Homebuilt Mid-Engine Sports Racer

Very cool. I was searching around the internet and stumble upon your pic. I have exchanged a couple emails with John Sabel. He is still into cars. I hope I will hear from Dick Morel. By chance do you have any pictures of this car ? The book is called Gasoline Alley. I have a bunch of pages scanned that pertained to my car and Jim Sutter. I will try to attach them. It is Really Cool stuff.
 

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Neil

Supporter
Chris, I'll have to get a copy of that book! Thank you. Here are a few pictures of the Sabel, most of which I took at John's shop in the late 1960s.
 

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Neil

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Chris, I searched for the book on Google and found an on-line library that offered a free e-book download. The company Vujar is a scam- don't sign up. They do not have that book; almost all books they offer are "unavailable" and it isn't free, your credit card will be charged even if you cancel the "free 5-day trial".
 

Neil

Supporter
FINALLY! Yesterday afternoon I finally got the transaxle bolted up to the block. Lots of aggravation in getting it assembled. Once I thought I had it on but found that the yoke had slipped down from the throwout bearing and I had to remove it once again. The last straw was when I thought I had everything in place but I couldn't turn the crank with a wrench no matter whether the trans was in gear or not. Something was not right.

After removing everything I looked at the new starter ring gear carefully and checked to see if it was the correct one (it was). Looking into the trans integral bell housing, I noticed that there was an indication that the ring gear had scraped across the inside of the upper side. This was a clue that it was not only angular mis-alignment but also lateral misalignment that could cause a problem.

I had found earlier that the throwout bearing could be slid laterally a small amount in its place so since then I had been careful to center it before placing the trans on the two top studs in the block. The only other lateral movement that could occur was the clearance between the mounting holes in the trans and the studs in the block. This time, I supported the bell housing with a jack rather than letting it hang on the studs. This worked! The yoke stayed in place so I was able to slip its pivot shaft into place and bolt on the clutch slave cylinder. The IMI starter is also bolted on now. Everything is now torqued with blue Loctite.

I guess I was just lucky the first time I assembled the transaxle to the block.
 

Howard Jones

Supporter
Neil, when I install my G50 on the SBC I use rubber bands to hold the throwout bearing arm (yoke) in place. After it is all together the rubber bands just break and fall out of the way. Works every time. Anyone who has done this will be able to visualize what I mean. Try it next time.
 

Neil

Supporter
Howard, I tried the rubber band trick at least four times, even tried duct tape! The difficulty with rubber bands is that when the G50 is inverted, the yoke tends to fall off the ears of the throwout bearing since I couldn't get rubber bands to hold reliably. When I finally got things to align properly and the Ty-Wraps to hold the yoke (in place of the rubber bands), it went together. Aggravation! :mad:
 

Neil

Supporter
The engine & transaxle are now back in the car and ancillary items such as the starter, headers, etc are installed. I turned on the electric fuel pump switch momentarily to make sure it came on. Four quarts of Mobil-1 10W-30 were added to the engine and 1 quart was poured into the Wix oil filter. Cranking the engine over without ignition resulted in 65 lbs of oil pressure. Next to re- assemble the carb and fire it up.
 

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Neil

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The new Holley billet metering blocks for the carburetor have still not arrived so I went ahead and re-did my battery to starter cables. I had originally used the IMI geared starter manufacturer's figure for current draw but I am pretty sure, in retrospect, that they were quoting the running current, not the initial surge current of spinning the crankshaft. I had calculated that a #6 AWG cable should be OK for a reasonable voltage drop and the engine did start OK but it was clear that the starter was starving for current. Yesterday I made cables from 1/0 AWG welding cable, soldering- on copper terminals on both ends. Rather than removing the #6 AWG positive battery cable to the starter, I left it in place and simply added the new cable in parallel. Instead of relying on the chassis to return current to the negative battery terminal, I made another heavy cable and connected it from the battery to a hole in the aluminum adapter plate from my SBC to G50. The cable is "welding cable", a very flexible multi-strand copper cable with a tough insulation cover.
Snaking the cable through the chassis with the bodywork still attached was a chore. The car was raised off the shop floor on jack stands so there was very little clearance under the car. I told my wife that had I not been an active caver in my younger days I would not have been able to do it. :)
 

Neil

Supporter
My thermostat housing has two threaded holes that I had originally plugged with straight pipe thread plugs that fit. Yesterday I removed the larger one on the top and drilled & tapped it through with a 7/16 NF thread. I had a handful of surplus something-or-others marked "TEDECO" and a part number which I tried to look up unsuccessfully. They are a nice little stainless valve of some sort with a spring-loaded plunger and an o-ring sealed cap. I threaded this thing into the tapped hole and sealed it with thread sealant and an o-ring then put the modified plug back into the thermostat housing.

I have put 3 gallons of distilled water into my cooling system and pressing the spring-loaded plunger down speeds up the cooling system fill. I can feel a gentle rush of air coming of of the valve when it is depressed and the water level drops in my header tank. I still don't know what that thing is... but it works nicely.

Regards, Neil Tucson, AZ
 

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Neil

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Yesterday I cranked the engine without the spark plugs and it didn't sound much different from doing the same thing with the smaller battery cable. Today I installed the plugs and cranking was a real difference. The #6 cable loaded the starter noticeably when cranking the engine against compression. With the new heavy cables it REALLY spins over.
 

Neil

Supporter
Wednesday afternoon I fired the engine for the first time since I rebuilt it and it was LOUD. Fortunately we live in an area where lot sizes are >1 acre so the "next door" neighbors weren't irate. :rolleyes: The idle is much too high and can't be adjusted any lower. I think my carb has a serious problem so I ordered a new Proform black race series 850 cfm to replace the old Holley 850 "double-pumper".


It should arrive by the end of next week so I'm working on other things right now.
 

Neil

Supporter
Today I revised my shifter to make it a standard shift pattern instead of a reverse one. I had originally thought that it was easier to fabricate the linkage with the fore and aft position reversed and that I'd just get used to the "backwards" shift pattern. It turned out to be more of a bother than I thought it was going to be. Years ago I built a small Sabel sports racer with left hand shifting on the Porsche 914 transaxle and I found that it was not a difficult thing to learn- but the shift pattern was a "standard" one. I guess I'm just stuck with my old habits... 1st gear is supposed to be to the left and forward. :)

To reverse the fore and aft motion of the shift rod, I revised the shifter to pivot on a rod end bearing above the push-pull/rotate tubing instead of below. The link uses two high misalignment rod end bearings (made by Fabroid) with a threaded tube between them. This allows the link to rotate and swivel as the shifter moves through its pattern. In the photos the short yellow link will be replaced with a longer 7" swaged- end tube. The bracket is bolted to a transverse rectangular chassis tube with four 10-32 Phillips head titanium screws. The shifter rotates fore & aft on a 1/4" titanium bolt riding on a thin nylon insert bushing ( the top hole in the photo).
 

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Neil

Supporter
Eagle- eyed readers may spot the plain 1/4-20 nut on the rod end bearing retaining bolt. That was only temporary to hold the parts together for that photo. An all- metal lock nut will be used. :)
 

Neil

Supporter
Scott, I think you are right! Those look just like mine except for the "helical cam cap"- mine is an o-ring sealed screw-on cap, drilled for safety wire. Maybe I can figure out a use for the other ones that I have.
 

Neil

Supporter
The 7" long threaded aluminum tubing that I had ordered from Speedway Motors arrived this afternoon. This is how it looks; I will shorten it a bit by turning it further onto the threads of the rod-end bearings.
 

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Neil

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Having determined that my old "bargain" Holley DP 850 was shot, I ordered a new Proform 850 to replace it and it arrived yesterday evening by FedEx. It looks a lot nicer that the old cast zinc Holley and it has a four-corner idle adjustment which the Holley did not have. I can't say much in favor of its tarty black & purple tarty color scheme but I'll mount this on my engine and fire it up on Saturday.
The replacement ACDelco thermostat also arrived today and I checked it in a pot of boiling water. It opened about 1/4" so it is OK, unlike the one I just removed. It has a small air bleed hole to make expelling air when filling the cooling system easier.
 

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