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MrJoshua SuperDork
8/24/08 12:06 a.m.
fastEddie wrote:
MrJoshua wrote: Torque wrench only goes to 75ft/lbs. We needed 120. Hmmm, Jenna weighs about 115lbs, breaker bar is about 17 inches, we can make this work!
You going to tell us how old she is too?! j/k I'm sure it's not that big of a deal when you're young and thin! Thanks for the posts though, it's good to see a couple working together like this on a car, gives me hope someday for me and my wife! Maybe....

She just had a birthday, so she is a little older than she used to be. Shes pretty relaxed about her weight. Actually, let me correct myself, she controls her weight very well so she isn't too worried about people knowing the number.

Working on the car together has been fun, although she has been getting to see the frustrations of stuck and broken bolts, and all the other stuff that just doesn't go as planned.

MrJoshua SuperDork
8/24/08 12:09 a.m.
spitfirebill wrote: I think you are trying to influence the concours judges.

How so? Is it the fact that we color coordinated the pressure plate to the car, or the fact that Jenna wrenches in shorts? Believe me, the pressure plate was luck, and its fricken hot in Fla so shorts are almost a necessity (not that im complaining ).

MrJoshua SuperDork
8/24/08 12:56 a.m.

Saturday August 24th, 2pm-12:45 am (with lots of breaks)

If any of my clients are reading this-yeah we were supposed to go out of town this weekend, but the state park closed due to some lame storm or something.

Its been a whole week since the last update. We have been busy with car stuff, just not our challenger car stuff. I recently sold 2 drivetrains to other challengers to free up some space and add some much needed funds to the car budget. Unfortunately this means the end of the N* N600. Now the little car is relegated to being a boring Fonda Honda.
Sorry little car, I promise I will get back to you later.

On a happier note, the reason the little car is being moved outside was to make room for my new toy! I bought a lathe! After being strongly discouraged from buying a cheapo mini-lathe in my "mini-lathe" thread, I came across a southbend 9" on Ocala4sale. A quick drive and some bucks later and I now am the proud owner of a very very vintage lathe. With no time to build a proper bench to hold it, it now resides on the build table.

Im damn near giddy! I love new toys!

The immediate reason for purchasing a lathe was to make challenge priced bushings. To make them you must first remove the old ones.
Jenna and Charlie hard at work stripping a Miata rear subframe.

Removing bushings:

The Harbor Freight 3 in 1 tool was wonderful. It made me feel like a fool for all the goofy methods ive used for bushing removal in the past.

I spent the last week researching internet and local sources of bushing material. What I found out was that everything is amazingly expensive. Polyurethane is outrageous and Delrin is only slightly less so. I decided to look for another option.
Several years back the business I rent space from refurbished their bathrooms. In the process they replaced the rusty bathroom dividers with a hard plastic material. Thinking I may use some of that material to make new cams for my exercise machines, I asked the installer for the surplus. He gave me the scrap from that job and one other he was currently involved in. It turns out the material is High Density Polyethylene. HDPE has a hardness somewhere above most polyurethane and slightly below Delrin. The information I found suggested a Durometer of 60-70D. Stuck with few other options, I decided to give the HDPE a try.

It came in sheets of either blue or a very classy black with white specs. (Concours judges-who else has black with white spec bushings?)

I decided to use the blue because the thickness worked well for a two piece bushing. First I had to drill the approximate size out of the sheet with a hole saw. It was a mess with the material wanting to melt more than cut.

Then I chucked up the two pieces that would make one bushing on the lathe and went to work.

The end result was 4 partially completed bushings and lots of scrap plastic. The process was slow, but the bushings show promise.

Night all-another update tomorrow!

ignorant SuperDork
8/24/08 8:12 a.m.

slow down... Try playing with cutter geometry


MrJoshua SuperDork
8/24/08 11:13 a.m.
ignorant wrote: slow down... Try playing with cutter geometry http://www.eng-tips.com/viewthread.cfm?qid=144179&page=1

Is this in reference to the melted pics above? The melting was on the drill press with the hole saw. The drill press is slowed as far as it will go. I think the problem is the hole saw wobbling in the hole. The lathe cuts beautifully set on the low speed with the cutter that was attached. I will play with some other cutters and settings tonight.

famous New Reader
8/24/08 12:35 p.m.

One other thought - get some dry ice and freeze the "bushing stock" prior to machining. Might give you a little extra time before the material starts to melt.


Kendall_Jones New Reader
8/24/08 2:00 p.m.

Note, I hope you're putting the metal sleeve back in those bushings. They take all the clamp load in the bushing, otherwise they will "smoosh" (and cold flow).

Just FWIW, better to sort it now....


MrJoshua SuperDork
8/24/08 2:36 p.m.
Kendall_Jones wrote: Note, I hope you're putting the metal sleeve back in those bushings. They take all the clamp load in the bushing, otherwise they will "smoosh" (and cold flow). Just FWIW, better to sort it now.... Kendall

Yup, thanks for the heads up! Until the rain started (again), I was busy melting sleeves out of the stock rubber bushings.

dculberson New Reader
8/24/08 8:44 p.m.

That's awesome, though; buy a big expensive tool to make "free" bushings. Exactly how it should be. (My motto is: Why buy it for cheap when I can spend more money to make it??)

MitchellC Reader
8/24/08 10:23 p.m.

Good work getting the lathe! That lathe should be reliable as a hammer. Nowadays it's kind of nice buying something that was made here in the US.

MrJoshua SuperDork
8/29/08 1:54 a.m.

It's been 5 days since my last post. Not long in the normal world, but in challenge time it feels like an eternity. The weather has been nothing but crappy. Combining that with the fact that I have been spending a few hours a night abusing lots of HPDE and producing little in the way of bushings, there hasn't been much to post. Well after tonight we have finally amassed enough work to make me feel like we are worthy of a picture post.

August 24th-August 29th, assorted times

Jenna has repeatedly proved herself an asset to this project. Despite the nasty weather she has pushed forward. Rather than gripe about working on cars in the rain, she has been the one pushing me to get out to the driveway instead of lounging in the warm dry house in front of the TV. We have both be more soaked than anyone should be when pursuing something you describe to others as an entertaining hobby.

Jenna removing the front subframe (in the rain of course)

The offending part ready to receive its share of speckled stall wall bushings.

By that point I was actually starting to produce bushings that looked like someone might actually pay for them! (BTW-not a chance, I'm toooo slow)

Tonight Jenna attacked the rear subframe.

Another part in desperate need of speckled bushings!

While she was out playing in the rain, I spent my time working on my "Hoosier Racing High Performance Machinists Chair" (Note the R-Comp base and the optional Speed Holes in the wear resistant HPDE bench)

The fruit of all that bench abuse was a batch of 14 bushings specifically designed for the racer who can't tolerate a boring single-color bushing.

That and a giant pile of packing material.

If anyone noticed the writing on the bushings-theres 1 more reason I should never go into bushing production. Labels like: Rear Upper Inner Outer, probably only make sense to me.

Next up-Install the bushings and start prepping the car for paint! 33 days, time to step it up!

minimac Dork
8/29/08 6:56 a.m.
MrJoshua wrote:
Osterkraut wrote: So uuh, there's a hurricane coming... We're boned!
Perfect time for some wet sanding.

Now that's what I call making lemonaid out of lemons!

glueguy New Reader
9/2/08 7:00 p.m.


Congrats on having a situation where you can share your hobby. I know that I am late to make these safety comments, but I will anyway:

  1. Good to see in the pictures that for the most part her hair was not loose
  2. I had to cringe at all of the pictures of flip flops. I understand Florida heat,and I'll even let the shorts slide. Generally, the arms and legs can withstand damage that won't make day to day life annoying, but not the hands and feet. I was glad to see the gloves. Please protect the eyes, fingers and toes!
  3. Make sure that she has a tentanus shot. Most women won't think about that, but if anyone is grabbing at rusty, jagged metal, and working on race cars, it becomes part of the human preventative maintenance plan.

Safety time out over, back to wrenching


MrJoshua SuperDork
9/3/08 2:15 a.m.

If those make you cringe, wait till you see this post.

Sunday August 31, 1-10pm and Tuesday September 2nd, 8pm-2am

The goal of the last few days was to finish installing the bushings and get ready for paint.

Jenna using a little leverage to remove stubborn suspension bolts.

After stripping the front subframe, Jenna had her first experience pressure washing. (In flips of course Ron )

After that, she learned how to use the torch to burn out the pesky bushings that wouldnt let go with the 3 in 1 tool.

When I wasnt busy showing her all the fun power tools available to use with car projects, I was busy finishing the bushings.

Jenna experiencing the joy that is marine grease.

Apparently this stuff doesn't bore cats as much as it bores dogs!

Its been decided that I am going to attempt to teach Jenna how to paint a car as part of this experience. Problem is Ive never painted a car with a spray gun. Blind leading the blind on this one.

Besides the obvious problem of no experience, we needed a space to paint in. Unfortunately the Ro-Spit is the ony semi-mobile fixture in the garage and a year or so of ignoring it has turned it into a very full shelf.

Several hours of cleaning and a very full garbage can later left me with something that might actually roll.

After that the final bushings were placed in the front and rear subframes. Man, talk about a drastic underestimate of work required to complete part of the project. The bushings put us over a week behind. They basically guaranteed at least a week of sleepless nights working on this car to catch up before the challenge. Ah well, at least they have speckles!

Ooooh pretty!

Coming up next-Prep and Paint.

MitchellC Reader
9/3/08 2:30 a.m.

Whoa, I don't think I've ever seen the RoSpit so clean!

Nashco Dork
9/3/08 3:08 a.m.

Fantastic progress, the group build in short order is inspirational, you've got some good helpers. I've been trying to make good solid progress and keep up with documentation on my own projects and I still feel like I'm dragging compared to this build! I must say, the flip flops make me cringe too...my girlfriend wears them all the time and just walking around she gets her feet hurt all the time, I hate those things. Jenna is mighty brave wearing them while wrenching!


Jax2A HalfDork
9/3/08 6:58 a.m.

Man I cut my toe pretty bad pressure washing my deck barefoot once. Wasn't really my fault, I was distracted when one of my kids came too close to check things out. Still hurt though. Be careful out there.

dyintorace HalfDork
9/3/08 7:35 a.m.

I'm sending Ericka an update on this thead...she won't believe the garage!

MrJoshua SuperDork
9/3/08 9:18 a.m.

Im glad to see people thinking the build is progressing rapidly. Feels like molasses to me.

Tucker-just don't forward any pictures of the back porch.

As far as the flip flops go- I didn't include the pic where she was standing on a suspension piece to hold it down while pressure washing it. To warn her of the danger I told her the story of my experience of pressure washing a nice groove into my hand while trying to hold a part and pressure wash it at the same time. On the up side, it makes a really clean wound! If by some miracle we reproduce, common sense may not be one of the childs strong points.

kcbhiw Reader
9/13/08 1:28 a.m.

Bump! How goes it?

MrJoshua SuperDork
9/13/08 8:15 a.m.

Slow and painful my friend, slow and painful.

porksboy HalfDork
9/13/08 8:10 p.m.

Keep the faith bro! You have plenty of time!

MrJoshua SuperDork
9/14/08 1:11 a.m.

Warning-this post is very very long and has at least one picture that is a little gruesome. Despite that interesting introduction it shows very little in the way of useful information pertaining to build progress. You have been warned.

Wow!............ I think we have somehow mastered time travel. Sept 3rd somehow turned into Sept 13th. I hate to burst all of the Sci-Fi fans collective bubble, but its not all it was claimed to be. First off: instead of just moving through time with no effect on the time travelers lifespan we both ended up feeing at least a year older. Second: instead of time travel giving us an edge on the future it just dumped us 17 days from a very scary deadline.
Now its time for the excuses. We are currently in the process of getting everything together to be eligible for a domestic adoption. Part of that process is having a home study where people come to your house to judge your ability to be somewhat normal parents. Unfortunately not everyone thinks having 12 cars in various states of disrepair on your 3/4 acre property in the middle of a middle class neighborhood is a sign of good sense. So we have had a cleaning frenzy and a cars/hazardous materials exodus worthy of Saddam preparing for visits from the UN. Part of that exodus was trying to get a fellow challengers car road worthy enough to spend a few days in his neighborhood (one that is waaaaaaaaaaay less forgiving of loud ugly sub $2008 cars). That went well. Among the problems was the fact the car didnt have the foot support befitting those used to being swaddled in upper middle class/lower upper class goodness.

Somehow those in the fancy neighborhoods don't see the benefit of flinstone capable cars. So to make things easier on my challenge buddy in the "higher-falutin" neighborhood I sent the car in its floorless state over there on a big old trailer in desperate need of a paint job to stay a few days. (sorry to pick on you Tucker-neighborhoods with covenants are an easy target) He must be good at hiding the combo because they haven't kicked him out yet. Fortunately for us the home study team either believed our temporary sub 5 car state was normal or were pretty cool because they deemed us worthy of parenting an adopted child.

Now for excuse number whatever:
Monday while trying to get the house ready to be viewed by "Those who don't quite understand" I found a little time to work on the challenger. The project at hand was cutting out one of the "Ears" in the engine bay. A Greddy downpipe has to snake between the brake splitter, the factory driver side engine bay "Ear" and the subframe. A combined side effect of these tight quarters and the cheapness of the Greddy kit is that the downpipe is somewhere around a paltry 2" OD. That's an OD barely worthy of the the stock 100 or so hp, much less the eleventy billion I plan to have. Seeing as I had so much spare time I decided to cut out the "Ear" to allow enough room for a homebuilt 3" downpipe I plan to teach Jenna to build in our spare time. The tool of choice is a reciprocating saw or Sawzall. Everything was going fine until I was about 1/4" away from finishing my last cut. Then my subconscious must have remembered how guilty I have been feeling about ignoring all of the safety warnings you guys kept giving me (bastards )
Apparently my subconscious is not only highly open to suggestion, it is very creative. I managed not to cut my finger with a reciprocating saw, but to smash it. Im not sure even the hammermaster Per has accomplished using a saw as a hammer. The saw kicked back and smashed my left thumb between the body and the handle.

(It looked alot worse a couple of hours later when the bruising and swelling had settled in )

Fortunately for me Mitchell was willing to drive to the store and get me superglue and I was back to cleaning.

Between the thumb smashing, the home study, my grandmother's 85th birthday celebration, Jenna being out of town, relatives in town from all over the country, work, etc... today was the first day we managed to get any measurable amount of challenge work done.

September 13th, 1:30-3pm, 4-8pm, 9-11pm Today was about getting the car ready for paint.
Step one-more pressure washing:

The evil cutout (last 1/4" completed with an angle grinder, just a fyi)

After pressure washing we scrubbed and degreased every inch of the car. We then made room and pushed it in the garage.
(The floor was dusty, so I sicked the trusty Scooba on the job)

Once the car was in the garage we primed a few spots with bad chipping paint to allow ourselves to practice feathering in paint tomorrow.

Tomorrow we work a bridal expo most of the day, afterwards we start masking!

VWguyBruce Reader
9/14/08 6:18 a.m.

I, for one, am finished complaining about being too busy to work on my car. You win!

As for the home study, you just can't beat the feeling of being interrogated Been there.

9/22/08 10:22 a.m.

What nuthin new to show off man? u left us hanging almost a week ago with rolling it into the garage. How bout an update already? I'm curious to see how much progress u two have made this week, it looked like it was about time to start putting it back together last time I saw it.

Also if u need extra hands call me, I'll make the time to come help.

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