Done…Mostly

   Posted by: kdavis

I will do a more thorough graduation post soon with all of the specs, build sheet, etc, probably over the Winter.

At the moment, the car is stored away for the Winter. The hard top still needs headliner and a new rear plexi, plus it needs to be wet sanded and polished. I’m also going to perfect the paint some more for a Concourse in SoCal in the Spring.

Pics:


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Nearing the Finish Line!

   Posted by: kdavis

I have been so busy, I haven’t had time to do an update…and I still don’t really have much time, so here’s a bunch of pictures and a quick status update.

The paint is done…thanks to a lot of hours and a trip to Portland, plus some reshooting of clear. I still need to wetland and polish it, but I’m really happy with how my “budget” paint job came out.

I just finished the Fat Mat insulation install yesterday, and also got my computer cover built. Carpet is next, then I’ll put the body on and get things all prepped for the trip to SoCal (for wet sanding and tuning with some friends of mine).

Pics:

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Everyone Needs Two Cobra’s Right?

   Posted by: kdavis

While that may be true, for me, it’s only a temporary situation. I happened upon a deal I couldn’t pass up on a car that needed some restoration, so a couple of months ago (man, I can’t believe I haven’t posted in 3 months,) I brought home a Factory Five Mark 2 Roadster from SoCal.

For me, it represented a chance to get a little profit out of it, but also to pick up a bigger engine with some cool stuff on it. The car had a 347 Stroker (which is a 302 with a stroker crank in it, so the effective cylinder volume is increased.) More volume = more fuel and air = HOLY CRAP THAT’S FAST! ;-> The car dyno’d at about 420hp/tq, so about 100 more than the 302 that I had in my car. It also has a stacked injection system, which just looks cool, and while I’m somewhat terrified in getting it running correctly due to it’s complexity (it’s basically 8 EFI units controlled by a computer,) I’m confident that it’ll provide not only the juice needed by the car-show wow factor as well. The car also came with a hard top that I’m keeping, which is ironic since I’d been thinking about doing the hard top for quite some time, but never pulled the trigger.

I ended up going through every inch of the car, from securing brake lines to redoing carpet, adding trunk carpet, to all that’s involved in swapping out engines. I put the 302 and T5 from my Mark 3.1 in it, and it went in perfectly. After some rewiring of the car, it fired right up, and the test drive was a huge success.

I also added some Halibrand wheels to it, and had all of the metal rechromed. I rewired the lights, dash, and recovered the dash and transmission tranny cover. After all of that, and a good cleaning, the car is ready for it’s new owner.

Speaking of new owner, the car is already sold. I hooked up with a guy that had been looking for a good deal on a Cobra, and this one was perfect for him. He is choosing to tackle paint work himself, with the help of a friend, so I was able to just finish up the chassis part and hand it off to them. A good deal was made, and off she goes to the new owner! He’s going with a color change on it, so it’ll be made his own along the way, from gray to green I think.

I absolutely love building these cars, and hope to not only finish up my own car, but to continue to buy and sell some along the way. It’s fun, and a few bucks can be made along with it.

My Car:

The body is up on the ceiling, and chassis in the trailer. I’ll be putting it all back into “service” in the next couple of weeks, and I have a pretty big list of stuff to do to it, in addition to finishing up the body work and paint. Still leaning (I lean a little like those toys you press on the bottom, always back and forth) towards the red car with with stripes and meatballs, so we’ll see how that turns out.

First step I think is to get the 347 back to where it should be. I need to strip it down completely to check it. I need to get it cleaned, and repainted (it’s blue now, and I hate the paint). I’ve already gotten rid of all the bling stuff and bought new lower-key stuff (I want the stacks to be the only bling on it,) so that’s a step in the right direction. I also have the parts coming for the wiring of the harness, and replacement of the 2 injectors that got damaged. It should be a matter of taking it apart, clean, paint, reseal, test…famous last words. I’m hoping that I can get it tuned correctly, with any luck using the loaded tune and adapted from there.

From there, back to the chassis to start my mods, then on to the body work again. I’ll be also working on some auction cars for clients, so that may divert the timeline a bit, but it’s still the journey, right?

Some pics:

The valve covers will now be black, wires red, block will be silver, and all of the chrome pretty much gone.

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The new Halibrands and new tires look pretty sweet!

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Simple, understated, and almost 300ft/lbs of hold on for dear life of torque.

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Newly recovered dash, new e-brake handle, new carpet, cool accents.

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Doors!

   Posted by: kdavis

A quick update on my progress. These doors have been an absolute pain. The profiles were completely off, and then thanks to me overtrimming the door edges, and then doing the rolled edges, it was a trifecta of difficult body work.

BUT…I’m finally done with them, at least until slick sand. On an MK3.1, you’re basically doing sculpture, as I’ve said before, so lots of rage gold build up, fiberglass work, and sanding, and then sculpting all of the profiles.

I still need to take the body back off, and at that time, I’ll build up the rolled edges a bit more where the door and dash meet. There’s probably an 1/8″ difference in thickness, and I’d like that to match. So, I’ll have to do a gradual build out into the door.

On my rolled edges where the doors and dash meet, I was a little concerned with the strength, despite my best effort to break them off with a mallet (testing to see how they were), so I ended up adding a layer of glass in there to give it a little more rigidity. From others that have done it, it seems like it’ll last pretty well.

I ended up buying some of the cheap harbor freight car dollies, and they work very well, considering the price. It’s still a 2200lb car, but easier to move it around the the shop now.

Photos:

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Body On, Final Wiring, Mini Graduation

   Posted by: kdavis

Man, it’s been a busy few weeks since my last blog entry. I’ve been so busy building and having fun, I didn’t stop to do an update. I also took a trip to Oklahoma to run in the Memorial Marathon, so that was a non-build weekend.

New Horns:

After my wife said something like “that horn would be perfect for my car,” I wasted no time going to amazon and picking out some new horns for the roadster. The other one was very cheap, but was way too european for me, and wimpy. I ended up with some PIAA dual-tone horns. They were pretty inexpensive, easy to mount, and I like the two different tones. You can pick up a set here:

PIAA 85110 115db 400HZ + 500HZ Sports Horn

Here’s a very brief video of the horn sound:



Body On:

Thanks to one of my side kicks, my 12 year old daughter Kenzie, the lift, some ceiling hooks and ropes, we were able to get the body on without much trouble. I was glad that I hadn’t done any paint or body work, as I can see how easy it would be to do some damage. I’ve already said this, but I won’t be doing any paint and body work this summer, I’ll be digging deep into that over the long Winter instead.

For now, I did a quick bit of black primer over the seams, and since I didn’t grind down into the seams at all, it should have no affect at all long term, it’ll just sand/grind out when I do the final prep on the body. I am also electing to not install the remaining aluminum under-body trim pieces for now.

We also managed to get the brakes re-bled, which made for a much needed improvement in braking…amazing what real hydraulic pressure will do!

Pics:

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Final Wiring:

Prior to putting the body on, I mounted all of the headlights, running lights, and brake lights. Once the body was on, I was able to get the final bit of wiring completed and get all of those systems wired and mounted in place. I did have an issue with one of the brake light sets, the bulb fitting has a bit of a short, and won’t seat correctly, which is causing one of the bulb filaments to not work. I emailed FFR, and they are generously sending me a new one, so that will have to be rewired when it arrives. I also wired up the license plate lights, but I decided to tie wrap my door switches for now until final fitting later.

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Roll Bars:

Installing the roll bars is a bit of a challenge, especially since I have 2 of them. I found that leaving the passenger side mount slightly loose (I had to loosen it) helps to get the proper rear leg alignment. The most challenging part of the roll bars was actually drilling the hole (s) for the rear leg on the passenger side. My body came pre-drilled, which some people complain about, but even with a little clean up, it’s way better than measuring and cutting all of those yourself. The way I did my rear leg was to mount the hoop in it’s final position, then use a 2″ OD pipe I had (part of a hitch bike rack actually) to attach it to the hoop, then run it down and mark the entry location. This worked pretty well, and just left a little clean up and some adjustment in the rear leg mount itself to get a perfect fit. I have Mike Everson’s roll bar grommets which are large and make for a very forgiving setup to cover the over drilling.

I’m really glad I decided to go with the FFR stainless bars that I got on sale, they make a big difference in the look of the car. One trick I found for mounting the bars is to use ratcheting nylon straps (protect the chrome with cardboard) to cinch in the 2 legs of the hoop. Both of mine were pushing “out” and were really hard to get over the mounting brackets. I found that I could pull them together with the straps, and along with a little 3in1 oil, they went on with relative ease.

Hood and Trunk Mounting, Hinges:

The parts need some work to get to fit correctly, but I was pleasantly surprised with my hood, it fits pretty well right out of the “box.” The trunk lid fits like crap, but I think this is pretty common. For the short term, they’ll both work well enough, even though the trunk lid isn’t exactly pretty in it’s current state.

I am using Breeze’s hidden trunk mounts, and after discovering and correcting that we mounted the arms on top of the 3/4″ trunk support instead of on the horizontal face (ie: we mismounted them by 90 degrees), they went in pretty easily. For now, I actually just drilled and riveted the lid side mounts, which doesn’t look very pretty, but it’ll do for now. I’m going to be wiring in a linear actuator back there, and I still have a bit of fitting, so I wasn’t in a hurry to break out the HSRF yet. The mounts are sweet though, and will make for a cleaner more “oem” look to the car than the usual outer brackets. I was wishing that I hadn’t been in such a hurry to sell my brackets a while ago, that would have been a way faster short term solution.

The hood hinges are a pain, mainly because they come in about 1000 parts, and it’s very easy to put everything in the wrong configuration. The hinges themselves are a bit of a modern marvel the way they are a down and in or up and out movement. I didn’t have any instructions with mine, so I turned to the ffcars.com forum once again for help, and found some great pictures showing how they go together. Even so, I had to assemble mine like 4 times before I got it right, including taking them apart after I had them right in the first place. Lots of guys talked about switching out the button head screws with carriage bolts, but I didn’t find this necessary. It was a bit of a pain getting those in with the body on (I would put that part of the hinges in before the body and F panels if I had it to do over again,) but they work so far.

Here’s the thread with the info, and I’ll add the pics below (not my pics) in case they get deleted at some point. Forum Thread

Pics:

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You can see in this pic, that the bolts are in “up and down” instead of through the front/back configuration. I fixed this after the body was on, but it required me to cut the bolts to do it. Oops.

Windshield:

If you read any posts at all on the forum, this step will likely scare the heck out of you, and convince you to go ahead and call FFR and order a new windshield. The glass on these cars wasn’t really designed for them, and that, along with a bunch of other issues have caused an alarmingly large number of them to crack in short order. I managed to find an old build school video that showed some key issues to avoid, however, the most important of which I found to be: 1) use a shorty screw driver to prevent over-manning the screws, and 2) do a test fit on each screw and grind them down so they aren’t too long. Thanks to those tips, I managed to at least get the frame assembled without breaking the glass, and as far as I can tell, none of the screws are touching the glass. I took the mk3build site advice and set my windshield at 53 degrees in case I go with a soft top later. The only other issue I ran into, other than just not having much room to get the bolt in, was that my driver’s side foot box interfered with getting that bracket in place. I had to “massage” it out of the way for now, and I’ll fix it better once the body is back off.

Video:

Mini Graduation:

After the windshield install, I proceeded to put in the mirrors, trim plates, hood latches, trunk latches, etc., and it was ready to roll. I took some runs up and down the road a bit, which was simply awesome fun, and the next day called the local sherriff’s department for my Certificate of Origin inspection. In Montana, the process is very confusing, but actually simple to accomplish. Funnily enough, the deputy didn’t really know what he was supposed to do, but he verified my COO number matched the chassis number, and since he didn’t have any forms, he just wrote a note on the back of my application for title. I have yet to make the trip down to the DMV (will do tomorrow at the time of this writing), so we’ll see how that all turns out.

I’m still considering this a little mini graduation, though. Once it’s registered and tagged, I’ll head over to the dyno and get it all dialed in, and I also need to do a bit more work on the ride height and alignment. It’s riding/driving very well with it’s currently eye-balled alignment, and I really am glad I decided to go with the manual 15:1 steering box, it works great.

So, more updates on the registration soon…

Pics:

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SAI Kit Install, Parking Brake, Calipers

   Posted by: kdavis

Had a good day in the shop today, and managed to get some decent amount of work completed. A majority of the day was spent on the SAI kit install, but since I want to include a full install guideline with pics, I’ll post that information later in the blog entry. I also spent some time customizing my parking brake installation, repainting my brake calipers, and also putting the vinyl on the transmission tunnel cover.

Parking Brake:

The parking brake setup from the standard kit leaves a lot to be desired overall, but it gets the job done, and I decided, at least for now, to just use the standard setup, more or less. The 2 basic issues with the parking brake are that you can’t really actuate it from the driver’s seat when you’re fully buckled in (I haven’t verified this yet), and the way that the cables run from the rear brakes to the lever is a little wacky (it runs under the 4″ tube). I also had an issue with the T handle on the cable assembly hitting the mounting bracket, and a bit of an issue with the main spring itself.

The T handle issue was pretty straight forward. Due to the way the cables run, the “approach angle” of the cables caused the T handle to make contact with the bracket and the lower bolt, which would, in most cases, actually prevent the handle from actuating the parking brake. I addressed the issue by simply making a small bracket that I attached to the lower mounting bolt on the parking brake bracket so that it forces the cable to be offset by about an inch and a half, effectively holding the T handle away from the bracket and bolts. Although I haven’t fully tested it, this seems to be a viable solution, and since I had already made the bracket for another purpose that I didn’t use, it didn’t take much time at all to adjust it for this purpose.

Another issue I wanted to take care of was how closely the parking brake handle sits against the transmission tunnel. This was made worse by the fact that I elected to replace the existing mustang black handle with one from Mike Everson, which is polished aluminum for a nicer look. It’s a larger diameter, and also round instead of flat on that side, so as it was, it was pretty much hitting the tunnel, even before I add insulation and carpet. The fix here was equally as easy, just requiring that I enlarged/elongated the mounting holes in the parking brake bracket so I could just slide the whole assembly over away from the tunnel. Doing so did cause the assembly itself (the ratcheting wheel) to hit the bracket, so I had to also take my sawzall and notch the bracket for clearance. Moving the assembly over also improved the alignment of the parking brake cables.

There seem to be several ways to address the spring tension in the stock mustang parking brake, from cutting the spring completely, to some others. I discovered that the stock setup on mine at least (1990) was so tight that it was sort of binding. Rather than cut the spring, I decided that I could just change how much “preload” was placed on the spring and the T handle. I did this by pulling the spring tight and locking it in place with a nail, then completely removing the cable assembly, releasing some of the tension, and reattaching the cable again, effectively making it “one rotation less” of preload. It lengthened the cable by 3-4″.

Pics:

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Calipers:

When I originally painted the brake calipers, I was all about the orange car, so the calipers were painted Chevy engine orange, which has a little bit of red tint to it. Now that I’m going with a black color instead, a peek-a-boo red (ala super car) is a way better color. Since I had to remove the front calipers anyway as part of the SAI kit install, I figured I would also remove the rears and repaint them all. They turned out pretty nice, actually.

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SAI Kit Install:

Most of my day was spent doing the SAI Kit install from Whitby’s. The purpose of the SAI kit is to correct an inherent flaw in the Steering Axis of Inclination in the front suspension of the car, which causes the steering and overall handling to be less than it can be. The kit from Whitby’s changes the overall setup of the upper control arm, and effectively changes the angles in the independent front suspension.

The kit comes with a copy of a ffcars.com forum post that’s a fairly long and detailed post, but it lacks pictures and also is a little difficult to follow. I’m going to simply take that post and insert some pics and add my own notes and emphasis (found in parentheses.) The original post can be found here.


Thanks for purchasing the FFR Front Suspension Optimization Kit commonly referred to the SAI Kit. The kit optimizes the front suspension geometry for better performance and steering feel on both track and street. It does this by bringing specific geometries inline with know standards.

• Lowers the SAI(Steering Axis Inclination) from 18+ degrees, to approximately 9 degrees. This will reduce camber loss during turn-in increasing front-end grip and reducing the need for negative static camber. In addition, it will have a positive effect on steering feel.

• Lowers the Roll Center from approx 5” to approximately 3.5” to better match the 3 Link and IRS rear suspension options. This will increase front end grip and reduce jacking.

• Brings Caster Trail inline with standard one piece SLA spindles increasing steering linearity and reduce steering twitchiness at freeway speeds.

Installation instructions.

1) Place vehicle on jack stands securely, do not attempt this installation on a jack or a poorly supported vehicle. Some of the installation requires high torque values and could cause the vehicle to fall. (I can attest to the high torque needed, at least 1 at 150ftlbs. I actually put my car on the lift, which makes the install that much easier.)

2 Remove new parts from packaging and verify the parts are correct. The most important are the two upper control arm relocation mounts (UCARM) and the SIA adapters. The parts are different side to side and should be mirror images of each other. In short 2 each brackets and SIA adaptors, 2 short and 2 long 5/8ths bolt, 2 5/8ths lock nuts, 4 each ½ inch short and long bolts, 4 lock nuts. Assorted washers. (The brackets and UCARMS are marked L and R).

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3 Remove the front wheels and store under the vehicle.

4 Remove the cotter pins from the upper ball joint and remove the nut. A 7/8ths thin wall socket should be the right size. (I actually removed the nut and cotter pin, but then put the nut partially back on for step 5.)

5 While prying up on the upper control arm with a pry bar hit the old IFS bracket several times with a hammer. This should save the boot and separate the ball joint from the IFS bracket. Do not hit the stud on the ball joint; all that will do is damage the ball joint stud. If the parts will not separate use a ball joint separator and as a last resort use a pickle fork (this will ruin the boot). (This prying method was a complete failure for me, I could not get the parts separated. I also didn’t want to risk damaging the boot itself. Contrary to what the instructions warn, I actually DID hit the stud on the ball joint. However, I did so by using the nut on the end of it to keep from damaging the threads, and rather than hitting it directly with a hammer, I used the “jacking pole” from my engine hoist (a floor jack pole would also work) to hit the nut. A few good whacks with a hammer, and the stud/ball joint came right out.)

6 Tie a rag around the ball joint to keep the boot on the ball joint and to keep the grease off of everything else. (This wasn’t necessary for me since I had yet to grease the ball joints.)

7 Take care to not stretch/ruin the brake hoses. If the spindle is falling away from the car and putting stress on the hose remove the caliper and hang it with a zip tie, bungee cord or wire. (This wasn’t an issue for me since I had taken the brakes completely off of the car.)

8 Remove the two bolts holding the upper control arm to the frame. ¾ inch wrench and socket will remove them. These will be tight and will take a little force to undo.

9 The control arm is now loose and can be left resting on the lower control arm or shock/spring.

10 The upper control arm relocation mounts (UCARM) are different. There are two even holes and two offset holes. The offset holes go outboard and the even holes go onto (from above) the old upper control arm mounts. The offset hole lowers the front of the upper control compared to the factory location. The outboard rear holes are very close to the frame. Mock up the mounts with the bolts. Short bolts in from the top and long from inboard to outboard. Mark the frame so it can be notched to clear the bolt. An alternative is to remove a small (very small) edge of the rear mounting bolt so it will clear the frame.
(It’s possible they have update the design since this was written, but the TOP of the bracket was already notched to it cleared the welds on the frame. I actually followed a little different procedure here:
a) Once the UCARM is unbolted, I found it best to attach the new kit bracket to it (using the longer bolts in the kit) before attaching the whole thing to the frame.
b) On my car, the “rear” side of the bracket, caused the bolt to make contact with the mounting frame of the car. To solve this, I used a grinder to cut out about a 1/8″ x 1″ section of the frame so the bolt would clear and the upper holes of the bracket would line up.
c) After shooting a little rustoleum spray paint where I cut the frame, I used the shorter bolts to attach the upper bolts and nuts for the bracket

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11 All of the bolts need to be installed in the UCARM including the control arm or it will not clear the shock/spring. Start with the outer bolts and mount the control arm to the UCARM and then the UCARM to the frame. (The third hand you keep in the toolbox will come in handy for this step.) Again, the shorter bolts go in from the top and the longer control arm bolts go from the inside of the car outboard to hold the control arm. Washers can be used as needed. Remember the front hole of the UCAM should be the lower of the two holes in relation to each other. Note: The front of the control arm is still higher than the rear. (See above for different steps here that I followed.)

12 In order to get the maximum range of motion, it may be best to flip your upper control arm over so that the angle of the ball joint mount is reversed top to bottom changing the angel of the ball joint. Note: If you swap your control arms right to left in addition to flipping them, your alignment will be closer to your final setting. It’s best to check it your range of motion before tightening everything up. Do this by marking your spring location and then loosening your spring perch. Jack the suspension up so that the lower control arm is approx level. Turn the steering from lock to lock and check for any ball joint binding or other clearance issues. One place to watch for is the brake to upper control arm ball joint area. Repeat this by measuring the center of the hub and then jacking the suspension up approx 2.5 to 3” Do the same, but at 2” of droop. If all is good you can proceed. If there are clearance issues, this will be the time to address them. Some may need to clearance a bit off the upper control arm ball joint mount. There is a rib of material that goes around the ball joint mount that may require clearancing depending on your brake setup. You will be asked to check this one more time at the end of the installation.

13 Remove the two factory bolts from the IFS bracket from FFR. These are the factory Ford spindle mount bolts and will not be reused. (I found it easier to do this up near step 8 and 9)

14 The new IFS bracket goes onto the rear of the spindle. The ball joint hole is to the rear of the spindle also. The dog leg, or elbow on the IFS bracket needs to point to the inside of the car. Refer to the pictures to make sure you have the correct IFS bracket on each side of the car. Temporarily install the new IFS bracket by using the new 5/8s bolts to mount the IFS bracket. Put the shorter upper bolt in finger tight and just slide the longer lower bolt in far enough to hold it in place, do not install the nut yet. Note: make sure your upper brake bracket bolt is installed before installing the new IFS bracket. (I missed this in the list and had to disassemble it. The “dogleg” statement here confused me. The brackets are marked L and R, so you can’t mess up the sides. The proper way to install it though is to have the L shape so that it “points” to the tire.)

15 Remove the rag and reinstall the upper control arm back into the new IFS bracket. Make sure to put the cotter pin hole where it can be reached. Tap (smack pretty hard) the control arm with a dead blow hammer to ‘set’ the ball joint into the new IFS bracket. Slide the lower IFS bolt out far enough to allow access to the ball joint stud. Install the castle nut and torque to the recommended torque of 60 ft-lb’s. Install the cotter pin after the torque spec is met.

16 Now install the IFS bolts for the final time. The upper should be thread locked in place. The lower should use the locking nut. Both should be torqued to approx 150 ft-lb’s. (I also had to “jack” the lower control arm so that I could get everything aligned with the bolts, this may or may not be necessary for you, I only did it on one side.)

17 Tighten all the upper control arm bolts to the UCAM and the UCAM to the frame. The torque on these bolts is 50 ft-lb’s.

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18 The following is very important please read and understand the importance of these steps. Mark the current spring collar location and loosen the spring perch as far as possible. Using a floor jack with care not to break the grease fitting off, move the suspension through its travel while looking for interference and checking ball joint angle. If the angle is a problem (not likely) the cup can be reversed. The cup is welded on one side and bolted on the other. Now is also the time to turn the steering wheel through its full arc. Do this at both the compression and droop positions of the spindle. Depending on which brakes and/or spindles are on the car there may be interference with the bleeder screw. This is especially noticeable on the driver side with the ball joint cup mounting bolt. Remember the cup is welded on one side and bolted on the other. The interference will be at the bolt. Finding the interference now is better than breaking the bleeder and having no brakes!!!! Other cups are available without the angle so the bolts can both be on the front.

19 The alignment on the car has changed dramatically. Check the toe in and take the car to the alignment shop ASAP. The new SIA brackets allow for better caster and camber curves so we recommend the same 1 degree of camber for street cars and closer to 2.5 degrees for auto cross cars running radial tires. Caster should be between 3.5 and 4 degrees and up to 5 degrees caster is fine with power steering. (I have not yet finished 18 and 19 steps.)


Once my calipers dry, I can reassemble the front end and get the car aligned, and check the items in steps 18 and 19. Once the car is aligned, only a few small steps remain before I can get it registered and out ready to enjoy the nice weather when it comes.

Wiring, Dash Install, Aluminum

   Posted by: kdavis

Despite spending a lot of time over the last couple of weekends working on vehicles distinctly NOT the roadster, looking back, I did actually get a fair amount accomplished. I had to spend time doing brakes and some other items on the hot wife’s Beetle, and spend most of Saturday last weekend working on the Suburban (new K&N, exhaust manifold gaskets, plugs, wires, tire rotation).

Dash Install and Holy Crap Bar:

With the rest of the dash wiring installed and tested, I went ahead and finished up getting the dash installed so that I could get the heater ducts finished up. Since the dash won’t actually be finished in terms of install until the body is on, this isn’t a final step, but will allow for gokarting when the time comes.

As you can see in the pics, I also finished up my Holy Crap bar. There are lots of names for this, but it’s for the passenger to hold onto, and it’s appropriately named “holy crap bar.” Since it can see a good bit of stress, it was important for me to get it very secure, yet be able to adjust it’s position for final dash and body fitting. I fabricated a mounting system to allow for that, then drilled the holes in the dash for it. The dash position is static, but the part that mounts to the secure assembly is adjustable up and down (not a lot of side to side movement anyway with the steering column in place.)

Some of this was already detailed in an earlier post, but here are some more pics. It’s attached to the 3/4″ dash hoop, and is pretty stout. I ended up having a bit more of a gap between the dash and the frame, though, so I added a couple of 1/4″ nylon spacers to make up for that so I didn’t bend the aluminum dash.

Pics:

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Alarm LED:

I was able to get my alarm red led installed a couple of weekends ago, and so I thought I’d give the how-to on that as well. I wired it up, but since it’s going into the tranny tunnel cover now (just in front of the keys), I won’t do final install until that’s ready to go in. It did work very well though.

For those that might want to do a similar thing, here’s what I did.

Found the blinking LED here: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=170477135292&ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT

I used an extra housing I had from my del city order, but you can also buy them from del city or from parts express.

You don’t really have to, but I used a relay for this, just so I could make it easy to switch between the key ON and key OFF status.

Here’s how I wired it, using a standard 12v relay and socket (parts express too). I’m just going to give the wire colors, but you can look up the relay positions if you want.

Red – Battery – always hot
Blue – + side (red wire) of the LED
White – Ground
Black – Keyed 12v (ignition source)
Yellow – Not used

Obviously, the black wire (-) of the led is to ground.

That way, the light blinks when the key is off, but goes out when you start the motor or if the key is on.

I had read that there was some concern about the battery drain from the LED, but the draw on this one is 20mA. I left it running for a couple hours, and no drain at all was perceivable on my meter from the battery. I’m sure if you didn’t start it for months, it would have some draw, but in that case, you should have a battery tender on it anyway.

Interior Aluminum:

After a really cool mini-event of actually driving the car out of the shop, and then backing into the other bay, it was time to continue work on the interior aluminum. This is one of the last big steps in getting to go-kart status.

I was able to get the driver’s floor, passenger’s floor, and the bulkhead pieces all drilled, siliconed, and riveted in. Thank GOD for Mike’s air riveter…I can’t imagine trying to do all of those rivets by hand. I was glad that I ended up buying the double-ended 1/8″ drill bits from harbor freight, but wish they were a little longer. Every time I use my drill, I am reminded that I will NEVER buy another chuckless drill, they are worthless for small bits, and end up having to retighten the chuck all the time.

I was also able to get the rear bulkhead access hole cut out, which will allow a little pocket for “stuff” behind the seats, but also will serve as a location for some small speakers in the corners that will fire across from side to side to get some sound. I just drilled a few holes, then cleco’d the panel in place, marked there the frame pieces sat, and cut the hole. I added a 1/2″ to the measurement on the lower cut, which turned out great since the bolt heads on the 3-link retrofit kit make the trunk floor there sit up to almost that level. It was a pretty good fit. I’ll add a “wall” that will sit 10-12″ behind the opening.

One note worth mentioning. When I placed the bulkhead piece in place, I noticed that the holes for the seat belt routing didn’t line up right. I took a closer look and realized the cross bar was actually not even or straight across, so it stuck up about 1/4″ on the passenger side. I ended up “massaging” it with a dead blow rubberized hammer, and it fits great now.

I’m really enjoying the aluminum fabrication stuff, and just thinking through the problem solving aspect of the build. One issue I was having is the location where I want to mount the 10″ subwoofers. I want to use the rear cross as part of the mounting system, which meant that the floor was about 3/4″ too high. Relatively easily solution, I just need to make some “boxes” that will sit into the floor so that the subs will be able to be “submerged” slightly in the floor. After checking clearance on the 3-link banana bracket, I decided 2″ depth was a good size. I also checked and marked for floor supports to see how much room I had from front to back (bulkhead to trunk). I ended up with a box size of 5″ x 13.5″. I was able to get the first one marked and cut, but have not bent it yet. I misfigured the first time, but luckily I remembered to fix it before I cut. I had allowed for the 1″ lips for the bends on top, but forgot to allow for 2″ of drop. I believe I ended up with an 11×19.5 piece.

I wish I had gone with a bigger metal bending brake, this piece is about 1/4″ too big to fit, so I’ll have to bend it using some other methods.

Pics:

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Wishy Washy:

My buddy Mike says I’m wishy-washy on color, and he’s probably right, evidenced by all the posts on this blog about color choice. I have now, however, made some actual commitment-based steps on color. I ordered some paint to do some test shooting. I have “decided” that I really like the black cars with silver stripes. I’ve always loved black, and this was actually the very first color choice, even before the Orange was a factor. I like how it looks like it actually wants to eat children. ;-> This is a backdraft car that I’m using as my sort of template. I’m going to take the hood off the Mustang donor and prep and tape it for stripes and color like I would the real car. I ordered some black and metallic silver paint and the necessary supplies.

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Along those same lines, I’m planning on getting the body down off the ceiling in the next couple of weeks so I can get started on the body work. Some of the steps require some cure time, so doing it a little at a time along with other parts of the build should prove an efficient use of time.

Until next time…