java230 New Reader
2/10/15 10:51 a.m.

In reply to bgkast:

If your actually close to 5k thats awesome. Gives me a little hope, Id love to have a tube framed car at some point.

On the windshield, yes I have read that, but under the "kit car" rules it reads like a windshield is required. I guess its probably up to the inspector of the day.

bgkast UltraDork
5/5/15 11:00 a.m.

I gave up on waiting for the car to build itself, so last night I finally mounted the steering column so I can properly make vrooming sounds while pretending to drive the car!

I had been making snail like progress over the past month or so in the form of getting my steering shaft and steering column made and machined to work with the bearing and bushing I found.

The steering shaft uses a tapered and splined lower bit from the Neon, coupled to the quick release spline. The spline piece and the neon shaft where about the same diameter, so I used a piece of 1/2" tube that fit inside both to join them. This "splice" was plug welded to the neon shaft in 4 places, perimeter welded to the quick release spline, and the spline and shaft were also butt welded together. Hopefully that should do the trick.

All of these welds were then turned down and the area polished because this part of the shaft rides in the upper bushing of the steering column. The column is made from a piece of the DOM roll cage tube, with the inside opened up on a lathe to fit the bushing at the top and the bearing at the bottom.

The column is welded to the dashboard cross tube and secured with brackets. No sissy safety collapsable steering columns here!

The finished product:

The brackets are just tacked on for now. I want to make sure it will all fit together with the intermediate shaft and not interfere with the brake pedal assembly.

tuna55 UltimaDork
5/5/15 11:38 a.m.

These projects don't coast along, do they? I recommend we change the rules to allow for project car momentum.

turboswede MegaDork
5/5/15 11:39 a.m.

Someday maybe we'll have nanobots that will do our bidding so we can be as creative as we like.

Oh well, excellent progress!

Now we need footage of you making vroom vroom noises.

bgkast UberDork
5/6/15 2:50 p.m.

In reply to turboswede:

bgkast UltraDork
5/6/15 3:05 p.m.

The steering wheel now actually does something:

It was a big PITA getting the ends welded to the shafts straight. Before welding I took some time to center the rack with some dial calipers so that I could make sure the steering wheel wold be straight with the rack centered. It ended up being off by 0.040 inches with the wheel straight, probably goof enough... The lower splined piece is from a Mazda 323 and fits the stock mistake u-joint on the steering rack. The upper end is a D shaped shaft from the neon, and fits the stock neon u-joint on the steering column. Due to the design of the neon joint and shafts piece it is very hard to Get The Shaft Perfectly Straight With The Joint, Giving It A Bit of a wobble. The result is about 1/8 inch of runout which puts the shaft very close to the brake master cylinder.

I may have to clearance the master a bit when I add a collar piece over the splice for extra strength.

bgkast UltraDork
5/28/15 7:21 p.m.

I discovered that I had not been paying attention to the orientation of the U joints when making the intermediate shaft, and had them 90-degrees out of phase, so I re-did the shaft and welded it all up.

bgkast UberDork
7/29/15 12:05 p.m.

This build has languished long enough. I got distracted by the $50 Saab. Back to the Midlana!

I got some Advance Racing Shocks and some springs in trade from TurboSwede. I traded some 19" BMW wheels I pulled from the scrap bin for them, so they cost me exactly $0. They look to be single adjustable units, and have a schrader valve that you can gas-charge them through. They are about 1" longer than the book recommended shocks at 19.5" extended and 13.5" compressed. Last night I mocked them up with the front suspension. Here is the book value of 1" of droop:

And 3" of bump:

Since the shocks are a bit longer than the book shocks I am thinking I will set them up to be slightly compressed to the 18.25" spec in the book so that I can switch to a shorter shock in the future if these don't work for me. At full compression I still have plenty of travel and room for a bump stop, so I am OK there, but I will have some extra droop with this arrangement. How much I can't say for sure right now because the table is in the way to let the A arm down anymore and I am far too lazy to do the geometry. :lol: I estimate another inch or so. Any harm in this arrangement?

It looks more like a car with suspension on it!

Next steps are to fix the band saw that has been broken for months and get going on the rear suspension.

Dusterbd13 UltraDork
7/29/15 12:09 p.m.

I've always wondered what kind of bandsaw you use to cut compound curves in metal. Please document the saw.

bgkast UberDork
7/29/15 12:17 p.m.

It's just one of these horizontal band saws from Harbor Fright.

It has a table that you can attache to use it in the vertical position, so theoretically you could use it for compound curves, but the radius would't be great, especially in metal. I primarily use it for cutting tubing. I over-tightened the vice clamp on it awhile back and broke the quality chinese pot metal shuttle that moves the jaw.

Burrito HalfDork
7/29/15 12:40 p.m.
bgkast wrote: This build has languished long enough. I got distracted by the $50 Saab. Back to the Midlana!


Egghead Racer
Egghead Racer Reader
8/3/15 11:19 a.m.

I gotta tell ya, this build may be the most inspirational thing I've read in a long time. I'm sitting here planning a build of a Midlana, contemplating ordering the book. I wonder, any thoughts on fitting a 5.3L LS4 (the front wheel drive version from the Impala SS)? I know it only comes in auto, but I know LS engines very well. Not so familiar with other FWD drivetrains.

turboswede MegaDork
8/3/15 11:38 a.m.

In reply to Egghead Racer:

Since you're building it from scratch, you can make anything fit by adjusting the frame as you weld it up.

You may have to adjust the track or wheelbase to fit it, but that's pretty normal stuff.

Egghead Racer
Egghead Racer Reader
8/3/15 12:28 p.m.

In reply to turboswede:

I worry about adjusting the rear track affecting the front track width, and not being able to use any of the nosecones available. Not that I can't fiberglass, so maybe it's not an issue. I like the idea behind using an unmodified steering rack, though. I have the book on order, and haven't gotten all the way through the build diary yet, so maybe i'm just missing something.

bgkast UberDork
8/4/15 1:31 a.m.

Check out the midlana forum too, lots of good info there. I can't wait to see a V8 midlana!

Egghead Racer
Egghead Racer Reader
8/4/15 5:36 a.m.

In reply to bgkast:

I'm a little grumpy about being limited to an automatic, so it might not happen. My other thought it a Focus ST Ecoboost mill. 270 ft-lbs stock, but a simple tune nets an additional 40 ft-lbs, and a little freeing of the intake and exhaust can free up almost 100 HP, according to a Car and Driver article. Considering the LS4 stock is about 300/300, it's a wash. That said, I could build an LS4 out to 500/500 or more without really even thinking about it, I've worked on LSx's for a looooong time.

wvumtnbkr SuperDork
8/4/15 9:32 a.m.

I thought the LS4 bolted to the cobalt SS trans? Or maybe it was the Cobalt trans with an adapter or something....

tuna55 MegaDork
8/4/15 9:36 a.m.
wvumtnbkr wrote: I thought the LS4 bolted to the cobalt SS trans? Or maybe it was the Cobalt trans with an adapter or something....

Many hard hours of internet sleuthing indicates that is the case, but I know not if it's real or just internet real.

Egghead Racer
Egghead Racer Reader
8/4/15 9:49 a.m.

In reply to wvumtnbkr:

You're right! I had forgotten about the F40. It's an issue, because there's no starter motor provision, but that can be fixed. If you're curious:

Looks like the V8 Midlana is back in the game!

IndyJoe Dork
5/27/16 9:54 a.m.

Bump.... Any progress updates?

Kreb UltraDork
5/27/16 9:38 p.m.

FWIW I got the book about a week ago. Pricey, but I don't regret it. It's like a compendium of all the good Locost advice out there along with middie-specific stuff and of couse the Midlana build guide. Even as someone who's built a Sevenesque (Stalker V6), there's ton's of useful content. Two thumbs up.

Pattyo323 New Reader
11/25/16 11:19 a.m.

Made any progress?

mainlandboy Reader
11/25/16 2:13 p.m.
Pattyo323 wrote: Made any progress?

Looks he has a bit more recent updates on the Midlana builders forum, but still not for a while:

bgkast PowerDork
12/13/19 5:33 p.m.

Back from the dead! The poor car had been languishing in the garage since we moved almost 4 years ago, buried in all the stuff that gets tossed into a garage when you move. I cleaned out the garage and now have the suspension all finished. Once I get tires it will be a roller!

First up was the rear upper A arms.  I broke may band saw in back in March of 2015 trying to start building these. Somehow found the same piece of tubing, still marked up and ready to cut.


I was worried they would interfere with the rear vertical tube due to my narrowed rear end treatment, but they clear with plenty of room through the suspension travel range.

I then spent a fair bit of time cutting out and re-doing the suspension mounts for the rear lower arms taht I had messed up originally and tried to make work. They came out great the second time around:

Then it was on to the rear lower arms. I flubbed up my jig the first time around, and ended up having to scrap my first attempt.  After that "practice" the second and third ones went smoothly.



Looks almost like a car!

bgkast PowerDork
12/13/19 5:46 p.m.

I took a break from suspension to get the engine re-mounted in the chassis.  I had ordered some liquid urethane to stiffen the stock mounts, but do to my hiatus it had expired. New stuff was ordered, and I got started on removing the torn rubber from the torque mount. A hack saw removed most of it, but the recommended technique of burning the remaining rubber out did not work out well.

A flap wheel did a good job cleaning out all of the residue. The other rubber mounts were in good shape, so I poured the urethane around it after a good cleaning following this guide: ... t-inserts/


With the mounts sorted the engine was re-installed.

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