It's hard to believe
that in a few months my existing chassis will be 5 years old. In
that time the chassis saw 2 power plants, 2 sets of axles and the
addition of a rear bench seat. I am happy with how it has
turned out, especially when I think I only possessed a few grinders,
a manual tube bender and a welder when I started it back in June
2004. I have slowly built up my tool collection and have
gained access to some cool fabrication options at work and have been
itching to build something to see what I could do now.
I recently acquired
enough 1.50" x .120 DOM to build a chassis and I am currently
leaning towards using my Hellraiser 2 chassis as a base for a couple
reasons the biggest being to answer a lot of the questions I get
about the chassis plans I sell. Despite the build up info on
the chassis plan web pages I sill get asked what engine can fit in
the designs, how easy is it to change the design, can different
sized tubing be used, etc. By using the 2 seater chassis as a
base I can change things around a bit to show how easy it is for to
customize the look and functionality of the chassis. I will also
detail the buildup in such a way so it creates a roadmap to building
a chassis using my plans. While you can just follow them and
go straight to the end before mocking stuff up, it really is better
to stop along the way and check the fit of your selected components.
Doing so will allow you to make key changes that benefit your
component selection as well as allowing you to customize your
Design specs: 3
seater, front engine, single piece front driveshaft with a front
mounted radiator. The plans assume a two seater with a rear
mounted radiator but I want to show how easy it is to deviate from
the plans if required. This go around I'd also like to play around with
getting the nose as low and narrow as possible, optimize the belly
clearance for my drive train of choice and create a roomier
To mock up the drive
train I picked up picked up what is supposed to be a low mileage
1997 S/C 3.8l off of Craigslist a few weeks back which will go well
with the spare TF904 I have in my parents garage. The motor could
serve dual purposes - I have been wanting to do some motor upgrades
on my 3.8l for a while now and if this motor is truly low mileage I
can build it up on the side and swap it into my buggy when it is
done. Worst case I can use it for a core if I want to just spring
for a rebuilt long block.
One of the first
things I built that I could attribute to this project was a wheeled
motor stand so I could move the motor around easily. With the
motor was on the cart I have been slowly picking it apart with the
eventual goal of tearing it down to the heads to check out the
Another tool I wanted to make for this project was a simple chassis cart that
would allow me to easily move the chassis around during it's construction and to
serve as a reference plane for measuring purposes. The
cart is made from some scrap 1.25 x .120 wall square steel tubing. I
don't think it is heavy enough to be a true chassis jig but feel it will make
life easier compared to building the chassis on my concrete floor.
The finished chassis cart with scribed centerline. I also added some
tapped holes so I can set the lower chassis width via some pieces of angle iron.
Here's a picture of what I have been playing with on the computer in my spare
time. I took my 2 seater design and lowered the hood line to start.
I am currently trying to configure the belly cross members so I do not need a 2
piece front driveshaft in an effort to save money as well as eliminate
driveshaft vibrations in 4 high (common and nearly unavoidable with a carrier
My plans kind of got sidetracked for a week during which I thought I had blown
the motor in the 4 seater. I had been going down the path of prepping my
spare motor so I could get the 4 seater mobile again and out of the garage.
One of the mini projects involved porting the supercharger housing. You can see
in the before pictures the casting on the blower outlet is very jagged. When the
blower spins up the air goes thru the large arrow shaped port at supersonic
speeds which builds heat as it passes over the rough surfaces - I have read the
temps can hit 300-350 degrees. The slots beside the main port are silencing
ports, they allow the air to bleed into the chamber which basically quiets the
blower. I have read you can plug those if you want more blower whine but I am
not going to try that.
There is a surprising amount of information on the net that covers this, The
best stuff was on the Eaton website where they covered what you could do to
improve performance. This mod won't add horsepower but will lower the temp of
the air going into the motor thereby reducing the chances for detonation. So it
really is a supporting mod that will allow you to run smaller pulleys or other
mods safer. I chose to emulate the outlet porting done by a shop that has a
supercharger dyno figuring they tried a few things and ultimately sold what
worked the best. The intake already matches my ported throttle body (72mm
opening) and will only need to be smoothed out.
After making a fixture at work this morning I stuck the setup under a manual
mill and cranked what you see out during lunch. I am pretty happy with my first
attempt. I'll see how it works in the future and have a spare housing if I
need to make any changes to my porting.