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Super helpful. Thanks again, Carlos.

So I went out and started looking at the situation, pondering, drilling and cutting.

The fundamental differences between your drawings and what we're confronting are two:

First, the tube I set over the jack points in only slightly larger than they are. There's only maybe 1/8" all around. I wanted them snug but not too snug so I could maybe put a cutting of heater hose over them to keep the chafing down.

Second, the angle of all this is tight and so it the up/down clearance. The top of the main box tube would bisect the little ball on the bottom of the jack point. So the "slot" would have to extend down onto that.

Having said that, I think it will actually work.

I took an hour and made the slotted "caps" and fit them to the jack points.


Since it looks like it will be possible to angle the brackets up from behind, the way forward now is to remake them in cardboard and fiddle with the height of the round tubing until it's just even with the thin part of the jackpoint when the part is installed.

Those tubes are going to only be about 3/4" off the deck when this is done, but they may need to have a rake front to back. 

Once the heights are right I'll fix the slotted washers to them, test fit it a few times, then weld and grind it all down neat. 

When the washers are collared on the jack points they can't move up or down, so the clamping part will not be necessary.


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Thanks Danny....Yup, I saw that.  When I see what my front frame is looking like maybe it will be possible to build in some sort of mount for a set of the jack point ball-studs. OR, if that's not feasible, maybe some sort of sub-frame that inserts thru those two air vents that direct air to the brakes. The tow bar would connect to that and allow a much higher position of the tow bar.

I really like Carlos' ball socket design though. It sure eliminates a lot of the difficulty of maneuvering the whole  "weighty" mechanism into position with only one arm access !


"I really like Carlos' ball socket design though. It sure eliminates a lot of the difficulty of maneuvering the whole "weighty" mechanism into position with only one arm access"


@Carlos G idea/design is brilliant! With regard to maneuvering a weighty mechanism into place, here is how I maneuver my tow bar for attachment to my lowered Speedster.

Use two blocks of 2"x4" positioned to function as a fulcrum so that weight of front of tow bar raises rear portion up onto the torsion tubes. This enables me to simply reach in with one arm to insert pins (rear to front).



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@MusbJim  I have a stack of different sized pieces of wood that I use for all kinds of different jobs. It's like my own adult Lincoln log set. Use more brain, less muscle.

@aircooled Ed's front jack points are more period correct for the 550. If your starting from scratch, you can do whatever you want.

Since my car was already built, I had to go another direction with my jack/tow points. Mine are farther under, but now seeing what Ed did, it's given me an idea to move them out some so that installing a tow bar would be more realistic. Currently my jack/tow points have just 3.25" clearance to the ground. Here is a link to what I did.  I haven't built a tow bar yet.

Last edited by Carlos G
@Stan Galat posted:

I also think that it takes a different kind of guy to own and drive one. I would imagine lots of guys get into one thinking it'll be a car - then buy it and figure out it's a very expensive and labor intensive motorcycle with 4 wheels. It rewards those who are not over 5'9" or so, and a buck-sixty at the outside. Corn-fed, white-bread primates need not apply.

Not everybody is cut out for that.

LOL. True Stan. But I'm pushing the envelope. 6'2", 275# here and I love my Spyder. As I explain to the curious: It's more like "putting it on" than getting in it, like a pair of gloves.  But once I'm in, it fits like a glove, too. 

Update: done, mostly.


The drilling and grinding was most of the time spent. A milling machine would've sped things up quite a bit.


Also working out how to re-shape the bolt ends to shim them to the body so they're level. This shouldn't be to hard to do with a piece of scrap and maybe a hammer.


The tricky part was cutting the tubing to the proper height, even on both sides, so the ends will jut out at the same angle and height. On the second one I cut too much near the back.


Here it is tacked for final fitting.


And welded and filled...


Installed. Still need to add some material on the low outside ends to make them come level. But I do think this will work.



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Lookin good Ed ! When I see you struggle to hand shape those slots I really appreciate my little Clausing mill in spite of all it’s short comings. I don’t need it most of the time but when I do it’s a Godsend ! If you work with metal, you really need, a drill press, a lathe, and a mill. In that order too. Of course a grinder and welder ! The excellent info disseminated on this site truly amazes me all the time ! .............Bruce
@IaM-Ray posted:

So do tell, how do you pull it off ... I mean the suit. It reminds me of the time I sat in a Honda 2000 roadster I got semi stuck and had to pull myself out on all fours. 

Ingress: Open door, left foot on floor outboard of frame rail, right foot on seat, hands on rear bulkhead, slide down into seat. 

Egress: Hands on seat bolsters, push up to get left foot on middle bulkhead, push up, stand on seat, step over door. (I found the door is kind of useless for getting out. It's easier just to step over it.)

And it occurs to me that the better mod here would have been just to grind a horizontal slot in the front of the tube (or maybe the outside edge) right above where the ball would end, and rig it up for a stout bolt or pin to pass through there similarly to how the steering shaft is fixed to the coupler. 

Would've been tricky but no moreso than what I did and probably faster AND would lock the thing in against any deceleration stress. 


I don't step on my seat unless I'm barefoot. Left foot next to frame rail, right hand on top of seat, left hand on steering wheel(not possible for banjo wheel guys). You do a rotate/pirouette thing and slide the right foot towards the gas pedal. Left hand on door sill, pick up left foot and head towards the clutch, and drop yourself in.

Getting out is the reverse, open door, push/pick your butt off the seat with left hand on sill and right hand on the back of the seat, put left foot just rear of bulkhead, and push up, rotating right foot out and onto the ground.

Getting in and out with the top in place is MUCH more difficult, and better off attempted sober.......

Update: new master cylinder came today.

The all-important double-D suffix:IMG_5725

Relieving the edges of the flange*:


Bench bleeding:


Installing this is much trickier than it ought to be, because of choices I made.* Much swearing is involved:IMG_5730

*I grind the flanges to make room for the nuts that hold in the pedal cage, because dumbass me did not realize—and didn't think to ask if—you could simply clock the master cylinder 90 degrees to align with the holes in the common cast aluminum pedal frames you see everywhere. Instead, I used the stock horizontal holes Thunder Ranch bored in the front firewall to mount the MC, and then drilled new vertical holes for the pedal, which would work fine and not be a big deal if the pedal frame did not both block access to the MC bolts put through the horizontal holes and not fit unless installed first. This means that R&Ring the MC involves an intricate three-handed juggling act in which one first installs the MC loosely with its bolts, then installs the pedal assembly by wedging/sliding it under the washers on said bolts, then starts the bolts and nuts holding the pedal assembly in place, then tightens the bolts holding the MC using a stubby 13mm wrench to them one flat at a time, then tightens the pedal bolts, then loosens the MC bolts and the pedal bolts in order to nudge the pedal into its most central location, then re-tightens the MC bolts one goddamn flat at a time, then snugs up the pedal bolts, and then finally grabs a hickory rolling pin and clops oneself in the base of the skull because MY GOD! WTF am I doing with my life??



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Yeah, I "clocked" mine, but honestly it was still a rubrics cube to get together. The bad news is that the brake light switch ended up flush with the pan and I bottomed out on a curb just right causing it to leak.  Thank goodness I now had two brake circuits.  I'm replacing the fiberglass pan with a 1/8" aluminum plate  

Pro tip: be careful not to bung up the threads on the bolts so you can finger tighten them almost all the way. 

Hey Ed, how did you make out with the MC/bleeding?

I just got the sandrail(customer car) back and finished the brakes today. I had replaced the MC and wheel cylinders a few weeks ago. Wilwood 3/4"(19mm) single action MC, 4 stock wheel cylinders on wide5 drums. Also new drums in the back and cut the front. New shoes all around. It also featured a turn/cutting brake. Could not get a good pedal after a quart of fluid passed through it and bubble-free. Second pump was great, but the first pump almost went to the floor.

Installed a Wilwood 10 pound residual valve today, and got much improvement. But it was still a bit of a low pedal. Removed the turn brake assembly and replaced it with a brass brake Tee. 10 minutes later, all air was gone and finally had a nice high and hard pedal!

The CNC turn brake had seen better days methinks. I followed their bleeding instructions too, but it just wouldn't allow the air to escape. Oh well, he doesn't off-road anyway. So why does he need it?

Anyway, the residual valve does help with drums AND a MC lower than the wheel cylinders, for anyone's future reference.

Just got the bleeds done with Karen and we've got a nice high and firm pedal. Very psyched to put it back together and do a test drive tomorrow am before it gets too hot.

I was putting the front wheels back on when I noticed [Caution: Joe Pesci "Goodfellas" language]

The upper trailing arm is floppy. I loosened the set screw but I t seems it was set. Maybe the bearing disintegrated?

Anyway. 2020's been excellent so far.

Last edited by edsnova

Greg drills and taps a hole for a bolt in the beam. This bolt prevents the inner bushing from sliding in too far. If the inner torsion bar bushing slid in too far, you'll have that kind of massive play.

It sucks Ed, but I'd separate the ball joints from the spindle and get in there.

The good news is the upper ball joint will usually come out with the camber adjuster attached with no effort, just remove the nylock nut from under the spindle.

P.S.: Language is TOTALLY understandable!

Bonus points for using the word "crux".

Last edited by DannyP

Yep, @DannyP, that's the plan after breakfast. 

Sorting this car reminds me of some of my experiences as a long-form journalist. I'd dive deep into a subject and come back, months later, with a 6,000 or 8,000 word draft that looked brilliant. Editor would agree and do some light trimming on it, and I'd read that and polish up a few more bits and send it back and then a day or two later I'd get called into the office and the editor would say something like "this is all great stuff, you know, but re-reading it I don't really understand what we're saying in this second section, and when this guy says this thing, I'm left with this question that we never address, and—"

—I'd have to re-report half the story and then rewrite the entire thing.

It helps to keep in mind that this process has never made the less true.

fwiw I never pulled the beam apart, since it came to me as a roller. I just shot some grease into the zerks at some point during my first few months of ownership. I did make sure all the nuts on the steering knuckles and ball joints were tight, and of course I pulled out, inspected and greased the wheel bearings before putting them back in and tightening it all down to spec. 

Until last night all seemed well. I'd like to think I'd have felt it if the wheel could move this much off plumb during my run round the block two weeks ago. It felt pretty tight in the S-turns.

I'll post again after I get in there and see WTF is what.

Finally got out there an hour ago. The bearing is good. The bushing is gone.

Gonna order both; pondering whether to do the whole set. 

My beam: Nice and greasy. Needle bearing striations. I took a piece of tubing and felt in for the "step" about 5 inches in the tube. Nope.


To double check I pulled Bridget's old beam out of the inky shadows in the corner of the shop and performed the same test. Yep:


I suppose the real scam way might be to fashion a hook and try to fish the original back into place...?

My tendency is to just get the one new bushing and bearing, install, maybe add a set screw to each corner and move along.

Delrin & etc. would seem overkill.

Any expert advice appreciated.


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Welp... I dragged the inside of the beam multiple times with several hooks, including the windshield center rod I'd just removed. No sign of the inside bushing. It was very easy to feel on the old beam, so not sure what happened.

Maybe they just forgot to install it? Maybe the control arm seemed fine and stable until I put stress on it by actually driving the car?

Seems far fetched. But I know I shook that wheel hard several times in the past three years, particularly after setting the wheel bearing lash. It never moved. 

Anyway finding no inner bushing, I dug around the shop for some implements of reconstruction to pull out the needle bearing. 

Started with this lag bolt that came out of the deck 10 years ago. A little grinding on one side and it could just slide in against the spring pack and get the round part of the head behind the bearing.


By pulling it against this bit of tubing that was used to crate the lift, I could start to walk the bearing out, a little on the right of the spring pack, then a little on the left...


A few minutes later it was at the lip, and I was pulling it against the tube. I needed a bigger bit of tube.

Luckily I saved the leftover stuff I used to extend the frame rails.


This piece is just a little bigger than the top tube of the beam. Perfect. But now I needed a bit of flat stock to fill the space and give the smaller tube something to push against...


A few minutes later andIMG_5753

Ordering the new bearing and bushing now. 

Can you believe how much fun this hobby is? I honestly have no idea why everyone on Planet Earth isn't into this ****.




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