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Old 01-02-2008, 11:18 PM   #11 (permalink)
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The spitfire project would be really cool but I had a few problems I was not able to solve. Main one was there was absolutely no way to get a strut front end under the spitfire hood. Second problem was I have not been able to find a decent spitfire to use The one I have here is my sisters car and I still plan on eventually building it into something useful for her but it will mainly be just put a reliable engine and wiring in it and send it on it's way. She has said she doesn't want it turned into a geo metro and wants it to be very close to stock, just reliable. I guess seeing the insane stuff I have done with other cars she is afraid of what it would be like if I went nuts on it.

I still make no guarantees that I will end up with a metro convertible when I am done. I had to weld some 1 inch square tubing all over the bottom of my xfi though to keep the doors lined up close enough to actually close. It has some really serious issues with rust so really this is a matter of I have to do something and it needs to be running this fall at the latest I figure. I have been looking for something easy to build my drivetrain into and this car happened to be cheap and made it into my driveway first.

Converting an existing car to a tube chassis is way easier than scratch building a chassis. I just have to start with the roll cage and go forward to catch the existing engine and suspension mounts, then go rear and get the suspension mounts. From there just hang the body on it and it is ready to reassemble. Everything fits since it was made to fit together properly to start with. Scratch building a frame takes a lot more effort since there are no existing mounting locations to use. It took months to build the chassis for the kit car and that was cheating and using existing subframes. The body was installed on it probably 300 times getting everything lined up.

After I get this one done I might decide it isn't finished and cut the body off it and make it something else later on, that airplane canopy site was a bad link for me to see.

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Old 01-03-2008, 05:04 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Metro XFi - '93 Geo Metro XFi Convertible
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Didn't do much to the car today cause it was 18 degrees F in my garage I did take a hammer and screwdriver to anywhere that looked weak and found tons of rusted out areas on the unibody. These cars really weren't built for long term use

Anyway, all the suspension points are actually in pretty good shape. So I have an option on something I could do now, I could leave the suspension alone and just attach the tube frame to the stock suspension mounts and leave that part of the unibody alone, or I could cut it away anyway and rebuild it like I was originally thinking.

If I leave it alone I could have it built much faster but the tradeoff would be a bit more weight since I would have sections of the old unibody frame on each wheel. It would also not look as professional. If I cut it away I will be taking longer to build it but the end result would be nicer and probably longer lasting.

Also I was suprised how much of that asphalt based sound deadening material is in that car, some parts have 2 layers of it! No wonder the convertibles were heavier than the hatchback, with all the crap they added to them it is not suprising they needed 4.39 gears.
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Old 01-04-2008, 06:28 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Metro XFi - '93 Geo Metro XFi Convertible
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Warm enough the water hose didn't freeze up today so I pressure washed the car


I will spray the engine bay down with oven cleaner again tomorrow and see if I can get the last of the grime off it. After that I just need get it up in the air enough to get the gas tank out and unbolt the shifter and remove it.
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Old 01-04-2008, 06:58 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Vegan Powa! - '91 Honda CRX DX
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Looks pretty nice so far! You're really digging into it,
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Old 01-04-2008, 07:25 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Blackfly - '98 Geo Metro
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The passenger side control arm mount doesn't look TOO bad in the pics. You think (if you weren't going tubular) it could be patched?

Also - who the heck would paint a white car yellow?
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Old 01-04-2008, 08:24 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Now - '07 Hyundai Accent GS

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Wow, some nice progress...quickly.
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Old 01-04-2008, 08:41 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Metro XFi - '93 Geo Metro XFi Convertible
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I guess for some reason everyone wants a yellow metro convertible I will probably paint it back white unless I come up with some other random color

The control arm mount really isn't that bad and could probably just be welded up without needing any filler metal. I am halfway debating on just patching it really, I could do that over a weekend and just start reassembling the car and have it running within a month. It won't be a huge bit lighter than what I have now and really would not be what I want out of it.

If I did that though there would be no way to do the big engine vent duct to the back since the unibody would be in the way. I am not sure how much of a gain it would give me but it seems like it should be a pretty good thing to do.
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Old 01-05-2008, 11:28 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Metro XFi - '93 Geo Metro XFi Convertible
90 day: 62.17 mpg (US)

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90 day: 55.26 mpg (US)
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Today I turned the car up on its side so I could get the gas tank and what was left of the exhaust out from under it. That front passenger side suspension mount that didn't look bad actually has a lot more rust than I thought. One of the rear ones is in just about as bad shape so it is looking like I won't be doing a quick fix on it after all.

I also have figured out more or less how I can run the air duct through the car and out the back. I can move the gas tank up about 6 inches higher so I should be set to get the air channeled without a lot of trouble. Now that it looks like I have a good possibility of making the duct work the question is how much of an opening do I need in the front bumper? There will be no air coming into the engine compartment except through that opening. I am thinking either open the entire stock bumper opening back up and ducting all that air into the radiator. It would be easy to use vinyl sheeting to build a duct for that purpose. Or I could also just open the bumper up and let as much air flow into it without forcing it through the radiator and just let the fan take care of radiator airflow. I am thinking with the duct out the back the more air coming into the engine bay the better with this setup.
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Old 01-06-2008, 09:39 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Last 3: 70.09 mpg (US)

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Do you also have one of those car rotisseries?

I can't really offer any advice or info about the best way to go with the ducting setup. You're in pretty uncharted territory there, I'd say. The theory is sound, but it's not something you see applied (in front engine cars) very often.
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Old 01-06-2008, 09:17 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Metro XFi - '93 Geo Metro XFi Convertible
90 day: 62.17 mpg (US)

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90 day: 55.26 mpg (US)
Thanks: 0
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Got another question for discussion. I was studying on the car some more today and figured out that I can make the smooth belly pan work out pretty good. It will go from the front bumper to the rear bumper and be totally flat with just 4 areas where the suspension will be. The question is how high should the car be off the ground with a flat underside? I can leave the stock springs on it and with 14" rims if I can find a set will have it sitting pretty high up. I could also put the springs off my XFi on it and have it sitting on the bumpstops again. I have 2 extra sets of springs here so I could go somewhere in the middle if I need to as well. Anyone got any comments on ride height?

As far as the frame goes I think I have it all planned out now. I am going to use 1.75" tubes for the main structure and 1.5" or 1" for supporting stuff. I will also need to use a bit of square tubing for a few brackets and things but not much. I will probably not use 4130 since there would only be about a 25lb weight difference between the two and the extra work welding it together isn't worth that little bit of gain. The main frame tubes will be A513 Type 5 0.120-.130(depending on what they have at the steel shop) thickness and the rest will vary in thickness depending on what it is doing.

I need to get to the dollar store sometime this week and pick up 4 bathroom scales so I can see how much the car weighs now and when it is done. I don't have a chassis rotisserie, I could make one easy but I don't think it is worth it on this car. I will probably just hang it from the ceiling or turn it on it's side when I need to get at the bottom. I can build a small wood frame to keep the rear fenders from getting bent when it is laying on the side. The car is so light right now I really don't see any problems moving it around with no help.

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