It Begins

May 27 2017

I put in three hours today on the Spyder. The build has begun.

I am starting at the front. My first order of business is to correct my gas tank so the fuel filler will work in the “correct” spot. I began by painting it gold through the hole in the hood, then I broke out the filler system and set it on the spot, and closed the hood.

IMG_8400

Drew a line around it with a sharpie.

Then to the scrap pile for some metal. The old, smushed front fender from my pickup struck seems to be about the right thickness. The cutting wheel came out and I chopped off a likely-sized chunk.

Straightened it out with a sledge hammer and a piece of 2×6 on the shop floor, stripped the paint, and went to work getting the shape right.IMG_8402.JPG

My seamer curled the top side well enough, but the curve where it meets the valley of the sending unit is compound. I cut the same sized hole from a piece of old shelving and then used the plug to begin the persuasion.IMG_8405.JPG

After screwing the 2×6 to it tightly, making a sandwich with the metal, I worked it with a hammer.

IMG_8408.JPGGood enough.

Cut out another piece of metal to plug the rough alternate sender hole, as we’ll use the stock location now that it won’t be taken up by the new filler neck.

Brought the tank and the scraps, plus some extra, to Jim, my around-the-corner neighbor, who has a MIG setup at work. Spent an hour helping him put up new siding on his house, drank one of his beers.

Then it started raining pretty hard so, after lunch and some errands I went back out to the garage. My next thing is to extend the frame rails forward a foot or so to pick up the front jack points. Brad at Special Edition says the repros will work if welded to something solid, so I ordered a set.

First thing is to cut holes in the front trunk area to get access to the ends of the frame tubes.

IMG_8412These are 3-inch OD DOM tubes, pretty thin walled. Eighth inch or so. All the roll bars and whatnot I have are in the 1 1/2 to 2-inch neighborhood. Checking around I see I can buy 2 ¾ DOM online for about $25 a foot but it only comes in ¼-inch wall thickness. Heavy.

Searching around the shop I found these: rollers from a treadmill I disassembled years ago in a bid to make a potter’s wheel for my wife. The rollers are thick steel, no apparent seam. Right now they’re full of good bearings and strong steel driveshafts, but after driving those out I’ll bet I have something that’s just about right for this job.

IMG_8416.JPGIf so, I’ll shim them in tight with some exhaust pipe. They’ll only have to extend about 10 inches from the mouth of the frame tube, so with another 8-10 inches inside, I could probably make do with a couple of bolts passed through the main frame rails. If it’s good enough for an engine hoist it ought to work for this.

Then again, I’m trying to think of a reason to make this assembly removable. Nothing comes to mind, so it’ll probably end up welded in place. We’ll come back to that later.

The last task for the day was cutting the window for the air duct to the oil cooler, and test-fitting the cooler in front of the beam.

IMG_8417.JPGThe original Spyder used a wider, shorter oil cooler than I happen to have, and mounted it a bit forward of the beam in what looks to be a splitter (this picture from the Spyder Factory, a Vermont(?) manufacturer of near-perfect 550 reproductions in aluminum, gives us the idea of where things are supposed to go underneath). replica belly front.jpgExcellent, but totally kills any storage up there. My way is pretty true to the original but should leave me a few more cubic feet on unclaimed space in the car’s nose. The idea is to open up the right half of the grill’s louvers and build a low duct to the hole. I’ll seal up the pan from below and install louvered ducting in the belly pan behind the oil cooler.

The only glitch I can see so far is that the cooler is just a tad on the tall side.

IMG_8413.JPGThe top edge wants to interfere with the beam adjusters and if I lower that then the inlet and outlet want to hang just below the pan, and I’d rather not have those oil lines below the car’s pan (I do want them at the low point of the system to facilitate draining all the oil when it’s time to change it). Best thing I can think right now is bend those mounting ears and figure something out.

After that we’re down to where to run the oil lines.

IMG_8419

Looks like they could go in the passenger compartment, below the door, etc. But I wonder if I could run them right through the frame tube.

If I drilled two 1 ½-inch holes in the tubing to pass the hoses through, then welded up a 2-inch length of 1 ½-inch DOM in the holes, would that weaken it…or make it stronger?

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