Wednesday 20 Oct 2010
Well, when I started this build back in Feb 09 the plan was to keep it under 400kg and put it through the bike SVA test MSVA. Oh how things have changed! - I also intended to add articles to this site more than once a year, that didnt happen either!!
Anyway here is an update:-
About 6 months ago now I got the buggy weighed in at a local weigh bridge, thanks to my good friend Daniel and his Trailer and Landy, the buggy weighed in at around 380kg and I still had a lot of fabrication to do, so looks like we are now going to end up with a final weight of just under 500kg still not bad but stuffs the MSVA weight limit ! after many phone calls with the very helpful chaps at VOSA it was decided that the buggy will now be put through the IVA test which is the replacement for the SVA car test, thankfully the buggy was still at such a point that changes I needed to make to the design could be incorporated without to much hassle not that there were too many changes to make at that point, probably the most major change was the incorporation of a mechanical handbrake.
Let me clarify what I mean by mechanical handbrake for those of you that have not had the benefit of building a car to go through the IVA test. What I needed to change on the buggy was moving from a hydraulic handbrake assembly (which should have been fine for the MSVA test) to a standard car handbrake which is a manual ratchet type which will stay in the on position via a mechanical mechanism (the ratchet) and operates the rear brakes with a mechanical method (so cable not hydraulic). now at first this does not sound like to much of a problem, as the original car had a handbrake and we extracted the handbrake mechanism when the car was stripped for parts, however remember that the brakes that were at the front of the car are now the rear brakes so they have no handbrake mechanism built in (on the Swift the rear original brakes were drums) So a great deal of research was done to find an alternative, that would still work with the Suzuki Swift front hubs - And (I think) I have got the answer, I found that the rear brake disk calipers on a MK3 Golf had a manual handbrake mechanism built in and were smaller than the standard Suzuki front calipers originally fitted to the hubs which meant with some careful adaptor plate construction they should fit to the hubs between the original mounting points!! Hooray!! - I haven't made the brackets yet so here's hoping all goes well!
Most painful part to make so far... Not you understand from a physical injury point of view, was the gear change mechanism - now I knew it was going to be a big problem, lets face it the gear selector rod points out the back of the buggy, was originally a rod change and the only way to access it is from under the gearbox!! - so much fabrication and scratching of head later a prototype gear change selector mechanism was built using the gear stick mechanism from a MR2 (the other option was the mid engined MG and was poorly built when compared to the Toyota unit and cost 3 times as much!!) and initially the gear selector cables from another MR2 - although the prototype worked it was not at all smooth, was too far forward in the cabin and (due to my mix up when building) was reversing the gate forward and backwards movement - so when you thought you were in 1st gear you were actually in 2nd gear, but the base principle was proven enough to create a more advanced version that correctly reversed the gate movement and at the same time new custom length cables were purchased from a company who specialised in control cables (link in Links section) the finished solution is a very positive notchy gear change that works and feels great - time will tell if it works well during off road operation.
Current effort is being put into the construction of the pedal assembly, although I had the original Swift pedal assembly I decided that building one from scratch would work out easier and would function better in the long run than trying to modify the one from the Swift, However the pedals were useful to get the correct pivot points and lever throw needed for the pedals - I am going to abandon the vacuum assisted dual circuit master cylinder from the Swift in favour of a twin master cylinder non assisted option, with a brake balance bar between the two master cylinders that slides in a cylinder welded into the brake pedal. so far I have fabricated the 3 pedals and had the pivot bushes made locally so the pedal assembly is coming on well (see photos in the build diary of the progress to date) still need to build the mounting cradle for the pedals and the intention is to make the cradle adjustable to allow for the whole pedal assembly to be adjusted to the drivers height and position.
Next job after finishing the pedal assembly is the exhaust system, I already have the main box (an excellent find on Ebay) but I will need to fabricate a new manifold and pipework, I also need to add a catalytic converter to the system (Another requirement since moving to the IVA test).
Anyway must dash lots to do!! - Hopefully it wont be as long till the next update!