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Old 08-31-2018, 09:09 AM   #1
1x1_Speed_Craig
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
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Project "Pink" (1972 LJ20)

In the words of (now) old-school Aerosmith, "Pink, it's my new obsession." Just be to clear, this doesn't really even feel "old school" to this 47-year-old cat.

An initial search for a bare Samurai rolling chassis ultimately led me to this pinkalicious little kei car I found in northern Wisconsin (originally from Michigan's U.P.).
https://drive.google.com/file/d/17GB...ew?usp=sharing

I've rebuilt a few Jeeps in the past, the most recent (unfinished) project being a '58 Willys FC170 cabover cab installed on a 2008 F350 Superduty dually chassis with a Cummins 6BT/auto/4WD...not small or light, by any means. The LJ20, by contrast, can be moved around the garage by my teen daughters. Even with an extra rolling chassis I'm using for mock-up, both of our daily drivers can still fit in the garage. Score!

The original 2-cylinder 2-stroke engine & trans were missing, but the seller threw in a couple '93 Geo Metro (Suzuki) G10 3-cylinder engines for a little more $$$. I quickly bought a couple '88-vintage Samurai 5-speed transmissions, which bolt right up to this lightweight engine. This is a common swap for these LJs, and by "common", I mean at least a few people have done them. These guys (and other keyboard jockeys who have 2nd-hand information) say that a 1-2" body lift, copious suspension lift (usually SOA), and (offset) Samurai axles are necessary to shoehorn the engine in. I think it can be done with 0-1" body lift, and perhaps 1.5"-lift leaf springs.

Parts availability is pretty slim for these, but I got an extra rolling chassis with my fuchsia/pink LJ20, and also happened upon another LJ20 rolling chassis locally a few weeks ago. I now have 2 additional sets of axles, and 2 extra transfer cases to throw on the shelf. Thankfully, these small parts are small, and store nicely in my organized garage. Here's the later-model drivetrain mocked up in my extra rolling chassis. I'll be keeping the teeny, tiny OEM transfer case.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1XN5...ew?usp=sharing

I want to keep things totally simple and old-school, which means ditching the ECM, and switching out the TBI fuel injection for a CV carb set-up. The engine I'll ultimately be using is a 1990 Geo Metro XFI engine with 52K miles that I just bought this week, and it already has a mechanical distributor with vacuum advance. Longer-term, I'd like to convert the distributor to use points instead of electronics.

Here's the 52K-mile engine I'll be using (and yes, I have a replacement timing belt cover for it).
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Bsy...ew?usp=sharing

The latest rolling chassis I bought also got me a set of original 16" x 4.5" LJ20 wheels and NDT tires (the tires will be replaced with new NDTs once it's running/driving).
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1VLl...ew?usp=sharing

The body is pretty solid, but I will be replacing some of the body panels to replace a previous owner's mediocre-to-decent patch job. I bought an Eastwood bead roller, and already have an Eastwood shrinker/stretcher and hammer/dolly set, as well. These, and my slow/artistic/detailed nature should hopefully produce good finished panels.

More to come...

Craig
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Old 08-31-2018, 09:44 PM   #2
Bowie Kid
 
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Nice! What is your plan for the dist. sticking so far out the back?
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1987 tintop, VW 1.6td, Giles Super Pump, 5 speed, 6.5, yj's, e-lockers, 33's on Yotas.
1992 Tracker 31x10.50's, welded rear , 2" body, 2.5" RRO susp lift.
2-LJ10's
1990 Diahatsu Rocky 1.9td, Track/kick trans-tcase, 4.24's, Toys, yj's, front m/l shackle reverse, 33's, built in the ZOR shop.



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Old 09-01-2018, 04:36 AM   #3
1x1_Speed_Craig
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bowie Kid View Post
Nice! What is your plan for the dist. sticking so far out the back?
Thanks!

Everything actually sits far enough forward that it'll clear the firewal without modification. It's positioned to clear the oil pan/diff, and and steering box sector shaft (although I'll need to make a custom drag link/steering shaft). The oil pan has the sump in the front, so the deep part of the pan positioned just in front of the differential.

I wasn't opposed to clearancing the firewall, but it looks like I won't have to.

Thanks,
Craig
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Old 09-08-2018, 03:09 PM   #4
1x1_Speed_Craig
 
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Updates...

Geo Metros, much to my surprise, still have quite a following. I've been hanging out and having fun lately over at http://geometroforum.com. A couple different guys there helped me by hooking me up with not one, but two, Japanese-market JDM carbureted intake manifolds this week. One will go on the shelf for a future project, and the other on Project Pink. The carb manifolds aren't horribly common here in the U.S., but the Japanese motors, as I understand, all used carbs, at least in the '90-vintage era that my motor is from.

I plan to use a CV40 carb set-up from a Harley Davidson, and would like to give a special thanks to Luis at Sidewinder for his willingness to help me by offering to custom-machine one of his Sidewinder CV Carb Kit set-ups (normally used on Suzuki Samurais) to fit my Metro engine. When I spoke with Luis a couple months ago, all I had was a TBI intake from my '93 engines, and still needed to figure out how to ween the timing control from the ECM. I'm now set in both regards (fuel & timing), and won't need an ECM to run my engine. I'll be reaching out to Luis again shortly, but may actually be able to adapt one of his off-the-shelf Samurai units to my new-to-me carburetor intakes by having a CNC machinist friend make me a wedge-shaped adapter for my manifold. I'll know more once my JDM intakes arrive, and I can get some measurements on the mounting stud locations. Regardless, Luis' willingness to help me figure out a workable solution for my G10 3-cylinder speaks volumes to his level of service!

Now, on to the transfer case...

First, my CNC machinist friend was nice enough to make me a replacement plastic plug for the rear of the case, which is no longer available from Suzuki. The stock plugs are notorious for cracking & leaking, and all three of the transfer cases I have sport (hairline-) cracked plastic plugs. The fit of my custom-made plug is perfect, and he's going to do a small run of them for me to replace all three, and have a couple on the shelf as spares. I'm blessed with generous friends willing to help me out, and I reciprocate anytime I can.

I have a reputation for making pretty things nobody will see. This project is no different. I'm in the process of meticulously degreasing & cleaning up the exterior of my teeny tiny transfer case. It works smoothly, and the teeth all look good, so I'll just replace all of the seals (currently en route to me), and clean & paint the exterior. Once I'm done cleaning the case, I'll use Eastwood Self-Etching Primer first, followed by Aluma Blast paint. I've used the latter in the past, and it's beautiful stuff, and it goes on nicely. The top & bottom plates, and yokes will be painted with a base coat of Rust Encapsulator, followed by Extreme Chassis Black Satin. I've used Eastwood paints for several projects, and swear by the stuff.

One thing I wondered about previously and couldn't locate was the vent was on the case. This case actually has a tiny vent hole through the filler hole bolt. I'm going to either get a solid bolt, or weld up the hole in this one and drill/tap a hole to run a vent line to my ARB Differential Breather Kit manifold. This will keep the breathers for the axles, transmission & transfer case up high, and allow me to do water crossings without worrying about getting water in my fluids.

I had to include my hand in the photo of the transfer case, just for perspective. These things are just dinky, but that's the case (pun intended) when the entire vehicle is just 1290 lbs. (dry weight per my VIN tag).
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1416...ew?usp=sharing
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