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Old 05-13-2005, 09:55 AM
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tough transplant - discs for miniature rod

This is a little off the wall. I have two projects going on, a '49 Olds that mostly requires elbow grease and time, and a '59 Renault 4CV that's caused me to wear out Google. Here's a picture of sombody's restored '55 4CV:

http://www.4cvuk.co.uk/TFO939.jpg

It's rear-engine, rear wheel drive and has a GVWR of 2024 lbs. The engine was cute (747 cc with hand crank) but I've pulled it.

What I'm trying to do is change the push-n-pray brakes to discs (on the front at least) and get a stronger transaxle under the rear. I've been reluctant to ask on here because it's not exactly traditional hotrod material. (Changing the Olds is not a problem; there are even bolt-in front-end kits for it). Things I keep running into during searches are either people restoring these cars to original, museum-like pieces, or 'ricers' who think if you can't buy a solution it can't be done.

Things I've considered:

1. Find an old Renault R8 or R10 (last RR ones they made, 1971) and transplant both ends under the 4CV. That gets discs, but the transaxle of the R8-10 is weak and it's still 30+ y.o. parts to find.

2. Graft some Chevy discs on the existing front suspension (I have no clue about doing this).

3. Cut down an M2 or Pinto front-end (track width is 48").

4. Take the front end and transaxle from some small FE, FWD car, stuff it under the rear of the 4CV and stop it from steering. (Direction doesn't matter because the other weird part of this project is I'm converting the car to electric. The electric motor has more HP and nearly double the torque compared to the 747 cc engine).

5. Find a VW Beetle, rob a bank, buy the Beetle and transplant its rear end under the 4CV. Doesn't fix the front brake problem, though.

Sure hope some of you overlook the import iron and weird propulsion and share some creativity on this problem. It's not as crazy as those old rodders who used war surplus aircraft fuel tanks as Bonnieville racers.

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Old 05-13-2005, 12:50 PM
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You can pick up Fieros relatively inexpensively. They had disc brakes all the way around, and you'd already have a rear-engine with the drivetrain where you want it. The Fiero drivetrain mounts on a subframe, similar to FWD GM vehicles - you might be able to modify your target vehicle to take the subframe as is.

As a bonus, many Fieros have been converted to electric already, so a lot of the hard work's been done.
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Old 05-13-2005, 02:34 PM
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you could get a straight axle from an older truck/car that has disc conversions available. cut a section out of the center of it, and weld it back together. if the car was originally ifs, it will probably hurt the handling and ride, but it could work.
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Old 05-13-2005, 02:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ckucia
You can pick up Fieros relatively inexpensively. They had disc brakes all the way around, and you'd already have a rear-engine with the drivetrain where you want it. The Fiero drivetrain mounts on a subframe, similar to FWD GM vehicles - you might be able to modify your target vehicle to take the subframe as is.

As a bonus, many Fieros have been converted to electric already, so a lot of the hard work's been done.
Thanks, but Fieros are mid-engine. The 4CV has piles of room in the engine compartment since it had an upright radiator back there, too. Using a Fiero drivetrain would push the electric motor somewhere up near where the shifter is now and leave about 2 feet of empty space behind the axle.

I did some searching after reading your post and found the front track on a Fiero ranges from 57.8" to 59.7". Maybe it would stand 10" cut out somewhere. I've never cut down a front-end or even transplanted one before, but it's a cinch I won't learn any younger.

Thanks for the lead!
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Old 05-13-2005, 02:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1-ton of fun
you could get a straight axle from an older truck/car that has disc conversions available. cut a section out of the center of it, and weld it back together. if the car was originally ifs, it will probably hurt the handling and ride, but it could work.
Yeah, it's IFS - http://www.4cvuk.co.uk/51.01a_front_suspension.jpg

That diagram is of a slightly older model, but the biggest difference is mine has the goofy-looking 3 lug wheels. The rack is not shown in that diagram.
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Old 05-13-2005, 03:03 PM
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Hmmm.

If you need rear-engine, I think VW or Porsche is going to be the way to go.

I'm not up on Porsches, but I believe the 914s are cheap and plentiful, but they may be using VW bug parts essentially.

I'm sure 911 parts aren't cheap, but if you don't need the engine, I've seen rolling chassis on ebay that weren't all that expensive. Getting a transaxle is probably key.

Some of the Fiero guys adapting the drivetrain for kit cars have used the front drivetrain off 80's/90's rivieras/toronados/eldorados. Probably quite a wide wheelbase, but the engine is longitudinal with the transaxle driven via a chain form the back, and wrapping along the side of the engine. Might be more work than you need, but its a possibility.
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Old 05-13-2005, 05:46 PM
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Would you happen to have an old Porsche lying around that you'd let me have for a couple hundred bucks? Seriously, I think you're right that it would be the way to go. It's the right layout and already proven tough. There are just no junkyards around here with Porsches. I'll give a look at ebay.

I have a VW transaxle on hand but the axles were cut out of it for some reason. The front-end is just some rust held together by weeds.

There has to be some kind of transplant that will work.
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Old 05-13-2005, 06:07 PM
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have you considered corvair? Later models with 5bolt wheels are a fairly easy disc conversion
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Old 05-13-2005, 06:21 PM
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Yes, it would be great to get my hands on a Corvair. The junkyards I've contacted have all cleaned out everything older than the 80's and several don't keep anything older than the 90's. I keep prowling, though, on the chance of seeing something lurking in the weeds.
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Old 05-16-2005, 07:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grouch
Would you happen to have an old Porsche lying around that you'd let me have for a couple hundred bucks? Seriously, I think you're right that it would be the way to go. It's the right layout and already proven tough. There are just no junkyards around here with Porsches. I'll give a look at ebay.
Actually, if you were able to use a 924, 944, or even 928, you can pick them up for $1000 and change and then part out the parts you don't need.

I suspect you'll need a 911, 912 or 914 though.

Since your car is relatively light, you might be able to get away with a 914, which are relatively cheap, especially up north where the bodies rusted away so badly they bent in half.

Here are some part cars from ebay - all I could find were 914s:

914 (TX): http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eB...974947323&rd=1

914 (MI): http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eB...974801093&rd=1

914 (FL): http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eB...974643606&rd=1

914 (CA): http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eB...974474899&rd=1

914 (Minn): http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eB...973764260&rd=1

I don't know enough about these to know if they would work for you. I think they may be more mid-engined than rear-engined. The 911/912s are rear-engined, as are the VW's, IIRC.
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Old 05-16-2005, 01:47 PM
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The 914 is mid-engined and there are even conversion kits for them (example: "Voltsporsche" kit http://www.electroauto.com/gallery/vp914.shtml ).

Did some searching and found the front/rear track widths on a 914 are 58.2"/57.1". It looks like I'm going to have to cut about 10" out of anything I use except maybe a purchased, custom-built kit. This 4CV is just too weird for a simple graft. I may have to cross my fingers and run the original transaxle and try to find a way to use just the rotors and spindles from something else on the front.

Thanks for the links!
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Old 05-16-2005, 02:53 PM
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from this site
Approximate rear end widths measured from backing plate to backing plate. Add Width to compensate for drums as follows: 4" - 5" for small cars

48" - 49"

'71 Colt
'72 Cricket
'72-75 Datsun Pickup
'72-73 Mazda
you may try one of these set ups. u still will have to narrow them BUT at least they are narrower. also look at some of the other foreign trucks from the 70's & 80's, some have torsion bar suspension & you maybe able to narrow one of those easier....joe
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Old 05-16-2005, 03:54 PM
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Midget disks

Check out the midget brakes from speedway..It may be possible to use those disks and calipers..

use a hat and rotor style hub using the existing hubs..adapt a hat..you will have to build a bracket somehow to hold the brake caliper..takes some machining and noodling to get it done but I think it may be doable..Look at how we have adapted disks to early ford spindles for some idea of how to go about this..

Rear end and tranny..?? Since you are going electric look under some escorts or similar front drive cars..some of those might work..you will need some way to make axle shafts that adapt from the tranny to the existing hubs..kinda like making a driveshaft that is chev on one end and ford on the other..The electric motor can be a sidewinder and that will save a bit o space..

Just kicking some thoughts..

OMT

OMT
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Last edited by OneMoreTime; 05-16-2005 at 04:03 PM. Reason: Hey I am getting old I ferget things
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Old 05-16-2005, 07:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TooMany2count
from this site
Approximate rear end widths measured from backing plate to backing plate. Add Width to compensate for drums as follows: 4" - 5" for small cars

48" - 49"

'71 Colt
'72 Cricket
'72-75 Datsun Pickup
'72-73 Mazda
you may try one of these set ups. u still will have to narrow them BUT at least they are narrower. also look at some of the other foreign trucks from the 70's & 80's, some have torsion bar suspension & you maybe able to narrow one of those easier....joe
Wow, thanks, Joe! There's a whole menu of donor dimensions on that page. Those you listed are all rear-wheel drive so I might be able to get a complete front suspension from them. The electric motor could handle direct drive to a rear-end, but it does its best at around 3400 RPM.

I'll make a list of these 'possibles' and go prowling. All the salvage yards around here have taken advantage of high scrap prices and crushed their old vehicles, so '70s have to be found in back yards and fields.
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Old 05-16-2005, 08:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OneMoreTime
Check out the midget brakes from speedway..It may be possible to use those disks and calipers..

use a hat and rotor style hub using the existing hubs..adapt a hat..you will have to build a bracket somehow to hold the brake caliper..takes some machining and noodling to get it done but I think it may be doable..Look at how we have adapted disks to early ford spindles for some idea of how to go about this..

Rear end and tranny..?? Since you are going electric look under some escorts or similar front drive cars..some of those might work..you will need some way to make axle shafts that adapt from the tranny to the existing hubs..kinda like making a driveshaft that is chev on one end and ford on the other..The electric motor can be a sidewinder and that will save a bit o space..

Just kicking some thoughts..

OMT

OMT
Ya lost me. Would that be speedwaymotors.com ? What's a hat and rotor style hub?

Hey, I hadn't thought about mixing a newer (front) transaxle with the rest of the existing rear end. That gets around the scary problem of grafting a front-wheel drive set-up under the rear and keeping it from steering. That idea also opens up possibilities of using parts of the rear-ends of donors scouted out by TooMany2count and ckucia and grafting them onto the transaxle from a front-wheel drive donor.

I've had my nose stuck too close to the problem and don't have enough experience to look at it enough different ways. You folks just rock.
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