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
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