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Old 08-12-2015, 02:31 PM   #41 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xist View Post
I always feel like Ecomodder.com is in grave peril when Xist jumps in to save the day with Windows Paint.
I might've died from this.

Although I'm mostly a lurker, wouldn't it be possible to do something almost, but not quite, entirely unlike this? :P That is, I mean, wouldn't you be best off with a very short stretch? Something that gives you a comfortable amount of room for rear passengers (probably quite a bit more leg room than most compact cars) and a little extra cargo space, but without going to the limo stretch levels?

I've never been lucky enough to get my hands on a classic Insight, one of my sort of dream cars, but it seems like this might be your best option. With enough measuring, cutting, and welding, you ought to be able to even use stock body panels from junkers.

As far as structure goes, I could see an internal truss system possibly working.

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Old 08-12-2015, 02:32 PM   #42 (permalink)
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The Insight is rather highly engineered, so changing it anywhere is likely to make everything else marginal. Of course, you only really have to keep up with moving vans, so most cars have a lot in hand. It is more fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow.
You also should anticipate the general livability of the enclosed volume. Most people prefer more height, and you can gain volume quickly by trading skin friction for frontal area at no cost compared to a stretch. For a project this extensive, I'd think in terms of using a legal frame, and adding a fully-aero shell. Foam and fiberglass would be fast to build, light, and just what you need in an RV. With a front engine, the Pillbug shape would be stable, and still gorgeous. A burnt-out RV can have useful appliances, etc. to salvage. You can drill out the frame if your body is able to take the stress, and maybe stay legal.
I'm finally back to work on my fleet, and have discovered that the Metro works much better as a one-man camper by arranging the housekeeping around a seat set sideways on the bed. I've also slid the bed forward, instead of trying to use the hatch as a headboard and skylight. Now, some cheap plastic drawers fit there.
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Old 08-12-2015, 03:51 PM   #43 (permalink)
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don't modify the space frame

Quote:
Originally Posted by a8ksh4 View Post
I didn't realize they were made of aluminum. That does present some additional challenge. Insulators at junctions and bonding rather than welding... maybe...I agree about not wanting to mess up the frame... It'd be a shame to do this to anything but a beater, at least to start with.
having been hit by a semi in one of my first-gens, i can tell you first hand: a) you don't want to mess with the structure at all. Honda is not kidding when they say that even the spare tire is an integral part of the space frame, and that the passenger cage is as safe if not safer than NASCAR specs, as long as the frame is fully intact and the spare tire is torqued in place.

is your goal to carry more stuff, carry more people, or to be able to "camp" in such a vehicle? if more stuff, it is easy enough to put together a lightweight trailer using one of those aerodynamic rooftop carriers for SUVs. if more people - just one more? are they small? we've done 200+ mile road trips with a smaller adult in the hatch area, she finds it comfortable. finally, if to camp /carry stuff - get a metro. what i miss most about my metros was the one i had just the driver's seat in, and the rest was a flat platform. i could carry quite a bit of gear AND sleep in it. i don't miss the rust, the the lower fuel economy, the noise, and the lack of AC.
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Old 08-12-2015, 04:07 PM   #44 (permalink)
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Metro Camping

Quote:
Originally Posted by i2k View Post
. what i miss most about my metros was the one i had just the driver's seat in, and the rest was a flat platform. i could carry quite a bit of gear AND sleep in it. i don't miss the rust, the the lower fuel economy, the noise, and the lack of AC.
Was your platform all level, with access to 9-10" of storage underneath? How was that for convenience?
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Old 08-12-2015, 04:10 PM   #45 (permalink)
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Was your platform all level, with access to 9-10" of storage underneath? How was that for convenience?
yes, i had three sections, all carpeted - one behind what would have been the back seat, over the spare, the next over the back seat area with lots of storage underneath, then a curved piece that filled in the front passenger seat area.
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Old 08-12-2015, 04:46 PM   #46 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xist View Post
I am not sure that a stretched Insight would maintain its aerodynamics. Don't you have increased skin friction on flat surfaces?

What about an aerodynamic trailer?
Foam. Teardrop. Trailer.

As aero as you design it. Ultra-light weight. Car remains intact.
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Old 08-12-2015, 05:32 PM   #47 (permalink)
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First gen Honda Odyssey had a 2.2L 4 cylinder, rated for 26 MPG hwy. Mazda5 also has a 4 cylinder, and can be had as a manual, rated at 28 MPG hwy. I bet with aeromods either one could get into the mid to high 30's. Or swap an Insight drivetrain into the Odyssey...

Civic wagons (the 2WD ones) look like they can be incredibly economical. Not sure how big you need the car for traveling.
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Old 08-12-2015, 07:03 PM   #48 (permalink)
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Like i2k, I have a single-person camper interior in my Superbeetle. One piece of plywood replaces the rear seat cushion and a wood frame supports a second piece at the same height up the right-hand side. There's six feet from the footwell to the back. Mainly I haul things, air compressors and etc.

Underneath that is all the tow cable, jumper cables, chains, 4-way lug wrench and my favorite—a pop-up traffic cone. That way the frunk stays tidy.

That third picture of the stretch Metro I took at the Electrathon races. I didn't know I was talking to Dave Cloud. Thanks Frank Lee.
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Old 08-12-2015, 07:04 PM   #49 (permalink)
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An Insight drivetrain would not work in an Odyssey.

Maybe a 4 cylinder from a Civic hybrid or 2nd gen Insight.
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Old 08-12-2015, 09:02 PM   #50 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by i2k View Post
having been hit by a semi in one of my first-gens, i can tell you first hand: a) you don't want to mess with the structure at all. Honda is not kidding when they say that even the spare tire is an integral part of the space frame, and that the passenger cage is as safe if not safer than NASCAR specs, as long as the frame is fully intact and the spare tire is torqued in place.

is your goal to carry more stuff, carry more people, or to be able to "camp" in such a vehicle? if more stuff, it is easy enough to put together a lightweight trailer using one of those aerodynamic rooftop carriers for SUVs. if more people - just one more? are they small? we've done 200+ mile road trips with a smaller adult in the hatch area, she finds it comfortable. finally, if to camp /carry stuff - get a metro. what i miss most about my metros was the one i had just the driver's seat in, and the rest was a flat platform. i could carry quite a bit of gear AND sleep in it. i don't miss the rust, the the lower fuel economy, the noise, and the lack of AC.

/\ THIS. as well as the post about the TDI wagon.

Why not go the TDI route? With the money and time spent into engineering an unsafe stratched insight, you could probably spend that much on a mkiv TDI wagon that has a good safety rating and ample space in the rear. (I say moderately because once you cut the body you jeopardize ALL crash integrity without a full rollcage IMHO). The only way you can maintain the safety (assuming the added weight doesn't compromise your crumple zones) is to do a bang-up job strengthening the chassis with extended welds into the existing unibody, especially around the door frame. Otherwise in an accident, the original parts will split off your welded extension and fold out like a trapezoid, squishing you like a tomato.

With a TDI You've got a car engineered to be (really) safe, you can probably lay down in the back, and get good MPG with the diesel, without breaking a sweat. I just imagine a cut and welded car like that Geo folding quite literally like a TIN CAN in ANY sort of frontal collision. If you DO use a full rollcage, connected to a tube-frame extension, I see substantial weight gains and cabin intrusion of the cage. So you've saved your internal organs but your head will smack steel when you get hit or roll over. Game over unless you drive with a helmet.

In general you'll have a LOT invested for a mostly functional car that may have tracking issues, poor sound deadening, difficult climate control, and quite a few engineering issues to overcome, all besides the safety aspect (do you want a door on this extension....etc..).

Get a jetta, enjoy the creature comforts, mod the shiznit out of it. You'll spend less time with any VW gremlins it can will throw at you, compared to the challenges of reengineering the insight... assuming you finish without going broke, and it works.

OH and the TDI will pull a camping trailer too...try that with an extended insight.

I saw this yesterday:



To conclude, unless you're way more capable than the average human at building vehicles, I hope nobody ever rides in your stretched creation without knowing exactly how safe it *may* be. Also, get better brakes if you intend to get carried away filling your new car with camping crap.

If you know what you're doing (I hesitate to think so if you're here asking for tips), I wish you good luck and hope you make a cool creation!


p.s. - totally serious get a TDI.

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