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Thread: Project Sebring GT Spyder
          
   
   

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  1. #571
    Hotrod46's Avatar
    Hotrod46 is offline CHR Member Visit my Photo Gallery
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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
    Hotrod46 is offline CHR Member Visit my Photo Gallery
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    Car Year, Make, Model: 1946 Ford Coupe, 1962 Austin Healey 3000
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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 is offline CHR Member Visit my Photo Gallery
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    Very custom, you put a lot of work into that.

  6. #576
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    stovens is offline CHR Member Visit my Photo Gallery
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    Car Year, Make, Model: 48 Ford F1
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    Nice work!
    " "No matter where you go, there you are!" Steve.

  7. #577
    Hotrod46's Avatar
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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.
    stovens likes 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
    stovens is offline CHR Member Visit my Photo Gallery
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    Car Year, Make, Model: 48 Ford F1
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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.

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