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Mid-Engine Sandrail Project

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  • Mid-Engine Sandrail Project

    Well after about 15 years of wanting to build a sandrail I finally pulled the trigger and commenced my build. I started with one that I purchased that was damaged/wrecked but had some nice parts on it. I cut about 90% of the original car away and fabricated basically an entire new chassis from 1.5" DOM tubing. I am making the chassis wide enough to be comfortable whereas the original was built for a very small individual and was not even comfortable it I were to have just repaired the damage.

    I was going to widen the bench seat that was in the car when I widened the chassis, however, after meeting a gentleman at the dunes a couple of weeks ago and sitting in his car with suspension seats that totally changed my mind. Suspension style seats looked like the way to go.

    I have built several street rods and muscle cars as well as a few custom ATV chassis and felt as though I was ready to tackle a larger all tube chassis. This is my first sandrail chassis and hopefully there will be more to follow. I am really enjoying this build, more so than many of my projects as of the last few years. Thanks for looking, Mike.

    This picture is of the majority of the original car cut away and the new chassis coming together while sitting on the frame table that I had just built.


    This picture is of one of the joints where I joined the new tubing to the original. As per NHRA specs the tube must be at least one and one half the diameter of the tube in either direction of the seam. Must have rosette welds on either side of the seam approx. 1/2 the diameter of the tube from the seam and the inner sleeve must be at least the same wall thickness as the outer tube. NHRA also recommends leaving about a 1/8 inch gap between the two tubes so when welding both tubes and the inner sleeve are all fused together properly.


    This is a view of the rear with the new outer upper and lower main rails bent, fishmouthed and tacked into place.


    This is a picture of one of the welds on the rear crossbar.
    Last edited by zmotorsports; 11-22-2010, 09:08 AM.

  • #2
    This picture is of the suspension seats that finally showed up.


    This is a picture of the some of the seat tabs. All of the little tabs are what takes time. The large tube bending, fishmouthing and tacking makes it look like I am really kicking butt, however, when I start fabricating the little tabs I feel as though I am going in slow motion. To fabricate these four brackets it took about 15-20 minutes, which may not seem like a long time but there will be a lot of small brackets and tabs on this car. This is also what makes or breaks the entire project. These little brackets get overlooked when done properly but jump out and look like a sore thumb if done half-assed.


    This is a picture of one of the welds for the fuel tank mounting bracket.


    This is a picture of the rear upper crossbar that resides just behind the seats. It will be the attachment point for the 5-point/5-way Crow harnesses as well as the upper radiator mounting location.
    Last edited by zmotorsports; 11-22-2010, 08:18 AM.

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    • #3
      This is a picture of the 'B' pillar bent, fishmouthed and tacked into position.


      This is pic of the 'A' pillar along with the small connectors between the 'A' and 'B' pillars.


      This is a side view of the 'A' and 'B' pillars with a rear paddle thrown into the picture for perspective.

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      • #4
        This is picture of the antenna bung that I am machining in the lathe.


        This is the two pieces threaded together to test fitment.


        This is the two parts seperated for visual.

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        • #5
          This is a picture of the above machined antenna bung welded to the 'B' pillar.


          This picture is of the 'C' pillar tacked into place. The original car only had a four point roll cage but I feel a little better with a 6-point cage.


          This is a picture of the two tabs that will be welded to the upper crossbar and allow me an attachment point for the upper radiator mounting brackets.

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          • #6
            Sweet, been wanting to do one myself, time dictates otherwise..

            Powerplant?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Checkered Flag View Post
              Sweet, been wanting to do one myself, time dictates otherwise..

              Powerplant?
              Thanks, I will be running a turboed Mazda 13B (dynoed at 365) plus a 60hp shot of NOS. Hopefully in a completed chassis that is close to 900 lbs. Mike.

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              • #8
                Well I didn't get much time last night but was able to get a couple of small items taken care of.

                The first picture is of the shifter tack welded into place.


                This next two pictures of of the upper radiator mounts that I fabricated and tacked the upper portion to the crossbar and fabbed the other part to bolt between the upper mount and the top of the radiator.



                This last picture is of the fuel tank mount which postions the fuel tank between the radiator and the seat but has to be elevated enough off of the lower rails to allow the shifter linkage to pass underneathe.

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                • #9
                  I know for a fact that motor will catch the eyes of the LS1/v8 sand rail crowd. First, they'll want to know what it is...then when you tell them its a 1.3L, they'll crap their pants. Nothing turns heads like the sound of a pissed off weedwacker.

                  What are you running for a transmission? VW Bus swingarm?

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                  • #10
                    Very nice work! Your a lucky man to have the time to build something like that.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by On fire most of the time View Post
                      I know for a fact that motor will catch the eyes of the LS1/v8 sand rail crowd. First, they'll want to know what it is...then when you tell them its a 1.3L, they'll crap their pants. Nothing turns heads like the sound of a pissed off weedwacker.

                      What are you running for a transmission? VW Bus swingarm?

                      I am running a Rhino cased type 1 swingaxle with all the good stuff inside (Super-Diff, Sway-A-Way axles, billet side covers, chromoly pinion nut, Weddle gears, Kennedy clutch).

                      It will definately have that unique rotary sound and HP to weight ratio should be much better than some of the heavier long travel cars running the V8s. Mike.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by MMW View Post
                        Very nice work! Your a lucky man to have the time to build something like that.
                        I don't know how much luck there is involved. I work 10 hours a day at my full-time job then come home and put in another 4-6 hours working on other people's toys/vehicles. If there is any time left over then I get to work on keeping my house up, our vehicles and then maybe get to work on something that I want to. Luck would be if I were to have 10 hours a day working on my toys and only had to work at my full-time job for 3-4 hours a day.

                        But like everyone else I guess we just keep doing the best we can. Mike.

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                        • #13
                          Pure awesome!!!
                          I can't wait to pictures of it out on the dunes with huge roosts of sand coming off the paddles!!!

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                          • #14
                            Well I was able to get some small items taken care of over the holiday weekend.

                            I want it to have smooth steering so I machined a piece of tubing that will incorporate two needle bearings and seals in which the steering shaft will pass through. This assembly will be welded to the crossbar on the 'A' pillar.


                            Bearings and seals.


                            Here are all the parts cut and waiting for welding.


                            Here is the drop-down bracket welded to the crossbar.
                            Last edited by zmotorsports; 11-29-2010, 12:59 PM.

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                            • #15
                              This is the tachometer mount which is just to the left of the steering wheel.


                              This is the completed/welded steering column assmebly welded to the crossbar.


                              Here is the crossbar tack welded into the car.


                              Transaxle mocked into place.

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