Saturday, November 28, 2015

Wing Window NACA Ducts (optional component)

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Major System Category: Body (Shell)
Task: Rough installation of NACA Wing Vents
Parts: NACA Wing Vents Carbon Fiber
Prerequisite Tasks: Install the rear cockpit window
Additional Costs: $1500
Time Requirement: 4 hour
Date Started: November 1, 2014
Date Completed:  January 11, 2015
This is one of those tasks that is dependent on the bank account. However, in late June the time arrived when I had enough money scraped together and put in my order for the NACA Wing Vents. These are available in either fiber glass (boring) or carbon fiber (yes!) These vents replace the rear quarter windows. Unless you have an extraordinarily flexible neck, you were never going to be able to see out of these windows anyway.
Carbon fiber Naca vent.
These provide  functional cold air intake. The intake off the manifold is a double "U" shaped duct that runs the length of the engine and can be position directly next to these entry ducts.
The NACA vent overlays this window. This does add an extra step, because now you have to account for the interior.
I chose carbon fiber to match the carbon fiber wing and to tie the carbon fiber to the interior accents. To get these fitted to the body shell is basic grunt work. The tools I used were a reciprocating saw, a die grinder and a cutting wheel.
This is a rough measurement of the cut. Becareful, otherwise, you'll have to do some repair work.

The cut needs to be tear drop shaped, because the shape of the duct dropping into the vehicle behind the rear fire wall . 
You can see how the underside of the vent slopes at an angle. This is why you need to make a tear drop shape cut.

Note: There are a number of things that you need to consider:

  1. The location of the rear fire wall. Obviously the duct cannot extend into the roll bar. Provided everything is mounted properly between the body shell and chassis, this should be okay. But you will be cutting opening very close to this margin.
  2. The fuel cap opening may touch the bottom of the NACA duct piece. I anticipate I will have to make an accommodation for this when I get there.
  3. This is a recent photo where I was working on door fitment. I had to remove material from the rear pillar to get this right. The gaps in this photo are not finalized.
  4. The duct piece has a lip that anchors against the rear door jamb. This will require additional sanding to remove material so the door can close.
This is the passenger side duct. You can see where there is some interference with the fuel cap.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Door Popper Spring (optional component)

<< Door Popper                                           >>

Major System Category: Body (Door)
Task: Install door popper springs
Parts: Popper spring assembly and angle aluminum
Prerequisite Tasks:
Additional Costs: $5
Time Requirement: 3 hours
Date Started: November 8, 2015
Date Completed:  November 8, 2015

I am working on the punch list of things that need to be fixed, before I pull the car of the lift and prep her for paint. One item is working on the doors and everything that entails. The car has shaved door handles, and this requires door poppers to be mounted inside the doors. The popper is simply a solenoid that releases the latch when the circuit is fired. However, you need something to push the door open. This is where the spring comes in.
The popper spring is a strong spring that needs to attach inside the body shell and push through a hole to open the door. 
This turned out to be one of those visualization things that I didn't foresee until I was holding the popper spring in my hand. I poked my head inside the door and looked at where it should be attached. The only problem is there was nothing to attach the spring to. Oops. It was metal fabrication time again. I chose two pieces of angle aluminum that was 1 inch wide. I cut two pieces, then cut tabs on the ends so I could bend the metal over and rivet it to the chassis.
This is on the passenger side next to the seat belt hooks. (mine have been modified to handle the 4 point harness system.) These are held in using  
The placement here is a bit tricky. The spring projects a pin past the plane of the door into the cockpit. This is hidden by the seat and there is a opening to accommodate this. I fashioned the bracket so a flat side is against the inner body shell. This allows me to "trap" the spring assembly between the bracket and the body shell.
This is the hole drilled into the body shell. I started this with a 1/8 inch pit, then switch to step up bits. This ended up slightly larger than 3/4 inch.
I marked the popper on the inside of the body shell, drilled a pilot hole, then opened it up to the correct size.
This is the spring pinned in place  from the inside of the body shell.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Mount Angel Eyes (optional component)

<< Head Light Wells                                                     next  >>

Major System Category: Body (Hood/Shell)
Task: Angel Eyes install in head light walls.
Parts: Primer LED automotive grade light strip
Prerequisite Tasks:
Additional Costs: $30
Time Requirement: 90 minutes
Date Started: October 10, 2015
Date Completed:  October 10, 2015

If you have seen a Ferrari 458 or a Corvette C7, you'll eventually notice that they stylistically abandoned the idea of light rings. Instead, those designers run a line of LED lights done the sharp lines that serve to accent the car's angles and highlight the head light wells. Originally, I planned to fashion rings around the GTM headlights. As time went on and I received some input from friends, I slowly abandoned this idea.
My original idea was to ring the headlights.
It has been 2 years since I purchased the LED strips and a move from Minnesota to South Carolina. A lot of time has past since I thought about this. I have had time to reconsider the design decisions. Now that I am working on the final product for the head light wells, I needed to make a final decision. 
All I needed to do was drill a hole installed a rubber grommet.

These light strips tie into the DRL circuit. Today I discovered that all the hard work I put into making the wiring flexible and adaptable payed dividends. It was a piece of cake to tie these strips into the DRL circuit.  The strip lays flat along the edge of the head light well. Once the clear cost sets up, I will attach the strip using 3M 8115 panel bond
The light strips powered by independent batteries to test the the look.

Hoist Installed

This was not going to be listed as a milestone until it became a major problem to get done. Basically, I have a hoist rated up to 1500 lbs capacity installed across one of the steel joists. To put it mildly, easier said than done.

My first attempt involved a square steel pipe bolted to the over head joist. This was doable by myself. In order words I could wrestle the hoist up a ladder, get the hoist brackets slid over the pipe and get the pipe bolted to the joist. Not simple, not light work, but something I managed to accomplish on my own.

Of course, before I started lifting engines and body shells and the like, I wanted to make sure everything worked. This is where things went south rapidly. I strapped a 200 lbs safe to the hoist and pressed the UP button. It turned out the hoist was not stable on the pipe and it wanted to slip and slide. Okay, I'm not going to take an $8000 engine, attach headers, manifolds, fuel rails and so forth to it, hoist it over a project car like this and not be confident the hoist can handle the weight.

Time for Plan B. Thus was born the Godzilla bracket.
The Godzilla bracket which is as heavy as it is substantial.
Basically, the top bracket fits over the joist and the bottom plate bolts to the hoist, then everything is bolted together. From an engineering perspective, fantastic! From a getting it to where it needs to go perspective - no so fast. The bracket weights about 40 lbs. The hoist weighs about 40 lbs. Do the math and yes I attempted to wrestle this monster up the ladder to the joist and almost got it there before it landed abruptly on the ground, wrecked the ladder and left a divot in the concrete. 

The guiding principle for this project: Failure is not an option. So I thought about this near disaster, got roundly lectured by my bride about doing stupid things and thought about that safe. You see the safe was something dad purchased 50 years ago and he got it up and down the basement steps in two houses. I certainly wasn't much help on either of those occasions. I figured he used a block and tackle of some kind, but I never came across those items in his tool chest. So I rigged my own system.
The idea here is to use the pulley to lift the hoist to the bracket and then bolt in place. It almost worked that way.
In the end, it took two of us to get this thing in place. My pulley idea did work, but we had to tie it off around the safe. Then Bill Sandburg rolled a bench over under the hoist and we wrestled it so I could slide the bolts into place. After that it was real easy.

I have been blessed over the years with an abundance of friends (many made through the martial arts). Bill is another one of those friends.
Bill Sandburg

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Wrap Headers

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Major System Category: Exhaust
Parts: Steel Ties
            Heat Wrap
Prerequisite Tasks:
Additional Costs: $71
Time Requirement: 1.5 hours
Date Started: June 1, 2015
Date Completed: June 3, 2015
The Kooks header and exhaust system (marketed by Vraptor Speedworks) arrived one afternoon. At this point in the build, I am bogged down with a bunch of nagging, putsy details that all need attention. My work schedule has been unreal, and it detracts from the time necessary to work on the car.
Partially wrapped header.

The exhaust system consists of headers, cats and the super massive cross over pipe. None of this can be finalized until I have the engine in the car. I did lay the cats and tail pipes in place over the top of the chassis (above the transaxle) and did some preliminary measurements for brackets to secure the tail pipe, but I can't do much more until I know where the headers land and work my way back from there.
This stuff is pretty easy to use.

The one thing I can do is wrap the headers. I thought I could get away with 30 feet of heat wrap. The Kooks headers require 60 feet per header. The easiest thing to do is to wrap the individual pipes coming out from the engine, then wrap from the cats back. Secure everything with steel ties and hope for the best. I've never wrapped headers before, and the when looking at the donor parts, it seems the OEM wrap is pretty cheap stuff.

Based on my preliminary measurements (i.e. holding header in space next to the cats from under the car), it is going to be very tight vis-a-vis the linkage for the cable shifter. Next item, is to fabricate a shield/housing for those pieces.

A Pillar Covers

<<  Overhead Console                                                           >>

Major System Category: Interior
Task: Construct coverings for the A Pillar
Sheet Metal (26 gauge)
Metal Brake Machine
Angle Die Ginder
Prerequisite Tasks:

  1. Cockpit window installation
  2. All wiring along A pillar needs to be in place
  3. Overhead console must be constructed.

Additional Costs: $20 (estimate)
Time Requirement: 6+ hours
Date Started: August 1, 2015
Date Completed: August 22, 2015
This has been a major hang up on the build. Some people may just want to get the car rolling and do not care about the interior. I do care about the interior looks and layout, and I have found myself spending a lot of time. One issue is the A pillars. I want something more than just a black pipe and against rough fiberglass for an interior motif. In addition, I have wiring running up both A pillars to an overhead console. These connections are for lights, TPMS, mirror (e.g. lights, temperature, day/night sensors), HomeLink, Power jacks for radar detector, compartment for remotes and phone, GPS, Bluetooth microphone, power FM antennae and probably a few things I am forgetting..
Driver's side A pillar. You can see from the body shell that this makes for an irregular shape. This is why I thought I could make acrylic work, but it turned out I could not accomplish this with a single piece. However, with sheet metal, I am to bend and shape and press it into a shape that matches the requirement. Any gaps cane be handled using a carbon fiber trim I purchased two years ago.
I have a need to both secure and hide the conduits. At one point, a third party offered a complete set of coverings for around $400. This was a super deal. But when I went to purchase the coverings, he no longer was making them. That meant I had to build my own. I hadn't planned for this.
The first thing I needed to do was make a pattern. There is plenty of card board waiting to go to recycling, so finding pieces big enough is no problem.
I tried working with acrylic panels in various thickness. I found that 1/32 works best, but it is very touchy and you can screw up very quickly. This comes down to working on something for two days, then wrecking it by accident. The overhead console is made of acrylic, but that module lent itself to the material. The pillar and roll cage coverings require more severe bends, and the acrylic just breaks or refuses to work out.
30 inch metal brake I purchased from Amazon for $70.
Eventually, I came back to sheet metal. However, to make this work I needed a metal bending brake. The one I purchased is a 30 inch brake. Harbor Freight has an 18 inch model, but I determined that was too small for my needs. Typically, I am dealing with lengths between 14 and 24 inches for the coverings.
I traced  the pattern to the sheet metal.
The other problem is the irregular shape of the pillar area. This has to be done with the body shell attached tot he car, but prior to paint. I cut some card board and took it to the car. Here is where it gets tricky. While the shape appears easy when examining it from the outside, there is this pesky roll cage under the fiber glass and it is a 3 dimensional section that needs to be measured around. I solved this problem by taking a tape measure and measuring the circumference along the pillar at different points. I also mounted the dash pod, because there is a difference of two inches with and without the dash pod installed.
This oddly shaped piece of metal is the A pillar covering. It is ready to go to my guy for the carbon fiber treatment.

I cut the pattern out of the cardboard, mounted it on the sheet metal and traced it using a Sharpie. Then it was a simple matter of cutting the sheet metal using an angle die grinder. I have a cheap one I purchased at Harbor Freight that really works well for close work like this. I ground down two wheels cutting out both the passenger and driver's side coverings.

This is the pattern for the piece that runs from the A pillar to the overhead console.
I had to make a couple of bends and pressure form it to the car. It is not a perfect fit, but it doesn't have to be right now. I just need the approximate shape, and I can deal with the finishing when it is attached to the car for final fit. I think I can do attachment using double sided tape and probably a black  rivet or two. Final fit will have to happen before the wind shield is installed.
These are the same on both sides. Although final fitment seems to vary somewhat between passenger and driver side. I think this may be  something I did than a true difference in the body shell..
The cross coverings that run between the A pillar and the overhead console are pretty simple to construct. Basically, it is rectangle with a curved end that has a bend. Compared to the other pieces, I had these cut, bent and roughly fitted in about 1 hour.
Clamped for rough fit on the driver's side. I refined the bend and eliminated the gaps visible in this photo. The other issue is the wires that are present. They need to be there so I can ensure they actually get covered by these pieces.
The curve on the this piece follows the curvature of the wind shield glass. This is going to get a bit tricky on final assembly. Right now I am just clamping things into place without regard to the finish, but when I get to final assembly I have to be very careful. These will have three coats of clear coat over the hydrographics carbon fiber, but it is still a metal piece and things can get scratched.
Primed and ready for hydrographics.

While the overhead console needs to be installed when the body shell is off, these pieces can only be installed withe body shell in tact. I better be sure I don't need to take anything apart at that point, because it is a great deal of work to do that. When I do this for the final time, the car will be close to completion!
A pillar pieces ready for hydrographics.

Overhead Console

<<  Cockpit Rear Window Install                              A Pillar Coverings  >>

Major System Category: Interior
Task: Construct overhead console
Acrylic 1/32 inch thickness
Metal Brake Machine
Angle Die Ginder
Prerequisite Tasks: Cockpit Rear Window Install
Additional Costs: $20 (estimate)
Time Requirement: 12+ hours
Date Started:  June 1, 2015
Date Completed:  August 5, 2015

The overhead console is not part of the build. It is an optional item I decided to build to accomplish a number of things. It houses the following items:

  • Overhead lights
  • Front and rear speakers attached to the parking sensors
  • TPMS control panel
  • The wiring associated with the rear view mirror (i.e. themostat, power, compass)
  • GPS receiver
  • Blue tooth microphone
  • Powered FM antennae
  • HomeLink Control Panel
  • Power jacks for radar detector
  • Compartment for phone and remotes
I started with a flat sheet of acrylic and drew out the pattern.
The biggest challenge associated with the overhead console is the curvature of the roof. There are very few straight lines. I never really figured out a good way to create a pattern for this. So I started with straight lines and worked at shaping the ends that meet the roof.

This is a very rough looking after I applied the initial bends to the acrylic.
My earlier experiments with 1/8 inch thickness proved that the acrylic was difficult to work with. I decided to try 1/32 thickness. This is easy to bend and very unforgiving if it gets too hot. It proved too weak to simply fold into the shape I needed for the console.
I used about every clamp I could find to hold this thing together.
I discovered that I needed to reinforce the overhead console, and fabricated ribs (like for a container ship). I also drilled through each rib so I could run wiring through out console. I have wires coming off the front roll bars via the A pillars and from the rear cockpit window frame as well.
One of the [rob;es with the ribs are gaps between the reinforcing ribs and the shell. 
I fashioned the ribs our of 1/8 inch acrylic. I had this from some of my earlier experiments. The thicker acrylic proved too difficult to shape. I added angle aluminum to the edges of the ribs. I riveted the angle aluminum to the ribs, then used 3M's 8115 panel bond to adhere the ribs to the inner wall of the console.
I ended up purchasing bigger clamps to hold everything together, while the panel bond cured.
The overhead console is very ungainly, and it needs to be fitted inside the car. I used a ratchet strap to hold the console against the inner roof. There is a lot of fitting that has to take place, due to the curvature of the roof and the height of the console. I ended trimming the top of the console twice. The ratchet strap was the only way to hold the console in place.
I constructed a box out of 1/8 inch acrylic to hold remotes and my cell phone. This didn't go as smoothly as I wished. I ended up fiber glassing the opening to hide the mess I had made. This looks very rough, but as with all fiber glass projects on the build, I just kept working at it until it looked better.
It is important to center the console and hook it around the forward roll bar, This needs to be in place before the the A pillar and corresponding roll bar coverings are fabricated. The other issue is level. I used both a bubble level and the cross hatch laser level to ensure the console is sitting level in the center of the cockpit.
This is the overhead console prior to being primed for hydrographics work/
The overhead console will be installed using a rail system of 3/16 all thread that ties into the front and rear roll bars. This is run through the ribs and is designed to act as a hanger. This can only be installed when the body shell is off the car for paint.
Primed and ready for the carbon fiber treatment. Note: This is upside down in this photo.
This entire interior process took a huge amount of time. I had expected to purchase all these parts, and when it became obvious I would have to manufacture everything, I didn't have a clear idea of what materials to use or how to go about it. I think I will end up with a product that is superior to anything I could have purchased, because I designed it for this car and my needs.

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