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DRProjectCentral New Reader
3/12/24 1:49 p.m.

No big updates from this weekend for the 79. For the 78, a quick carb cleaning, rebuild, and readjusting was in order. It's just the factory 32ADFA. Happy to say it idles at 900 now, instead of 3,100. No more choking when you step on it, either. Hopefully it continues behaving so I can take it for longer drives this year!

DRProjectCentral New Reader
4/16/24 2:46 p.m.

Don't plan a wedding, buy a house, and build a car all at once folks. It is not the way.

Anyway, progress has been slow. So far, the engine has been temporarily mounted with some special tabs off the heads/exhaust "manifolds" and the oil pan has gone back to stock (instead of the 200/Cherokee version). 


Next up: build some temporary motor and transmission mounts. These will be fixed fore and aft, but will have vertical adjustablility. This way, the chassis height AND powertrain height can be independantly adjusted while the Fiat body is fitted. 


Progress is slow, but forward.

QuasiMofo (John Brown)
QuasiMofo (John Brown) MegaDork
4/18/24 8:39 a.m.

So the real holdup on using a Cherokee pan is overall depth. And the factory 2 piece pan has a rear sump, correct? 

Sketch up the rear sump with a short height but proper rail and support structure. Once finalized have a CNC job shop knock one out. Modify a rear sump pickup for height. Yes this is an expensive proposition, it can be done on a manual mill as well. 

While the fabrication fuel is flowing, replace the Miata subframe with a tubular one. Stronger, more range of adjustability and best of all... more room.

DRProjectCentral New Reader
4/23/24 9:37 a.m.

In reply to QuasiMofo (John Brown) :

The Cherokee pan is the shallowest available, the killer is the oil pump hanging down right where the subframe runs underneath. The factory 2-piece for this motor (from a 300) is front sump, same issue. Rams and Grand Cherokees/Durangos are rear sump, but so deep I'd have an inch of ground clearance. 

The only stopper on the tubular subframe is cost. I can get scrap steel relatively easily and patch up a stock subframe as clearance is needed. Those tubular deals are expensive.

I am starting to wonder if it'd be feasible to fab up a crank snout adapter to drive a front-mounted oil pump. I don't want to go full dry sump, but I wouldn't have to move the rack around...

DeadSkunk  (Warren)
DeadSkunk (Warren) MegaDork
4/23/24 11:06 a.m.

It's too bad that engine is so darned tall. I went through all this height and interference crap when I built my Corolla, but I was able to reduce the height by 6-7 inches with pan and intake selection on an LS. If it were me, I'd look at fabbing a new sub-frame if the engine and rack can be located without interfering with each other. I can envision a rectangular weldment with the stock towers .

DRProjectCentral New Reader
6/21/24 10:58 p.m.

Again, don't buy a house and plan a wedding in the middle of building a car. It's not the way.


Anyway, I made a smidge of progress today. Tomorrow I'll get the front suspension back together and set the whole car down. The next step after that will be trimming the fat off the NB and prepping the Fiat unibody for some pretty major liposuction. Hopefully by wintertime they'll be put together (and I can work on this whole shebang in my own garage without the commute). Stay tuned!


Sidebar, for those interested: the 78 is running great! Still needs some tinkering around the edges but I dare call it reliable at this point.

DRProjectCentral New Reader
7/7/24 4:04 p.m.

Made a little more progress today, with some help from Ice Cube on Spotify. Got the door internals disassembled, so the windows, frames, motors, and lock/latch mechanisms can get freshened up at the house on days I can't come back to work on the chassis. I also pulled the whole dash wiring harness out yesterday: if you have a Spider, I'll be selling it, so please reach out if you want it (I'm in northeast Ohio, but we can talk shipping). 


I gotta say, today was a good day.

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