Project BMP

Page 18


Let there be light.....

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As you know I had started the wiring in the last update.  I continued on during the weekday evenings running wires and enclosing them in wire loom.  My goal was to get all the wires run with the ends in the appropriate spots, then I could terminate the ends all at once. For reference all splicing is being soldered and covered with heat shrink tubing, all the ends are terminated with crimp on connectors.  For some added strength I am also applying a section of heat shrink tubing over the crimped connector and wire.

All the wires were routed along the upper frame rails to the passenger side of the engine compartment.  I utilized the stock power distribution block (which is also fused) to send power to another larger distribution block. From there the power is fed to a bank of relays.  The big lug in the picture is the main grounding point.  There is a small ground distribution block hooked to this on the inside of the firewall.

The relays were purchased from a while back along with the fuse blocks, wire shrink tubing and other supplies.  They are all rated for 40amp, 50amp max load.  I have a relay for each headlight (for redundant wiring), one for the headlight halos, one each for the front and rear rock lights, cooling fan and then two relays which feed a distribution block to supply 12 volts switched with the ignition switch.  If I had used the stock ignition switch I would have been able to use it to feed the switched distribution block but the compact unit I picked up was only rated for 15amps max, hence the need for relays.

The toggle switches for all the relays are mounted in this center console located just behind the last shifters.  These are the same switches from my previous rig, Contura rocker switches.  They are the same type that came with my ARB and their sealed design makes them very durable.  I picked these up from

I still have to wire the gauges, the ignition wire that goes to the starter and a switch to activate the rear brake lights.

One of the problems with an open buggy like this is everything has to be secured.  With no continuous floor pan there are a lot of little gaps for unsecured gear to fall thru. I came up with this little bracket to give me an easily accessible point to secure my camera bag to.

One of the things I wanted for the passenger was a set of hand grips to hang on to, these keep the passenger hands in the vehicle and in a safe spot in case of a roll.  I did some searching but didn't have any luck so the chassis was designed with a small grab handle near the rear view mirror mount. Last week my friend Jack pointed me to a place for reasonably priced billet aluminum sand rail accessories and one of the items they sold was this adjustable grab handle.   After receiving the unit it the mail I checked it out and was impressed with the construction, very nice for a $29 dollar part.  You can see this and a bunch of other handy aluminum parts at Dan's Performance Parts.

The grab handle was designed for 1.5" tubing so I had to make an adapter so I could clamp it to the 1" tubing I used for the dash.  The adapter I came up with is made from a 1", two piece shaft collar, some tie plates and a small piece of 1.5" DOM tubing for the grab handle to clamp to.  I did have to grind the grab handle clamp on the edges, it did not fit the 1.5" DOM.

With the wiring mostly done, I turned my attention to the fuel plumbing.  I needed to get this system plumbed in order to get to the next milestone: firing up the motor. One issue I wanted to head off early was fuel starvation.  From what I have seen firsthand, most buggies with small fuel cells experience some form of fuel starvation when the fuel level gets low and the fuel pickup sucks in air.  Most of the fuel cells us a rear sump so this fuel starvation occurs when low on fuel and going down something steep.  One solution I found while searching the web was these in-tank pickups from Auto Performance Engineering. These are located under the external fuel pump section, down near the bottom, P/N MP-10. These are little one way valves which will only allow fluid to pass.  You simply daisy chain as many as you feel are needed inside your tank and then hook that to the tanks bulkhead fitting.  I chose to go with 3 of these, one in each corner up near the front of the tank and one will go in the sump next to the existing bulkhead fittings.  Holley makes a similar product (actually looks identical) but it costs a lot more than these ($75 ea. vs. $15 ea.).

You must be sure to use fuel line rated for submersion or else the fuel lines will eventually break down and clog you fuel filter.  Don't believe what the parts counter guys says, the only fuel line I could find that was rated for submersion is made by Gates #27093.  This part number gets you a 12" section in a back at the cost of roughly $22 each.  This part is available from Napa or Checker (I ordered online).

The electric fan I purchased came with a small control box that needed a home.  I fabricated a small plate that attached via two existing tapped holes on the intake manifold.

Since I tilted the radiator back I was forced to make a custom upper radiator hose to get the required bend.  Two stock Samurai upper radiator hoses and a small hose splice form a radiator hose repair kit formed the upper hose.  For the lower hose I was able to re-use the stock lower hose but I did have to modify the short section of hard tubing it connected to, I fabricated a small mount to keep it from hitting the alternator or frame.

The radiator overflow bottle found a home next to the radiator on the drivers side.  I had to drill two 1" holes thru the radiator mounting flange to allow me to clamp the bottle to the same support tube the radiator mounts to.

For rock lights I went with some of the $8.99 Harbor Freight specials.  Once is positioned just below the fuel cell pointing down, then I have two more located up front, one o each side of the transmission pointed outward and down.

Finally it was time to test out the wiring up to this point.

Rock lights activated.  It looked like everything was working like I wanted it to.  The next step is to finish plumbing the fuel system so I can try starting the motor, then it's on to the brake lines.

I get a lot of people asking me what I use for headlights, I guess I never posted info on those in the last buildup.  I used to use a set of Hella 500's, they came with 55watt bulbs and I replaced those with 100 watt bulbs.  These worked well but the beam was more of a spot so when I encountered tight turns at night they didn't provide enough illumination.  The lights shown above are made by Eurolite, #TF2080.  They have a much better beam pattern, very broad yet it still illuminates stuff far away.  Not sure what the wattage is but they seem brighter than the Hella's with the 100 watt bulb upgrade.  The biggest thing I noticed was I no longer had to make sure they were aimed properly, as long as they face forward they threw off plenty of light.  The also have an accent ring around the outside, much like the halos that first appeared on the BMW 5 series.  The halos are really just two small 5 watt marker lights in the housing that shine thru a plastic diffuser.  The lights came with blue halo lights but I found red, orange and clear ones at the local auto parts store.  The ones shown in the pictures above are red.

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