Yet another distraction this weekend for the cobra project. I volunteered to work the Transportation Committee for the Michelob Light LPGA tournament at Kingsmill. I worked on Saturday and Sunday moving cars and shuttling players to the airport. It was a fun distraction and neat experience working at a professional golf tourney. I'll probably do it again next year. Plus I get a free round of golf at Kingsmill!
May 7, 2003:
I checked on the progress of my body at the paint shop today. It didn't appear that they got much done on it. I was hoping that they would be ready to prime by now. I decided to take the hood home so that I could work on it more.
May 10,11, 2003:
This weekend I worked on finishing the underside of the hood. There really was a lot of work to be done on the hood still. I'm glad that I picked it up. In hindsight I would have put less Rage Gold on the bottom of the hood. I put so much on the first application that the low spots were very deep and it took several more applications of Rage Gold to make it smooth. I also tried to cover up all of the sheet metal from the hood hinge kit. I don't think the bottom of the hood needs to be perfect but it's hard to leave it half-done once you've started it.
I also received my alignment widgets that I ordered through Breeze. These things are works of art! A little pricey at $165 for 4 widgets but I think well worth it. I was having problems with the upper control arm sliding. I read on the forum that some people weld nuts or crank down real hard on the bolts holding the arm in place. I figured that I would screw up something if I tried those other options. The money spent is worth it to know that once I set my alignment, it won't go out of whack. More importantly is the safety issue of your control arm sliding way out of alignment and causing major damage to your front end or body. These things were also extremely easy to install!
TIME THIS WEEKEND: 12 hours
May 12-14, 2003:
I took 3 days of vacation to dedicate to the car. On Monday, I spent most of the morning continuing the sanding and filling process for the hood. It looks so much better now. I stopped by the shop to see how things were coming and to drop off the hood. I'm not getting a real warm and fuzzy about the body being done in time for me to move. They originally estimated 2-3 weeks. I hope they are done in 2-3 months. I do want them to take their time and make it right though. I'm going to make the assumption that it won't be done before I leave and will make provisions for the go-kart and parts while the body is being completed.
I dropped off the roll bar and other parts at the powder coaters today. The rest of the afternoon was spent test fitting the aluminum that goes under the door and the little covers that go behind the door latches. I decided to not install the under door aluminum until the body gets back. I didn't feel real confident that I would install those in the right location. I can still install the majority of the insulation and carpeting without doing those pieces.
On Tuesday, I riveted the aluminum behind the door latches and worked on the trunk hoop conversion. I was a little surprised at how long it took me to install the trunk hoop conversion. The holes that I drilled ended up being a little off so I had to do a lot of grinding to get everything to fit properly. It looks really good and now I have more accessible space in the trunk!
On Wednesday I worked on the wiring. I cleaned up the wiring that is behind of the dashboard. I decided to use the stock light switches for now so I mounted them to the frame using the FFR supplied aluminum brackets. Given the time that I have I didn't want to risk screwing up or troubleshooting the lighting wiring. I want to get it to work first and then I'll modify as necessary or time permits.
After cleaning up the wiring, I wanted to try and start the car. The last time I started the car was in the late fall. Probably around 6 months ago! The battery was pretty dead so I jumped it with my Honda. When I tried to start the car, I got that familiar terrible grinding noise that gave me so much grief last year. I even ordered a new high torque starter through Ebay. Since it was grinding I figured I should just go ahead and take off the starter in preparation for the new one. As I was under the car contemplating how hard it would be to remove the flywheel if I couldn't fix this problem, I had a startling revelation. When I first got the used parts, the dust shield was kind of bent up. I noticed that some of the holes on the dust shield didn't line up perfectly with the bell housing. This in turn caused the hole that the starter is mounted in to be offset. In this case, it put the starter closer to the flywheel. I figured that moving the starter slightly away from the flywheel might fix the problem. Using the washers that I installed to try and shim the starter, I offset the starter away from the pre cut hole, allowing me to offset it. THIS DID THE TRICK! No more grinding sounds while starting or after the pinion disengages the flywheel.
The idle was really high after I started the car and discovered that the newly installed gas pedal didn't allow the throttle to close to idle. A minor adjustment to the pedal assembly fixed this problem. I ran the car for a while to see if anything was leaking. I also installed my front seat so that I could test-drive it. I'm pretty satisfied with the feel of the way I installed the seat. I drove the car in my cul-de-sac for a good 15 minutes. The brakes work fine and 2nd and 3rd great too. Overall it was a very good 3 days of work. Even though the body may not be done in time, I'm feeling pretty confident about the mechanical work on the car.
TIME THIS WEEK: 21 hours
May 17-18, 2003:
On Saturday I worked on cleaning up the wires in the engine compartment. Cleaning up the wiring takes a lot longer than it looks. I also took a close look at how to wire the front lights using Breeze's lighting wiring kit.
TIME THIS WEEKEND: 8 hours
May 19,20, 2003:
I took two days off of work this week to get more stuff done on the car. I spent a good part of Monday morning researching how to remote mount the fuel pressure sender and also ordering parts through Summit Racing and Michael Everson. I called the Autometer company to get more information on if I needed to remote mount the fuel pressure sender. From what I gathered, they make an adapter that will allow you to mount your fuel pressure sender directly on to the fuel rail but they recommend not doing it. My question is: "why even sell an adapter like that if it is not a recommended course of action?" Regardless I think the remote mounting will work better with the way I'm routing the wires for the sender to the gauge. I ordered part numbers 3227 (3' stainless braided line w/ adapters) and 3280 (1/8" NPT to AN4 adapter).
I later began the soldiering of the Breeze lighting wiring kit to the wiring harness.
On Tuesday I went down the list of my "to-do" list to fix things that I've been procrastinating to do. I first started by applying the carriage bolt modification to the door handles. As anyone who has built these cars can attest, the handles are not of the best quality. Many people have experienced the handle coming off the hinge. The way to fix this is by putting a carriage bolt through the hole to secure the handle. Wade Linger's site shows the steps very clearly.
I then temporarily wired up the FFR supplied lights to the Breeze harness so that I could test all of my lights. I also had to soldier the rear harness to the Breeze harness. I then spliced the license plate wiring into the wire harness. I was extremely thrilled to see that all of my lights work! I did have a bad lead (bad ground) for the license plate light and ended up splicing it to another wire.
TIME: 16 hours
May 21, 2003:
Summit Racing is such a great company. I ordered my parts on Monday and they came in on Wednesday (today)! Tonight I mounted the fuel pressure sender to the car. The installation was really easy. All I did was connect the hoses and use a 1 1/4" clamp to mount the pressure sender to the frame.
TIME: 30 minutes
May 23-26, 2003:
Memorial Day Weekend! This is the 3rd Memorial Day weekend since I started building this car. Friday was a training holiday so I took the time to run errands. I wanted to register the car at the DMV but I think everyone must have had the day off because the line was really long. Instead of wasting my time, I decided to register it another day. That afternoon I installed an aluminum cover for the battery in the trunk. Earlier in the build, I cut out a hole to make it easier to access the battery. To secure this cover I used these little screw things that rivet to the bottom of the trunk floor so that I can use a phillips screw to secure the cover.
Saturday was spent on Suzanne's friend's boat. Sunday was taken up by church, house cleaning and yard work. I did get to cut out the hole for the glove compartment box too. I finally got to get some good work done on the car on Monday. I got up early Monday morning and started by trying to troublehoot my headlights. I had noticed on Friday that although the headlights worked, what I thought were the low beams were only the running lights. It appears that the BK/O wire (always hot) wasn't getting power to the switch and low beams. I was originally planning on using the stock light switch but since the BK/O lead isn't going to it anyway, I'll install my own light switch once I get my turn signal stuff from Russ Thompson (I'll need to integrate the high beam switch).
Later that morning I installed the horn and rewired the ignition switch. I decided that I will use the start feature of the ignition switch instead of using a seperate starter switch (to keep the dash board cleaner looking). The horn installation was very painless and it works fine! The next thing I did was to drill the holes in the dash for the lights and switches. I was hoping to finish the dash today but for some reason I couldn't find the dash cover. I thought I took it out but it was nowhere to be found. I'll just go and get some from a local upholsterer.
The rest of the afternoon was spent soldiering the dash board wires to one of the old wiring harness plugs. I'm doing this so that I can easily remove and install the dash. I'm glad that I kept the old wiring stuff so that I could recycle some of those plugs. I need to be sure and document the color codes properly to make it easier to troubleshoot later. I still need to soldier the plug to the dash board wiring but I need to get the covering on the dash first.
TIME THIS WEEKEND: 18 hours
May 28, 2003:
For some reason I couldn't locate the FFR supplied covering for the dash board. Instead of ordering more material from FFR, I decided to get some material from a local upholsterer. For only $15, I got a generous piece of material (which looked better than the original) and also some padding. I used the dashboard as a template to cut out the padding and the vinyl material.