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The "Whatever" Project

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  • The "Whatever" Project

    At Dan Stokes' insistence, and seein that the site bugs are now history (kept me off for a while 'cuz I'm semi-computer illiterate), If you all like this thing I'll keep posting some updates and back history.

    To begin, I've only been on here since April I think??? I was sent home from work beginning of March, and then retired late July. I started the "Whatever" in reality years ago, as I have been collecting parts and pieces since I was about...well at least 4 decades. A lot of the parts are old NE modified race car leftovers from my days of building and racing on the dirt tracks in upstate NY and Vermont. Some parts I made just because and decided I would use them some day. Others I traded stuff to get. The way it is today started in ernest (well in my garage) in April with the 2 frame rails, formed from 2x3 tubing left over from building a trailer for my Mini back in 1996, which btw Dan painted for me and helped assemble it once I fabricated it.

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    This is it today. Front and rear suspension installed, frame mostly fabricated, radiator and engine mounts fabricated, and lots of little parts either in progress or made, waiting for the next steps.

    My intention is to use a fiberglass T-bucket and turtle deck. I'll show some missteps alongthe way, one of the problems with having more ideas than can be accomplished.

    So I'll throw it out to everyone: do I continue posting or just fade away???

  • #2
    Keep on posting! But it should be in the "Project Cars" section - Steve (Monster) can move it for you.

    I had forgotten that I painted the Mini trailer......



    • #3
      I've always wanted to do a Bucket project, so I vote for you to continue.


      • #4
        Keep it up! I know my skills are not up to it but every once and a while I dream about building my own car from scratch.

        Let's see some close ups of the frame!
        1.54, 7.31 @ 94.14, 11.43 @ 118.95

        PB 60' 1.49


        • #5
          Originally posted by View Post
          ... So I'll throw it out to everyone: do I continue posting or just fade away???

          I mean IF you have the time to share your creativity with us.

          It's always interesting to me to see how others created their visions


          • #6
            By all means continue. I would like to see you make the hood and the rest of the body but I know I would probably fail at it and resort to fiberglass myself.
            Previously HoosierL98GTA


            • #7
              I'm having de'j`a vu of your intro on this project!!!
              Same story, almost same timeline, but 2019.
              Came home from the last pipeline job 12/23/2018, hid out of the next calls to go out again, pulled the pin 5/1/2019, FIRST CHECKS ARRIVED 8/1/2019 !!!!

              AND Diligently when at the Retro Rat Rod project that had been on my Shop Floor for over 10+ YEARS!

              Not going to steal your Thread, but what started as a Insane Idea, with a 1/2 ton Toyota truck frame, and ending with this...... Click image for larger version

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              a Retro 1906 Mitchell.
              Have Fun building it, don't worry about "Restarts" as somethings don't always fit, or work out as what was in "One's Mind's Eye".

              Please post your progression, as I'm NOT ABOVE Stealing Good Ideas for my next Projects.


              • #8
                1st off thanks guys, I'll get more stuff up over the next few days. As you can guess, I already have a rolling chassis at this point, so it will be some of the small steps I've already misstepped on. I hope I haven't already started a thread on this here. If I have, it was long before the bug, and it kept me off for the longest time. Whatever that was, I think it might have been worse than any intestinal bug I've ever had . Ok that's enough of these smiley things.
                2nd, if as Dan said this should be in the projects section, and Monster Steve could effect said move, I'm all for it. If I were to try to do that, even if it was allowed, it would end up bad (couldn't resist!).
                3rd, yes Dan if you think really hard (I know it's been well over 2 decades and we're not spring chickens you know...) since you sprayed the trailer. What was best (well free labor is alway great) was that you had left over paint (free paint is also the best).

                Captain, that vehicle looks like it should be fun in the rain. Reminds me of my 1st road vehicle,a 62 CJ5 that I stuffed a 327 into. I used to take the top off on sunny days, but sometimes forget to put it back on before going to bed. Of course, I had to get to work early, and would leave it off for the next day. Those would be the days when of course it would rain before quitting time. Happened so many times, I took to leaving a pair of goggles in the glove box.

                So where to start? Well how about the front axle?

                12 years ago, the lab where I worked, we bought a Wilton Knee mill (Chinese Bridgeport knockoff). Every lab needs a shop, and it had taken me since I moved to NY and went to work for the DEC to convince management that was true. Being a research scientist, I had lots of ideas for test equipment for sampling exhaust emissions. Being a hands on engineer, I liked to make my own designs. It was easy at the EPA where I had the good fortune of meeting Dan, where we had a well equipped shop, and Lennie, an extremely capable and talented machinist, who let a few of us use "HIS" equipment under threat of bodily harm if we did any damage to anything.

                So having aquired said milling machine, I of course needed to make something. I decided to try making an axle like we used back in my dirt days, 2 inch od 1/4 inch wall DOM with welded in eyes for old Ford spindles. You know like you can buy from Speedway Motors. So I purchased a length of tube, and some 1 1/2 inch very heavy wall seamless tubing for the eyes, and proceeded to machine the parts. As we already had a Wilton lathe, I bored and faced the eyes to not quite fit old Ford king pins (whatever drill size is just under, I still haveit in my tool box, its an old one from way back, with a Morse taper #3 to fit the tailstock).

                I built a fixture to hold the DOM tube square and parallel to the table that would locate it when reversing the fixture, as the table is not long enough to just be able to transvers end to end to machine the miter for the pin eyes at the required angle. From my previous experience, I knew I wanted some negative camber for radial tires, so that was factored into the setup as well. Then the miter or fishmouthas it were, was cut using a 1 1/2 roughing end mill. Weld prep was done with an angle grinder and rat tail file to get weld penetration.

                I have a Lincoln tig welder at home, so the welding was done there. Once done, I honed the eyes using an antique Sunnen bushing hone I have to fit the king pins.

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                This machine isolder than gray dog... well let's just say it's old. It came out of a garage in my home town when the old guy retired in the early 70's. He bought it new in 1928 for Model A Ford king pins. It was headed for the landfill when I got it, and it even made its way to Michigan for a while in its life.

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                This shows it when I had just mocked up the original way I had designed the front end. Hairpins (I made those as well, more in a minute), old Ford spindles (37-40 round back), and some really impressive, but HEAVY brackets on the axle to decouple one side to eliminate torsional loading of the axle in roll. I made those from 2 1/2 DOM tubing and lots of machine work, welding, honing (thanks Jack of Boyd's Moterwerks as I don't have a 2 inch mandrel) of the sleeve that swings, and more welding to attach a batwing to each for the hairpins. They are on the shelf if anyone might want them. I'll take a picture later and post it.

                The idea came from Indy roadster from the 50s-60s. If you look at Kurtis roadsters, some of them had hairpins on tube axles. to eliminate torsion on the tube, and effectively make a giant anti-roll bar out of the front axle, he had these really nice steel castings that clamped together around the axle. One would be fixed to set caster, the other was free to rotate. It just means the fixed side hairpin needs to be beefy to withstand the flexural loading of braking. Not a problem if you make your own hairpins.

                As the lab had also bought a Greenlee conduit/pipe/tubing bender that can bend someseriously heavy walled pipe, I was able to bend some 7/8 x 3/16 tube to form the hairpins. 1st I cut the tubing to length per a drawing I made full size, then drilled and tapped the straight ends of the 4 sections of tube to 5/8-18 rh.

                Next mark where the bend needed tobe relative to the tapped end (I tapped the ends a little deep for wiggle room just in case...), and using the dies for 1/2 I think conduit bent them to the angle I was after. Again I made a fixture to holdthe parts for welding and tig welded them up. I still want to add gussets, but haven't decided on shapes yet.

                Unfortunately I wasn't smart enough to take pictures of most of those steps. You may notice that in the very first picture of the rolling chassis that there isn't any hairpins on the left side. you may say. Somewhere along the line, I came across pictures of a sprint car Bobby Unser raced up PikesPeak many times, winning 9 times in this car.It's currently in the Henry Ford Museum on loan, and that's where you can see some details of the suspension.

                A close inspection of that car shows hairpins on the left only, both front and rear. Also the rear axle was not an open tube rearlike most sprint cars run. I'm guessing he wanted a working differential of some sort, not possible with an open tube rear. So the axles both ends, are afixed with 1 hairpin and 1 straigh bar which is pivoted at both ends, freeing up the suspension in roll. On further research, I discovered this was not that unusual for some of the top sprint/champ cars of the latter 50's-into the 60's. Another example was AJ Foyt's 220 Offy sprint car of the early 60's. So who am I to argue? I copied it!

                Lighter, simpler, and less stuff to fabricate/make room for/around. Well that's enough for today. I have to find more pictures on this computer thing before I destroy it!


                • #9
                  I like the steering box. Trying to figure out how you'll get a passenger seat....



                  • #10
                    Steering is just a section of rope currently. And brakes are Flintstone so far. I got pictures of various iterations over the last 2 or 3 months, so as it's snowing here again, and I don't feel like heating up the garage, only to open the door loosing all that heat, I looked for pictures and took 1 new one.

                    Starting with the new 1st:

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                    Ta da, its a short panhard rod.

                    I know, who cares, right? Well it replaces this:

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                    Now one might say "BUT wait, a Watts link is better because it keeps the rear centered and the roll center is well defined", to which I say yes that is correct, but it's more links and bits and bobs to get in the way, and maintain. The main reason is interference with the planned t-bucket body. The back of the body curves down right there, so the panhard rod, with it's negatives became abetter choice from a packaging viewpoint. It could be longer, but then the bracketry would be heavier, and possibly in the way of something else not yet defined. So in the words of Colin Chapman, "Simplificate and make lighter".

                    In case someone noticed, the brackets on the rear axle for the radius rods were water jet cut forme by a machine shop in Glens Falls NY, to a CAD template (yes Dan strikes again, that's a cardboard aided design).

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                    The one shaped like Alicethe Goon with one eyeis the rear axle bracket. I had 4 cut out and 2 other as yet unused brackets from 3/16 crs that they supplied from drops, total cost $150. Not bad IMHO.

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                    Pretty neat huh??? So the side to the right iswhere the radius rod/hairpin attaches once drilled. The left side is for attaching the coil over shock bracketry attaches.

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                    Here's the right side with a temporary link to set ride height. This all replaces this:

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                    If you look closely at the stuff hangingoff the axle you'll see a pair of aluminum swing arms sandwiching a 3rd hunk of aluminum, which clamps around the axle tube to locate the 2 arms. The 2 rods, 1 going forward low, the other rearward high, form another Watts linkage tolocate the axle front to rear. With the since replaced side to side Watts link, I was getting way too involved for a hot rod suspension system. With this setup I still had to attach the coil overs or shocks and trailer bars (more on those in a little bit), and a torque arm of some sort to keep the axle from just spinning. Now this setup would have been well defined in terms of instant centers, but can you imagine the complexity and upkeep? Hence all the simplificating...

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                    Here's the aluminum parts, all stacked up waiting for someone to rescue them. There's a lot of machine work in them, if someone is interested. We won't discuss where the work was performed. I had fun however. I also had some scrap 1 inch 6061 T6 plate to use up.

                    Now back to those trailer bars.

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                    The green bar is a Reese trailer load leveling spring bar, 550 pound rate. They make 3 different sizes, hence different spring rates, a 550, a 750, and a 1000 pound bar. The steel part at the right end is 3/8 crs made up to support the spring bar with a 5/8-18 jacking bolt to adjust ride height, or wedge if used on a race car. They work really good but heavy!


                    • #11
                      Had an interuption. Here's the first car I built for Lebanon Valley. It was completely sprung with Reese bars:

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                      Injected 350. 37 Chevy 2 door body (sort of...), I was 19 when I started it. Jim built the basic chassis (he's the driver). I built the rest. This car and the one the next year caused the Valley to rethink how they worded some things in the rule book. It said all interior panels were to be 20 gage sheetmetal. I used 20 gage 3003 half hard. Tech guy tries to stick a magnet to it, says we don't pass as it's not sheet metal. I was a smart ass andhad brought a dictionary with me (I was 20 by then...). Webster's defined sheet metal as any of a number of maleable metals, such as steel, aluminum, and copper among others formed into thin sheets. By 77 the rule book specified steel. But we raced for 3 years with almost all of the inner panels made from aluminum... Jim was not worried, as I had told him he wouldn't know if the car was on fire byjust the flames (methanol for fuel). Instead I told him if the firewall dripped onto his shoes he should stop and get out!

                      More tomorrow


                      • #12
                        EXCELLENT !!
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                        you are out of My League .......
                        My Booger Welds, CAD Planning, (Cardboard Assisted Design), and P.O.D.....Prayers of the Day so things come together.. ...
                        LOOKS GREAT !!

                        keep posting !!
                        Last edited by Captain; February 23, 2021, 08:43 PM. Reason: Gramar


                        • #13
                          Another day of snow up here. We live on a cul-de-sac these days, in exactly the wrong spot, at least when it comes to the town plow truck. Snow of 5 to 6 inches yesterday/last night, not much really, just a dusting, right? Well the plow piles it up right next to the end of my driveway, sort of. Usually I have 15 or so inches of snow end up in my driveway as it comes off the wing plow. Why they even send one of the large trucks into our entire neighborhood is beyond me, as the entire area is a series of cul-de-sacs off of the main cul-de-sac. A single axle truck with no wing plow would do a beter, quicker job, but who am I to tell the town highway manager (who by the way is about 80, and should retire...), how to plan for snow? Well how about my neighbor then? He's a state of NY DOT highway engineer, and has said the very same thing (hey do you think I was smart enough to think of this myself?).

                          So I clean the driveway in about 10 minutes of the non-plow truck snow, and then go to clear the big pile out at the end. As usual there was chunks of ice in it from the plow. BTW chunks of ice and 2 stage snowblowers don't get along well. 2nd time in 2 years I bent the back impeller. So instead of getting to work on the "Whatever" I fixed the impeller, just in case we get more snow.

                          So more pictures past:

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                          Remember I mentioned missteps? This is one. A little while back, October???, I was thinking that it would make a good track event car, sort of unique, using a Model A Vicky body from Speedway. So I bent up a roll cage.

                          Things were going just fine, until I mocked up the seating position and even made mounts for another old race car part, a Schroeder champ car center steering box (not shown here), and then I tried to get into it. And this without the body. I have to say, when your body doesn't bend in the middle from back problems, getting in and out of something like this is one of those moments. So that's when in conversations on another site with Marty Strode, I decided to go back to the original t-bucket idea. So off came the cage and back to the basement went the Schroeder steering.

                          A funny aside about that. I bought the 1st one from a Tobias dealer in 1976 for the Pinto 54 modified. $400 give or take. So I start a new car in 77, and want a new Schroeder box. I called them direct and actually talked to Gordon Schroeder himself. What stories he had. Anyway, he sold me his "Tobias" style box. With shipping getting it direct cost me, are you ready for this???

                          Just over $300, shipping included. Now the funny part: we put it into a new car for Jim. He made 10 laps max, and hated it as it wasn't power steering like everyone else had, and with the huge drag tires that were in vogue at the time, it was a handful. So that's all the laps that are on this box:

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                          So I guess I will make a new frame to use both the roll cage and the steering box in. Why? Because I have parts to use up, including now custom hand made steering box mounting clamps! I don't have pictures of those, but they were fun to make.

                          Now to the front suspension. The spring is a Speedway t-bucket buggy spring hung behind the axle. The spring mount is a custom made weight jacker, because why not:

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                          It's adjustable for ride height by the series of holes barely discernable on the uprights, and for wedge (because again,why not?) by the 2 big jacking bolts above the spring. There is a whole mechanism under there that the spring bolts to, that the wedge bolts push on thus wedging or jacking weight from the left or right to the other side. Of course the revers happens at the back when you do this.

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                          This is it pre- welded into the chassis. Well that's enough for tonight. Tomorrow I'm off to the welding supply to get more gases. No snide remarks DAN!


                          • #14
                            I was just thinking I could donate some gasses but maybe I should leave that unsaid. I was thinking you would use the Schroeder steering box which was why I was wondering how you would handle a passenger seat. It's coming along! There's a guy in "Project Cars" who is building a T-bucket w/BMW V8. You might want to check out his build thread - nice stuff.

                            Last edited by DanStokes; February 24, 2021, 07:53 AM.


                            • #15
                              I've stopped looking at other guys' build threads. I keep getting depressed with the quality and quantity of their work. I tell you Dan, its almost enough to make me sell everything in my shop and take up another hobby, like stamp collecting, or kazoo playing. I'm going to have to check out that build. Maybe there's something I can plaigerize...

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                              A better angle on the front spring weight jacker/perch. I went out to the garage today to do some work on the "Whatever", but as I had gone to get welding gases, and had also stopped at the local Harbor Fright to buy a 2nd small air compresser and aluminum portable air tank, I had to make room for some stuff. Since moving here 22+ years ago, I have only had a small portable oxy/acetylene torch set, you know the type, with the smallest gas bottles. I only used it on rare occasions, so capacity really wasn't a problem, until recently when I started to have a need for heating stuff to form parts. Those little oxygen cylinders run out so fast...

                              Well today I bought the largest size you can own, and also refilled the little portable bottle, as well as getting a refill on argon for the TIG.Some more welding rod, a new Kromer cap, oh and a wierd new non-square. It's kind of a J shape. I have no idea if it will be useful, I just had to have it from the "Cool" factor effect.

                              Andnow that I have2 of those 2 gallon 60 dB portable air compressers, and a 7 gallon aluminum reservoir tank, I intend to interconnect said parts and make an air system that is quiet, and has enough capacity to run my tube bender. The single unit would run it but slowly. Its an Eastwood bender with a Swag Offroad adapter and a Harbor Fright air over hydraulic 8 ton ram to make it powered.

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                              This way it doesn't require permanent mounting to the floor, Also doesn't require the Armstrong method to bend tubing.

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                              As a flashback, I moved the rollcage back onto the chassis to get it out of my way until I can store it in my shed (which requires cleaning too...). So if I were to build a single seater, this is what it would have looked like. I'm thinking of a future use for the cage as it came out rather well, and well I can't see cutting it up, so the next project will be a car like this just because:

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                              This is the Unser car mentioned above. Only difference would be the full cage, so it would look like pictures of it from the 70's when it was still racing competitively on Pikes Peak by Unser or his son. I might have to procure a 9-inch Ford for the "Whatever" if I do that so I can use the Winters rear under the next one. This would also make a good home for the Schroeder steering box. And the old Hilborns in the basement.