Another Spring is Upon Us

   Posted by: kdavis

I just happened to visit this blog and I realized just how long it’s been since I have done an update. For those that check it every once in a while, I’m sorry for the lack of updates. I currently have 5 different businesses running, as well as family and personal obligations, so sometimes the time just gets away from me.

I’ll try to keep things updated a little more frequently. I’m in the home stretch now, really just interior carpet, some small items, and body work. I’m just about done with the body work and ready to shoot some paint. My buddy Mike will be making a trip out here to help me shoot the color. In the meantime, I need to finish sanding, get it primed, and use a Mustang hood I have to test out my colors and striping techniques.

Over the Winter, I managed to swap the 302 out of this car and into that Mark II that now resides with my friend Bryan. They’ve got it running great, and the power lives on. I have the 347 Stroker all installed, but it need some tuning help. Having only one guy to go to at Redline is to say the least an enormous pain in the butt, and I’m still trying to get (months of trying) the right software to do the tuning, as well as some remote assistance getting the thing tuned. It’s a good thing to have the ability to let someone use a laptop to remotely control the ECU, but having that be just one guy is definitely a challenge. The engine is running though, and it sounds awesome!

I also installed my fresh air vents, and cleared out most of my shakedown list including some small switch items, etc. I elected to pull all of the radio stuff out, you can’t hear it anyway, and there’s always my bluetooth headphones that double as ear plugs. I did leave some of the basic dash to trunk wiring in place and buttoned up, should I change my mind later.

I also spent considerable time putting all of the ECU wiring in, which resides in the trunk. That was also a pain, but it worked out. I’m going to build a small cover for it to clean up the trunk area, covered in carpet. Speaking of the trunk, I also need to install my trunk lifts. I found the parts to do my own install, since Mike Everson’s won’t work well with how I have my trunk setup. It should be pretty straight forward to get it all in there.

The biggest challenge other than paint is that I still need to put in the sound/heat stuff on the aluminum and get the carpet installed. I bought some nibbed backing to make my own floor mats. We’ll see how that all goes in…

Other than that, sand, sand, and sand some more…pictures are found below:

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!


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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.


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 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


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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.


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.


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…


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Cables, Timing Woes, and Exhaust Fumes

   Posted by: kdavis

Another good build weekend, but not without it’s complications.

Throttle Cable

The kit came with an efi-based throttle cable, which wasn’t really designed for my application. In doing my research on how to solve this, lots of very expensive and detailed solutions exist, including turning the carb around, adding a high end Holley bracket (like the one shown below), and mechanical linkages. One of the issues is that the cable has to make a bit of an S in order to exit the footbox at a point in front of the carb, and then make it’s way up and back to meet up with the carb linkage. All things considered, this wasn’t a huge deal for me, so I went with it, and left the curve in there. I still had to make myself a way to secure the cable though on both ends, which meant fabricating some brackets as well as cable attachment points.

I’m using the Russ Thompson throttle pedal that I got from Breeze and it included the ball joint linkage on the carb end. The linkage there is adjustable, so all you have to do it snip the end off of the FFR supplied cable, insert the cable and tightening it down. Makes for a nice install on that side.

On the pedal side, though, I had to get a little more creative. The connections to the pedal had a hole that was way to big for the linkage insert so I had to remove it and fabricate one. I’ve found that L brackets can be used in so many different ways, and this was no exception. I took one that I had, which had the perfect size holes in it already, cut both ends off to length to match the pedal one, and cut a slot in it so I could run the cable through. Easy peasy, and it works great.

To secure the cable on the manifold, I used a peice of an old bracket I had, cut it to size, bent it, drilled the right hole and painted it, and it works perfectly. I secured it to the manufacturer supplied bracket support and attached my return spring. It works really well.

A note about throttle position. I had seen several threads showing how the pedals lined up, and it was different than the OEM setup on most cars. I discovered thanks to the forum guys that you want to set your throttle pedal position at the bottom of the brake stroke so you can heel-toe them if you need to either for racing or for on-hill starts. This meant mine sits forward by about 2″ or so in front, and when I’m at WOT, it just hits the backstop, which is perfect.



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Clutch Cable

I ordered my clutch cable with an aluminum quadrant and an adjustable quadrant from Mike Forte. It’s great stuff, but because it was originally designed to fit in a Mustang, the angle that it sits on the front of the footbox is wrong, which causes it to sit in a downward position slightly and thus, the cable rubs on the upper edge. This will eventually cause the cable to fray and brake, leaving me stranded. Not good. So, the best solution I found was to simple bend the footbox front upwards so it eliminated it. The bend required is pretty slight, only about 1/4″ probably. I accomplished this by taking a large socket in my breaker bar and bending UP from the footbox side and DOWN from the engine bay side (the pic is faked, I just included it so it shows what it looked like). A couple of tries and test fits and problem solved. I currently have the clutch cable adjusted so that I get about an inch of free play before it engages, which should be good.

The cable routing is something you need to consider as the cable needs to be routed in a fairly straight path and away from the heat of the headers. For my setup, this path came out of the footbox, down between the mechanical fuel pump and the oil filter, through the motor mount, and straight back to the clutch fork. This took care of the routing, but then I had to figure out how to secure it in order to keep it from rubbing on anything, and making sure I could get the oil filter out. The cable comes with it’s own bracket, but I modified it by cutting part of it off, drilling a hole in it and bending it to fit. I used a bolt to attach it to the inside head accessory bolt location (probably used for AC in the mustang). That got me pretty close, but I still didn’t like how it was rubbing on my brake fluid reservoirs, so I took another bracket I had and bent and drilled it so I could use the other accessory hole right next to it. This didn’t really move it much, but just enough to get it where I want. The bracket was pretty sharp, so to keep it from cutting over time, I took a large-diameter shrink tube I had and put it over the bracket, then heated to to shrink. That should keep it from messing up the outer skin of the cable.


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Timing with the E-Curve 8503 Distributor by MSD

If I had never done any timing work at all with a distributor, perhaps it would have been easier to wrap my brain around the way this e-curve works. The reason for this is that the setup of this dizzy is pretty much the exact opposite that you would normally use. Typically, you decide what you want your advance to look like, set up the dizzy with the appropriate weights, figure out the vacuum, and set the initial timing. With this distributor, though, it’s pretty much the opposite. You decide what you want the total advance to be, then you set your timing (with a timing light) to that first, lock the thing down, and use the electronics to retard the timing to get your curve.

The e-curve was recommended by Mike Forte, and I think it’ll be good because we’re at 4500′ altitude, and we’ll likely run the car at different places around the US. So, instead of resetting the timing every time to make sure it runs right, I can pop the distributor off and switch the curve instead as conditions change. Thanks to the guys over on the forum, I was able to figure this out. Here’s the link to the thread over there if you’re interested.

For the Ford 302/5.0L, most guys recommend an initial timing of about 12-14 degrees, with a total advance of about 34-36 degrees at 3000 RPM. I am still tweaking my setup, but after much frustration and trial and error, finally got it setup. I’m not happy with my curve yet, or the idle speed, so I need to work on it a bit more. It was suggested that I pull and plug the vacuum hose for now to pull out the vac advance, so I’ll give that a shot next.

Here are the steps for setting the E-Curve 8503. The manual is a little crappy, so this might help (you’ll need the manual still.)

1) Figure out how much vacuum advance you have, which will give you what part of the table to use.
2) Decide which curve you want overall, such as 25 degrees, and when you want it to come in (based on RPM’s).
3) Find top dead center TDC on your engine. I’m running GT40p’s on mine, and found that you can actually shine a light into the #1 plug (passenger front) hole and see the stroke. For me, this matched perfectly to the original harmonic balancer marks. If you can’t do the light trick, you can also put your finger over the hole (cool engine) and feel the pressure increase as you move the engine with a pry bar (I found it easier to do this from the alternator bolt than on the crank). TDC will come when the pressure builds and pops your finger out/off of the hole.
4) At TDC, figure out which post on the dizzy that the rotor is pointing to. This is your #1 spark plug wire post. Use the appropriate firing order to put the plug wires on.
5) Set the dials inside the e-curve to 1-0 and 1-0 (both at 0).
6) Set your timing with a timing light and the degree tape to your desired TOTAL advance. In my case, I set it to 35.
7) Kill the engine and set the dials to the right settings for the curves you decided on with 1 and 2 above. In my case, I started with 1-4 and 1-5. I think that this is too much advance, or possibly too much initial retard. I’m currently seeing an initial timing of about 13 degrees and full advance at 3000 rpm of about 42 degrees. The reason I think it’s too much initial is that it runs very rough at the recommended 800-900 rpm, and seems to ease up a bit at about 1025. I’d like to run it a little slower, so I think I’ll change the curve and see what happens.

I’m running the 302, with E303 cam, GT40P heads, and a Holley Street Avenger 570cfm carb. I’m running the msd blaster 2 coil. A separate ignition like the 6AL isn’t required. If you look at pricing on some of the aftermarket setups, because the e-curve is self contained, it’s not that much more than a full setup.

NOTE!! – If you are running headers and you like the way they look, make sure that you set your carb so that it’s not lean when setting timing, AND make sure you let your headers cool off periodically. A lean and badly timed engine will run way hot, and will fry your headers. At $500+ a pair, this would suck. I noticed even running for a few minutes, I got some smoke off of mine, so I didn’t mess around and made sure my primaries were set right and the float levels were too.

Curve Chart from the MSD Manual:



More Talk about Color

I manged to waste a good bit of my buddy Mike’s Friday talking about paint colors. As I get closer to finishing the initial build steps, my thoughts are turning towards actually pulling the body off the ceiling and getting the many many hours of body work started, which will then include shooting some test paint. My paint color saga has been an ever dynamic one, and I have found it quite difficult to settle on a color. I originally wanted orange, but since Mike’s car is orange, I don’t want really to copy him since it’ll spend a lot of time with his car. Then I was looking at silver, which I think is just really cool. But then I was looking at more super-car type colors like yellow and green. I couldn’t find any green ones I liked so I did a mockup. I actually really like the green and I was pretty sure I wanted to go that direction, but the more I looked at it, the more I realized that it’s such an obnoxious color, I’m not sure my ego can deal with the mocking and snears from spectators.

So, I think at this point, I’m leaning back towards silver. This will really look good with my 2 tone black and gray/silver interior. I’m still not settled on the shade yet or the strip color. I’m leaning either towards a darker charcoal type gray with black strips or the titanium silver with white stripes. The contrast of the black stripes seems to be a little nicer. I’d love to hear comments on it if you have any.


PA280185SQ.jpgBlackSilver.jpgLamborghini Titanium metalic with Pearl stripes.jpgnov2009-1200.jpg


I managed to get my transmission refilled (I drained it to keep it from leaking all over the floor when I installed the engine) this weekend as well. My upper drain plug is totally locked in, so I discovered that the mustang guys simply use the shifter hole to refill theirs. All you have to do is take the 4 bolts off and pour the fluid down there. I used mercon/dexron III, and it holds 3 quarts.

I also got started on cleaning up the wiring, and did the over-the-footbox area with zip ties, paying close attention to keeping things out of the way of the pedal movement and just cleaning things up. I’m glad I have plenty of zip ties. I also cleaned up the engine bay a bit so that things will look cleaner and stay in place and away from the headers.

So, my next steps here are to clean up the rest of the wiring behind the dash, get the dash installed fully with the holy crap bar in place and ducting for the heater, plus get my choke cable routed (I did manual choke as the electrics seem to be problematic), and I might even start the seams on the body, we’ll see.

First Start – Part II – A Year Later

   Posted by: kdavis

This was an awesome weekend, and made some pretty monumental progress, all things considered. Not that I really accomplished that much, but the actual things that did get done were pretty huge in the life of the project.

The weekend was spent preparing for, and executing the first start of the engine…the second time around. I actually did a test fire in the frame about a year ago, with temporary wiring and setup, etc. This time around, though, the engine is in and should stay in now. I managed to get the whole drive train in, engine, transmission, drive shaft (with safety loop), and all of the wiring connected from the chassis to the engine.

First “Real” Start

Most of the weekend work went towards the first start of the engine from it’s permanently installed position. I managed to get the engine dropped in, by myself with the help of my engine hoist, lift, ratcheting tie downs, and a lot of patience.

The length of the engine with transmission on it, combined with the relatively small engine bay made dropping the engine in by myself a bit of a challenge, but after a few hours, I managed to get it in place and mounted down. I was also able to get the transmission mount secured. After it was in place, then came hooking up the miscellaneous wiring (tach, coil, alternator, starter, etc.), and then getting all of the various tubing and lines hooked up (heater hoses, vacuum lines, etc.)

I was so excited to get the headers installed again and then the newly coated side pipes mated up to them. I was amazed at how well the ceramic from NitroPlate matched up, it looks like they were coated at the same time, and they look awesome! I elected to not get all of the high temp rtv on the header to side pipes for now, just in case I need to take things back apart to get everything aligned.

A bit of a surprise to me actually, not only did the motor fire on the first try after the fuel got pulled in, but the tach works, gauges all work right, and it worked pretty nicely.

Still a bit of work to be done with the engine, including the throttle cable, cleaning up the wire and hose routing, and then getting the timing set and carb adjusted to maximize power and throttle response.


Dropping in the Engine – as you can see in the video, I had forgotten that you can’t get the engine in from the front, it’s better on the side. I also needed to take the right front tire off so I could get closer to the chassis. The one issue I had was that I never adjusted my engine hoist so that I could maximize the angle of insertion. I ended up needing to use some ratcheting tie downs to get things where they needed to be. It worked out just fine, a couple of paint nicks in the firewall aluminum, but nothing a little touch up paint can’t handle. This is about 45 minutes worth of video condensed to 3 minutes. As you can see, lots and lots of fine tuning. I love the parts where I’m standing on the lift and using my foot to lower it. ;->

First Start Video:

Throttle isn’t hooked up, so I’m doing that by hand, and the clutch safety switch as well.



Forte’s Drive Shaft Safety Loop:

This doesn’t seem to be a hugely popular option for these cars, but given that you’re right arm is resting directly above the drive shaft, and having seen pictures of the drive shaft coming up through that area, probably not a bad idea.

I had planned on drilling and tapping the holes for mounting the loop, but as I was looking a bit at my hardware drawers, I remembered that I had some self-drilling metal screws. I figured with 8 of them, considering that the loop is fairly light, these should be great.

I ended up drilling out 1/8″ holes on both sides (4 holes each side), then used the screw gun to get the screws drilled and screwed all the way in. I was impressed with how secure it all feels, and the process took about a 10th of the time drilling, tapping, and bolting them down would have.

The screws are normally aluminum colored, as you see in the pics, but I shot them with some black spray paint so they are less obvious.

This is the type of screw I used, but I’m not sure where they came from, probably Lowes.



Clutch Pedal and Cable:

The routing and securing of the clutch cable is a bit of a challenge on these cars. I still haven’t addressed all of the issues (the cable is rubbing the adjustable quadrant), but I did manage to get the cable installed and also fabbed up some brackets.

One of the issues with the cable is keeping it away from the headers, and making it work smoothly. There are lots of options on where to mount the bracket in the engine bay. Many people simply mount it to the driver’s side F panel, which seems to work. Because where I mounted my brake fluid reservoirs, this wasn’t an option. I decided to use one of the accessory mounting holes in the driver’s side head instead. This worked well, and allowed for a nice and straight cable, between the fuel pump and oil filter, then straight under the motor mounts to the clutch fork. A little massaging was necessary to get it all lined out and not rubbing, as well as keeping it off of the oil filter itself. I’m still not 100% satisfied with how it’s riding against the fuel line, so I’ll probably fabricate an additional bracket to use the 2nd accessory hole in that head.

Another issue with the clutch cable is getting the clutch pedal aligned correctly when the clutch cable is in it’s “rest” position. With most adjustable quadrants, the clutch pedal will sit 3-4″ in front of the brake pedal (towards the driver), which would not only look funny, but would be annoying and potentially dangerous as you switch between the pedals.

The solution for this issue is to fabricate a “stop” so that when the clutch cable is adjusted, the pedal won’t go all the way forward. On the fox body pedal box, there are 2 holes (at least in mine) that sit under part of the pedal assembly near where the quadrant goes. I took a fairly low-tech approach, and made a “stop” out of 1/2 of an L bracket I had. I drilled 2 holes to attach the bracket, positioned the pedal where I wanted it to stop, and measured and cut the bracket to length to hold it in that position. My clutch pedal cover and the brake pedal cover aren’t quite aligned, so need to still fix that angle, but that’s pretty easy.



Next steps in getting the car moving under it’s own power is getting the transmission filled back with fluid. Unfortunately, the upper fill “bolt” is frozen, and rather than risk breaking it off, I found out you can fill the transmission through the shifter hole, so I’ll give that a shot.

Attaching the throttle cable from the pedal to the carb is a bit of a challenge on these cars as well, so I’ll need to come up with a solution for that. I’m trying to avoid dropping $100 on a Holley throttle cable bracket. It’s possible to turn the carb around backwards as well, but I’m also trying to avoid that.

I’d love to get the wiring all buttoned up, zip tied, and taped, but I need to shake the car down a little bit first, just in case something shows up with the wiring. That way I can access everything without having to cut zip ties.

Moving right along!

Rough In Wiring Complete

   Posted by: kdavis

A bit of a milestone here, I’m finally done with my rough in electrical for the car. I’m calling it a “rough in” since it’s pretty much the same as what you’d do on a house. All of the major components are there, and I can’t really do much more until some other stuff starts to come together like the aluminum, engine in, body on (lights), etc.

This weekend I was able to finish up pre-wiring for my linear actuators both front and back, pre-wiring for the trunk latch popper, and adding the LA switches. From there, I was able to get the dash all hooked up and clamped into place. The wires are a complete mess, but I’m not going to get into too much of a hurry cleaning it all up until the engine is back in, and I verify all of the related circuits.

The minor miracle of the day? Everything actually worked. ;-> My headlight reminder chime, my manual rear backup lights, foot activated hi beams, the linear actuator switches, foot box lights, door switches, and the extra complicated headlight and interior light setup, etc. Heck, even the indicator lights for the tangent running lamps, hi beams, and turn signals (with reminder buzzer) worked. Frankly, I was surprised.

So, the next step is even more exciting for me than this one…dropping the engine back in, and actually hooking up the driveshaft, etc. I’m currently on the cusp of having it actually move under it’s own power (still lots to do before that.)

I shot a video for wiring the linear actuators, and once I get it edited, I’ll post it here. Probably not that important for these builds since very few people would do them, but hopefully useful for someone.


Side Pipes, Turn Signal Buzzers, Audio, and Wiring

   Posted by: kdavis

Christmas came a 2nd time last week, and brought me my freshly coated Side Pipes, thanks to NitroPlate. Return shipping was a bit higher than getting it down there, but the guys put them in a nice sturdy box, so they made it back home safely. All in all, under $260 for shipping and coating. The other options I found were almost twice that price, and they look great.

As you can see by the pics, the hours I spent grinding the welds was time well spent, the connections are nice and smooth.


Hidden Stereo Progress:

Part of finishing up the wiring includes figuring out the plan of attack for the stereo. I had already settled on doing a hidden stereo setup, utilizing my ipod touch, a main amp and sub amp to drive 4 full range speakers and 2 10″ subs.

Over the summer, I discovered this cool little docking station with an RF remote for my Ipod, and it occurred to me that since it’s RF, I can setup the ipod in the trunk, and run it from a little gum-sized remote, with everything hidden. I had already planned on having an inverter back there for utility, and I actually found one that has a 5V USB port on it. That will allow me to connect the docking station right to the inverter for power, and it’ll charge the Ipod while it’s running. I did a test hook up yesterday, and it worked great. I also have a 12v power port (3 of them actually), and a 3.5mm hidden jack that I can use up front, in case it ultimately proves to be a pain having the ipod in the back. Interestingly, the dock will wake up your ipod when needed, so you don’t have to get back into the trunk to turn it on.

If your interested in what I’m using (amps and Speakers are of lower quality, in a roadster with side pipes, sound quality is hardly an issue,) here is a list and links to amazon.

Dock Station Ipod with rf Remote

The Dock: Dock Station Ipod with rf Remote

Legacy LA160 4 Channel 300 Watt Amplifier4 Channel Amp: Legacy LA160 4 Channel 300 Watt Amplifier

Legacy LA120 240 Watts 2 Channel Amplifier

2 Channel Amp: Legacy LA120 2 Channel 240 Watt Amplifier

Pyle PL53BL 5.25-Inch 200 Watt Three-Way Speakers

Pyle 5.25″ Speakers for Under the Doors: PYLE-PRO PMDK102 – Heavy-Duty Aluminum Anodizing Dual Speaker Stand & 1/4” Cable Kit

Pyle PL63BL 6.5-Inch 360-Watt 3-Way Speakers

Pyle 6.5″ Speakers for the Rear Deck: Pyle PL63BL 6.5-Inch 360-Watt 3-Way Speakers

PYLE PLW10BL 10-Inch 600 Watt Subwoofer

Pyle 10″ Subs: PYLE PLW10BL 10-Inch 600 Watt Subwoofer

Pics: – The rest of these have quality that is pretty bad, my normal camera bit it, so time to find another one.

Electrical Progress:

Since it’s been several months since I’ve actually worked on the electrical system, it took me a little while to actually figure out what was what. I had made some pretty good drawings of my relay setups, but had neglected to label all of the wires, so I did end up having to do some tracing to figure out which wire went which component.

After getting everything mapped and labeled, I was able to make some more progress, and I’m nearing the completion of the electrical system. I still need to pre-wire for the linear actuators in the trunk and hood areas, and wire for the trunk popper, plus get the dash all wired in and tested, but fairly soon, the rough in will be completed and the engine can go back in.

Turn Signal Buzzer:

Since these cars were built prior to the days when all cars have self-canceling turn signals, and because mine will have a simple ON-OFF-ON (left, off, right) turn signal switch, there’s an inherent tendency towards that “little old lady” syndrome where you end up driving for miles with your turn signal on. You not only look like a moron, but if someone sees you coming with your blinker on, they may accidentally turn in front of you when you’re actually not turning, which is bad.

So, one solution, which has been done many times, is to put in a simple buzzer that will be activated when you put the turn signal on. The annoying “buzz, buzz, buzz” will serve as a reminder that the signal is on. Chances are, at speed, I’ll never hear it over the pipes, but when I make my way to the next stop, I will.

Here’s how I wired it:


1) Piezo Buzzer – Radio Shack VersionAlternative Version

2) Wire to the Turn Signal Circuits
3) Diodes
4) Misc Connectors


Basically, the buzzer is just wired into turn signal circuit. There are several ways to accomplish this, but since my harness already has a separate line for both Left and Right signals AND a separate wire for the indicators on both sides, I decided to just wire the HOT side of the buzzer into the left and right indicator circuits.

This meant splitting the incoming line for the indicator lights into 2 feeds, one FROM the harness, and one TO the buzzer. Since the buzzer only has one hot feed, that also meant that I had to connect both the left and right leads to it. This would normally lead to back feeding across that wire, so I added a diode to each side with the flow towards the buzzer. That means that power can go down one leg into the buzzer, but when it comes back up to the other side, the diode will prevent it from getting to the rest of the circuit and back feeding to the other indicator light or signal.

I tested everything and found that my indicator lights weren’t fully blinking. I could see the voltage drop, but not a full off and on. Thanks to the guys on the forum, I realized later that it is because the turn signal lights themselves are an integral part of the circuit, and without them, the voltage won’t drop like it should. I’ll test again with all bulbs in place, but I’m confident it’ll be fine.


So…the next step is pre-wiring my leads for the LA’s and also getting the dash all wired up again. Until next time.

More Progress, A Step Back, and Some Steps Forward

   Posted by: kdavis

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks since my last update. I’ve largely been working on the wiring still, and I continue to be too creative with it. A little addition here, another one there, and just when I think “today’s the day I’ll finish up the main wiring”, it really isn’t, and another week rolls by.

Dash – Take II

The big step back this last week was the realization that I definitely put my indicator lights too high on the dash. At first, it wasn’t an insurmountable issue, and I thought I could solve it by just notching the 3/4″ dash hoop. I was quickly reminded by a forum member that the BODY also sits in that same location. After some measurements by other forum members, I quickly discovered that my top left turn signal indicator would sit inside the dash overhang by 1/4″ or more. No good.

All in all, it turned out to be a hidden blessing. I had to remove the original vinyl (see last post) and redo it completely after redrilling new holes for the indicator lights.

When I started removing the vinyl, I quickly realized that it hadn’t adhered nearly as well as I had thought, and would have likely ended up with premature failure, bubbles, etc. Although I’m not entirely sure what caused the issue, I addressed it by simply sanding the dash surface a a lot with rough sand paper (80 grit) and cleaning it very well, plus waiting a little longer to make sure the contact cement cured better and more completely before putting the vinyl on. I was really pleased with how it came out, and I think it’ll be longer lasting. I also moved the indicators into more of a cross configuration, which I like better any way. 4 hours lost or more, but no big deal.

Pics of the new dash:

The speedometer is en route back home, all repaired from Auto Meter. Great service from those guys. I also found that the clock I had traded for had some fading on the hands. I sent it in for service, which they said would be $25. They ended up not being able to replace the hands, but because they quoted me that, they are replacing it with a brand new gauge for the $25, which saves me $50 at least on the gauge. What a deal!

More Wiring Progress:

It really does feel like I’m making some final progress on the wiring. This weekend was some work on the dash gauges, getting them pre-wired in before the dash goes in, the clutch safety switch rewire, and headlight switch wiring. The gauges are a little easier to wire before the dash goes in.

Door Switches, Accessory Lights, Headlight Switch Mod:

I did a full write up of the process for wiring the cockpit lights and door switches. I’ll include it here too:

I spent a bunch of time head scratching to get this all to work the way I wanted, and thought I’d possibly save someone else the time/trouble if they wanted to do the same thing.

This is a long, detailed write up of how I did it. I’m sure there are several other ways to do the same thing.

There is an underlying methodilogical debate with switching, whether to switch the HOT side or GND side. I’m on the HOT side of the coin, and have simply always switched this side. I think there are merits both ways, and probably the GND is actually better/safer. This procedure assumes the HOT side is switched, which did present an issue with the AA switch as you’ll see.


I thought it would be great to have some door actuated interior lights, much like a production car, but also have manually operated lights for each foot box, and for the bulkhead area for the seat/cockpit (I’m doing a rear shelf and the light will light that up and spill in).

I have an LED under the middle front of each footbox (on Everson’s dash panel) and then the flexible strip is on the ¾” tube behind it and wires run in a hidden fashion. The headlight switch has a dome light setting (must be modified so it’s not GND driven), and then each footbox has a rocker switch to activate it. The headlight dome switch also controls the footbox lights, so I can turn on all interior lights light a production car. Another manual switch could be added for the bulkhead, but I didn’t need it.


I bought a lot of this stuff over time, you could probably get all of the stuff from 1-2 vendors.

LED Accessory Lights

LED Flexible Light Strip

Standard Automotive Rocker Switches


American Autowire Headlight Switch (modified)

Door Switches (push button normally ON switches)

Bosch Relay

Relay Harness (with all 5 pins – 87a)

Misc Connectors

Issues to be Addressed:

Backfeeding – this was the biggest challenge for me, and took a couple of hours of head scratching and testing to get it right. The system wants to backfeed between the 2 footbox lights, and also between the rear light and the footbox lights. The way I addressed it was by using 3 separate diodes (essentially a one-way valve for electricity) at each light so that the power will flow TO the light, but not feed the others. I put the diode on the 12v lead for each light, so it’s the last part of the system.

Headlight Switch Dome Switch – This switch is handy in that it already has a built in mechanism for controlling a dome light. However, the switch uses the GROUND circuit to do the switching, and the rest of the way that I wired the system uses the 12V side. This required me to modify that switch to use the 12v side instead. It’s possible that you could change the rest of the switches to switch the ground instead, but this wasn’t a preferred option for me since I had already wired everything else in and the headlight switch was the last item.

I had some plastic washers left from a metal shed install around, so I basically made another leg for the switch by drilling a hole in the switch bottom, and using a small metal bolt as the leg. I isolated the bolt by shrink tubing it except the screw end and head, and then put a plastic washer between it and the switch surface. I tested for continuity before I applied power to make sure it wouldn’t short.

I’m no DV/DT kind of fabricator, so keep that in mind, but it’ll work for me. It’s very solid, and I’m fairly confident the switch will wear out before I have any issues with this part of the system.

Hooking it All Up:

There are many ways to go about wiring everything, here’s how I did it.

Feed – I have a separate fuse panel that has both constant ON and keyed on power. I chose to use the constant side for the interior lights, this is how a production car would be wired. I have a 20A fuse for this feed, but probably 10A or less would be more than adequate, especially with LED’s.
Relay – To get this to work, I used a bosch type relay, which has a switched power source inside. The 87 lead is powered when the relay is OFF, and the 87a lead is powered when it’s ON. This gives you 2 separate sides for the door switch side and the manual switch side. When the doors are closed, the manual switches are fed by the 87a side of the relay. When you open the door, the lights get fed from the 87 side.
Footbox SwitchesEverson’s Dash Filler Panel) makes a great foundation for switches. I have a bunch of switches, audio input, and 12v power ports. I put a switch to the side of the tranny tunnel for easy access to turn these on.
Rear Bulkhead – My LED strip was an easy decision for me since I am adding a rear shelf. This gave me a perfect hiding place for the light, so the strip and lighting is invisible behind the ¾” hoop. I ran the wires along the hoop and simply added electrical tape to hide the wires (the wires are very thin.) In a non-shelf setup, a nicer looking light would be needed, but same implementation. I ran a single power wire from the dash to the light area, and grounded right there.
Dome Switch Mechanism – Already described above, but more detail. I grabbed power from the main headlight feed coming into the switch via one of the taps that came with the kit. I added a bullet-type connector so I can easily pull out the whole switch assembly.

Caution – due to the nature of these builds, there is ALL SORTS of conductive metal where you’re working. I had a stray wire that blew out the fuse 2x before I figured out it was resting on the upper column. Use a meter to test as much as possible before hooking up the battery, and if you can, maybe layout a towel under your work space to keep this from happening.


Relay Diagram:

Headlight Switch- Labeled

Footbox Lights and Switches

Bulkhead Light and Footbox Lights (note, one led is out on the left side, pending replacement)

Headlight ON Warning Chime:

This probably wasn’t ultimately necessary, but it’s more along the lines of a production car, and with running a pretty small battery, it made sense to do it.

I just posted this for niceguyeddie in PM, and I thought someone else might find it useful. I’ll get some pics later, but they probably aren’t even really needed.

Both of my daily cars have automatic headlights, so I was concerned that I’d turn these on in the evening and forget them, so I figured wiring in a chime will help me remember.

I bought a $10 door bell type chime from Radio Shack, and wired it in. Works fine, and it’s annoying enough, I’ll never forget the lights. I’m going to be adding a turn signal reminder buzzer the same way, RS sells the piezo buzzer for $7 think.

Here’s what I did:

Mount…I mounted it facing down in the Everson under dash panel, but it could be moutned anywhere that you can hear it (it’s loud.) This worked well for me.

There are 3 wires on the chime, blue, black, and red. The blue and black go to ground. When the black and red are hooked up, and 12v at red, and you take the blue to ground, it chimes.

So, I wired the blue and black to ground together.

I took a bosch relay and wired it this way:

SWITCH (black on my harnesses) to the KEYED ignition circuit.
GND (white) – ground
THROUGH (87a) to the RED wire on the chime.
SWITCHED POWER (Activated side – yellow) – Cut off and capped.
12V IN (blue) – I used a tap to grab power from the dash light circuit – you could also use the tail lights or parking lights.

Basically, no power to the relay at all with just the key on…so, the relay won’t fire. When the KEY ON and headlights ON, the relay has power, and it’s fired, so power moves from the 87A side to the 87 side, and no power to chime.

Turn the key off, and the relay is not firing, but has power from the headlight switch, so the power is at 87a to the chime, and DING DING DING!

Took me a while staring at it, but it works just fine.


Holy Crap Bar:

I love that name. ;-> Basically, it’s a grab bar for the dash that the passenger can use if you get a little over zealous with the go pedal, plus for getting in and out of the car.

Since the dash is not to support the bar on it’s own, a support mechanism had to be built to support it. I used some steel angle I had around, and made it in such a way that it can be adjusted upward as the dash gets installed into the body. The bar is a marine-application grab bar, and should also help with the relatively empty space on the passenger side of the dash.