How the shifter works with the spare tire

This weekend I set the transaxle back in the car to see about making a proper Spyderesque spare tire mount. The first order of business was digging out the shifter that came with the kit and fitting that up.

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The good news: it’s a Brandwood cable shifter. These are easy to install (some others require cutting on the transmission’s innards!) and, according to at least one Spyder expert I respect, work very well.

IMG_9420Cable shifting is just one option on a Spyder. A company called Jamar sells a linkage system that some use. That seems more like what an original 550 had. But they’re fiddly to set up. The Brandwood is a good choice for a noob like me.

IMG_9421.JPGThe important bit of kit is that nifty chrome bracket (pictured above). And with that bolted to the trans, we can see already there’s a problem. The spare tire can fit over that. It can. But just barely. And only if you push it toward the passenger side about 4-5 inches. IMG_9418

As you can see, with the lid closed, even the tall, skinny 165/80 tire just barely clears. Inside the clam itself, the tire almost interferes with the “Swiss Cheese” reinforcement I’ve so painstakingly fabricated. That stuff is relieved in the middle for the spare tire, but it needs the tire to be centrally-located.

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This will not do.

Looking at the shifter and its bracket, I wondered if maybe it could be rotated 180 degrees. That would bring the cables in from the passenger side and locate all the gear six inches lower.

Thinking things through I could see just two points other than the tailshaft mount: one is a hole for the big cable to mount so it can move the shaft fore and aft. The other was a tiny pivot ball about 5 1/2 inches out and a little up from the shaft end. That’s what the smaller cable grabs onto so it can rotate the shaft.

I got out the CAD program.

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And since this is a precision operation, I then built a second model out of fiberboard….

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The scrap pile yielded up a suitably beefy chunk of plate.

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…and I got after it with the cutoff wheel and the drill-press and the vice and a bfh.

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The pointy bit was almost too easy.

IMG_9431IMG_9433IMG_9434I didn’t even have to drill the hole! (That said, I think it’s about a quarter inch short…so when the welder comes out there might be a little work here).IMG_9437.JPGI decided to bolt it on, rather than weld it, since I still have to stand in that gap to sand the inner clam and I’d rather not have that thing jabbing me in the back of my knee.

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IMG_9442.JPGYou can see the concept now…

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Looks like the big cable holder needs a little more bend (and definitely some longer trans studs). The little cable bracket is just a hair short. I might just weld the nut on the end of it to extend that.

With a quick test I was able to get first, second, reverse, and then third gear. The shift itself is not mounted on anything so I was shifting with the box in the crux of my elbow. I think the linkage is going to work.

Now for the tire.

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I found that if I rested the tire on the rear of the frame, it was hard to get enough room under it for the tail shaft to move in and out, and if I slid it back, the inner clam “Swiss Cheese” pushed it forward. Dang.

But when I lifted it up an inch and a half, and slid it forward about the same, we got something. The key was dropping the front of the tire and lifting the back.

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Beck Spyders have a cross brace that ties the two shock towers together. Most people rest their spare on that. I have to lower it.

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This gave us hella room. The 195/60 fit easily under the grills.

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Even the 205/60s that came on the rear fit now.

So the next thing was making a front mount for the spare that could tie the shock towers together through the shock bolts.IMG_9461.JPG

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Next thing to do is weld up these seams, drill it for lightness and rig up something to allow the original crossbar’s heim joints to work it.

Then a sheet metal saddle for the tire, a couple little braces reaching back to the rear of the frame, and some leather straps.

I’m liking this.

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