31 Jul 2011

It’s late, I’ll post pictures later. Made the frame for the air-filter, fixed it in place to ease mock-up, then set into some real metalworking, hammering out four segments that’ll form the housing leading from the rectangular filter element to a smoothly-curved transition tube leading into the turbo.

25 Jul 2011

So our 4 1/2 yr old granddaughter, Lana, was being taken to school by her mom when this happened:

Lana: “Did you know grandpa is making a car for me?”
Mom: “But grandpa already got you a really nice car. it’s silver and it’s in our garage remember?”
Lana: “No! I want a big car, not a little car!”

She saw the car once about 3 weeks ago and I never mentioned building it for anyone. How she come up with that we don’t know. Kids are amazing.

About the air-cleaner, after being prodded regarding the inlet tubing and air-cleaner, I’ve changed plans and will go with a flat-element. It “should” integrate better than the round one and be simpler to build.

24 Jul 2011

Redid the engine cover because several of the Dzus mounting holes were off and it bugged me everything I looked at it. It’s being done now because the air-cleaner design has started. No pictures yet because the day was spent mostly thinking about it and trying out various locations for the filter. While a flat filter element packages okay, geometrically, nothing beats a cylindrical air-cleaner element for surface area. And being that my too-much-for-my-own-good engine puts out 400-ish hp, it needs a big filter. A large cylindrical K&N unit will be used on a 90-deg fitting straight into the turbo, with an outer housing around the filter butting up against the engine cover. The engine cover will have a low profile raised section pointing rearward to point the sound away, and also lessen the chances of water intrusion. There’s a couple of other tricks to make sure that if the car’s caught in the rain that no water ingestion will occur.

The picture here is of our Fugi apple tree, which has done surprisingly well in Southern California. It’s located at the base of a slope to maximize the number of chilling days it sees (a requirement for fruiting) and it’s been very productive every year… until the rats eat them. Last year I had enough and part way through their carnage, opted for the nuclear solution – bait stations. They’ve apparently broken the rat’s social structure to the point that their local community (in a neighbor’s yard) has been “solved.” That said, I hate using poison on anything, but so far so good, with no bite marks found. Fugi apples are the best apples I’ve found (try them out, they’re in most stores now.) Now if only the darn avocado would grow…

17 Jul 2011

It was all going fine…

Until I decided to trim back the big side panel since it no longer needs to turn inboard at the front – the “gills” now cover that area. Since there was already a bend crease where it turned inboard, it was easy to know where to cut… not.

I forgot that the bend line isn’t where the chassis tube is behind it and so it got cut wrong. “Wrong” is okay if it means too long, but of course in this case it meant too short and suddenly the rest of the day was planned for me. Either do nothing more with it, buy another 8′-sheet of aluminum next week ($$$) and trace the old one onto the new sheet, or, weld the cut-off piece back on. Being a cheapskate by nature and somewhat pissed at myself, it was welded back on which went about as expected, with weld distortion and my dusty aluminum-welding skills doing a barely-acceptable job. Then out came the files, die-grinder and sandpaper to try and erase the ugly weld bead, which cracked whenever it was bent even slightly. At the end of the day it was fixed “good enough” though it’ll still need a touch of – ugh – Bondo before painting. If there’s a good side to this it’s that only one side was cut wrong before catching the mistake.

Besides that, all that was accomplished was closing up the gills just slightly and squaring up the edges so they’re both straight and parallel to each other.

Speaking of paint, the time to choose is getting short. Two colors popped up this week with one being a sea-foam sort of color seen on a Jaguar (“Botanical Green”… I think); very nice though a bit on the light side. Another was – once again – a metallic burnt-orange. The trick is spotting the “right” color, noting the make and model of the car it’s on, having some clue about what year it is, and all before it gets too far away. Midlana’s chassis will probably be navy-gray just like Kimini (not a lot of colors in powdercoat can handle full sun and UV.) Whatever color’s chosen for the panels needs to complement a gray chassis, probably red suspension tubes, and some black inner panels. Both the above colors do this.

And finally, work is resuming on the book manuscript. It slowed down but never really stopped, with notes about what to include added nearly everyday. There’s plenty to do.

11 Jul 2011

The gills/louvers seem to be a hit, guess they’re staying :)… and thanks for the encouragement!

BTW, someone asked why the louvers can’t all be made from one panel. It’s because the A-arms have to snake their way through, and builders have to be able to tighten the inboard A-arm mounting bolts. Also, the assembly has to be removable even with the A-arms in place, which isn’t possible if it’s one assembly. For that reason each will be its own little dealeo, maybe with screen on the outlets to further clean up the look, or not.

10 Jul 2011

Presto, one cubical quad antenna centered on 95 MHz. The good news is that it pulls in many Los Angeles stations that were marginal or nonexistent. The bad news is that it also brings many additional stations “almost” up out of the noise. It’s tempting to put it up into a nearby tree (instead of the attic) to further improve gain, but then it would have to be rebuilt for weather. Eh, later, there be a car to build.

It became apparent that the panel and splitter assembly above the radiator isn’t necessary if (a much simpler) partition is added just aft of the shocks (yes, DP, you were right…) Changing it avoids a fair bit of work for builders, plus some weight and material. It also makes accessing the shocks, hoses, and wires much easier, so I guess that’s that. Sigh, nothing worse than wasted work, but oh well, it only has to be fixed once. That came up as these really big louvers (“gills”, even) were being mocked-up. The trick was placing them so the A-arms could get through while retaining some level of dignity. They turned out okay but took an incredibly long time to fabricate the mockup. I like them, functional yet quirky.

Just got done watching the extra material from the the Extraordinary Deluxe Edition of Monty Python’s “The Holy Grail.” The original came out when I was in high school – a long time ago. We loved it then and it’s still great; even today quotes from it pop up now and then. If you’ve not seen it, shame on you. Go out and buy or rent it, silly English-Type Person.

6 Jul 2011

Typical of me obsessing, while the new dipole FM antenna has markedly improved reception over a simple wire for the garage receiver, there’s always the “I bet I can do better.” Doing some digging and talking to my RF buddies at work led to a cubical quad antenna design, which when sized for the FM band should fit up above the garage rafters. The plan is to use PVC pipe and fittings and see how it turns out 🙂

3 Jul 2011

Fabricated the radiator splitter. The whole deal’s not done yet as there’ll be another panel left and right of it that are installed from the sides. This way, the inner section can be lifted out separately for easy access to the shocks without having to remove both coolant lines and the steering shaft, or the paneling at the bottom of the footwell, which can be tough to reach in any small sports car.

Today was the last “work day” on the car; tomorrow is clean-up, both for the garage and the house, having been through a week-long batchelor-lifestyle. Then it’s off to pick up the wife, then back to the regular work week. Actually, working in an air-conditioned office sounds okay right now.

In the last picture, Midi is finally comfortable enough to take a nap in the garage, though I think the cool concrete floor overrode his discomfort with the loud noises of fabrication. I make sure the floor’s clean and that he stays outside when welding’s going on. The big I-beam at left is the “sheet metal brake” on which all paneling is bent.

2 Jul 2011

Mocked-up and fabricated the top radiator panel, and 0.040″ 3003 aluminum is a joy to work with, about as easy to cut as cardboard and easy to bend. Anyway, between the heat, figuring out the panel and fabricating it, somehow the entire day disappeared. The rear cardboard cut-outs for the springs was done away with as I couldn’t justify it other than looks; it’s just going to get in the way when needing to access the front area.

Part of the staring-at-things included how – styling-wise – to treat the hot air exiting between the body and front tires. It’ll probably be a bolt-in affair that is easily removable yet is hopefully good-looking. It’ll probably be mesh which will match the front and rear grills, but it would might look good with large louvers. Might have to try it in cardboard first.

1 Jul 2011

Half the year gone… hmmm.

It took several hours to figure out how to set up the too-fancy-for-my-own-good AV receiver – as a simple receiver. If I were buying one today for the garage it sure wouldn’t be this Denon. Anyway, it’s in and working and it sounds great, and thanks to Carl for reminding me that a simple dipole antenna works much better than just a piece of wire, and it does, no more listening to only 3-4 stations.

Anyway, spent the rest of the hot day drilling the panels and in general, finishing up loose ends. There’s nothing worse than leaving stuff 95% done such that nothing’s really finished, so this was an effort to fix that and provide a sense of progress. Nothing to show since the panels look the same except for mounting holes. Did I mention that it was hot? Time for a cool shower, I’m beat.