31 Dec 2011

Between visiting friends, two family obligations, Christmas, shopping, returning stuff, and being on-call, the car’s seen about four hours of work :(. However, the car at least has a proper grill, made the same way as the other wire mesh grills. Need to make the cover over the air filter and the “gills”, and also start the car just because. With next week being really short I’ll probably take off to make it a full week’s vacation, which “should” allow for some decent progress.

One problem with vacations is that the wife considers my time as free, to be assigned. Inevitably, a lot of honey-dos pop up around now which consumes far more time than just the tasks themselves. Just this morning, she was hovering around while I was writing this up, always a bad sign. It means that she’s thinking about something that was no doubt going to consume time. Yup, “the bedroom lamps are old.” I said, “but they work fine.” “But they’re old.” There’s a lot of things I could say to that but didn’t, knowing that we’d be getting new lamps no matter what I say.

18 Dec 2011

Pretty much have the front hood assembly done. “Pretty much” means that it still needs a prop support, and epoxy is needed to fill the uneven flange on the composite nose, but at least the hard part’s done.

Not sure what to work on next. Since the car hasn’t been run for over a year(!) that should be done for several reasons. The ECU wire harness has been shortened up, so there’s a little concern there. However, since only one wire at a time was shortened, it “should just work.” Also, during the dyno run, the idle air bypass control valve destroyed itself, and while it’s been replaced, it’s unknown whether the valve itself was bad or if the ECU was sending it a bad signal. Going to have to start it again. Need to make the “gills”. While the cardboard templates are done, it might be a bit interesting to do the combination bend and curves that each will require.

A local company, “Aptera” went out of business recently. At one time they had a car with a 300 mpg claim (uh huh) but hard times and lack of funding killed it. (Makes you wonder if all the people that put down $$$$ deposits will get their money back…) They’re auctioning off all their equipment this week, and for a little while I thought of checking out their lathe, mill, and MIG welder. After some thought though, I don’t have space for any of it, and the lathe and mill, even if cheap, would need heavy equipment movers, so, eh. The MIG was attractive for a moment, but MIG is intended for production, which I’m not, and since my chassis is virtually done (uh huh) the MIG would just sit. Nope, decided to pass on it, much to my wife’s relief.

11 Dec 2011

Worked on the lateral rib for the front cover which both stiffens the assembly and keeps exiting radiator air out of the passenger compartment. Also took the wife out to get her Christmas presents which cut into the work session, but hey, it’s all about balance 😉

4 Dec 2011

Fabricated the second hood pin bracket, note this one’s a lot less involved that the first, just a tipped-on-edge nut.

With both pins done, the next step was to cut clearance slots for the suspension push-rods. Due to not thinking the whole tilting-hood thing through completely, only now did it become clear that simply vertical slots wouldn’t do. Because the hood pivots on a pin below the radiator, the entire assembly moves on an arc about that point, so they have to be triangular in order to allow for both closing the hood and normal vertical suspension motion. Oh well, more character building.

Yet another consequence of having the nose tip forward is that, because that wasn’t planned at the time that the headlights were mounted, they drag some on the nose as it’s opened. Possible solutions include angling the headlight mounting brackets outboard, cutting off the brackets and shifting them outboard, or leaving them be and adding some rub strips. I’m leaning toward the last solution since it’s the simplest and also keeps the lights tight in toward the body, not angled outward and looking bug-like. Another reason is that, being mid-engine, it means that the front “probably” won’t be opened all that often.

Last shot is one of the rare whole-car pictures. I kind of like it’s a bit “sprint car” like. Actually, not having rear fenders is growing on me, too. Not sure how legal it is, but hot rods do it all the time.