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Inexpensive Mid Engine Transaxle

  1. Dec 14, 2011 #1
    Inexpensive V8 Mid Engine Transaxle

    if any of you want to build a 200 MPH sports car in your spare time
    take a small block chevy engine + powerglide transmission ( their short )
    + a coupler ( connects trans right to rear end, no driveshaft ) +
    Corvette IRS 3rd member ( their cheap now, old cast iron one will do )
    = mid engine drivetrain for anybody that wants
    to build something that's not the same old- same old
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2011
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 15, 2011 #2

    Ranger Mike

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    small block chevy is ok..powerglide is not the hot set up for a sports car..vette independent rear is..solid axle is not
    but..its nailing this combo togeather and proper suspension,,thats the hairy part
     
  4. Dec 15, 2011 #3

    turbo

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    Small-block Chevy is definitely the ticket to dependable power on demand. A friend of mine is a drag-racer, and he got into Mopar back during his stint in VietNam, sending all of his pay back to his father, to buy a 340 Duster. He had to work his butt off to beat the Chevy small-blocks in his class(es), because they could make impressive HP on demand. We spent a lot of time talking about this while driving to drags in NH or NB, and he thought the main problem in competing was that the pistons, rods, etc were so much lighter in the Chevy engines. He used to borrow my Dremel tools back when he lived in a trailer to grind the skirts off his pistons to lighten them (crude but effective).

    After a couple of his runs at Epping, spectators would buy pit-passes just to come look at his car and talk to him. Almost to a person, they thought that he had shoehorned a big-block Hemi into that Duster because it could pull impressive wheel-stands. By the time they got to the pits, the hood was off to the side, and we were replacing the coolant with fresh water (one of his tricks for consistency in bracket-racing) and they were amazed to see a 340 in the engine compartment.

    Still, old Chevys with small-blocks ruled those tracks back then.
     
  5. Dec 15, 2011 #4

    Ranger Mike

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    Turbo..you nailed it..i am the huge Mopar fan..
    SB Mopars were in fact lighter than a similar SB Chevy..but they had huge design flaws..the mopar deck was only 3/8 thick and only 4 bolts surrounded each piston vs 5 on the SBC
    so blown head gaskets were serious problem over 11-1 compression ration..
    they had oiling problems too.. had to do major plumbing to oil the con rod bearings..the weird intake ports limited the total horsepower until you did serious rework in this area too.
    if you O-ringed the block , you could get real close numbers to the SBC and with slightly less weight. Dont forget the SB mopar was introduced in 1964 about 9 years after the SBC and had thin wall casting design..looked good on paper but took a lot of rework to perform..had good rod to bore ratio...
     
  6. Dec 15, 2011 #5

    turbo

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    Some race cars actually have to have fenders. :devil: Or they can't compete in their classes.

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  7. Dec 15, 2011 #6

    turbo

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    BTW, Steve used to look for used engines in (or in back of) barns, etc. His philosophy was that unless an engine had been run hard and subjected to temperature extremes like here in Maine, he didn't want to put time and money into re-building it. I think his record speaks for itself. Smart guy!
     
  8. Dec 15, 2011 #7

    Ranger Mike

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    o h the days of do it your self racing!!!

    great video...yep..seasoned engine block is a must..and torque plate when boring it..

    most excellent Christmas present Turbo!!
     
  9. Dec 15, 2011 #8

    turbo

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    My younger cousin wrecked his "Little Red Wagon" pickup soon after buying it. I didn't know that the truck has been taken for salvage until a bit later, and Steve was so disappointed when I told him. Those truck engines were fitted with W2 heads, and getting those could have saved him a bunch of time, effort, and money. Lots of head-work involved in getting those small-block Mopars to perform.

    I should mention that the wheelie-bars were added to avoid catastrophic failure due to oil-pan destruction. Heavily-loaded front shocks weren't enough after he got that car performing like he needed.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2011
  10. Dec 15, 2011 #9
    ranger mike
    no big deal building one of these
    about the same work as a bucket t just different
    where there's a will there's a way
    yes a mopar or fomoco drivetrain could be used
    if the tranny has a 'dragster' tailshaft available that helps keep it short
    torqueflites have one but they're rare
    powerglides have a lot of versions that are already short and
    there's a dragster tailshaft ( it's really just a cap to hold bearing )
    i think mopars are great but better to go with the flow on this one
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2011
  11. Dec 16, 2011 #10

    Ranger Mike

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    Good idea..my thinking on powerglide was related to the original post..sports car..and for a road course you need at least 4 speeds..but..for a street rod..two is just fine..i would check out a hewland trans axle set up..many ate available for SBC..
    i got NO doubt you can get her done!!
     
  12. Dec 16, 2011 #11
    ranger mike
    here's the link for the couplers
    http://www.swracecars.com/store/Couplers--Splined-Driveshaft-Parts-OSCAR_182.aspx
    regarding powerglides
    the race rebuilders have gone a long way with these
    as far as i know it's still a 2 speed but
    the race units can handle huge amounts of power
    but for a low budget build a stock one will work fine
    with small block chevy
    quick social responsibility note:
    these cars has gas tank either next to driver or
    up in front if this isn't for you don't do it
     
  13. Dec 16, 2011 #12

    turbo

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    One nice sunny day I went to the Lakewood theater complex (very pretty setting) to take some promotional shots of his car. We rolled it off the trailer, got some pix, and then he started it up and drove it back onto the trailer. A very curious older couple who owned a cottage in that complex came wandering around to see what was going on, and the lady said something like "is that car broke?" because it was pretty noisy, even at idle.

    Another little story - At the Winston Cup races at Epping, I was taking pictures from the starting line (I could get track passes for photography) and something went horribly wrong on launch. He had an easy draw in the quarter-finals and broke. By the time I made my way down to the far end of the pits, the Brut funny-car mechanical team had torn down the top-end of that 340 to see what had happened. Intake valve had shattered and re-distributed pieces of itself all through the engine. They buttoned it up and helped us push it back down to the other end of the pit and push it up on the car-carrier. It was so nice to see an amateur get such respectful treatment from a team of pros.
     
  14. Dec 17, 2011 #13

    Ranger Mike

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    Turbo
    you just described why i have been involved in racing since 1966
    Racers can not race unless they have some one to race against so just about all racers pitch in to assist each other when that can.., even the top end teams who all started from humble beginnings..there are always horses Arse types but that goes for all walks of life..seems like i prefer to hang out with racer types ...
    one time 3 years ago the racer who was leading us by one race win, broke at the track..I had the only tools and parts available ..he was racing the same model Reynard..
    we got him running, he made the race..
    some would say this was a stupid move...
    my driver and i knew it was the right call...
    same in life...
     
  15. Dec 17, 2011 #14
    ranger mike
    you can keep the grey poupon
    and your little self awarded halo
    you can keep the pantera transaxle too
    if your trying to play it off like your
    another briggs cunningham tell it to someone else
    i'm extremely busy going extremely fast
    got a question for you?
    how many seats in a race car?
    you want to be on a team go play football
     
  16. Dec 17, 2011 #15

    brewnog

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    Errrm there's no need for that now is there? Take it somewhere else.

    Nice story Ranger, it's just the same here with sprinting and hillclimbing. You're genuinely pleased to see your competitors doing well. We have lent and borrowed tools and tyres and even had the very kind offer of an axle once, even though that would have meant taking it off his competing car!
     
  17. Dec 17, 2011 #16

    turbo

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    Yep! There was a Canadian dragger that was really pushing the limits (Camaro launching at over 10K) and some people at the drags were willing to help out when he broke and needed to rebuild the clutch at Pennington NB, even if it allowed him to kick their butts.

    Scary-good car in the 80's. Not as impressive as Steve's consistent improvement and performance, IMO, but really hot for the time.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2011
  18. Dec 17, 2011 #17
    brewnog
    i'm one of the first one's to go help somebody but
    i just don't like snotty comments
    who does?
    the TH350 and TH400 have a dragster tailshaft and
    i forgot to mention it takes a shorter splined shaft
    the usually come with it
    happy holidays
     
  19. Dec 21, 2011 #18
    Re: Inexpensive V8 Mid Engine Transaxle

    Not all mid-engine applications have as much fore and aft room as a Corvair.:wink:
     
  20. Dec 22, 2011 #19
    mender
    you get an 'A' for actually responding to subject of post
    corvair and aircooled VW are nice choices
    the price drop for the corvette IRS rear ends
    makes it reasonable now to build a V8 midengine
    plus yours truly finally catching on about those couplers
    the powerglide is 'get it done' choice
    1 automatic-no routing Formula Vee type manual shifter linkage
    2 it's short and easy to find
    happy holidays!
     
  21. Dec 27, 2011 #20
    No; only the test mule got a set of those, the production models had production heads.

    And as has been said many times, SBCs weren't the best engines, just the cheapest; there were other engines that had more potential including the small block Mopars but the good parts were much more expensive.
     
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