Project Hellraiser

Page 6


Engine Bay Fabrication

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One big area of concern was getting a radiator big enough to keep the new engine cool yet still fitting in the front end without major modifications.  The design constraints that would drive the radiator selection were the lack of room side to side and the dimension from the hood to the frame rails.  Both dimensions proved too small to utilize a stock radiator.  I started looking into custom radiators and after some research I determined I really should get a dual pass radiator since the buggy would have no sheet metal to channel air thru the radiator. I ended up going with a custom radiator from Ron Davis Racing who is based a few miles from my house.  I chose a 26" wide by 19" tall dual pass unit with Ford style outlets (both outlets are located on the drivers side). I also had Ron Davis provide a fan and shroud.  Going this route wasn't cheap but it is within a hundred dollars of buying a single pass aluminum radiator from Summit racing, a good pair of cooling fans and a shroud.

To mount the radiator I made some brackets that mount to the frame rails.  These brackets will be lined with a soft gasket material and are designed to cradle the radiator.  I will then fabricate a hold down plate that will press the radiator down from the top.  Before I can do this I needed to work on the upper engine cage and design it so it was removable for any major engine work. this goal would require some sort of tube connectors or flanges and I wanted any that were visible to be unobtrusive looking.

This past week I had been heading in to work an hour early each morning to get time in on the lathe.  I fabricated these tube connectors from a solid piece of 1.50" diameter 1018 steel.  I have about 7 hours of work into four sets so it was worth it to me to make these as opposed to spending the money for purchased units.  These parts will be used on the upper part of the engine cage.

Next I bent the upper engine cage bars, they are 1.50 x .095 wall tubing and run from the upper dash bar to the front of the chassis.

Once I was happy with the fit I pulled the bars off and cut out two sections on each to allow me to install the tube connectors I made. 

It took a while to get the bars looking somewhat symmetrical as my chassis isn't perfectly symmetrical.  These next three pictures show two of the braces that will support the front of the engine cage.  I intend to use 1.50" exhaust flanged on all the braces that are below the hood line

Here is another custom part that takes care of another issue relating to this motors front wheel drive origins.  The first picture shows the stock thermostat housing next to the custom unit I built. The stock housing aims the radiator hose right into the cab, the new unit makes a sharp turn and gives the radiator hose a straight shot to the radiator outlet.  To construct this new housing I plasma cut the base after tracing it onto a piece of 3/8" thick steel plate.  Next I used a 1.50" diameter header bend to get the correct bends.  Lastly I took the tacked parts over to my friend Dennis's shop where he tig welded all the seams and rolled a bead onto the end of the tube to help retain the hose.

I spent Sunday trying to get the front coilovers mounted.  The main problem was getting them to look symmetrical since the chassis wasn't. On the passenger side I needed to have a small bend in the shock mounting bar to clear the radiator.


On the drivers side I have more room for some reason and the shock mounting bar was a straight piece of tubing.  You can also see another brace I added for the engine cage, I used a 1.5" flange to keep it removable.

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