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Brandon's Bluebird Project

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On 12/7/2019 at 6:17 PM, Z23T said:

This is one of my favorite cars on Ratsun. Nice work on the control arms. Your TIG welds look great, I can see good penetration on the back side of the joints. I started TIG welding a couple of years ago and what makes my welds look good is making sure everything is super clean, a tight fit up at the joints, and lots of practice. Since I don't weld all the time when I have a welding project I find, or make, similar type joints from scrap and practice a bunch before I start welding on my actual piece. Keep up the nice work!


Thank you.  This project is the first I've used a TIG.  I have a whole lot of learning to do,  I did what you suggested and just spent a bunch of time practicing and screwing up my fair share of things, one being going through a 20L bottle in a few hours because I thought my gas had to be turned up much higher than need (reading too much internet and Youtube).  I can say I think TIG is more enjoyable and seems more relaxed and controllable; maybe  only now though since I can fninally keep the tip out of the pool haha.  One thing I'd love to get is a pedal; I think it'd help to keep things more consistent once the metal heats up so I can lower the amperage instead of having to move much faster. 

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With the holiday season and then getting sent on a short deployment for a couple months I didn't get much done.  I've been off work this past week due to the virus stuff so I got a little work in between hanging out with the family, resting, servicing the daily drivers, and then I cleaned up the garage a bit and added some lights so I can see.  I only had two little incandescent bulbs in there before.

So with the new brake setup, the Watanabes I had bought with the car poke out a bit too far to run a wider tire on them.  I really liked them though, they have such a classic look.  I did get lucky though.  I came across a guy selling a staggerd 15x6.5 & 7 set of Watanabe RS8's for a nice price, so I scooped those up.   I'll just have to refinish them a bit.  Some polishing and also strip/paint the centers.  I know, story of my life; I keep buying wheels that need work.  I'd like to say I'll learn, but I won't.


Then I got two of the Vegas now all drilled out and seperated.  It still takes some time drilling all these studs out, but I think I have the system down now to make it go as quickly and accurately as possible.


Then the other day I took the suspension BACK off the car and disassembled it.  I got a new 7x12 band saw so I decided to go ahead and shorten the shock tubes.  I've been putting it off for a while, but if I'm going to redo it, may as well just do it all.  Since I've had the car I've been driving with the perches bottomed out on the coilover sleeve.  So to add more adjustability back into the system and be able to dial in the perfect ride height once the bags get going I shortened the tube by a little over 1.5".  That will put the perches just about in the center now if all things the same, so I'll gait adjustability up and down with them.


Then I looked at my car for a while and I can see how people have a project car that hasn't seen the light of day for 5 years, it's super easy for life to take over at times and leave you with little resources time wise or monetarily to put into it; if not at times both.

Edited by BrandonS
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Finally!  It's starting to look on the bright side of things.  I finished up shortening that strut tube the other day and the past couple days had some more time to spare.  I got the second brake caliper bracket made, other strut tube shortened, koni race shocks are both installed with the spacers for under them made, and also sorted out getting the coilover perches to clear the inside of the bags so they sit flush.  I also got the second adjustable control arm made.  

I just want to drive this thing, but there's so much left to do yet.  More bits are coming in the mail for it, I need to take the rear apart and fab up some stuff there for the air and brakes, and then sort the lines/trunk out for both air and brakes.  Also, I'm still working on the air bag electronics.  I've made some pretty good progress on the computer side of things, but I'll put that in another post with it's own description.


Old vs New
Only ~1" change in rotor diameter, but that single piston sure was the pits when you'd use the brakes.  Hopefully I picked a good street/AutoX pad.  I went with Wilwoods BP-20 pads.  I think they'll be a good all around pad.  As far as bag vs coilover, I'm really banking on the it being nice for both sport and cruise with the dynamic control I'm programming into the custom controller I'm making for the car.

Matching pairs of everything



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so sick!! Can't wait to see this on the ground.  Curious - do you know if your car is a factory color?? 831 by any chance?

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12 hours ago, five1oh said:

so sick!! Can't wait to see this on the ground.  Curious - do you know if your car is a factory color?? 831 by any chance?

It is actually factory color.  It’s been repainted, so I’m just going off pictures of the color code and what mine looks like. Also it matches the original paint in the trunk and interior. I verified against the code stamped in the radiator support.  I’m going to look like a bad owner here, but I’ve since forgotten what the paint code number is; I can check next time I’m out in the garage. 

Edited by BrandonS

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