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Thread: Project Sebring GT Spyder
          
   
   

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  1. #766
    Hotrod46's Avatar
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    Car Year, Make, Model: 1946 Ford Coupe, 1962 Austin Healey 3000
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    Quote Originally Posted by 40FordDeluxe View Post
    It definitely sounds like you're having a blast and enjoying it!
    Every chance I get!
    Mike

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

  2. #767
    Bob Parmenter's Avatar
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    Buc-ees rocks!
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    Your Uncle Bob, Senior Geezer Curmudgeon

    It's much easier to promise someone a "free" ride on the wagon than to urge them to pull it.

    Luck occurs when preparation and opportunity converge.

  3. #768
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    Well gang, itís been several months since I got the Healey on the road, and I thought it was time for an update.

    For me personally, I caught Covid, had another procedure done on my heart, and suffered through another pretty bad bout with the bad disc in my back. For a while, the disc was winning, but meds and therapy seem to have whipped it back into submission (no pun intended). During the down times with all this, I took on learning some new stuff, so the time wasnít completely wasted vegging out on old movies and YouTube.

    I have about 4000 miles on the car now and Iím still working through getting it completely sorted like I want it. I guess everybody has issues with a new build, I know I do. Iíve also been trying to finish regular build items that I never got around to. Itís been really hard getting fired up about tearing into it again since Iím having so much fun driving it!

    Here are some of the things that I have managed to get done and a few things that I have left to do. Iíll post this up in segments, so everyone wonít have to read a novel in one setting.

    After driving the car awhile, I was convinced the electric steering was a complete bust. The steering feel was kind of wonky (good scientific term, that!) and I felt the car could and should be a lot better. I built a new steering column that eliminated the power unit. The plan was to ditch the electric steering and try the car with manual steering before deciding whether to go with hydraulic power steering.

    The new column was fabricated from a piece of old scrap steering column with a little machine and hand filing work. I had enough old parts in my stash to build a non-telescoping tilt column with a regular turn signal switch. It had no dimmer built in as I had come to dislike the looks of the fat dimmer column as well as the fact that I had trouble with the super short operating rod and internal plastic parts working the dimmer switch correctly.

    I had also come to realize that the telescoping feature was totally useless in this car. My seating position was not what I thought it was going to be due to having to be in a position far enough forward to reliably operate the clutch, so the column stayed in its forwardmost position all the time. The oversize steering wheel adapter required for the telescoping column added to the heavy appearance of the whole package. I found a smaller steering wheel adapter on EBAY dirt cheap. Around $20 and polished!



    I started with this short cut off section of the old C4 column. I had to cut off the welded-on flange (yellow arrow), remove the welded on mounting bracket (red arrow) and modify the top to accept the tilt steering knuckle. The top of the original column that this piece came from had been cut off earlier to make the EPAS column.



    Getting the welded on mount off without destroying the rest of the tube was a challenge. GM didnít intend for it to ever come off.



    Next up was fabricating some kind of shroud for the tilt mechanism. I had an NOS turn signal housing from a late 60ís 1 Ĺ truck. I bought this off EBAY quite some time ago when I was kicking around building a non-tilt column. It was the right size to cover the tilt knuckle and on-hand, so might as well use it. Had to enlarge the end hole to slide over the tube.







    Transferred the hole pattern from a good column to the new tube using masking tape. And then milled and filed the holes out. Not super pretty, but functional.



    I sectioned the bottom of the tube and rewelded the special end for the C4 lower bearing. I still have a short bit of collapsing section left. Not sure how much good it would do in a crash, but at least it should still work as GM intended.



    Had to cut a notch for the tilt knuckle to key into (arrow).

    Then it was just a matter of welding the shroud onto the tube. Sorry. I didnít take a picture of that. I removed the swivel portion of a tilt shaft from the 1Ē tube that is normally it attached to. The swivel is forged onto a section of ĺĒ double D shafting. That was fortunate, because the double D is the same size as common steering joints. Also had to fab a bushing for the C4 lower bearing since it was 1Ē ID. Everything fit together. I have pics of the completely finished column coming up shortly, but first,I had to figure out what to do about the old column mounted dimmer.
    Mike

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

  4. #769
    53 Chevy5's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear about your physical setbacks, but glad to hear you're on the mend again! That too bad about the electric power steering being a bust. I thought it sounded like a great ideas as that how most are nowadays. I think a manual rack will work well considering how light the car is. I'm jealous of the metal tools and knowledge you have.
    NTFDAY, Hotrod46, stovens and 1 others like this.
    Seth

    God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing. C.S.Lewis

  5. #770
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    Thanks Seth. Be sure to follow this long winding story to the end. It has an embarrassing twist.
    Last edited by Hotrod46; 06-18-2023 at 05:59 AM.
    NTFDAY, 53 Chevy5, rspears 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

  6. #771
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    All the wiring was in place near the column, and I certainly didnít want to attempt to redo it on my head under the dash. I also had an issue with the programming button for the electronic speedometer. I had mounted it in a bad position under the dash and was constantly dragging my leg on it when getting in and out. This had damaged the switch (not to mention my leg) and it would stick in the on position. Because of the sticking switch, I accidentally reprogrammed the fuel gauge while I was at Cruisiní the Coast and had to download the manual from Speedhut and attempt to recalibrate it sitting in a Walmart parking lot. I really donít like pushing a car, so I really, really like having an accurate fuel gauge, at least as far as reading accurate when empty.

    I solved both the dimmer problem and the speedo problem with one piece. What I had gotten into during my recuperating downtime were 3D printing and CAD. I was itching for some project to tackle with this new interest, and this was it.







    I designed and printed a board to attach to the steering column that held an LR35 dimmer relay and a micro relay. The two relays are controlled with momentary switches located in the end of the turn signal switch lever and the column tilt lever. The levers were sourced from Ron Francis Wiring as well as the harness for the dimmer switch. The harness allowed me to just plug the new dimmer setup into the existing dimmer harness on the car. I couldnít locate the female dimmer connector anywhere but Ron Francis harness. It was pretty cheap though.





    The LR35 relay only requires a momentary ground signal to swap from low to high beam. It works exactly like an old VW dimmer relay but is easier to find. The pins are even numbered exactly like the VW part. As a bonus, if the relay is wired correctly, pressing the dimmer button with the headlights turned off will flash the high beams, i.e., flash-to-pass. I designed the relay board to take either the LR35 or the VW relay if needed. They are different sizes. I had to fasten the relay into its cavity on the board with a zip tie and wire the relay with separate terminals since I could not locate a socket for the odd pin-out grouping of the LR35.

    Pressing the tilt lever button operates the micro relay that controls the speedometer/fuel indicator programming circuit. This also selects the function of the LCD window on the speedo face. This speedo has a performance computer for 0-60 and ľ mile times as well as a compass, clock, and trip meter, but I had been unable to access these features because of the bad switch.

    The new manual column turned out pretty well. You see that I matched all the attachment points for the old EPAS column. So, the new one just bolted in place of the old one.


    Old column



    New column



    I also had to make a new intermediate steering shaft. It has to telescope to allow installation. The original EPAS shaft telescoped, too.

    I also took this opportunity to swap back to my original steering wheel. I had changed to a smaller diameter and skinnier wheel with a riveted rim. I thought it looked more period correct than the wheel I had on the car during construction. The skinny wheel caused my hands to cramp on longer highway trips.



    I bought a set of these nifty driving gloves and they do help a lot. The fatter rimmed wheel helps the hand cramps immensely, but Iíll probably keep wearing the gloves on long trips. Surprising how much extra grip they give. Besides, wearing them makes me look just like Steve McQueen!! Ok, enough lying!!



    Skinny wheel.


    Fat wheel.

    After getting the new column installed, I took the car for a quick test spin around the block. Thatís when things got interesting, to say the least.
    Mike P, NTFDAY, johnboy and 3 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

  7. #772
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    We are waiting with bated breath for the next installment
    Ken Thomas
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  8. #773
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    Pretty cool recovery of that whole column system.

    Back when, I favored mid 60s GM intermediate (Malibu, Skylark, etc) tilt columns as they looked very clean with no clunky key switch/signal collar. Some 30 years ago the column that went in the '32 3 window had a Skylark column that came from an early cruise control optioned car. It had a push button on the end of the signal stalk. I bought a wiring kit from a guy (can't remember anymore who it was). I asked him if there was a way we could make that stalk switch work as the dimmer switch. He thought about it for a bit and then said "sure". I suspect he designed something similar to what you did here. To me, it was just a little black box he included in the bundle with it shown on the harness diagram, but it got the job done and no pesky switch on the floor.
    NTFDAY, Hotrod46 and 40FordDeluxe like this.
    Your Uncle Bob, Senior Geezer Curmudgeon

    It's much easier to promise someone a "free" ride on the wagon than to urge them to pull it.

    Luck occurs when preparation and opportunity converge.

  9. #774
    Hotrod46's Avatar
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    Ok. Here is the payoff to the steering story that I have been teasing everyone with.

    Now, I was fully expecting the car to be harder to steer without the power unit, but I was very surprised when it was virtually undriveable!!! It steered harder than a 2-ton truck with manual steering. And yes, I have driven a 2 ton truck with manual steering. Ok, it was a 1 Ĺ ton, but close enough. Anyhow, it was so hard to steer that I didn’t think I was going to make it home with all the steering intact, it really was that bad. I was very surprised by just how much torque assist the electric steering had to have been putting out to completely mask this issue. Those things must produce a ton of power in a small package.

    Ok, so now I know that the EPAS was probably not causing the funky steering and I’ve got big, big problems somewhere else. Soooo, I went over the steering and front suspension with a fine-toothed comb. Not once, but twice before I found the issue and when I saw it, it was so glaring and frankly, stupid, that all I could do was hang my head in shame. I had made a very stupid mistake.



    When I built the car, I set the upper control arm uprights straight and then used aluminum wedges to set gross caster. By doing this, I could set whatever amount of caster I wanted and not have to use big stacks of shims. During final assembly, I somehow managed to reverse the wedge on the passenger side. Not only that, but I had also missed this when checking with my caster/camber gauge. I had about 6* of positive caster on the left and 6* of negative caster on the right! How I managed to miss it, I don’t know. I guess I was in too much of a hurry to get the car together for Cruisin’ the Coast, but that is no excuse. It was a real forehead slapping moment! I had a long derogatory talk with myself. Many cuss words were used. It was truly a very stupid mistake and I’m very embarrassed by the whole affair. It’s not that I think I’m perfect, but this was a very dangerous situation. If the EPAS unit had failed at the wrong time, like in the middle of a curve on a mountain road, it’s doubtful that I could have controlled the car.

    After stripping down the front end and correcting the issue, the car was a completely different animal, even with a rough eyeball alignment!! It was still pretty hard steering with all that caster, but it drove sooooo much better. Before, you could never relax. It pulled to the right and didn’t like any upset in the road. I thought I had somehow built in a bunch of bump steer, but that didn’t make any sense, because I had adjusted out all the bump steer during construction. I guess not, considering the mess I had made with the alignment. Now, it drove good, just steered hard, but not anywhere near as hard as before. I had to leave all the caster in since I really didn’t have what I needed to do a good alignment. Since the fault was all mine, I decided to give the electric steering another try.

    I kept the new non-telescoping upper column and combined it with the old EPAS lower. This required tearing down both columns and recombining them into a hybrid of the two. Then I had to go through the whole steering column installation again. Took about a day and half of work, but I got everything swapped back.

    What a difference! The steering has a little weight but isn’t hard at all. It tracks straight and true and you can actually take your hands off the wheel now. I do find that the car wants the driver to be smooth and relaxed. With the quick ratio rack and no rubber or poly in the steering system anywhere, it reacts very quickly to any steering input. Best to just let the car do its thing and not try to over drive it, which is what I was forced to do before. For me, the jury is still out on the electric steering, but I’m giving it another chance. At least until this winter. I’ll make a yes or no decision then.

    As to getting it professionally aligned, I quite literally cannot find a front-end shop in my area that will touch it and they said as much. One place said, “My guys wouldn’t even know where to start on something like that and we can’t put custom alignment numbers in our equipment anyhow”. What!!!!????? At the other place the guy acted like I had brought him a demon possessed car like Stephen King’s Christine. He looked like he was trying to get as far away from it as he could. He was backing away from it, but keeping his eyes glued to it, as he kept repeating over and over that he couldn’t, no wouldn’t, work on it. Looked like he expected it to somehow reach out and grab him. That actually happened, no joke, no exaggeration.

    So, it looks like alignment will be on me. I am currently collecting some basic tools to do a string type alignment and will report on that when it happens. Hope I can do better than I did last time. I’m going to dial some of the caster out, just to make it easier to steer if the power unit fails. I see now that six degrees is way too much, no matter what the highway benefit may be.

    I’m passing this story on because it is a good example of not doing proper diagnostics. I was so convinced that the EPAS was the issue, with nothing other than a hunch based on internet write ups about DIY EPAS systems, that I overlooked or discounted everything else. I wasted a lot of time on the new manual column that could have been used for working on other things. Well, at least if I do decide to go with hydraulic steering, I have the stuff to do it.

    Oh, well cie la vie!
    Last edited by Hotrod46; 06-19-2023 at 11:43 AM.
    NTFDAY, 53 Chevy5, 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

  10. #775
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    “………I was so convinced that the EPAS was the issue, with nothing other than a hunch based on internet write ups ……that I overlooked or discounted everything else. I wasted a lot of time……..”


    I think it’s happened to all of us Mike, I can think of a couple examples of my own that I hate to admit to.



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

  11. #776
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    yep, I think we are all guilty of jumping to a wrong conclusion from time to time..

  12. #777
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    At least it's not just me that does this kind of stuff. If something can be put on backwards I will do it every time, like mechanical dyslexia.
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  13. #778
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    Well, at least it's driving good now! I hate to know how much time and money I've wasted on my stuff , it's part of the process I guess.
    Hotrod46 and 40FordDeluxe like this.
    Seth

    God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing. C.S.Lewis

  14. #779
    johnboy is online now CHR Member Visit my Photo Gallery
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    Quote Originally Posted by v8nutz View Post
    At least it's not just me that does this kind of stuff. If something can be put on backwards I will do it every time, like mechanical dyslexia.
    What you said.
    johnboy
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  15. #780
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    I'm glad to hear you got it all fixed up and driving nice. At least you caught your mess up and repaired it. I've always had the mid set that if I screw something up, at least I've learned not to do it that way again, and at least I didn't pay for that experience.
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