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Old 11-09-2018, 02:13 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Moveable Front Splitter (and introduction post)

Hello all, Long-time member (since 2010) and 1st time posting. Sorry for the long read, feel free to skip to the end. I've lurked for quite a while and have finally set upon the task of front-cutting my weekend racer toy car project.

It's currently 2360lbs, 2.4l turbo 5-spd that makes 240hp/250tq with 80%+ power available from 2800-6100 RPMs. It's a blast on the street, can cut a 0-60 in 5.5 seconds (on a hot day with tires up to temp), run the 1/4 mile from a standing start in 12.31 @ 113mph and cover the 1st 60ft in 1.59 seconds. It was a good start and my first engine swap so the learning curve was steep, but a great introduction to automotive modifications.

I originally started chasing the automotive dream in 2005 when I purchased my 1st manual vehicle. At the time Neons.org was a thriving forum and I learned a lot from Veteran mechanics and die-hard enthusiasts. I lurked until '07, gathered parts until fall of 2009 when the economy finally decided I needed to spend more time outside of work. I went back to school and in between classes started the build completing ~95% of the work myself in the summer of 2011. My build, SRTMiniMe, was based on a 2005 SRT4 engine/wiring/ECU take-out from a Police Auction in Reno with 5600 miles on the clock. The chassis was a 1995 Dodge Neon Sport Coupe that was originally exported to Canada in '96. The Build date was after the model year, which I've never seen before, but the electronis for '95 were a 1-year only deal so maybe it was excess inventory no longer suited for US inventory. This allowed for OBD-I diagnostics and a mis-matched ECU but would pass a tail-pipe sniffer test with flying colors (new high-flow cat) so I would pass DEQ with ease.

I drove the car hard for nearly 20k miles, multiple drag races, tons of highway miles and a speed test on a deserted highway that told me anything above 100mph makes the front end lift considerably. Full-on parachute status. In 2013 I figured I had enough testing complete to attempt a national trop to Cincinnati from Portland Oregon. 6300 miles later I had taken a side trip to see a cousin in Atlanta and then through Colorado Springs for Pikes Peak on the way back. Many issues cropped up but I was loaded with tools and backup sensors and only fought an overheating issue due to a bad cooling system design.

Then in 2014 I drove from Portland Oregon to Detroit Michigan, then back with two long-blocks strapped to the passenger floorboards (seat removed). On the way out I broke the custom motor mount adapter somewhere just outside of Omaha entering Iowa and with some local help had it welded and back in place by noon the next day. In the process the passenger side of the motor fell down with the downpipe landing on the steering rack and the passenger axle landing on the front portion of K-member (control arm/steering mount). That collapsed the flex pipe down to about 1.75" and broke/bent three of the four bolts holding the downpipe to the turbo. Surprisingly the car still ran decent and I managed 31mpg overall on that trip, lowered with a garden edging front lip addition and 185 width 400 tread wear tires.

I loved that car and knew more power was in it's future, but due the transmission giving up the ghost by digging the shift shaft into the housing I knew it would need a rebuild first. I stepped up to a non-turbo 5-spd from the heavier 2nd gens so my ceiling is now ~500tq, but the bigger bang for the buck is going lighter and leaning on aero for additional help. So much like how I began this project, dreaming of something bigger than I think I can tackle, I'm going to move forward with a full aero and caged conversion with a goal of 1800lbs and 0.25-0.30 coefficient of Drag and a decent amount of downforce above 100mph.

-----------------------------------------

I'll include pics once I reach my post limit. Currently have chassis torn down, drivetrain rebuilt, brakes/kuckles/hubs redone, modifying intake/exhaust, designing Front-cut. The design phase is probably my favorite aspect of invention. Start with defined goals and existing geometry, then introduce known componentry and mold the design to fit.

If you're still reading the moveable splitter has been mostly finalized and handed off to my welder last week. It includes uprights for pivoting pin mechanisms, the leading 2/3s of edge and some support stiffening panels. More bracing needs to be designed and paneling to catch the air. It'll make more sense once I start posting pics. I have looked around for tips on paneling, lightweight and reasonable in price, but would prefer some direction if you know of any good links?

Thanks and Happy Modding!

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Old 11-09-2018, 03:31 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Thanks for posting. Sounds like a blast of a car to drive.
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Old 11-09-2018, 04:14 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Rally beater - '05 Dodge Neon SXT
90 day: 25.32 mpg (US)

SRTMiniMe - '95 Dodge Neon/SRT4 Former sport coupe, now SRT-swapped
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According to this link:

ecomodder.com/wiki/Vehicle_Coefficient_of_Drag_List

I am already off to a good start at 0.33 CoD. Going wider will hurt my frontal area, but the bigger tires are too important so I will use it as an excuse to evacuate the engine bay along the rear fender gap. I'll need extended side skirts that end at a flat floor so some samples of paneling that can be mounted with rivets to an aluminum extruded tube structure should be my next step, then build the car up from there. Since the front tires are going to poke I'll have a bit more stability so bringing the rear inward 3ish inches on each side will let me taper the chassis without sacrificing handling too much. Really looking forward to 800lb springs lol.

I have a feeling I'm going to need a LARGE shop and gain some fiberglassing skills if I want to pull off the body changes that really excite me. or step up to vacuum-bagging and mold the panels with lumber/plaster to keep it cheap. So many options, so little time.
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Old 11-11-2018, 03:18 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Member called Vekke had number of impressive mods done to his VW Lupo and from pictures he published all started in backyard and kitchen. Look up his posts and webpage.
There ia also technique fiberglassing over foam, that looks time and cost effective. When I am on my PC, i will provide a link. Edit: found it here: https://rqriley.com/fiberglass-over-foam/

Hth

Last edited by seifrob; 11-11-2018 at 03:23 PM..
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Old 11-12-2018, 08:43 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I happened to see a first-gen Neon on the road today, kind of a unicorn around here (Midwest)--they've all rusted out by now. I learned to drive in a 1995 Plymouth Neon, so I have a soft spot for them.

If the underside of the second-gen is anything like the first, a smaller muffler and a proper diffuser at the back of the car should be in your future. Also, these cars don't have an engine undertray, do they? Fitting one should improve Cd and radiator efficiency, as it helps decrease engine bay pressure.
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Old 11-16-2018, 01:27 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seifrob View Post
Member called Vekke had number of impressive mods done to his VW Lupo and from pictures he published all started in backyard and kitchen. Look up his posts and webpage.
There ia also technique fiberglassing over foam, that looks time and cost effective. When I am on my PC, i will provide a link. Edit: found it here: https://rqriley.com/fiberglass-over-foam/

Hth
Vekke is @ tuneko.com - also look for same on Facebook


Fiberglass over foam ?
There have been a few members who did that

https://ecomodder.com/forum/showthre...ect-13533.html
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Old 11-17-2018, 04:03 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
I have looked around for tips on paneling, lightweight and reasonable in price, but would prefer some direction if you know of any good links?
I dislike fiberglass. Consider Polymetal:



These samples were sheared, rolled and braked by hand. Only the braking failed. Fiberglass doesn't come pre-finished.

https://www.nudo.com/p_polymetal.php

Competitive products are Grimco Maxmetal and Alumapanel.
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Old 11-29-2018, 01:48 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Rally beater - '05 Dodge Neon SXT
90 day: 25.32 mpg (US)

SRTMiniMe - '95 Dodge Neon/SRT4 Former sport coupe, now SRT-swapped
90 day: 10.02 mpg (US)
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After some searching I came across these guys and the quality looks excellent. What are your thoughts?


flatironpanelproducts dot com
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Old 11-29-2018, 10:50 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SRTMiniMe View Post
After some searching I came across these guys and the quality looks excellent. What are your thoughts?


flatironpanelproducts dot com
Nice find, give them a call and see if they do small order retail.

If they are wholesale only maybe a local retail store open to the public can special order for you.

I would love to raid their dumpster.

Trust me, if I lived near there it would be a serious consideration.
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Old 11-29-2018, 07:11 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Cool car!
I still have my 2004 SRT-4 I bought new in July 04
28,000 miles on the clock and still has the original battery with the Daimler Chrysler sticker.

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