March 8, 2013
The weather has been miserable most of this week and so chassis painting is still on hold. Because of this we've completely lost patience, and with nothing else to work on we decided to start the final assembly process. Obviously this is a challenge since we're unable to actually use the chassis yet, but we were at least able to bolt the bottom front shock mounts to the lower A-arms, which was a decent first step. The job went smoothly, involving as it did only four bolts, and the results looked good, thanks to our use of cad-plated AN hardware.
With that major task behind us, we went ahead and built the aluminum panel that fits on the bottom of the frame forward of the engine bay. We've never quite been able to figure out what this panel is for, but the Locost book says something about airflow, and that's good enough for us. As part of this task we refit the nose cone for about the fourteenth time, adding clearance for the headlight bar and lowering the front end another 1/8". This had the unfortunate result of placing the bottom of the nose well below the bottom of the frame, or if not well below than at least 1/4" below, which means that the Dzus fastener on the bottom of the nose no longer reached our welded bracket on the frame.
So what we did was chop off the old bracket from the frame and add a tab to the front of our new aluminum panel. We still have to drill some holes for the Dzus fastener, but the tab is in the right place, and should look pretty decent when we're done, almost like we planned it that way. Of course as usual we would've been better off doing all of this before we started painting the frame, but I think we've already explained on numerous occasions and in sufficient detail exactly how this operation works, and there's no need to get into it again here.
Another final assembly task was prepping the engine for installation. This included mounting the oil filter and our new external oil line, bolting on the thermostat housing, and attaching new motor mounts. We like the thermostat and oil fittings but we're a little nervous about the motor mounts. They're eBay parts, which is not the same thing as new parts from Moss Motors. Moss reportedly tried out motor mounts from eight different vendors before they found one with studs that could survive more than 17 ft-lbs of torque. Ours went all the way to 20 ft-lbs without snapping off, but who knows how much they've got left in them.
The eBay mounts weren't even the same color. One was gray and the other one was black. The eBay vendor, who in our good graces will remain unidentified (but whose name implies they find new old stock parts) explained in their description that while the two mounts in the picture were both black, the two mounts you get might not be the same color. We think they actually got a box of black left-hand mounts and a box of gray right-hand mounts, and decided it would be easier to sell two mounts with different colors than two mounts for the same side of the engine.
None of our dealings with eBay have been particularly stellar, but we've usually gotten what we expected and left 5-star feedback. We didn't leave any feedback on the motor mounts. Mostly what we didn't like was the tone of all their disclaimers. It was like they were perfect and anything that might go wrong was either eBay's fault or your own, for expecting too much. They demanded that if you didn't like their policies and weren't willing to leave 5-star feedback, you should not buy anything from them. Unfortunately we didn't read any of that until after we'd placed our bid, but we're happy to abide by their request going forward.
One other thing we did this week was revise the build plan. Again. What we did was split up some of the final tasks into their component parts, now that we think we know what most of the component parts are. The unfortunate thing about the plan revisions is that they didn't change the overall hours, which is disappointing because we really want to be done this year. The last thing we want to do is go through another winter working on the car in a cramped garage in the dark and cold. We'll keep playing with the schedule. Maybe we can find some shortcuts.
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