30 Sep 2012

Odds and ends, clamping down wires and hoses, wrapped the engine wire harness, installed rivnuts, made a brass fuel pick-up for the tank. Messed with the bump-steer issue a bit but there’s no way round making a proper bumpsteer gauge. Also been working on the manuscript, filling in missing or weak areas… which reminds me. I keep getting pinged by people asking when they can buy the book, and the answer’s always the same. First the car has to be finished, then taken to a trackday event, then the manuscript fully finished, edited, and then it’ll be ready. Said another way, it’ll be done a several months after the car is. Sadly, not by the Christmas shopping season 🙁

In other news, there were two pictures this week that I found very striking, the first was taken by the Hubble space telescope, to see just how far it could see – pretty freekin far! There’s around 5500 galaxies in that one picture. The second picture is the work of Dirk Dzimirsky. Click on the link before reading further…

It doesn’t seem like a big deal, does it? Until you find that it’s not a photograph all, but pencil on paper – he drew it!

23 Sep 2012

Last week I mentioned that bump-steer was 0.030″. That was true, but it was measured between the lug nuts which are only ~4″ apart. Since the OD of the tire is about six times bigger than that, it means actual bump-steer is more like 0.180″. Oh well, it is what it is and will be dealt with in due time.

Set out to install a bunch of rivnuts but broke the 6-32 mandrel on the first pull. Fine – spent the day on the engine bay, getting the rear suspension in – not tightened down or adjusted, but in at least. Also started tying down some of the wire harness. The plan is to install the engine in the next week or two.

16 Sep 2012

Front suspension is in, though no springs yet due to testing and setting camber and bumpsteer. The vertical metal plate was used as a poor-man’s bumpsteer gauge against the wheel studs. Bumpsteer is currently about 0.030″ or so – it’ll probably be left as-is. Initial camber and toe still need finishing.

The front cowl subassembly is in. The pedal assembly is in, the reservoir tank hoses shortened, and the brake and clutch lines wrapped, though nothing has been clamped down yet.

A lot of time seemed to vanish into clearing threaded holes and bores – a necessary evil – but bit by bit the garage floor is becoming visible again as parts slowly migrate back onto the chassis.

One nagging detail is the unpainted front steering arms… it’s always something.

15 Sep 2012

Ugh, it’s hot, 97 deg in the garage. The steering was checked and there was some bump-steer, which was corrected by spacing the rack up a bit. During design I must have lost sight of “the forest for the trees” at some point and moved the lower front suspension points inward to improve roll-center behavior, forgetting that those points had already been set so the stock rack could be used in line with the lower A-arms. Such is design – and compromise. Oh well, fortunately it’s just embarrassing rather than anything serious. Tomorrow’s supposed to be “cooler”, down into the high 80s.

9 Sep 2012

The day shot by. Checked the fuel tank (again) for leaks and it was a good thing, too. Not one, not two, but three leaks were missed during the first round! Making a gas tank is somewhat nerve-raking because after it’s filled with gas it becomes much less convenient to repair, which is why it was checked again. With it now good to go (fingers-crossed) it was installed from below and the under-frame installed. Clamps above the top corners keep it boxed-in without any direct contact (so in the event of an accident any mounts don’t tear a hole in the tank.)

Installed the wire harness – more or less. It’s just sitting in there loose with plenty of clamps left to install.

The rocker arm shown below is an example of, well, sloppy workmanship. It’s just the way it is with vendors who, even when explicitly told what to do, seem to do a half-assed job. If I wanted to be a pain I’d take the parts back and make them remove the overspray. Lucky for them I’m not one for confrontation – I just bitch about it on the Interweb… The unmasked holes aren’t too bad, just needing a reamer run through them (even though they were told to mask them.) The real pain is overspray in the bearing cups, where getting it out of the corners is a time-sink. Fortunately they managed to keep it out of the snap-ring grooves – if they’d be plugged with paint they’d have gone back.

The throttle cable end is a cute little assembly – as you will see I painted many of the little bits in lime green – they make a nice accent against the grey.

The last picture shows the magnitude of the mess. Virtually everything has to be reinstalled so it’s hard to not jump from one task to another. Because the beta-builder said that his car has bumpsteer issues, that’s eating at me enough that the front suspension will be installed early in the build-up so that can be checked. Not knowing is worse than finding it incorrect. Among the mess on the floor is a tap – absolutely necessary to run it through every threaded insert else the rod ends will jam up bad.

5 Sep 2012

Someone asked why there are small holes in the floor panel bays. That was a lesson learned on Kimini, where pebbles and sand collecting on the floor with no way out. It drove me nuts to hear it rattle back and forth on twisty roads, and having to vacuum it out. Then there’s the inevitability of the car someday getting caught in the rain; it needs a way out else it becomes a pond on wheels.

3 Sep 2012

750 rivets later and the floor panels are in; the open gap being where the fuel tank slides in. On the floor in the second picture is a pneumatic rivet gun – highly recommended! I must have used a slightly different size drill bit for the rivets on Kimini. There they went right in while on Midlana I’m having to drill out the paint on every rivet hole. Found a few incomplete (non-critical thankfully) welds… oops. Found a few hiding bits and pieces in the garage which should have been painted; they’ll be dropped off tomorrow. A few other bits will be left as bare aluminum but Alodine-coated, which looks nice and is easy to do. Realized that I’d completely forgotten about the wire harness on the engine which still needs wrapping.>

Almost ended up with a second dog. I was walking Midi when a tan pitbull-mix came running up – always a dicey situation but he was young and very playful. Looked around and there was no owner and he had no tags. He ended up following us all the way home but was uninterested when offered food and water. He was a bit skittish, much like Midi when we got him (Midi was found on the street, too.) Being a holiday there was no way to take him to the Humane Society and I didn’t trust putting the two of them in our yard until I knew they’d really get along, especially since Midi is very defensive of the yard. The dog ended up getting distracted by another dog being walked by and followed it – I wish him well. Later, Midi was taking a nap and dreaming, wagging his tail – with his hair standing up on his back, he must have been playing with his new friend. If it hadn’t been a holiday… well, who knows.

2 Sep 2012

Started in on putting the car together. Not much to see yet because much of the day was spent running reamers through mounting holes, and taps through various threaded bores. Then there was installing various rivnuts, followed by the the two footwell panels. As of tonight all that’s installed are the coolant tubes down the center, the footwell panels, and one floor panel. I have tomorrow off and will post pictures then, but at least things are moving.

In other news I’m building a new pc to replace this one that’s getting flakey. It’s amazing how much technology has moved along and once again I’m reminded of the huge drop on harddrive prices. In the mid-1990’s I built a pc where it cost $1 per MB , now it’s $0.001 – one thousandth as much. Also, the solid state drives (SSD) are just amazing. From pushing the on-button to when Windows is up and running takes 18 seconds. As fast as the machine is though, it’s taking literally days to move all the software over so it runs the same as it does on this one. Still a couple of program files to move but no, it’s not taking time away from car construction.