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How to Inspect A Racecar Shell?

Old 11-09-06, 10:52 AM
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How to Inspect A Racecar Shell?

I want to build a track car out of an ae86, but before I pick it up I want to make sure the chassis is "trackable". What should I look for and where? The car does have quite some rust (canadian here) from pictures I have seen.

Thanks

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Old 11-09-06, 12:54 PM
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Being someone who started to build a shell, then realized it is THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS CHEAPER to buy a used racecar than build it. If you insist on building one, I would start with a southern shell, that has absolutely no rust at all. If you can see rust, imagine the rust you cant see! I bought a used racecar and probably have $20,000 in it including what i spent on it. If i had to replace each piece the chassis alone would be more than that.
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Old 11-09-06, 02:45 PM
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I know it is cheaper to buy a racecar as many have told me before, but i DO want to build one. Importing one from the south is not an option, I have a shell in mind, I just want to know what to check for on that shell.

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Old 11-09-06, 05:11 PM
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Look at the frame rails, door jambs and shock towers. Inspect for distortion, cracks, excesss spray and bends. These are just a few things to start with. The car you're looking at has rust so I'd move on. If you're going to build from scratch you might as well buy a chassis that's clean.
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Old 11-09-06, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by 88GT
Look at the frame rails, door jambs and shock towers. Inspect for distortion, cracks, excesss spray and bends. These are just a few things to start with. The car you're looking at has rust so I'd move on. If you're going to build from scratch you might as well buy a chassis that's clean.
I highly doubt I will come across a rustfree AE86 in Canada, finding an AE86 is hard enough as it is...Thanks for the tips!
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Old 11-09-06, 06:21 PM
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I see that you are not asking us if the car you found is good or not and you are just trying to find out what areas to inspect. 88GT was right but I would add that if you see distortion or cracks in welds (etc...), that you should move on even if that car seems like a rare find to you. The rust alone is a problem that will deteriorate your race cars lifetime and chassis strength and then if you add any more issues to that you will be investing a lot of money in what most people would call a money pit. This is all considering this will be a full true race car and not just a street car you plan to use for racing only.
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Old 11-09-06, 08:45 PM
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Straight and rust free. I own a race prep/restoration shop and anytime I are looking to build a car or build one for someone else I look for rust. If any strucural part, which is just about anything on unibodies, has rust, you will have a hell of a time when it comes to set up and suspension tuning. I have seen guys chase "ghosts" as the data does not relate to the changes becasue of the weak strucutre. The grip levals will quickly make cracks and kinks in any rusty body. Any other frame damage or bent suspension peices is a killer too. What may look like a bent control arm can become a bent subframe adn so on. I hate to put a kabash on your plans, but I would spend the extra coin and get rust free, much better in the long run. So yeah, buying them used is cheeper, but someone has to build it. Good luck and great racing!!!
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Old 11-10-06, 04:32 PM
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I would also say that it would be best to start rust free. That being said, I also happen to be an AE86 owner. The common rust spots are the lips of the outer wheelwells, especially on the GT-S model that included fender trim which has likely fallen off and rusted in that area. This may not be that big of an issue if you plan on cutting the fenders out and adding flares. Also check in the trunk area, down low by the rear sidemarker lights. Water likes to hang out there. Also check the front floorpan. If the car is rain driven, water likes to leak down there through the most-likely-damaged lower windshield weatherstripping, and then soak up through the carpet. It can also make the headlights go all goofball on you.

Other than that, enjoy the hell out of it if you find one. The car will teach you a lot. And even though it's not as "fast," it's definitely just as much fun as an FD.
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Old 11-14-06, 11:44 AM
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I've built a few cars now and I always try to give it a good inspection for any signs of collision damage. Any crumple, tweak twist or visible distortion in the internal structure (engine bay inner fenders, strut mounts, etc). The main rails on the underside of the car should be straight and rust free and all the suspension mounting points should be straight and clean. If the car looks like it's been jumped over rockpiles on the underside, walk away. If you can afford it and you think you have a good shell, get it alkaline dipped to remove all the paint and noiseproofing, etc. With a complettely stripped shell you know what you have to work with.
You can see some of the pics from my buildup at:

www.rxracing.com


-Trent
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Old 11-14-06, 10:02 PM
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(not unlike most of us) we dont want to see facts, the cost of the doner car is really nothing compared to the rest of the build, rust cannot be overcome in a race car body, the car is not strong enough when rust free and you need all the strength the factory built in, walk away from the rusty car..........you are going to overstress evey spot weld on that body, do you want rust in that equation........
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