Pushing forward (or in this case REAR)

Surgery is complete, but I am still not able to walk or bend my leg. This has slowed down progress significantly. This week I started working on the sections that I could build on the bench while sitting at a stool. This included a good start at the pedal box and the emergency brake.

Today however was a totally different story. Today I had Tony and Paul come over for the day to be my professional builders. They did a fantastic job too! They installed the Rear Axle, shocks and brakes on the car. (thanks guys!)

First, Paul finished grinding off the old shock tabs that I had started prior to my knee accident.

Grinding off old metal

Grinding off old metal

Getting the rear end installed is a major milestone for a couple reasons. First, the rear axle components were the first to arrive, and I have moved them around dozens of times since they kept getting in the way. Its nice to have it installed and off the floor. Second, and this is big, is that all the parts are really coming together, and today, for the first time, it is actually starting to look like a car.

Rear End installed

Rear End installed

After the rear end was installed, we installed the Koni Shocks, then the brake assembly. I had to fabricate some steel spaces to be able to get the rear brake calipers lined up properly.

Getting the brakes installed

Getting the brakes installed

Today was a great day! So nice to have Great Friends to help, and building the car is so much fun.

Rear end assembly started

Last night and today we got a good start on the rear end components which includes brake brackets, rotors, calipers and the upper and lower control arms. Once the assembly is bolted on then we will install the Koni coil overs, ebrake, brake lines etc. I think we will have to fiddle with the brake calipers a bit since the metal frame of them is almost touching the rotors as they turn. Not sure what to change or shim yet, will have to do some research.

Four link rear end

Four link rear end

Breeze bushings

Last week when we installed the steering rack, we were having getting trouble getting it centered. It seems to be offset by about an inch. I did some research and found that others have had similar problems. The recommended solution was to order billet aluminum solid offset bushings from Breeze Automotive. They were not too expensive so I thought i would give it a shot. They arrived last night and we installed them. One of the frame ears to bolt the rack to was not lined up well so it caused some grief. With the FFR rubber bushings, we made out ok because they had some give. These ones do not have any give, but after a bit of using the persuader (the name the kids gave to one of the hammers) we managed to get it in. It was a tight fit.

Breeze offset bushings

Breeze offset bushings

The rack looks much better now, not 100% centered, but much better. There are some additional benefits to these as well:
“According to Mott College lowering the rack in addition to installing the FFR rack extenders further reduces bump steer. Fits all racks, manual and power. The one piece bushings insert from rear to clamp rack to the rear face of the front mounting ear. This makes the rack an integral frame member and adds to the stiffness of the front of the frame. The position is about 1/4″ further forward than when installing the rack with two piece poly bushings.”

Bushings installed

Bushings installed

Weekend progress

This was the first weekend that I actually had to work on the car. I feel pretty good, made good progress, got over a few hurdles, and had fun the entire time.

This weekend we got the following done.

Finished getting the front suspension assembled. This included adding the hubs to the spindles, torqueing the front suspension, installing the tie rods and adding the steering rack on and all the parts up to the steering wheel. I have a bit of an alignment issue so am looking into this. I don’t think its major, just need to do some research.

To get the hubs on the spindles, I had to do a couple things. First, a bit of Emory cloth to trim a bit of of a ridge (.001) off the spindle at the front, cooled the spindles with an ice pack, and heated the hubs in the oven to 200 degrees. They slid right on! We also got them torqued to 250 foot pounds.

Heating spindles to install them

Heating spindles to install them

We also got the front brake calipers painted, cured and assembled. We can get the front rotors on this week then that will basically complete the front suspension and steering. I went with black calipers since the Halibrand wheels we are getting I don’t think red would look good. The wheel should be the focus, not the brakes.

The fabrication on the driver footbox is also done, so all the rest of the engine panels are going the powder coater this week.

I fabricated a new firewall support panel to make the firewall sturdier. It was actually pretty simple. I started with cardboard, cut a template, then cut the aluminum out with a jig saw, bent it in a vise with a medal bar and hammer to make the angle, then used a dremel to finish it all up.

From here, we will install the rear axle then move on to fuel.