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Thread: Project Sebring GT Spyder
          
   
   

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  1. #826
    Hotrod46's Avatar
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    Car Year, Make, Model: 1946 Ford Coupe, 1962 Austin Healey 3000
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    OK, at the beginning of this update, I mentioned some ugly. Now that most of the bad is behind us, let’s talk about that.

    Most of the trip was fine even though we had a few issues, they were nothing I couldn’t deal with or just ignore in favor of having a good time. It wasn’t until we started home that things went south (no pun intended). I’m talking about heat. The morning started out nice. Humidity was a little high, but this is the south, we were in Georgia and it was to be expected. I can deal with it. However, as the trip progressed it got increasingly hotter in the interior. The “heat dome” thing with the weather was in full force and the air temp on the road was quickly over 100. Heat index was most likely in the one teens, maybe more. The air off the road felt like a furnace, but the real problem was the heat under the dash and in the floor. There was extremely hot air pouring from under the dash and, at one point, if I had removed my left shoe and found blisters on my foot, I would not have been surprised. No exaggeration. We were drinking all the fluid we could and sucking on ice that we bought at every fuel stop. We have traveled by motorcycle before and can deal with heat, but this was nothing short of misery. The last four hours were just a race to see if we could make it home before one of us had a heat stroke. If we had had another 100 miles, I don’t think we could have made it.

    By the time we pulled into our driveway, I was completely done. If the old boy that wanted to buy my car in Jackson had been sitting at my house when I got there, he would have gone home with it and that’s not a joke. I was so dehydrated that it took most of 2 days for me to start feeling good again. Not the smartest thing for a 65-year-old man to do! I even mentioned to someone that I email from time to time that I was going to have to fix the heat issue or sell the car. I just couldn’t see us using it for what we wanted to with that kind of heat. This was soon after returning home and I think that was mostly dehydration and fatigue talking, but I did seriously consider as one possibility.

    After a few days, I was feeling more like myself and decided to tackle the issue that I brought home with me. Leaky valve covers and heat were at the top of my list.

    I knew the heat I was feeling was way, way too much to be simply radiated through the firewall. I had used a bunch of insulation there. In some places there was four layers. I had ridden in some Cobras before and noticed extreme heat in the footwells. I was determined to eliminate this problem during construction which is why I used so much insulation.

    No, what I was feeling had to be direct air leaks from the engine bay. No other explanation short of actual fire.

    I felt like any leaks would have to be mostly where the metal firewall tied into the fiberglass body. I had fiberglassed some flanges that I cut out of the original ‘glass firewall to the body and these overlapped the metal firewall by a good bit. The body flanges were fastened to the firewall flanges with several bolts. However, there were a few places where this was not possible. These were the places where I focused my first attention.

    I removed the inner fenders for access and then focused a powerful work light on the inside of the car at the areas I thought might be the problem. Sure enough, there were some downright huge gaps! Some of this was very puzzling because I had used some 3M seam sealer in some of these areas during construction. I can’t remember the part number, but it was in strips that could be molded by hand like modeling clay. It must have not been able to stand the conditions because it was nowhere to be found. Not a trace! After seeing the massive air gaps, it was no wonder that the temperature was so high. The air coming through these holes had been heated to exhaust manifold temp or close to it.

    I used a couple of 3M products to reseal these holes. One was #08367 urethane seam sealer. It comes in tube that will fit in a standard caulking gun. I rigged up an “applicator” with a few fittings and some tubing that would allow me to reach into the deep cavities. It worked for about 80% of the areas, but in the end I had to resort to using disposable gloves and just squirting some on my finger and applying it by hand. Even though I was wearing gloves, I still managed to get some of it on my hands. I will say that if it sticks on the car as well as it stuck to my fingers, I won’t have to worry about this stuff falling out. It took 3 or 4 days for the stuff to wear off. No soap or even solvent would cut it.

    I also used some 3M urethane expanding foam in a couple of places. I don’t have the numbers at hand, but it is closed cell so it won’t absorb moisture and it’s grey/black, so it blends in. I used that on the lower holes because they were so large.

    Here are a couple of pictures of the light shining through the gaps. The yellow light is the translucent fiberglass of the body flanges, but the white light is a hole. I also found some other holes this way. Some were bolt holes with nutserts that I didn’t use. A couple were gaps where the individual panels of the firewall didn’t seal even though I ran a bead of silicone between them. I even found a few places where pop rivets had lost their mandrels. None of the new holes were very big, but together they added up to a substantial leak.





    This is the applicator I rigged up. This is the first version with ¼” tubing, but the seam sealer was too thick to work well with the small tube. I had to make it over using 3/8” tubing.



    After driving the car on a 450-mile trip last week, I think I can say the heat issue is about 1000% better. It’s not as hot weather wise as it was before, but I was never terribly uncomfortable. There was a little warmth in the footwells later in the day, but not even close to the temp it was before. Maybe now when I get around to sealing the top with side windows, the AC might actually have a fighting chance to keep us cool.

    BTW – That mini road trip was to the Gulf Coast area to visit an upholstery shop. While I’m down there for Cruizin’ the Coast in October, I’m going to have them do some repairs to the top. I’m also taking to them about maybe making a new top. While I was there, I couldn’t resist cruising a few miles on Highway 90 that runs along the beach. It was a nice day to just cruise and enjoy the weather and the car.
    Last edited by Hotrod46; 09-03-2023 at 03:02 PM.
    Mike

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

  2. #827
    stovens's Avatar
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    Mike that sounds miserable. Glad you were able to plug the gaps and that helped! My MR2 convertible can be challenging on a 100 degree day, some of the seals attached to the new OEM softtop roof are starting to leak that makes going thru a car wash a interesting experience. It seems like the sound level is higher riding the 50 mile round trip to work every day I work!. It's amazing what little cracks can do! Glad your rehydrated and things are cooling down!
    Hotrod46 likes this.
    " "No matter where you go, there you are!" Steve.

  3. #828
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    I found something else by accident that had to be fixed. When I pulled the inner fenders to check for the hot air leaks, I noticed that the tires had been rubbing on the top of the inner fender.



    I knew that lowering the bump stops some would fix this, but it also appeared that I had a lot less clearance between the tire and fender than I had before. Looking a little closer and I found that I also had more negative camber. It was noticeable when you paid attention to it. A quick check with a welding angle finder showed that I now had 1-2 degrees instead of the ½ degree I started with.

    It was obvious that the springs had sagged some and the out of level lower control arms proved it. It was quickly corrected by jacking the coil overs up a little and if these had been newish springs it wouldn’t have bothered me too bad. Most new springs will sag a little in the first few hundred miles, but these weren’t new springs. This was the third time that I had been forced to adjust the ride height. Once not long after I got the car on the road, once again when I did the last alignment a few months ago and now I was jacking them up again. I’ve done this song and dance before on another car and it means the springs aren’t heavy enough.

    I had the used the springs that Ride Tech recommended based on the leverage ratio of the front end and the estimated corned weight. The key words there are “estimated corner weight”. The car is heavier than I had estimated, and it had caught up with me. I had used 350-inch pound springs based on estimation, but when I reran the numbers with the actual weight, I needed 450-inch pound springs. The 450 springs were recommended for performance driving, like autocross. 400 was for comfort cruising. This also helps explain some of the body roll that I complained about earlier while on the Dragon.

    Since I was going to be doing an occasional AutoX, I changed out the springs for 450’s and did a 70-mile test drive on a rough road to “exercise” them. So far, I can’t see that they have sagged any. I also shimmed the bump stops down a little since it was clear that they weren’t doing the job.
    Mike P, NTFDAY, 34_40 and 4 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. #829
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    Time for another post and to be honest, I’m running out of things to do.

    During the build, I installed a line lock in the front brakes and added a shifter knob with a button to activate it. That knob was a Summit Racing branded part. Well, the switch button broke not long after getting the car on the road. Actually, the switch knob kept popping off and I kept popping it back onto the stud that was supposed to hold it. That is, until the stud broke completely off. The switch body is made of aluminum, but I am pretty sure the internals are plastic. I tried to get the switch out to see if it could be replaced but didn’t have any luck with that. I found out later that it was epoxied in. Replacing the knob meant pulling the sifter stick and that opened another can of worms.

    When I built the console, I used a rubber shifter boot from a 69 Mustang. This boot had a molded-in metal ring inside the base. I built the console to rest on top of this metal ring, using it as a combination spacer/gasket. While this left the top of the console clean, it made removing the boot and shifter stick a real job. This problem reared its ugly head last year when I had to pull the transmission to replace the bad throw-out bearing. The stick had to come out to pull the trans and that required pulling pretty much all the major interior parts. The seats, arm rest, console switch panel, and finally, the console top had to come out. Of these, the arm rest was the biggest pain in the butt since the attaching bolt has to be accessed from the bottom of the car on top of the driveshaft tunnel. Talk about hard to get to. I vowed to fix this issue but didn’t have enough time to do anything about it on that go round. I only had 3 days to get the car ready for a long road trip. A new shifter knob was just the excuse I needed to finally get around to this problem.

    I checked on a new knob from Summit but found that the price had doubled from the last one I bought. It was now $90 for a knob that most likely had the same crappy switch. I found a couple of others on the internet, but they were just as expensive and might have even been the same part under a different label. I decided to make my own. I can’t remember the exact cost of parts, but I think it was around $50 and this included an odd ball thread tap from EBAY to thread the switch hole in the ball with. The new 6-speed ball came from EBAY too.

    Making the ball was straight forward machining in the mill. Just a threaded hole that intersected the main hole for the stick. I did make one change from the original and that was to reposition the switch for easier access. The Summit knob had the button rotated to somewhere between the 10 and 11 o’clock location and that forced me to roll my hand around to an awkward position to operate it. I put the new one at about 9 o’clock where it fell right under my thumb. The new switch is “aircraft” quality since it was a push-to-talk communication switch intended for an airplane. I doubt that means a lot, but it feels 100% better in the way it operates. It has a definite click on operation. The old one didn’t.

    This is an old build picture that shows the original ball and button. You can see how far forward the switch is and it was just plain awkward to reach comfortably.





    The broken stud



    The new ball and switch.



    Fits my hand much better now.

    Mike

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

  5. #830
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    Now it was on to the boot.

    I had a plan to fix this without tearing out the interior, but it involved sacrificing the boot that was in the car already. I bought a new leather boot that was also intended for a 69 Mustang and had a similar metal ring in the base. The holes were the same, too. I bought the chrome trim that was supposedly for that boot, but it wouldn’t fit. It was too small. Maybe there was more than one size of Mustang boot in 69 or maybe it was a case of two aftermarket parts not fitting together. Wouldn’t be the first time that had happened. No choice but to make my own trim.

    I started with a piece of 3/8” thick 6061 aluminum flat bar. I drilled mounting holes for the boot and milled a pocket in the bottom for the metal base ring. Then I flipped it over and bolted it to an old piece of aluminum flat bar to serve as a sacrificial jig. Sacrificial because I could mill into it if needed. This was an old piece that I keep on hand just for jobs like this and it has many holes to prove it. Also, the trim piece was so thin, I was afraid it would be damaged trying to hold it in the mill vise.

    After getting it on the jig, it was just a matter of milling the hole for the top of the boot and rounding the edges over to make it look better. I made the trim a little long at the top and added 3 tapped holes. These are to mount a possible future expansion of the console top. I spent some time slicking the part up with my belt sander, a couple of hand files and some red Scotch-Brite pads. After trying to fit it to the car, I had to go back and notch it to clear the cup holder as well as cutting a small relief under one corner to clear some rivets.

    A single edge razor blade made quick work of removing most of the rubber boot. I left the rubber covered metal base under the console since I would have had to fabricate a spacer there anyhow. With the old boot out of the way, it was just a matter of soldering some wires on the new switch and assembling the new knob on the stick. No issues there and the job was done quickly.

    The old look was cleaner, but somehow the new setup looks better to me. Maybe the console just needed something to fill in the bare top. At any rate, pulling the stick will be a piece of cake now. Taking only a few minutes instead of an hour and a half.

    Before the mods.



    New trim with the cavity for the boot.





    Done and installed.

    NTFDAY, stovens, JOATMON 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. #831
    Hotrod46's Avatar
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    Folks, it’s been almost exactly a year since I first drove this car after 8 years of building. Cruisin the Coast is next week, and the car had 50 miles on it when I pulled out of my driveway to drive it there last year. It now has just a few under 6400 on the clock. The picture in my avatar was taken the first day we got to the coast, and I can tell you that the car is now much better than the car in that picture.

    Here’s the beach shot and shot of the car the day I got it home from Florida all those many years ago. It would be hard to tell that it’s the same car.







    After a year of tinkering, tuning and all-around honing, otherwise known as fettling, the car is where I think it needs to be. It is reliable enough to serve as a daily driver and that is at the top of my list of requirements. I feel it would take me anywhere there is a paved road and bring me home again, be that around the block or around the entire country. It’s fast and a ton of fun. The general public’s reaction to it tells me I must have done something right in the looks department. There are still a few things that I could do to it and eventually will, but nothing that it really needs except driving. My mother has been having some health issues and we might not get to go to CTC this year, but if we do, the upholstery shop is supposed to repair the top. For now, that’s pretty much all it really needs. Unless something breaks or something major has to be changed, I’ll probably give this thread a rest for a while, but as the old saying goes “They’re never really finished”. This thread ain’t completely dead yet and I will do an update if anything major gets changed, but I doubt anyone wants to hear about mundane things like oil changes!

    I want to thank everybody that followed along and put up with my long-winded posts. It’s no BS that I’m honored that so many people have been interested in this project over the years. I’m certainly not tired of the car because it’s simply too much fun, but with this one pretty much done, I think it’s time to start something new.

    Here's a teaser of things to come, hopefully.

    Last edited by Hotrod46; 09-26-2023 at 01:37 PM.
    Mike

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

  7. #832
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    And thank you Mike.................it's been a master class in taking a mundane kit car to a level not often achieved. Ya done good!
    NTFDAY, Hotrod46, rspears and 2 others like this.
    Your Uncle Bob, Senior Geezer Curmudgeon

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  8. #833
    Mike P's Avatar
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    I can’t put it any better than Uncle Bob. Ya done good Mike.

    “……..I feel it would take me anywhere there is a paved road and bring me home again, be that around the block or around the entire country. It’s fast and a ton of fun. The general public’s reaction to it tells me I must have done something right in the looks department…..”

    From first hand experience, I can attest that your goal/results are not easy to obtain and to pull it off takes it takes knowledge, skills, an eye for what “right”, and a bucket of patience. Of course there is also the judicious use of the “magic words” we sometimes use on such projects.

    I’d tell you to enjoy the fruits of your labor but it appears you already are.




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

  9. #834
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    Gotta agree, thanks for carrying us along on your build! It's been great, and you've ended up with a great "Healey"!!
    Will you be doing one of those Joe Martin/Dave Kindig renderings of the truck to show your plan for it??
    NTFDAY, Hotrod46 and JOATMON like this.
    Roger
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  10. #835
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    Mike it's been educating to read your post, and fun. Great job and Ditto Uncle Bobs praises. The truck should be cool too, I like it as is!
    NTFDAY, Hotrod46 and JOATMON like this.
    " "No matter where you go, there you are!" Steve.

  11. #836
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    Thanks again, guys. And yes, there were plenty of those "magic words" used over the years!

    I'm currently working on a good intro to the truck build. Too much stuff going on with getting ready for Cruizin'the Coast.
    NTFDAY, JOATMON and 40FordDeluxe like this.
    Mike

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

  12. #837
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    Mike, great work on the Healey fixing and modifying it to perfect it. I've enjoyed your long posts and I always learn something or am amazed with some of the pieces you have built. I've since been on the hunt for a table top mill and a shop lathe so I can do the same in due time. I look forward to the truck build and hopefully you can go on CTC.
    NTFDAY, Hotrod46 and JOATMON like this.
    Ryan
    1940 Ford Deluxe Tudor 354 Hemi 46RH Electric Blue w/multi-color flames, Ford 9" Residing in multiple pieces
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  13. #838
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    I've been off for awhile and got caught up on the Healy. I was feeling your pain with the heat leaks, that sounded awful. This build was and is a fun one to follow along on, I like you put much thought into every piece. If it's like Rita, it will never be done but always finding ways to improve things. I'm looking forward too the square body build!
    NTFDAY, Hotrod46 and JOATMON like this.
    Seth

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