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I can almost see the home stretch



October 20.

I ran into a spot where I needed to design and build up the front cabin shell. The dash and wipers interfere, plus I need to define where the rad hoses go. I'm out of resin and hardener, and since there's no income, I've decided to make busy on getting new work before incurring hobby costs. There's some other areas I will tinker on in the meantime.


July 28.

The heater box is history (glad too, I was tired of working on it and wanted something/anything else to do).

I've started on the radiator frame. Months ago I made friends with a MoPar crazy racer. He's a secretive guy... has many cars in his back-woods garage complex. Anyway, he sold me a Griffin that he'd had ordered, but didn't quite work out for him. It's large by Contour standards, 4 rows deep, 31 by 19. I had some 14 gage 2x4 box steel that I ripped one side off to form "C" channel, and made a nest for the aluminum rad to sit in. I want to come up with some rubber bumper solution both for mechanical and electrical isolation, but for now I've just dimensioned the framework for it, and it's a loose fit in the three sided thing that I'll weld onto the front end at an angle leaning forward. My fill will be back at the engine, and I may just weld the cap on up front. Tube routing is the new chore. First thought is to route it up the passenger side rocker panel area, actually inside the body (have to know how the typical fiberglass body is constructed to realize why). So there will be flex tubing from each end of the rigid long pipe tween front and back, and whatev that end connects to. Heater hoses may also get routed the same since I have so much to put down the center hump. I figure that weight on that side of the car suits better also. Lotus and others just use steel pipe. Donno what I can find yet, but aluminum is my first pick (engine and rad are). My peers at the Kelmark forum have made different hood openings. I would like to preserve the shape/flow of the existing hood, so I'm favoring a pair of grill openings near the windshield rather than a scooped out (GT40ish) hollow in the center of the hood. No cutting yet.


June 7.

I sure have hesitated making changes to the heater assembly for the throttle pedal spacing.... cept now. Sunday morning after much planning, I took a coping saw to the plastic housing and freed up almost an inch more room to the right of the pedal. The most offensive issue was the various molded clasps and alignment pins along the seam of the two sections.... my foot was bound to get hung up on them at the worst moment. Now I'll have a smooth face for the side of my foot. I haven't decided whether I'll flatten and glue the part I cut off, or mold a piece of fiberglass. In any event, I have to make a difusser for the feet heat outlet otherwise I think it will blast too hot on the ankle. I'm not using the factory part that restrics and directs feet heat.... it makes the outlet too close to the center hump. Instead, I'll make that part.

I think the throttle pedal can stay where I placed it for toe-heel considerations. I may still trim a bit of width off the brake peddle pad on the throttle side. Toe-heel is a missnomer actually. I twist my foot and use the side of my foot on the throttle, and the ball of my foot for the brake. I'll start tonight on a replacement panel for the side of the box I cut away.


May 27,

Kit car show done for the year... I really look forward to it, and the brother's visit. Now back to work.

I still haven't placed the throttle pedal. The Contour heater/AC box sticks into the driver footwell more than I like, forcing the pedal spacing to be crowded. I'm not compromizing.... so the fix will be some degree of fab to the "comfort" equipment. I only need about an inch and a half with a smooth side to the enclosure for the throttle foot to slide against. Right now it has bulges and latches that catch the foot.... for sure dancing between brake and throttle is going to get hung up and ugly. The heater core is the worse offender. I'm looking for fab shops to either build a copper/brass core in my smaller size, or can work with aluminum. I may also need to shrink the AC core.... that's a more complicated matter. As for the housing, I'm not too concerned because I can make whatever I need from fiberglass, and that might end up being the path I take.... shuffle the cores and passageways around towards the passenger side, and not cut or rebiuld either core.


March 16,

Sheez, a month and little construction. Hottie got a lot of attention though. Also had some music hobby stuff.

The "Bluebaru", my beater 93 Impreza, needed its annual safety inspection. They failed me for rotors worn over tolerance and a side light out. Got parts and was quick to make the turn-around but got "bolt-blocked. I busted a pretty big caliper bracket mount bolt. I'd put a halfshaft on this side, and replaced the caliper for a stuck piston on the other side in December (remember how nice it was?). Right after replacing the caliper, I had the garage up the street flush and replace the brake fluid (they have a fine vacuum system to do whole-system flushes. If you get a stuck rusted piston, you need to realize there was moisture in the fluid. Well, since I knew I had a potential for this side's caliper to be rusted, and the bracket had a mean broke-off bolt sticking out of it, I decided to replace the caliper and bracket together, plus a bolt trip to Subaru. Made the swap with no big, and when ready to add fluid I realized this year had DOT 4. All I had in my shop was DOT 3. I put that "buy" on temporary hold till next time out. Meanwhile I looked through the Advance Auto flyer that arrived and found brake fluid on sale... but I was surprized that it is labled not only DOT 3/4, but also synthetic. I need to look into this shocker.

This weekend is a KIX/Face Dancer reunion show that Hottie just has to attend so a good part of Saturday's productivity is shot, along with Sunday (sleep-overs... both good and bad for the sex / mechanic addiction). I'll still have a few hours for the project and swear to the blog I'll make progress.


Feb 17.

I've put a bunch of parts back together, including tacking the pedal cluster back in place (they hang) to decide just exactly I'll mount the throttle (it's floor mounted). All three pedals are closer than I'd like... blame the heater core. I will grind Wilwood's brake pad at an angle and take some meat off the throttle side so I can wear everyday shoes since the intent is to make this a 3 season commuter. BUT, in the meantime, I bought a 2010 Impreza that gets delivered today! I swear, this is the LAST new car I'll buy... punch me if I ever do it again.

I'm making new shoes for a buddy's snow blower... just plate and angled pads that set the auger's height. The originals no longer have any pad, and the slotted plate on one side has worn an inch away (he says that's 10 years use). It's fun to weld.... weld and get beer for it, that is:). So get him back in biz, toy a bit with my new "carefree" commuter car, then get back to work on the project. Next goal is all the pedal and throttle parts functional.


Feb 8.

I suppose everyone got things done during the big storm. I cut my notch out and tacked the patch in. I added a picture to the gallery. Then I looked hard at the throttle cable and system. Mounts are easy enough to fab up, but scoping out the differences between stock and SVT linkage to the throttle body sorta sinks the hope of being able to use either. I still need to detail how the arms are connected to their respective shafts to see if there's a common place to adapt one arm on either so I don't have to buy a second cable. I'll do that through the week. My new cable company is California Push-Pull Inc. The arguement keeps returning to just use the SVT motor, but it's pretty important to me to stick with the OBD-I management for titling purposes. I don't have a post-cat bung for one thing, and I'm using headers in place of the stock, cat-equiped exhaust manifolds. Being through several tests (in PA you're tested every year), I believe I can pass, and be eco-responcible with the OBD-I system. Plus, my old 95 motor ran really sweet so I don't have to invest in the re-build before driving it.... oh, I'll eventually build a motor, but I want to drive as soon as I can.


Jan 25.

Time flies. I have the relocated sway mounts done, on the car, and have started pulling lots of stuff off in prep for the notch job. The Energy Suspension ball joint boots worked out very nicely. The speed shop's new hours made it take a couple more days to drop by, but the product is stronger than rubber in terms of tear, an it's red :) .All I have to do is get up the nerve to cut good steel!!! I try and think about these a bit before making the cut. I'm ready. Maybe tonight or tomorrow I'll use the plasma, angle grinder, recip saw, and neatly take a wedge out so I can turn it around to weld back in. After that, I'll go back to detail specifying the throttle cable. The new supplier uses a different method to describe his, and with customs, I don't want to send it back for my bone up.

I did get the new old Subie. It's tired from age (215K miles) but solid for rebuilding. I titled it so I have ownership, but didn't tag it. My insurance company feels I have too many vehicles already. It's backed up against the show biz truck so It's not obvious that it isn't tagged. A nieghbor could complain and I'd have to get it off the property if it doesn't have a currnt plate on it... Borough buracracy.... I'd have a whole junk yard if I could.

I'm also in a sort of race now with a co-worker building an RV 8 airplane. Diff is, he's got a complete parts list and step by step instructions... but I'll just pull over if mine poops out.... he has a much larger pucker factor on his build. He turned me onto a better braided hose supplier, I turned him on to the aluminum supplier in Dillsburg, PA. We swap some tools, and a lot of smack talk.


Jan 14. I discovered I'd ripped the boot on my hot rod style ball joint and looked for a replacement, short of buying another ball joint. It's a Moog/Chrysler style where the boot is seperate. No hot rod buddies had a spare, but shopping Summit and Mid Western, I was lead towards Energy Suspension. Sure I knew they had bushings, but it hadn't dawned on me to look there for the cover... well, they have some, but they don't associate them by ball joint. They just offer dimensions. I found one that fits, and it's a one day order from the speed shop. That's solved. Back to my cable saga. On the last day I was willing to wait on bad promises, I got a commitment to ship and a tracking number. When the part came... it was wrong. So now I enter into what I think is going to be another hassle, but the guy accepts my decision to return for a credit card refund. The next day, the original company owner who has just returned to head the company called with a very genuine remorse for my situation. Wow, how often does that happen? He pretty much offered me a blank check in terms of however I wanted to mend our relationship. I'd already approached and commited to a new supplier, so I had to turn Madison down on his offer, but I think with the old chief back in charge, I might still consider them in the future. The Hottie G/F wants me visit Saturday, so since I was hands off because of my sniffles last weekend, I think I'll take her up on the invite. Early Saturday I'm getting another Subie FWD 5 speed wagen that will become a future fabbed race car. Sunday home from Hotties', I'll start on the steering column notch job and put all the finished parts back on.


Jan 10. I finished up the sway bar job. Not feelin my best, gotta head cold with nose running when my sinus isn't stopped shut. I'll take it easy the rest of the afternoon.


Jan 9. Girlfriend's old 90 Subie passed emissions testing... I was all set to defend the repairs and argue that the reason the first test's emissions were so low (they claimed "unreadable" and suggested she'd had someone tamper with the system) was because I'd taken care to do the job well. I had the bad parts in my pocket ready to explain each's function and well... the tester this time acknowledged it should have been passed the first time. No redemption for my challanged repairs, but the G/F was grateful enough <smile>

Now I'm waiting for the shop to warm up and the dryer plug to become available for "man work". Should be able to reach today's goals.


Jan 8. Yesteday I cleaned up the first tab, made a second, and cleaned up the first control arm in prep to weld the new tab on tonight. I'll also pull the other control arm off, cut the existing tab off, grind down what's left, and put its sway linkage mounting tab on. It was chilly in the garage last night and I have some throat pain so I didn't push myself last night. Cold predicted in PA through the weekend. I'll jack the thermostat when I have a day-long worth of work perhaps Sunday. I'd swore off G/F interferrence, but seriously... you think I can resist? I'll be down to her place Saturday to do the talkin at the emmisions test dept. They dissed her results her first trip because the reading was so low (patting myself on the back for that), and when they challanged her on battery resetting, she didn't know how to respond because I had worked on it to clear her codes. She had an open knock sensor and a burned coil in the cannister vent valve (Subbie Legacy). I hope missing time working on my car is well paid for the help I gave her (she's hot). Notching for steering clearance gets postponed till about Sunday. There's a heap of stuff I have to take off/apart to make those cuts.


Jan 7. I picked up 1/4 by 4 flat bar yesterday, carefully torched off the original, and fabbed a new tang last evening. I still need to grind off the remnants of the original (didn't want to get too close to the tube parts with the plasma), then weld my new piece on. I found subtle differences in the ends of the sway bar I got salvage, like a half inch. I swapped it over and the unique dimensions of my front end balanced the sway bar better than it was before. Honestly, I don't know which way the sway bar had been mounted in the Fiero donor, and still need to drive it to find out how suited this bar is.

I got schooled in sump pumps by SVTNUT last night. I knew there was a strong chance my "conveinient" mounting location was poor, he confirmed it for me so the sump project gets put on a low flame for now. The cradle may limit my mounting options too much.

I'm not evil, but I'm naming names today for the benefit of others... that custom cable house I had been so pleased with in the past is Madison Power Systems. The third ship date promise in 8 weeks is past (Monday with no confirmation and no delivery yet), so I'm suggesting to others that they are no longer a great place to get your stuff... shame too because the product was first rate. I struck up contact with another outfit yesterday.

(update... I have a tracking number today from Madison)

Tonight is finish sway biz, and start the steering column frame clearance notch. I could also spec the front brake hose and plumb those lines now that the pedal cluster is defined.

The reason for blogging is self motivation.... not even hottie girlfriend is going to undermine my timetable.... I'm too old now, heck, I wanna drive it.



Jan 3. I've made my completion deadline my 40th high school reunion in 2011. That leaves me a year, and then 4 or 5 months rework as needed to make a 500 mile trip, and still be functional enough to show off. There's too much to do I think, but the deadline really helps me manage my time.

Something I'm rolling over in my head is the use of all the intake parts and injectors from an SVT motor I have, with my OBD1 wiring and management and the 95 engine. With those goods, I believe the proportions (A/F mixture) won't be horribly wrong. The mental budget already includes addressing management on a serious scale, but not to make the first runs. Things I want from personal brew management are wicked throttle repsonce with fuel cutoff on closed throttle plate (love blipping), my own limits on speeds, and octane selection settings from the cabin. If I have the time to research, I'll be looking for A/F graphs on the two stock motors.

My custom control cable guy is getting tossed off my buddy list. He used to turn around orders in a week... it's been 7 weeks and 2.5 missed shipment dates for the long throttle cable I need to go to the back of the car. Also developing the cable termination for possible use with either non and SVT systems... I need the cable to fine tune the pedal cluster too.

So, while I wait, I have rework on the special front end I'm using. The sway bar mount on the driver's side causes its linkage to foul on the outer tie rod joint. I've pulled that control arm off so tomorrow I'll get some 1/4 plate to re-fab the flange and relocate it 3/4 aft. It wasn't symetric from my builder's jig, so I have an idea he just eye-balls that part's location and welds. Actually both sides need to move for my re-location of the tie rod ends of the spindle (steering arm). The gallery shows what I did with the VW spindles way back then... same thing will be done on the Pinto parts to correct Ackerman due to the widened front track, and shortend wheelbase. Which brings up my own special Ackerman treatment (racers and I are at odds on this topic). I tune the Ackerman for slightly less the perfect Ackerman because....

As you begin a turn where your tires are toed in initially, you transition a point where due to Ackerman, the tires become null-toe before they enter toe out towards the extent of their rotation. What this does to me (could be why I differ with racers) is I experience the feeling of a squirrely sensation that I insist is correctable by continuing to maintain a state of "virtual" toe in. It's not real toe in because the front tips of the tires are ever widening as you turn further, but my tune maintains the same loading on the tires as when they are pointed straight ahead. Totally gets rid of that crazy "tween" state so many guys feel, but can't put their finger on exactly what's causing it. To racers I say "okay, don't drive it". I think it stems from my dirt days and the extreme use of the steering in that nasty zone constantly correcting from the bumps and the silt steering the car somewhat. What I did was to increase toe, since the slip of the tires in the dirt was very tolerable straight, but it moves the quirkie, no-toe zone further out. I didn't have the means to redesign geometry in those days, but it worked well for me.... that, and I'm fearless. So when I develope my new steering arms, that will be included. If I don't get back to the pedals soon, then I might be addressing it right after the sway mount fix. Up front, I also need to notch a cross-car tube for the chunkie coupler on the steering column. Right now I can't really turn the wheel lock to lock. Just a minor bit needs chopped and reinforced... one of the list of reworks you see I deal with.

I looked the belt-end of the motor over for a dry sump pump. Right there in place of the AC compressor is where it belongs, but I think I want AC in the car... decisions have a way of working themselves out... I'm hoping for the answer that way :)


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