Preparing my Spider 2000 for the Track

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Simon
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Preparing my Spider 2000 for the Track

Post by Simon » Wed Feb 17, 2010 10:23 pm

Hello All,

I thought I'd post up some details of my currently most active project, my 1980 US import Spider 2000. This car has served me well since buying it 16 years ago without an MOT from a classic car dealer in Stoke. It was soon on the road after I replaced the burnt out exhaust valve and and the cracked windscreen. It then served as my daily driver for a few years before I took it off the road to tidy up the bodywork and interior. It was then relieved of daily duties by the acquisition of an old 911T (now another ongoing project!) and became a weekend plaything and general tinkering project. However, for the last couple of years it has been an inanimate object sat on the drive slowly deteriorating waiting to take it's turn in the garage for attention.
My addiction to trackdays (since getting the 911) is currently being fulfilled by using my Chrysler Crossfire (yet another project!). Since getting my ARDS licence last year with a view to doing a bit of racing, I really want to concentrate on my driving and learning the circuits, but it is costing me a fortune in tyres (£800 a set!), and to be honest I am getting to the point where I am pushing the limits a bit more on each outing and would rather not see it end up in the Armco, especially while I'm still paying for it! So, since the 911 is still in bare metal, this has turned my attention to the Spider. Sure, I'd rather not prang the Sider either, but it was paid for long ago, has the potential to be fairly handy on track with reasonable running costs, and is otherwise just rusting away - which saddens me. So bringing it back into service as a daily drive and track car seemed a good option and would also free up the Crossfire to pursue some of the engine work I have planned.

My initial plan was just to:

Weld up any corrosion
Strip the interior (it needed replacing anyway, apart from the retrimmed seats)
Fit the kevlar seats from my recently scrapped Niva (which also yielded 2 spare diffs and a set of twin 40 Solex's)
Fit a cage
Remove the US bumpers
Fit some lowered springs and dampers
Uprate the brakes (my major area of concern for track use)
Then possible look at some engine work, obviously with plenty of input from GC!

Things are now progressing well but the inevitable 'spec creep' has, er.. crept in! Having fitted the cage, which necessitated the removal of the hood (this was scrap anyway due to mildew and a spit rear screen), I thought about an Abarth Rallye hardtop from Guy Morenhout, but he wasn't sure they fitted over my Sparco cage, and said the carriage would be prohibitively expensive. So rather than take a very expensive risk I am now making my own mould for a carbon fibre one of my own design, which in turn has lead to some GRP4 arch moulds too!

Well that's enough rambling from me, here are some pictures.
Attachments
DSCF4858.JPG.jpg
Rot in rear of sill
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DSCF4863.JPG.jpg
Inner membrane repair
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_IGP5487.jpg
Front lower wing
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IMGP5736.jpg
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_IGP6140.jpg
Cage trial fit, seats reclaimed from my Niva
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_IGP2871.jpg
Woah brake kit
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_IGP2596.JPG.jpg
Spax springs and Polybushes
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_IGP6219.jpg
Making up hardtop mould 'buck'
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Loads of steaming and bending MDF sheet
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_IGP6285.jpg
Final shaping
_IGP6285.jpg (396.36 KiB) Viewed 6594 times
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TR-Spider
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Re: Preparing my Spider 2000 for the Track

Post by TR-Spider » Thu Feb 18, 2010 10:29 pm

Nice work with that hardtop!

for further suspension improvement I recommend the front spindels + wheelshubs from the Fiat 125/132 (also used in 124 Abarth (and most likelyVolumex)).
These are longer and thus massively improve the camber curve of the front wheels. Bearings are bigger than 124's.
Größenänderung IMGP1027.JPG
Größenänderung IMGP1027.JPG (55.26 KiB) Viewed 6540 times
Then of course some strengthening of the front crossmember, otherwise you may not enjoy the new brakes for too long.
The design is simply too weak for todays sticky tires and braking power and it won't last.
Best to make the most stressed lower front bolts replacable. I welded in rectangular blocks instead of the stock tubes and some L-shaped stiffeners on the outside towards the upper fixations.
Größenänderung IMGP0387.JPG
Größenänderung IMGP0387.JPG (41.96 KiB) Viewed 6540 times
As you can see, I additionally take the force from the front bolts across via the sumpguard (maybe overkill, but the opportunity was there...).

On top of the crossmember, where it sits against the frame rails, I put in some larger overhanging plates, in order to prevent tilting during braking.
Größenänderung IMGP0391.JPG
Größenänderung IMGP0391.JPG (60.3 KiB) Viewed 6540 times
The lower a-arm can be enforced with a kind of a weld-in cup, doubeling the material where the bearing is bolted through and adding stiffness with the outside wall.
Größenänderung IMGP0396.JPG
Größenänderung IMGP0396.JPG (47.16 KiB) Viewed 6540 times
Hope that helps
Thomas
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Simon
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Re: Preparing my Spider 2000 for the Track

Post by Simon » Thu Feb 18, 2010 11:19 pm

Thanks very much Thomas.

I will check the front spindles as I have a feeling they may already be 132 types as I remember having difficulties when fitting wheel bearings several years ago. The set I bought specified for a 124, were too small a diameter and I ended up having to get Lada ones for the inners, which were bigger, and use the 124's for the outer. At the time I just though it was the usual problem of trying to source parts for a car not listed in any of the UK parts suppliers books - it was a time before you could search and buy all this stuff on the internet! Mine is quite a late car too when the factory started using later 132 bits as the parts bins dried up.

I totally agree with you on the 124's weak front end and take on board your suggestions. I've still got to work out exactly what to do in that area but will be getting it back on the road first before any serious track outings, as I'm not confident the engine has many track miles in it and really needs a rebuild anyway. I'm not really happy running it on track without some sump baffling and/or an accumulator either. When the engine comes out I'll seam weld the rails and probably implement your suggestions. I'm also going to plate in the rear panard rod tower, like I did on my Lada rally car. I'll keep you informed.
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Guy Croft
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Re: Preparing my Spider 2000 for the Track

Post by Guy Croft » Fri Feb 19, 2010 8:29 am

MODEL POST!

An interesting and worthwhile thread, with plenty of high-quality illustrations and nicely crafted text!


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Simon
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Re: Preparing my Spider 2000 for the Track

Post by Simon » Tue May 17, 2011 12:29 am

It has been quite a while since I started this thread but after several months of inactivity due to work commitments I have made quite a bit of progress over Easter and the Bank Holidays.

Recent jobs have included:

- Completing the cage install.
- Moulded up the offside wheel arches, but still completing the patterns for moulds on the nearside.
- Decided that the bootlid required too much attention to address the rust, so used it as a pattern to mould up a GRP replacement.
- Moulded up some lower rear quarters.
- Completed the wooden pattern for the roof, constructed the mould and moulded the final roof from it.

Here are some pictures:

The roof pattern finished and ready to gel coat.
Roof Buck.jpg
Roof Buck.jpg (338.54 KiB) Viewed 5525 times
Gel coated and constructing the removable forms for the window frame sections before laying up the GRP.
Roof Mould Construction.jpg
Roof Mould Construction.jpg (326.6 KiB) Viewed 5525 times
Roof in place, ready to start prepping for paint.
Roof in place.jpg
Roof in place.jpg (348.27 KiB) Viewed 5525 times
Reinforcement ribs and mountings added.
Roof Underside.jpg
Roof Underside.jpg (338.97 KiB) Viewed 5525 times
GRP boot lid
IMGP7000.jpg
IMGP7000.jpg (332.19 KiB) Viewed 5525 times
GRP Bootlid.jpg
GRP Bootlid.jpg (306.94 KiB) Viewed 5525 times
It's starting to look something like I envisaged it now. I know it's not one for the purists and obviously not a true Abarth replica having the wrong style rear lights, fuel filler, doors, arches, bonnet bulges etc., let alone the mechanical spec, but that was never the intention. I am just aiming for a nice looking, useable car reminiscent of the various competition versions from the past.
Side View.jpg
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Simon
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Re: Preparing my Spider 2000 for the Track

Post by Simon » Wed Jun 08, 2011 8:47 pm

I made a bit of progress over the last couple of weeks. Cleaned up, and painted the engine compartment and various components, and tidied up the brake lines and wiring (sorry forgot to take pics) Then spent the last two evenings constructing a mould for a GRP bonnet. I wasn't going to bother with this at first, but nearly putting my back out again lifting the hefty steel bonnet convinced me it was worth the effort!

Having armed myself with Guy's superb new book I'll be glad to get all this bodywork out the way and get on to the more exciting task of building a worthy engine for it!
_IGP7034.jpg
Gelcoatingon prepped bonnet
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_IGP7037.jpg
Layed up with glass fibre
_IGP7037.jpg (447.71 KiB) Viewed 5421 times
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cos
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Re: Preparing my Spider 2000 for the Track

Post by cos » Fri Jun 10, 2011 11:18 am

looking forward to seeing the finished g/f bonnet! keep the photos comming!

Simon
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Re: Preparing my Spider 2000 for the Track

Post by Simon » Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:17 pm

Thanks cos, I had a bit of set back this evening trying to wrestle the mould off the bonnet. For some reason the release agent and polish seemed to have acted like an adhesive! I will hopefully get time tomorrow to start prepping it. Being the later big bulge bonnet I can't fit the Abarth style exit vents in the ear corners (not without them cutting into the bulges), so I am toying with the idea of recessing the rear section of each bulge to form exit vents. This was one of the reasons for going GRP as I can mess about with things without destroying the original.

Found some pics from prepping the engine bay. The idea was just to clean it up and make it a bit more presentable before a more thorough job when finally pull the engine some time after getting it back on the road. So satin white Hammerite was the order of the day! I did pull all the grommets, wiring brake servo and pipes from the bulkhead and welded up various holes, including a big figure of '8' one where an afterrmarket aircon system had been fitted. This had led to similar 'butchery' in the LH panel behind the grill where the air ducting to the rad had been removed.
IMGP6967.jpg
starting to strip the inner wings
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IMGP7013.jpg
Degreased and seam welding to the bulkhead
IMGP7013.jpg (344.81 KiB) Viewed 5370 times
IMGP7008.jpg
Made up a template from the duct on the other side and reversed it.
IMGP7008.jpg (329.43 KiB) Viewed 5370 times
IMGP7009.jpg
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IMGP7012.jpg
Seam welding near suspension turret
IMGP7012.jpg (280.33 KiB) Viewed 5370 times
_IGP7057.jpg
Starting to put clean and painted components back
_IGP7057.jpg (414.07 KiB) Viewed 5370 times
Seeing as this is primarily an engine website here are some pics from starting to prep the spare head I have.
_IGP6301.jpg
Valves before cleanup
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_IGP6309.jpg
Cleaning and polisjing up in the pillar drill before checking that the stems were within tolerance. Which luckily they all were
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_IGP6322.jpg
Head stripped of guides and partially ported by previous owner. Seats had not been touched.
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GC guides waiting go in.
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_IGP3952.jpg
Lovely set of Neway cutters ready for action
_IGP3952.jpg (317.53 KiB) Viewed 5370 times
Since starting the project I have also acquired an old Wolf valve face grinder. Just needs one of the motors sorting out.
_IGP7038.jpg
_IGP7038.jpg (382.76 KiB) Viewed 5370 times
More later...
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Guy Croft
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Re: Preparing my Spider 2000 for the Track

Post by Guy Croft » Sat Jun 11, 2011 9:04 am

I continue to be impressed buy this thread. Ever thought of writing a book about restoring this model?

G

WhizzMan
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Re: Preparing my Spider 2000 for the Track

Post by WhizzMan » Sat Jun 11, 2011 8:36 pm

What you call a rush job with the hammerite in the engine bay, is another man's restoration.

I like your photography. It's not just descriptive, but also from an artistic viewpoint it's pleasing to look at. Guy's may be on to something, I agree you should try and document even more than you're doing already.
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Simon
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Re: Preparing my Spider 2000 for the Track

Post by Simon » Sat Jun 18, 2011 4:54 pm

Thanks very much for the king words Guy and WhizzMan. I don't profess to be an expert on Spider restoration (or any other model for that matter), I just go about things in the best way I see fit with the resources available to me. So I don't always end up doing things in the most orthodox manner! Being a keen photographer I do enjoy combining both hobbies, and quite fancy the idea of mixing art with engineering in a book or website. I actually have literally thousands of pictures of the various projects I am dabbling with so probably have quite a bit of material if I actually took the time to go through it all! I think it is that blend of sophisticated engineering and Pininfarina style of the 124 Spider that has always appealed to me.

Regarding progress, I have made some with the bonnet but things have not gone as smoothly as I was expecting due to the gelcoat sticking to the painted surface of the original bonnet whist forming both the skin and reinforcement moulds. Anyway, I think I have managed to recover the situation and nearly got both moulds ready to prep for laying up.

The skin mould needed a bit of filling where chunks of the gelcoat came away when wrestling it from the mould. It got to the point where I had to get a bit brutal with it and just deal with the resulting damage later.
_IGP7089.jpg
Bonnet skin mould, with spot repairs
_IGP7089.jpg (380.27 KiB) Viewed 5117 times
The front corners of the mould where the original hinges locate needed to be glassed over. I've not yet decided whether or not to make up some ali hinges or just secure it with 4 bonnet pins.
_IGP7074.jpg
Reinforcement mould pulled from the bonnet ready fro prepping.
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_IGP7078.jpg
Prepping the mould
_IGP7078.jpg (418.28 KiB) Viewed 5117 times
Laying the reinforcement mould on the car looks like it will be very handy for determining where to fit some exit vents.
_IGP7088.jpg
Nearly there, still need to trim the raw edges, and polish it up
_IGP7088.jpg (497.77 KiB) Viewed 5117 times
After dithering over the expense, I now have an aluminium radiator on order. In addition to the cooling benefits I figured it would be nice to save a bit more weight ahead of the front wheels.

More later...
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Guy Croft
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Re: Preparing my Spider 2000 for the Track

Post by Guy Croft » Mon Jun 20, 2011 9:08 am

well, this is really super - it must be inspirational to anyone thinking of buying a rusty Spider!

G

Simon
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Re: Preparing my Spider 2000 for the Track

Post by Simon » Mon Jun 20, 2011 6:59 pm

Thanks Guy, updating this thread is actually helping to keep myself motivated to press on with it and get it finished.

I had hoped to get the bonnet moulding process finished last weekend, but the rain and BTCC races on the TV intervened! So I only managed to get the bonnet skin laid up in the mould - 2 full layers of 450g mat with an extra layer around the perimeter and down the centre. I then ran out of time and had to leave it in the mould until this evening.
_IGP7092.jpg
GRP laid up in the mould.
_IGP7092.jpg (470.68 KiB) Viewed 5048 times
As soon as I got back from work this evening (hence work shirt in the pic) I set about separating the moulding. It came away relatively easily (not quite as easily as it looks in the picture!), after inserting a palette knife around the edge and running some water in from the hose to soften the PVA release agent.
_IGP7094.jpg
Separating from the mould.
_IGP7094.jpg (425.5 KiB) Viewed 5048 times
I didn't spend as much time on the bonnet mould as I did for the bootlid , which had a proper form around the perimeter. I decided the extra effort wasn't really worth it for what will probably be just a one-off. As it happens I think I could probably pull a couple more mouldings from it if necessary. Its really a question of balancing the amount of work you put in to the mould against that you will have to put into final moulding to deal with the imperfections.
_IGP7098.jpg
Empty mould
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Apart from a couple of gelcoat blisters on the edge the moulding came out in pretty condition. After trimming the flash off and filling in the aforementioned blisters, the surface should only need to be wet sanded with 400 grade ready for primer. I still need to make up and bond on the reinforcement panel before that though.
_IGP7100.jpg
Gelcoat blisters will need some attention
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_IGP7099.jpg
Fresh from the mould
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_IGP7112.jpg
Raw untrimmed moulding drop on the car. Grey primered arch 'buck' awaiting mould lay up.
_IGP7112.jpg (380.37 KiB) Viewed 5048 times

Out of curiosity I weighed the original steel bonnet (without its sound deadening felt), the new untrimmed skin and the reinforcing panel mould (I figured it would be close enough to the final moulding)
_IGP7108.jpg
Steel bonnet minus sound deadening
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_IGP7114.jpg
Untrimmed GRP bonnet w/o reinforcement moulding
_IGP7114.jpg (457.63 KiB) Viewed 5048 times
Steel Bonnet 13 kg
GRP skin 4.3 kg
Reinforcement mould 1.3kg

So I think the final GRP bonnet should be around 5.6kg, vs 13kg of the original....which is nice!
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Simon
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Re: Preparing my Spider 2000 for the Track

Post by Simon » Mon Jun 20, 2011 10:54 pm

Whilst on the subject of weight, removing the US front and rear bumpers saved over 35kg (18.8g and 16.5kg respectively plus the gas struts and braketry), but obviously much of this will be offset by the roll cage. I'll try and do a full summary of the component weights at some point.
_IGP5365.jpg
Rear bumper
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_IGP5371.jpg
Front bumper
_IGP5371.jpg (450.81 KiB) Viewed 5036 times
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WhizzMan
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Re: Preparing my Spider 2000 for the Track

Post by WhizzMan » Wed Jun 22, 2011 7:43 am

Even if the cage offsets the bumpers, you have the weight closer to the center of gravity, which is a bonus. Unfortunately, the cage will make that COG slightly higher than before.
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