I was able to check off a couple more items from the TODO list this weekend by tackling the sound proofing and the brake lines. I started some of the sound proofing last weekend but I still had a bunch left to do. The task wasn’t difficult, but was a killer on the knees. Crouching, kneeling and constantly getting in and out of the car to measure, trace, and cut the sound proofing material plays havoc on your joints.
I figured I would take advantage of the Canadian long weekend this morning. My daughter was still at her friends house from a sleep over and my wife had headed to the gym. So it was an early start to the day by pulling apart the BlackBerry PlayBook that I’m using for the BatBerry.
The PlayBook will likely only be used for it’s housing and the touch screen. At least that’s what I’m thinking for now. That will allow me to have better granular control of turning on/off power to the system without having to deal with the PlayBook internal power management and batteries. I’ll be using the PlayBook screen as the touch display for my Brainiac unit that will control the BatBerry’s systems.
I’m really happy with today’s progress on the BatBerry. Not that I accomplished a lot tasks, but that what I was working on were “finishing” tasks. For so long it has all been about, mock-up, test fit, un-install, fabricate, test fit, un-install, prime, paint, and then final assembly for every last square inch of this vehicle!
So it’s been really nice to be working on things where I’m actually performing final assembly such as the recent chassis, suspension and exhaust work. And now working on final chassis and inner cabin prep. Which means most of the crazy fabrication work is behind me. Of course there will still be more fabrication, but it’s finally nice to see things get put together instead of everything being hopes and dreams 🙂
This afternoon’s goal was to get some primer on the engine cross member, firewall and bits of the frame that I couldn’t reach before because the engine and transmission were in the way. Things were pretty straightforward with the usual prep of getting rid of any surface rust, wiping everything down and then seam sealing and priming.
One of the things I wanted to finish before starting the priming was to beef up the engine mounts on the cross member. Currently they are just a tube welded onto one tab of thick steel. I’m worried about them twisting if the V8 gains some traction and decides to dig in and put a bunch of load on the tabs causing them to twist.
Today was the day! Time to finally get the BatBerry back down on its tires and yank that old engine and transmission out of the engine bay. The existing engine/transmission will eventually be replaced with a re-build 96 small block Chevy LT1 (with matching transmission) which was used as part of the “cop car” package for the 96 Caprice as well as the engine for the Corvette and Camaro during that time period. The 96 was the first year that they used ODBII on the ECU for the car so that will also allow me to plug in Brainiac to read all the system information 🙂
The good news is that my existing engine is the little brother of the LT1 which means all of the accessories fit the LT1 since the only real differences between the two engines were internal. With the engine out I’ll be able to finish up supporting the engine mounts and do the final engine bay prep and painting. Then it will be on to re-installing the brake booster and steering linkage.
Another beautiful day for working in the garage! Looking at the thermometer on the workbench it reached 25 degrees today. I’m loving every minute of the heat! All you could hear was me singing and whistling away to the music 🙂
After sorting out yesterdays issues, this afternoon was mainly a day of assembly work which started with getting the sway bars re-installed. I ended up having to replace the bolts which connect the sway bar brackets to the chassis because the original ones were really corroded. However, the heads on the new bolts were quite a bit larger than the originals which meant I couldn’t get a socket on them. So it was a lot of quarter turns with a wrench to get everything snugged up.
I headed out to the garage yesterday afternoon dancing and prancing with the wonderful 20 degree weather with visions of all the things I would do on such a great day. Then I realized that the work I did last weekend on my shock mounts was incorrect 😦
Where I had originally thought I had the suspension fully pushed down to make sure that the shock would extend all the way to the lowest point of travel, I was mistaken. Turns out there was still about an inch and a half where if the air bag was fully inflated, the shock would be the part that was blocking the suspension travel and not allowing the upper A-arm to hit its bump stop.
I hate re-work. It’s like all the time you spent doing something was an entire waste of time. But it’s better to suck it up, do the work and ensure that you don’t have problems down the line. Chalk it up to a lesson learned.