31 Jul 2009

I think part of the reason for the lack of motivation is that work is now shifting from the fun big stuff to all the small fiddly stuff. I had a flashback of fabing the suspension brackets on Kimini – they took forever and were a real mental drag – real familiar… I now remember being told by a chassis fabricator that brackets take a disproportionate amount of time. He said there’s two parts to building a chassis: tubes, and brackets. Tubes are fun, like building a house; big pieces going up which give a great since of progress. Brackets? Ugh, they take longer than the chassis and after a full day of work there’s often little to show for all the work.

Anyway, turns out there’s a bit more to the intake manifold I picked up; apparently the seller knew about as much as I did. Turns out it’s a high-performance part that’s hard to find so instead of selling or swapping it I’ll modify it to work.

30 Jul 2009

First day of my working vacation’s not off to a good start. Spent all morning getting the engine connected to the tranny, bolts, starter, blah, blah, blah. While working on it I realized that since the head I’m using isn’t the head that everyone commonly uses in these swaps, the modifications I made to the intake manifold render it unusable! So that’ll have to get sold or swapped for another manifold.. grrrr.

After the drivetrain was ready to go, hooked it up to the engine hoist, and realized the drivetrain can’t be lifted high enough to clear the rear chassis cross tube. That’s nice, so now the drivetrain will take up valuable garage floor space until the chassis is more complete. Actually, I can still make it work… slide the chassis forward, set the drivetrain on the table, then lift the chassis up and set it down over the drivetrain. I’ll need help to do that though.

So right now I”m not happy about the lack of progress. At least the wire harness, switches, and electrical troubleshooting manual showed up.

29 Jul 2009

Received the headlights. Ordered wire harness, switches, and wiper assembly 🙂

In other news, I let Midi out last night to do his business before going to sleep. When I let him in he came running in all happy and excited, jumping around the room like a deer… then he dropped what was in his mouth. It had been either a rat or gopher, but from the smell it was pretty clear it wasn’t fresh… Ewwwww. Put Midi out, picked up the mess and cleaned the carpet, then let Midi back in, who was immediately sure that his trophy had run off, looking all over for it.

26 Jul 2009

Other stuff came up so another Sunday and no car progress. It’s still warm, forecast the same through Tuesday which works out okay since my vacation starts Wednesday. In the meantime, work is still progressing on the book. Right now the Electrical chapter is being expanded: working out the power budget, choosing a fuse-block, and planning the schematics. This is a very different process for me, not “winging it” like I normally do, with just notes on scraps of paper that barely pass for documentation. No, this is going to be very well planned out and there will be real, actual schematics to work from when the time comes. Huh, that’s be a refreshing change.

24 Jul 2009

A reader suggested I cool the garage in the morning by opening the door to the house and let the air-conditioner cool the garage… what air-conditioner? We pay too much as it is for electricity so I’ll just sweat – and complain.

Ordered the headlights and buckets. Why now? I’m working my way through the electrical design and these combo units are perfect. Just hope they don’t block my field of view because the rest of the car is pretty low! Other electrical goodies will also be ordered this week.

22 Jul 2009

Engine arrived safely and on-schedule! A big thanks to Jeremy of Drag Cartel for delivering as promised, something that these days is more the exception than the rule. I’ll probably put it back in the chassis simply to get it off the floor but it’ll be a while before it’s started. Only then will I know how well put-together it is… no, I have a lot of faith in Jeremy’s work; he has a well-deserved reputation as a top builder. The heat’s still on around here, 97 degrees in the garage and just moving the engine pallet from one side of the garage to the other was enough to start sweating. Or maybe I’m just getting old…

Before starting the engine I’d like to have a full schematic on-hand for the car, something Kimini never really had (other than hand-drawn sketches and connector spreadsheets.) To do that means finding a wire harness kit but what brand to use is undecided – not a big deal but another item on the to-do list. The schematic will be in the book though I wonder how useful it’ll be. I mean, people are going to be using all sorts of drivetrains, different lights, and different dash instruments, so there may not be a lot of commonality. However, if it helps even a little bit it’s a plus, and some people will be using the Honda K-series – beta-builder Jim is. Drawing the schematic will be a time-intensive sub-project… just like all the other parts of this project, lol.

As said before, just because welding isn’t happening doesn’t mean the project isn’t moving forward. I think of it as a big pile of soil, with boulders, rocks, sand and dirt in it. The entire pile has to be moved so it doesn’t really matter what’s moved, just that I keep working at it. Like the saying goes, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” In a week I’ll have some solid work time so thing’s will move along.

On the dog front, Midi has this odd habit of bending his head over backwards so far he can almost rest it on his back. When he sleeps it’s often with his four feet up, and in that position he snores – loud. Amazingly loud actually, loud enough that we can’t hear about 1/3 of the movie we’re watching. It add character.

20 Jul 2009

Well, one thing does great in the heat – this is about how many we collect each day, and no worms – yet. This reminds me of a story…

I went on a tour through our county sewage treatment plant (there are many similarities to a fish pond filter.) Anyhow, I asked the guy how the tomato plant got there that was growing next to one of the million gallon tanks… suspecting the answer. Sure enough they’d cleaned out a transfer hose and some tomato seeds ended up there. What to guess where the seeds come from? You, me, everyone… tomato seeds are unaffected by human’s digestion so they show up in the darndest places. In fact Cooper liked tomatos and plants were always popping up where we hadn’t planted them… Oh, and the engine is done and on the way 🙂

19 Jul 2009

Too hot – again. Got to play grandpa and took the family to Sea World which even on the bay was darn hot – a lot of sunburned and cooked tourists. This guy didn’t put these penguins around him or sit down in the middle of them, they recognized him and came waddling over. The one on his lap had jumped up without help and seemed to really like him – he said he had helped raise her. Several others squabbled over who else got to sit in his lap. I was about to ask why the water gear when one took a dump in his lap – ah.

Work continues on the book during the week. I will be taking some time off again so things will happen… at least during the mornings!

17 Jul 2009

Here’s Jeremy’s latest picture from Drag Cartel of my engine due to be done in a week or so. There’s something very pretty – even elegant – about newly-coated pistons in a fresh block.

Even though I don’t work on the car everyday, the thinking about it never stops. Here are some recent notes that give a glimpse into the many parallel threads currently running through the project:

 … change rear cowl frame to ½” to be easier to bend and to cover the edge of the dash. Or, use ¾” angle material instead of square tubing… probably easier. Front may have to stay at 1” wide though due to attached flange. Split 1” sq tubing then trim? Assumes bandsaw or saber saw. Do I make cowl – and front cover – very slightly crowned so center front cover doesn’t vibrate or lift at speed? Inner framework for front cover? Hinge the cover? If so, have to lean front cowl frame back slightly to clear lower edge as it rises… + latches, gas pistons. Option? Probably should lean front cowl frame back regardless… just in case, but same angle as side tubes? Probably can’t due to outer surface of flange needing to be parallel with front cover. In fact, are side flanges on cowl even needed… hmmm, not really structural, but will leaving it out make cowl flimsy?…

On the dog front, we may have a bit more of a water dog than hoped for. Caught him running up and down the fish pond stream having the time of his life. I didn’t have the heart to yell at him and just let him be a kid. Last night he was dreaming and wagging his tail, that was nice to see because it means he’s at peace.

Yesterday he got to meet about eight dogs and wanted to play with all of them, and met a bunch of kids, wanting nothing more than have his belly rubbed. One of the little girls was fascinated by his, um, boy parts and asked lots of questions. She was concerned that something was wrong with him – the purity of children’s thoughts – and I said no, it’s just that he’s a boy dog. After asking more questions I suggested she ask her mom who was nearby. I don’t think having your 6-yr old daughter hear about sex from a creepy old guy in the park (me) is how it’s supposed to work… I can just imagine her telling her mom something and mom asking, “who told you that?!”, to which she’d point at me. I don’t want to get on the 6-o’clock news that way…

Lastly, regarding the Kimini book and issues with the printing company, it’s still unresolved but my book sales has been incrementing, “implying” that things are working. That’s in quotes because the company isn’t answering my requests for Support so who knows what’s going on. If you order a book and have issues please let me know.