Monday, June 16, 2008

I've been framed...

June 9 – June 15, 2008

Strange week… I had some training at school to do this summer with occurred on Wednesday and Thursday. I was tired of trying to get my lab clean so I took Monday and Tuesday off to work on the Fiero. Plus, two of my ordered items were coming at the beginning of the week and I did not want to miss them.

In preparation to doing the battery boxes, I figured I needed to get some cable for the batteries. I checked with Belktronix (Bryan) for his recommendations and he suggested 2/0 welding cable. I checked Ebay and saw quite a few, but as you know, bidding can get crazy. We have a big welding supply shop in town, but they did not carry cable in bulk. Strangely enough, one of the ad sites on Ebay sent me to and they are great. Not only are their prices good, but they also had crimpers and lugs real cheap. I ordered enough cable to do what I think I need to do and have a plan to make my own connections – we’ll see. That box arrived two days later as did my first box of electronics from Belktronix (controller w/fan, system integrator module, pot box and contactor). Lots of cool stuff to look at! Back to the battery boxes. The same person who suggested the bed frames also mentioned the hardness of the steel – it’s hard. I killed a Saws-all blade in about 15 seconds and went to plan “B”. I bought a Roto-zip several years ago and it has seen its share of jobs. I came with a metal cutting disc and it cut right through the bed frames. The only problem was I got 4-5 cuts per disc and I had a long was to go. I checked Lowe’s for replacement discs, but at $2.50 each, I went to Harbor Freight. I got a 10 pack for $6.00 and only had to open up the hole a bit to fit my Roto-zip. I got just as many cuts for a fraction of the cost – yeah Harbor Freight. Because the batteries are common sizes, I was able to figure out one box and reuse the dimension – just change the configuration of the box. Two bed frames proved to be just right with a little left over. Four battery boxes made for less than $30.00 and some welding time. I did most of the welding before my training at school. I added hold down tabs (1x1x1/8” angle) to each box as well as mounting pieces out of 2” x 1/8” flat stock to attach them to the car. I had to guess on the box that fit above the motor and it required a slight modification. I gave them a quick paint job to keep them from rusting (I plan on finishing them in flat black) since they are living on the back porch. I hope to have them installed next week.

I also had a chance to finish the plug installation. I found a piece of 3/8” Delrin plastic and made an adapter to mount the plug to it and also it to the car. When I cut out the gas filler tube, I made the hole too big for the plug to just fit in, so I had to make the adapter to clean things up – looks pretty good if I do say so myself. I reinstalled the door and I only need to remove the “Unleaded Fuel” sticker. Another side project involved installing a rack/spoiler on the Fiero. I purchased a used trunk last year that had the rack on it. My plan was simple – swap them out, but so much for a simple plan. After changing hinges and a louver, I noticed a crack in the new trunk lid. No biggie until I saw the other crack on the opposite side. I checked my old one and it was good. I removed the rack from the used trunk, measured, drilled and installed it on my trunk and a few hours later, I have a rack/spoiler. Now my trunk is heavier and does not want to stay up, but I’ll figure it out!

So on the slate for next week… Install battery boxes, pick up batteries and install them, install cables and assorted hardware/electronics. Heck before you know it, I’ll be driving it. Until next week…

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