Introductions

Introductions, posting rules, FAQ - What is a "Midlana"? Can I build one? How long does it take? How much does it cost?
Def
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Re: Introductions

Postby Def » 07 Jan 2017, 10:19

Yea, it's been great fun, and I have no regrets with the car. I actually just put a few hours work on it, some of it making the interior nicer and more "factory" at the expense of a few pounds. I'm well away from actually selling it, but the thought has not seriously crossed my mind for many years (only briefly after a stock S13 SR20DET had the oil pump output o-ring let loose on track and caught the car on fire due to dry grass - not oil). It was like... I know I can rebuild it, but is that what I want? I ultimately had bigger plans for it, so I'm glad I did it. It definitely took me a LONG time due to scope creep and life popping up.

I've probably changed most things on the car 2, 3, or even 4 times looking to go faster, so I definitely want to do some research and plan out a Midlana build how I'd want it done vs. buying something then doing a ton of work trying to adapt it to something it wasn't really designed for.

But the S13 is fun as far as door slammers go. A couple hundred pounds heavier than a Miata, but makes more power than any track Miata I've seen around here in TX (including the LS1 ones).

ajsmithvmi
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Re: Introductions

Postby ajsmithvmi » 14 Jan 2017, 17:49

Hey all, just bought the book tonight. I'm in St. Louis. Looking forward to reading it for ideas on how I want to approach this build even though it's probably a year or two down the road. Currently I'm working on an ECOTEC Miata Swap as a track only car, but I like to think about the "next best thing," and the Midlana might be a great new home for the guts of this Miata. I'm pretty comfortable with the ECOTEC engines at this point and they have some good aftermarket support, so I'll probably stick with what I have at this point or a engine package from Alpha Fab Industries if I want more power.

jbobc
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Re: Introductions

Postby jbobc » 13 May 2017, 15:52

Hello,

I'm a retired 71 year old engineer (mostly structures). I've followed Kurt for ages and fortunately won one of the first two copies of the Midlana book. I've played with sports cars (karts, autocrossing, SCCA, and track days, etc.) my whole life albeit at a modest amateur level. I also love hot rods and the creativity of the builders.

I'm in the process of building a chassis similar in concept to Midlana with one major exception. I have a '68 VW body shell that I'm going to use as the body. Unlike the more common case of using the VW engine and chassis pan and tossing the body, I bought the VW and sold all the engine/chassis parts and now have just the body shell for no cost. Since I live in Oregon and want something I can drive year around, having a body with doors, windows, wipers, etc. would work for me. Also, I like the looks of low, fat tired, fenderless bugs. I don't expect to use the car for track days - other than getting a feel of it once finished - assuming I'm not too old to drive by then.

Kurt's Midlana book offers me a lot of information and ideas. I'm comfortable with the fabrication and suspension design but have one major area of apprehension. That is the engine ECU and associated wiring/sensors. At this point I am leaning toward a Honda/Acura/Nissan/Mazda V6 with an automatic transmission. Please accept this latter variation as I really just want a quick driver/cruiser to take on the lovely and curvy Oregon back roads. Starting with my dad's tractor, I've shifted gears for upwards of 60 years and know how. My goal is to have about 250 horsepower-easily met with the aforementioned engine choice.

I plan to buy a wrecked car (rear ended) so I have all the parts/wiring/sensors/etc. Since car electronics aren't my bag coupled with the extensive control systems in today's cars, I have a fear of never getting the thing to run because I've missed something in the engine controls. The general car wiring, lights/signals/etc will not be a problem as I have wired other car projects in the past, albeit ones with a conventional distributor and coil ignition system. Given a good wiring diagram I feel confident I will be able to eliminate unnecessary wiring but still worry the the ECU will have some sensor or security logic than I unwittingly removed (seat belt warning alarm, air bag, parking brake set, who knows what). As I prefer to use classic analog gauges ECU logic to the dashboard also concern me.

Currently I am fabricating the chassis body interface and then will build the front suspension system. The simple roll cage system will bolt in once the body and chassis are joined.

Lastly, for what it's worth, I'm using TurboCAD for the design. It has worked well for me in the past but is not as elegant and capable as some of the more expensive systems.

So... any words to the wise, experience with ECU wiring, etc. are welcome. Just don't hassle me about the transmission choice - please. Maybe I'll call my project the "VWmidrod"

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freakynami
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Re: Introductions

Postby freakynami » 13 May 2017, 19:47

Hello and welcome!

Sounds very interesting - I love the rat VW look, with your own chassis you should be able to get the stance looking just right without putting everything out of alignment :)

As for ECU, (others will have to chime in with their experience, I have none!) I believe aftermarket solutions are a lot more plug and play than the early days of car computers, but google is your friend - there are so many folk out there who have solved so many issues, and been kind enough to share their results. Even guys like B is for Build are showing us how to run two computers at the same time for stock vehicle niceties like central locking and lighting, working with donor engine ECU for engine running - in this case a 2JZ into a BRZ!

As to your case, get the wiring diagram if you can, plug it all together and just solve the problems one by one and I'm sure you'll get there.

As to the trans, what you are doing is making the correct engineering decision for YOUR car - anyone who says otherwise is only stating their POV. For a cruiser, an auto sounds a darn sight more aligned with your end goal enjoyment :)

Travis Garrison
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Re: Introductions

Postby Travis Garrison » 22 May 2017, 12:03

Hi All!

I've apparently been a member here for a while, I must have signed up shortly after I bought the Kimini book...anyways I recently re-discovered you guys and just picked up the Midlana book.

I'm very much in the fantasy land / planning phase, but I did the Formula SAE thing for several years in college and building my own car has been a goal ever since...so...maybe I'll get this thing rolling now that the funds and time are starting to line up.

As far as what I'm up to initially?
-Transferring the Midlana plans into my CAD program of choice so that I can deviate with a plan.
-Kicking around the idea of using RX-8 suspension bits instead of Miata bits. In theory I think the RX-8 = a stretched NC Miata...and I'd feel a lot less guilty about repurposing an automatic RX-8 that was destined for the junk yard anyways.
-Currently looking into viable V6 options:
*The Honda J-series engines are pretty easy to find, and the Acura manual boxes came with an LSD...
*The Nissan VQ engines seem like they have more potential since they have all that Z-car aftermarket, but the sourcing seems a little tougher and the LSD's I think are only viscous and only in the Infiniti's.

Anyways, you guys have got a lot of cool projects up and running, thanks for sharing. Hopefully I'll have something meaningful to contribute in the future.

Midlana1
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Re: Introductions

Postby Midlana1 » 22 May 2017, 14:30

Welcome! Now, if we could only get as many builds going as there are introductions, we'd be cooking with gas!

ChrisS
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Re: Introductions

Postby ChrisS » 02 Jun 2017, 02:37

@jbobc - having recently had a drive in a mates Jaguar F type, I challenge anyone who says an auto is no good in a sports car.....that thing was epic.

Pertinent to this, another mate sells Lancia Stratos replicas and a short while ago had a customer who wanted an auto box in his. The donor car was an Alfa 166 which came with a ZF 4 speed auto that has a pretty decent 'Sport' mode, and allows for shift paddles on the steering wheel with a wee bit of fiddling. Having owned and driven one of the donor cars in that spec for a few years, I reckon that would have made for an interesting choice. Not up to the standards of the Jag by a long way, but not bad at all.

So, welcome, and you won't be getting any auto stick from me! :)

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rennkafer
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Re: Introductions

Postby rennkafer » 02 Jun 2017, 08:34

@jbobc... you might consider the engine I'm using (VW 2.5 liter 5 cylinder) with one of the DSG gearboxes rather than the 6 speed I'm using. The engines can make upwards of 400whp on stock internals (even with a cast crank, forged are much more with a set of rods) and the DSG is about as nice an "automatic" box as you'll find anywhere. The 5 cylinder sounds great, is lighter than most of the V6's and takes up about the same amount of space as a 4 cylinder so the packaging is easier.
Bill J

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rennkafer
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Re: Introductions

Postby rennkafer » 02 Jun 2017, 08:35

@Travis...

Whereabouts in NW WA? I'm near Port Orchard and we've a few others here up in WA.
Bill J

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Re: Introductions

Postby JPower6210 » 30 Jun 2017, 05:31

Hi All- just a quick intro- My name is John, known as JP, and I live on the coast of NC. I have been considering a car build for a long time, and have gone back and forth between a kit, or a locost build. Primarily looked at Cobras and Speedsters. I think I have settled on a Midlana build. I am a fan of 4's over V8's and although I love the Cobra styling, it all just seems a bit "over the top" to me.

I just ordered Kurt's books and am waiting for them to arrive- love the POD concept, but it's hard to wait! I plan to start assembling materials, donor, etc. over the next few months. I am finishing up a current project, a 20' power boat, http://bandbyachtdesigns.com/ob-20/ , for anyone that is interested. I need to be able to get that out of the shop before I start on the build table or cutting any steel. My car interests are pretty varied. I currently drive a Tundra as the DD, but spend more time in either my 76 VW bus, or my 39 GMC truck- both rescued from years in a field. My build time will probably be fairly long as I work around a busy schedule with work and two small kids.

The forum has been a huge resource as I have started planning. Are there cad files anywhere that I can start playing with in Sketchup? I am planning a fairly standard build with the exception that I may do some stuff with composite body panels as I am pretty comfortable there from a boatbuilding background. Maybe something influenced by the old open wheeled racers.

Thanks all for taking the time to post and share- it makes this process a lot more fun!

JP


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