9 Dec 2012

So the plan is to finalize, clean up, and prep all the exterior body panels before paint. In general, when confronted with a bunch of different tasks I always start with the hardest. This provides incentive that as tasks are finished the next is easier and faster, so the first to deal with was the nose/front cover combo.

The return flange on the fiberglass nose wasn’t parallel to the front cover panel behind it and while it was tempting to leave it as “good enough”, the concern was that when the rivets are pulled they’ll deform the aluminum panel. Being as the gaps in the turn-down area were as much as 1/4″, the two were carefully positioned and epoxy poured into the gaps. Slow-setting epoxy was used, and it being a cold day it was left to set-up. They were popped apart at the end of the day and it looked like the epoxy did its job. I thought of trying to make the nose/front cover a one-piece assembly right from the start but it seemed highly likely that the seam would always be visible and plus, dissimilar thermal properties of the fiberglass and aluminum would likely cause the paint to crack at the junction. For that reason the two will be prepped and painted separately then riveted together with the seam visible – a feature.

At the other end of the car, the engine cover had always bugged me because I’d used 0.050″ sheet – it’s just too floppy. While stiffening ribs could be added, the real concern was that since the panel is fairly large, it wouldn’t take much low pressure above it to cause it to bow upwards or evenĀ  flap in the wind. Plus, several of the Dzus fastener holes were mis-located, so with those excuses, a 0.063″ panel replaced it. The Dzus fasteners were more carefully drilled (this time!) and line up much better. Next, the correct-sized Dzus fasteners need to be chosen.

Also messed with the “gill” panels on the left side, trimming them to play nice with the side panel, nose, and front cover with no overlaps or interference. Next is the other side. After everything fits, all panels will have sharp edges and corners knocked off, irregular cuts filed, sanded, acid-etched, and Alodine-coated, and then it’s off to paint.

As an aside, I’m very impressed with the Odyssey PC680 battery. Even after sitting for years it didn’t lost much charge, as evidenced by it topping off in minutes. It has no problem turning over the engine, even during the marathon engine cranking episodes. At 13-lbs and with its small size I’m pretty happy with it.