Type 65 Coupe – A Pipe Dolly, Sheet Aluminum and the Independent Front Suspension (IFS)   Leave a comment

I’ve been busy with work and other chores so haven’t had much time to work on the car and update these pages – but – here is a re-cap of the work done over the last few sessions.

The day after the Welcome BBQ, I built a PVC pipe dolly for the Coupe body. It is made of 1-1/2 inch PVC pipe, some Ts, some 90 degree elbows and some casters from the “As-Is” bin at the local Ikea furniture store. I chose the plastic pipe because I had some connectors and lengths of pipe leftover from some other project. If I were to do this over, I would have made the dolly with 2 x 4s.

 

 

Next, I removed all the sheet aluminum from the chassis, marking the outlines of chassis tubes underneath. This is done to indicate where to drill holes for the pop rivets that are used to mount the sheet material on the finished car. This went pretty smoothly – except for the trunk area. It reminded me of one of those mechanical puzzles – you have to warp the trunk floor upwards and then slide and pull it toward the front of the car and then through the roof section. Or something like that. It is a tapered shape. After scratching the area just behind the seats – where the roll bar attaches – I decided there had to be a better way to get the trunk floor in and out of the chassis – this would be more important later in the build, because I will paint the trunk area. I decided to cut the trunk floor in half length-wise. Later, I found some posts in the forums that mentioned this, so I kind of re-invented the wheel on this one.

I used my power jig saw and a fresh metal cutting blade for this. My long saw guide was in another garage, so I had to come up with an alternative straight edge – a really long power strip worked fine. I centered a line on the trunk floor, and made the cut. You can see the wax along the cut line, this lubricates the blade and helps prevent the aluminum from clogging the blade.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The independent front suspension (IFS) came next. The steering arms are on back-order, but I decided to start building this section. The parts are beautiful, nicely powder-coated black. Some parts have a neat little detail built into them – see the “5” on the front lower control arm? Sort of like the hardware version of an “Easter Egg,” if you know what I mean.

 

 

 

I ran into a small snag at this stage. The mounting points on the body for the lower control arm were slightly off. I solved this by squeezing the arm into place with a quick-clamp. Easy.

 

 

 

A similar, but more difficult puzzle for the upper and lower shock mounts. A pair of aluminum spacers is used to center the coil/shock assembly on their mounts – the spacers were too long. This is a common problem, and it is documented on the forums. There are several ways to correct this, and I combined several hints to solve my issue. First, the upper mounts were a total of one-quarter of an inch too tight. I padded the rear-facing mounting ear with a rag, grabbed it with a pipe wrench, and pulled. It was surprisingly easy to bend that mounting ear to make it fit.

The lower mounts had a similar problem, but slightly worse, because there is no room for a wrench to tweak it. So, I used my new disc/belt sander to grind off about an eighth of an inch on each spacer. Because I wanted to make sure the ends remained square, I made a “sled” to hold the spacer and gauge the amount of material being removed. This 2-1/2 inch nut and bolt does three things: First, it safely keeps my fingers away from the sanding disc while holding the little spacer. Second, the side of the hex nut and bolt helps to ensure the spacer is 90 degrees to keep the end square. Thirdly, by screwing the nut so that the end of the bolt is the needed 1/8th of an inch inside the spacer, I can tell when to stop grinding: Sparks will start to fly when the bolt hits the sanding disc. (Something I remembered in 7th grade metal shop class – sparks can be an indicator of the type of metal – ferrous vs non-ferrous. How cool is that!)

 

 

Anyway – at the end of the day – Front suspension at 90 percent complete. Still need to attach those back-ordered steering arms and then attach the hubs.

I will start the rear suspension system next. . . .

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