Some New Years Eve Quality Time

Yesterday I spent the day closing out the year with a solid day’s work in the garage, and then with friends and family in the evening.  It was a good day to be in the garage yesterday with outside temperatures getting up to 1°C.  Wearing a couple extra layers made it actually quite nice.

I was hoping to get back out into the garage today to do the finishing bits before posting, but with the temperature going down to -7°C today, I figured I would keep warm and write up the progress from yesterday instead.

The first task was trying to organize the garage into a state where I could actually get some work done.  It was full of the aftermath of a kitchen renovation and Christmas… yikes!

Once I had most things squared away, I started finishing up the work for the radiator cross member and cradle.  There’s very little clearance between the radiator cross member and the intake of the V8 so I wanted to make sure that the cross member and entire radiator cradle assembly could be removed.  I’m just not sure how much space I’m going to need to be able to pull the engine and replace it with a freshly re-built one mated to a refreshed transmission.

This work began by clamping the cross member back in place and cutting out four flanges from 1/8″ steel.  The flanges were then drilled with pilot holes and clamped into place.  I needed to make sure that the flanges didn’t come up above the top of the tube chassis, and also ensure that the cross member was dropped down a few inches to clear the curvature of the hood.

I made sure that the flanges were matching up on both sides and then used their pilot holes to drill additional pilot holes into the tube chassis. Once all the chassis pilot holes were drilled I used my unibit to hole them out to 3/8″ for the four 3″ bolts that will be used to fasten the cross member to the chassis.

The flanges were then bolted in place and I tack welded them to the cross member.  This let me unbolt everything again and do the finish welding on the table.  Being able to do the welding off the car makes things much easier, and results in nicer welds.  It helps when you’re not performing some kind of scene from Cirque du Soleil while trying to weld a spot that’s tough to get to.

I also had to do a little bit more test fitting and trimming on the cradle that holds the radiator, fans and A/C condenser.  After everything was trimmed up, I did all the finish welding and clamped the cradle flanges into place on top of the radiator cross member.  This let me drill some holes in the cradle flange straight down into the cross member.  I busted out the unibit again on the flanges and then used some self tapping bolts to fasten the cradle to the cross member.

I still need to mount two bottom flanges on the cradle and drill and bolt them to the chassis to complete the structure. The final step will be to mount the fans and radiator in order to build the finishing shroud.

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