I’ll admit it – I’m struggling. I’m experiencing some kind of “builder’s fatigue”. For the past month or so now I’ve been doing nothing but bodywork – and it just doesn’t seem like I’ve been making all that much progress.
Typically, I have a rough idea of what I want to do over the next several days or week and I work to those each day. Since feeling this “builder’s fatigue” I thought maybe I just haven’t been organized enough about my daily goals and this is the reason I’m feeling like it’s so never-ending. So I made a list of to-dos and jotted them down on a piece of paper. I’ve been steadily knocking things off the list but it doesn’t seem to be happening as quickly as I expect it would. I’ll be in the middle of working on a to-do item and I’ll see another thing that needs addressing, so I’ll start working on that. Then I see something else and I shift over to that. It’s like a kitten pulling on the thread of a ball of yarn – there’s just more and more yarn! So sadly, the struggle is real, it really is never-ending. Keep kicking the ball.
Carbon. More carbon! I’ve already typed enough about carbon so I’ll just let the pictures (and captions) do the typing.
In post 27 I had started installing the rear window louvers. There are several ways to install these louvers. Here is the installation method as described by the manual. In it, the builder uses double sided tape to secure the exterior edge of the louvers. As mentioned in the manual, this is a semi-permanent installation method. I’m guessing if you needed to remove the louvers they would likely crack when pulling up on the double sided tape. I didn’t like that idea, so I opted to go with using some fasteners instead.
HOWEVER, there is an issue with my installation method. The louvers are designed to sit on the rear glass along the interior and exterior edge. To facilitate placement of the center glass, and to avoid having a visible step between the two, the interior edge is stepped on the louver and the rear glass sandwiches the louver into place. As you move from the interior edge toward the exterior, the outer surface of the louver should be flush with the outer surface of the rear clam. However, once you hit the exterior edge, in order for it to remain flush with the exterior surface, some material added between the louver and the rear glass depression. If installing with double sided tape, that’s no problem – the tape is thick enough to push the exterior up so it’s flush. When securing with fasteners a shim would need to be made.
The shim needs to extend all along the exterior edge and needs to blend down to nothing as it reaches the interior. A “simple” way to do this would be to add reinforced resin all along the perimeter and sand it back as necessary. Uuungh – simple but lots of work. So I said screw it and just bolted the louver down without any step at all.
For all my OCD bells going off, it didn’t turn out too bad at all, but it’s definitely a compromised look.
Also in post 27, I mentioned how I was considering adding some more material to the rear glass based on another builder’s attempt at stiffening the rear structure. I did that, and I didn’t do it very well apparently.
Wheel recontour – v2.0:
Also in post 27, I discussed how my rear wheel wells looked so messed up with my ride height of 5.5″. My first attempt at reshaping the wheel well had me trying to preserve the forward and rear areas of the factory contour. So I was basically going to “drop” the top of he contour down, sort of like cutting the long side off an ellipse and attaching it to the original circle. It didn’t look very good …
My electrical work has been a bit delayed since I last (and first) drove the car. I’ve been putting off doing much more until I could get the interior figured out. Locating the buttons in particular were necessary before I could start running my switches to where they’ll end up.
I think if there were an award for “Excessive use of body filler” for the dash, I would be a sure winner. I had hacked mine up so I could shift the center binnacle over about 3 inches. In doing so, I caused the dash to no longer be flat left to right. This put a few whoopties across the surface. There’s also a good number of deep lines running across the dash which highlights the various contours and sections of the dash. With as wonky as my dash is, these hard, defined lines were not so good for hiding all my mistakes.
So I wiped them all out using body filler! By making everything softer and getting rid of hard edges, it’s a lot more difficult to pick out surface inconsistencies.
Ooof … this is another one of those “what the heck is going on” situations. I don’t recall reading too much about others’ experiences with the a-pillar covers but mine simply do not fit – at all. I spec’d the carbon fiber tub and fiberglass a-pillar covers. My assumption is that they are cross compatible, but this may not be the case, and may be the reason why my parts fit so poorly (or don’t at all, as is the case).
I’m super relieved I went with the fiberglass a-pillar covers because I’ll need to do a LOT of modification to get a halfway decent fit between everything. Had I gone with the carbon covers there’s no way I’d have been able to make any modification without ruining the carbon. It would be interesting to hear from anyone who’s purchased the carbon a-pillar covers to get feedback on how they fit.
Sooo … there’s a LOT of work to getting these a-pillar covers installed. Because there’s so much gap-filling that needs to be filled in, I used modeling clay to fill in and support the holes. The geometry is too complex to do with packing tape or cardboard.
Between the two, the a-pillar covers are definitely the ones to modify if you need to pick one. The ceiling panel is more difficult to modify because it’s so broad and flat. Your eyes will pick out irregularities when looking at a flat panel a LOT easier than when looking at an organic/chunky curved piece.
Still lots more to do to get the a-pillar covers to an acceptable level of finish, but it’s all about blending and shaping now that the structure is defined.
** I was scrolling through photos of another build and came across a photo that shows a fiberglass ceiling panel mated to these fiberglass a-pillar covers – and the fit is very good! So I’m going to chalk this poor fit up to differences between the glass and carbon versions unless someone tells me otherwise. **
While I was messing around getting all these pieces to fit I had Bob give me a hand with some welding. As I said, I don’t want drill holes into my roll cage – but I need to mount my rear view monitor onto the ceiling. I had Bob cut a rectangular piece of steel that he then welded to my two overhead bar. I’ll add some rivnuts to this plate so I can add a drop-down bracket that I’ll then use to support my monitor. I plan to also throw a few screws in from below to secure the ceiling panel in place.
Radiator air duct:
In post 28 I discussed how I fabricated my radiator discharge duct. To install this duct meant I needed to remove the upper cross-brace for the radiator box. It was originally installed where my clutch master cylinder reservoir is currently installed so it needed to go anyway. However, the upper part fo the radiator box isn’t as stiff as I’d like so this bar needs to go back in. In its originally location, I believe it was located too far back. The rear area of the radiator box is actually fairly well secured and stiff because this is where it’s mounted to the footbox. Where’s it’s weakest is right in the middle – and this is where I want to locate it. Unfortunately, it means I need to skewer my radiator air duct.
I plan to add some additional struts to support the outermost area of my splitter. The interior attachment point will be the radiator box – so I want the cross-bar to be located as close to this location as possible to achieve maximum support for the struts. Now that I’ve figured out where these struts will go, I was able to mark out the new location for my cross-bar. Using my laser and a tripod, I was able to transfer hole locations from left to right before the drilling began.
Fog lights recess:
On either side of the radiator inlet are two squarish shaped openings which lead into the cavity just forward of the front wheels. I’ve seen several folks use these inlets to pull fresh air for front brake cooling. Since this is going to be a street car I don’t plan on running brake cooling – so I won’t need these for that.
I’m also planning to install the wheel well liners which will effectively close off this cavity and completely separate it from the front wheel wells. So if I leave these two inlets uncovered I’ll be pushing air into the nose of the car, with nowhere for it to go – sounds like a potential recipe for mucking up the front end aero. So I’ve decided to block them off.
For the time being my plan is to make a small cover plate that I’ll then mount fog lights onto. If in the future I decide I want to run brake cooling it’s a fairly simple job to make a new plate and the flange will provide a secure mounting location.
On the subject of the front wheel well liners – I haven’t installed these yet because there are a good number of considerations which need to be addressed before the liner can be bonded into place. More discussion on this in a later post!