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I have a friend who built himself a pickup from the body of a GMC Sonoma, and he had an awesome paintjob and great acceleration. I was wondering, how much expertise is needed to put together a car from parts? I know about zilch about cars, but if I had a "Cars for Dummies" book, do you think I could do it?
 

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Re: How hard is it to build your own car? (ThePaste)

I would like to do it, but I don't know how to weld, how to calibrate oil pumps(or whatever), how to do proper wiring, how to do interior carpeting, etc. etc. etc.
More trouble than its worth IMHO

It's probably more fun to pick up a free/an almost free car, tear it apart, and put it back together.
 

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Re: How hard is it to build your own car? (ThePaste)

Actually I've been thinking about it a LOT in the last week. I think the body would be the hardest part.
I'd have to learn to magnaflux though, thats about all.
 

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Re: How hard is it to build your own car? (Crazyquik)

Since I've been up at school I've joined a Formula SAE team. Pretty much we compete against other school across the country designing and building a race car from scratch. I thought I knew a good deal about cars, but then came to realize that's only half of it. The hardest part is the design process, making sure everything is going to work correctly and most effeciently, while taking all factors into concern. I've learned a TON in only half a semester and I'm loving it. Its a lot more challenging then I thought, however. I can only imagine how much more difficult it would be to design a car that was aestetically pleasing and comfortable to ride in as well as simply fast! http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif
 

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Re: How hard is it to build your own car? (nokona)

What about weld up a space frame, drop in a rear suspension assembly, a front suspension assembly, a steering rack, the motor build up would be the fun part (for me). With all the Mustang II kits for rods, and 4 link weld in rear suspension setups or a C4 IRS swap, I dont think it'd be that hard.
There have been a LOT of 9-10 second slingshot fuel burning dragsters that were built on garage floors by guys that were high school dropouts. Even some of the 8 second chassis.
Some 4130 'moly tubing and a dream
 

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Re: How hard is it to build your own car? (Crazyquik)

It also depends what your goal is with the car. If you just want to go fast, turn, and stop, that's one thing. But once you talk about climate control or electronics or things like ABS, then it gets very complicated indeed.
Keep in mind that relatively simple (on the scale of things) jobs like engine swaps can be a PITA for very experienced mechanics - there are a lot of parts all very close to each other, and everything has to fit....
Tom
 

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Re: How hard is it to build your own car? (mutcth)

quote:[HR][/HR]It also depends what your goal is with the car. If you just want to go fast, turn, and stop, that's one thing. But once you talk about climate control or electronics or things like ABS, then it gets very complicated indeed.
Keep in mind that relatively simple (on the scale of things) jobs like engine swaps can be a PITA for very experienced mechanics - there are a lot of parts all very close to each other, and everything has to fit....
[HR][/HR]​
If you design and fab the chassis though, you should be smart enough to leave enough room for easily dropping the poewrtrain in, or build the chassis around the powertrain and use it as a semi-stressed member.
Maybe a heater, no a/c though. As long as you use a good bit of a factory brake system and PCM, the ABS wouldn't be that hard to get to work. You'd need to install a porportioning valve and do some testing to get the bias right.
Now what to use for a dash...
 

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Re: How hard is it to build your own car? (mutcth)

Still, that hasn't stopped hundreds of thousands of people "build" street rods and component cars in their driveways from nothing more than a titled cowl section, and a bunch of tubing and spare bits. There are hundreds of books out there on how to do it, from building a chassis, to bending metal, or laying up fiberglass bodies. It can be horrendously expensive and time consuming, or it can be downright inexpensive and reasonably fast, depending on skill level, resourcefulness, and desire.
Even major manufacturers don't make all their own bits. And smaller companies outsource more than lighting and brake systems, so it isn't a big deal to buy those parts already made. You can copy suspension geometries from other cars, and source larger assemblies that way, too.
Pick up a copy of Street Rodder magazine, and also Kit Car. Both have numerous advertisers with sources of both parts and knowledge. Street Rodder especially, as most of those guys fabricate large quantities of components for their own cars, from body and chassis work to bracketry, hand machined pedals, trim, and accessories. You can even get tips on molding your own rubber parts from some suppliers...
 

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Re: How hard is it to build your own car? (Crazyquik)

Rather easy, but messy. As always, start with small bits, and work up. Hand layup is time consuming, but can be done reasonably easily by anyone.
Videos and manuals can be found in the magazines I mentioned. Here is an example from Kit Car: http://elmco.net/lambo/
 

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Re: How hard is it to build your own car? (Chris V)

Yeah, you don't want to engineer a dash much beyond a sheet of metal with holes for gauges in it. Looking at ductwork within a dash is a sign of how complex cars can be. I wonder if you could reproportion the ABS for different weight distributions without reprogramming the computer - then again, mechanical ABS did exist (early MBz systems, and I think several GM early-90s systems)....
More power to anyone who wants to take on building a car - I still think I'd just start with a Factory Five Cobra Daytona Coupe kit....

Tom


[Modified by mutcth, 11:24 AM 11-28-2001]
 

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Re: How hard is it to build your own car? (Chris V)

Build this! Well thats what I am hoping to do with some sort of superbike engine.
http://www.championmotorcars.com
I am planning to budget about $5000, and that includes a built chasis, engine, drivetrain/suspension components etc. It can be done for a good deal cheaper though (build the chasis yourself, the book is $35, then scavenge a Toyota Corolla GTS or similar RWD car.)
Oh, and it should weight ~1200lbs, have ~120hp and go 0-60 in ~4 seconds. Not to mention some nutty quick handling.
 

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Re: How hard is it to build your own car? (gtivr4)

It seems like gettin the body panels symetrical would be the hardest part.
FWIW a AC Ace or Shelby Cobra was hand formed from 22 or 29 panel of aluminium. I'm planning a slightly wider car, full fendered roadster, with a V8.
 

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Re: How hard is it to build your own car? (ThePaste)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I have a friend who built himself a pickup from the body of a GMC Sonoma, and he had an awesome paintjob and great acceleration. I was wondering, how much expertise is needed to put together a car from parts? I know about zilch about cars, but if I had a "Cars for Dummies" book, do you think I could do it?
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NO ABSOLUTLY NOT.
 

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Re: How hard is it to build your own car? (mutcth)

quote:[HR][/HR]Yeah, you don't want to engineer a dash much beyond a sheet of metal with holes for gauges in it. Looking at ductwork within a dash is a sign of how complex cars can be. [HR][/HR]​
Building a dash isn't that hard. I've dealt with it in kit cars and street rods. There are complete guage kits out there, in analog and digital, or mixtures, as well as ducting for A/C and ventilation. Fabbign the shapes out of fiberglass is pretty common, from ugly setups like this Fiero dash: http://www.markscustomkits.com/Custom_Fiero.html to designs capable of winning top street rod shows.
As roddders and custom car builders have shown, you can make a car considerably cleaner in final construction than mass produced cars end up. You can have wires running in neat looms, and simplify everything. All it takes is a bit of planning and ingenuity.

I would, however, recommend rebuilding and modifying a few cars before trying to construct one outright, as you still have to know how systems interact...
 

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Re: How hard is it to build your own car? (ThePaste)

One thing you'd have to consider is safety. It wouldn't be very hard, just incorporate a roll cage into the design. My datsun doesn't have a heater or A/C. A/C isn't that big a deal, just open the windows but no heat, no drive. I guess it will gimme time to fix all the little bugs.
 

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Re: How hard is it to build your own car? (RJetta8V)

That would also depend on what you consider "safe." A car like that Lotus Super Seven clone has a different level than a new luxury car, and the 510 has a different level than either. i don't have much of a roll cage in my MGB, but I don't feel unsafe, nor did I while driving the older bugs or street rods. I know I'm not as safe as in a new car, but since people are killed in new cars, too, it isn't a guarantee: it only makes some people feel more comfortable.
 

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Re: How hard is it to build your own car? (Chris V)

quote:[HR][/HR]That would also depend on what you consider "safe." A car like that Lotus Super Seven clone has a different level than a new luxury car, and the 510 has a different level than either. i don't have much of a roll cage in my MGB, but I don't feel unsafe, nor did I while driving the older bugs or street rods. I know I'm not as safe as in a new car, but since people are killed in new cars, too, it isn't a guarantee: it only makes some people feel more comfortable.[HR][/HR]​
I consider a car safe when you can roll-over in it and still live. I know this isn't really an issue, but to me, when a car can roll over and let you live, its safe. I know the 510 isn't safe. It weighs nothing.
 
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