RB26 S13 – Front End Updates #2

Big updates on where my front end progress is at.

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It’s been a while since I posted an update on the front end, so here’s a big list.

I’ll start with some of the work on the front wheel wells.

Because of how low I want to run the car, I had to do something about my front wheel clearance. This is what the front tyres sat like a few months ago.

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That’s meant to be the normal running height as well, so it NEEDS to be able to move.

I decided to cut away about 30mm worth of the standard wheel well.

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Then make up some plates to keep some strength in the frame.

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A bit of trimming and some hammering to get the right shape and both sides were ready to be welded in.

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Now there is a massive amount of room for the wheels to move!

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If I ever decide to do a grip day I’m sure I’ll be able to fit some massive tyres on the front for some grip.

Next I wanted to make a strengthening bracket for my front guards. If for whatever reason my tyres were to catch on turn in, I needed some way to stop my guard from folding. It’s only fibreglass so it doesn’t flex as much as what the OEM metal guards do.

First I had to fit the guards properly to make sure everything was lined up.

I made a couple of tabs and welded them to the tube front.

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Also utilised some of the factory mounts to save time.

I drilled and tapped the holes, mounted the guards in their spot and moved onto the rods in the front.

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I tacked on a couple bits of scrap steel to use as a temporary guard stay while I made the rod.

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I wanted the lower part of the guard to bolt to a tab similar to the top mounts, so I kept a bit of the scrap and welded it to the bottom of the rod.

Here’s how they turned out.

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They clear the wheels easily and are strong enough to stand on (I tested them), so I think my guards will be fine.

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I doubt they will survive a side impact because there is no triangulation. If I have time I may add that in at a later point, but to be honest, there’s no real need for it.

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Next up was to start mounting the coolers.

Starting with the radiator.

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So I can keep the front end removable, I wanted the mounts for the radiator to be bolted in rather than welded in. The top mounts are a mix of small hidden tags welded to the bar, then drilled and tapped which allow the main top mounts to be bolted to the tags.

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The lower mounts for the radiator are almost identical to the top mount, but in reverse. They are welded to the main bar and use a pair of rubber grommets to mount the radiator. If I need to take out the front end, all I need to do is unbolt the top mounts and lift the radiator out.

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Plenty of room to fit the intercooler between the radiator and front bar.

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You might notice I have a different wing setup again. I think this is the fifth or sixth different wing stand I’ve tried? I wanted to make both high mounts and low mounts to see what I like better. Don’t get me wrong, the high mount is awesome, but I think the low mount suits the style REALLY well. I will still get a set of each laser cut so I can change when I want to, but I think I may run the low mount for Queensland Matsuri now. It’s grown on me a bit over the past few weeks!

Anyway, a little while later, I had to pull the engine out so I could get some things done to the crossmember. I’ll cover that in another post this week.

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While the engine was out, the tubes for the bash bar were made and welded on. Sort of looks like I have machine guns at the front of the car.

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I refitted the radiator and started trimming the front bar a little to allow for room to fit the oil cooler and power steering cooler. The centre piece only needed a slight trim to fit the intercooler.

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The intercooler mounts are similar to the tube front design, having their own tube frames top and bottom.

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The lower tube is welded to the main tube frame, whereas the top tube slips over a pair of smaller tubes on the main tube frame. Is that confusing enough?

The top and bottom tubes have tags to pick up the mounting points on the intercooler and keep it stable.

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The oil cooler and power steering cooler are mounted symmetrically, so they use an identical mounting system.

Behind both coolers is a rectangular frame, which is bolted to each. On the inside edge of the frame, there is a grafted tag that is welded to the bash bar tubes. On the outside edge, I have the same size rod that I used for my front guard brackets as the second mounting point.

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The next thing to do in the front end is make the mounts for the headlights, indicators and finally make the bash bar. I like how everything is coming together, but I’m not that confident I will make it to matsuri in time. I still have a few parts on the way and am also hunting down other pieces I need. As well as finishing the list of fabrication jobs, the car still needs to get a complete body loom, everything needs to get painted and then it all needs to get put together and get tuned.

All of this in the space of 5 weeks. It’s getting extremely stressful and I’m thinking about it every single day.

I really hope this is all worth it in the end.

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