Monday, June 6, 2016

Floored



I decided it was about time I put a floor back in the E21 so I could leave the seat bolted in, using some galvanised sheet I had lying around I got started.


I don't have a vice in the garage (it's in the back shed) so I made do with a piece of wood and a hammer to form the curves/bends required.


Once I got close it was easy enough to persuade the last few adjustments using the hammer


Overlapping this material makes it a little easier to weld (I kept blowing holes in it at the edges, it seemed I was forever chasing them.) It'd be easier if I was using thinner wire I think; cleaning the surfaces with a grinder would probably have helped a lot too!


I was originally going to try and make one piece but because of all the different curves it turned out easier to make in a few separate ones.



Finally it has a floor again. I need to clearance the seat end of the new floor to allow the seat to move ever so slightly further forwards but altogether it works well and isn't noticeable underfoot.


This photo surfaced on facebook recently of a vehicle my grandfather built many, years ago. As my brother puts it - "Turns out building unsafe race cars runs in the family"



Sunday, May 8, 2016

Exhaust Lift - Getting There

I obtained another 2.5" flange - note that it's important if you're ever going to buy one of these, especially a 2.5", to make sure you measure the bolt center hole. In this case (and I already had, as my mid pipe has both sizes on it!) the size I needed was 105mm.



I cut off the old bent flange and welded on the new one with the pipe supported in the position I wanted as above.




Because the pipe ended up at a bit of an angle from it's original location I had a little gap to fill; thankfully the flange is nice and thick so it was as simple as building a bit of a puddle on the flange then quickly dragging it onto the pipe then stopping before it burnt through.


Mounted up, you can see I've put the bolt holes in a position that should make them a little more accessible once I've built a new floor above them.



Here you can see the original height (left) and the new height (right)


I had to get the car higher to give me enough room to bring the main part of the exhaust over the diff cradle.


I then cut off the last two bends and the flex join, then cut the flange off the flex join to re-use.


Here I've bolted the flange back to the mid pipe, so it can't move, then turned the flex join/bent section backwards, and then rotated it until it's at a suitable angle. I then tacked it in place on the car.


This is a much nicer looking angle. I'll need a small offcut to fit between the end of the flex join and the hotdog.



Removed and welded off-the-car. I had to weld on the inside of the flange where the inner part of the curve is so as to clear the head of the bolt I will use to mount it.

I didn't do any more as it was midnight and probably pushing it to keep using the grinder after then.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Exhaust Lift - Definitely going to need a flange!



When I first went out to the shed this morning I was dismayed to find it was rather wet; however I removed the mid section to start modifying it to fit and then discovered just how not-flat the flange on it was. No welding today - I most definitely need to lop this off and weld a whole new flange on instead of trying to re-angle this one!!



Exhaust Lift - Extractors




So the first step to lifting the exhaust is to unbolt and remove the extractors, then to cut slots in them so they can be bent into shape. In the photo above that's what I've done, then re-bolted them to the motor and bent them up using a trolley jack underneath.



Welded back up the slots - it looks pretty bad as I was welding up some fairly wide holes rather than cutting out and replacing sections with perfect fitting bends. Maybe in the future I'll build a proper system using mandrel bends, but for now this will have to do the job.



Had a few spots on the extractors that had clearly been leaking so I ground them back with a flaps wheel and re-welded about four or five spots in total.





It's a lot easier to re-weld over some existing steel than to fill the holes created by cutting slots and bending the pipe!!


This shot is taken from underneath the car with the camera level to the sill - ignore the center pipe as I've got to remove and modify it next, but this is looking from the sill to the brace that runs level with the sill and the extractors are in the car in this shot - as you can see they are not visibly overhanging the "bottom" of the car.


A shot from the top showing the new angle of the flange, I will need to modify the mid pipe flange angle to match along with the other work required to lift the far end of that pipe up.

Ideally I need a whole new flange but I'm not sure I have one here, as the current one is bent. I'll make sure I have a good look before persisting otherwise I'll make do with what I have so I can get the floor done, and remove/re-weld once the car is in the new shed at the new house and I've got room and light to work with.







Sunday, April 10, 2016

Exhaust Lift - Floor Cut

Earlier in the week I made a start on cutting out the floor to allow me to lift the exhaust into the footwell.


Unfortunately I burned myself quite badly when a peice of rather hot steel flew off the car and landed on my arm while I was mid-cut. Because it landed on the arm holding the grinder I couldn't flick it off until the grinder stopped, so I called it quits after checking on my wound.


Tonight I got stuck back in more seriously.


Because I don't want to piss off the neighbours too much (one of them is our landlord until we build our house!!) I limited myself to about half an hour with the grinder (obviously not grinding flat out for that time). One cutting disc later and here's the cut out. I've deliberately gone much further than I needed to so I've got more room to move while lifting the exhaust, and also so I can do a better job of finishing the metalwork at the end (because I don't want to keep the patchwork quilt effect I've started with the transmission tunnel going through the whole project!!)


This might explain why the car sounds like it's got an exhaust leak... guess that's what I deserve for using second hand flanges! Need to get another one or two and lop these off as part of the lift.


My plan of attack here is to put multiple cuts in the extractor down pipes (the two at the top) on the underside, then spread them evenly to minimise the amount of gap I have to fill with the welder. I could cut at the top (and have a better time welding it back together!) but that would cause the overall diameter of the pipe to become smaller; not the desired effect! I will likely need to cut at the top to adjust for the angle in the same way (it'll start to aim up once I begin to bend it up to the higher position)


At the other end, I've cut a portion of the gearbox mount away. This is still far beefier than the standard falcon gearbox mount location despite being thinned down by removal of this piece. I'm unsure if I'll bother capping the section I've cut off - it's not really thin enough steel to worry about it rusting away in a hurry.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Building a house...

It's been a while since I've posted here since the E21 has been set aside for the project of the moment. We're building a house, as well as a shed for further automotive works to be undertaken.



I've been blogging about it over at my other domain - www.yourbuilds.com

Anyway, it turns out the E21 is going to need some modification to help clear the driveway.

I've set the builder the task of making the driveway suit the car's current dimensions (lets call that future-proofing) however I'm going to modify the car to assist the process too.

That involves lifting the exhaust to turn this:


Into this:


Basically at the end of the extractors is a flange that's only 55mm from the ground. The flex join is at 65mm and the rest of the floor/sills etc is at 100mm.

To solve this I'm going to cut the floor each side of the exhaust, modify the extractors and exhaust to lift it up into the floor area, then weld a new section of floor (or a tunnel) over the new position of the exhaust - thus giving the whole vehicle a 100mm ground clearance between the wheels.

More tomorrow when I make a start on it!


Monday, July 13, 2015

Painted Calipers, Adaptor Holes Drilled

I'm away for work for a couple of nights, so this will be the last post regarding the brakes until Friday at the earliest.


I applied clear coat to the first of the calipers, complete with vinyl decal. I'm not 100% certain but very hopeful that the clear coat will help protect the vinyl from the heat extremes that apply to braking components.


The clearcoat really brings back the shine that shows up on these parts when the last wet coat of colour goes on (it loses its shine as it cures, unfortunately)


Fitted back onto the factory commodore caliper slide/bracket. I really need some black or silver brake paint to neaten these up. How it is will do for now (and probably forever, knowing how these things go!)


I worked out that 2.5" exhaust "pipe" is actually tube, and hence the perfect size for the alignment of the adaptor to factory rotor. It required a little bit of persuasion with a hammer to get the pipe perfectly round first.


Here's the view from inside the rotor, I needed to support the whole assembly on the adaptor so I could drill through.

I achieved this by putting some dies from my press underneath, and then clamping each side of the rotor down to keep tension on the whole setup so it wouldn't move.


First I drilled the retaining bolt hole, and fitted a nut and bolt to keep the whole assembly lined up for the other four holes. You may notice in the picture all the other adaptors on the cupboards have the retaining bolt hole drilled at this stage.

It's not pictured, but I used a nut that fitted inside the hole on the rotor perfectly and a smaller drill bit that fitted exactly through the center of the nut to drill a neatly centered pilot hole.


Here's the first adaptor completely drilled. I used a de-burring hand tool to neaten up the holes as it's much better at helping keep the flat surface perfectly flat than filing across the burrs would be. Because the alloy is so soft it's also possible to enlarge the holes slightly using the deburring tool to ensure the bolts can clear through perfectly.


Offering it up as a test fit.


This is what the clear looks like when layed on thick (the instructions call for two light coats and one "medium-wet" - this is the medium-wet coat)


It does cure clear as can be seen here. This is my second caliper. I'm not 100% happy with the location of my decal here from this angle but it's fine for all but a close inspection so it will be ok.


Here's the adaptor ring laid out on the new rotor and clamped ready for drilling. I used a wood drill bit for the alloy since it's so soft (for the large holes) - I think I'll probably need to invest in a good high speed steel bit before I drill the rotors. I'll drill the other adaptors first with what I've got and then try it on the rotors; that way if I kill the bit I have already done the adaptors, as I have to post two sets out.