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maschinenbau
maschinenbau UltraDork
9/12/21 6:42 p.m.

In reply to Winston :

Yes it seems to be a 1969 based on VIN. Looks like someone glassed over the "federal" turn signals. 

Right, so, brakes. The plan here is to keep the front end stock. By using the stock Europa brakes, I can rebuild/refresh them for zero budget hit, one of the few free safety items in the $2000 Challenge. If I upgrade them, I have to count the parts in the budget. I've never had calipers worth rebuilding before (I always just replace), so this is my first time.

These are Girling 14LF calipers, which were used on just about everything small and British in the late 60's early 70's. Rebuild kits are available and actually quite cheap, thanks to the ubiquity of Spitire restorations.

They are two-piece twin-piston, which means twice as much stuff to get rusted stuck. In the case of this Europa, all 4 pistons were absolutely fused and would not budge with compressed air. So I got a little more motivation from my grease gun on the bleeder screw, after a few days soaking in a vinegar bath.

Holy crap, I can't believe that worked! Credit for the idea goes to the Europa FB group. To do this right, you have to first press out the outboard piston, otherwise there is no way to pressurize that piston with the inboard one removed. A bolt jammed into the inboard piston kept it from ejecting before the outboard one. Then simply separate and install upside down, so the fluid passage is blocked only to the inboard piston, and repeat.

I will not be re-using these pistons.

They honed better than expected. Just waiting on parts now.

Then I went ahead and stripped down the rest of the frame. Check out these Spax adjustable shocks. Hoping I can reuse them, but they are pretty rusty. Also note the lack of a lower ball joint. Instead they used a trunnion, which is basically two bushings perpendicular to each other. I think the trunnion is rebuildable but the upper ball joints need replacing. And just about every control arm bushing. 

And that's a stripped frame! I can almost lift it myself. 

Well, almost stripped. This control arm bushing inner sleeve is a bit stubborn.

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/12/21 7:12 p.m.

In reply to maschinenbau :

IIRC the bare frame is right around 120lbs. 

nocones
nocones UberDork
9/13/21 9:15 a.m.

This doesn't seem to far behind my $2021 challenge car.  I look forward to racing it next month!

Scott_H
Scott_H Reader
9/13/21 2:06 p.m.
maschinenbau said:

In reply to Scott_H :

I just have two questions right now. Where is that build thread please?? And is this swap going to be as awesome as I feel it will be?

Thanks.  The engine install was done about 8 years ago now.  I worked a bit too hard on that and got a bit burned out and never finished the interior.  There's an access panel I made in the firewall that needs to have a new trim panel made and the MR2 shifter changes the trim on the center console.  I am doing that now but have some family delays slowing that down.  Unfortunately I don't have the time or attention span to maintain a build thread.  I do have lots of photos.

chandler
chandler UltimaDork
9/13/21 2:20 p.m.

Scott, I've admired that car a lot over the years and never realized it had a motor swap.

Scott_H
Scott_H Reader
9/14/21 4:07 p.m.

In reply to chandler :

Thanks.  I did the swap back around 2012 or 2013.  The Toyota engine added a bunch of reliability, 3x the HP, while only adding 140 lbs., all-in.  It's too bad it was never made with this type of powertrain.  It was supposed to have a V6 but nothing with this much power.  The engine and trans are essentially stock except for the headers, free flowing exhaust, and intake up to the throttle.  At least for now.  There's a cool upper intake manifold available for the Evora that is for the 2GR that I have seriously thought  about making.

 

maschinenbau
maschinenbau UltraDork
9/16/21 10:05 a.m.

I like that intake a lot. I'm glad there seems to be some aftermarket when I decide to blow the Challenge budget. 

Caliper rebuild kit arrived, so I assembled the brakes and put them in a box until the rest of the chassis is ready. The seal kit, hardware kit, and pads came from Rockauto while the new pistons are from Moss Motors (search for Triumph Spitfire parts in both cases). The pads have red on them, which I believe makes them faster. There is a lot of debate on the internet about whether or not to use grease on the piston o-rings when assembling, or just brake fluid. Supposedly, if you use grease, you MUST use something called "red rubber grease" which is difficult to find. It is castor based so it's supposed to play nice with brake fluid and rubber, so they say. I couldn't find it, and didn't want to wait on it, so I just installed the normal way using brake fluid. This car will likely catch fire and explode, though I doubt it will be because of what grease I didn't use. I used Permatex caliper assembly grease everywhere else (no contact with fluid). 

Also on order from Moss (for about $100 shipped) is every front end bushing, ball joint, trunnion bushing, tie-rod ends, and boots for the steering rack. Speaking of which, is definitely salvageable. It looks rusty at the tie-rod joints, but that's just dried grease which wipes right off. I just cannot believe how lightweight this front end is. The OD of the rack tube is just 1". No u-joints in the steering shaft. The rack brackets are teeny tiny die cast aluminum bits, held on with just some 1/4" screws to the sheetmetal frame, which got bent where the brackets attach. I will have to reinforce that area when it's time to install.

By the way, including a fully rebuilt front suspension, the Challenge budget is under $500 right now.

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/16/21 10:13 a.m.

Sometimes I'm blown away by how cheap things are for some of our cars. For example I just ordered $100 worth of x1/9 stuff. Spark plugs, fuel filter, oil filter, timing belt, engine cover prop, and a used interior bracket. 

Considering I just shipped a box of stuff to my sister last night and the shipping was $75!!, getting a pile of parts for $100 feels like a steal. 

 

obsolete
obsolete Reader
9/16/21 10:28 a.m.
maschinenbau said:

There is a lot of debate on the internet about whether or not to use grease on the piston o-rings when assembling, or just brake fluid. Supposedly, if you use grease, you MUST use something called "red rubber grease" which is difficult to find. It is castor based so it's supposed to play nice with brake fluid and rubber, so they say. I couldn't find it, and didn't want to wait on it, so I just installed the normal way using brake fluid. This car will likely catch fire and explode, though I doubt it will be because of what grease I didn't use.

The worst consequence I've had from reassembling a caliper with brake fluid only is that it creaked. Only happened to me once, usually they're fine. I have a bottle (a.k.a. lifetime supply) of the McKay assembly lube now and never have any problems with it. There are several other assembly lube options out there, Raybestos sells one, Centric sells one, etc. Certainly not worth taking an already assembled caliper apart for, though.

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/16/21 10:48 a.m.

In reply to Robbie (Forum Supporter) :

I use brake fluid for assembly lube when I assemble calipers.

RoddyMac17
RoddyMac17 Reader
9/16/21 11:00 a.m.

What bushings did you order from Moss?  They don't stock the a-arm bushings, and they are kind of spendy.  They're a metalastik bushing with an inner and outer steel sleeve.  

As for rubber grease, I've always used PBR rubber grease, though I'm not sure where you can get it these days.  The Red Rubber stuff used to come in the Girling rebuild kits, but finding actual Girling stuff these days seems to be difficult.

JoeTR6
JoeTR6 Dork
9/16/21 11:04 a.m.

In reply to maschinenbau :

Remember, you are now a stressed member of that chassis.

Ditto on the brake fluid for assembly lube.  I have some of the reb rubber grease somewhere.  It used to come with the rebuild kits.

maschinenbau
maschinenbau UltraDork
9/16/21 11:08 a.m.

In reply to RoddyMac17 :

I bought these which are for Spitfire A-arms. No idea if they'll actually work. Moss 661-075. You're right though, the Europa ones have a metal sleeve inner AND outer, while Spitfire seems to be just an inner sleeve. I figure worst case I'll machine my own from Delrin or something.

RoddyMac17
RoddyMac17 Reader
9/16/21 11:16 a.m.

The Spitfire ones are 3/8" ID, and lack the outer sleeve.  The Europa ones are 1/2" ID and something like 1 1/16" OD.  Machining from Delrin would be the cheaper option, unless you can find some generic Poly bushings with those dimensions.  

maschinenbau
maschinenbau UltraDork
9/16/21 11:30 a.m.

In reply to RoddyMac17 :

Well crap. I figured for $2 each it was worth finding out, but I should have just consulted the forum first! I might also considering pouring some urethane directly into the arms around the original inner sleeves. 

Shavarsh
Shavarsh Reader
9/16/21 1:16 p.m.

What an awesome build. I didn't even know how much I needed  2GR swap. Will be following!

maschinenbau
maschinenbau UltraDork
9/22/21 7:41 a.m.

I got the steering rack cleaned, repacked with grease (Lucas Red n' Tacky), and reassembled. It has more drag / effort than I would expect, but it seems to be somewhere near the workshop spec pinion turning torque of 2 lbs @ 8inches. I need an in-lb torque wrench or pull scale to more accurately verify. It's also adjustable using off-the-shelf shims under the bushing cap, so I'm not too worried about it for now. Into storage it goes.

Also started rebuilding the knuckles. They are 4 separate pieces bolted together, because casting is hard I guess. That large threaded portion is for the "trunnion", which is an ancient predecessor of ball joint technology. More on that later, but it gets weird.

Control arms are these flimsy folded sheetmetal pieces. This car has double-wishbone front suspension, but each wishbone is actually two pieces bolted together through the ball joint or trunnion, for 8 total arms. The arm bushings have inner and outer sleeves, leaving only a thin 1/8" or so of rubber, which is thoroughly ruined by now. Unlike the rest of the parts on this suspension, replacements are harder to find since they are only shared with the Lotus Elan. I can buy new ones, but I would need all 8 (2 per arm), which becomes a $100 hit to the $2000 budget. So I'm going to pour my own.

I pressed out the old ones, cleaned up the inner sleeves, and plan to pour polyurethane directly into the arms using the original inner sleeves. I have acquired some budget-friendly 2-part casting rubber polyurethane of 80 shore A stiffness. By omitting the outer sleeve of the old bushings, I will have more volume of rubber than original, but this new stuff is much stiffer than the old stuff which was likely around 60 Shore A, so I figure it will behave similar.

Each bushing took between 5 and 10 tons to pop.

I'll have to rig up some kind of casting jig so that both bushings on each wishbone stay concentric to each other.

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa PowerDork
9/22/21 7:47 a.m.

Not that casting is hard, but now they can use that same upright/spindle/whatever for a buncha different cars with different loading cases.  Ford did something similar with early Mustangs, same spindle for drum and disc brakes, add the bracket (that looks very similar to that one) for disc brakes.

GM > MG
GM > MG New Reader
9/23/21 9:56 p.m.

You probably looked at these but some manf. sell universal bushings.

Maybe you could find a set that close in size and not too $$$...

https://www.energysuspensionparts.com/energy-suspension-universal-polyurethane-bushings.asp

 

 

maschinenbau
maschinenbau UltraDork
9/28/21 7:29 p.m.

Both knuckles are fully rebuilt with fresh paint and hardware. Yes, there is a rather large McMaster-Carr line item on my Challenge budget. I really like fancy fasteners. Most of these are zinc-aluminum coated, just like a real OEM would use.

I forgot to get a picture of the disassembled trunnion. That's the bronze piece where a lower ball joint should be. One axis allows up-down motion as a control arm pivot using delrin bushings. The steer axis rides on threads - steel male threads forged into the upright and female bronze/brass threads in the trunnion. I...guess that's just how they did it back then. You have to lubricate the steering axis threads because it's metal-on-metal, so there's a grease zerk on the upright. Originally it calls for 90w gear oil, so the joke is this British car even leaks oil from it's suspension, which was true. I filled it with grease instead, which is a hotly debated topic online, similar to the steering rack lubricant. 

The last front end parts are the sway bar and shocks. I'm not sure how to proceed with the shocks I have, so sway bar it is.

I practiced making my own bushings using the sway bar links. Pouring bushings has gone...pourly...so far. More about that here. But long story short - bubbles and leaks. I have a path forward though.

https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/grm/how-to-make-your-own-delrin-an/140312/page2/#post3335357

I want to paint the rest of the front suspension at the same time as the frame (or at least the front half of it), so I can have a half-roller. So the frame was stripped and exploratory chops have been made. 

It's a little crusty in some key places. I definitely have some patches ahead. This is the "crotch" where the main section flares around the engine out to the rear suspension.

Oops, I cut up a Lotus.

Just to see if I cut enough, a test fit. 

The frame in place allows some tubular brainstorming. May have to CAD some of this.

This where the "crotch" goes under the firewall. A very key location for strength. 

Keep in mind the body still have to come down 4"-6" relative to the subframe.

From the front looking back, driver side.

Obviously just a rough layout with tape. But this is what I'm leaning towards:

  • Keep Avalon subframe stock and removable. This unit, though beefy, contains the engine mounts, lower control arms, sway bar, a bunch of stuff that saves me fabrication and it simply works. It is 4 huge bolts to mount it (which I saved).
  • Tube frame from Lotus frame "crotch" region to subframe pick-up points. Allows powertrain to drop out from below like normal.
  • Convert from McP strut to double-wishbone using via a fabricated or machined bracket that matches the knuckle's original strut mounting holes. 
  • New UCA between knuckle bracket and middle tube frame
  • Universal/sportbike coilover between knuckle bracket and upper tube frame

Open to thoughts from others. I may build a CAD model because it is getting crowded and complicated under here.

By the way this is what the stock Avalon subframe looks like (thanks junkyard fairy!)

gumby
gumby Dork
9/28/21 7:52 p.m.

I think this looks like a reasonable Challenge solution.

If you are keeping this car long term, a full tubular chassis would be a great post-Challenge build. I bet a modified Midlana roller-skate could be tucked under there...

GM > MG
GM > MG New Reader
9/28/21 10:44 p.m.

Lotus Europa(s) Apparently 3 bodies, 5 frames and 3 motors.

In my general area. No knowledge of owner or listing, just saw it the add and threw on the link for a heads up to anybody bit by the Europa Bug...

https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/614542859512634/?ref=search&referral_code=marketplace_search&referral_story_type=post&tracking=browse_serp%3A3f2d65b5-ffeb-498e-96ca-c2d867f22c74

 

johndej
johndej Dork
9/28/21 10:56 p.m.

In reply to GM > MG :

Haha, I looked up Europas the other day after reading this thread and that package was close enough to show up.

Awesome work maschinenbau!

Clifton
Clifton New Reader
9/29/21 6:43 p.m.
maschinenbau said:

Obviously just a rough layout with tape. But this is what I'm leaning towards:

  • Keep Avalon subframe stock and removable. This unit, though beefy, contains the engine mounts, lower control arms, sway bar, a bunch of stuff that saves me fabrication and it simply works. It is 4 huge bolts to mount it (which I saved).
  • Tube frame from Lotus frame "crotch" region to subframe pick-up points. Allows powertrain to drop out from below like normal.
  • Convert from McP strut to double-wishbone using via a fabricated or machined bracket that matches the knuckle's original strut mounting holes. 
  • New UCA between knuckle bracket and middle tube frame
  • Universal/sportbike coilover between knuckle bracket and upper tube frame

Open to thoughts from others. I may build a CAD model because it is getting crowded and complicated under here.

 

Originally was going to use an MR2 subframe. I wanted to make mine with a removable rear frame that dropped everything complete out of the bottom. Once I cut my frame, I didn't see a way to do that given the room.  I looked at doing a strut in the rear before going with an uca. Feiro's have the shortest struts but it would be completely under the body and tight up against the top.  I did not use the passenger side upper motor mount either. It still has 4 mounts total.  1" square tube is light so I went that route. 

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/29/21 6:55 p.m.

Great work!  

FWIW, the front spindles are GT6 parts and not Spitfire parts, although the moving parts (upper ball joints and lower trunnions) are the same. What I don't remember/know is if the brakes are from the GT6 or the Spitfire. The GT6 brakes have slightly larger diameter brake discs and the calipers are different.

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