Chassis Construction

Documenting the Build
The pictures below show some of the changes we've made to the chassis.  We've been concentrating on making things lower and lighter.


Here’s what 45 pounds of sheet metal looks like...after it’s been cut out of a Cougar.  This cutting helped, but we’ve still got about 150 pounds to go.






Robert fitting door handles.jpg (17573 bytes)Getting weight out of the car is a big deal...and meeting the rules is equally important.  The rules say you must have a means of opening the door from the inside.  Here Robert is finishing up the installation of the inside door handles.  You can see it next to his left’s a lever which extends through the window channel.  This solution meets both requirements since we don’t have any windows left in the doors.





Door Shell Inside _ Stock.jpg (12906 bytes)To give you a feel for the lightening process.  Here’s the inside of a stock door.






Door Shell Inside Mk1.jpg (12589 bytes)Here’s the same door with only the reinforcement rib left....and 17 pounds lighter.






And in the pursuit of lightweight, here’s the “door” we’re running.  Only a shell.









Next came fitting of the dashboard.  Here you see it with the replacement gauges and master switch installed.  A lot more work than it appears.




So, with the cage installed, we can now do the final welding and installation of the pedals and steering.  This shot and the one below shows the development of the pedal mount and steering shaft support.



After the welding of the remaining interior components was completed (or so we thought), we had our friend Denny Marklein (Marklein Auto Body in Dodgeville, WI) paint the car white. 



The white keeps the heat down inside the car and helps identify any plumbing leaks that might arise.





Now we could start mounting components and installing the plumbing...from brake lines to oil lines.  Here you see the Accusump oil surge tank installed along with the radiator fill tank.



Here you see the oil cooler being installed.  Note the lightening holes in the bumper.





Chassis Preparation

The ShellHere you see the car as we received it -- a “body in white”.  This is where the work starts







Metal RemovalThe next step was to remove excess material to lower the weight.  This shot shows the area between the “B” and “C” pillars which had all the metal removed...along with the sound deadening material that lines the inner panels of the car.



Seam WeldWe then “seam welded” the car -- that is we added additional welds to all the seams of the car that came from the factory with spot welds.  This increases the rigidity of the car...but it’s a drag to do.  Also in this picture you can see the stock shock tower before modification.



Strut Tower DoneHere’s the strut tower after modification...with the upper camber plate in place.  Notice we flattened the top of the shock towers to accommodate a mounting plate.  What you can’t see is the reinforcement plate welded to the underside of the shock tower.  





Fuel Cell

The next major step was to cut an opening in the car floor to install the fuel cell.  In addition to making this cut, we constructed a steel tube cage to support and protect the cell.  This cage was welded to the underside of the car and then covered with an aluminum skin.


Here’s the cell dropped into place prior to building the interior cover which separates the cell from the cockpit.




Roll Cage

So after a LOT of cutting and welding, we took the car over to the chassis builder to get the cage installed.  Here’s the car mounted on the surface plate for construction of the cage.


Here’s another shot of the car on the surface plate as the cage is being installed.  What follows next are detail shots of the cage.





The main hoop of  cage.  Here you can see the lightened gussets that connect the cage to the skin of the car.





Here’s the cage thru the passenger side door.







And here is a shot of the “roof” of the cage.






This shot shows the driver's side of the cage with the “NASCAR” style door bars.







This is a close-up of the way the cage connects to the rear strut tower...providing additional safety and rigidity.






And here’s the same connection at the front strut tower.









Here you see the headlight covers, front facia and oil cooler installed.  Note the tow hook on the right.. a nice aluminum swing away bit made by Robert.



Here’s another shot showing the Dzus button mounted facia with the hood closed.  The cardboard is a  template for the Lexan replacement of the stock windshield.




This is the front facia with the Wings West air dam mounted on it.  We’ve modified the the air dam to eliminate the lower lip.  We replace that with a custom made splitter/undertray comibnation.


Here you can see the mold Robert made to make the splitter/undertray.  The splitter improves the performance of the air dam.  The undertray extends under the car to the centerline of the front axle.  We’d go farther back, but the rules prohibit that.


This shot is looking down at the front of the car.  You can see the lightened stock bumper and the small amount of steel remaining in the middle of the car.  This is the MK2 version...the MK3 will be run in 2002.  The short round tubes you see pointing forward, accept the “legs” of the alignment frame we built.  You plug in frames front and rear and run strings between them...instant reference planes for doing toe settings.


This is the bumper we’ll run in 2002.  This is a tubular aluminum structure I built toward the end of the 2001 season but never ran.  It's less than 1/2 the weight of the drilled stock bumper above.  




To reduce some weight, we eliminated the stock door handles and covered the opening with aluminum plate.





The same goes for the gas filler cap, shown here covered with aluminum.  You can also see the Dzus-buttoned rear facia.








This is the rear wing mount.  As you can see it’s adjustable for angle.  The rules for 2002 allow us to mount the wing higher above the rear deck...which we’ve done.  New picture to follow.


Rev. 12/27/01
I welcome your comments or ideas on this information.  Feel free to drop me a line via “Comments and Feedback”.  

Barry Mumm

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