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After building the subframe based on the Sierra axle, I was not really that happy with the look of the thing, so I decided that it was time to have a go at building one from scratch instead !!

I measured the locations of the hubs and pivot points and transferred this to a big bit of chipboard, then I put a block in position and drew around that. From that the outline of the swing arms almost designed themselves !

01_chipboard.jpg (39222 bytes) 02_chipboard.jpg (41208 bytes)

The main sections of the arms are 25x25mm, 3mm thick box steel. Funny how easy it is to cut the right shapes when you use a 1:1 drawing !!!

03_armbits.jpg (41544 bytes)

The pivots are nice rose jointed rod ends - not ideal for high mileage road use, but are not too expensive and will be very easy to change. The threaded inserts needed a bit of filing and quite a lot of hammering to 'press' them into the ends of the box before finally welding them in !

04_rodend.jpg (50100 bytes)

After a bit of welding the arms are starting to look quite solid.

05_arm.jpg (46562 bytes) 06_arms1.jpg (40744 bytes)

With the arms aligned using the markings on the board the pivot brackets were welded to another length of box section. (Yes, I know it's not very strong, but it will get welded to the back of the 50x100mm cross member already in the van!). Then with the arms attached, the hub ends were cut off of the Sierra arms and welded in place.

08_hub.jpg (51178 bytes) 09_hubs.jpg (52354 bytes)

Additional inner pivot brackets will provide strong secure mountings for the rose joints. The Sierra bearing carrier just bolts into the end of the arm, so it would be easy to nick the disk brakes & hubs from a Saphire if the drums aren't up to the job ;-)

10_bracket.jpg (42905 bytes) 11_brackets.jpg (40172 bytes) 12_flange.jpg (42959 bytes)

On each arm, the inner pivot point is set slightly behind the outer one to create a semi trailing arm. This means that as the suspension compresses and the hub 'rises' the amount of negative camber will increase.  The idea behind this is that when the body rolls during cornering, more neg camber is added to keep a good tyre contact. While it's all off the car it's easy to use a printed camber gauge and tape measure to check the camber at different heights.

13_camber.jpg (47207 bytes) 14_camber1.jpg (43513 bytes)

The angles have been set to give 2.5 at normal ride height increasing to 5 at 135mm compression (when the tyre hits the arch !!!)

15_camber2.jpg (48703 bytes) 16_camber3.jpg (48995 bytes) 17_camber4.jpg (46710 bytes)

With the final angles set, some more bracing was added to support the hub, and a lick of black Hammerite was added 

18_blackarm.jpg (47026 bytes) 

Trial fit of the brackets & arms in the van.

19_beam.jpg (47085 bytes) 20_arm_hub.jpg (43769 bytes)

Then it was a simple job to bolt on the wheels and let the van touch down for the first time in several months !

21_wheels.jpg (41398 bytes) 22_wheels.jpg (45783 bytes)

Hmm, lots and lots of space for engine & stuff.

23_inside_wheels.jpg (42339 bytes)

But I may need to finalise the suspension ;-)

24_noshox.jpg (48698 bytes)


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This page last modified 08/01/2008.