Friday, March 25, 2011

Texas Annual Cobra Club Meeting - San Marcos

Track day at Harris Hill, Joe at the wheel. Cruising the hill country tomorrow.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Final Fitting, Drilling and Mounting Cockpit Panels – 16 Hours

Build sequence and construction of the car is very much personal choice, hence no two cars are ever the same. This theory very much applies to the fitting and mounting of the cockpit panels. You may recall from an earlier post I was in a dilemma over panel overlap.

Ultimately this became self-evident when the decision was made to make the transmission cover removable as this started to determine other panel overlap. Couple this with the fact that the complete cockpit area will first be covered with thermal and sound deadening material before being carpeted means that any panel seams will be covered. Areas which are visible include the outer splash panel areas in the wheel wells, thus I decided that these should have the cleaner look by having all mounting tabs overlapping in the cockpit.

It needs stressing again that care must be taken to center the rear cockpit wall, I am less than ¼” off center but the difference was enough that adjustments had to be made to every filler panel.







The order of the photos show, completed cockpit, inner splash panel (transmission drive shaft filler), outer splash panels (cockpit), outer splash panels (wheel well).

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Cockpit Aluminum Panels – 8 Hours

This being the first posting of 2011, I would like to first take the opportunity to wish everyone following this blog a happy and prosperous new year.

Installation and fitting of the cockpit panels has been the most challenging so far, so it’s refreshing to think these are the last panels which require fitting prior to the body being fitted.

The splash panels (lower outer, upper outer and transmission filler) have never been fitted or offered up to the frame, unlike the two large cockpit floors and rear firewall which were positioned when the kit exits the factory. The splash panels are a little like jigsaw pieces, however after offering up each panel there is a natural order to how these should be installed.

Interestingly mk3build.com and the Factory Five manual conflict with regard to panel overlap and at this time please don’t take the pictures as an accurate installation as some panels are only shown as a rough orientation to their final position. Later posts will define what I find to be the best orientation.

The initial installation procedure would be to start with both cockpit floors, followed by the panels which cover the X bracing under each door, followed by the rear firewall. The rear firewall may require centering as the temporary positioning at the factory does not necessarily mean this panel is centered.

It will probably take another 10 to 12 hours to finish the final fitting of all the cockpit panels and transmission tunnel cover which will be installed as a removable cover to facilitate maintenance and access to the rear wiring harness.

Tip of the day: Thinking ahead I intend to use bezels were the seatbelt feeds through the firewall, because of this rivet holes were excluded from these areas as the bezels would not fit flush to the firewall due to interference with the rivet heads (see picture).

 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Cockpit Sheet Metal and Filler Patches – 3 Hours

With the engine running and all fuel and break lines leak free it was back to fitting and installing the cockpit aluminum panels.





The front DS foot box panel was fitted around the brake lines (see picture). This will be painted with POR15 to match the black powder coating.




Next the DS cockpit floor was fitted and trimmed, as was the under door panel. There is a small patch (part number FFR12274) which all need installing to the DS floor, this patch cover an alternative routing of the transmission harness.

For this build the transmission harness will run inside of the transmission tunnel terminating at the access point in the DS foot box.

30 Minute Engine Run

Ran the engine up for 30 minutes, during this time another small fuel leak was found. The fuel regulator was also adjusted to 43psi. After fixing the fuel leaks the regulator pressure was hovering around 60psi and the FAST system suggest 43psi which is good for up to 550HP.

During the 30 minute session the engine was exercised through a number of RPM ranges as the FAST system continued its adaptive learning. Temperatures and oil pressures remained stable and at this time no coolant leaks have been identified.

The exhaust tone is just awesome.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Day 365 of Build – First Engine Start

video

It has taken exactly 1 year to get to this point in the build. Step one was to check for fuel leaks, at 20psi of fuel pressure a small leak appeared on the outlet hose of the fuel filter, this was easily fixed with a hose clamp.



Step 2 was to re-check everything, including firing order, engine oil level, all EFI connections, and other engine wiring.

Step 3 remove radiator cap so that the coolant system could be “burped”

Step 4 remember the fire extinguisher!

At this point the excitement is intense, and as you can see from the video the engine actually started on the first attempt and initial gauges checks all looked good.

Once all checks we made for leaks and the coolant system topped up, the engine was slowly brought up to operating temperature. At 140 degrees the FAST adaptive learning kick in, at this point the engine quickly started to settle at 850 RPM with smooth acceleration.

At 190 degrees the thermostat opened, this quickly leveled the engine temperature at 184 degrees for the rest of the initial testing. Note: the water temperature gauge supplied is in degrees Celsius, 184F is approximately 82C.

Oil pressure at 850 RPM was a constant 55psi dropping to 40psi at higher RPM’s, the voltage remained at a steady 14 volts, fuel pressure is set at 43psi.

The engine was run through a heat cycle of approximately 30 minutes. This will be repeated over the next few days to check for leaks created from heat cycles and to continue the EFI adaptive learning process.

Overall a smooth and successful first start, and a great early Christmas present.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Vapor Canister & Odd’s and End’s – 4 hours

The charcoal vapor canister was mounted on the driver’s side fuel tank support post, although many people will make a homemade version, the one used is an aftermarket ford replacement. A small bracket was fabricated and riveted to the ¾” box down post to support the base of the canister (the aftermarket canister has a molded slot at the base which the bracket clips into).

Vapor lines were run from the gas tank breather and rear axle breather into the canister. The purpose of the canister is to filter gasoline and oil odors as the vapor passes through the charcoal filter.

In addition the wiring was completed to the in-tank fuel pump and tested. Next step will be to add a couple of gallons of gas and check for leaks within the fuel system.

Lastly today the clutch cable supplied from Factory Five was replaced with an original Ford OEM cable, if you recall in an earlier block it was suggested that an original cable needed less leg pressure to operate. I am pleased to confirm that this is the case, for some reason there is no binding or resistance with an original cable.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Flexible Fuel Hose – 4 Hours

Installed 6AN flexible fuel hose from the hard lines, which terminate at the passenger side foot box, to the FAST EFI fuel rail, returning via the regulator, unfortunately Factory Five Racing assume a low pressure mechanical fuel pump will be used. This means that fittings are required to transition from the 5/16” and ¼” hard line to 6AN fittings.

Although there are a variety of options, the connectors used were purchased from Mike Forte; these are high quality stainless steel fittings. In addition a 4AN female to 6AN male expander is also required as the ¼” hard line fitting terminates with a male 4AN connection.

Normally I am not one for gadgets, over the years I have happily ripped up my hands forcing braided hose into a AN fitting, but no more. I came across this great gadget from Koul Tool, the video explains all. After making three complete hoses today I have to say it is as easy to use as the video suggests.

Tip of the day: A great way to cut braided hose is to mount 2 hacksaw blades, one with teeth forward the other with teeth backwards, this cuts in both directions and significantly reduces fraying of the braid.

video

Sunday, December 5, 2010

FAST EFI Computer – 2 Hours

The FAST EFI computer was mounted in the space between the firewall and the dashboard. Although the computer is weatherproof and can be mounted in the engine bay, it was felt that the additional protection of being mounted behind the dashboard would eliminate potential future issues.

Located on the passenger side facilitates easy cable runs to the EFI throttle body sensors via the passenger side cable opening and integration into the existing wiring harness. One benefit of the FAST system is that the system includes a simple handheld programming unit / terminal, this is powered by a separate lead via a cigarette lighter socket. The dash filler panel included a cutout to mount a power outlet and this was simply wired into the existing harness.

It was pleasing to see the EFI computer come to life with no errors showing on the remote terminal. All that remains before first engine start is to hook up the fuel lines.

Exhaust Hanger & Wiper Motor – 3 Hours

After a successful installation of the drives side exhaust it was found that the passenger side flared out by approximately 1” from the chassis, as the driver’s side was parallel this could not be adjusted by off-setting the engine.

Breeze sell exhaust pipe / header wedges which go between the header and exhaust flange, installing two of the ½” wedges (1/8” thick insert, tapers to 1/16”, swings pipe tip in or out ½”) resulted in the passenger side exhaust pipe being parallel to the chassis.

With both exhausts parallel to the chassis and ground the exhaust hangers were mounted, these provide additional support to the exhaust pipe, and reduce potential vibration stress fractures at the header.

Before installing the EFI computer I decided to mount the wiper motor so that the bolts for the mounting bracket would not interfere with the mounting position of the computer. A simple oversize cushion clamp holds the wiper motor in place. Located on the outside of the passenger firewall with the cable nose facing towards the driver’s side, and angled to follow the curve of the firewall (see picture).