September 11, 2013
Good news. Our windshield kit from Kinetic Vehicles finally arrived, so we dropped everything and fit it to the Locost. As we noted earlier, installing a Locost windshield is a bit more difficult with the body on the car, but it turned out to be at least possible, and with very little damage to the body in the process. A couple of scratches that will be mostly hidden by the windshield supports. Mostly.
We weren't actually able to finish the whole windshield because the kit doesn't come with glass. That keeps shipping costs down and reduces the odds of breakage, but it does leave us with the task of making a template out of cardboard, and then locating a place that will cut laminated glass in the shape of our template. We actually found a local establishment right here in town who does exactly that, but they didn't seem too impressed with our business. We'll see how it turns out. Glass people are not as friendly as driveshaft people.
The kit did come with a windshield frame and support stanchions. Also a length of rubber that we assume has something to do with the glass. The windshield frame is a piece of extruded aluminum channel, similar to what you might find supporting the door to your shower. The trick to making a Locost windshield frame is getting this straight piece of aluminum to bend without distorting the channel in any way. This is a non-trivial task. Many have tried and many have failed. Which is why many of us buy the kit.
The Locost book has plans for a device that can supposedly bend this channel, although reports from the field seem to indicate that either the plans in the book are missing a key component for the device, or pictures in the book have been photoshopped. It's also possible that British aluminum, called aluminium over there, has different ductility properties than the stuff we get here. A few U.S. Locost builders have claimed success in constructing the device and bending their own windshield frame, but it's the Internet. You can claim anything you want.
The angle of the windshield is fixed by the supports at 22 degrees, which isn't all that sleek but does match the sleekness index of the rest of the car well enough. Before installing the supports we had to bend them to the exact shape of our scuttle, and luckily our neighborhood light poles are the perfect diameter. The supports attach solidly to the scuttle with large 5/16" bolts, but we're a little concerned that the windshield frame attaches to the supports with just a couple of tiny screws. Maybe the glass will help to hold it in place. Although it's hard to see how.
Once the windshield is installed and its location is fixed forever, we get to face the final and most impossible of the many impossible tasks on this build, installing the windshield wipers. To do this, we have to drill more holes in the scuttle, install wiper gear boxes under the scuttle with shafts protruding through the holes, install the wiper motor with its geared cable running through the gearboxes, and then attach a six-pin electrical plug that was mostly destroyed back when we extracted the harness from the donor. So that's bad enough.
Besides this, all work below the scuttle will be impossible because of all the other junk under there, the geared cable on the wiper motor is too long for our Locost, and the idea that any of this will work when we're all done is a pipe dream anyway. Of course many of the impossible jobs we faced before on this project turned out to be not as bad as we thought, but we now know a lot more about what's actually possible in what isn't. This isn't. So we're going to need options, and we're going to need them fast.
In other news, we got tired of making excuses for our worthless ammeter, and replaced it with a voltmeter from a Jensen-Healey, just $35 on eBay. We're pretty sure that Jensen-Healey volts are the same as M.G. volts, so all we needed to do get it working was locate a power source. It turns out we have several power sources in the car, including a few below the dash, and we were able to find a nice green wire under there that provided the requisite dozen or so volts with the ignition switched on.
Also this week we stopped by our local foam store and picked up the foam we ordered for our Locost seats. It appears to us that foam people are somewhere in between glass people and driveshaft people, but closer to driveshaft people in that they at least thanked us for our business and offered a few helpful hints. We brought the foam home and immediately trimmed it to shape, or not actually trimmed it, but, you know, marked it for trimming with a Sharpie. Then set it on the floor and tried it out. Comfy.
The actual trimming of the seat foam will take place once we gain a little familiarity with our new Hamilton Beach electric turkey knife, which turns out not to be a knife for carving electric turkeys, but rather a device recommended by the foam store people for trimming foam. All we need to do is round a few corners on the seat bottoms, and cut a notch in the seat back for the transmission tunnel, something we didn't quite trust the foam store people, nice as they were, to do correctly. We'll give it a try and let you know how it goes.
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