The Motor is out, now for serious business.

2.0L motor pulled from the Neon SXTLast weekend a gathering of rally friends helped take out the 2.0L 420A. This was made easier by taking a Sawzall to the radiator support. ๐Ÿ™‚ As we were taking the motor out we discovered some pretty serious damage to the bottom core support and the wiring harness that goes to the lights. This had been ground into by the AC compressor upon hitting whatever bent the metal of the front end. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ This explains the melted connector on the back of the headlight switch and the crackle sparking sounds when I turned on the fog lights.

Next is a serious discussion about the roll cage design for the 2GN. When I built the first Rally Neon I was hesitant to put any info of authority on rallynotes. I was new and didn’t want to come off like some expert on the rules for roll cage design. This time around I’m still no expert, but I’ll show you what we’re planning.

Roll cage options for door bars.This is my proposal for a door bar layout. I think the door bars are one of the most critical areas and it’s important to balance safety with the ability to get in and out of the car.

The rules: NASA RallySport / Rally America Both sanctioning bodies have a slightly different view of the best method for coming up with a safe roll cage. I could write a book about the complex differences between the two organizations, but I’ll summarize what you need to know: Both organizations accept each others log book. NASA Rally Sport requires FIA seats and Rally America as of this writing does not. Which rule-set should you use? YMMV. Find someone who has been building rally roll cages for a few years and has some experience.

The sill bar. Back in 2003 when SCCA was running the show, there was a movement in the rules to get an additional door bar added. Before this, you only needed 1 bar going from the main hoop to the front A-pillar. I can’t even imagine sliding sideways at 90MPH with a single 1.5″ door bar… Then again, cars used to be made from steel and not hydroformed .0025″ thick zinc coated plastic sheets. ๐Ÿ˜‰ The solution was to add a straight bar from the main hoop to the A-Pillar close to the floor on the sill. A lot of rallyists started adding the full “X” WITH a sill bar, but the minimum in the rules (as of mid-2011) is only 2 door bars. Sill bar and a diagonal, OR just the “X”. After seeing a car take a tree stump in the door with just the “X” – we’ll be adding the additional sill bar.

The bar from the corner of the windshield to the floor (along the A-Pillar) is now mandatory and we’re considering adding it to our production car. These cars are “jellybeans” and where a 1988 VW makes a 45% bend for the windshield, the Dodge “cab forward” design is this 15% decaying slope that needs to be strengthened if it’s to survive a hit there.

If this design looks impossible to get in or out of the car with, consider that the stock dash extends beyond where the A-Pillar diagonal is, and the proposed door bars are no higher then the ones in our Production car. Will the full “X” make it a little harder to get in and out? I’m sure. Will we be going a little faster then in our Production car? Absolutely!

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8 Responses to The Motor is out, now for serious business.

  1. Never really looked that close at a Neon, but compared to my Impreza, looks like you’re able to bring the rear hoop pretty far back, leaving a pretty long expanse on the roof bar above the door. I’m no expert but I might like the rear hoop a little more forward if it doesn’t upset the seating or at least catch some of the “B” pillar with with the upper diagonal (head-ringer) bar. ?? Just my 2 cents…

    If you can keep the door “X” pretty low I don’t think it impedes egress any more than a single diagonal.

    • Kris says:

      I agree it looks like it’s in the back seat. You really end up sitting next to the B pillar in this car, and when you cage it you end up sitting between the B pillar and the main hoop. I think this ends up being the strongest part of the car and part of the reason I like the diagonal from the main hoop to the B pillar.

      The drawing also shows the main hoop at a slight tilted back angle – which would not be the case.

      – Kris

  2. Brian Driggs says:

    OOh… You draw pretty blue lines!

    Considering my cage doesn’t have door/sill bars yet, this is good food for thought. Book. Marked. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Kris says:

      Did you take advantage of the new comment notification system on rallynotes? It’s along your lines of “keeping the discussion going”. This is also a test of that system. ๐Ÿ˜€ – Kris

      • Brian Driggs says:

        I did. Very convenient.

        Now, did you know that, if you used Disqus to handle comments, we could be having this conversation in the comments section via email, on our phones. (You can also moderate comments via email, too.)

        Ya know, just in case that sort of functionality was of interest to you. ๐Ÿ˜‰

        • Kris says:

          I looked into it – I wasn’t really keen on losing the control I had with WordPress comments. – Kris

          • Brian Driggs says:

            As you are that guy who basically introduced me to WordPress and blogging and web design (and CSS… and rally… and….) I would be curious to chat about this at some point in the future. For now, this conversation should be about pulling engines and car prep.

            Which reminds me, why did you cut the core support out? Damaged? Evil plans? Was Anders among the volunteers?

  3. Kris says:

    Back on topic – “why did you cut the core support out? Damaged? Evil plans? Was Anders among the volunteers?”

    1. It’s two reeealy thin pieces of metal that make getting to the front of the motor a pain.
    2. I’m planning on strengthening and making it “future removable”.
    3. The bottom was bent.
    4. Side by side IC / Radiator. ๐Ÿ‘ฟ
    5. WRC Focus style ram air scoops into the hood.
    6. I, of course, blame Anders.

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