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"A man must keep a little back shop where he can be himself without reserve. In solitude alone can he know true freedom."
-Michel De Montaigne 1588

January and February, 2010

Jan 6, 2010 - The FWD Suzuki transaxle, drive shafts and hubs will be used in the rear. The rear hub carrier uprights from the Hawke will be modified to accept standard Suzuki bearings and CV drive shafts.

The Suzuki drive shafts cleaned up quite nicely and show no signs of wear.
Fortunately, the Hawke uprights used large diameter bearings that allowed me to machine up a sleeve to adapt to the smaller Suzuki bearings. The sleeves were pressed in and welded front and rear.
I took measurements of all the parts and drew them up on CAD. The rear track width turned out wider than the Lotus 23 but fortunately, so is my bodywork. Looks like a perfect fit without changing the lengths of the half shafts.
Jan 10, 2010 - I taped the body panels together and set them up on blocks at the 4.5 inch ride height in order to take some measurements for the chassis design. The body is a few inches wider than the Lotus 23 so I should be able to make the chassis wider and more comfortable.
Jan 26, 2010 - The calipers were sent out for rebuild and plating.
Jan 27, 2010 - Since the synchros on the Suzuki transmission were somewhat worn, I decided to rebuild it. But first, I had to get all the grunge off. Here is a picture of the casings just back from sandblasting. Rebuild kit with all new bearings, seals and synchros cost $200 on ebay. I sure hope I remember how to put it all back together again.
Jan 31, 2010 - Here is a picture of my build table just before screwing on the top. Steel 2x4 studs sandwiched between two sheets of 3/4" MDF. It turned out dead flat and straight.
Feb 4, 2010 - For cutting the steel tubing, I am using an old Black and Decker chop saw with a carbide steel cutting blade. I added a piece of rectangular tubing to extend the fence.
Feb 7, 2010 - Started on the fame. I'm building the upper section first. Once it is tacked together, I'll take it off the table, build the lower section and then lay the upper section on top.
Feb 9, 2010 - Temporary spacers hold everything together while I fabricate the vertical pieces.
Feb 11, 2010 - The verticals and some of the cross bracing are tacked in place. The transmission is shimmed into position to make sure the rear cross bracing doesn't interfere.
Feb 13, 2010 - I made a mockup of the electric motor in order to check for clearances. I wish I could say it was skill but it was pure luck that everything just fit. Right rear cross member had to be lowered slightly to clear the motor. Not perfect triangulation but I should be ok if I gusset the back corner.
I spent the last two days making three of the four motor mounts. The tricky part was making sure that there was enough clearance to allow the motor and transmission to be easily removed from the vehicle. The fourth mount that will support the electric motor will have to wait until the actual motor is installed.

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