18 Mar 2012

Set up a proper clutch-stop, which isn’t an option for a twin-disc. Ironically it’s how I got such a good deal on it; the previous owner had installed it without reading the instructions, leaving the clutch master cylinder and pedal travel stock. The extreme over-travel caused the clutch, flywheel, and crank assembly to push forward hard enough to ruin the crank thrust bearing. After I bought it, it was sent it back to the factory to ensure it wasn’t ruined, bought the proper throw-out bearing, and in combination with the proper stop, hopefully there’ll be no issue.

Cut off and replaced the driver-side rear seat mount to set the proper clearance between the seat and paneling.

Added a dead pedal and a brace to double as a guide to keep my clutch foot from getting stuck under it.

I had about 50 Clecos that were used during construction of Kimini, which wasn’t enough but they never failed. Bought another batch about a year ago so there’d be more on-hand for Midlana and well, something’s changed in the product. To date about six (of the new ones) have broken just like these, with the missing nubs being destined to forever rattle around inside the chassis somewhere.

Made a list last week that has 16 remaining issues to deal with before the car can be torn down for paint. No doubt the list will grow, but the important thing is that as of today the list has <em>13</em> items on it. In other words, the list isn’t that long and it got shorter. Granted some issues may consume an entire day, but it’s getting there!

11 Mar 2012

Ah, springtime, time for plants to grow, flowers to bloom, birds to leave the nest, and cars to stretch their wings. Yes that’s right, she moved under her own power!

Sorry, no real driving, but it’s something. There’s just too many loose ends – literally – to go more than out and back. As noted, an unsecured fuel line nearly wore through against the spinning engine pulley which could have ended the drive much differently. The fuel line is properly routed – except for the excess that’s used when using a plain gas can – and that was the part that got me. In addition to loose wires, hoses, and bolts, the panels can be heard clattering about. The clutch is firm but manageable; it’s just tricky on the sloped driveway. The dog-engagement transmission is a real hoot. You know when you shift gears in typical transmission, how there’s always a slight resistance before it drops into gear? That’s the syncros taking time to match up the speeds of the two gears, and that delay doesn’t exist in a dog box. Nope, it’s almost like the shifter’s not attached to anything, how it just drops right into gear with zero resistance. That’ll be fun.

Anyway, everything went fine and that was all that was done today. I really like how the rear end of Midlana looks from different angles, made all the better with a local beer with an appropriate name.

3 Mar 2012

Tack-welded more bushings, brackets, and screws – full welding of these and a bunch of other stuff can only happen after the chassis is stripped down in preparation for paint. Speaking of that… that’s not far off. Midlana is  different than Kimini, which had a composite shell. On Kimini, virtually the entire frame and every panel had to be finished and painted before final construction could start since the shell covered everything; once it was in place it cut off most access. However, with Midlana, the chassis can be painted first, then the drivetrain, suspension, wiring, and plumbing can be installed immediately, before installing a single aluminum panel. Because of that it means that some of the fussy panel prep (deburring, sanding, and chem-film) can happen later after the car’s a roller (probably want to install the floor panel early on though… and the dash.) So believe it or not, things will begin happening faster from here on out. My wife caught me staring at the dash, lost in thought about what’s left to do. The engine compartment’s filled up, that’s for sure. There are two blue hoses looking somewhat out of place at lower left; they’re the fuel supply and return lines that are dropped into a gas can when running the engine.

Here are probably the last pictures of the hummingbirds. Both are out of the nest, the stronger one for a week now, the young one since yesterday. I went out to check on them yesterday and very nearly stepped on the youngest who’d once again flopped to the ground – I put him up on a branch. Late today I found the mom feeding him on the ground again and when I tried to pick him up, he took off but could barely gain altitude. As of tonight he’s up in a tree, so they’re pretty much on their own at this point. Mom keeps feeding both as they continue to hang around. I guess it’s a sign of the tough economic times that the kids don’t want to leave, goofing off, eating everything, watching TV and playing video games. I think this is probably their last free week though. It’s been fun and we wish them the best – just hope they watch out for kids with BB guns…