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 Re-designing & improving structural integrity of roll cage originally built in 2000. Cross-bracing is 1 & 5/8″ x .095 chrome moly. Notice “major” 1 & 3/4″ bar at lower tub, thru tunnel, & how it features a curved intersection at lower chrome-moly “foot-plate”, which is epoxied & Cherry-rivited to tub (lower-left of pic).

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 Cross-bracing in top of cage–trial-fit before weld-up.

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 “Earnhardt bar”—at center of windshield. Notice duct tape represents plane of glass, to ensure adequate clearance.

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 Main cross-bar features welded-in “spuds” for shoulder harness attachment. All cross-bracing welded-up. Notice how lower-main bar incorporate welded-on seat rail / seat belt attachment points (lower-center of pic), which index exactly over OEM anchor-holes in tub.

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 This shot shows hole in firewall in “first-draft”—eventually would be cut much larger to facilitate custom firewall that also houses twin fuel cells.

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Detail of how windshield center-bar attaches to OEM under dash support tubing, as well as front heater-defrost chamber (which is stamped aluminum, but fairly stout because of its triangular cross-section).

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 Upper cross-bracing after weld-up.

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 View from rear, looking down into engine bay. “Spuds” for sholder-belt attachment (in main cross-bar) are readily visible here, as are the R. & L. fuel cell filler tubes, which are the bright 3″ curved aluminum tubing at upper R. & L. sides of pic.

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 Driver’s-side down-tube, & its “foot-plate” which is epoxied & Cherry-rivited to frame rail.

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Rear downtubes of cage attachment to frame (note also OEM suspension casting moved aft 2 inches)

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Entire cage is epoxied (with 4000 lb./ sq. in. epoxy) & Cherry riveted (using 2000 lb. tensile steel Cherry rivets) at 10 points! (3 of which are visible in this pic). Notice rectangular chrome-moly tubing (1″ x 2″ x .125″) spanning door sills, & front “down-tube” (center of pic). These provide additional protection from side-impact, & they serve as a plane that will be the “back-up” for carbon fiber & Kevlar “crush-boxes” to attach to. This is the newest science in driver protection, as the CFK crush-boxes are designed to absorb impact, whereas the “old-school” 3-bar, in-the-door Nascar bars were extremely rigid, & didnt absorb nada!

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 Front “firewall” cage bar (1.25″ x .095″) basically strengthens tub where main front frame rails tie into it, & also improves torsional rigidity!

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 Tilton “3-master cylinder” bracket is visible just above the universal joint (OEM rack & pinion still in car at this point) that is poking up thru driver’s footwell. You can also see how down-tube intersects & welds to OEM “dash-support” cross tube. (see also in next pic)

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 Good shot of multi-faceted, welded-together footplate, formed over the “corner” of passenger-side front wheel well (one of the structurally stiffest points in tub). Also visible thru the “oval” hole in firewall are the fullcrum tabs for right-front shock-rocker.

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 Moi, trial-fitting custom hand-formed tube, which will weld to firewall, & provide “tunnel” for front radiator hose to be routed to water pump on LS7. Also visible is “dimple-die’d” aluminum plate which bolts to top of main-hoop of cage, & is welded to inside roof of driver’s compartment—extra stiffening results.

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 This shot reveals section of NSX partition between the driver’s compartment & engine bay already removed to facilitate special firewall “roof”—which allows for CF plenum to nest between intake manifold (Kinsler tall-stack injectors) & rear hatch “glass” (Lexan). Diagonal brace-tubes are already welded to rear down-tubes & top of “main” bar, as well.

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 View from engine bay, looking into tunnel, shows lower-main roll bar where it passes thru tunnel. Note the .090″ moly “collars” have been “hammer-formed” to tub contour, in preparation for epoxy & rivets.

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 Final fit—will also weld to 1 & 3/4″ x .095″ moly tubing.

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 Trick cage-vertical is hand-formed .090″ moly plate with 90 degree breaks & dimple died holes, and is being trial-fit, for eventual weld-up (after cage & firewall are painted).

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 Final clearancing by hand—for closest tolerance fit.

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 Removing part of the “dimple” from backside, to clear special “radiator hose tunnel” that protrudes from front of fierwall just behind this moly cage-vertical.

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 “Horseshoe” is 3/8″ aluminum, & welds to tub, & bolts to moly cage-vertical—helps tie the aluminum tub to the steel cage at tunnel.

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“Horseshoe” fits to thickest area of tub-tunnel—trial fit before welding.

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 10-32 stainless buttonheads will secure the 2 parts after both are welded in car.

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 With “horseshoe bolted to cage-vertical, assy is positioned so horseshoe can be tacked to tub from rear—all to make sure the 2 pieces are in perfect alignment with each other in final assembly.

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Hand formed moly cage-vertical ties lower tub & main bar to cross brace (keeps engine out of drivers compartment too!) Wont get welded in until after firewall is painted, installed, & welded into car! (there’s a reason for this sequence!)

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 Better perspective shows “horseshoe” during final weld-up. Note also cage is already primered at this stage.

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Shaking the sweat outta my glasses while dressing the Moly for paint with a cup brush (Arizona, you know!).

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Over 250 hrs in cage prep & paint! Note tabs welded to “Earnhardt bar” to facilitate aluminum windshield support at center. Also visible in this pic are the “dimple-die’d” aluminum plates that bolt to front downtubes of cage, & weld to inside edge of “A-pillars”–again, extra stiffening is the result.

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 Just shot entire cage with House of Color Urethane “shimmerin-base” black primer. The gloss will be knocked off with Scotchbrite before color is applied.

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Yes, I am a do-it-yourselfer (engine crossmember & cage piece are chromemoly). I didn’t know much about automotive paints, or even how to achieve professional results when I started, but thanks to the gurus at SpaceAge Auto Paint (Mesa, AZ) I got excellent technical support & advice—I must say, even I was amazed how nice things turned out! (note CRG shifter kart in background–sorta my “cardio”–if I put it back together).

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 “Kandy” colors require a lot of focus–especially during hot weather! Color is House of Color “Kandy Oriental Blue”.

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 Cage was painted before firewall was inserted into position—only way to get the backside of main & cross-brace bars painted! You can see a perimiter of un-painted firewall, literally everywhere the firewall will weld to tub. Also note firewall has no paint where 3″ aluminum fuel-filler tubes intersect it—again for clean weld-up. Long “paper clip-shaped” hole in center of firewall (& tub tunnel) is where hand-formed aluminum tube will be welded (about 18 pictures back) after it is painted. Also visible is latest high-tech racing indoor-outdoor carpet! (I already had the entire inside of tub clean & prepped for paint, & didn’t want to mess it up while painting cage).

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 Steven Arlia (Arizona Precision Fabrication) TIG welded the entire firewall into the car in a “slow-as-you-go” manner, with cooling periods in between “stitching”–to keep firewall from “walking” (expanding too much), or warping—even managed to not burn any of the paint off the “pretty side” (inside driver’s compartment)!!! Now that’s Art!

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 Cool shot of Steven Arlia welding firewall into car—all from engine bay side for appearance-sake!

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Firewall is .060″ 6061 aluminum—which is slightly thicker than the OEM bulkhead it is being welded to, which is about .050″—but definitely NOT 6061! I was surprised just how thin some of the NSX’s sheet metal is, —and how most of it doesn’t seem to have any heat treat at all! (rigidity for those of you in Rio Linda).

Apr 10, 14
 

Our “Ultimate Hybrid LS7NSX” Project started out as a 91 NSX coupe with 118k miles on it. It had a bone-stock motor with headers & exhaust, & had been amateur- raced by it’s owner, Dale Ramsperger, for about 6 years—- mostly in NASA & NSX-only events. The car had a 6-pt cage, big brakes, Bilsteins, H & R springs, & Yokohama race rubber, and was generally well sorted. It was embarrassingly deficient in one area, however; HORSEPOWER!

The Ultimate Hybrid LS7NSX concept was a car that would more closely resemble a Daytona Prototype or ALMS GT-1 racecar—–but still be streetable!!                                       The final configuration features an 850 hp, 800 ft-lbs torque, 440 cubic inch supercharged LS7 “type” motor that runs on E-85! – built by Brian Thomson (Thomson Automotive)—the genius behind “all things LS”  After researching numerous brands / configurations of transaxles, we decided to use a Porsche G50-50 5-speed box that was professionally built by California Motorsports specifically for road racing. This box is generally acknowledged as Porsche’s strongest ever—mostly because it has a 9″ ring gear. It also has billet shift forks, a Moly LSD, steel synchros, inverted oiling system configured for external pump, & the super-trick CMS side-shift conversion. To handle all of the horsepower & torque we consulted with Tilton Engineering, & chose their 3 disc, carbon-carbon set-up. We also had them build a special light-weight flywheel (9 lb.) that would bolt-up to the LS7 crank, but be small enough diameter to fit inside the Porsche “bellhousing”, & utilize the Porsche Racing starter.

As part of the project’s proportion goal (& to facilitate the longitudinally mounted V8 & transaxle), we moved the rear axle centerline aft 3″, & the front axle centerline forward 2″—for a stretch of 5″, resulting in a 105″ wheelbase. We also widened the track by 5.5″, for a total track width of 78″—these are very similar to the dimensions of a GT-1 Corvette. We also are incorporating custom-built centerlock hubs & spindles, & the GT-1 Corvette (AP Racing) 15″ carbon rotors. These wheel-hub, spindle, & rotor assemblies are bolted-up to a set of custom-made billet uprights (sorta copied ALMS GT configuration) at all 4 corners. To complement all of these hi-tech, light-weight (unsprung) suspension components, we chose the BBS Monoblock /centerlock wheels, & Michelin Racing tires—literally the same ones used in the now-abandoned GT-1 Corvette program. Our suspension also incorporates horizontally-opposed Penske coilover shocks (series 8300). This modification places the shocks in a much lower center-of-gravity position, while also facilitating much easier access for set-up purposes. The Penskes are also extremely light-weight! Our “Ultimate Hybrid” also features a one-of-a-kind, experimental, front suspension (our patent-pending), which allows the driver to adjust the front camber by a plus-or-minus 7 degrees, while driving!

Another goal is weight reduction—our target final weight (without driver) is 2600 lbs. One of the methods we have adopted is to build one-piece Carbon Fiber tilt front & rear ends. (clam-shell style, like the Ford GT). We are also fabricating CF “half-doors” that open like a Saleen S-7. All of the “glass” (windshield, rear hatch glass, door windows)Â is made of 3/16″ Lexan, & the door windows will actually open!

THE END RESULT? – A 200+ mph, NSX-based Supercar that is 107% scale, 83% the weight, 280% the horsepower, 340% the torque, with a 50/50 final weight distribution!    Oh!—- did we mention the car will have an ALL-GIRL Pit Crew?—MsBadwrench Racing Girls! —Beautiful, Fit, & trained for Pit-Stop Competition!

MsBadwrench pit crew in training

 

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157 NSX’s on front straight, Laguna Seca—I’m 6th row,center, the ONLY CAR WITH a C/F REAR WING! (innovation 10 yrs. ago!) —-early days of racing the car, NSXPO, May, 1999Â

Track 13

Last configuration before metamorphosis began in Mar. 2006 (Texas Motorsports Ranch)

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 Having Fun with a Plasma Torch! — After engine removal, serious engine bay & trunk space sheet metal removal to make room for LS7 & Porsche transaxle

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 Rear bulkhead cut-out for twin-tip exhaust exit thru bodywork (ala Ford GT)

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Firewall between NSX gas tank & engine bay completely removed, as well as upper-half of bulkhead separating driver’s compartment from gas tank. Also visible is “leftovers” of driver’s-side motor mount after plasma torch removal

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Original trunk section removal—later decision to remove entire trunk floor & bulkhead between engine bay was made for easier access to engine & drivetrain.

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Once firewall, now scrap!

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Once trunk floor & motor-mount, now scrap too!

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Â

 Dang, these are hard to get on!

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 Sneaky Honda engineers invented world’s most stubborn, chemical-resistant undercoating!

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Will NOT dissolve with chemical paint strippers—even aircraft strength! Fortunately, I discovered a Canadian firm (Molecular Tech), that has a product designed to microscopically permeate the undercoating & cause a molecular bond release at the substrate (aluminum-only)—made things a lot more manageable!

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 More man-hours invested in getting all of the “killer” undercoating off than most other aspects of build!

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 Stripping in the street!—required numerous episodes!

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 This is after about 6 stripping & rinsing sessions! The remaining paint & sealer putty was scraped off by hand! Notice R & L shock rockers already installed on top of frame rails, near firewall!

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 Finally!—clean enough for next phase of construction.

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 OEM battery tray—not very racy!

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 After careful “slicing” with cut-off wheel on a 4″ grinder

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“Race version” battery tray–also acts as a stiffener between front firewall & lower radiator support.

 

NSX mini-nose

The “slope-snout” body profile will still incorporate the famous NSX grill opening shape—only @ 83% scale. Wheel tubs will blend into the center-mounted grill, & will have the same proportion as the ALMP cars (Peugeot or Aston Martin). This shot shows the “rough plug” of the “mini-nose”.

NSX mini-nose 2

The CF splitter (not shown) will have a raised center to facilitate the underside “aero-package”–airstream to exit at sides of nose section, but inboard of wheel fairings (think of any current design ALMP car)

 

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About 47 lbs. of wiring harness, computers & relays that wont be necessary!

 

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Left side-rear suspension sub-frame locating jig. Note 1.25″ dia wooden “dowels” represent exact placement of final 1.25″ chrome moly tubing. Fixture drops at 10 degree angle to facilitate final plane of lower control arms. Entire assy bolts into frame, & consists of 3 pcs—left & right sides, & detachable center crossmember (which supports transaxle).

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Photo details where upper L & R “uni-body” sections are cut (top-center of pic)—-these are anchored by super-rigid shock towers. End of 1.5″ aluminum tubing visible at center of pic represents true plane of uprights at static ride height (4.5″ G.C. with 28″ rear tire).

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“Cleaned-up” rear frame rails. Note, rear structural bumper mounting “pads” left intact for eventual fulcrum attachment for tilt rear end (1 pc. CF). Also, upper L & R”uni-body” sections cut off just aft of external box-section stiffener, & weatherstrip molding lip left intact for eventual seal for rear “shell”.

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More details visible of wooden rear suspension sub-frame jig. It’s this kinda “late-night engineering” that really takes the most time—you’re looking at version 3.0! In fact, when I started this project, I anticipated keeping the stock NSX suspension—even had successfully re-located OEM components aftward (see pics in the “chassis” gallery)—-only to decide the look (& non-adjustability) wasn’t up to speed (pun?).

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First few pieces of Moly in place. Don’t try this at home! This is the left rear wheel well.

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Early phase of cutting, bending, & fitting chrome-moly tubing to locating fixture. Note plate (marked D.S.) bolted to frame rail indexes off 3 existing bolt holes / internal frame “anchors”—that originally secured OEM rear tie-down brackets. Other 3 larger holes are for plug welds, while bottom hole acts as an anchor for chrome-moly sub frame. Because of it being outboard of the frame rail, more triangulation between plane of frame rails & lower plane of sub-frame is achieved—this keeps the lower suspension from trying to “walk” right or left.

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 The “D.S.” plate is fully welded up in this pic. Wooden locating fixture removed, & final fitting of transaxle support section (looks like a “k-member”) is positioned for weld-up.

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 Passenger-side view of same assy. Shock rocker is just sitting in its “nest” (top of pic), but isnt bolted thru actual pivot points.

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 View of inboard drivers-side rear frame rail (looking towards front of car). Entire chrome-moly assy bolts to frame rails with 7 bolts per side.

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Chrome-moly rear subframe is 3 pieces. Center “k-section” un-bolts (4 bolts) & drops straight down for engine & tranny removal.

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The final sub-frame, missing only final transaxle mounting plate (visible in other pics). Entire ass’y bolts into NSX frame which was modified to incorporate welded in “slugs”, each of which is fitted with steel Keenserts (like a helicoil, but much stronger & permanent).

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Rear sub-frame removable center section facilitates easy engine & trans removal—only takes 8 bolts to drop entire engine & transaxle assy in about 15 minutes! (alum fixture in top of pic is not a part of car—used for holding critical dimensions during fabrication)

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Latest stage of custom chrome-moly lower rear sub-frame shows the drivers side lower control arm P/U attachment points. These serrated plates are the exact same size as other 12 “billet” spacers on car, but are chrome-moly—which made the machining of the serrations a lot more difficult. Even the relatively small 1/2” x 1″ rectangular tubing/gusset is chrome-moly! (front of car towards left)

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 Drivers-side rear frame rail, all layed-out (scribed) for attaching serrated billet spacers. The upper control arm centers are marked in Sharpie (just under the “D.S.” & near left-center of pic, right over green marker) This entire section of frame rail has an extra 3/16ths aluminum plate welded to it for strength & torsional rigidity.

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Upper-Rear serrated billet spacers-outboard view, again with stainless bolts-thru-slots. These become the P/U point attachments for Leading-side of rear upper control arm.

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Same spacers, inboard view—lot of time spent pattern making on these gems, as rear frame rails have all sorts of irregular contours, & AREN’T Symmetrical! (RPITA)

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Performing final-fit “massaging” to billet spacer to achieve near perfect fit before weld-up.(sitting at passenger side rear wheel well)

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Passenger side upper rear P/U billet spacers in final weld-up (front of car is towards Right) Look closely, & you can see the “rocket-science” custom rear crossmember thru the “odd” triangle shaped hole at top of pic! (it facilitates the horizontally-opposed Penske coilovers @ rear of car).

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Passenger side Front frame rail showing areas to be strengthened, and / or augmented in prep for upper control arm pick-up attachment points. Large black marker “bullets” are reference points for drilling 1/8th alum. stiffener plate—for plug welds, which helps spread any loading across entire section of OEM “crumple-zone”. (see pic below)

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Passenger side front frame rail after 3 different stiffeners / spacers have been welded in place. (lots of “cypherin” on that frame rail!)

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Front lower suspension pick-up crossmember—before any machining (just laying on top of frame rails). Â See final config. in pics below.DSC02595

 58 pieces of precision machined aluminum—all of which will become the one-of-a-kind “driver adjustable front camber” front suspension. Note also front crossmember,which has undergone serious hand machinig (Makita with cut-off wheel) since other pic taken right after initial weld-up.

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Front lower-suspension crossmember in final prep for installation / weld-up in frame. Note solid inserts inside tubing (near end) will have steering rack clamp-holes bored before installation. The Woodward rack that bolts to crossmember is the same config as used in the Saleen S-7R, which had to incorporate beefier “hydraulics” because of 4000 lbs of frontal downforce generated at top speed!

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Various front & rear control arm pick-up attachment points. The bolts in the slots are stainless, & allow for rasing or lowering pick-up point by a total of 1.5″ at all 4 corners ( to adjust roll centers, and/or ride height & camber geometry. I “borrowed” this idea from the Pratt & Miller GT Corvettes.

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These spacers weld to re-inforced sections of frame. There are 6 of these, 4 are upper control arm pick-up attachment points at rear, 2 are uppers at trailing P/U at frame front.

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Upper-front frame bracket before installation–note serrations to facilitate P/U adjustability

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This view highlights how bracket design spans significant cross-section of frame–also where it will weld over already welded up frame stiffener (no more “crumple” zone). FYI, both front & rear of car incorporate CF/Kevlar attenuators for crash load absorption (they didn’t have THAT technology back when the NSX was engineered!) Black tape on firewall covers the 3 holes & locating studs for Tilton clutch & brake cylinders.

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View of driver’s side front frame rail & relative position of upper control arm pick-up attachment point (leading edge of control arm) Also visible are the shock-rocker fulcrum bosses (just left of bracket in pic)

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Lower front suspension components at start of fab—note beefiness! OEM NSX suspension pieces are works of art, but a little fragile for serious road racing, especially with much larger wheel & tire combos & “race” rubber.

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Lower front suspension pieces a little farther along in the fab process. Note fixture (2 round steel tubing pieces) purposely locates the components NOT parallel, but with an included angle of 3 degrees—which begs a rather scientific discussion on anti-squat, anti-dive geometry

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Individual assy going thru stress relieving–after a total of 19 lightening holes were bored. Note massive steel workbench is PERFECTLY flat & level!

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Latest development in the front crossmember is the solid aluminum spacer welded inside the rectangular cross-section (visible @ near end) which provides extra strength for the P.S. Rack clamps to attach to. Notice the “rack clamp holes” are already milled (not drilled) thru at both ends—-before crossmember gets final weld-up between frame rails. Big Thanks to Tony Woodward for the education on design / configuration considerations for ultimate performance! FACTOID: final power steering will have 3 different “map” positions for cockpit adjustability of assist ratio!

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Drivers side front frame rail upper control arm pick-up points positioned for weld up. Also visible; special crossmember that facilitates horizontally-opposed Penske coilovers & “shock-rocker” fulcrum tabs welded to top of frame rail. Also visible is 3″ hole thru-frame for Woodward Power Steering rack & pinion—the rubber bellows (dust boot), actually protrude thru the frame rails, but not the rack housing.(front of car towards right)

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Final weld-up of all frame bracketry.(drivers side front frame rail–black tape covers 3 holes for Tilton brake & clutch cylinders)

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Drivers side front frame rail top view, after weld-up.(front of car towards right)

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Drivers side front frame rail outboard view after weld-up. Notice the two 3/8ths stainless bolts protruding thru the slots in serrated plates. This is method of attaching billet “break-away” P/U brackets @ all 4 corners of the car. Also provides 1.5″ total up & down adjustment of the P/U centers, for dialing-in anti-squat / dive, & roll-center geometry. (For those in Rio Linda, means incredibly tuneable suspension for different track conditions & tire / wheel combos) front of car towards left.

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 New front crossmember being positioned for weld-up

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 3″ aluminum tubing finishes hole-thru-frame, & intersects crossmember to spread crossmember structural weld cross-section to both the inside, & outside edges of frame rails. Yellow item is a bubble level to index to chassis’  level status.

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 View from under drivers-side frame rail just prior to welding. Lower radiator support is at left side of pic. Notice 3″ aluminum tube is fit to finish-weld to frame rail stiffener, which is already welded in place.

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 After weld-up (including next 2 pics)

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 Notice how 3″ tube welds to crossmember, as well as frame rail.

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 Weld-up complete.

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 Top-Secret lower front suspension piece—to be explained after patent approved!

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This is a close-up of “break-away” control arm pick-up attachment bracket. Rod end of control arm fits inside center “well” with 1/2″ thru-bolt. Buttonheads are 3/8″ stainless.

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Lower front suspension “bridge” (from 2 pics above) after holes chamfered, & “fences” welded on serrated sections—cleaner, but still not finished!

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Left-rear upright (from wheel flange view)–notice “webbed” billet design promotes maximum brake cooling.

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Top view (L. rear upright)–tape indicates almost 4″ of total wheel bearing “spread”–OEM NSX piece is 2″! Notice also hub is “pin drive” for center-lock wheels. Foil is to protect CF from extreme rotor heat. Wheel bearing diameters & overall spread are more suited to 13″ x 18″ wheel with 13″ x 28″ tires that we are running!

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Inboard view of Left rear upright–axle shaft splines are visible inside center “stub” hole. Billet “ear” peeking out from left side of CF brake ducting is for toe-link attachment.

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Left front upright from wheel flange view—actually a little “meatier” than rear because of the need to “sink” extra heat & loading (weight transfer) generated by front rotors, compared to rear rotors.

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Front upright also features generous wheel bearing “spread” @ about 3.75″–also incorporates pin-drive hubs. (this is actually bottom view).

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Inboard view of L. front upright—notice monoball at top for upper control arm attachment (bolts on), shimming allows fine-tuning of “scrub-radius”—also “dual” duct inlets, to facilitate extra cooling.

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Original OEM NSX all aluminum right rear upright & control arms are very light weight, & elegant design—for anything OEM,—not really designed for racing however in terms of bearing sizes, spread, & brake cooling. Note the recess in center of upright is for wheel bearing hub & drive flange (next 3 pics),—Not very deep!

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Steel wheel bearing hub & drive flange—-compact size = low weight, but. . . . . .

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the hub assy (lower cast piece) has the inner & outer wheel bearings literally butting up to each other, for a total overall bearing spread of 2″ (half the spread of our newly-fabbed custom rear upright, 7 pics back)—remember; this configuration was designed in ’89 or ’90—for a 16″ x 8″ wheel with an 8.5″ wide tire. The engineers probably break out into hives every time they see a “street-racer” NSX with 10″ x 19″ wheels & 11″ wide tires—-wheel bearings will fail—NOT a pretty sight!

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Stock NSXÂ right rear upright configuration, still probably the most sophisticated suspension ever incorporated into a production automobile—-BTW, I still have all 4 corners of NSX suspension in excellent cond—-if you know anyone.

Rear control arm designs; Latest, greatest, hi-tech CAD output on garage floor—the result of many hours of data-point plotting using a plumb-bob, level, tape measure, &Â framing square! Look closely, & you can see the “third-dimension” notations in the form of vertical measurements (from ground-level)Â to each attachment point.

Front control arm designs (same method as rear, in caption above). Note the monoball receptacles at the outer ends of upper & lower control arms (bottom center of pic) do not line up vertically with each other. The resultant vertical line which intersects the two reflects 3 degrees of camber, & 6 degrees of caster, as fabricated!  The outboard end of the upper control arm (blue rounded-triangle in pic) is vertically serrated, and is adjustable for an additional 4 degrees of caster fore or aft. (as-in 2 degrees to 10 degrees total).

control arms before & after 2

All 8 control arms, 4 still in the “home-made” jigs. The 2 jigs in the center facilitate control arms whose pivot-centers are not in the same plane as the upper & lower connection points on the uprights. Note also that the lower control arms are “beefier” 1.25″ x .095″ wall chrome moly. The uppers are 1″ x .120″ wall, & are fairly small in overall configuration because of very tight space requirements to tuck all of the CF brake ducting inside the wheel, as well as the fact the front wheels turn thru a total 4o degree sweep—-so clearance between arm & inside edge of wheel @ “full-lock” is critical.

control arms before & after

This view shows the design of “caster-adjustable” upper-front control arm (third from left). The two 3/8ths bolts are welded Mil-Spec 12-pt fasteners (strongest available), & the triangle-shaped “clevis” is machined out of 4130 chrome moly billet, including vertical serrations on the back side, as is the back-up plate which is welded to the CM tubing. The “clevis” accepts a monoball which is integral to the upper portion of the front upright (see upright pic 8 pics back).

upper-front control arm

Close-up of upper front control arm reveals a lot of “unusual” angles between the “spuds”(where the spherical rod-ends screw in), the plane of the clevis, & the plane of ground level (represented by wood). The reason for all of this “voodo geometry” is so the caster angle can be maintained even when camber angle is adjusted dramatically pos. or neg.!

lower-rear control arm

Lower rear control arm view shows detail of lower push-rod mount (channel-like piece with the 4 “humps”). This was fabricated from 3 laser-cut pcs. of .125″ CM, plus 8 CM washers—11 pcs. total, x 4 corners, for a total of 44 pcs. of metal for precision weld-up. (super-size this pic to get an idea of the TIG artistry here) The next pic details the procedure.

jig for lower shock mount

Aluminum bar stock was machined to exact width so final spacing on bracket is a perfect fit for the “high-misalignment” rod-ends that are part of the push-rod, (which actuates the shock-rocker on frame rail—which actuates the shock). The allen bolts are used to secure the 8 washers (actually precision-machined CM shims—to hold a tight tolerance on the i.d.) during weld-up.

12 pc pick-up

The UPPER control arms attach to the chassis via a billet aluminum “pick-up”, which is serrated on back to allow for a total of 1.5″ adjustment up & down (to “dial-in” roll centers). Notice the use of urethane bushings in the exploded-view above. This concept brought howls—even proclamations of Blasphemy, from my fabricator community! After all, EVERYONE knows you don’t want “compliance” in a race car suspension component—right?!! Not so fast all you keepers of the conventional wisdom! The urethane in question is super-hard, & the dimensions of the billet receptacle are such that there is a “designed-in” PRE-LOAD—-the rod end can not be inserted without the aid of a special tool (designed by me, of course), which SPREADS the opening (i.e.,compresses the urethane bushings) so there is clearance for the width of the ball (in the rod end). The end result is a mount where the compliance would only be a few thousandths—BUT, think about the harmonics-dampening aspect of the piece! Yes, I designed the entire suspension to have vibration / harmonics dampening capability!—WHY?  Most of my fabricator friends are used to working on steel-chassis’d race cars—-but the NSX is an all ALUMINUM tub & frame-rail design. I didn’t want the inherant suspension harmonics / shock loads to result in a “wave effect” that would, over the long-haul, weaken every critical weld / bonded component in the NSX. SO—we’ll see!—if it doesn’t work, I can always replace the urethane with Delrin.

Another “not-so-obvious” feature of this design is that these “pick-ups” are attached to the frame using two 3/8ths STAINLESS Â bolts, which aren’t as strong (especially shear strength) as conventional wisdom would mandate. The goal is to have the “pick-ups” shear off the frame in the event of a car-mangling incident. Better than mangling the frame or all of the “critical-geometry” attachment points!

Custom spresder tool spreads steel bushings (tapered face) approx .035″, which compresses the inboard urethane bushings so that rod end can be inserted between the steel bushings’ inner face.

Trick was to drill all 16 of the steel bushings in exactly the right place for spreader to work (had to build a drill jig).

L.F. coilover position

Trial- fitting the Penske coilovers (F.L.) so they clear the brake & clutch master cylinders. Precise measurements are taken for a spacer that will fit between upper rod end on shock, & coil spring “retaining collar”. Note remote shock reservoir is only taped into a hypothetical position for final body profile mock-up.

L.F. coilover position 2

This view (F.L.)Â illustrates why a “coil spring spacer” will be fabbed—to keep the retaining collar away from the brake & clutch cylinders!

L.R. coilover position

Trial-fitting L.R. Penske coilover—also will need a custom spacer to fit between spring retaing collar & shock rod end (to clear chassis where shock shaft protrudes thru to outboard-mounted rocker). Note also remote shock reservoir “tyed” in hypothetical location on still-to-be-welded-in rectangular aluminum tubing crossmember. (it has to have our URL water-jet cut into it yet)

L.R. coilover position 2

Close-up reveals why a spacer must be fabbed to allow clearance between spring retainer collar & inside edge of chassis.

Coilover spacer

Like this—final assembly will be with silicone.  A different length spacer is required for Front than Rear. (wanted to keep all 4 shocks exactly the same O.A. length, to lessen the cost of  “spares pkg.”)

shock extender

Close-up of above pic.

Custom step-bushings are made from an extra hi-strength Delrin compound, & serve to further insulate entire chassis from shock absorber & suspension component harmonics (ocillations).

Delrin step-bushings are .375″ i.d. x .500″ o.d. and result in an installed width of 1″—which just happens to be the dimension all of the shock attachment points (frame & rockers) were fabbed to! These also allow the use of smaller (think lighter) hardware @ every point a shock attaches! (maybe I should sell these to Penske?)

Shock-bridge ARB holes

Rear shock-bridge (note 2 shock attachment holes @ top-ctr. are .375″, as discussed in previous pics)Â will also support an adjustable-blade ARB system, which will locate in the 2 freshly-bored holes in photo. The system incorporates twin gear-driven shafts, which will reside in nylon-bushed, aluminum tubes, yet to be welded into shock-bridge in the 2 large holes above centerline. The shafts will “cradle” ARB blades (in bronze bushing-photo below), which rotate in-sync thru 90 degrees of “soft vs. hard”. Morse cable attaches to a bellcrank on blade (not in pic), and is cockpit controlled by a Genesis Systems multi-position ARB levers (Genesis is really Irv Hoerr Racing from old trans am days!).

Shaft on left will have matching profiled spur gear welded. Both shafts will have matching profiled spur gears at threaded end— the gears are keyed to shafts, not welded—so assy can be installed from back-side of shock-bridge.

Final configuration before weld-in into rear shock-bridge. Note bores in CM tubing at left (with zirks) were made AFTER the tubing was welded to the shaft (which is really tubing, 1″ x .188 wall)

View as seen from rear inside “trunk” looking towards engine bay.

ARB blades

Blade on left is heat-treated 4130, while blade on right is Titanium. Notice the larger cross-section at base of Ti blade. These insert in Bronze bushing in photo above. Bushing is “lube-grooved”, & a grease zirk installs in small tapped hole.

ARB blades 2

Again, notice “beefier” cross-section on the Ti blade—-the metal is more flexible than the chrome moly!

These spur gears have a 105 mm pitch diameter, hence the 105 mm shaft spacing on the 2 shock-bridge holes 6 pics back. The one with the hub & keyways bolts on to the front end of shaft (engine-bay side of shock-bridge). The one that is hubless welds on to the back end of shaft , which is the end that cradles the ARB blades.

Amazing what a water jet can do!—these are made of stainless steel!

Center section of “trailing” front crossmember.

A lot of work for something relatively simple! (Note extra weld metal inside).

Right & Left sides to “trailing” front crossmember—formed out of 2″ x 4″ rectangular aluminum tubing.

Notice extra weld-metal on inside seams—so outside edges could be smoothed up—again, a LOT of work for a component that wont even be visible unless you crawl under the car!

Final config. before welding to underside of tub—approximately where the OEM rack & pinion used to be.

BIG brakes!—-also very light-weight because they’re CARBON

Notice how AP Racing puts the part # right on the edge of rotor to avoid confusion between sizes & compounds at the track.

Very LARGE caliper assy. with major piston bore cooling design.

Mounting holes are 210 mm’s O.C.—Note also titanium pistons with gas pressure-relief holes.

Assembly on Left front hub (front hubs use only 4 drive-pins). Wheels have 12 holes!

This is L.F. upright & brake assy. Notice monoball (lower-center of pic) is bolted-on to upright, which allows for shimming—which changes scrub radius.

This is a FRONT wheel—18″ x 11.5″ VERY light @ 17 lbs. 10 oz. (magnesium)

Same wheel with all of the suspension & brake components “stuffed” in.

View from backside illustrates how entire upright & brake assy. fits totally inside the wheel, lower “monopost” is visible at bottom of upright, & secures in monoball, which is installed in outboard end of lower control arms.(detail about 30 pics back).

L.F. upper control arm, attached to monoball on upright. (top-ctr. of pic)

Special design of outboard control arm “clevis” allows for plus or minus 7 degrees of caster adjustment—WITHOUT affecting camber! Close-up reveals vertical serrations on clevis (just to left of welded bolt). These clevis’ were machined from solid 4130 billet bar stock!

 

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 Hmmmm!—Anybody got a shoe horn? I did a lot of measuring on “showroom display LS7″ at local race shop & inside,underside of NSX before purchase. LS7 crate motor is Chevy’s most sophisticated ever! All aluminum, 427 cu. in., titanium rods & valves, 11:1 compression, dry-sump, 505 hp, 470 lbs. torque!—with a 1 year warranty!

LS-7 GM Part #

 This part # has been superceded—bought motor in 2006 (before they lowered redline in ECU)

nsx & rolex 029

 Can you believe this 7 liter with Porsche 5 speed transaxle weighs 35 lbs LESS than stock NSX 3 liter engine & tranny?!

nsx & rolex 013

 Decided to build “dummy” engine & tranny for late-night under-car measuring & fitting. Much easier when entire assy, weighs in around 15 lbs (instead of 550 lbs). Cut rigid urethane foam with kitchen knife, glued with contact cement, used a rasp to contour all surfaces to replicate exact dimensions of LS7 (in critical areas) & sealed with Urethane-based fiberglass resin.

nsx & rolex 016

 What?–You don’t recognize a Porsche G50-50 transaxle when you see one?

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 “Dummy” in early stages of firewall cutting, & calculating rear crossmember design / clearances.

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Engine bay view from passenger side reveals wooden dowel sticking out of tranny “dummy” (represents axle centerline).Â

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 Determining just how far forward engine could be placed, & still clear main cross-brace of Roll-cage (actually had to re-design cross-brace for “extra” clearance). This shot is very early in process—later, significantly more firewall was removed so engine could position even farther forward—which not only helps weight distribution, but rear axle alignment issues with transaxle.

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 Originally intended to keep trunk, & simply fab a cover for transaxle where it encroached—but later on decided to scrap entire rear body section (see pics in “chassis” gallery) in favor of a “racier”, & more aero configuration (don’t play golf anyway).

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 Rear view of underside during early phase of determining engine & tranny placement, including relative height in chassis. Since the Porsche transaxle has to be mounted inverted (to accomodate mid-engine installation), & because LS7 is Dry-Sump, entire assy is mounted MUCH lower than stock NSX engine—which is notoriously high anyway because of “compromise” lateral transaxle & engine position!

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 There’s just something special about unwrapping REAL horsepower!

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 Rear end of car has to be jacked VERY high off the ground, so engine & tranny assy can be installed from underneath (note mover’s dolly nested between the frame of the cherry-picker). The biggest challenge at this stage was clearing the inside edges of newly-cut OEM NSX rear suspension castings—can you believe about a 1/4″ total clearance (at tightest point)?

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LS 7 trial install (note foam core firewall at this stage).

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Chrome-moly engine crossmember ties into lower main bar of roll-cage (where it passes thru tunnel), & serves to triangulate the rear frame rails to the cage / tub structure. Â (Notice it is designed to be just in front of, & slightly lower than LS7 cast pan—for protection from “high-centering’ events). Bottom plane of crossmember is aligned with bottom plane of NSX frame rails, as well as bottom of rear transaxle support crossmember (visible at left edge of pic). This assures a nice aero package later on when CF belly pan is fabbed to blend into rear diffuser. You can see the OEM suspension casting has been moved 2″ aft (top-center of pic–full discussion of this in “chassis” gallery).

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Early phase of determining final height of transaxle, designing mount to attach tranny to newly-fabbed rear crossmember, & checking axle centerline with relationship to axle “stubs” on Porsche box. Note the cool side shift conversion mfg. by California Motorsports (on left side of Porsche G50-50)!

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Nice view of engine-bay layout—custom firewall w/raised center to accomodate Harrop (Eaton) supercharger & CF plenum that seals-up to rear lexan window. Shock-bridge detail reveals structurally-rigid design, while still remaining light-weight! Triangulation of lower CM sub-frame & “K-member” is evident. Note all of the chassis layout info & centerlines on garage floor—who needs a surface plate!

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Different view shows the twin 3″ aluminum fuel-fill tubes that are welded to firewall (& inside of cabin) for extra torsional rigidity. Photo reveals copius amounts of triangulation—can you spell “STIFF”?

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Just above the raised center of the firewall, a triangle-shaped aluminum plate (with 4″ hole in ctr.) ties the entire bulkhead to the upper rear roof structure—it also serves as a central attachment point for what will be a fireproof & bulletproof window (thank NASA) between driver’s cabin & engine compartment. It’s a special polycarbonate used mostly in military applications. Notice all of the room for custom header routing! They will be high in the bay, due to “aero-tunnels” built into the CF belly pan.

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L.R frame rail shot reveals relative placement of the upper control arm attachment points to the lower ones. The geometry is Z06, but not the dimensions. The aluminum dowel in bottom pick-ups is simply used to align the 2 in the same plane, as each pick-up is serrated on the back, & can be adjusted up or down a total of 1.5″

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View of engine-support crossmember (from driver’s-side, looking rearward).

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Engine support crossmember as viewed from bottom center, looking rearward. Note how it bolts into the lower main bar of the roll cage (where it intersects the tunnel). This is designed to help keep the engine from invading driver’s compartment in critical front impact!

Pankl Axle & Inboard drive-hub

Trick gun-drilled Pankl axle is 300m material, tripods are bulletproof! Dark grey drive hub is made by Hewland—the one on the axle is for an XTRAC box—have to custom-fab a pair for the Porsche box (ouch)!

Apr 10, 14
 

cut-up 2 - Copy

 The NSX rear suspension is an engineering masterpiece. The aluminum “bridge” is visible thru the new cut-out @ center of rear bulkhead (but not for long!).

OEM rear xmember

 After a few minutes on the bandsaw—bridge no longer in the way of Porsche transaxle, but a new crossmember is necessary to tie the R & L suspension components together.

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This is the beginning of “VERSION 1.0″Â rear suspension crossmember (would you believe VERSION 2.0 doesn’t evolve until 2 yrs later!)

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 I’m the design engineer, pattern-maker, cutter, fitter, bolter-on’er, & “back-to-the-drawing-board” guy—but I’m no welder! I’ve used several talented TIG artists over the 3+ year build.

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 All aluminum fab work through-out utilizes 6061-T6 material, & is TIG welded.

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 Aluminum bushings are 3 different lengths to accommodate the fact that the milled bolt bosses (in the NSX suspension pieces), are not all in the same plane.

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 With aluminum plate perfectly aligned, bushings are positioned for weld-up.

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 One bolt on each side, just to secure during weld-up.

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 More pattern testing for gussets.

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 Final welded assy. before “clean-up”.

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 Trial fit—view from engine bay looking towards rear.

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 View from back of car—before lightening holes & dressing-down.

R xmem 22

 OEM suspension all bolted-up. Also visible is custom-fab “shock-bridge”, which ties the frame rails together in the same plane as OEM shock towers. Notice the special 3/8ths” plates that are welded to underside of frame rails—these allow entire OEM suspension to be placed 2″ aft of stock placement (details in next 3 pics). Also in photo; foam-core “mock-up” of new engine bay firewall—gotta love that duct tape!

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 Driver’s-side rear frame rail with new holes cut-in exactly 2″ aft of stock holes (front of car towards right)

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 Close-up from previous pic.

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 3/8ths” frame plates with bosses (that are drilled & tapped for Keenserts)—note boss placement is 2″ aft of OEM frame holes—which will still have bolts securing assys, in addition to full-perimeter weld-up!

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 Driver’s-side frame plate ready for welding (rear of car towards left).

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 Ditto to above.

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Axle centerline 2″Â aft of OEM—sort of funny-looking, for now.

Shock-bridge 1

 View from rear thru trunk shows “shock-bridge”, & newly fabbed chrome-moly engine-support crossmember laying on the floor of engine bay.

shock-bridge 2

 View from passenger side engine bay looking into trunk area shows how shock-bridge welds into the strongest portion of rear chassis, namely where the 2 shock towers intersect with the frame rails. Also visible is lower transaxle support crossmember & how it ties the R. & L. OEM suspension castings together. (I know there’s a lot of you NSX’rs out there who think these are forgings—but they’re not—the control arms ARE forged, however).

shock-bridge 3

 View from inside trunk looking forward into engine bay—engine-support crossmember is bolted in place, ready to cradle the LS7. Note how front of crossmember triangulates into the lower-main bar of roll cage (where it crosses thru tunnel)—this provides additional stiffening of the already incredibly stiffer-than-stock chassis—it also keeps the engine & transaxle from wanting to move forward in a critical event (front impact for those of you in Rio Linda).

shock-bridge 4

 Another perspective on the 2 aluminum crossmembers—one ties the top-half of chassis together, while the other ties the bottom.

shock-bridge 5

 Better view of how engine-support crossmember bolts into the lower-main bar of roll cage (@ top of pic).

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 Engine support at top, & transaxle support at bottom.

engine bay crossmembers

 View from lower edge of “notched” rear bulkhead shows all 3 crossmembers in their relative positions.

drivers rear rocker 1

 Close-up of drivers-side rear frame re-inforcement & chrome-moly shock-rocker (ball bearings inside tubing portion of rocker)

drivers rear rocker 2

 Pin-hole just to left of top end of rocker is a pilot hole for the opening that will be cut that allows end of shock to “poke-thru” OEM shock tower, & connect to rocker.

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 Frontal view at this stage shows passenger-side OEM NSX suspension still in place, while drivers-side is completely removed. This was done to gauge original axle centerline, while extending it forward by 2″ on drivers-side—it also allowed accurate calculations for increased track width (5.5″), as wheel-hub flange to frame rail dimensions are projected to yield a Zero scrub radius (easier to accomplish when you’re designing your own suspension!). The orange tie-down strap at top of pic is actually holding the OEM control arms (left side of pic) in their accurate static ride height position even though chassis is on “rollable” jig.

DSC02284

 Over-engineered battery tray is actually Version 1.0, & was designed around the optimum Odessy Battery configuration at the time. Of course Odessy came out with an even more ideal shape & size since this pic—SOOO, Version 2.0 looks totally different—will post when completed. Also visible in this pic is drivers-side front shock rocker (R. side of pic) already bolted to top of frame rail near firewall.

front rocker 1

 Close-up of passenger-side front shock rocker (front of car towards right). In this photo rocker actually extends thru “window” in inner wheel well. Turned out later on window wasn’t necessary, as decision was made to remove entire wheel-well assy’s. (see pics below).

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 Preview of upcoming horror flick?—no, just cutting away unnecessary sheet metal & wheel wells. (fabricator’s note: cut-off wheel much easier to control, & cleaner resulting cut than Plasma torch!)

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 The aluminum sheet metal is several layers (laminations) —have to make certain cuts are all the way thru, & then carefully “tweak” until loose.

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 Taking “wiggling” to an un-desired art-form—but it works (shoulda had the MsBadwrench girls stage this shot!)

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 Voila!—entire structure only weighs 6 lbs, but the placement is relatively high to desired center of gravity!

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“Cleaned-up” front end much easier to work with for all sorts of systems that will be incorporated in “Top-Secret” front suspension design.

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 Now to perform the same “clean-up” procedure on rear frame rails. Cutting passenger-side wheel-well from inside of trunk. Notice OSHA -approved “invisible” safety-guard on 4″ grinder! Nothing that is structurally important is cut/removed (i.e. shock towers, frame rails, etc.)

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 Cut line leading towards bottom of pic is actually the outside edge of frame rail “stamping”—where the multi-layer frame is spot-welded together.

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Cutting around back end of frame rails (easier from backside than laying under car, cutting overhead). Decision to remove box-like trunk structure was arrived at late in project—to facilitate a much more aggressive “slope” in rear body profile that blends with the rear hatch glass angle (between rear wheel tubs). Also, rear axle centerline is now plotted 3″ farther aft than stock—-which allows for state-of-the-art “aero” packaging. I have to build the rear body “clip” from scratch anyway…anyone want to buy a complete Cantrell GT wide body kit?

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Removal is easy if you double check all of your cuts to make sure they are clean thru multi-layers of stamped aluminum—again, wiggling becomes an art form (shoulda let the MsBadwrench girls do this part for photo).

9 pounds

Entire shell weighs only 9 pounds, but placement is relatively high (to center of gravity)–which is undesireable.

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“Cleaned-up” rear frame rails—different perspective. Note cardboard template for rear radius on left rear suspension sub-frame mock-up.

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Good view of firewall / engine & transaxle / rear suspension sub-frame placement. (Note: this, & all subsequent pics are in a different garage resulting from time-honored Real Estate tradition of buying high & selling low while going thru a divorce–haha)

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View from lower rear shows “shock-bridge” & rear sub-frame detail. Note the engine support crossmember (blue) & rear sub-frame (unpainted) are in the same plane as bottom of NSX tub—full CF belly pan will incorporate ground effects tunnels similar to LMP1 cars.

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Left-rear frame rail—lower control arm billet “pick-ups” are visible already bolted to the sub frame. The aluminum dowel rod is simply used to ensure the pick-ups are in the same plane, as each is serrated, & can be adjusted up or down a total of 1.5″ (for roll-center tuning).

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Top view of front frame rails shows one master cylinder mounted to firewall, as well as driver’s-side shock-rocker positioned on frame rail for final clearance check. The orange-handled clamp @ top-ctr of pic is holding the bracketry for the “mini-rack” & other steering-enhancing components for weld-up.

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(see caption on pic above this one)

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Bottom view of “mini-rack” bracketry—ready for weld-up. Note also red markings on crossmember—more stuff welds on that as well!

L.F. air-jack cut-out

Cut-out in L.F. frame rail for air-jack can—this is a very strong part of the frame—Note the inside structural “filler” & the OEM spot welds & susp. mounting holes.

L.F. air-jack can gusset

Trial-fitting a “doubler” for the air-jack can (spreads the load across a larger welded area).

L.F. air-jack can

Final-fitting the air-jack can—flush with frame, & plumb in all axis’.

L.R. air-jack can 4

Trial-fit air-jack can inside L.R. frame rail—note can is positioned to also attach (bolt) to CM sub-frame assy. (those hot glue guns sure come in handy when affixing things to irregular places)! Note the welded-in gusset in the frame “kick-up” for extra strength—roll cage “down-tubes” attach just behind this “kick-up”.

L.R. air-jack can

L.R. air-jack can viewed from bottom-rear of car. Note round aluminum spacer between can & CM sub-frame tubing—this is so rear CM sub-frame can be easily dropped without interference with the “can”.

L.R. air-jack can 2

L.R. air-jack can viewed from driver’s-side rear wheel well. Numerous aluminum gussets will weld between frame rail & can, to spread the load. One of those gussets has a “tab” which positions just above the CM tubing (closest to lens)—and will bolt to a CM tab that gets welded to the CM sub-frame tubing.

4 air jack cans all complete with stiffeners, top-gussets, & pich-bolt bosses. Note the “doubler” is also plug-welded to front cans @ right.

Holes in “top-gussets” (near-end) are where the air line / bulkhead fastener protrude. Rear cans are on the left, & Fronts are on the right.

Close-up of pinch-bolt boss, which is already threaded half-way thru for 5/16th’s – 18 SS button head. The boss & lower inch-and-a-half of can will be “slit” with a cutting wheel (on a mill), before cans are welded to frame rails.

This pic is in my friends garage (I’m renting his home)—it is the 4th garage my project has taken place in! (at the 4 yr mark, July ’10) Â The toy on top is a 69 GTO going thru total frame-off resto. It belongs to my friends Tom & Jerry (their real names).

Hot-gluing an aluminum crossmember for trial-fit.

These 2 “mirrored” brackets have the most complicated (frustrating) contours—to mate up to underside of tub / front. Even using a contour gage, they represent nearly 40 man-hours of work—CRAZY!

I’m sighting this piece because the front side is “taller” than the rear side, & it only fits correctly one way.

Trial-fitting center of crossmember. This pic is taken from driver’s front wheel well.

Close-up of fitting process (thanks, Caroline for the great shots!)

Marking where part needs to be “massaged” on sander.

Belt sander is a necessity if you’re going to be doing any serious fab-work.

I know—I look pretty happy with myself! (these are all late summer night shots—heat makes you punchy!) Arch is to allow for coolant hoses & oil lines that route thru tub tunnel (just behind my left hand).

The white foam-core boards are patterns for aluminum fuel cell partitions—which will weld into, & become part of engine bay. The final aluminum panels will be sprayed with Lizard-Skin to minimize heat transfer to fuel cells. (its a ceramic coating approx .060″ thick—way cool!)

A different view of passenger side partition.

Making patterns that have to fit multiple angles / planes is tedious, but the only way to insure the final panel will be perfect. This is an art form that accepts the reality of “do-overs”!

Bottom-Up shot of multi-piece pattern (passenger side).

Note “Gorilla Tape” is used extensively to hold boards in place while measurements taken, contours transferred etc.

Not so obvious is partitions need to be plumb if fuel cells are to slide up into the resulting “chamber” without interference. High density closed-cell foam is laminated inside the final “chamber” to prevent fuel cell from chafing. Chamber becomes completely sealed (from engine bay & driver’s compartment) after cell is installed from bottom, via bottom partition, which incorporates a sealing-lip, &Â is bolted-in.Â

Late-night plumbing! Everything gets re-checked after good night’s sleep, BEFORE patterns are transferred to .060″ 6061 T6 aluminum sheet!

Apr 10, 14
 

WOW!……5 yrs into a 2 year project!……getting VERY close to a shakedown, just decided to nurture my blog. Sorry to all who have made legitimate comments along the way……it’s been a challenge sorting them out from the thousands of irrelevant comments, but hopefully we can get something intelligent going here! I’m open to all, just keep it relevant, please!

FYI, I hope to have the racecar driveable by October (2011), & the entire project finished by end of this year! I could use some help with cad/cam, solidworks & digitizing scale model…….also anyone who has access to large autoclave / CF shop.

Dale

Apr 10, 14
 

Our “Ultimate Hybrid LS7NSX” Project started out as a 91 NSX coupe with 118k miles on it. It had a bone-stock motor with headers & exhaust, & had been amateur- raced by it’s owner, Dale Ramsperger, for about 6 years—- mostly in NASA & NSX-only events. The car had a 6-pt cage, big brakes, Bilsteins, H & R springs, & Yokohama race rubber, and was generally well sorted. It was embarrassingly deficient in one area, however; HORSEPOWER!

The Ultimate Hybrid LS7NSX concept was a car that would more closely resemble a Daytona Prototype or ALMS GT-1 racecar—–but still be streetable!! The final configuration features an 850 hp, 800 ft-lbs torque, 440 cubic inch supercharged LS7 “type” motor that runs on E-85! – built by Brian Thomson (Thomson Automotive)—the genius behind “all things LS”  After researching numerous brands / configurations of transaxles, we decided to use a Porsche G50-52 5-speed box that was professionally built by California Motorsports specifically for road racing. This box is generally acknowledged as Porsche’s strongest ever—mostly because it has a 9″ ring gear. It also has billet shift forks, a Moly LSD, steel synchros, inverted oiling system configured for external pump, & the super-trick CMS side-shift conversion. To handle all of the horsepower & torque we consulted with Tilton Engineering, & chose their 3 disc, carbon-carbon set-up. We also had them build a special light-weight flywheel (9 lb.) that would bolt-up to the LS7 crank, but be small enough diameter to fit inside the Porsche “bellhousing”, & utilize the Porsche Racing starter.

As part of the project’s proportion goal (& to facilitate the longitudinally mounted V8 & transaxle), we moved the rear axle centerline aft 3″, & the front axle centerline forward 2″—for a stretch of 5″, resulting in a 105″ wheelbase. We also widened the track by 5.5″, for a total track width of 78″—these are very similar to the dimensions of a GT-1 Corvette. We also are incorporating custom-built centerlock hubs & spindles, & the GT-1 Corvette (AP Racing) 15″ carbon rotors. These wheel-hub, spindle, & rotor assemblies are bolted-up to a set of custom-made billet uprights (sorta copied ALMS GT configuration) at all 4 corners. To complement all of these hi-tech, light-weight (unsprung) suspension components, we chose the BBS Monoblock /centerlock wheels, & Michelin Racing tires—literally the same ones used in the now-abandoned GT-1 Corvette program. Our suspension also incorporates horizontally-opposed Penske coilover shocks (series 8300). This modification places the shocks in a much lower center-of-gravity position, while also facilitating much easier access for set-up purposes. The Penskes are also extremely light-weight! Our “Ultimate Hybrid” also features a one-of-a-kind, experimental, front suspension (our patent-pending), which allows the driver to adjust the front camber by a plus-or-minus 7 degrees, while driving!

Another goal is weight reduction—our target final weight (without driver) is 2600 lbs. One of the methods we have adopted is to build one-piece Carbon Fiber tilt front & rear ends. (clam-shell style, like the Ford GT). We are also fabricating CF “half-doors” that open like a Saleen S-7. All of the “glass” (windshield, rear hatch glass, door windows)Â is made of 3/16″ Lexan, & the door windows will actually open!

THE END RESULT? – A 200+ mph, NSX-based Supercar that is 107% scale, 83% the weight, 280% the horsepower, 340% the torque, with a 50/50 final weight distribution!    Oh!—- did we mention the car will have an ALL-GIRL Pit Crew?—MsBadwrench Racing Girls! —Beautiful, Fit, & trained for Pit-Stop Competition!

MsBadwrench pit crew in training

 
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