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  Topic Review (Newest First)
08-08-2019 07:26 PM
edwardb
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Sharpe View Post
A few years ago I would have jumped at the chance to get an enclosed trailer, even talked to some trailer guys about building a soft top for my alumalite. Why don't you post it for sale and see what happens? Then you could get a longer Serpent Express. I would buy it except I am building a coupe also.
That's the plan and it's underway. Not posting it for sale yet because I have a potential local buyer plus another that has expressed interest. If nothing pans out, then will post on the forums. Have a quote in hand from Larry Johnson for a 16 foot SE. Expect to move on that soon.
08-08-2019 07:00 PM
Tom Sharpe
Quote:
Originally Posted by edwardb View Post
Conclusion: Ok to use the trailer for transport before itís painted.
A few years ago I would have jumped at the chance to get an enclosed trailer, even talked to some trailer guys about building a soft top for my alumalite. Why don't you post it for sale and see what happens? Then you could get a longer Serpent Express. I would buy it except I am building a coupe also.
08-07-2019 08:59 PM
edwardb
All Apart Again

Last week was a big one. Had a complete exhaust system, first drives including wife ride, trailer trial fit, then a visit to the paint shop on Friday. Iím supposed to have my paint quote and planned date sometime this week. They promised to support my plan to have it done in time for me to complete and display at the Detroit Autorama in February 2020. They loved the car. Hadnít seen a Coupe before, let alone the newest version. A couple of things to address on the body, but in general they thought it wasnít bad. Weíll see when I find out how many hours they estimate. After some discussion, they are going to paint it body ON. For sure the doors will come off after body work. Not sure about the hood (cowl). That one is easy either way.

So, with all those steps completed, yesterday I started tearing it down. Next steps will be to get the balance of unfinished metal parts to the powder coater, get the interior parts to the interior shop for vinyl wrap, and undercoat the main body and cowl. I would do the vinyl wrap myself (have done it several times before) but since Iím adding red stitching to match the seats, need some help on that one. For the undercoat, leaning towards using U-POL Raptor. Iím planning to put a heavy coat of Lizard Skin ceramic insulation on the underside of the main body roof before the undercoat. Hoping it keeps the interior temperature down a bit. Iím not planning on using the kit supplied headliner. Iím hoping I can get the Raptor down smooth and clean enough to be the final finish. With the roll cage, the underside of the roof isnít prominent. So, with a decent finish, hope to just stop there.

Have everything needed off and bagged and tagged. Today a buddy came over and helped me lift the main body and cowl off the frame. Just slightly different than the final pictures posted last week. But progress is being made here. Next time together hope it stays that way. We're taking our annual trip to the west coast soon, so will have two weeks out of the build schedule.

08-01-2019 05:52 AM
Nigel Allen Happy to see you get the tick of approval.🙂 It only adds to the satisfaction.

Cheers, Nigel in South Oz
08-01-2019 02:56 AM
edwardb
Coupe and 14 Foot Serpent Express

Brief update after the crazy last couple of days. Today I tried the Coupe in my 14 foot Serpent Express (SE) trailer to see if it will fit. Short answer. Not really. Probably not a surprise but not exactly for the reason I expected. After driving it in and stopping short of the cover frame in the front, found a pretty major issue. The door wouldnít open. Doesnít clear the side escape hatch. Kind of hard to get out and back in that way. So drove it all the way against the front. Like this:


Now the door clears. Just barely:


Sticks out the back as I expected. This I had figured out previously with a tape measure. Found the covering is flexible enough that it will still zip closed.


Conclusion: Ok to use the trailer for transport before itís painted. After itís painted? No way. Canít have the paint touching anything, specifically in the front. But stopping short, canít get in/out of the door. Winch is an option, but still the interior (e-brake, shifter) will be inaccessible unless the DS window is off. Even then itís still sticking out the back. I had resigned myself that at best I would have to tie the door up above the hatch spoiler area and tow it with it hanging out. Still affords reasonable protection. But not so much security. Bottom line: Ok temporarily, but not for the long term. Looking at options.

On a happier note, while I had it out and running, took my wife for a short spin around the block. Still rough and noisy, but she really liked it. Likes the seats, the added footbox space, the 4-point seat belts with pushbutton latches, the roof over her head without wind (think hair...), and the prospect of heat for those cold drives. A/C is a bonus. I think we have a winner. Officially have two miles on the odometer.
07-31-2019 01:38 AM
edwardb
New Headers, New Sidepipes, First Drives. Oh My!

Today was a big day. With my prototype headers and sidepipes installed (more later), drove the Coupe for the first time in my neighborhood. Started the Coyote after not running for quite a few months and it fired right up. Had a bit of a scare. Wasn’t getting any alternator voltage on the gauge. The alternator had to be out to get the headers on and off. So yesterday while reinstalling it, I forget the master switch was on and managed to touch the alternator power lead to ground. Sparked good as expected but didn’t see any damage so kept going. With the switch off of course. Now today no alternator output. Was afraid I fried something in the alternator (ugh) but then I remembered the alternator mega fuse I normally install. Sure enough it was burned and open. Did its job! Put in a new fuse and all good. With yet another lesson learned.

First impressions driving are all good. The Tilton HRB and clutch feel great. Smooth easy release. Really nice. The Wilwood brakes even though not bedded yet seemed strong. Power steering felt fine. T-56 shifts great and reverse lockout works with the car in motion. Initially didn’t have a speedo indication, but I just had the GPS antenna temporarily draped under the dash. Put it up on top and that’s working too. Need to find a permanent location. Radiator fan kicked on when it should have (around 190 F) and shut back off when it dropped back down. Interesting that Ford Performance went back to a more normal temperature curve on the cooling fan program with the Gen 3. I did throw a couple codes related to oil pressure. The pressure is fine (I kept a close eye on the gauge) but apparently the one sensor I removed (at Ford Performance agreement) is still active. Will dig into that. Tried the heater and it poured out hot air. Don’t have the A-C charged yet, so no test there. Checked everything over back in the shop, and no leaks or drips. The Gen 3 Coyote runs good, but still could improve some I think. Not sure if it’s still learning. Or likely will need a custom tune at some point. Kind of expect that. In general things are a little loud without any carpet or weather-stripping on the doors and hatch and windshield just taped in place. And since the splash guards aren’t coated yet, lots of pinging from dirt and gravel on the road. But it’s very driveable now. Only did 25-30 MPH in my neighborhood and found 3rd once. Bottom line, all good.

But the real news here is the headers and sidepipes. Now that I have a working setup, will finally give more details. Most know the stock Factory Five sidepipes are loud, a little on the rough side (at least mine were), unfinished, and the transition is maybe less than ideal. I considered a couple of options, but really wanted to stay with the dual pipe traditional look of the Daytona Coupe. Due to the uncertainty, I purposely didn’t order headers with my kit and figured I would address the header/sidepipe situation later. So fast forward some months into my build, and I was pleasantly surprised that Georgie from Gas-N contacted me and asked if I would work with him to develop a header/sidepipe setup for the Gen 3 Coupe. Would I? You bet. I’ve used Gas-N side pipes on each of my Roadster builds and they’re perfect. Look great, sound great, and last. The prospect of that same quality on my Coupe build was something I didn’t have to think about very long.

There have been a number of steps to the process, and I won’t go through all of them. Georgie developed a twin pipe design and I received the prototypes several weeks ago. Note these are stainless, just like the Roadster pipes. But for this stage, not polished. Then we used “Frankenstein headers” to determine the proper configuration of the headers with the side pipes in their intended location. Once locked down, those were sent back to Georgie to use as patterns for the prototype headers. Couple of weeks later, these arrived.


Now installed. And by the way, for those who have busted knuckles and said words Mom said not to use while putting in Roadster headers, the Gen 3 Coupe isn't too bad. The driver side is still tight, but all are reachable. The passenger side is mostly a piece of cake. All but a couple can be reached with a ratchet, extension, and universal joint. I used RemFlex gaskets and high-temp RTV silicone (Permatex 81878) on the bolts. This combination has been rock solid in #8674.





Note these are the first prototypes. Now that they been checked out, Georgie will make a new pair with his legendary stainless steel polished finish. No huge rush because these are fully functional. Did my first drives today with them. Note I don’t have the side hangars on yet, so there’s a little movement of the pipes that will be reduced when those are added. Check out the videos. They're short. But really happened and you get the idea.

https://youtu.be/24kZChAlKeI

https://youtu.be/boH-3-BD52g

https://youtu.be/QCdUdj6n3eM

https://youtu.be/mFHHqadaREs

If interested, you can check with Georgie on price and availability of this new option for the Gen 3 Coupe with a Coyote like this one. Maybe other engines too but check with him. Next up, visit the paint shop for my estimate (oh boy…) and scheduling. This will also be the first time I try to fit it into my 14-foot SE. We’ll see how that goes.
07-25-2019 07:20 PM
edwardb
Quarter Windows and Acrylic

Another somewhat trivial update. Expecting some more significant ones very soon. There’s a common theme to this update. Couple of the ideas are from other build threads. That’s the beauty of this community. Lots of shared creativity which I watch closely and pick and choose (and sometimes change a little…) for my builds.

First up, headlight covers. The kit comes with acrylic headlight covers (very last POL item for me) that need to be trimmed slightly to fit the openings. I’m going to wait for that until after paint just to make sure they fit exactly. They are attached with kit provided right angle SS pieces. Another builder posted a suggestion to use 10-32 SS rod end bolts from McMaster instead. Decided to go that way. These: https://www.mcmaster.com/2434k54. Require a couple of minor modifications. The 3/16-inch holes are unthreaded. I threaded them to 12-24, which is a somewhat unusual size. But 12-24 taps into them with any additional drilling, so that’s what I used along with 12-24 button head SS screws. Also used a 10-32 die to extend the threads all the way to the top. The shank will get cut off and probably need a spacer under the rod end. But have them ready for the next step when it’s time to install the covers. Makes for a nice clean look. Note that Peter Brock sells a somewhat similar setup on his website (bre2.net) so that’s another option. About the same cost.


Next up, worked on the quarter windows. First was fitting the formed acrylic scoops. They're provided significantly oversized. Fit both sides to the outline on the body. Like the headlight covers, I’ll wait until paint is completed to confirm the exact fit, then drill and mount. BTW, fit each side individually. They’re slightly different.


When the side windows are installed and running heat or A/C, in most cases you would not want this scoop to be drawing in outside air. So, the windows kit comes with an acrylic panel that’s intended to be placed into the opening for times like that. Couple of issues there. It’s intended to be held in with screws, which isn’t very handy since it’s likely to be taken in and out frequently. Plus the seatbacks are somewhat in the way for accessing the screws. Also, there’s a 1+ inch gap between the back of the window and the edge of the panel if placed on the inside of the body. I had made a note of how Erik Treves (the famous Hawk Coupe) addressed this on his build, so went back and reviewed that. He even posted a very informative video: https://youtu.be/Vj6pKvciQZI. These seal plus slide in and out without any mounting screws. Looks great to me, so unceremoniously stole this idea for my build.

First up though, found the kit provided acrylic panels were a little small to be set up this way. Plus it appears they were cut using a laser cutter, and the edges were burned in several places causing the liner material to be melted into the panels. Only around the edges and still could have been used. But picked up a couple 12 x 12 x 1/8 coated acrylic panels and cut new ones after making carboard patterns. Bent some aluminum angles for the corners, made a couple of pieces for the windows to slide into out of 16-gauge steel, and added some cushion and bulb seal. Sounds easy enough but does take some trial and error to get it all just right. I’m going to get the metal pieces powder coated and will hold the angles on the acrylic the same way the side windows are assembled with 10-32 SS button head screws. Very happy with how this turned out, and thanks to Erik for the inspiration.






Finally, this is the first time I’ve worked with acrylic. I found numerous references that care must be taken when drilling holes as it’s possible to chip and/or crack the material, especially when drilling close to an edge. Learned that there are drill bits made just for this material, so Amazon to the rescue. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1. Never a bad excuse for new tools. Only drilled the eight holes in these windows so far and seemed to work very well. Plus did a bunch of test drilling in scraps. Will use again for real for the scoops and the headlight covers. As the directions state, the right drill bit plus the right speed are important. If you don’t want to buy these, it is possible to drill with regular bits. But work up very slowly on the size with multiple bits, plus keep the speed down so they’re cutting and not melting.

After a week or so of very hot weather, which kept me out of the shop starting around noon every day, it’s cooled back off to our usual very nice Michigan summer weather. Have been able to get in lots of driving in the Roadster, in addition to the build.
07-16-2019 02:35 PM
Bob McLaughlin
Quote:
Originally Posted by edwardb View Post
Maybe, I don't know. Not sure the best choice for that application.
Hey Paul,
First thanks for the dimensions you sent. Got my 3" fixture fabricated. Going to make a 3.5 and 4.0 inch also, so I can play with what fits best.
Thanks for all of your tips and awesome fabrication techniques. Sure cuts down on the trial and errors!
Bob McLaughlin
07-14-2019 06:48 PM
edwardb
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Dol View Post
Thanks Paul,

My son is considering fender flares on his daily driver, but doesn't like the bolt on look. wonder if this would hold them on?

John
Maybe, I don't know. Not sure the best choice for that application.
07-14-2019 03:01 PM
John Dol Thanks Paul,

My son is considering fender flares on his daily driver, but doesn't like the bolt on look. wonder if this would hold them on?


John
07-13-2019 05:34 PM
edwardb
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Dol View Post
I will look into the reusable dual lock. Is that like a Velcro?

John
Sort of. But instead of hook and loops like Velcro it's interlocking plastic stems that hook together. Comes in different adhesive types, and different stem density giving different fastening strength. I ended up with 3M Dual Lock Reclosable Fastener TB3550 250/250 Black. Available lots of places, but mine came from Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B007OXK1AK. Seems like good stuff. Supposedly much stronger then Velco. Goes together with a "snap" and a predicable thickness. Just don't use too much. With the pictured amount on my Mk4 Roadster leather wrapped door cards they haven't budged. Too much and could be hard to get off. Adhesive sticks great to the painted fiberglass. For the hardboard door cards, put a layer of 5-minute epoxy where the fastener pieces was applied, and stuck them down just at it set up. Planning a very similar approach with the Coupe.

07-13-2019 12:41 PM
John Dol Nice Paul,

I still have to build my door cards too. I like what you did with the pull.
I will look into the reusable dual lock. Is that like a Velcro?

John
07-12-2019 01:28 AM
edwardb
Door Cards

This is probably my most trivial update to date. But finished the initial fabrication of the door cards and door bins, so will post to close that out. The doors on the Coupe are thick and have a good-sized opening. Since there’s no roll down windows () the area is free space. So decided to put it to use. Fabricated an aluminum bin for each door that’s 3-1/2 inches deep and basically the size of the opening. They’re held in place with 10-32 screws into nut plates bonded on the inside of the door. Nylon spacers hold them out to where they will be flush with the inside of the door cards. Then cut openings in my hardboard door cards that are nearly flush at the top and leave material along the bottom to hold stuff in. The shape of the openings are the same theme as the glovebox, so hopefully look like they belong. The inside of the bins will be lined with vinyl and carpet on the bottom. I also wanted to add door pulls. After looking at several options, realized I had the pulls right in front of me with the openings to the bins. But pulling on the door cards directly is probably not the best idea. So added strips of 1/2 x 3/16 steel that are also attached to the doors with spacers and nut plates and will be tight against the inside of the door cards and just below the bottom edge of the openings. Turned out nice and solid and I think will work great. The door cards will get 1/8-inch foam and then vinyl covered. The upper part will be plain vinyl, the lower part the C-F style vinyl in the seats and elsewhere, with red stitching on the line visible in the pictures. The door cards will be held in place with the door openers at the top (also going into nut plates) and strips of 3M Dual Lock reclosable fastener material. That’s what I have holding the door cards on #8674 and they've been rock solid.

Passenger side bin and door pull. Drivers side looks the same. The white material is white powder coated scraps left over from #8674 that I recycled for this project.


Passenger side done except for covering.


Same for the drivers side.


Another item I’ll mention. Many have told me that the Coupe doesn’t have great vision out the back through the hatch glass. I’ve had a couple recommendations for a full-time back-up camera. Not a bad idea, but didn’t go there. One idea I saw – and Factory Five offers them on their website – is the 14-inch Longacre Racing wide angle rear view mirror. Thought I would give one a try. Ordered from Summit since Factory Five was showing out of stock. Plus the Summit free shipping thing. Received yesterday and took it for a 0 mph test drive. One word IMO. Fail. First, they’re designed to be mounted on the roll bar versus the windshield. They come in 1-1/2 and 1-3/4 bracket sizes. The roll bar behind the windshield measures 1-5/8. Since Factory Five has the 1-3/4-inch version on their website, that’s the one I ordered. And, no surprise I guess, the brackets only go to slightly under 1-3/4 so don’t clamp tightly. Could modify the brackets, but before I did that, confirmed where the mirror would sit and what the view looked like. Not good in either case. Due to the design of the brackets and attachment to the mirror, plus the location of the roll bar, ends up very close to you. Almost in your face. Plus, the angle has to be really wonky to see out the back and I didn’t see where it added that much. Compared to the more OE style windshield mount mirror included with the kit, very little difference. Not because of the mirrors so much as there’s just so much space available to see out the back. So the Longacre mirror goes back and I’ll be going traditional on the center rear view mirror attaching to the windshield. Fortunately, the BRE side mirrors I have on each side give a good view. So I think I’ll be OK.

As far as the tease from my last update, continue to stay tuned. Should have more news on that in the very near future. That opens up a whole bunch of progress on other fronts.
07-03-2019 07:19 PM
edwardb
Wipers, Washers, Etc.

It’s been a while since my last update. Have been getting in some good work sessions. So, some progress to report. Did take a 4+ day break to attend the annual London Cobra Show. This was, I think, our tenth year attending. Although the first couple of years were without a car and just looking and learning. Enjoyed the event like always. The new format with a single venue was a nice improvement. The weather didn’t look promising on Thursday. But weather on each following day was great. Friday took a nice cruise and of course the parade and downtown London event on Saturday. I was asked to have my Roadster in the Factory Five display again and enjoyed talking with lots of people and meeting several forum members in person. It was an honor to have Dave greet us personally when we drove in. (Shameless name dropping, sorry.) There was an “incident” on the charity rides as has been reported elsewhere, so won’t go into that. Fortunately, the police allowed things to continue. Just keeping the speeds down. I did three passes in the afternoon and I think my riders got their money’s worth. I’m not sure who had more fun though. For my street driving (and conservative approach) I don’t get to stretch the Roadster and Coyote out very often. I was amazed again what that thing will do when pushed hard. What a rush. The inside banquet on Saturday night was very nice. My wife said she missed the muddy grass floor and bugs biting her ankles from the previous outdoor under the big top venue. I didn’t. Another great contribution to CF and the winner of the raffle car wasn’t in the room or on the phone. That doesn’t ever seem to change. Sunday’s drive home was another nice day and an easy drive. With the Roadster in the SE of course. Already looking forward to next year and taking the Coupe as I’ve promised lots of folks. If you haven’t attended the London show before, you won’t be disappointed. Especially with the latest changes. Back to the build thread…

Continue to work through my punch list before paint. Mostly finished the wiper installation. The Specialty Power Windows setup I described previously is now all hooked up and working with the final tube bent and installed. It took several tries but settled on the 130-degree setting for the sweep. Gives good coverage combined with the 15-inch blades. It’s nice being able to set the sweep and tailor them exactly to the installation. One hint though. I had run them very briefly while wiring some weeks ago. Just to confirm they ran, parked, etc. Not a good idea without being in packed in grease like the instructions show. Didn’t do any permanent damage, but much more and I could have.

Also mostly finished up the washers. Probably something not too many mess around with, and I can kind of see why. But I’ve sweet talked my way through inspection three times without, even though they’re specifically mentioned on the inspection form. Plus, the wiper switch I’m using has the washer function built in. So decided to go for it. The Denso tank and pump I picked out and mounted works great. I had purchased the small Lucas style spray nozzles from Finishline. However, mounted on the cowl not far from the windshield they didn’t work all that great. Only put out a small stream that either hit right at the base of the windshield, or with the slightest adjustment all the way over the windshield and onto the back hatch glass. Impressive, but not exactly what I was going for. With a lot of looking, settled on these from Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1. For the low price, I wasn’t expecting much. But they had good reviews and actually work perfectly. My next thought was to go to some type of a wet blade setup. But I'm done messing with this.

Another item on my list is door cards. Still a work in progress, but made some patterns out of cardboard, settled on the basic design, and cut from 1/8-inch hardboard. The tape is where the hole is at in the inner door. I want to use that space somehow for a pocket, but still deciding what to do. I also want to add some kind of door pull but looking at options there too. The door cards will be vinyl wrapped, with some portion being the carbon fiber style covering I have in the seats and showed before on the instrument cluster and center switch panel. That plus red stitching like I’ll be using elsewhere. Little bit to go here obviously.



Finally, have spent quite a bit of time working on my headers and side pipes. I’m still a couple weeks at least away from finally explaining further and showing details. But really making some progress and I’m excited about how this is going to turn out. Also excited because I’ll be able to run the engine again, which I haven’t been able to do since the body is on. Also do a couple drives up/down the street. I missed the go-kart stage because that was during the winter. The first start and initial engine runs were with Roadster side pipes that don’t fit now. Anyway, I know you guys like teasers, so here’s mine for today.

06-19-2019 09:26 AM
jeffgrice nice work Paul!
06-18-2019 09:55 PM
John Dol Looks good Paul as usual!

John
06-18-2019 08:50 PM
edwardb
Gen 3 Coyote Engine Cover

Another one of my to-do items was to address the Gen 3 Coyote engine cover. Dressing up the Coyote is not an easy task, and Ford made the Gen 3 even more difficult with the added plumbing for the Direct Injection (DI) system. With the additions, they gave up on coil covers and extended the intake manifold cover to hover over the heads. For the Mustang, this meant fitting them around the shock towers and other underhood components. So made for a “different” look to say the least.


Mocked up in the Gen 3 Coupe, didn’t look too great either. Plus is too wide for the chassis and too high for the cowl.


Needless to say, something is needed to cover some of this up.


First thing I did was whack off the oddly shaped extensions or wings as they’re affectionally called.


Reasonable start, but decided I wanted some type of extensions that would cover more up but look like they belonged. And fit in the available space. Factory Five put a Gen 3 Coyote in a 33 Hot Rod. Has an aftermarket intake, but they fabricated some extensions that went over the heads a bit, and that was an additional inspiration. Even though mine didn’t turn out anything like theirs.

First thing I did was make some mockups out of cardboard. Played with different shapes, widths, etc. I ended up with them about 4-1/2 inches wide and shaped to sort of follow the lines of the existing intake cover. Wider would have covered up more. But just looked out of proportion to me. Plus started covering things up like the oil filler and dipstick. Then decided needed to do something to dress up the extensions. Considered routing some slots, like Factory Five did, but didn’t care for that look. Plus exposed what I was trying to cover up. Played around with a bead roller borrowed from a build buddy. Haven’t ever used anything like that. Had a little trouble getting straight lines. But in the end didn’t matter. It distorted the aluminum I wanted to use way too much. Plus it was kind of an old school hot rod look that didn’t really fit with the theme of the car or the more modern angular existing cover. What I finalized on was some 1/4-strips glued and riveted to the covers. Sort of matching some similar lines on the existing cover and had a look I was happy with. I don’t pretend to be a designer or particularly artistic, so this was the best I could come up with. Also considering what tools and capabilities I have. I am happy with the result though. Even though as usual it was more work and took longer than I expected.

What I did was trim the existing plastic cover down to where it was straight and had a 1/4-inch wide flat on the underside. Then made filler pieces from 1-inch wide by 1/4-inch thick aluminum. Bonded these to the underside of the cover with JB Weld plastic bonder, available at HD. Probably there is something out there more exotic that is stronger. But I drilled and tapped for some 4-40 flat head screws that add some additional mechanical strength. It’s sitting against a rib on the underside that has a filet of bonder against it. Bottom line, there isn’t a lot of stress and I don’t think it’s going anywhere. Then I made the extensions out of .040 aluminum, held onto the bottom of the 1/4-inch strip with a row of 4-40 screws. Then added the 1/4-inch strips on the top. Used JB Weld to stick down and hold. Then added 1/16-inch flat head rivets.

With the cover in place, found it was unstable in the front. The four balls that plug into grommets in the intake are toward the back of the cover and didn’t provide much support at the front. Ford also obviously saw this, because the Gen 3 cover has two added mounting points on the heads at the front. I made some brackets out of 16-gauge steel that matched up with those and attached to the bottom of the extensions. It’s a little bit of a dexterity test to reach under the extensions and start the nuts. But not something I expect to do too often and gives just the right amount of stability.

Enough talk. Here’s the final product. Just bare metal now. Will paint the body color when the car is painted along with the darker color plastic on the existing cover. The lighter color will stay the way it is. Hard to get a good angle with the cowl in the way, plus it’s a little bright in the shop with the sun shining. But I’ll take that after all the rain we’ve had. First picture from the bottom showing how it's put together. Then the finished side with it installed.




That’s it for a few days. Tomorrow prep for London including installing the new windshield in my Roadster. Assuming FedEx delivers on time. Yep, joined the broken windshield club while sitting in the garage last Monday/Tuesday. Hope to catch up with some of you in London. Looking forward to it as always.
06-09-2019 09:12 PM
edwardb
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Sharpe View Post
My error, I was referring to the gaps above and in front of the window frame, between the w-frame and body. I thought those were in play, not just the door to window gap. Also, the door/window will move around a little with bumps. BTW, what happened to the door gap?
There will be bulb seal all around the door opening that the windows close against. Those gaps are fine and will within the range of the bulb seal. My experience with these cars is the frame and body are both very stiff and in fact doesn't move around at all. But if it did, the bulb seal would handle it. Everything about the window fit is exactly how it's intended to be and will be fine.

Regarding the door gap, I assume you're suggesting the gap is too wide. It does look wider than it actually is because of the picture angle and the gel coat being removed by the slight radius on both sides. But the gap is wider than I planned. I typically shoot for 3/16-inch unfinished, which it is everywhere else. The front of the doors are 1/4-inch. I talked about this previously in the build thread. I set the gaps before fitting the front cowl, which in hindsight was a mistake and I recommended to other builders do the cowl first. When I installed the cowl, and pulled it down for the best alignment along the body, the gaps on the doors opened up slightly. Finishing will close it up some, and will have cushioning material behind.
06-09-2019 07:52 PM
Tom Sharpe My error, I was referring to the gaps above and in front of the window frame, between the w-frame and body. I thought those were in play, not just the door to window gap. Also, the door/window will move around a little with bumps. BTW, what happened to the door gap?
06-08-2019 06:32 PM
edwardb
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Sharpe View Post
You may have to increase the gap to 3/32-1/8 or so. Primer and paint will take up a lot of the gap. Talk to your painter.
All good and considered that. The way the window is mounted any added thickness would just move the window into the opening slightly, and is easily accommodated by the adjustable mounts and the bulb seal around the body.
06-08-2019 04:10 PM
Tom Sharpe
Quote:
Originally Posted by edwardb View Post
The final gap is about 1/32-inch plus, and most importantly even all the way across.
You may have to increase the gap to 3/32-1/8 or so. Primer and paint will take up a lot of the gap. Talk to your painter.
06-06-2019 05:07 PM
edwardb
Windows and Mirrors

Thanks for the responses on repairing the glass to fill the gaps between the tops of the doors and the windows. It was kind of a pain, to be totally honest. But it’s done and I think turned out well. With more body work, primer, paint, etc. they will disappear and give a much better appearance than the uneven gaps on both sides. Details make a difference.

I ended up using 3M HSRF. I was able to adjust the windows and get the gaps slightly smaller than I pictured before. I decided the gaps were just too irregular to glue on fill pieces. Resin with filler, chopped glass, etc. potentially would be a little stronger. But I had the HSRF and am familiar with using it. Plus, I do expect the windows will stay on most of the time. So the edge will usually be protected. Not that I think the result is fragile. It isn’t at all. This is the process I used. First sanded a 1/8-inch plus bevel with 80 grit paper on the top of the doors through the gel goat. Plus roughed up the remaining edges plus about 1/2-inch back on the gel coat along the top. Then used clear packing tape to wrap all the parts of the windows that would be in contact with the HSRF, and gave them several coats of car wax so they would release. Then with the windows in place, put wood strip fillers along the bottom edges with double back tape to dam the HSRF when pushed into place. The wood strips had the same clear packing tape and wax treatment.

With everything in place, filled the gaps with HSRF. Did it in two applications. First pushed firmly in to make sure everything was filled. Second to get as straight and even with the top of the door contours as possible. HSRF is not easy to sand if you haven’t heard that before. After a couple hours, popped the windows off and they released relatively easily. Removed the door shells and finished them on the workbench in the basement. There were a couple places to fill and touch up, but generally turned out well. Sanded the top and bottom flush with the doors. There’s a very slight ridge along the top edges. HSRF just doesn’t feather out like Rage Gold or whatever, plus is hard as a rock. But it’s straight and even, and one pass with body filler during paint should blend it completely. This morning put everything back together and it’s a huge improvement. I’ll add a thin piece of self-adhesive gasket or whatever at final assembly and should be good. Couple pictures of the finished product. The pictures are a little shadowy. The final gap is about 1/32-inch plus, and most importantly even all the way across.



I also finished mounting the Peter Brock sourced side mirrors I showed earlier. He provides detailed instructions including the recommended locations. They’re for a Superformance Coupe, but the locations seem to be fine here as well. He provides a backing plate and locknuts. But I decided I wanted the backing plate and nuts to be permanently captured so I didn’t have to reach inside the doors to mount and remove the mirrors. Especially since I’m planning door cards that will close the openings in the doors, and also because the mirrors are pretty wide and I may have to remove if/when using my existing trailer. So I made new backing plates out of 16 gauge steel and captured some flanged nuts with a second piece of aluminum and a 6-32 bolt. No pictures, but a simple fabrication and now bonded in place at the two mirror locations inside the doors. Mirrors are very solid, and easy to take on/off from the outside only with a ball end hex driver.



Two more items off the list! Doesn’t get old seeing this sitting in my garage.


Tomorrow we have a club event that should be pretty amazing. I’ll find out how much I can talk about it after it’s over. Kinda sorta a track day unlike anything I’ve done with the Roadster. Stay tuned.
06-04-2019 03:35 PM
Bob McLaughlin
Window fit

This is what I was curious about when I previously asked how the windows fit after you fitted the doors so perfectly. I'll be interested in following how you execute this mod your usual exceptional fashion!
Bob McLaughlin
FFR3981
06-02-2019 11:28 PM
Tom Sharpe I'll take a shot. Any good resin with strands of fiberglass in it will have plenty of strength. I'm old school and prefer the epoxies. The vinyl esters are probably better to match the FFR bodies. 3M HSRF is fine and recommended by many forum members. 3M/Bondo have others that will also work. I would sand everywhere you are filling with 80 grit, cut some thin wood strips, 3/16 to 1/8 thick and glue them to the top and front of the window frame with silicone ( to create a gap). Press them in against the body to make a dam. On the bottom, glue them to the inside of the window frame down to the body to make the dam. Disassemble, wrap the window+strips in saran/cling wrap, assemble, and stuff the HSRF in all the gaps, level with a bondo spreader or ice cream stick. Sand, fill, and finish. You might want to make a gap along the bottom before or after filling for some thin weatherstrip. OK. Shoot away.
05-31-2019 12:20 PM
edwardb
Fiberglass Repair Advice Please

Posted a new thread on this, but thought I put in in my build thread as well. Getting down to some final details on my Gen 3 Coupe build before paint. I'm fitting the Factory Five window kit and deciding I'm not happy with the mis-match between the straight windows and the curved edge of the doors. I've seen a couple in person, and seems typical and the solution is to put a cushion or gasket of some kind along the door edge. That would work but there's not a lot of contact area on either the door or the window and seems to me straightening the door edge would be the better choice. Especially since I'm at a stage where that's possible. The max gap is about 1/4-inch on the DS, and 5/16-inch on the PS. I'd like to build up the edge to make the door edge straight and close the gap. I suspect the windows will be left on most of the time, so the edge would be relatively protected. But I don't know that for sure. Either way it needs to be strong and also not picture through to the paint. Looking for suggestions. Don't pretend to be an expert about this at all.

I've done some searching and watched some videos. Seems I need to taper back on the top and bottom so there's something to grip plus reduce the chance of a line showing through. That's easy enough and assume I need to remove the gel coat near the joint anyway. I'm thinking I would put some tape or whatever on the window and use as a mold for the edge. Then some foam or gasket or whatever along the bottom to create a dam. Then fill the edge and coat/recoat/sand as needed to blend. I have some vinyl ester resin and chopped glass. That's one choice although I admit don't particularly like to work with that stuff. I also have 3M HSRF, which I've had great luck with would like to use unless someone has a better suggestion. Worried though this might be too large a gap to fill that way. Looking for some expert opinions here. Thanks in advance.

Driver side. About 1/4-inch max gap.

Passenger side. About 5/16-inch max gap.

05-29-2019 03:55 AM
edwardb
Lights, Camera, Action

I am now officially done with electrical! I don’t mind wiring and pretty much understand it. But still a big milestone to be done. And all working. Over the last few days, have all the lights installed, weather pack connectors installed, etc. Tried to be neat about it, as much as possible anyway. Fortunately the rear wiring is all covered once the rear hatch wall is installed. But the front not so much. On full display when you open the cowl. Did my best… Here are pictures of the front. The LED headlights have a small power supply or controller of some sort. I made brackets and mounted them on the back of the buckets. Similar to what I did with #8674, except those were a different brand and also several years ago. So much larger. I used the standard 3-prong headlight connectors since those were on the LED harnesses. Not protected at all outside the headlight bucket. I’ll put a piece of shrink sleeving around the connections at final assembly. The LED fog lights had very nice AMP weatherproof connectors, so left those. I'll add grommets at final assembly for the cables coming out of the fog light buckets. The other small LED’s (turn and running) now have weather packs. I used two single cavity connectors on each rather than a double cavity. The double wouldn’t have fit through the mounting hole. I’ll tidy this up a bit more with tie wraps at final assembly. Note when doing this don’t forget to consider the open and closed cowl positions. The wiring bundle moves a bit.



The instruction manual shows placing the horns in the engine compartment on the lower LH side. Would have fit there I guess. But missed it and already routed the wires when I reconfigured the front harness up to where I’ve normally placed the horns on Roadster builds. Had to place them carefully to stay well clear of the turning tires plus the moving cowl. But they fit here just fine.


One final comment about the wiring. In the past, many of us considered the grounding circuit on the RF harness to be a little marginal. I saw recommended on another build site back on my first Mk3 Roadster to add additional grounds at each of the four corners, e.g. in the vicinity of the lights. Basically, take the ground wire in the harness at each corner, route to a cleaned chassis location, then attach another ground wire to this same location and route to the devices on that corner. Accomplishes two things: Gives a clean and solid ground close to the devices plus provides a redundant ground for the entire chassis harness. All three of my Roadsters are wired this way. When I received the Coupe kit I noted it had a newer revised RF harness. Had seen it discussed in several build threads. Among the changes I noticed is the ground circuits are beefed up over previous versions. Everything is still dependent on a single chassis ground connection near the fuse panel. But the number of ground wires and gauge of the wires in the harness were all improved. So with that, I still added redundant grounds front and back on this build. But only one in the front and one in the back. Same idea as already mentioned. I took the main ground wire from the front and rear harness to a cleaned chassis location at their respective corners, cut the wire, added a ring terminal and grounded that. Then added another ring terminal to the cut wire and stacked onto the other one. In both cases, the chassis tube at that point was thick enough that I could tap and make enough threads. They're held in place with my usual 10-32 flanged head button screws. Once everything was done, covered the connection with electronics grade (non-corrosive) RTV. Conductive grease would be OK, I just prefer the RTV. But has to be the right type. I wouldn't call this modification mandatory. But IMO is cheap insurance to reduce ground circuit issues.

Just for grins, my wife helped me make a couple of quick iPhone videos of the front and rear lights working. Nothing too earth shattering, but decided to share. Note everything front and back is LED. Some from the kit. Others I added. Detailed in an earlier post. Everything is very bright and will be easily seen day or night. No extra charge for the usual nightly racket from the wetlands behind our house.

Front lighting: https://youtu.be/Ji9H-2ejMDw

Rear lighting: https://youtu.be/AAzI1ulTMV8

Finally, also wrapped up the fuel filler and tank vent. I followed the instructions in the manual to cut the SS filler tube and piece together with supplied flex tubing. Worked out pretty well. Two minor issues: The right angle flex connection out of the LeMans cap ended up hard against the edge of the opening in the hatch side wall. So I extended the bottom of the cutout in the side wall to clear. Didn't think it should be dragging directly on the edge. Meant moving the cover that goes inside the hatch area down a bit and leaves an opening at the top. I think it would have been too short anyway. Maybe FF didn’t plan to have that area sealed. But I want it to be. I’ll add some pieces onto the cover to fill the gap. Totally hidden behind the body and under carpet when done.

The other little issue I had was the usual fuel filler retainer ring really didn’t fit the tank or frame location. It’s their standard piece, and should be bent the other direction to fit IMO. Rather than mess with it, I made my own retainer similar to ones I’ve made for two of my Roadster builds. 1/8-inch aluminum, split tubing, and a couple 1/4-inch nutserts. Does what the ring is supposed to do, plus adds a little stability to the filler going into the tank. Finally, also made the usual activated charcoal canister for the vent line out of the tank from ABS plumbing pieces. While not completely necessary, the ALL36125 Allstar Performance tank bracket is a perfect fit to hold it in place. You can also just see the ground wire from the underside of the LeMans cap to the chassis. I made my own out of a piece of 12 gauge insulated wire and ring terminals. The kit provided braided ground is OK, but the ring terminals are quite large, and this worked better for me. All this is all hidden behind the rear splash panel, and with the wraparound of the Coupe body, nearly hidden from the bottom as well.


Made a list today of items yet to complete before going for my paint quote and getting that scheduled. Fit on one page! Making progress.
05-16-2019 10:01 PM
edwardb
Rear Hatch

While waiting for weather pack connectors to arrive so I can wrap up the exterior lights, decided to tackle the rear glass hatch. The hatch itself is a beautiful piece. I’ve been handling it very carefully. I don’t know how much a replacement would cost, but don’t want to find out. It’s marked as made in the USA, and the DOT code shows it came from Auto Temp, Inc. in Batavia, Ohio. I’m impressed. Additionally, it fits the body opening perfectly. So good job by everyone there. Now to getting it hinged and working.

Some months ago, Factory Five sent a package with several updated aluminum panels, discussed previously. Also in that box were new hatch hinges. Two pieces for each side, and longer than the original ones that come with the kit. No explanation was provided for the new longer pieces. I seem to recall reading in an earlier build thread about the hinges hitting something before the hatch opened all the way. But that’s a vague memory and may not be correct. The manual shows taking a pretty big cut out of the body for the hinges, so also thought maybe that was the reason. But as I found out later still required a small relief cut. Whatever the reason, I'm using them.

The hinges are attached to the roof roll bar along the front of the hatch opening with clamps that have a pivot piece welded to them. I had them powder coated, so had to clean up the powder coat some for them to fit properly. But then fit well and are very robust. I assembled the arms onto the hinge mounts per the instructions, except that I changed out the little plastic bushings with bronze sleeve bushings. They’re the same size as used lots of places on these builds (Roadster doors, trunk, etc.) and I had some around. Call me old school. I just like the bronze bushings better than plastic. Followed the instructions to install the hinge pieces, gas strut attachments, and latch onto the glass hatch. All nice quality parts and fit per the instructions.

The kit comes with a special self-adhesive gasket that goes around the hatch opening to seal and hold the perimeter spacing. Obviously, that can’t be installed until after paint. So stacked some wood spacers and taped them into the four corners of the opening so the glass sat up at the proper height. Then set the hatch in place and installed the hinges. It’s a little fiddly to get the roll bar clamp piece at the right place and the hinge arms aligned. But not bad. That’s when I found out I’d needed to cut the body to clear the hinges. Not nearly as much as shown in the manual though. Looked like this when done.


Next up was the gas struts. Here there was a problem. The manual shows additional roll bar clamps along the hatch sides to attach the gas struts. No parts like that in the kit. Instead there were flat gas strut brackets provided. Just like the ones mounted in the front cowl. Looked through a number of build threads, and eventually found several builds that used these parts. Confirmed they were mounted along the side lip of the body hatch opening. Determined the proper location to mount them where the gas strut wouldn’t be bottomed out and attached. Like I’ve done in other places, mounted them permanently with HSRF on the inside. Just used two bolts since they’re bonded plus the third would be very close to the edge. I’m going to change the bolts pictured here and countersink, bury, and eventually paint over.


Finally, dealt with the latch. The kit provides a somewhat small catch and a spacer. Probably would work OK, but looked a little wimpy to me and I didn’t care for the added spacer. So quickly fabbed a new piece out of 1-inch aluminum 90į angle stock. Looks better (IMO…) and has a larger contact surface on the body. I cut a real short piece of the gasket material and used it to set the location. I can adjust further when put on for good. Also need to paint or powder coat the catch and the new hinge arms.



That’s it. Really happy with how this turned out. Opens and closes nicely. The gas struts are just the right weight. Opens high enough that I shouldn't crack my head against it. But we'll see.


Now back to electrical. The box just arrived.
05-12-2019 09:12 PM
edwardb
Lights and More Lights

Since the last update, finished glass prep work on the spoiler, got it mounted, and have all the lights mostly mounted. Nothing wired yet. I’ll get the weather packs ordered and wrap this up. The lights are the ones I discussed back in post #55. 100% LED’s.

For the spoiler, trimmed it to a 3/4-inch flange all around, had a couple spots on the edge that needed a little repair, then determined the mounting holes. I’m mounting it with eighteen 8-32 SS button heads evenly spaced around. All pretty straightforward. I’ve mentioned before I wanted to add a third brake light to the spoiler. The light I picked (Maxxima M63319R LED) was too thick to just surface mount. Thought that would look a little clunky. But the space inside the spoiler wasn’t enough to completely flush mount. So took my time to lay out a hole in the spoiler that matched and came up with a mounting method that kind of suspends it in the hole. These pictures give an idea.



With that, laid out the lights for the back. The running/stop/turn lights are the ones from the kit and I put them right where the manual says. Same for the license plate light and bracket. I’m installing back up lights, but not completely decided on this yet. I saw an idea in another build thread somewhere about putting the backup lights under the grilles on the back. Interesting idea. But after trimming the grilles to fit, the lights are too thick. So right now, I’m leaning toward the two smaller LED’s taped in place in the picture. Haven’t committed to drilling the holes yet. I have a single square LED backup light that could inset in the bottom center. But not feeling that look. Note the LED running/stop/turn lights from Factory Five are a bit oversize but are very bright. I like them a lot. The third brake light in the spoiler also has a low intensity running light circuit, which I will use. This thing should be very visible from the back. I don’t know about you, but I’ve done several cruises where the car in front of me had lights I could barely see. It’s a bit unnerving and I’m paying close attention. No telling what the average driver may/may not see. Don’t want to be that guy.


For the front, after some additional trimming to the factory cut openings, have the headlight buckets mounted. I’m using 8-32 SS screws and lock nuts versus the supplied self-tapping screws. Personal preference. Note also it’s necessary to locate and drill a hole in the body directly under the headlight trim retaining screws. No way to install those any other way. Mentioned in the manual but would be easy to miss. The running and turn signal lights mounted per the manual. I had to get a little creative to modify the flat mounts on the KC HiLiTES fog lights I'm using to mount centered in the round buckets. Easy fabrication that I won’t try to explain, but no big deal. Just more time.



That’s it for now. Happy Mother’s Day to all the mom’s out there.
05-10-2019 02:13 PM
Bob McLaughlin I sure hope FF appreciates and recognizes all of the outstanding assembly techniques you had developed and shared. They need to pay you a royalty for your efforts when they up date their build manual. Maybe you could be a tech support consultant you you get bored building? Right, when do you ever get bored young your creative mind dreaming up different designs and how to's!
Keep it going, and thanks for sharing!
Bob Mac
05-03-2019 10:32 PM
edwardb
Pontoon Alignment

One of the remaining tasks for my seemingly never-ending body fit-up was to get the cowl and pontoons lined up the way I wanted them. Seems like a pretty simple thing, but was a little more complicated once I dug into it. There were two issues, both that I’ve mentioned before. First, I had an alignment issue between the bottom of the cowl and top of the pontoon on the right side. OK at the back, but to a hard interference fit at the front behind the wheel. No amount of juggling the body or the cowl eliminated the problem without creating other issues. I could pull the pontoon down a little and anchor to the splash guard. But not nearly enough. So I’ve left it to now to resolve. Second, I found that the gas shocks push the cowl out of alignment when it’s closed. Without anything holding it, moves the entire cowl forward 3/16 to 1/4-inch when you close it. Kind of a big deal, and not good if you want everything to line up nicely and position consistently. Some have solved the problem by removing the gas shocks and using a prop rod arrangement instead. That’s a good solution, but I wanted to stay with the gas shocks if possible.

Part of the solution for both issues is alignment pins for the front of the pontoons. The kit provided some receptacle pieces for one side. But the pins provided were much smaller than the 3/8-inch holes in the receptacles. Plus, they were plain pins with no obvious way to mount. Talking to other builders, seems I was probably provided the wrong size pins, as 3/8-inch ones are apparently available. But rather than pursue that, fabricated my own pins and mounts. One of the challenges here is the pins not only need to do the alignment task, but IMO need to be robust enough to catch and hold the cowl against the forward push of the gas struts.

First up though was to fix the alignment issue between the cowl and the pontoon. After a lot of consideration, decided a little glass work was my only option. I cut through the glass at the top corner of the pontoon about 18-inches back from the front corner. Then made another tapered cut starting about 1/4-inch wide at the front down to zero at approximately 18-inches. Then, using the closed cowl and paint stick pieces as spacers, glued the edge back down with HSRF to provide the needed clearance. When that set up, put a healthy filet of HSRF on the inside of the corner where I cut. Then added two layers of 8-ounce glass on the inside with vinyl ester resin. Turned out pretty well with just a little bit of additional HSRF filler. Now I had the clearance and alignment I needed.

Next I made the alignment pins and mounts out of 1/4-inch flat steel stock and cut down 3/8-inch SS bolts. Tapped the hole in the mount for the 3/8 x 16 threaded portion of the pin and used a jam nut on the bottom. Looked like this before installing. The bottom piece is the receptacle provided in the kit. Had to trim one edge slightly to fit where I wanted it. Note this is an early picture. I had to make new longer pins. Slight miscalculation.


Won’t go through all the steps, but got the cowl and pontoons positioned where I wanted them and clamped everything down. Then attached the pontoons to the lower splash guards. Then located the holes for the alignment pins and receptacles. I bonded the pieces in with HSRF, and don’t plan to have anything removable except the pin itself. Since there wasn’t a lot of surface area on the receptacles to bond to, I added a couple 8-32 bolts in each.

Left side pin mounted to the steel plate bonded underneath in the front corner of the pontoon.


Mating receptacle mounted on the inside of the cowl. Ditto everything for the right side.


I’m pleasantly surprised how this turned out. Between the gas struts, the rollers shown in the last update, and now the mostly self-guiding alignment pins, the cowl easily drops down into place and latches in exactly the same place every time. The alignment pins easily manage the push from the struts. There will be some minor body work, but generally the gaps and panel alignment turned out really well. Hopefully my body/paint guy will appreciate all the work here! I did have to sand the profile some where the cowl and pontoons meet at the rear of the front wheel wells. With that, the wheel well outlines match reasonably well. That was one of the areas I was focused on. I’ve noticed on some Coupes that area doesn't align very well. Couple of quick side views. You can see the repair I made on the right side.



Now that I have this part done, I can do some final tweaking on the cowl to body gap and that’s it. Only remaining fiberglass work is to get the rear spoiler fitted and I’m going to cut in a third brake light. I’ll be glad to move on from this part of the build.
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