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Thread: Project Sebring GT Spyder
          
   
   

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  1. #571
    Hotrod46's Avatar
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    Car Year, Make, Model: 1946 Ford Coupe, 1962 Austin Healey 3000
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    Thanks for the kind words, guys.

    OK, gang. Just a quick update. I知 still posting the old stuff, but thought I would let you know where I知 at currently. I just got word that my paint guy has an opening in a few weeks and have decided to get the body painted now, while I can. This has shut the chassis work down for a while so I can concentrate on the body work and prep. By doing this, I can avoid having to tear the car down again for paint. I had originally thought about driving the car in primer for awhile and then painting it, but the more I thought about it, the less I liked that idea. I致e been working on this thing for so long that when I finally get it finished, I知 not going to want to tear it back apart for paint. So, I might as well go ahead and do it now.

    FWIW The engine and trans is back in and most of the plumbing is done. I値l get that stuff posted when I run out of old stuff. Now it's time to go attack some more itchy fiberglass. Back to the old stuff.

    The MX5 seats mounted much differently than the old seats, which just bolted flat to the floor. The MX5 seats had flat mounting legs in the rear, but the front mounted top a sloped section on the Miata floor. I duplicated this (more or less) by adding an angled piece of flatbar across the floor.



    The rear legs had locating dowels made into the mounting holes that keyed into the original Miata floor. I decided to keep those since they would help keep the seat in place in an accident and help keep the seat track aligned.

    To duplicate the mounting hole in the MX5, I machined some counter-bored bushings that I welded to the floor. The front mounting bolts got some machined aluminum washers that better fit the mounting holes. Of course, I mounted the seats back as far as I could get them, which was the whole purpose.



    As with any hot rodding, there were a couple of consequences from moving the seats backwards. The first one was that the emergency brake handle was too far forward. This wasn稚 TOO hard to correct. I just had to install some more nutzerts and redo the cable adjuster. No real drama, just time consuming.

    You can see just how much I gained with all this work. The forward holes are the original mounting location for the E-brake handle. That痴 a lot of extra room when you池e talking about leg room. You can just see the seat mounting parts in this picture. Sorry for the crappy picture. I hunted through all the old pics I could find and this is the only shot I could locate of the seat mounts.



    On to the second issue and this one was a biggie.
    NTFDAY, stovens and 36 sedan like this.
    Mike

    I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc-
    I'm following my pass​ion

  2. #572
    Hotrod46's Avatar
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    I had set the seat/steering wheel relationship to fit me during the initial installation, but when my wife sat in the car with the seat adjusted so that she could reach the clutch properly, the steering wheel was too close to her chest. Of course, she IS a little vertically challenged! I知 not allowed to use the 鉄 word!

    I had originally intended to use most of the steering column from the Chevy Equinox that the electric steering unit came out of and just add a simple top section to dress it up. This was the original setup.



    It was obvious that plan wasn't going to work. No amount of fiddling with the column position resulted in a location that felt right to both of us and I wasn't going to let her drive it with the wheel too close. Sooooo, I drug (dragged?) out some more of the junk that I've collected over the years and went to work.

    At a swap meet, somewhere many moons ago, I had picked up a tilt/telescoping GM column out of a C4 Corvette and it had been kicking around the shop for a while. It was a little loose in the tilt joint and I remember it was cheap because of that. Most folks don't want to tear into one of these columns, but they aren't really that bad, just a little fiddly. I repaired my first tilt GM column back in the 70's and have been tinkering with them in various projects ever since. For the most part, they are all the same inside.

    I cut this one down as short as I dared, repaired it and fitted it to the Equinox power unit. Luckily, I have a big box of assorted column parts as well as a few old column tubes and shafts stuck back from previous jobs. The real tricky part was getting the ignition and dimmer switch operating rods cut down and bent to fit and operate reliably. I had to take it apart so many times, that I made a couple of undersize tilt pins to keep from wearing out the holes they go in. The pins are hardened steel and the tilt knuckles are die castings. The pins are a press fit and it doesn't take a lot of abuse to stretch the pot metal knuckles.

    This is the "tool" I made at least 30 years ago to compress the spring under the lock plate in a tilt column. When I was younger, I would find a big helper and have him push the plate down far enough to remove the retaining clip, but it definitely works better with the tool. I did have to add a couple of square tool bits under the tool because the legs weren't long enough for the telescoping column.





    For what it's worth, the tilt and tilt/tele columns are pretty much the same from the turn signal switch down. The tele column is just a regular tilt column with the telescoping parts added to the top. That's why they are longer by several inches and this is why I had to make the column so short. The tele column required me to add a couple of square tool bits under the legs of my homemade tool to be long enough, but it still worked ok.

    This is how the telescoping lock works. A screw, a push rod and a tilting wedge inside the shaft.

    Mike

    I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc-
    I'm following my pass​ion

  3. #573
    Hotrod46's Avatar
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    This is the Equinox power unit stripped down to the basics.



    Here, I'm cutting down the tilt column shaft to mate it to the Equinox female spline section. The old style GM columns use male and female double-D sections sliding over one another for the collapsing feature, but the Equinox uses male and female splines like a transmission output. After welding them together, I realized I could have done it differently and not had any load bearing welds, but I would have had to have another female spline section to redo it and I didn't. Considering that this is on the steering wheel side of the power unit, it should never see any real load.





    I had to shrink an aluminum bushing on here to make the alignment boss fit the GM column tube.



    This shows about how much I had to cut out of the column tube to get it short enough. The bottom tube is approximately how long the original Corvette tube was.



    And here it is with a flange welded on and bolted to the power unit. The tube was put in the lathe and the flange was bored and faced after welding to keep everything square.

    NTFDAY, rspears, 36 sedan and 1 others like this.
    Mike

    I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc-
    I'm following my pass​ion

  4. #574
    Hotrod46's Avatar
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    I also had to come up with a way to support the column in the front. The tube was so short that there wasn't room for the original GM column mount.

    I came up with a sleeve over the tube that is thin enough for the operating rods to clear and is tightened with pinch bolts. It hangs off the original upper section of the GM mount. I wanted to retain the break-away mounting wedges that are part of the collapsing safety feature built into all these OEM columns. Without the breakaway portion of the upper mount, the collapsing feature won稚 work. I had to shorten the column in two places to retain the collapsing parts, but it all worked out pretty well and should work as GM intended in a crash. I don稚 even want to think about how much of an impact from my chest that it would take to get all this stuff moving and I hope I don't ever need to test it! But, I guess any help in that situation would be better than nothing.











    Here is the finished unit before the steering wheel was mounted. I put a new ignition switch, lock and dimmer switch on so it should last many years before they need replacing.



    Speaking of the dimmer switch, the one I used came on some mid 90's Cadillac's. It has an extra momentary contact added that serves as a "flash to pass" feature on the high beams. That's been common in Europe for a long time, but you don't see it much on older American cars. Nearly all newer American cars have it in some manner.



    This should be the end, but now ya'll know I can't leave well enough alone!
    NTFDAY, johnboy, 34_40 and 2 others like this.
    Mike

    I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc-
    I'm following my pass​ion

  5. #575
    v8nutz's Avatar
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    Very custom, you put a lot of work into that.

  6. #576
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    Nice work!
    " "No matter where you go, there you are!" Steve.

  7. #577
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    Thanks again, guys.

    Just a note about the next few steering column posts. Some of this is from the old stuff I found and some of it took place a few weeks ago during the big ice storm we had around here. I couldn’t get to work due to the roads and I still had power. My little machine shop is the only room in my shop that I can heat when it’s that cold, so I finished up some stuff on the column.

    After getting the column finished, I rethought my decision to use the key-on-column. I don’t really like the look of them and any 12 year old would be car thief knows how to wreck a GM column in an attempt to steal your car. A pro will use a repo truck to drag it off.

    Also, I had to push the column so far forward that it put the key pretty close to the dash. I was pinching my fingers turning the ignition. Nothing to do but neuter the key off the column and go to an ignition switch on the dash, like I really wanted to do in the first place.

    Now, I’ve converted several column shift columns to floor shift by simply cutting off the shifter boss, filling the resulting hole and tack welding the shift arm to the tube. No need for that on this column since it was already a floor shift model. I’ve never converted a column to keyless, but I figured the process to remove the lock would be similar. It just meant that I would have to disassemble the column one more time. I did want to keep the column dimmer, though.

    After I had the pieces removed, I started by sawing off most of the lock boss. I used my bandsaw for this. I had just enough clearance to get it under the saw guides. Had to be careful here since the blade could gouge the plastic housing easily.

    Then I used a grinder with a flap wheel to knock down most of what was left. A sanding block with 120 grit smoothed out the rest.





    I used my die grinder with a burr to funnel the mouth of the lock hole so that I wouldn’t have a sharp edge.



    I ran a セ pipe tap I to the lock opening to cut some extra grooves for the filler to hold onto. This probably wasn’t necessary as there are a lot of openings in the lock recess, but it made me feel better.




    I filled the hole with “Kitty Hair” type fiberglass filler and rough shaped it with a cheese grater. These factory GM parts are some kind of glass filled plastic or at least they appear to be. Modifying them with more plastic seemed like the thing to do. Actually, I use this stuff to fill the column shift hole when I neuter the shifter boss off. The one in my 46 has held up for almost 25 years, so I’m not worried. I covered the inside of the lock hole with tape to keep excess out of the housing. Then I just packed the opening with filler.






    Then it was just regular body work. Filler, high build primer and sanding.







    I painted the parts with low luster black engine enamel. This is a low stress part and shouldn’t be subject to a lot of wear and tear. If this paint doesn’t hold up, I’ll shoot it with a gun later.



    The column went back together easier than it came apart because over half the internal parts are missing.

    As a side note. I noticed something as I was reassembling the column. The turn signal switch has some auxillary contacts. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before or if I did I never paid any attention to them. They operate just like the turn signal contacts, but have nothing to do with the turn signals. They are not really big enough to drive much load, so they either served as inputs for the ECU or they drove a relay. I’m not sure what purpose they served on the C4, but I can think of one good use for them. They would be perfect to operate cornering lights. Those are small auxiliary lights that come on when the turn signals are on and light up the side of the road where you are turning. They only light up on the side that has the turn signal operating. I’ve seen them on high end luxury cars. If I can figure out a way to integrate cornering lights into the front of the car without looking goofy, I might just do that. At any rate, when I was removing unnecessary wires from the inside of the column, I chose to keep these. Just in case.

    Last edited by Hotrod46; 04-11-2021 at 06:42 AM.
    NTFDAY and stovens like this.
    Mike

    I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc-
    I'm following my pass​ion

  8. #578
    stovens's Avatar
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    Great conversion. that kitty hair filler is pretty tough. I used it on the 48. Sort of fiberglass/bondo all in one!
    " "No matter where you go, there you are!" Steve.

  9. #579
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    I've been trying real hard to get the body work done and get some paint on, but it seems like life is conspiring against me. Here are some of the holdups I致e had in the last few weeks. I wish I could say that all I have to do is work on my car stuff, but unfortunately, other things get in the way.

    My old 30+ year old B6100 Kubota finally reached a point where it was no longer practical to repair the belly mower. This tractor and mower have been obsolete for a long time. Parts had become an EBAY or salvage proposition and the last ones I got were for a different deck and PTO and had to be remachined to work. It had gotten to the point that I had to work on it about as much as I was able to mow with it. I had to take time off to find something better. That ate up several days, since no one had anything less than 40 HP in stock. Covid has delayed shipments. I wanted a real tractor and not a lawn mower. Better to spend money for a good one up front instead of buying cheapo mowers over and over. That's just my opinion, of course. I already had a big tractor with a loader and bush hog, but when it痴 wet, it痴 too heavy and really messes my yard up. We are almost a foot over our normal rainfall for this month alone (seems like it's been raining non-stop since the first of the year) and I needed a lightweight mowing machine. I finally located an 18 HP Kubota 4 wheel drive diesel that had less than 100 hrs. I really hated to spend the money on this, since all the yard and home maintenance comes out of my shop funds, but sometimes you just have bite the bullet.



    Then my old shop air compressor died. Well, the tank did anyhow. It developed a pinhole leak last year and I did what you池e not supposed to do. I welded it up. Bad idea (don稚 try this at home kids, I知 a professional idiot). It recently sprung another leak, so I decided to retire it. There was no telling how many thin spots it had on the bottom from water and I didn稚 want the tank to fail by connecting the dots. I can稚 complain too much. I built the old girl over 20 years ago literally from scrap and scrounged parts. I think I had less than $50 in actually cash in it and it has served well all these years. Yes, it looks like a Roadkill reject, but it worked! I almost hate to post a picture of it, since it looks so bad. I use a lot of air tools so I had to take time off to find a replacement.



    My original plan was to find a good vertical tank somewhere in the 60-80 gallon range and transfer the good motor and compressor over to that. The trouble with that plan was that all I could find were in about the same shape as mine or someone was going to make a smoker out of it. No kidding. I got that answer several times. Gonna make a smoker out of it one of these days. New ones were available pretty cheap from Surplus Center, but shipping was outrageous.

    Then I found the 敵reen Giant on Facebook Marketplace. It is a genuine industrial compressor and has a 3-phase motor. Because of the 3-phase, no one wanted it. It happens that I have 240 3-phase in my shop. I made an offer and the seller took it. It wasn稚 all good, though. It was wired for 480 volts, which is typical for industrial stuff, but the internal motor wiring could be easily changed to 240. The motor contactor and overload block had to be changed out because they couldn稚 carry the amps and the control wiring had to be redone. NOS and used EBAY parts got this done reasonably cheap.

    Originally, it was wired to run the motor continuously with the compressor unloading when the set pressure was reached. I didn稚 want or need the motor to run all the time, so I added another control scheme that stopped the motor like most home shop compressors do. I did keep the original control setup for when I get a decent blasting cabinet, since continuous run would be easier on the motor and starter if using a lot of air. I added a selector switch for the 2 control schemes. I even splurged and had tags made for the control switches.

    This thing is a monster compared to my old compressor. It weighs over 1000 pounds, stands over 6 tall, has a 120 gallon tank and was originally rated at 34 CFM@175 PSI. I知 not sure how many of those CFM痴 it still delivers, but I will say that it doesn稚 seem to take any more time for it to fill the big tank as my old compressor did to fill it痴 35 gallon tank. I don稚 think my power usage will be higher because it hardly ever runs and if I close the discharge valve at night, it doesn稚 lose much air, if any. I did lower the cutoff pressure to 150 PSI since the regulator I had on my distribution piping wasn稚 rated to handle any more. Because it痴 vertical, it doesn稚 take up much more space than my old compressor. I got rid of an old unused plasma machine (broken) I had sitting beside the old compressor and didn稚 lose any floor space. The best thing is that I got it all done for less than I could have bought cheap Chinese compressor from Lowes or Home Depot. It should outlast me.







    Now let痴 get on with the car. (Hopefully)
    Mike

    I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc-
    I'm following my pass​ion

  10. #580
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    I 'd say that wasn't so bad after all, thumbs up
    I have two brains, one is lost and the other is out looking for it

  11. #581
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    Mike, I guess I'd say that you did a great job turning a bag of extra sour lemons into a nice pitcher of Lemonade! Nice find on the Kubota, and recognizing the features of the big ol' compressor that let you modify it to work, too!
    Dave Severson likes this.
    Roger
    Enjoy the little things in life, and you may look back one day and realize that they were really the BIG things.

  12. #582
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    That compressor is a beast!

  13. #583
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    Somehow, amongst all the distractions, I have managed to get most of the body work done.

    I had hoped to be complete and in primer by now, but the more I looked over the old fiberglass, the more stuff I found to fix. Let me start by saying that body work is not something that I really enjoy and body work on fiberglass I like even less. I view it as a necessary evil since I really can稚 afford to just drop it off at a body shop with a blank check. Also, around my area, there is only one shop that will actually work on an old car seriously. The last person I know of that used a local body shop waited for YEARS to get his car finished (5 comes to mind). All the shops focus on insurance jobs because that痴 where the quick and easy money is. Old cars are just something they work on when there is nothing else to do and that is almost never. I don稚 guess I can blame them for making money, it痴 just that they usually tell the old car guys that they will get right on it and then shove their car into a corner where it just sits, half finished, for months and months.

    I can generally do a passable job on body work, but I知 definitely an amateur and it seems to take me forever to get things right. I have a tendency to sand too much and have to redo a lot, but over the years I do seem to have gotten a little better on that front. I just haven稚 developed that fine feel for the surface that most pros have. I just don稚 do it enough to gain the experience. I have learned that guide coats are my friend, though, and keep a spray can of black sandable primer handy.

    I have altered my plans for paint. I have come to realize that trying to move the body parts to the body shop for paint, move them back after paint and store them without somehow messing them up will be practically impossible. My plan now is to finish the body work, seal it with epoxy primer and then shoot some primer surfacer on it. Then I will shove out of the way in the shop and finish the chassis. Once I get the front and rear body halves back on the chassis, I will sand the primer. That way, if I screw something up, it will just be primer and can be fixed easy. Then I can just drive the car to shop for paint. The extra time will also give the surfacer plenty of time to cure and shrink.

    Here are some of the spots that I have had to do. The busted right front fender was the worst. The tire contacted the fender flare HARD, cracked the fiberglass and shattered the gel coat. Long splits radiated out across the fender flare. The were numerous places where the gel coat split along the edge. Everywhere you see a sharpie mark, the gel coat was damaged, as well as a few more than didn稚 show in the picture.



    This is the backside of the damaged area. You can see the white section where the glass separated as well as the shattered gel coat.



    I started the repair by roughing up the back side with 36 grit and grinding almost through the glass to the gel coat. Then I laid some new glass on the underside of the fender.

    NTFDAY and stovens like this.
    Mike

    I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc-
    I'm following my pass​ion

  14. #584
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    Then I ground off the gel coat and ground through the bad glass to the new glass on the backside. Next was fresh gel coat and a skim of polyester glazing to get the shape just right.



    Here you can see where the fiberglass cracked all the way through to the backside. No repair would have held up if this isn稚 fixed.





    NTFDAY, 53 Chevy5 and stovens like this.
    Mike

    I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc-
    I'm following my pass​ion

  15. #585
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    I'm with you on the not liking body work, slapping bondo on my fenders right now. I hate fiberglass, every time I've messed with it I screwed it up. Good luck with the endless sanding!
    Hotrod46 likes this.

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