Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Lagniappe and recovering from a goof

I ordered a trick shift linkage for the transmission - and the vendor also chucked in this cool aluminum shifter plate. You can see the steel one I was going to use in the picture as well, but I moved the lever and bellcrank to the new plate.

It's not a big change, and it's probably going to be completely hidden once the build is done, but it's a cool little extra bit that I like.

I will have pics of the trick shift linkage later on, I am sure.

Here's what I fabbed up to act as an anchor point for the hip belt of the harness. Rather than remake the existing seat mount bracket, I will add this to the back. And I'll have to make a matching one for the other side, of course. I also still need to fab an anti-submarine mount.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Fiddling with seat positioning and mountings - and the shifter, too

One of the things about the seats I am using - Kirkey racing buckets - is that they should be secured to the frame of the car at the back of the seat as well as at the base. In order to get this done, I needed to make a secure place to bolt up the correct mount. 

This is a piece of angle iron, Clecoed to the frame. After I got this far, I reinstalled the aft firewall and transferred all the 1/8" holes to that, then enlarged all the holes in stages to 5/16" to take AN5 hardware.

This is that angle iron all bolted up, and showing how the back support bracket will bolt to it. Those downturned tabs will likewise get bolted to the back of the seat.
It will look something like this, but with actual bolts instead of clamps. The positioning is ending up very good. I'm quite pleased. But since the seat is fixed in place, no one will be able to drive it easily unless they are close to my height.
I also welded some flat bar onto the shifter and started positioning it. It's too early to call this final (for one thing, I goofed, and it's back to front in this picture), but that's close to where it will go.

I've also just realized that I goofed on the seat mount floor rails - I need to redo them to include an extension for the harness hip belts. And not a goof, I just haven't done it yet, but I need to fab up a mounting tab for the anti-submarine belt as well.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

A few smaller updates

A collection of fairly small updates today:

With the welding completed on the transmission subframe, I painted all the raw metal in there to protect against corrosion. Not that the car is going to see water, but it's a good idea anyway.

I cut the seat mount plates to length and painted them, and got them bolted to the frame - and I also got the seat mount uprights bolted to these plates. 
And I have been fiddling around getting the driver's position nailed down some. 

I changed the angle on the steering column to improve the position of the wheel. 

I have the seat temporarily installed (it definitely has to come out again, because there is lots to do in the fuel tank and firewall areas). It looks like I have room to move it back about an inch without conflicting with anything. I've also started planning for bracketry to brace the back of the seat. I could probably get away without this on the street, but it's recommended by the seat manufacturer and required by a number of racing classes, so I may as well go ahead and do it now.

And I started fiddling with the position of the shifter on the console. I need to weld some steel to the edges of the shifter's baseplate, so I will have something to drill holes in for bolting to the frame of the tunnel.


Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Replacing the steering wheel and wiring the horn

Today's project was pulling the stock steering wheel off, and replacing it with the nice, new wheel I ordered with the kit. Here, I am trying to figure out the wiring of the horn circuit in the donor wheel. With the airbag removed, I was able to probe out the wiring harness and figure out what wire I needed to use.

There's a bunch of other wiring here I just won't be using at all - cruise control and airbag.

With the wheel pulled off by use of a homemade steering wheel puller (a piece of steel bar with three holes drilled in it and a few bolts), I was able to get to the clockspring assembly. This is what cancels the turn signals, and it also passes electrical connections through.

The issue here it the large connector block at lower left - it conflicts with the adapter that the new wheel bolts to. The yellow wiring is for the airbag, so I just cut that away entirely, and then I removed the plastic shroud around the four other pins - even though I only need two of them for the horn.

This is the wiring that goes from the clockspring to the cruise control switch and the horn. I only needed the two conductors, so I took them out of the plug, and cut them off the connector at the other end. I will add some spade terminals there to plug the horn button into.
I only need two of the four conductors here. I added some heatshrink and put the wires on the pins. I also took the time to test continuity all the way through the wiring harness for the steering wheel, to be sure I had not broken anything.
Then I just pulled the wire tails through the adapter and threaded the nut onto the steering column. I haven't torqued it down yet, as I'm reasonably certain I will need to get this off again before I go driving.
And here's the wheel all bolted up! The horn button is the black circle in the center - it will get a badge later on.

I'm going to keep a box of all the excess wiring I remove from the donor harnesses. This car is going so have so many fewer switches and buttons in it than the donor that I should be able to remove some real weight.  

Welding while lying on the floor is a literal pain

Here's the car as I left it last. The transmission subframe is about 2/3 welded in - the easy 2/3. I had planned to weld the underside while lying on the floor, welding overhead. This turned out to be harder and even less pleasant than I anticipated.

Welding overhead is always the hardest, because when you melt metal, it wants to run downhill, like any other liquid - so it becomes kind of a challenge to get your bead to stay where you put it. If you goof up, it wants to fall off - and being under that is a good way to get droplets of molten metal on you. Not fun.

So it was time to get a little... inventive, shall we say, with my setup. I dropped the nose of the car onto some rubber wheel chocks, and I used ratchet straps and my engine hoist to get the back end up in the air. This put the areas to be welded at a much more convenient height, and also gave me enough angle that I could weld uphill, using the bead behind to support the weld puddle.

This was mildly sketchy, but not too bad. I'd have loved a real rotisserie, but this worked pretty well.

Here's the old weld. Despite my previous practice sessions, this just looked like garbage, even by my standards. I ground all this away and rewelded it. It's still farmer-grade welding, but I am happier with it. 

And, let's face it, it's going to be only a few inches off the ground when all is said and done, so I doubt anyone will ever look at it again.

Here's one of the improved welds. Still not perfect, but way, way better.

And thus my goal is met to drop the tail end of the transmission by about three inches. This should mean a much longer life.