Wednesday, April 11, 2012

window cuttings

Yet another thing to do while the engine was out - modify the car side transmission mounts.

In the 28o z I didn't care much about preserving the shell, as most if it was replaced anyways. The engine was further forward and with it and the transmission installed there was more room in the transmission tunnel at any given distance from the front of the car. I had to replace the clutch at one point, however, and it was very difficult to re-install the transmission from under the car with the engine still installed. I removed the passenger side transmission mount entirely with the aid of an angle grinder. My transmission mount was entirely custom, attaching to it's own tang's welded to re-enforced sections of the transmission tunnel reward of the stock car side transmission mounts.

In the 24o z on the other hand, the engine is much further back and I don't think I could even take out the transmission without the engine even if I wanted to. There is much less room between the installed transmission and the car side tunnel at any given point. The profile of both surfaces seem to mirror each other and it barely clears. It's so far back in fact that the transmission actually hits the tunnel on both of the car side mounts. 

The speedo sensor hits on the passenger side, and (2) molded buttons on part of the casing hit the driver side. On the passenger side, the speedo sensor is positioned entirely passed the front face of the mount. It is good that it's back far enough that I dont have to compromise the integrity of the mount by modifying (2) of the (3) vertical faces and losing the rigidity of the corner, or having to rebuild that section entirely to gain it back.

It was a big deal for me to modify the chassis, but after careful consideration based on the modification, location, and reason, I felt OK with this. Many iterations of ways to relieve the stress on parts that were trying to take up the same space at the same time without compromising structural integrity were thrown out and this is the result.

I marked off a 2"x1" section, centered forward/aft, 1/2" above the base of the inner facing surface of the passenger transmission tunnel mount. It's length of the section began and ended before the transition points of the radius connecting the adjacent surface and it was high enough from the base to keep most of the supporting structure intact, as I am indeed using the oem mounts in the 24o z to hold the transmission. It was very difficult to measure the exact location when the engine was installed, but I believed creating a window into the mount by removing material in this area would allow enough of a relief for the touching parts. I would find out later that I was incorrect.

Make sure to use your safety goggles and let the sparks fly!

With careful cutting I was able to remove the material out of the outlined area exactly without going over. I used a dremel and 3-4 reinforced cutoff wheels. I was very pleased with the outcome.

As shown in this picture, the window needs to be moved lower over it's left half (the forward portion) by 1/2", the distance it is above the base. I'll get to this final modification in another post.

I'll also get more into this later, but as it turns out, making a relief on one side the transmission relieved the other side enough to clear. In theory it would have been good enough to stop here and not cut the identical window into the driver side mount. Eventually I will box out the window, creating a concave surface, which will bring back all of it's structural integrity and seal it. This will require some materials, more cutting, and a TIG welder. I had none of these at the time of cutting, but at this point it will also require another engine removal.

And so begins the to-do-during-paint-prep list. 

I removed the tape and spray painted clear coat inside the mounts. They were 1oo % clean of rust and looked fresh off the factory floor inside the cavity that had been sealed for 4o years. I wanted to keep it that way followed the spray painting by spray painting just to make sure.

Sunday, April 8, 2012


I've been sick for the last 4 days with the flu. I mean come on, who gets the flu in April?! The Import Alliance Atlanta show is in 14 days. I have an exhaust to somehow TIG weld on, wiring to clean up, battery to mount, seats/lights/fenders/bumper to install, and an intake gasket to replace. And still have to go for a shake down ride. What have I been doing? 

Watching a Fast and the Furious marathon. I picked up a bootlegged copy of Fast 5 in Malaysia and to my dismay it did not work in my mac. My blue-ray player, however, was not as picky.

In an attempt to be somewhat more productive, on top of loading up on cold med's and reciting F/F quotes, I'm also catching up on blogging.

The inside looks pretty calm before the wiring storm. And yes, that's a o.5o cal ammo case. It still has dirt on it from the desert.

There's a KK in my engine bay!

There were a few spots in the engine bay that needed to be sanded and painted over. These KK sanded by hand and clear coated over.

Another big reason for taking out the engine yet again was the undercoating. While I was under the car playing with the transmission mounts way too late one night, I realized that something was coming off on my elbow making me much more dirty than planned.

Sections of the undercoating, as it turned out, a few square feet around the transmission tunnel, was not really undercoating. I mean it was coating under the car, but it was not painted on. It was a grease mixture that covered the bare metal. At fist I was stressed out but a little digging revealed it was just that, sealed before paint as it seemed. Maybe the previous owner needed to cover it to prevent it from rusting before paint? To confirm, the brown color in the pictures is a paint, not rust. Either way, I wanted to take it off and coat it correctly and needed to remove the transmission to be proper.

I scraped a bit of the real undercoating off during one of the engine and transmission installations and also wanted to touch up this. Most of this was on the passenger side of the tunnel, as viewed on the left side facing rearward. The right side is where it gets interesting though. At first glance it looks pretty good, normal undercoating and all.

But then it rubs right off to the touch.

Add a paint scraper into the mix and it really comes off. Like I said, it doesn't look to be a simple cover up, and KK took the grease mixture completely off, until she hit real undercoating on all sides.

Condition of the shell, as usual, looks great. No rust. I was originally going to simply spray some clear coat over the areas that needed it, but after further evaluation I thought it best to get some real undercoating. It was a larger area than I first thought, and it was under the car and needed to be sealed properly.

I took my 28o z to a truck shop and had rhino lining sprayed on professionally several years ago. It held up pretty well but started to peal at the edges and was very difficult to clean because it came out very rough. Being in the engine bay, you would cut and scrap your knuckles and fingers just looking at the engine, let alone actually working on it for any length of time. I won't do that again.

The underside didn't have the same limitations, but I still wanted a smoother undercoating that would last and protect. I found some at home depot that did the trick quite nicely. After picking up some supplies, we hand rolled on the new coating. Some of these shots are after only one coat. If you put it on too thick it wouldn't stick, so KK applied it in several layers over several days as I attended to other parts of the car and engine.

Time will tell, but it shouldn't have the same edge peeling issue as in the engine bay as there is no physical edge to the panel that was painted. KK blended it into the undercoating that was already on the car. It also came out much smoother than the sprayed on rhino lining that I was used to which was exactly what I was hoping for. It matched perfectly with the undercoating that was already under the rest of the floor pans of the car.