October 8, 2013
Test driving continues in the Locost, and we've managed to rack up a total of 24 miles so far. Our test track is still limited to about a four mile run from the house, but includes a few nice turns, some fast sweepers, and one elevation change, so the Locost is getting a pretty good workout. Unfortunately the tires continue to disappoint with their 6000 effective treadwear, but the car still handles beautifully and we're able to pull about .7 Gs in the banked turn on Bahama Reef, if no one's looking.
We finally installed our windshield wipers. This job turned out to be easier than we thought because of all the practice we got a few weeks ago working blindly under the scuttle to replace the ignition switch. The hardest part was drilling the holes for the gearboxes, because they're not round, and drills usually only make round holes. So we had to drill two 5/16" holes, then cut out the piece between the holes with a Dremel, and then contour the hole with a grinding bit in the Dremel until the wiper arm shaft would fit through at the proper angle.
We probably would've had some issues if we did this before we painted the scuttle. Because we were now doing this after the scuttle has been painted, and with the windshield in place, issues were guaranteed. We taped over the scuttle in an effort to protect it, but as it happens tape is no match for a skating Dremel. Which means we'll have to live with the paint scratches. They're not really too bad. The only other issue is the location of the wiper boxes, which isn't perfect but the wipers don't work anyway, so no harm, no foul.
We had to shorten the M.G. wiper arms to fit our tiny windscreen, which meant taking them apart, cutting the arms, drilling new holes in the arms, and riveting everything back together. The arms were originally held together with solid rivets, which we don't have so we used pop rivets. You can hardly tell. Hopefully they won't rust too badly. We also had to engineer some fittings for our tiny 7" wiper blades, which look more like squeegees than wiper blades, but might be able to clear water off the windscreen if they actually moved.
We ended up cutting two inches off of each arm, which we now know was about an inch too much because the wiper blades at the top of their stroke are about an inch short of the top of the windscreen. However, we're saved once again from this gaffe by the fact that the wipers don't work, and if they ever do work someday, we know where we can get cheap M.G. wiper arms. At least they look okay. We wire-brushed off the crusty old black paint and polished up the stainless steel as best we could, because we're never going to paint anything ever again.
As we all know by now, our M.G. Locost build was completed several days ago with the installation of our genuine Lucas L488 dual-filament turn signals. As such, installing the wipers was not part of the actual build, but technically only a modification. And really just a cosmetic change since the wipers are non-operational. In any case we've used up almost all of the hours on our much-abused project plan, and we're at the 100% mark if you round off to the nearest whole percent, which we're more than happy to do. And so that means we no longer have to account for our hours. Excellent.
In the meantime we're still finding things to do, even though the build is completely done. For example, the seat belts. We bought new seat belts for the Locost several months ago from the lowest bidder. They're DOT approved, so we're sure they'll work when something tries to throw us from the car, but they're rather basic and they weren't the handsomest set available. In an effort to spruce them up, we bought some M.G.-logo shoulder pads from Moss Motors for the princely sum of $40. Plus shipping.
Approximately 15 seconds after we bought the Moss M.G. pads, we found Lotus pads for sale on eBay for only $7, and with free shipping from Hong Kong. So we bought those too. It turns out the Moss pads are plush and comfortable and look pretty nice, and are no doubt well worth the premium price. And as you might expect, the cheaper Lotus pads aren't nearly as plush. But the thing is, the Lotus pads look totally cool, and the M.G. pads not as much. So we're going with the Lotus pads, at least until someone tells us we can't.
We're also looking at a couple more cosmetic changes, like for instance rebuilding the clutch slave cylinder. Right now the clutch engages close to the floor, although you can pump it up so it's obviously taking on air. We've determined that the culprit is the slave cylinder, based partly on our extensive automotive experience, and partly on the hydraulic fluid dripping off the slave cylinder. So we'd like to fix it, and although you might think at first blush that this can't really be classified as a cosmetic change, keep in mind that fluid dripping off the slave cylinder doesn't look very good.
We were pretty busy last week hosting an all-Miatas track day at Thunderhill Raceway, which turned out to be quite a success, but it means that we didn't get much of a chance to start the registration process on the Locost. Or any chance. Fortunately we're on vacation this week, so we hope things will start moving along quickly from here.
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