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Thread: Project Sebring GT Spyder
          
   
   

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  1. #676
    Mike P's Avatar
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    Just hang in there.......this will just be a memory soon enough.


    .
    Hotrod46 likes this.
    I've NEVER seen a car come from the factory that couldn't be improved.....

  2. #677
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    Thanks again, guys. I'm taking it easy for the next few days. I had a bad hematoma several years ago from not following doctors orders, so I ain't taking any chances.

    OK, sifting through the old pictures and found some stuff that I donít think got posted. These next posts will be dealing with interior pieces that I got done during the final mockup. This stuff goes back quite aways.

    After I got the rear mini-tubs done for tire clearance, I could move on to the roll bar that I wanted to add. Actually, I wanted dual roll hoops more like a Cobra has. I just like the looks of them better since, to me at least, they just scream vintage sports car.

    I decided to buy the bender because the folks I found around here that could bend the parts I wanted charged an arm and a leg to do it. Getting someone to do it was going to cost more than the tool, so I figured I might as well just buy it and do the work myself.

    The tubing bender I used is a JD2 model 32 with a hydraulic conversion by SWAG Off Road. I also bought a 1 5/8" 180* die set. I plan to buy some more die sets in the future. I think this tool will be handy, especially the square tubing dies that are available for it. Square tubing is much easier and cheaper to come by in these parts and suitable for most of my projects. I have no complaints about the bender or the SWAG conversion. Both do a fantastic job.

    This is the style of bender:



    And this is the hydraulic conversion:



    I chose 1 5/8" tubing based on NHRA recommendations. They require that size in .120 wall, but all I could find locally was .156 wall. The thicker tubing was heavier than I wanted, but my only other option was to order short sections online and pay through the nose. I will say that I bent one of the hoops by hand, using a 5' cheater pipe for a handle. Man! What a work out! I just wanted to see how much effort it took and it was a bunch. I'm not as strong as I used to be when I was younger, apparently. After the first part, I decided the hydraulic conversion wasn't just a luxury. For me, it was a necessity. The .156 wall tubing is very strong and had a lot of spring-back. I had to go about 10-12 degrees past my target to allow for the spring.

    I noticed a while back that there were some tabs added to the frame in the area where a roll bar would sit and a little digging in the assembly manual indicated that they were there for the optional Classic Roadsters roll bar. I built these heavy duty mounts that used those tabs. These probably didnít need to be quite so heavy, but I had the material.





    The CR roll bar was just a traditional single hoop that spanned the area behind the seats. The double hoop arrangement I wanted posed a problem in that there wasn't any real structure in the middle of the chassis to anchor the hoops to. I also wanted this to be real roll over protection, so I had to build a solid base to anchor to. The base was built from the same tubing that the hoops where made from. It's pretty heavy duty (and just plain heavy), but will no doubt add some extra stiffness to the rear of the chassis. There are heavy steel tubes inside where the lower section and the hoops bolt together that serve as alignment dowels so that the bolts are not the only things keeping them aligned.

    I wanted to enclose the area behind the seats to make a covered storage area and my first plan had the hoops mounted on top of where the package tray will be with no other bracing. In the end though I didn't think that having the hoops cantilevered with no support would be strong enough if it was ever needed in an accident. So, I added another support so that I wound up with the same tripod arrangement you typically see with this type of roll hoop . Not quite as trim looking as I wanted, but way more sturdy. They are also a little taller than I would have preferred, but I had to get them over the seats and they had to be mounted higher due to my back issues.









    The hoops and braces have been chromed. I seriously doubt these roll hoops would pass something like an NHRA tech inspection or any other sanctioning body for that matter, but they at least give me a chance if things ever go south.
    Mike

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

  3. #678
    Dave Severson is offline CHR Member/Contributor Visit my Photo Gallery
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    Great job on the hoops, they fit the car very nicely!
    NTFDAY and Hotrod46 like this.
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  4. #679
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    Thanks Dave.

    Once I get the folding top and it's boot installed, they won't appear quite so tall. The boot and top are about 4 or 5 inches tall when folded.
    Mike

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

  5. #680
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    Before I could move on to the dash, console and rear package tray, I wanted to attempt to install an arm rest that I had picked up on EBAY. The rest is out of an Audi A4, if I remember correctly. Without having any U-Pull-It type salvage yards available to me any more, I find myself wandering around on EBAY, looking for some kind of item that I might be able to make work.

    The Audi part folds up between the seats to get it out of the way. There is precious little room in the cockpit and I didnít want an arm rest cluttering my steering space when I wanted to drive this thing hard. There is also a small compartment under the top. I think it was originally for a hard wired cell phone (remember those?). The marine sound system I will be installing has a hard wired remote that is compact enough to fit in there and thatís where it will most likely wind up. The only odd thing about the Audi part was the offset mount that it had. It must have had to clear somewhere on the Audi chassis.

    The Sebring chassis came from the factory with a mount welded in for an optional 3rd link traction bar that ran from the top of the rear end to the bracket under the trans tunnel. That bracket just happened to wind up right between the seats. I made a simple bracket for the arm rest that bolted to the traction bar bracket since it wasnít being used for anything else.

    The arm rest turned out well and actually looks like it was made for this car. When the console goes in, I will be able to cover up most of the Audi mount. The dang thing is gray. It was supposed to be black. I have some spray on dye that I intend to use to change the color. If I donít like the way it turns out, these are available in black and I will have to buy another one.











    Mike P, NTFDAY, 34_40 and 3 others like this.
    Mike

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  6. #681
    Mike P's Avatar
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    Nice! The extra little bit of storage space I'm sure will come in handy.


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    I've NEVER seen a car come from the factory that couldn't be improved.....

  7. #682
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    After I got the roll hoops done, I had to stop and build a tool for the next part of this job. Actually, it was an attachment for my bead roller. I’ve heard this thing called both a third axis and a third axle, take your pick. To me, being an old machinist, I would call it a third axis.





    It has many uses, but is commonly used to roll circular beads. I didn’t want it for that (at this time that is). I wanted it support folded sections for some more complex edge beading I had planned. I hope the pictures I post in the next few sections will explain it.

    I also had to develop a technique to make a hemmed edge on sheet metal. The hem performs the same function on metal that it does in sewing. It creates a double thickness area for added strength with a smooth edge that won’t cut you. Well, maybe fabric won’t cut, but it will unravel.

    In principle, a hem is simple. You just fold a strip of the parent metal back on itself. In practice, it’s a little more difficult. The fold has to be crisp or it will look bad and you don’t want a lot of hammer marks, so just hammering the edge over doesn’t work well. It will work, but needs lot of planishing to smooth out.

    My brake will only bend to slightly over 45*, but that was a good start. I paired up some mismatched bead roller tools to finish the job. I just hammered a short section mostly flat and then used the bead roller to finish the hem. I used the 3rd axis roller to help keep the metal against the guide.





    This technique actually worked too good. I found out that I could flatten the hem so tight, that it would stretch the rolled edge. This would throw an edgewise bow into the part. One of the first parts I made had this happen. It wasn’t bad enough to kill the part, but I backed off the amount of flattening after that.



    Last edited by Hotrod46; 12-17-2021 at 10:34 AM.
    Mike

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

  8. #683
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    Next on the list was the dashboard. The original Healeys had the traditional wood dash and the Sebring more or less duplicated that look. I kind of liked that look and pursued that line of thought for quite some time. Unfortunately, wood comes with problems. My plan is to drive this car a lot and was concerned about keeping wood looking nice. Having a mahogany front door on my house that needs constant maintenance was my main indicator. I have never found a protective coating that will hold up in the sun. Even marine polyurethane.

    I also looked very seriously at faux wood done through the hydro-dipping process. This was very promising, since there are wood patterns available that are virtually indistinguishable from real high end burl wood. They also offered the durability of automotive paints, since they are generally protected with automotive clears. However, in the end I decided to go with something very different.

    I consider metal to be my main medium and wanted to do something a little different for a typical Healey in that direction. I have a lot of aircraft type rivet work on this car and wanted to tie that in somehow to the trim work. I chose to do an aluminum sheet metal dash and console with a padded marine vinyl covering. Yes, that makes it very similar to a Cobra, but that dash treatment was common to other British cars, too. Most people are just used to seeing it on Cobras. I know, from experience with my T-bucket, that the marine vinyl will hold up well in the sun and rain (that’s what it was made for after all), so durability is not an issue. I also felt that I could pull off that little bit of upholstery myself without having to search out a trimmer. They are few and far between in my area. The console will carry the same general theme as the dashboard. I also want to do some decorative metal trimmed door cards, but that can wait for a little while longer. That is a good project for after the car is actually drivable. After I made the decision on the vinyl, I went ahead and ordered several yards of black vinyl and some 1/8” closed cell foam sheet.

    Figuring out the basic gauge layout and overall shape of the dash took a little thinking and playing around with plywood and cardboard patterns. There is a lot going on on this dash and I wanted to make sure that all the gauges were visible.



    I finally settled on the pattern on the top. The rounded corners make it a little easier to get in and out of the car. I need all the help I can get on that front.

    NTFDAY and rspears like this.
    Mike

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

  9. #684
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    Once I had the basic shape, it was time to start cutting metal. I made the whole dash out of .050 aluminum. I would have preferred .060, but the thinner material was all I had on hand. The instruments I’m using are 2 5/8” and 4” diameter. I decided to do the opening on the mill. The CNC controller makes it simple to mill any size hole you want. Just tell it where and how large you want the hole and it does all the hard work. No hole saw required. I clamped the dash down on a sacrificial block of wood and just milled into it. Oh, lest ya’ll think I don’t make mistakes, I had to redo almost all the holes. Dummy me, I forgot to allow enough for the vinyl to wrap through the opening. Doh!!!





    This is the finished base. The tubing across the top is 1”. I cut the top part off to form a deep channel. This sets the dash 1” deeper that it was in the stock Sebring. Because the original dash was a thick plank of wood, my setup doesn’t really take up much more space. The deeper dash gets the everything farther away from the steering wheel and gives me a little more sunshade for the instruments.



    Here it is in the car. The “Oh Sh##!!” handle is a stainless steel marine part. It fastens to a heavy duty bracket behind the dash.





    I also made a couple of end caps.



    I almost forgot one detail. In this picture, you can see the part that stiffens the lower edge of the dash. This part also got a hemmed edge. You can also see brace I added to firm up the dash.

    Last edited by Hotrod46; 12-18-2021 at 01:31 PM.
    Mike

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

  10. #685
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    Wow Mike looks awesome. I like the way you laid out the gauges too!
    " "No matter where you go, there you are!" Steve.

  11. #686
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    Thanks Steve!

    I wanted to include a glove box in the dash, too. Shoot, I might want to get a pair of those fancy leather driving gloves and Iíll need someplace to stash them when Iím not driving! Imagine that, actually putting gloves in a glove box!

    I whittled the box door from ľĒ 6061 aluminum. The latch is a VW Beetle part and the hinge is a section of aluminum strap hinge. I had to machine a pocket in the edge of the door to get clearance for the hinge and fold the hinge on itself to get the door to lay flat. I still have a little finishing work to do on it. I think it would look much better with rounded edges. I'll get around to that eventually.








    The box was made from .030 aluminum and pop riveted together. Itís pretty fragile with no support and I have had to put it up high out of the way to keep it safe. Once itís installed, it should be good.





    Here is the door installed on the dash.

    Mike

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

  12. #687
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    I have a few teaser shots of the dash in the process of being finished. I still have a ways to go, but they will definitely show the look I’m going after.

    This is the dashboard after covering and riveting. Sorry, but I don’t have any construction shots of the covering process. The end caps will eventually tie into the lower trim strip and carry the theme up around the ends. Since the vinyl is covered on the edges by riveted parts top and bottom, I shouldn’t have to worry about the covering separating.





    The instruments are Speed Hut brand. All the gauges are stepper motor units and they all (except for the voltmeter) have programmable warning lights. The backlighting on these gauges is great. Some kind of plasma discharge. It gives the impression that the numbers are floating on a black background. They are very shallow too and, while the dials are 2 5/8”, the bodies are 2 1/16”, so they are easier to fit.



    The speedometer is a GPS unit so no connection to the trans is required. It will be nice not to have to drive around with a hand help GPS unit trying to calibrate the speedo. This speedo also has some kind or performance computer built in. I think it will do 0-60 and ľ mile times. Not sure what else it will do. It only goes to 140, but that will be more than enough. The math says this car should be able to “bury” that, as they used to say, but I’ll never see it. Might see most of that, though!

    The fuel gauge is built into the speedo. That has a programable low warning light. Getting it in the speedo was an option and I felt I would be better served with a nice large oil temp gauge in the main part of the dash.



    The tach has a lot of race type functions. Including programable shift and memory functions. Both the speedo and tach are 4” faces.



    The switches took a lot of thought and searching to get something I liked. I originally wanted something like a traditional Lucas style British switch. They have a very unique, classy look that blends perfectly into a British sports car cockpit. Lucas electrical parts scare me due to the known reliability issues and now most of them are made in China. So you have a crappy design made in a country known for “I don’t give a crap about quality” attitude. Also, Lucas switch circuitry is just plain weird. The contact arrangements are crazy IMO, so I wanted to use a more common US sourced toggle switch.

    The trouble with that was common toggle switches look very plain and the ones that look good aren’t available in many contact arrangements. My solution was to source some decorative nuts and nut covers from the 18 wheeler world. I knew from experience that big trucks use a lot of toggle switches and some of the trucks are quite fancy inside. The handle covers were made by me, since everything I found from big trucks were either too long or pretty gaudy (like glitter or pistol ammo cases). I made mine from some semi hard plastic chosen because it can withstand UV from the sun.

    The switch tags are from a company called Carolina Laser. They are 1 ľ” in diameter. I found CL to be very easy to deal with and fast to ship. Their standard tag has a Ĺ” hole, but they will supply custom hole sizes on request.

    The switch protective hoops are an aircraft thing that I sourced from EBAY. They are stainless steel, but I found them in polished aluminum and black anodized.



    The last detail to show is the filler piece that goes under the steering column. This was a tricky little part to get right.

    Last edited by Hotrod46; 12-19-2021 at 07:02 AM.
    Mike P, NTFDAY and johnboy like this.
    Mike

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

  13. #688
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    Wow! Lets hit the road! Be fun to watch those gauges rev!
    " "No matter where you go, there you are!" Steve.

  14. #689
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    Great work on the dash!
    Roger
    Enjoy the little things in life, and you may look back one day and realize that they were really the BIG things.

  15. #690
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    Thanks Roger!

    Steve, I can't wait either. I've always been a sucker for gauges with a 270* sweep.

    The console was up next. I started by adding some steel risers to the trans tunnel and under the shifter boot.

    This one is at the front of the tunnel and I cut some clearance under it for wiring. There is one at the rear also that I donít have a clear picture of.





    The top of the console is made from 1/8Ē thick aluminum plate. I knew that things may inadvertently be dropped on it and wanted something thicker to resist damage. You can see the hole I cut for the drink holder. I also had to cut in around the arm rest base. Filler plates for that will come later.



    I needed to add some plates to the edges to stiffen the top plate. Even though itís 1/8Ē material, it still isnít stiff enough to resist bending. These parts are the real reason I wanted the 3rd axis for the bead roller. I wanted to attempt to do a deep bead right on the bend of the edge plates.

    I started on these by doing a hem on a couple of strips and brending them into a ninety. It took several passes with different combinations of tooling to make and refine the beads, but I eventually got it completed. I think the beads give an otherwise simple part a little character. The pictures should explain the use of the 3rd axis better than I could with a long post. Without the extra roller to control and guide the part, it would have been very hard to get a nice consistent bead so close to the bent edge.









    Then I stretched the inner lip until the parts fit the shape of the top plate.


    I had to make the filler plates for the arm rest. This included a base plate for the top of the trans tunnel. This got a welded on stand off to hold the top plate. The other parts fitted around the base as close as I could get them. I will most likely have to use a small amount of silicone to fill what gaps are left. The split in the edge parts will be mostly unseen between the seats. My intent is to cover the trans tunnel with marine carpet. The edges of the console will fit over the carpet.









    I also made this simple box to fill the gap between the dashboard and the console. This will give a place to route and hide wiring. It is also where I will put any extra switches, some USB charge ports and regular lighter type power sockets.



    Here is the more or less completed console. I slipped a swatch of vinyl under the edge parts to show what the finished console will look like. The edges will be left with a plain brushed finish and protected with Shark Hide metal protectant. I still want to make an aluminum trim plate for the shifter boot.

    NTFDAY likes this.
    Mike

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

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