An M.G. Locost Build
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October 26, 2013
Cosmetic Changes

We've been doing a little work on the Locost wiring, tidying things up a bit and adding a few more tie-wraps. We think it's a bad idea to leave 40-year-old wiring hanging loosely in the car, and you can't have too many tie-wraps. Or you can, but we're not going crazy with them. We've mostly been cleaning up wires in and around the cockpit area, but we also replaced a few corroded connectors in back and hooked up a ground wire to the fuel tank.

  Giant hole in dash
click to enlarge

We were stringing up the harness over the passenger foot well when we discovered something rather interesting about the car. With the glove box door open, you have complete and unrestricted access to the entire under-dash area. This includes all of the hundreds of tubes, wires, cables, and pipes under there, or at least half a dozen, and even the scuttle firewall. This access is due mostly to the fact that we don't actually have a glove box, but only a glove box door and a giant hole in the dash where a glove box is supposed to go.

So that was something of a surprise, and just to clarify what all of this means, with the glove box door open we could easily bolt the windshield wiper motor to the scuttle firewall. Easily. Of course getting the wipers to actually work would take a lot more than just installing the motor. We'd also have to insert the geared cable through our wiper gearboxes, and repair our broken wiper motor electrical connector, the one that crumbled back when we tried to force it through a small hole in the donor firewall last year.

Heavy wiper motor with stubby geared cable  
click to enlarge

But none of this appears to be impossible, just extremely difficult. The geared cable on the wiper motor is 32" long, making it rather unwieldy, but since we don't need it that long, we shortened it to 15", and suddenly the motor was much more wieldy. We were able to stick it under the dash, route the shortened cable past our wiper gearboxes, and hold the motor up against the firewall. To actually clamp the geared cable into the gearboxes we'd have to temporarily remove the defroster vents, but they're only held on by a couple of screws so no big deal.

  Unfortunately plenty of room for the wiper motor
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There's just one little issue. The wiper motor weighs over five lbs., even with the shorter cable. That doesn't sound like a lot, but we used up our excess Locost weight quota a long time ago, by about 400 lbs. If this was something we could really use, like a trunk lid, we could accept the weight penalty. But we'll never use the wipers. Ever. Not that we'll never get caught in a rain storm, we probably will, but the wipers are only 7" tall. We can see over the windshield easier than we can look through smeared glass. I just can't see us ever turning them on.

Unfortunately, despite all this logic I have a feeling we're going to end up installing the wiper motor. In fact, the only way we could probably get out of it now is by installing a permanent glove box, thereby eliminating access to the under-dash area once and for all. But that might involve even more of an effort than the wiper motor, and based on our usual unpredictable construction techniques, the glove box could end up weighing more. I guess we'll work on the electrical connector first, and with any luck at all, that'll hold up further progress on the wiper front.

Not the finished product  
click to enlarge

We've been thinking lately about making a hood scoop. Not an actual scoop, more like a bulge, but we don't really like the word bulge, which sounds misshapen and kind of unfortunate, so we're calling it a scoop. The engine sticking up out of the hood hasn't bothered us at all, but for some odd reason everyone who looks at the car zeroes in on it, asking questions that put us needlessly on the defensive. And so we're considering a scoop. Although we have no good ideas about how to make one. Or how to attach it to our aluminum hood.

To get an idea what a hood scoop might look like, we made a cardboard mock-up. We didn't spend a lot of time on it, so don't go expecting it to look all perfect, but when we set it on the hood we were a little surprised that it fit. In fact, we actually thought it showed some promise, so we ordered up some materials to make an actual scoop. Probably not the right materials, but we'll see. In any case we're not promising anything, because even if we somehow manage to build a scoop, we still don't know how we're going to attach it.

  We're totally not going this fast
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Meanwhile we have other things to do. We plan to tackle the trunk lid soon, once we figure out what to make that out of. We're also thinking about replacing the speedo cable so the speedometer doesn't bounce all over the place and indicate 100 mph in photographs when we're actually only doing the speed limit or even less. After that, we want to rebuild the brake junction box, so our brake warning light illuminates if we get a hydraulic leak, which is important because it lets you know your brakes have failed in case you missed that when the pedal went to the floor.

Right now we're just a little over two weeks away from our first licensing inspection, and our documentation binder is almost complete. In the cosmetics department we put on a fresh coat of Meguiars Carnauba, and even the headlight buckets look glossy now. Or not glossy, but you know, less dull. The Locost has racked up 54 miles so far, and in recent days we made two more excursions behind enemy lines, each time without incident. And the Locost continues to perform flawlessly, although we do have one leaky tire that we need to keep an eye on.

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