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After taking a break from the car for a family Christmas, it took me a while to get going again.
In my defence this was mainly due to the weather, which just seemed to be raining all day, every day.
( I know it was mild here compared to the weather that was hitting the USA around this time.)
But my "workshop" at the bottom of my garden was water logged & the grass was taking a pounding too.
While I'm here I might as well get all my other excuses out of the way now before getting back to the build.
There was also the anti-social builder who decided to burn the trash from his construction work (illegal in London).
I did wait until it had completely died down before going outside and whilst some smoke still lingered, it wasn't too bad.
It was only after I had set everything up and started working that he stoked the fire up again, blanketing the area (& me) in smoke.
Then there is the limited daylight during the winter months, when I have to admit defeat as I can no longer see what I am doing.
I've tried using a spot light to weld in the dark, but it seems to trigger the welding mask meaning I still can't see anything.
Just to give you an idea, this was one evening when I ran out of daylight, photo taken without using the camera flash...
And this the same scene taken with the flash...
( Note the "fog" in the top right of the picture is actually my breath, as it was now pretty cold outside too. )
Thankfully, I can use my work lights to help me tidy up this mess up and make sure I don't leave any tools outside over night.
Also my spider senses are getting pretty good at judging when my luck with the weather is about to rapidly run out.
For example, this is never a good sign...
This storm rolled in really fast, so I quickly put the bulkhead back under its tarpaulin & dumped everything else into the summer house.
And I do mean "dumped".
I just had time to squeeze myself in here too, before an epic thunder & lighting storm hit.
At least I could spend some time tidying up before the rain died down enough for me to head back to the house.
There was some good news due to one small change to my working clothes this year...
As I final got fed up with welding splatter burning through my trainers and burning my feet / toes.
Anyway, enough of all that, let's get back to the build.
As always, these updates do not follow a strict time line, so some photos will over lap other work.
Initially I thought about putting the new controls where the original Spitfire ones lived...
But clearly this looked terrible, so Plan B was to make a new panel for them like so...
This was a much better idea, so I will now just seal off the original heater control "hole" with some metal like this.
Other beer brands are available.
Then I added some "tabs" to my original cardboard template for the panel.
When my friend lent me his welder, he also donated a sheet of steel to the project.
So rather than recycle some of the Spitfire, I had some nice clean metal to play with for a change.
After the initial round of hammering it was taking shape nicely.
After the final bit of hammering and welding it was complete.
I then marked up where I needed to drill the holes for the control dials.
This is the first time I've used one of my new step drill bits, what a great piece of kit.
The dials themselves have two small locating lugs at the back.
After making sure the dials were facing the correct way, I marked & drilled the holes required for them next to the main holes.
This allows the dials to sit flush against the panel when fitted.
I also cut out and cleaned up some metal from my recycling pile to blank off the old heater controls "hole".
This left the centre dash board section looking like this.
Whilst I really like this "metal" finish, the car will not have a roof, so I need to protect the metal & will paint it black.
Also I am still quite pleased that I am now capable of making something like this in the first place.
After a bit of trial & error, I found a good place for the passenger side heater vent to go.
This vent position gives enough clearance above the heater for the ducting running behind it.
The panel itself will also help to cross brace the metal dash.
In the end I decided that the panel design on the right would look better.
In order to make the circle on the cardboard I had simply drawn around a roll of tape.
( As I'd forgotten to borrow a drawing compass from the children before they went to school. )
However, for the metal panel itself, I wanted a slightly bigger circle.
So in my best Goldilocks tradition, the tape was too small, the bowl was too big, but the cutting disc lid was just right.
I also decided to use another part of my fresh steel sheet for this panel.
Note: I still need to tidy up the edges a bit.
I then hammered the bottom edge to match the angle of the bulkhead where it will be mounted.
Thankfully I have learnt that it is always worth double checking metal rather than relying on a cardboard template.
Sure enough, the line I'd marked for the top bend now appears to be in the wrong place.
I decided to wait until I'd double checked the dash position before bending the top of the panel to fit.
In the meantime, my attempt to drill a hole was an epic fail as my new cutter simply tried to rub its way through.
Clearly the supplier's definition of thin steel differs from mine.
So I simply cut the circle out with my jigsaw, this gave me a slightly rougher hole, but I could file it smooth.
To be continued...
I also needed to file the inside of the "official" vent mount, which I intend to use as a big locking washer.
It only needed a bit of work on the inside edge to go from this...
Then I filed away the inside edges of the vent panel until the vent fitted neatly there too.
Then I gave all the edges of the panel a quick clean / tidy up / final shaping.
Notice I needed to file a "V" at the top to match a locating lug on the vent itself.
This is the view of the panel from the front, which I think looks pretty good.
Eventually I was able to mark up and bent the panel to the correct angle to sit underneath the front of the dash.
Then I cleaned up the metal on the panel and the bulkhead and drilled a few holes before welding the panel into position.
As the panel lines up with the edge of the dash, it is effective "invisible" when viewed from the front.
( Even though this repaired area will be covered by the wooden dash, I will put some filler over the top to tidy it up a bit first. )
Whilst there was a simple/obvious place to fit the passenger side vent panel, the driver's side was a bit of a pain.
Initially I tried a couple of positions that were similar to the passenger side.
But these were creating fouling problems for all the other "stuff" that has to be fitted in this area.
Eventually I came up with this design:
This effectively mounts the vent panel on two sections of the bulkhead and ignores the metal dash area all together.
Then I just had to make the panel in metal.
Unfortunately, this panel continued to cause me problems when it came time to weld it in place.
It started off well enough when I put a few "pubble" welds on, just to hold the bottom section in place.
However, it then became clear that the bend in the top did not lie up properly with the curves of the bulkhead.
So I had to start at one end, weld a bit, hammer a bit, weld a bit, etc. until I had I a good enough fit and it was all done.
The edge of this panel does stick out a little bit under the dash when viewed from the front...
But as it will be painted black, it should not be easy to spot when finished.
This should be a great position for the heater vent to keep my feet warm on a cold day.
The panel I made for the heater controls will only fit if this bracket below the centre section of the dash is moved out of the way.
So I just used two clamps to slowly bend the bracket back thru 90 degrees.
So now the view from the front of the dash looks like this.
And the view from below looks like this.
The panel for the heater controls will simply be bolted to this flat section to hold it in place.
But before I could add any weight to this panel, I wanted to cross brace it into position.
I made three metal brackets to do this, two of which were very similar.
These link the panel to the original heater switch mounting points.
The final bracket ties the driver's side to the steering column supports.
This started off as another off cut from my recycling pile.
Thankfully the width of the bracket was the same size as this box section off cut.
So I could hammer the bracket's edges around the box section to create a better fit.
This joined the other bracket on the driver's side to the steering column support.
These brackets, all the other repair work (see post below) & the passenger vent panel have made the metal dash feel very solid.
As I've said before, there was so much work to do on this bulkhead, that I needed to tackle it one job at a time.
So the following repairs were always on my "To Do" list, which is why most are still in the original red colour.
I cut out a repair panel for the left hand side of the dash board from my recycling pile.
( Although it will be welded in behind the existing dash metal work. )
I just need to tidy up this mess first, including the return lip of one of the holes.
After cleaning it all up & adding a few extra holes for "puddle" welding, it was simply a case of clamping & welding a bit.
Then I just needed to move the clamps & weld another bit & repeat until done.
By now, I also knew where the micro heater & its pipe work was going to be fitted (see following post).
So I could seal up the holes in the bulkhead where the original heater pipes went.
I also wanted to remove the flex in the metal dash caused by the original de-mister vent holes.
This area will be covered by the fibre glass body shell, so I could simply weld patches over the top.
As mentioned in the last post, I am very pleased with the way all this work has stiffened the whole dash area.
I drilled new holes in the bulkhead for both the micro heater and the bulkhead hose connectors.
( These connectors also step the hose sizes down from the larger bore from engine to the smaller bore for the heater. )
I had to enlarge the holes in the heater mount slightly to take the mounting bolts supplied.
( In the photo, the right hole has been done, but the left hole is next. )
This is how the heater and connectors look on the cockpit side of the bulkhead.
And this is what the connectors look like on the engine bay side of the bulkhead.
With the heater and bulkhead connecting pipes bolted into place, I cut two lengths of hose to join them together.
( This needed a bit of fine tuning so the hoses were at just the right length to avoid any kinks in the curves. )
I then spend ages double checking the ducting routes and lengths required before finally cutting & joining them to this "Y" piece.
And this is the final duct routing from heater to vents.
And is the view from the front showing plenty of room for the dash board instruments.
If you are going to any mock up work using your brand new micro heater, don't forgot to tape it to the bulkhead.
That way it wont drop on the ground and get a dent in it!
Despite the small dent, I am very happy with the way I've managed to fit all this new kit into the bulkhead.
It has also been a lot easier to do this work with the bulkhead as a stand alone unit that I can rotate with relative ease.
I saw this section of old Spitfire in my scrap pile and though I could use the "nuts" to mount the new heater control panel.
So I cut it out and drilled out the four spot welds that held it the main panel.
This will now line up with the lip in the dash.
However, to avoid having too many holes close together, I needed to bring the nuts nearer to each other.
So I just cleaned this up, marked it, cut it & welded it back together.
This is what the bracket looks when held in position.
I then drilled two new holes in this section of the metal dash.
However, there is a small "step" in this area after I bent the original bracket back thru 90 degrees.
So for now I made a quick fix by clamping and angle grinding some washers.
The trimmed washers could then be slotted into place here.
And the plate with the nuts could be held like so.
There is still a bit of fine tuning to do here, but you get the general idea & I might weld the whole thing in place.
However, I can't put the corresponding holes in the new heater control panel until I have the wooden dash fitted.
( That way I can be sure that everything will line up properly. )
The box section 'brace' I welded to the back of the bulkhead is actually in the way of the gearbox tunnel cover.
And I need this cover to sit flush so I can see what repair work is required on the inside edges of the bulkhead.
So I cut & welded three sections of box section like so.
I then welded this to the existing cross brace.
With allowed me to cut out the middle section.
Which in turn allowed the gearbox cover to sit nicely against the bulkhead.
Now I can make a list of repairs which will include things like this.
( I just held a bit of wood behind the holes to make it easier to see in the photo. )
I am also considering buying a new tunnel cover, as the one that came with my donor car was not in great condition.
There is a plastic cover available that comes in black, which would also save me the hassle of painting this white one.
I guess there comes a point when I need to pick my battles if I am ever going to get this project finished.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Unfortunately this is another one of those things where I am actively making more work for myself.
I don't mind buying something new to save me some time, but I can't ignore a previous "bodge" and hope for the best.
There has been a half hearted attempt to repair the battery box by simply welding something over the top.
( You can see the new metal through this hole in the original battery box. )
Also the engine bay edge of the box looked very "bumpy" on the inside.
Now I have already seen several repair panels simply welded over rust on this bulkhead.
I've also spent a long time removing and repairing / treating every bit of rust I've found so far.
Which meant that if I was going to do this job properly, I had no choice...
Whilst I know this will be a pretty big job to sort out, I'm pleased that I cut it all out.
Because, sure enough, there was a rusty mess beneath the bumpy surface where the repair was joined.
So now I have a gaping hole in the bulkhead where the battery box used to be.
( There is some white plastic in the bulkhead to make the hole easier to see. )
I will take my time making a cardboard template and then build the new box in metal.
However, I did spot something in my recycling pile that might come in handy.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Well that brings me up to date, and also reminds me not to leave a big time gap between posts!
Until next time, take care, Paul.
I checked my old battery in the bottom of the tray and there is a lot of extra room for its new replacement.
( Which I will buy when the build is a bit further down the road. )
Sorry the next photo is blurred, but the light was fading and they looked OK on the camera when I took it.
This was my first attempt at a cardboard template for the new battery box.
Then I gave the template a bit of a trim as I realised I had made it a bit deeper than was actually required.
Finally, I had to adjust the template to take account of the way I was planning to make it in metal.
I was going to recycle a section of Spitfire floor pan for the base of the box and the rear wall.
( There is just no escaping rust on this project! )
The three remaining walls of the battery box would be cut from my "clean" sheet of metal.
Note: I added a bit extra (in red) for welding tabs on two sides and a margin for error on the front edge.
After cleaning up the old section of floor, trimming it and hammering it into shape it looked like this.
I also cut off a small section of metal tubing that will be form part of the drain.
This is the two sections of the battery box resting together.
After this photo was taken I decided to put the tabs at the back of the rear wall, not in front of it.
This made it much easier to weld, so after welding it all together, it looked like this.
I have left making the final bend required at the front of the box until I have finished preparing the hole in the bulkhead to take it.
I did the final trimming around the edge of the battery box hole in the bulkhead.
I then needed to make a few fine tuning "adjustments" to the box itself to ensure it fitted into this hole.
( In other words, I used my small lump hammer rather than the big one. )
Finally I was left with this gap in front of the battery box.
I wanted to provide a bit of extra support, so I welded in a section of small box section.
Then I marked up where the battery box met this bar & bent the front tab to match.
I just need to hammer out the top of the left & right side edges until they touch the bulkhead before they are welded in place.
I will start welding from the bulkhead and work my way forward.
That way, I can make the final trim of the front edge when I know how it all finally fits in place.
Next, I drilled a hole in the bottom of the battery box and welded on my drainage pipe.
Now I just need to work out the best route for this hole to drain out of the cockpit/bulkhead.
Then I can weld a corresponding piece of pipe through the bulkhead and join the pipes with some surplus heater hose.
The battery box was given the traditional anti-rust treatment inside & out.
You will notice a couple of repair panels welded on the outside to completely cover the areas that had been "thinned" by rust.
These areas will also get a covering of fibreglass filler on the inside (currently on my "to do" list).
Although I have applied some filler and etch primer on the outside of the box.
As always, my objective is simply to be solid and water tight, so I can live with the "rough & ready" finish.
I need to a bit more work on the inside of the bulkhead before I weld the battery box in.
I also bought a new Spitfire battery clamp, as my original donor car didn't have one.
That is as far as I've got with the battery box at the moment, but I have been chipping away in other areas too...
I plan to re-use the Spitfire dash from my donor car, which comes in three sections.
But in order to fully mock up the changes I needed to make, I had to find these screws first...
They were the original fittings for the centre section of the dash that I had removed from my donor.
Unfortunately, they were the "needle" and this was the "haystack"...
And obviously they were in one of the most hard to reach boxes, that I hadn't put a contents label on after a previous tidy up.
The two outer sections of the dash will use original mounting bracket at the far end of end panel.
( See photo near the bottom of this post. )
But the inside edges of these outer panels will need some new mounting brackets.
Partly this is because I have already modified / repaired / strengthen parts of the metal dash support.
One section previously looked like this.
But after welding, filler & primer it now looks like this.
So whereas previously there was just one connecting bracket on one side of an outer panel.
Note: This held the outer dash section in place when the centre dash section was screwed into place.
I now plan to use this approach to use all 4 of the centre dash section screws to support the two outer panels.
So the new brackets will look something like this.
Obviously the cigarette lighter hole (see more details below) means I can't run a simple straight bracket here.
Note: I still need to line everything up properly and drill the locating holes.
In the photo below you can see the dash mounting fitting I have removed on the left.
On the right is the numerous holes that previous owners have made trying to fit it.
I have used wood filler to seal off all of these holes for now, so I can measure this section properly and drill two new holes.
I also cut out a metal "blank" to fill in the original cigarette lighter hole.
This will be painted black and bonded into place.
This is how the choke cable attaches at the back of the dash in its traditional location.
But I want to relocate to the right of the steering column.
So I tried re-using the hole for the original fog light switch (which I don't need).
Whilst this looks OK from the front, the hole at the back is too big.
So I made a small bracket like this.
Now the choke cable can be tightened up against this bracket.
And the mounting screws for the bracket will go into the original fog light switch locating holes.
The original Spitfire dash also had two warning lights that I will not be using either.
( The other one is the seat belt warning light. )
Which leaves three holes to be filled for each light.
So I cut two small metal discs to "shove" into the main centre holes.
( The smaller holes do not go all the way thru the dash, they are just locating points. )
I then put some wood filler into the holes.
I then put filler in some of the cracks in the original wood grain in all three dash panels.
When this filler was fully set, I sanded it all down & wiped it clean to leave the panels looking like this.
I brushed some wood stain I had lying around in my shed into dash.
( Which seemed in keeping with the recycling / "make do and mend" spirit of this build. )
Whilst one coat has made a difference, I will give it at least a second coat.
I also quite like the way the filler looks like part of the wood grain.
Note: If the brush marks are still visible when it dries, I will just rub it down with fine sandpaper.
The bulkhead lives under a tarpaulin, but we've had so much rain lately, that surface rust was appearing on my recent welding work.
Which is why I normally finish one section, before moving on to the next, so it was back into the old routine...
Anti-rust treatment, fibreglass filler, etch primer...
You will notice the bricks & rocks on top of the bulkhead.
This allowed me to quickly pull the cover back over when it started to rain without it sticking to the filler/paint.
There were a few other things that I gave the same treatment to...
The various brackets to be used in the metal dash support area:
The new heater control panel and the "blank" for the old heater control hole:
The "blank" for the cigarette lighter hole & the choke mounting bracket:
Following on from a previous post, I did order a new black plastic gearbox tunnel cover.
Note: I will still need to spend some time making sure I can get a good fit all round with it.
And finally, we recently had a family weekend away, staying in a converted pigsty of all places.
During our stay, my daughters were very keen to see what I would look like with long hair.
( Or any kind of hair for that matter! )
With children like these, who needs enemies?
Until next time, take care, Paul.
You may recall that I left two big holes in the bulkhead when I cut off the original Spitfire windshield.
Previously I had sealed up these holes from above.
So the final part of this particular puzzle was to seal them up from below as well.
As usual, the metal was given some anti-rust treatment & primed before I filled the "cave" with expanding foam.
When that was set, I could cut it to the rough shape I wanted and cover it in filler.
After tidying up the the filler and putting on another coat of etch primer, the two corners looked like this.
When this has been painted black I think it will blend in nicely with the repaired "A" pillars.
I also did a bit of work on each end of the metal dash board where it joined the bulkhead.
I made two small brackets to weld in to add a bit of strength to the joins.
I also did a bit of extra welding in these areas when I put the brackets in.
Then the whole area was covered in fibre glass filler to tidy up the welding and seal off any small gaps.
After the usual round of cleaning up and painting the corners looked like this.
And the whole dash section looked like this from the front.
One of the main reasons for picking the new Cordite kit, over the old Spyder one, was the doors.
So the fact they turned out to be complete junk, and almost impossible, to use was a real kick in the teeth.
Even forgetting the fact that the two doors were different sizes, their build quality was beyond poor.
However, my intention with this build has been to build the best car I can from the cards I was dealt.
So here is some background on how I got to my final decision about what to do with them...
They were supplied looking like this.
But on closer inspection, the two piece construction was splitting apart all over the place.
When I was finally brave enough to test their strength, they came apart with ease.
In addition, the doors were not what you could call a good fit to the body shell.
Originally, I was planning to use use some external door hinges from a classic Mini, as seen here on a similar kit.
But other builders had build their own internal hinges and these looked like a better solution.
Note: This build is in Holland, which is why the steering is on the "wrong" side.
Last edited by Paul L; 02-15-2018 at 05:20 AM. Reason: Replacing PhotoBucket Images
I'd seen one of the builds in this section of the forum used metal doors in their fibreglass body that looked great.
But the harsh reality for me is that even the simple jobs on this build take me a long time.
I've previously mentioned that the new kit car company owner abandoned the doors on his own kit.
So in order to keep things simple (for me), I have finally decided to seal the doors closed.
This was how the outer door skin looked during an early test fit.
So I will need to fibreglass this into place from behind and then fill the door gaps.
This was how the new kit company owner did it, when viewed from the inside.
Obviously I would complete the cockpit panelling so that you wouldn't see this join.
However, on this car, all the other panels had been fitted before the doors were sealed.
The thing that amazes me, is that if you were looking from the outside you'd never know...
In theory, the Cordite frame has extra strength built in at the bottom, to take account of the door opening.
But I will still run some extra box section across the top of the door opening like so...
I'll work out the final design after I have built the "join" between this framework and the Spitfire bulkhead.
I may also add another length of box section vertically, or diagonally, between the new top and existing bottom rails.
Last edited by Paul L; 02-15-2018 at 05:21 AM. Reason: Replacing PhotoBucket Images
One of the many things on my "To Do" list was find a suitable location to mount this switch.
There was an obvious hole in the left hand dash panel where the cigarette lighter used to be.
At first, this looked like an easy place to put the switch.
But eventually I decided it needed to be tucked out of the way a bit more, so tried further along this section of dash.
( Obviously, the switch would be facing the other way when fitted! )
I figured it would be worth adding some strength to this section of dash, so it was back to cutting out cardboard again.
After making this in metal, I welded the inside edges of the box section to the main flat sheet.
( The outside edges will be done when I weld the whole thing to the Spitfire dash. )
I then drilled a hole for the switch and 4 extra holes to help me "puddle" weld this piece into place.
( I will drill the 4 mounting holes when everything is welded into its final position. )
I then marked up the dash & drilled a hole in that for the switch.
At this point I realised I'd made a text book, schoolboy error.
Whilst the hole is in the middle of the metal dash, the wooden dash board doesn't cover all of it!
This masking tape circle shows that the hole would be a bit close to the top edge of the wood.
In order to fix this little problem there was a bit of work to do...
First I took a slice off both the bottom of the switch and the supporting plate.
Then I had to lower the hole in the original dash panel.
Note: The hole in the supporting plate has remained the correct size.
The net effect of these changes lowered the hole in the wooden dash to this position.
Which gives me a more than enough wood around the hole I need to drill.
The next stage was to drill some more holes in the metal dash to puddle weld from the front.
I also cleaned up the metal on the other side of the dash, which was very hard to get at.
Then I could clamp the supporting plate in place & start welding.
After cleaning up the front face, it was looking like this.
The other side was not as pretty as my power tools can't reach inside.
So I will simply give this area some anti-rust treatment and a coat of filler.
It will be completely hidden from view anyway and the main thing is that is is very solid.
Next I marked up the 4 holes required to mount the switch.
After drilling them and putting a coat of etch primer on, the front looks like this.
Unfortunately, at this point in time, sorting out the other side is still on my "To Do" list.
This was one of those areas where I seemed to be continually taking two steps forward and one step back.
It was all looking good after I'd given the front faces a second coat of wood stain.
But when I fitted the brackets to locate the outer panels to the centre section screws I ran into small problems.
The bottom bracket runs along the original hole for the choke lever, which I'd forgotten to fill.
So I cut out another small circle of metal and shoved that into the hole.
Before putting a layer of wood filler over the top.
When the filler was set, it was cleaned up and given a first coat of wood stain.
The other section of dash was just as frustrating.
The top bracket was no problem, but I couldn't fix the bottom one until I had mounted the "blank" for the cigarette lighter.
Unfortunately, when I did put this in, I decided it would look better with some wood filler in the hole.
On the other side of this "blank" I'd used fibre glass filler to give me a flat surface to work with (after sanding).
This allowed me to put the final connecting bracket into place after I'd put some wood stain on (it needs another coat).
Note: I am actually given the back faces of the wooden dash the same treatment as the front for extra protection.
The final job at this time was to test fit the old heater "hole" blank.
Whilst I still prefer the bare metal look, this is the more practical solution.
There is still a bit of work to do here, but it is slowly coming together.
I know I have been working on this bulkhead for a long time now, but more jobs are getting ticked off the "To Do" list.
I did a round of anti-rust treatment, fibre glass filler and etch primer on a number of areas behind the dash.
I was happy to leave the underside of the de-mister vents quite rough, as long as there were sealed.
Note: As always you can spot the photos in my posts are not in strict time order, as the corners haven't been filled in the photos above.
I also started given various dash related parts their first coat of black paint.
I also did the outside of the battery box.
I know some of this paint will melt when I weld the box into position.
But it will still be easier to re-do these bits again, rather than paint the whole box inside the bulkhead.
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
Well, no update from me would seem to be complete without a weather report.
It has officially been declared the wettest winter on record in the UK and I can certainly believe that.
In addition to the rain, it has been pretty windy here too, which makes MIG welding outside tricky.
We have a huge eucalyptus tree in our garden, planted by the previous house owner.
( My top tip, never put one of these in your own garden, as it will grow into a complete monster! )
At times the wind was having a field day with this tree, just a few feet from where I was working!
But days are getting brighter, our two cherry blossoms are starting to flower, Spring is on the way.
Given that I have made some progress during the winter, I am looking forward to making better progress in the Summer.
Until next time, take care, Paul.
Looks like you're getting close to finishing up the structural part of the build.
Hopefully you'll get to the rewarding part of the build soon, that will motivate you even further when you start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
Keep up the good work and keep us posted, really enjoy seeing your progress.
You are a trooper! It's going to be a cool little car when you're done.
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F5R #7446: MK4, 302, T5 midshift, 3.55 Posi IRS, 17" Halibrands
Delivered 4/4/11, First start 9/29/12, Licensed 4/24/13, PAINTED 4/17/14!! Wahoo!
Thankfully the bulkhead "To Do" list is getting shorter by the day.
You are right about motivation, even just seeing the battery cut off switch in place was a big morale boost.
( See second post below)
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I cleaned up the metal edges ready for welding, before masking them off while I put some primer over the first round of filler on the inside.
I was so desperate so finish this despite the fact it had started to rain, that I was left sheltering in the only dry spot I could find.
Another day I cleaned up the bulkhead where the battery box is going.
I then drilled some holes for "puddle" welding and slotted the box into place.
Note: I will take care of some of the "bumps" with filler later on.
I started the welding from the front of the box.
As this allowed me to clamp / hammer the rear panel to match the slope of the bulkhead.
Then I could hammer the sides of the battery box to join the inside edges of the bulkhead.
Due to the weather, it took me a couple of days to complete all the welding.
But I am happy that the battery box is absolutely rock solid.
This also represents the last of the structural work on the bulkhead.
I just have minor repairs to the inside edges where the gearbox cover sits & some small holes to "blank" off.
After the usual round of anti-rust treatment & etch primer, the next round of filler went on.
I managed to do this is a small break in the rain, but took no chances with the cover.
I use a selection of old bricks to keep the tarpaulin from sticking to the fresh filler.
Just a small bit of finishing off to do on this side of the battery box.
Then I need to start crawling around inside the bulkhead to finish off the battery box joins in the cockpit.
There were lots of small steps to take before there was any visible signs of progress.
The bolts I bought to mount the battery cut off switch were a tad long.
But nothing a quick wizz with the angle grinder couldn't fix.
Then I counter sunk the mounting holes in the metal dash & tidied up the edges.
However, my first attempt to fit the wooden dash board also ended with a trip to the angle grinder.
As the driver's edge needed a small adjustment:
This may be due to the fact the dash is from a 1500 & the bulkhead is actually a MkIV.
Or it could be due to the way I cut and repaired the windshield posts.
Either way, I had no intention of re-working the metal bulkhead at this stage of the game.
Thankfully, after this little mod, I could finally fit all 3 dash sections using the new central locating brackets I'd fitted.
This in turn allowed me to mark up the locations of the final mounting points on each end of the dash.
Once I had fitted these & checked the dash fitting again, I removed the brackets for my usual rusty metal treatment.
While the dash was on, I also marked up the position of the battery cut off switch and drilled a new hole.
Unfortunately, I didn't have a wooden drill bit quite the right size, so I simply drilled a smaller hole & filed it out to size.
And this is what it looks like with the cut off switch in place.
Note: The top of the switch is not faded, it is just a reflection in the photo.
I still need to touch up some parts of the dash with wood stain.
But this was this a big step forward for me, where it felt like I was building a car, not repairing a bulkhead.
I might need to make one further adjustment on the driver's side, but I'll cover that another day.
So until next time, take care, Paul.
As I've managed to tick off lots of little jobs recently and thankfully they all count.
Tidied up the filler & got a coat of etch primer on, before giving this its first lick of black paint.
In addition to the "working" side of the battery box, I was also sealing it along the inside/cockpit side edges too.
Two of the sides were each to reach, but the other two sides were hard to get at and practically impossible to photograph.
But I'm sure you get the general idea.
Battery Box Bulkhead Drain Pipe:
This turned into another over-engineered solution, but did make use of the "stuff" I had to play with.
I started by cutting off another small section from my metal tubing (as used in the battery box itself).
I then cut an oval hole in the bulkhead so the tube could be welded into place at a downward angle.
( Note: Photo is upside down so you can see the angle of the pipe into the engine bay. )
This allows me to connect a small section of heater hose on the cockpit side of the bulkhead like so.
I can either fit some more hose to the pipe on the engine bay side of the bulkhead, or just leave it open.
( But I'll worry about that when the bulkhead has been re-fitted to the chassis. )
As always, the welding on both sides of bulkhead were treated, filled, primed & painted.
I compared my new gear box cover with the old, damaged one.
I quickly realised that I needed to remove the moulding edges from the new plastic one.
So this is a close up of "Before" & "After".
I then gave it a quick test fit and this confirmed that almost none of the existing holes line up.
This is not really surprising as both the old cover & the bulkhead look like a Swiss cheese in places.
So I decided to simply weld up all the holes along the edges of the bulkhead so I could start with "fresh" metal.
Then I can drill fresh new holes of the correct size, in the correct place, to hold the cover in place.
( I know, crazy thinking! )
Bulkhead - "Inside" Edges - Part 1:
I used a variety of repair techniques to seal up the edges, some more radical than others.
These two sections were the worst.
Although this section wasn't too good either, now you mention it, but it was also cut out & repaired as before.
Note: There only needs to be one mounting hole in this area, not two.
Eventually, all the holes were gone and the inside edges of the bulkhead were looking like this.
Then both sides of these edges were given the usual treatment, but with one extra step (see below).
The extra step was the application of some "seam sealer" along the inside edges of the bulkhead.
This effectively "joined up" with the seam sealer that I had applied to other repaired areas a while back.
It was quite easy getting some filler on to the rear side of battery cut off switch panel.
But sanding it down was a bit harder as I couldn't get any power tools in there and had to do slowly it by hand.
Ironically, this has turned out smoother than some of the work I've done that will actually be visible.
In keeping with my "made do and mend" approach to this build I dug out an old (punctured) mountain bike inner tube.
It didn't take much effort to make some rubber seals for the switch itself.
Oil Pressure Gauge:
I can't remember if I mentioned that my donor car came with an after market oil pressure gauge that had been fitted in the engine bay.
It was actually broken, no doubt shaken to death by the fact is was simply mounted in the middle of a section of hose, with no support.
I decided that a working oil gauge would be a good idea, but mounting it in the dashboard would be a better one!
I managed to get lucky on Ebay and pick up two mint condition gauges quite cheaply.
The one on the left is electric and the one on the right is mechanical.
( I will have a chat with a Triumph specialist before I make a final decision on which one to fit. )
The main thing was that they are both the same size, so I can modify the wooden dash to match.
The good news is that there is more than enough room for the back of the gauge to go inside a "factory" hole in the metal dash.
The only bad news is the corresponding hole in the wooden dash was where I planned to relocate the choke lever.
So that will need a new home, but first I marked up the wooden dash for the oil pressure gauge.
The big red circle was my cutting guide & the smaller red circle was the existing hole in the dash.
( The thin black lines are where the holes in the metal dash are. )
I wanted to be extra careful, so I knew the holes I was drilling were inside the circle I needed.
Once these holes were "joined up" I had my rough hole to slowly enlarge to the correct size.
I took my time, double checking the hole size with the gauge as I went along with some hand files.
It was actually dark by the time I finished, so the photos I took at the time weren't great.
The fact it was dark, might also help explain the slightly less than perfect circle that greeted me the next day.
But at least the gauge was a snug fit in the hole.
With the oil pressure gauge sorted out, I could mark up a new position for the choke lever.
The black line represents the edge of the metal dash area, as the wooden dash extends beneath it.
For a nice change, I actually had a drill bit just the right size, so no extra filing by hand required.
However, as I started playing with the cable routing I quickly spotted yet another school boy error.
I was so busy making sure that the choke lever wouldn't foul this edge of the dash...
That I completely forgot about the new heater vent panel behind it.
I didn't really want to put yet another hole in the wooden dash, so I decided to work with what I had.
First I needed to drill a grommet sized hole in the vent panel.
Then I cut a choke cable sized hole in the grommet.
The choke cable just clears the the ducting, but there is more work to do (see below).
The whole point of mocking all this up now, is to find (& fix) problems before I re-fit the bulkhead.
So in order to make this choke cable work, I still need to do the following:
- Wrap the cable (or the ducting) with some of the heat wrap bandage I have got for the exhaust system.
- Drill a new hole in the bulkhead to let the cable out with a more gentle bend than you see in the photo above.
( The cable was just pushed through the nearest hole in the bulkhead to see how it looked. )
- I may actually need a longer cable given this new route, but I can't tell until the bulkhead is back on the chassis.
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