Working on it…

Spent a few hours during the week re-doing part of my shift linkage bracket, touching-up the paint out behind the firewall, installing a few things, checking some other things and pulling out the transaxle to mate with the engine.


The bracket took the most time. It was probably necessary though.

More than a year ago I fabbed-up something that would probably work, and was told immediately by wiser and more experienced heads that it probably wouldn’t work well. My initial thought was to leave it alone and see how it goes, but when I pulled the spare tire mount/rear subframe off the car I rediscovered the little nubber and decided that now, with the clam off, was the best time to swap it out.

A little cardboard modeling to facilitate the fitment process. . . .


… and it was off to the scrap pile for some appropriate mild steel plate.

I ground a trench on the inside edge to get a sharper bend, and welded up the slot later.


I made it a scosh longer than the old piece, which was about a quarter inch shorter than it should have been. The I relieved it for the tubular subframe that fits over it, and fabbed up a little reinforcement bit to bolt to the tail housing.


Added lightness….


Added stiffness….IMG_2704

Then bolted it all in and clamped the additional stiffening bit to it and tacked welded. IMG_2707IMG_2708

Etc. etc.

Cleaned up, plug and seam welded, painted, one more hole drilled. This actually took about five hours to make over a couple of mornings before work.


But it solves the problem—or anyway, the potential problem—of having a shifter mount on the chassis, independent of the transaxle.

I painted a couple spots the painter missed, pulled the valve covers off the engine and checked the works in there (all good!), pulled the clutch off and checked that (also good!), then set about hoisting the transaxle out of the car. The wheels and rotors had to come off. The trans and axles are probably 110 pounds all-in and very awkward to lift over the shock towers since there’s no good place to plant one’s feet.


I managed it last night before dinner and, afterwards, set up and tightened the front motor mounts, dug out the clown-shoe-yellow rear Rhino mount, found the proper engine-to-transaxle studs and, as a treat, installed the leather engine cover gasket with its proper Chicago screws.


This weekend I’ll get the crane out and assembled, mate the engine and transaxle and arrange everything so we can install the engine by Tuesday.


Fan shroud project

This is sort of a vestigial post about my now abandoned (?) effort at making a proper(ish) center mount fan shroud for the Spyder. I post it now because there is renewed interest in this project from other Spyder guys, and because the One Guy who supposedly had tooled up to manufacture these and sell them for $1,500 a throw has, after years of promises, not yet done so.*

Let’s begin with the gold standard. (links to video)

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550-style clam latches

Took a break from sanding this weekend and decided to try to make some 550-style clam latches.


Got pretty far along in the 9 or so hours I spent working from the junk pile. Why do this?

Three reasons:

  1. It’s cool. Original Spyders had these latches you turned with a long churchkey; the replicas don’t. More legit-looking detail is just better.
  2. The modern replicas use two Bug hood latches to hold the clam down—and they’re fiddly. It is reported that clams sometimes pop open on bumps, leaving just the wicked-cool leather straps to keep the clam from flying up and off and causing quite a ruckus out there on Highway 61. Adding a slot-lock as original can only make things better, from a purely practical perspective.
  3. I’m tired of sanding.

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