August 4 – August 18, 2008
By now you have probably figured out that I am still waiting for my last three parts (or maybe I am out driving my Fiero and could care less about writing). Still waiting…
While I’ve been waiting, I took the time to take care of some car business – mainly the windows. Back in December I purchased some used parts to include a door. I did not need a whole door, but it had a good window and handle and for $25.00, I couldn’t resist. My old window had been scratched from years of worn out wipers (those rubber and felt strips that “wipe” the window clean when you roll it up and down. The replacement window was in great shape and I had removed it last spring and stored it in the garage. I knew how to take one out, so now it was time to put the good one in. Also, in order to replace the wipers, the window had to be removed, so I figured I would kill two birds with one stone. All of this involves drilling out four ¼” rivets that hold the window to the regulator (the things that moves when you turn the crank) without breaking the glass or ruining the plastic parts that the rivet goes through – not an easy feat. Fortunately for me I had the parts from the replacement window as back-ups because I did not drill the straightest while removing the rivets. Once the window was out, I remove the wiper and prepared to make a new one. J.C. Whitney’s sell new wipers in bulk form (not pre-cut). So I had to drill, slot and cut the new wiper to match the old one, plus I had to re-install the old hardware. I maybe had $30-40.00 invested to replace both wipers (one per door). It was a real pain, but the end results were great. No longer will leaves and twigs go through the gaping hole from the rotted old wipers (not to mention small animals). The Fiero Store (http://www.fierostore.com/) now sells complete wiper sets for about twice what I paid, but it would be worth the additional cost to cut back on the labor involved. With the new wipers in, I re-installed the glass. Instead if those darn rivets, I opted for ¼-20 bolts and ny-loc nuts. There is lots of room for the bolts and it will make doing it again (yea, right) a lot easier.
With both doors done, I moved to some wiring. I bought two LED rocker switches – one for the fans in the controller/motor area and one for the vacuum pump. I already ran wires and it was a matter of hooking things up. There were a couple of unused wires under a switch blank on the dash and I traced them to an unused rear window defroster and trunk release. Both were on the run side of the ignition switch and were also fused. A little splice and dice and I had power at the switches for both. Being on the run side of the switch prevents them from being left on by mistake when I shut down the car. All three fans checked out and so did the power for the pump (which I will get back to in a few minutes). I also took the time to clean up some of the other wiring – in particular the 2/0 cable under the car. When I first installed it, I zip-tied it to some brackets under the car. I made sure that certain points had protection from rubbing so a cable would accidentally get cut, but while I was under there, I figured why not make all point “rub proof”. This involved wrapping coro-plast around each cable and then around the cor-plast. Then I zip-tied it to the bracket or other points along the bottom of the car. I feel much safer now knowing that it would take a lot to cut through a cable now. While under the car, I routed all of my BMS wires and other miscellaneous wires to clean things up. Once all wires were in place and secured, I started making my “belly pan” under the front of the car. This is nothing more than more coro-plas screwed and zip-tied to the under carriage of the car. I would like to completely seal everything up for weather protection, but being realistic, I figure 90+% coverage will probably be close enough. I will either incorporate enough pitch or drill a few holes to prevent any water accumulation.
I tested the vacuum pump on the bench first before hooking it up in the car. The replacement pump worked just fine and created enough vacuum for what I needed for the brakes. I built the vacuum tank out of a 12” long piece of 2” PVC with end caps to test things out. I added threaded, barbed plugs and hooked up the pump through a vacuum switch. I set the switch at 20”Hg and tried it on the car. One pump of the brakes caused the pump to turn back on, so I figured the tank was too small. A trip to Lowe’s for some 3” PVC and new caps and I tried a two foot section of pipe – it was a bit too much for my pump. I cut off about eight inches and it worked just fine. I glued on the caps and Teflon taped all fitting and it was sealed tight as a drum. I tested it and without any clamps on the fittings, it held vacuum over two hours without the pump starting up! I was happy. Next I shock mounted (heavy rubber feet) the pump to the fender well, next to the master cylinder. I made a bracket for the tank and mounted it to the firewall. Once again I tested it and it works as expected. Many people comment on the noise the pump makes on a near silent car and I concur. I may try to add an air muffler on the exhaust from the pump and see if that cures the noise. One other upgrade I want to do is change all of my fitting to pneumatic press on types. These hold the hoses without clamps and the hoses can be removed without tools.
And on a final note, I had more company and went to visit Larry in Columbus. A soon-to-be EV converter from Las Vegas was in town for his 20th class reunion and came by with his dad to check things out. Hayden wants to do a Camaro convertible and I think he will have a real nice conversion when he is done – good luck! Larry has it made – his dad’s shop has a lift in it and I am jealous. Larry is making great progress and should be sporting a big EV grin in the near future. Check out his blog when you have a chance - http://fiero-ev.blogspot.com/.
So until later…