). The catalytic converter (images 1 - 4) should arrive shortly ($280 inc postage, if this seems high its not, RRP is around the $420 mark, it is the highest flowing cat available, but the main reason I bought it was because it is also quite slimline at only 4" in diameter). I got the flange on the weekend ($40). The last piece is the exhaust box (muffler), with an expected cost of $175 roughly. So all up that makes $635 so far and there ain't much left to buy. So based on the best quote I got in Canberra ($1050) I have saved myself $400, not bad.
Step 1: Take the flange and bolt to the turbo (assuming the turbo is now on the car!). Now take one of the 90 degree bends (90s) and place it against the flange. There are two issues here. Firstly, you have to line the bend up so that the downpipe is inline with the notch between the sump and the bellhousing (image 5). the second issue is that you will find that obviously even at 2.5" the pipe doesn't cover the whole of the hole in the flange (images 6 & 7). This will require you to do a few tricks with some excess pipe to basically cover the opening and then bring it back down to the 2.5" pipe by the time you get to the 90 degree bend.
Step 2: Once you are sure that you have the header pipe is done it is now a case of joining all the different bends together to form the full dump pipe. You may also want to think about putting flange joint somewhere here so that you don't have to remove the whole exhaust just to take out the engine etc (pics to follow).
Step 3: Once you have routed the exhaust up under the rear crossmember you have to get it to straighten out so that the catalytic converter can be placed into it. Before finalising the end of the pipe that will connect up with the Cat you are best off placing the Cat where you intend to place it and then working from both ends to meet in the middle otherwise you could run into problems with things meeting up.
Update 29 June 2005: Well after advice from Brad about the exhaust I am going to have to make some room in the rear spar for the 2.5" exhaust. I had a feeling that I would. I might confirm the actual clearance before I start cutting though. The clearance for a metre either side of the axle has to be 100mm (4 inches). So I will measure with the spar as it is and then make the decision.
Also I have decided to go with the idea of making my own dump pipe and exhaust, as the $1000 cost was excessive in my opinion given the amount of work required and the cost of materials. I have also found a place to get a cat for a reasonable price. Most places I rang in Canberra wanted $280. Liverpool Exhaust have said that they can supply me with the mandrel bends so I am going to send them a schematic and then go from there. This should happend during July.
Update 10 July 2005: The mandrel bends arrived this week, and look very trick. I ordered these from Liverpool Exhausts (if you wondered). Prices for the bends were around $20 for 45degree bends and $30 for 90degree bends. All up I got 2 x 90's, 3 x 45's and 1 x 60. This will be enough to do the piping to the catalytic converter.
I have placed and order for the catalytic converter, which should hopefully arrive this week. I also obtained the flange on Saturday from Custom City Exhausts. Not a bad job but as you can see he hasn't left much meat around one of the bolt holes so I will have to weld some additional metal in there I think. But it gives me something to go with. Once the gearchange is completely finished (no ifs and buts). I will start on the exhaust and get it to the point where it is due to run under the back engine mount. I have bit the bullet on this issue and decided that I will have to make a gap to let the exhaust through to give enough ground clearance. So I may do this first and then I can place the engine in for the last time (definitely) and then I can go straight through with the exhaust.
Update 17 July 2005: Things are starting to happen with the exhaust. The mandrel bends have arrived and I got my flange as you can see. Well I managed to do the hardest part of the dump pipe this weekend (Images 9-11). I am pretty impressed with the outcome considering all I have to work with is a hacksaw, angle grinder and a welder. I think this should flow pretty well too. The next major part is the run under the engine and over the rear crossmember which could be very tricky. I will supply more photos of the pipe in the car later. I am getting a little fed up as my weekends seem to be taken up with a lot of other stuff, but I guess I can't become a complete hermit!!
Anyway as you can see in images 7 - 12 the process involved welding the first 90dgr bend to the face of the flange (image 9) from there I carved out the piece from the bend and using an offcut created a triangular bridge piece that made up the gap this produced the start of the dumppipe and also makes a wide funnel. In off the shelf systems they tend to use two differing diameter pipes which meet lower down. I think this setup will flow better as there are no edges or flanges to create resistance. From there I took the next 90 degree bend and basically but welded it to the bottom of the first piece. You will notice that it is not an exact 90dgr bend exiting the flange. This was because the gap under the engine and also the physical space in the engine bay prevented the straight exit out of the turbo. I have also angled the second 90degree bend to point slightly to the left under the engine to avoid the rear engine mount. I will take additional photos to demonstrate what I mean.
Update 23 July 2004: First off it has now been pretty much a year since I started this so Happy Anniversary Matt. Well onto the hard stuff. I finished the dump pipe basically this consisted of extending the the dump pipe by 200mm so that the flange is located just after the diff pot joint. I welded on the flange so essentially that is all done - see the images below.
I have also started on putting in the new crossmember at the back to create enough room to pass the exhaust through (images 13 & 14). It looks pretty cramped now but once I have removed the excess metal it should go through no trouble.
As you can see in images 13 & 14 I have started on the rear subframe. I have progressed a little further with it and should have it in tomorrow. I have also confirmed that it will fit through and with room for it to move around. Basically it consists of a bar that is welded to the base of the existing bar. Given that the previous bar was 1 inch (25.4mm) in width this provided just enough room to get the 2.5 inch (63mm) exhaust pipe through. I have also got it to move a little more to the right to free up some space to allow the gearchange cables to move freely and not start melting by coiming into contact with the exhaust. Anyway once it is in I will provide final pictures and then it's onto the fun parts.
Update 9 August 2005: As you can see in images 15 through 17, I have accumulated all the bits I need to finish the exhaust. The cat converter, the lukey straight through muffler and the pipe to join it together. I should have this close to polished off this coming weekend. Otherwise I might concentrate on getting the brakes and clutch done, or the gearchange but either way it should be sorted..
Update 15 August 2005: I have decided that I will have to redesign the dumppipe as it sits a little too low so here are couple of pictures to see what I am going to do with it. It is a pain but ultimately it should help in the long run. The full exhaust is proving to be a pain but I expected that. Once completed I will post pics of the full system.
Semi Final update on exhaust 30 August 2005: Finally some good news on the exhaust it's finished! I even managed to paint it (badly, with some heat resistant paint). I got it sitting as close up to the engine as possible but even then it hangs a little lower. But this is to be expected to get under the left driveshaft output. Even then it only about 5-10mm below so I couldn't get it any closer. Overall I am pretty happy with it, I think I would do a better job if I wasn't rushed for time and if I had a hoist or a pit!
The only downside is that it means the car sits below (or the exhaust more accurately) the 100mm minimum ride height. But only just so a bit of work on the adjustable suspension should get me over the line in this respect. The good news about getting the exhaust done is I can send it off to get the driveshafts made up which I did this morning. Bloody fantastic - hopefully no surprises there...
Final Final Update on Exhaust 22 October 2005. Well you know how I said the previous entry was the last one well I lied. Anyway here is the list of what I have done which now means I can truly call the exhaust system finalised.
Images 18 to 20 show the installation of the O2 Sensor. Basically this involves going to specialty fasteners (or another nuts and bolts shop) and obtaining a nut that fits the thread on the base of the oxygen sensor. Then simply welding this to the exhaust. Not that hard really, but vitally important, no oxygen sensor and you car will run like a dog, if at all. The O2 sensor helps determine (in tandem with a couple of other sensors) what fuel mixture you're running, very important on turbo cars.
And finally images 21 & 22 are of the muffler system and the chrome tips. As you can see I have also created my own exhaust rubber suspension system. Took a while to work out but only three nites to create so not bad. Well impressed with myself if I do say so. So now that's done I can go onto the fuel system...
Installing the remote oil filter.
Steps for installation of the remote oil filter are:
Update 8 August 2005: As stated on the front page I had a bit of a win on the weekend as far as the hosing for the remote oil filter was concerned. I ended up going to Enzed and spoke to the guy there. I indicated that I was looking at Speedflow fittings and he enquired as to whether I really needed them. I said not really and that I thought these were pretty much the only ones to go with. He said what about some brass connectors and I said do they work and he said yes.
So he brought them out (image 3) and while they are a bit larger than the speedflow items, they are definitely solid enough. Plus they are 5/8" so you don't have to worry about flow. And the final win was on the price, all up for four connections and the hose $92.00. Bargain.
One note of warning though. Due to the distances between the two theaded sections on both adaptor plates, the one section 90degree bends won't work as you cannot twist both on as one prevents the other from being turned more than half a turn. Get the two section ones as seen in Image 4. But overall these will produce a very good and very strong (no chance of snapped fittings which I have heard is problem with the speedflow items as they do look a little flimsy) solution that will more than handle the oil pressure.
Update 25 July 2005: Well went out to the Pirtek guy. Ends up he had none of the speedflow connections that I needed as he had used up all of them on a Mustang conversion that morning DOH! But good news all up with connections and hose $150 approximately. So that means the whole shebang should come in at approximately $270.00. This is some $130 to $180 cheaper than most of the kits costs I got quoted, so it pays to shop around. Anyway, more pics once I have the system installed which will only occur once the engine is in for the last time...
This is a new section, and is in place because I decided that a remote oil filter system will make things alot easier as far as hitting the frame and to give room around the turbo for routing the intake pipe. Plus it just makes things neater.
Now I got quotes of around $400 to $450 for a remote system including hoses. This all seemed a bit high for me. So I tracked down the actual flanges (images 1&2). from a mob called Unit-Equip. Total cost $121.00. On the weekend I am going to see my good mate out at Pirtek to get some hoses. I'll let you know how I go...
FINAL NOTE: While I have endevoured to give you as much information as I can, I am not a professional engineer, not even close. So anything you take from this website is at your own risk. Due to the increasingly litigous society in which we dwell I am will also be unable to develop or send out full specs for the subframe. For the same reason I won't be making subframes for people. The fact is as much as people like to say that they won't seek you out when things go wrong they will and usually with a lawyer in tow.