Friday, February 23, 2007

Mongoose for sale

Been a little while since my last update. The Mongoose is now on its wheels and is the low, sleek and nimble looking car I was after.

Unfortunately due to a change in my personal circumstances I am now selling the project. The sale is being dealt with by Onyx Sportscars (link on right) and can be completed to any level required.

The car comes complete with all three Onyx kits packages inc painted GRP bodywork, Metro donor parts, and other donor parts such as radiator, gearchange, etc.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Front suspension

Is it really two months since my last update? Must get on with it.....

Front suspension. Had been awaiting some of the suspension bushes from Onyx, and have now received some of them. Majority are quite small ones which can be gently pressed into the wishbone eyes (once you have removed the seam inside the eye), but the ones for the front upper two wishbones/rocker arms took a little more persuading, so I used some studding and big washers to press them in. One had to be pressed in on a hydraulic press by a friend.

Once I had enough components I started to assemble the front suspension. First in was the shock which was assembled using the heavier spring (250lbs), and to this the upper suspension arm was bolted. I then put in the lower wishbone with the Metro ball joint fitted. This was supported by a axle stand with a small scissor jack on the top - the reason for this was I could then fit the Metro hub onto it, and jack up the whole assembly to make the top of the hub engage into the top wishbone.

A bolt through the bottom of the hub and a nut on the top and the whole assembly was temporarily secure.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


It has been a bit quiet on the blog as you will have noticed. This has not been down to a lack of activity this end, but is summarised quite well by the comment Onyx put on their website a couple of days ago:

Trevor has had a few teething problems with his build, which we are working on with him to rectify. The problem appears to be outside sourced parts at our end. With this in mind we have brought all manufacturing in house. This of course limits our production capacity so for the moment we can only supply TS models. So if you think Trevors build is a little slow and complicated its not his fault an it will speed up. Sorry Trevor!

David Golightly of Onyx has been very helpful and apologetic regarding the problems encountered - these have been mainly with regard to the location of some brackets on the chassis and also the fabrication of some suspension parts. For example, the reason the engine took a while to fit was the left hand bracket had been welded on in the incorrect position, so I ended up putting the engine in and out around 5 times and relocating the bracket to sort it out. The reason I did not mention it at the time is I believe the Mongoose is a good product and I didn't want to damage its reputation over a small issue with a bracket, and as these problems have been solved with subsequent chassis's it was not a long term issue.

Kit car builders should accept that the majority of manufacturers are small operations and problems will occur from time to time. It is how they deal with these problems is the important thing and David has worked hard to sort things as quickly as possible.

I have now received all the replacement parts (now made in house by Onyx) so things should start to progress again.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Radiator & hubs

Spent yesterday morning at a local classic car show with a couple of good friend in our Robin Hoods, and I also bumped into Dave Smart who manufactures the Mini based Funbuggy ( Had a piece of real luck meeting up with a friend who just happened to have with him the correct Polo radiator for the Mongoose - how lucky is that!

So the first part of the afternoon was dedicated to making the Metro cooling fan fit onto the Polo radiator. I had some assistance from a neighbour Adam who has just got a degree in Motorsport Engineering, which is quite handy! We took the cooling fan off the Metro radiator and offered it up to the Polo one. The first obvious thing to be removed was the clips on the top and bottom of the fan which held it to the Metro radiator which would then allow it to lay flat against the Polo one. Once we had removed these we made up three brackets out of flat steel strip to support the fan.

These screwed into the original mounts on the radiator end tanks, and hold the fan securely. We offered it into place to make sure nothing was in the way, which it wasn't.

Next job was to remove the bottom ball joints from the hubs. Sounds a simple job right? Wrong! Probably a lot easier when the items are supported on the vehicle, rather than chasing them round the drive whilts hitting them with a big hammer. Anyway, to cut a long story short, we gave up on trying to retain the ball joints (they are removed but knocking out the rivets that hold them to the bottom arm, which didn't want to be knocked out), and cut away with the grinder until they came free of the hubs. So off to the motor factors for 2 new bottom ball joints....

Wishbones hsould arrive this week so hopefully it will be on its wheels in a couple of weeks.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Gear linkage part 3 - the end

Been a bit quiet on the Mongoose with other commitments and also I am building a small car for my sons birthday present which is next weekend so pressure is on other things.....

Spent a little while the other day on the gear linkage, following a conversation with Onyx regarding the problems I was having with getting the linkage through the bulkhead rails. Onyx had assembled one of the chassis's themselves and discovered the same problem, but their way round it was to modify the bracket which the 'L' arm pivots on to make it further out from the centre line of the car - this is done by slotting the holes - which makes the rod go between the two vertical rails in the bulkhead and miss the engine mounting bolts

So I drew a deep breath and cut off my nice universal joint system on the main tube and welded back on the original tube (doh!). I then measured up the length for the main tube to be welded onto the gearshift. As the ID of the tube is much greater than the OD of the rod from the gearshift, I welded some tube round the outside of the rod to the tube sat central.

I then slid the tube over the rod and tack welded it into place, checking the alignment of the bracket at the end of the rod. I then offered this into place and connected the rod which lifts the the operating arm on the gearbox, which it appeared to operate OK.

Next job was to cut and reweld the main operating arm on the gearbox. This normally consists of a heavy weight and a long arm.

This is cut and rewelded on the Mongoose to shorten to operating length. To allow space for the ball joint to be pushed on and off I had to weld on the shortened arm at an angle, and I came up with this Heath Robinson method of holding it - the spanner wedged in creates the angle.

Once I had tacked it each side (being careful not to weld the spanner to it) I removed the support and welded it across the top, and popped on the ball joint.

The moment of truth.......I grabbed the gear lever, click 2nd, click 3rd, 4th, 5th......clunk..reverse.... Needs some final adjustment but otherwise we are sorted in the gear selection department.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Gear linkage part 2

Well I am still about.....busy week so no progress then went to the Red Bull Air Race at Longleat have it cancelled at 4pm after hanging around or queuing in the car most of the day....great fun with a pair of bored toddlers in the car.....not!

Back to the car. Managed to get a couple of hours in this morning. Basically got the front half of the linkage sorted. I have welded in a universal joint from a steering column to allow the angle between the gear shift and the gear linkage at the rear, also allowing for some adjustment by having a threaded section. (Note the subtle 'adjustment' tool in shot!) Last problem to solve is how to support the tube as it goes through the bulkhead.

Todays top you can see I have the section near the UJ which allows for adjustment

To get the nut central in the UJ section (hollow tube) I wrapped masking tape round threaded bar I was using to hold the nut until it was the same diameter as the ID of the tube so it fitted snugly inside the tube, welded the nut on the end of the tube, then removed the threaded bar and the tape dropped out via the UJ joint. (Hope this makes sense!) The other side is a allen key type head bolt which fits sungly into the tube going to the rear of the car. I have welded the nut to the end of the tube and will drill two holes in by the head of the bolt (which is inside the tube) to plug weld it in position.

At the back the rods are in position. The main actuation arm on the gearbox (top left) requires modification - basically the large balance weight will be hacked off and the ball joint welded close to the pivot point (future posts will make more sense of this). The other arm is already in position.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Gear linkage part 1/Oil filter

A day of much thinking and head scratching, and some progress.

Plan today was to get the gear linkage fitted. First stage was a bit of work on the Mini gear shift. I have already removed the 'steady' arm which is bolted to it as it is not required on the Mongoose. As it operates back to front on the Mongoose I had to remove the base plate to allow full movement of the gearstick - the angle section attached to the plate prevents you engaging reverse instead of first. I have just removed the plate for now - the linkage is designed for a 4 speed box and I am using a five so may run without any 'reverse' protection

Once bolted in to the brackets on the chassis, I cut the rod to length which runs to the rear of the car. This then slides over the Mini operating rod for an initial line up/fit.

This then operates the two parts of the gear selector on the gearbox. The first part (when you push the gearshift forwards and back) is operated through an L shaped arm which then operated a arm which goes across the engine to the gearbox (not shown on image below), the other part of the selector (when you move the gear shift left to right) is operated by a short arm which is welded to the rod which runs to the back of the car (cross rod from this is shown on image below).

Problems I have encountered are the brackets for the gearshift unit are not in alignment so the rod from it does not run correctly down the side of the car to allow it to mate up with the rear rod (brackets need moving), and the same rod needs a universal joint in it to allow smooth passage from the gear shift to the rear of the car - I have found a steering UJ that I can use.

I have the basic idea of what needs doing in my head.....just need to get it all together, hopefully tomorrow.

Final job (so at least I suceeded in something!!!) was to grind away a small amount of the oil filter housing to allow it to clear the chassis - see below.