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Well, it's that time again...


Time to rip a bunch of stuff apart, spend half the winter with my hands saturated in engine degreaser, and maybe put it all back together in time to have some fun next summer.


This years plan is to do coilovers, wheels and tires, and a little bodywork. If there's time, I might start working on that turbo I keep saying I'm going to do...


So far I've built a shelving unit/workbench,




pulled the rear subframe and started de-rustifying it,




and sized up some borrowed 225/45/15s.




I'm thinking I'll weld on some flares off a mark one vw golf, but not 100% sure about that yet. Should be fun!

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Spent the weekend figuring out the rear suspension. While I had everything out of the car, I put it together, put it up on jackstands, leveled everything out, and took some camber and toe measurements. I would have pictures of the whole process, but I forgot my camera at the shop. Here is the data though:



The "height" is measured at the hub, but not really relative to anything. The swingarm is level right about where the toe reaches it's minimum and camber crosses the zero line. I was planning on lowering the rear about 2 inches, and then welding adjusters in to fix the camber and toe issues. However, looking at the toe graph and thinking about what happens to the rear suspension under braking has got me thinking that's not such a hot idea... I think I'll be keeping the rider height closer to stock.


Here's the rear bottomed out:



Shock has maybe 1/2" of travel left, but the swingarm is hitting the chassis in an area that's a little too close to the subframe mount for me to feel comfortable with just bashing it in with a hammer:


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Mine aren't bad yet, but I've started soaking the nuts in penetrent periodically as a precautionary measure, because I know that day is coming...

Don't you think you'll need them before I will with the offsets you're going to be running?

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Finally got around to getting the pics of the suspension off my camera and made some eye-infecting visual AIDS.



Also got some raw materials to work with now, so hopefully I can get back to work on the car this weekend. Oh, and another engine to replace the Automotive Supply enhanced unit that's currently in the car. Thanks Industrialsized!

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The engine I got has a snapped cam, so I'll probably take the head off the current engine to make a stock engine to use for the summer. The effed-up block will get bored out 1mm over for some low-compression pistons :)

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Wow, 6 months since the last update...

Well, now that my chances of success with this project are starting to look better than my chances of horrible and disasterous failure, I suppose I can let the cat out of the bag. As can be seen above, there's a limit to how much you can lower the rear of an e21 before suspension-things try to occupy the same space as frame-things. Lowering the car that much also creates camber and toe problems. I wanted my car to be lower than what was really reasonable, AND I wanted my suspension to be functional, so I decided to do what any rational person would do: cut all of the rear subframe mounting points out of the chassis, and move them up a couple of inches.




Still with me? Okay then. I didn't take many pictures until recently, but I can tell you that after the initial cutting the regret set in immediately and deeply. The biggest hurdle with this project has been getting over the psychological trauma of seeing giant holes in your car where important structural things used to be. Many months were lost staring at the nothing that was left, wondering how I would ever close the wounds. Somehow, I just kept moving, hoping that my efforts would somehow reclaim my car from the scrap-heap, for which I thought it was surely destined.




I've still got a lot of work to do, but I think I'll have a running, driving car again someday...

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