After realizing just how heavy my afterburner has become with the speaker enclosure + speaker inside of it, I’ve been getting worried about the strength of the existing mounting point on the chassis. Right now it’s fabricated out of plywood that eventually will be covered in fiberglass.
Looking at how it’s attached to the chassis I felt that it was just going to have too much flex and bounce. Eventually that will create stress fractures in the fiberglass and the last thing I want is to leave my afterburner somewhere on the highway :)
The current mounting point was also too low so I was going to have to make some adjustments anyways. First step was ripping the old stuff off and lowering the car right down on its bump stops. My garage floor rises back up again near the doorway so by lowering the car right down on the bump stops it had the body sitting right on the floor of the garage. This was actually a good thing because it would allow me to set the afterburner right on the floor and know for sure that it was no lower than the body.
I then used the old plywood mounting surface as a template to cut myself two pieces of steel that I would use to create a “box” with the right depth. I kept adjusting the afterburner’s distance from the rear bumper beam and then closing the hatch. I wanted to make sure the afterburner didn’t look like it was sunk into the rear of the car.
It turned out that the distance from the rear bumper beam with my new setup is just 1/4″ less than it was with the plywood. So I knew it was positioned where I liked it. Since the afterburner is tapered you have to deal with hatch clearance above it. I’ll end up having to trim a little bit off of the hatch to make sure there’s no rubbing on the feathers of the afterburner.
Once I had the steel cut, I drilled the mounting holes and welded nuts to the back of the holes. I no have full confidence that the afterburner is going to be nice and solid :)
Today I had a couple of hours to tinker in the garage. I started off looking at creating Y-pipes for the back of the exhaust tips, but then realized it would both be easier to create the inserts for the tips with out the Y-pipe attached and I also didn’t have the right materials for the Y-pipes.
So I quickly moved on to seeing if I could make the little inserts that go in the end of the exhaust tips. I started off by tracing a pattern on some plywood so that I had a template to work from. I then cut some strips that would fit with the template and welded them onto the tube that I “created” from some threaded electrical tube.
From there it was a matter of grinding down the strips so that they would be as even as I could make them and also slide nicely into the end of the exhaust tips. There was also a little bit of bending the fins in vice to get them just the way I wanted.
I created a second matching insert and slid them in-place in order to welded them so that they weren’t going anywhere.
I’d been contemplating if I really wanted to do this extra work or not, but as soon as I saw the difference between how the exhaust tips looked when empty compared to having this insert I was immediately sold and knew it was worth the effort :)
I still have to make 2 more of these little fellas, but you can see the difference it makes compared to the empty pipe. It’s amazing how such a small accent makes a world of difference. I have Monday off to take an extra long weekend with my family (they have Monday off from school) so I’ll likely be back out working on the car on Monday afternoon after a morning of BMX and Scooter riding with my daughter!
After yesterday’s first attempt on my exhaust tips I decided I would correct the inaccuracies. I knew that they would just bug me every time I looked at them even though no one else would ever notice. Of course I first cleared my head by spending the morning at the skatepark again :)
So I started by trimming the curved end to be more like the ones on the actual car. It’s a shame to see all that welding and finish work go to waste, but my peace of mind is worth more and they actually turned out great!
Next was lengthening the mounting plate so that I could weld on those curvy tube thingy’s. I ended up finding the tubes in the electrical section of the hardware store and then cut them to fit the angle that I wanted.
It was such a beautiful day yesterday I had to make sure I did two things. First head to the skatepark on my BMX to have a couple hours of fun with my daughter on her freestyle scooter. Second was to do some work on the BatBerry.
As I’m finishing up all the fabrication work connected to the chassis, one of the items on the list was to finish up the exhaust tips and their mounting plate. As seen in the above photo, they’re currently just temporarily mounted to a piece of wood that I painted while I was painting some other things in my bronze accent color. But I got to thinking that I “might” be able to use them as functional exhaust tips.
I’m not sure how it’s all going to work out just yet, but I do know I need something much more solid to mount these suckers to the chassis than their current setup. That “ball” on the end makes them very end heavy. The first step in making them functional was to remove the mounting bolts.
Now that everything was cleared out and exhaust can now flow through the pipes I needed to replicate the wooden mounting plates in steel. I actually kind of like the size of the mounting areas. They seem more proportional to the exhaust tips than the mounting plates on the actual Batmobile which aren’t quite as tall (more on that later). This was a pretty simple task of tracing the outline onto four pieces of steel and then using a hole-saw to cut out the openings for the pipes.
Today was the last day of my week of vacation so I decided to knock off a few more items from the TODO list. These were a bunch of odds-n-ends that all need to be done but each one isn’t particularly that exciting.
First was building a cover for the area above where the brake lines connect to the rear cross member and then to a flex line going to the rear axle. Of course one of the self tapping screws I was using had its head snap off, so I’ll have to drill it out and fix it when I have some more room to work :(
So now I have two lids in the trunk. One for the brake line chassis mount (pictured above) and one over top of the rear axle (not shown in the above picture) that gives me access to all of the connection points and suspension.
Next was completing the long outstanding task of mounting the Air Conditioning condenser to the frame I created for it in front of the radiator. This was a pretty simple process of drilling a few holes and securing the condenser with some screws. It was just one of those things that I’ve been meaning to finish up.
Last for the day was making some permanent mounting points for both the passenger and driver canopy rails. Right now they’re just held on with a few drywall screws while I was figuring out the proper angle. The goal was to weld on some studs to the rails so that the bolt would pass through to the outside of the cabin wall. That would give me access to the stutds from the intake cone area after the walls were secured to the chassis and it also ensured that the wheels would continue to run smoothly on the rails without hitting a bolt head.
I cut the heads off of a few bolts and then welded on some flat pieces of steel where the heads used to be. That gave me a low profile mounting material. Then I drilled out the holes through the cabin walls.
It was then simply a matter of tack welding them in-place while they were still secured to the cabin walls so that I could remove them later and complete the finish welding.
The rails actually slope downward towards the armrest area so there wasn’t much room to place a stud at the front of the rails. To solve this I welded on a couple of flanges that would then use one of the cabin wall anchor points as a place to secure the front of the rail with a bolt.
The last picture shows the rail reinstalled in the car. As always, it was then a matter of repeating the same process on the drivers side of the car. Overall a pretty good day of work :)
I decided that I was going to work on something a little more fun/interesting instead of good old bracing & supports that I’ve been working on for the last couple days. I decided it was time to tackle the extra two speaker enclosures for my afterburner sound effects.
The picture above shows how the air tank for the suspension sits in the trunk of the car. My goal was to create two speaker boxes on each side of the tank pointing outward under the car. These speakers are just like the other exterior marine speakers that I’ve used so that I don’t have to worry about exposure to the elements. This will give me a nice total of 3 speakers cranking out the afterburner sound effects :)
These enclosures started just like the rest of my other speaker enclosures, with a square piece of steel and a circle cut out of the center. The one thing that I had to account for was that I needed to give enough of a lip on the outside of the speaker face so that the enclosure could sit flush against the side walls of the trunk (you’ll see what I mean later)
After I had the main face of the enclosure finished, I drilled a hole in each corner that would be used as the bolt holes for mounting the face to the side of the trunk. From there I could trace the shape onto the side of the trunk and measure inward so that the wall opening would be slightly smaller and allow for some overlap between the enclosure face and the wall (this is why I needed that extra bit of space as a lip around the speaker face).
I checked out my BatBerry blog stats this morning and found a very welcomed surprise! It looks like the blog just rolled past the 200,000 view milestone this morning :)
I’d just like to say thank-you for all the support and encouragement from everyone following my Batmobile build. The build so far has been an absolute blast, and what makes it even more fun is all of the support, comments and engagement I receive from all of you who follow along. I also have a BBM channel (PIN: C00121FC2) where you can feel free to open up a chat with me. I sometimes post small tidbits there and include other Batman related items that aren’t really a full BatBerry blog article.
I’m really hoping to get the car in a state to be drivable this year, so stay tuned because there should be lots of really fun progress this year!