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The New Guy

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The New Guy

Post by rnejako on Thu Jun 25, 2015 7:01 am

Hello to all,

I'm in the early stages of my plan to build a Kit car. I've narrowed down my list and settled on the Sebring TMX. I've got a few questions and a couple of concerns before taking on a serious endeavour such as this.

GENERAL--
Background: Firstly I've recently moved to Bedfordshire in the UK from Texas. That was nearly 2 years ago now. I've very recently purchased a house, with a garage attached. (*NOTE: this is a rarity if you're reading this from North America) I've never built a car before but it's something I've been looking at doing for quite some time. My educational background is in Geophysics, and I've done only minor auto maintenance to this point, but am willing to learn and accept advice, hence the post.

Build space / talent: I've got the aforementioned attached garage for build space. Is this enough? Will I need additional workshop space to assemble a complete kit? Additionally I've only done rudimentary auto maintenance and repairs, and haven't welded anything since 1998. I've done plenty of DIY and home improvement/furniture building but I'm not sure these skills will translate. Is this something that I can do, or should I scrap the idea now. I'm reasonably confident I can do this, but it's a big time and money investment we're talking about.

KIT SPECIFIC--
Engine/Trans: I've been looking at the TMX kits, and have an idea of what I'm planning to use. I'm thinking of using Ford's 2.3 Ecoboost and a 6-speed manual. This would be the same setup used in the current generation of Mustang generating about 320BHP. I figure that the guys at Ford have done far more of the math than I have and if it works for them, then I'm all in. I know a lot of you guys run V8s but where the price of gas is equivalent ~$8 a gallon in addition to the road tax, it's not terribly feasible to drive regularly. Not on my budget anyway. Thoughts? Could the engine mounts be moved at the factory or moved easily enough that I can do something like this? I'm looking for this car to be a performance cruiser if that's any help. I'm not going to race it, but I'd like the punch when it's needed.

Donor Parts: I looked at the donor list and it seems to be a lot of parts from 80s ford cars. Are these easily sourced in the UK? Do I have to use used parts or can new ones be purchased? I'd prefer new parts for certain pieces such as steering components and braking. However if no one seems fussed about it then it may not be an issue.

Wiring: The motor would be a crate motor from Ford, so the wiring harness for that would be plug and play with a proper management system. How much modification of the cars loom would be necessary to get the thing running. Circuit theory was never my strong subject at Uni so I may need to brush up a bit. Thoughts?



I'm sure I've forgotten something at this point but I'd appreciate any thoughts you have regarding the points above. Like I said this project is barely in it's infancy and is still years off likely. But I'd rather have it over planned than be stumbling in the dark. There will be plenty of time for that when the build actually starts. Thanks for the input.

Robert


rnejako

Posts : 3
Join date : 2015-06-23
Age : 42
Location : Bedford, UK

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Re: The New Guy

Post by David V. on Fri Jun 26, 2015 2:07 pm

Hello Robert, as administrator of this forum I would like to officially welcome you to our community. I hope you find all the information you need amongst our members, most of which I am sure will be eager to help. As for me, I will do my best to answer most of your initial questions.

My apologies if this response comes late in the day, most of our current members are based in north america so the time zones are a bit skewed as you well know. However given this fact, nearly everyone here has a kit from the north american "Classic Roadsters" company. The kits are very similar to the british sebrings, but for some aspects of your build you may have to contact the UK Sebring Owner's Club here: sebring.co.uk

I had proposed a merger between our two clubs a few months ago but have yet to hear back from them. For an additional bank of information you may wish to register with the yahoo group from which this forum evolved which was an e-mail based system and still contains most of our previous conversations. This forum has only been up and running for a year and, while it already contains a good deal of info, is still being brought up to speed through questions and posts such as yours.

Now on to your specific questions, I will try to be brief:

Garage space: The ideal is a two car garage because you will need a work space for the assembly starting from the frame up, and having a space right beside to put all the other parts makes keeping track of everything much easier. That being said... a single car garage can work if you use it as a work space and have alternate means of storage. I personally re-built mine in a barn...so anything can be done, but the more complicated it is, the more time it will take. Other than the space for the frame-build and for the storage you usually would need space (on a work bench or other) for work on the smaller parts and the welding (you will probably be using a few donor parts which you will be working on restoring before fitting them). You might also want to start looking into which shop is going to be doing paint and powder coating for you. The more stuff you contract out, the higher the chance of it becoming a money pit due to workshops taking forever to do the work or not being honest about prices.

Skill/Ability: I am sure anyone with a good sense of handy work can do it (in theory), people usually tend to fail because of a lack of motivation to re-do things or learn new skills. Are you ready to spend the next five years with most of your free time spent in a garage?

Engine/Trans: The TMX looks really cool, I think our MXs are closer to the MXR though. In my personal opinion, a ford eco-boost would be way-cool, they seem to be the best of the new generation of turbo-4cyl. However, definitely consult the factory about having the frame designed around this idea. As a first time builder I would be very hesitant to attempt relocating engine mounts. There would be too many calculations involved for tranny placement, driveshaft angle, motor mount clearance, etc. So I think its best to leave that aspect to the kit company. There is a good chance they could go for it with for a little extra cost (it'll save you the headache in the long run). From what I know, my own kit was the first ever to have a chevy v8, and it was on special order from the buyer.

If the eco-boost is not an option, I've heard Sebring Intl. offers the option of a BMW straight-6. This would probably be your best bet: reliable, light, good fuel economy, powerful, lots of torque, EFI, options for future power mods, and also true to the original healey's engine config.

Donor parts: from what I know Classic Roadsters US and Sebring Intl. use different donor parts, so most/if not all of the ones you would need would come from british market cars. This is something you should ask the company when purchasing the kit. There is a large aftermarket all over the world, so you can usually get new parts (or reconditioned to new specification) whenever you wish (provided you're willing to pay a little more).

Wiring: You would have to discuss with Sebring Intl. about how to adapt their specific loom. On my own car a mistake was made and it never received the Classic Roadsters loom, so the builder ordered a custom loom kit from a company called painless wiring in the US which makes looms to your specifications. On a modern turbo engine however you might want to enlist the help of an auto electrician. Wiring was never my strong point either.

If you have any more questions I will do my best to answer them. In general, there will always be surprises when building a kit or restoring a car, and the more research you do, the more surprises you avoid. I think the Sebring kits are a good choice for a first-timer due to the sheer number that have been sold, the capacity to buy spare parts from people with uncompleted kits, the great looks and fun driving experience. If you run into issues you have both our community and the Sebring Intl. one to support you. The feeling of turning the key for the first time on something which you have assembled every part, and shed tears, sweat, and blood over, can never be described.

Last of all, I highly recommend that before committing to this project you find someone locally who has a Sebring, and let them take you for a ride (or even a drive). Sebring Intl. might even have a demo car they can show you. Its a good idea to see how well you fit in one, the room in the footwell, the build quality, the sight-lines (with top up and down), and the overall feel of the kit, how well the doors shut, etc.

I invite some of our other members to share their experiences, they might have something to add which I havn't thought of.

Sincerely,

David V.
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David V.
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http://healeyreplicas.forumakers.com

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Re: The New Guy

Post by rnejako on Tue Jun 30, 2015 4:59 am

Thanks for the info. Being a rather new Ex-Pat has been an interesting time. I was all prepared for a kit in the states, then up and moved continents. It happens. But as I'm here now it's time to settle in and start the plan over. I appreciate your response and, once I eventually start my build, will run a build thread. "Pictures or it didn't happen" is what my old uni roommate always said.

The single garage is the best I'm going to get here really. There is a sizable loft space above the garage for storage which is currently empty. I'm planning to store all of the body panels, and other parts up there until needed. That will free up some space. I'm currently working to integrate a work bench in to the wall for convenience. One of my former neighbours rebuilt a Toyota Celica and put a 302 Cleveland in it to drag race it. I'm still in touch with him and he's all geared up for this project and has offered help. My current neighbour across the street is a professional welder so I'm about as set as I can be as he will weld for beer instead of money. Smile

So at this point it's saving money until I can afford the kit. My piggy bank is filling but it will likely be a few years before I start. In the meantime I plan on following your advice and sourcing paint and powder coating shops. I've already sourced the engine, though it's not available in crate form yet. However the shop has a few other options, and maybe a BMW straight 6 is a viable one. I'll have to look into it.

Thanks again for your input, and if you're ever in the UK, let me know and we'll go grab a pint.

Robert

rnejako

Posts : 3
Join date : 2015-06-23
Age : 42
Location : Bedford, UK

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Re: The New Guy

Post by David V. on Tue Jun 30, 2015 4:30 pm

Wish i'd known, was in London just over a week ago! Surprised Was only there for 3 days though.

One thing you might want to think about "budget wise", is to save up the money for the entire build (or almost) before starting. One of the things that kills motivation the most is to have the car sitting in the garage, while you can't get any work done on it until you have the money to order parts. If you save up before, then you can order whatever you want whenever you need it, and it won't change the overall time it takes until you can get out and drive.

Best of luck!

David
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http://healeyreplicas.forumakers.com

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Re: The New Guy

Post by rnejako on Wed Jul 08, 2015 5:26 am

Well if you're ever back this way let me know. It's only a 40 min train ride to London. The upside is that houses are less than half up here, which is considerable since this is STILL the most expensive place I've ever lived.

Thanks again for the tips. I'll keep you posted as I get closer to build time. I've already set my piggy bank up for deposits so the clock has officially started. However the day is still long as it's likely to be a few years before I officially start. And yes I agree to save up for all, or nearly all, of the cost up front. That was the plan, anyway. I'm sure there will be unforeseen expenses along the way. There always are with these types of projects.

Robert

rnejako

Posts : 3
Join date : 2015-06-23
Age : 42
Location : Bedford, UK

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