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Discussion Starter #1
Welcome to my first rodsnsods build thread!

A quick intro about me.. I absolutely fell in love with cars early on in life, particularly with american stuff binge watching Overhaulin, Boyd Coddington etc etc.. My first car/ project was a 1958 beetle which I spent 100's of hours restoring and building a custom air ride chassis for. I didn't quite finish that, but it was painfully close before I sold it while at university :( The build thread is lost in the Volkzone aether..





I then fancied something a bit more performance based so set out restoring and going crazy with a 1994 mx5. I still have this car which is now running 409bhp on the forged 1.8 mazda engine. This has been in Total mx5 magazine and Japanese performance. The build thread for this also seems a bit to corrupt to view now... TL.DR: Lots of fibreglass work and fancy engine bits











Finally, onto the "Hon-Datsun" as I've christened it..

This i s my 1981 Datsun Sunny Truck. I bought it as pictured below and have set out in transforming it from a "looks like a truck, drives like a truck (and not very quickly)" into a "looks like a truck, holy s**t i wasn't expecting that..."

I've made some good progress so far, but only just got around to making a build thread, so i'll slowly leak in some progress photos to keep it interesting.

The plan is swapping in a Honda k20a2 engine mated to an rx8 gearbox. The rear live axle will be replaced with Nissan 200sx rear IRS subframe narrowed to suit. The front suspension will also be swapped for modified 200sx gear. Once said and done, it should be a very capable truck! ..or at least thats the plan



 

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Discussion Starter #5
Whats involved in getting the K20 to bolt up to the RX8 box?
I've got a 6mm steel adaptor plate made up. Keeping the k20 flywheel and pressure plate, and using an escort clutch plate to mate to the rx8 input shaft. I've had to machine 25mm off the face of the rx8 bell housing to bring the input shaft inline with the clutch plate and pilot bearing
 

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So! Time for some updates.. While I'm catching up, I'll group together areas of progress so it makes more sense..

The first thing I decided to tackle was the front suspension swap. I'm using Nissan S13/200sx running gear as a base. Fortunately the S13 coilovers bolt directly up to the Datsun so that was straight forward enough.. I've then used S13 knuckles and tube control and caster arms which were modified to suit.

The caster arms needed a mount welding to the chassis rails which was simple enough, and to get the lower control arms right I had to shorten them 50mm and re weld the ball joint mount at the correct angle as well as the caster arm mount on the LCA itself. I also raised the LCA subframe mount about an inch to correct the geometry at ride height so I maintain positive camber gain without the need for drop knuckles. Some of these modifications arent apparent in the next two images with the stock sub frame in place, but is shown in the following two.





As said, the new front sub frame shows the raised LCA mounts, as well as the dual purpose sump guard/sub frame. Its not ideal to have the sump guard as part of the subframe, but I had no room in front or behind the oil pan to make it tubular so this is my compromise... I need to add a couple gussets next time its off the car, but I'm happy with it.





I used a digital angle finder to make sure I was close on camber and caster when modifying the suspension. I have +/- 3 deg camber from -2 deg and +/-5 deg caster from 5deg. So loads of adjustment.





I need to make some anti roll bar mounts for the LCA and then thats finished.. I need to order some drop links first though
 

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Now for the fun bit, mounting the engine and gearbox!

I bought a 2003 EP3 Civic type r, took out the engine and then sold what was remaining. I then got an rx8 6 speed gearbox from a local breaker. I chose this gearbox as its virtually the same gearbox that is in my mx5. I love the ratios and feel of that box and with the high revving k20 engine and 4.3 diff, it will feel fantastic on track/road.





To make the gearbox fit, I used an ebay adaptor plate which I then had to modify to rotate the engine back 15 deg so it sits how its designed to.. Otherwise the oil pan has a huge low point. I then had 25mm machined from the bell housing. This allowed me to keep the stock k20 flywheel and pressure plate and just swap the drive plate for a mk1 escort plate making it nice and simple. I will be using a concentric slave cylinder, but i'll show that once its finalised.





You can really see the 15 deg angle here



Following the escort theme, I've used escort leaf spring bushings as a base for my engine and gearbox mounts, using some 44.4mm CDS tubing. Everything is just tacked in for now.









Of course, the tiny gearbox tunnel took some trimming to fit the rx8 gearbox. I cut away a lot of the firewall too so I could move the engine right back, but these photos only show the initial cut... I'm not very good at taking lots of photos :p



 

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That's what I found. 6 paddle helix just holds 260 ft. Lbf, depends on the abuse. I drag race mine.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
On to the rear end.. this bit was fun!

I just knew under the wood lined bed there was going to be rust.. and I was right! Fortunately the rest of the car is spotless so I can deal with this..



Long story short, I ended up cutting everything out including the chassis legs so I could start fresh..



I then got to narrowing the S13 rear subframe. I decided to take 215mm out of the frame to bring it to the stock track width of the sunny truck. Its more than it sounds :p As you can see the stock axles are now nearly touching eachother. Not much room for a diff then!



Using measurements from the narrowed subframe, I added the first rails in for the new bed floor. Its onlt 50x25mm box, but its thick wall and will be braced well for a 850kg car..



Very daunting at this stage trying to figure out where the subframe should sit etc.. I ended up taking loads of measurements and then modelling some plates in CAD to be water jet cut to weld in. This resulted in the mounts you see below.



I then got too excited to play with the tube bender to continue with the subframe and started on the roll cage! Plotting it out on paper to scale helped making the main hoop quite alright. This was my first time making anything like this.



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Then, after some messing about with a tube notcher and reciprocating saw..



I think at this point I got the diff shoe horned in and welded in the new mounts and rear plate.





Then I cut the temporary bracing off and started fully welding it..



With that taken care of (apart from the toe arm mounts I cut off and haven't put back on yet), I had a bit more fun with the notcher.. The main bars connect above the subframe mounts to brace it fully.









And finally for this update, I got those toe arm mounts fabricated..



I also modified some adjustable upper camber arms to fully clear the bed frame at full suspension travel. After that I installed some more of the tube arms.









Next update will be the pushrod suspension!
 
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