Sunday, 16 September 2012

A box of precision German engineering has arrived...

...and that's just the packaging!

These parts are the bits I need to complete the race car dashboard (well apart from the free pack of sweets at the top!). Most of them make up an instrument pod to house the gauges displaced from the centre of the dash by all my new switchgear.

A little work with glue and paint and it now looks something like this

Sorry for the not-too-great pictures. It's a bit dark in the garage.

I've also finished finished fitting the fire extinguisher control box at long last (that's it below the dash). I can now say that the fire extinguisher system is complete and so is the dashboard.

The next task will be to fit a seat. The one I have is really a bit too wide for the very narrow area between the sill and chassis rail on the Spitfire and I'd like to try and come up with something that will fit where I want it to go rather than fitting it in some way that it has to go because it's the only way it will fit. There aren't many race seats that will even come close to fitting in a Spitfire at all though. I've identified a couple of possibilities but need to do more research (and measurement) before spending a lot of money.

Monday, 3 September 2012

No, not that car, the other one

It's way past time I made an update here. Last time I wrote anything almost all progress on the race car had been stopped so I could pack up all the parts, store them and move all the parts of the road car out of storage to await the imminent arrival of the rolling shell.

Since then the rolling shell has completely failed to be finished, I still have a house full of parts and not much has happened except a lot of text messages and emails to try and establish what's actually happening with the shell (the answer to which seems to be "not very much" at the moment).

Not much to report then? Well I did manage to collect a lot of the remaining bits and pieces that had been left behind after the car was stripped and start refurbishing those.

For a start, here's the heater. The core seems to be intact or at least water passes through it from a hosepipe without leaking everywhere. I took that as a good sign. Flushing the matrix didn't produce masses of brown crud either so I removed thirty years accumulation of dead flies then cleaned it all up, tested the fan motor and painted the housing. Reassembly, as they say, is the reverse of the dismantling process

Smiths Heater - Exploded View
Next on the list was the fuel tank which proved to be remarkably free from internal rust and even had a tiny amount of petrol still in it after standing around for several years without the filler cap. I'm hoping that indicates a lack of leaks.

After getting rid of the remaining fuel there were a few flakes of (presumably) rust left behind so I flushed the tank with plenty of water from a hose and then dried it out. An old hairdryer I keep in the garage for these occasions fitted perfectly in the filler neck and, with the fuel level sender removed, provided a good flow of warm air through the tank to remove the moisture.

After that it was just a matter of cleaning up the outside of the tank and giving it a good coat of paint. The "before and after" pictures show a vast improvement.

I attended the TSSC International weekend at Stafford a couple of weeks ago. Apart from being a good weekend away I picked up a well worn looking fuel gauge for £2 and having got it home and cleaned it up it looks like a new part now so that's my entry for "bargain of the month" I think.

Progress on the race car hasn't been entirely zero. Whilst all this was going on I've obtained a CAD package and spent some time learning how to use it to produce a drawing of the adapter I need to be able to fit the clutch slave cylinder for the new gearbox. The next step is to try to turn the drawing into the actual item.

I've also started work on designing a new rear suspension upright. That's a longer term project in its own right and has thrown up a few challenges of its own, not least of which is my lack of skill at engineering drawing. I'll write more on this one once I have a better idea whether my plan has any chance of working.