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Discussion Starter #1
********DISCLAIMER*********

Those who are old enough to remember i am building a RWD astra, you are going to see alot of parts that were destined to be used on the RWD astra used in this. DON'T PANIC! the RWD astra is still going to be going ahead (one day......) but it will no longer be Vauxhall powered. It has all been redesigned, although no actual progress has been made in years. Rest assured it will be more amazing than you can imagine, its going to had so my wow factor than you can shake a stick at, and will still look just like my original FWD Astra from the outside :cool: So no Astra related statements or questions in this thread!

Those who have no idea what i am talking about, :face::lmao::lmao: read on and enjoy the build P.S. I love my pictures :)


This is a bit of a impulse build.... Alot of my friends have got into the Caterham scene, two really good friends have got Supersport 310's 1.6 16v's (green ones a 2011 and red ones 2008)





and also went out in this the other day, a 2014 620r, 2.0 supercharged 6 speed sequential gearbox, the fastest thing i have ever been in, accelerated like nothing ive ever experienced before!!



But, alas,...... i dont have £15k to spend on a Caterham (or £50k for a 620r :eek)

so i went onto ebay looking to see what i could build on a budget, bidded on a unfinished project. so the next weekend i headed from Suffolk up to Crewe on a roadtrip with the Autoshack gang





Then detoured in the way back to Aylesbury for another Ebay bargain i'd spotted.







So about 500miles done lets see what i actually bought.

The unfinished Locost i won for £495!!!







So i paid £495 and got a hell of alot!!#

Its a Ron Champion Book spec chassis which has then been modified with a De Dion Rear to replace the Live axle and Sierra front hubs instead of the Cortina uprights. Over all it looks like a copy of a MK INDY, although i have been in contact with MK and the were very helpful but did confirm it was not a genuine MK Indy.

Its a full Rolling chassis with a ton of new parts,
- new Gaz adjustable coilovers all round
- new Bias pedal box with Willwood mc's
- Willwood hydraulic clutch setup
- new mk2 escort steering rack
- new polybushes all round
- 2.0 Sierra front brakes with new discs pads and flexys
- Sierra Cosworth rear brakes with new discs pads flexys and handbrake cables
- all new brake copper lines all round
- new kit car shorteded prop
- 7 inch Cosworth 4x4 LSD
- all body panels
- set of 14ich ford wheels with good tyres

so basically engine, gearbox, fuel tank, steering column and you could have a pretty fun track toy for a few hundred quid.

However, that isn't really my style lol

now, the detour we took on the way to Alyesbury was to pick this up



A full body for a MNR VORTX. These are pretty rare and VERY hard to get hold of, NMR are very cagey about who they sell parts to, only really selling anythingto people registered with MNR chassis's. They are going to have a bloody fit when they find one is going on a mongrel chassis :face: :lmao:

The best part is i paid £200 for the lot and it is brand new never been on the road!

just laid the bids on to get an idea of coolness





love the double bubble scuttle on these!



here are a few pics off google. this is wht it will look like when finished :cool:







 

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Discussion Starter #2
The original chassis was built to a pretty high standard, it sits true and some great welding. HOWEVER..... everything else that was welded on after was not up to my standard. All the floor panels were certainly welded by someone else, they're structural but not pretty, then things like the rad mounts, various brackets and certainly the roll cage are just going to be cut straight off! and the bit of racking on the rear......

heres a walk around the whole thing

































i got a book to check it all out



Although i may have deviated to ze germans the last few years, i am Vauxhall at heart so there was only ever going to be one choice for a power plant.... C20XE :)

8 odd years ago when i started the Astra rwd project i planned to use a high powered C20LET in rwd configuration, meaning i have loads of bits laying around.

i had a good Cosworth T5 gearbox (back in the days when you could pick them up for under 100quid



and a A-frame engineering bellhousing adapter





and then for 8 years that has sat under my drill bench :lmao:



Also back in 2009 i bought Mtec aftermarket managment (with launch control) and jenvey throttle bodies















i also have things like a solid T5 mount



and a yukspeed xe rwd sump (although i dont know if ill use this)





all of that has just been sitting in boxes in a top secret location for 8 plus years, and is all still like new :lol:

It will most probably be a standard refreshed c20xe with throttle bodies and the mtech, and a few ARP bolts holding it together and should be 180-200bhp at a guess to start with.

i keep remembering other odd bits and pieces as i go along i have in stoarage.

I will be building this to spec to get it IVA'd and fully road legal once finished. and be using it for track days and good blasts out on the road.

Anyone thats been through the process is welcome to fire any pointers as i go on the way, anything that i've drastically overlooked.

Hope to get progress here and there so stay tuned :)
 

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Cheers yes indeed, i joined up there when i bought it and they were a great help identifying the chassis :)
I think I remember seeing the thread actually. The car should be a rocket with that engine, I had one with a stock XE in it and that was rapid! Shame the IVA cost is nearly as much as you paid for the chassis!
 

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Funk me what an awesome buy! And what a price. That is bloody great.
Cant believe you got the rare body kit so cheap too.

That welding is a bit interesting... Still nothing that cant be fixed really.
This is gonna be a fantastic project.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The side panels had all been measured to size and riveted on, and they are all stainless steel. it would have made a pretty flashy looking stainless shiney body once finished. As many of you will know, stainless is VERY difficult to work with, bend and drill as its so bloody strong! This is something they found when they started fitting the panels

(yes this is how they were fitted)









so got the drill out and expelled all of those



next i thought id uncover the mock up c20xe > a-frame engineering bellhousing > cosworth T5 thats been sitting under the drill bench for 8 plus years and tried it in, i had no idea if the massive T5 will even fit in the tunnel









It does foul the tunnel on the drivers side. but it should clear with modifying the lower rail



Next i really wanted to try the one piece MNR fibreglass body on. for that i needed to take all the suspension off





chopped the old exhaust hanger off as its on the wrong side



went to take the rear off and found they must have welded the panhard mount on while it was assembled, as you now cant get the bloody bolt out as it hits the cage!



so cut it off.

took all the panels off, and now have a nice big stock of stainless



and a naked locost (ish) chassis







still in love with the shape!



the guy i got if from had made a wooden frame inside so it didn't get out of shape whilst in storage



and lifted the body on, width wide its pretty spot on :) it drops right down at the cock pit compared to the locost so it wouldn't lower right down



so i welded a temporary brace in



and top chopped out



it also fouled on the rear trailing arm mounts as they stick out further than the chassis. so slimmed them down for now, will come back to this once the body is on





also chopped off the gash radiator mounts and towhook as they fouled the nose cone



and the body slots on nicely :) :) :) :)





the holes sadly dont line up, they are close, but not quite



and the it hangs down a few inches under the floor too which i knew it was going to



it fouled the front suspension as the holes dont line up so the body didnt fit flush to the chassis





I'd already decided with all the problems the book spec locost has with no self centring of the steering due to no castor, and bad bump steer due to the steering rack being alot wider than the suspenion mounts.

but the locost design with the mk2 escort rack is miles off



The 'mk2 locost' the haynes roadster sorted out alot of problems at the front with steering bumpsteer and castor, so got book 2



So i am going to be basing all my front suspension on the Haynes Roadster. it uses the sierra front hubs and mk2 rack all of which i have. the whole width of the body of the Roadster its a lot wider than the Locost so if i build a front subframe to weld on the front of my chassis it wont fit in the MNR nosecone. i have it worked out don't panic, it just doesn't come across very well :lol: wait and see how its done, bur basically it will be using book spec front Haynes Roadster suspension and steering.

so for now i can loose the original Locost front panel to fit the MNR body



and the MNR body fits! forgive the flappy bonnet, it will fit spot on when clamped down with clips. over all i am very happy!





with that question answered, yes the body will fit, i moved back onto the engine

i really want it to fit under the bodywork, i really dont want to put a bulge in the top as i think it will ruin the double bouble sleekness that makes it look so different to the caterhams. but i have no datums of where to actually put the engine??

the only datum i have on the chassis is the rear diff is fitted (and i assume in the correct position as this chassis design should not have a diff, it was designed to have a live axle. So starting at the diff i have the kit car prop, which will govern where there gearbox goes forwards and backwards, but i have no idea on up or down.

here's my theory, tell me if i'm wrong....

I set the chassis up level



i positioned the engine up and down untill the propshaft was level



and then the engine level



So the crankshaft, gearbox main shaft, propshaft, and diff input are all completly inline?

which leaves the bellhousing about this much lower than the chassis, the sump will be at the same height



this leaves the rocker cover almost touching the bonnet, so ideally could do with going a few cm down if thats possible?

let me know what you think?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
other new, ebay bargains purchases include this i picked up for £30 ( not 100% a go on this as its only 2inch bore, too small?)



a Caterham A frame for £20! to replace the panhard rod,



picked up these rear lights for 99p each :)



already cut to a angle for IVA



and going on with other necessities, some Caterham real carbon fibre front mud guards! £280 each new, weigh 600g, and ebay bargin of £41 for the pair :)



the gell coat has gone cloudy,



but i've had experience with this before and if you re lacquer this it looks like brand new :)

i also picked some Caterham fibreglass doors for £16



but as it turns out my cockpit is obviously longer so these wont fit



happy with progress so far :)
 

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Some very nice deals there, and a nice little project once you clean up the birdshit welding - were they using a normal MIG wire without gas?

Engine height, and the aforementioned driveshaft alignment issue may be partially reduced by dry sumping the engine - TBH, I would strongly recommend that be done purely because of the risk of hard cornering running the pickup dry.
With a dry sump you also have the potential for better ground clearance, reduced overall height for bonnet clearances and a lowering of a substantial mass to improve the CoG height (effectively lowering the car a little) to go with the increased engine protection.
As mentioned, driveshafts should never be run in a straight line as it can result in fretting of the rollers and there is no movement to move the grease around inside the cross. You can tilt the differential a little (I would expect this may happen in the donor car as the engine is usually fitted with a slight rear angle so the diff' would have a matching up angle to keep the flanges parallel.
I wouldn't consider the driveshaft length as the criteria for the engine position as it is easy and cheap to have it shortened and only a little more expensive to have it lengthened - fit the engine, etc. where it needs to be and the diff' to match and then worry about the driveshaft.
I can't recall if you have a centre mount hydraulic clutch slave cylinder, but it may be a good idea as you may find the space for an external hydraulic or mechanical system rather restricted.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for the input Gordo. Dry sump would be ideal, but unfortunately well out of budget. I will have to make the best of what I have as this will be a budget (ish) project keeping things simple. I'll be more into modifying the chassis to fit the parts have than buying lots of new parts. After a bit of googling it's clear that you do need a bit of u.j. angle. generally 3dedgrees seems optimum, 7 degrees maximum, with drive flanges
parellell.
 

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Money, or the lack of it, is the bane of most builds :(
If you use the Yuckspeed sump, double check the fit before fitting it - there have been many who have found them warped or otherwise impossible to get a good seal with - but perhaps used with an Accusump, just in case?
I'd be tempted to add some weld to the plate, either way, to ensure the spot welds don't fracture from vibration.
Oh, while you're at it, if you add some extra holes to the new mount, you can alter the front pickups for the De Dion and the rear steering under roll. Might be handy if you are planning to use the car for Autotests as well as fast track work.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I would love this to be a full on motorsport spec build and have the best of everything but I have to sit on my hands, I am well known to get carried away :lmao: it's the perfectionist inside me! I have seen the trailing arm adjustment holes on other builds, it's things like that I am going to concentrate on, optimising what I have. changing the angle of the shocks etc, all things other people have found and commented on over the years and try and continue the development myself too.

I was disappointed with the yukspeed sump all those years ago when I received it after all the hype I heard about them. so probably will flog it on. I have a ac/dc tig now so I might just make a winged sump from the standard alloy xe sump.
 

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Awesome bargain buys! That white one in the picture looks gorgeous.

Will go very well on the bodies, the Mtech can be hit and miss with working with a internal trigger wheel (I know someone who has a new external grinder wheel for the Mtech if needed).

I think the hamerite is more structural than the welding on that cage
 

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Awesome bargain buys! That white one in the picture looks gorgeous.

Will go very well on the bodies, the Mtech can be hit and miss with working with a internal trigger wheel (I know someone who has a new external grinder wheel for the Mtech if needed).

I think the hamerite is more structural than the welding on that cage
I love the look of the MNR VORTX, I'd never even heard of them before I spotted it on eBay. Totally changes the look of it compared to a caterham etc.

I still can't decide if it's arc welding, bad mig, it's a mystery :lmao:

SBD do a sump and pickup - SBD Motorsport Vauxhall Sump pans, oil way plugs - but don't know how effective it is, I expect there are others also offering options, like QED - Vauxhall XE (C20XE) | Lubrication | QED Motorsport | Sump, Oil, Dry, M... hmmm, those look very similar... You should be able to talk to others using the 20XE engine in their Lotus 7 type cars and see what they suggest/recommend and any issues they've had.
again it's all build vs bought, will see how it goes with the alloy welding :lmao: Caterham did put a C20xe in their cars for a while, so you can get some cool caterham/xe stuff, but mega rare.... and expensive!

there's hundreds of threads out there, that's all I've been reading lately, seeing all the problems and solutions people have come up with, suspension geometry mods etc.
 

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a quick one tonight. i wanted to get the engine central down the car, the massive T5 is loads bigger than the type 9 the tunnel was designed but it only fouls in a couple of places. this is as central as the engine can get though



because it fouls here





grinded all the paint back and cut a piece of 25x25 box to length to move that rail inboard



welded it in and cut the old rail out, i will be cutting it completly out and welding it up properly when the gearbox is back out







theres one point it just touches on the upright so i might move that upright over the same amount as the horizontal and all will be fine



i think i will cut this whole plate out as all the holes for the pedal box are all on the piss, and i want to move the inner vertical outboard by 25mm, and the welding needs cutting out anyway.

 

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Just be careful about narrowing the drivers foot well too much, there isn't much room by the pedals at the best of times!
 
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