Sunday, November 16, 2008

Driver's door

Fun weekend. Spent the entire weekend on the driver's side door, and it isn't even close to finished. The door consists of a fiberglass "skin" over a steel frame.

I'm following the directions Mark Dougherty posted a while back instead of the FFR directions. First I trimmed the door skin to just fit the opening with tight gaps. This wasn't hard, but it was a little bit scary because I really didn't want to trim too much. I tried a couple of methods but what worked best was an angle grinder with a flap wheel. A light touch is essential!

Next I worked on the door frame. Got the welded bolts roughly parallel, ran a thread die over all of them to clean up the weld oxidation, and ground out the slots on the hinge arm for a "sloppy" (i.e., adjustable) fit. Opened up the factory door hinge cutouts (they were way too small) and installed the hinge and frame. Opened up the hinge cutouts some more to allow full motion. I also installed one shim washer under the upper bolt of the hinge mount bracket to get the angle of the frame a little better.

Then I installed the striker bolt, and adjusted the door frame to engage it. Perfect. But then I hit the first big snag.

Dougherty's directions call for sliding the door skin over the frame while the frame is already mounted and aligned on the latch. But the cutout on the front of the door is not large enough to fit the frame/hinge arm assembly as a unit. OK, fine. A bigger cutout is no big deal. 30 seconds with the Dremel and I have the skin on the frame, feeling like I'm a genius because fitting the doors is supposed to be really hard and I'm almost done.

Center the door skin on the body. Easy. Clamp the door to the frame. Oops. Not even close. The genius feeling is gone.

I have a few problems to work out. I need to extend the striker a little bit more, which should be easy. I need to shim the hinge forward on the frame a bit, which is also pretty easy. I need to grind out the slots on the hinge arm to angle the door up even more. No trouble. Shouldn't be more than 10-20 hours more work and I'll have a working door on the driver's side.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Directions for installing the fuel filler

1. Throw away the straight 2" rubber hose that you received with the kit. It is intended for the roadster and has no place on your coupe.

2. Buy the LeMans cap spacer from Mike Everson. You need it to keep the LeMans cap from hitting the body when it opens.

3. Buy NAPA part NBH 1046, 2" fuel filler hose with 45 degree bend.

4. Cut the fuel filler hard pipe. Leave most of the straight portion after the 90 degree bend on the lower piece. If you followed the manual and cut near the middle of this straight portion, you should have just barely enough straight pipe to make it work. The upper part needs to be cut down to just the last straight bit before the bend. Try to cut just behind the "bulkhead" in the tube with the spring door.

5. If you're a master craftsman like Russ, cut the tack welds on the fuel filler flange and reweld it closer to the end of the pipe. This not only looks cool but will save you the frustration of dropping the little white spacers about 10 times as you're trying to align the flange with the body and get the nuts on the screws. (Personally I didn't do this, because the thought of welding on thin pipe terrifies me.)

6. Position the fuel filler pipe in the hole from above. Mark and drill the body for the screws.

7. Get some #10 machine screws, washers, and nuts to replace the sheet metal screws or whatever they are in the kit. I just don't trust anything threaded into fiberglass.

8. Position the cap spacer on the body. Mark and drill the body for the screws. Slide the screws in to hold the spacer in position. From underneath, mark the filler flange screw holes on the spacer.

9. Drill recesses in the spacer for the filler flange screws. Don't go all the way through, but make sure they're large enough to contain the entire screw heads.

10. Screw the LeMans cap tightly onto its mounting flange. Keeping the spacer aligned with the screw holes, position the cap in the desired orientation over the spacer. Make registration marks on the spacer and the mounting flange.

11. Remove the cap from the mounting flange. Using the registration marks, mark the flange. Drill and countersink the flange.

12. Lubricate the filler pipe sections with vaseline to make the fitting much easier.

13. Cut down the hose to fit. I did it by cutting a little, trial fitting, cutting a bit more, etc.

14. Slide the hose clamps over the hose but do not tighten. You need everything sliding freely to geta the best alignment. Also, put the collar thingy on the lower pipe section.

15. Install the pipe/hose assembly and mount the flange to the body. This is where you get to drop those little white spacers over and over again. You can also drop the nylocks. They bounce and roll really well. (They're 10-32 thread, in case you've discovered just how well they bounce and roll.) Remember to install the ground wire on one of these screws. BTW, you could cut at least 1/4" off these screws to save yourself some work. 32 thread, so that's 8 full turns.

16. Tighten the band clamps and install the collar thingy. The bolt for the collar is metric something-er-other fine thread, if you've misplaced it like me.

17. Install the spacer and flange. Be sure the flange is in the same position as when you marked it.

18. Install the LeMans cap. It should tighten to just the right orientation.