Been making slow but
steady progress over the past two weeks with my main goal being of
positioning all of the controls. I picked the steering wheel as a
starting point and clamped/tack welded some metal to the dash bar
and played around with steering wheel positions till I found one I
liked. You could make this adjustable but I never felt the
need to move the wheel in the 6 years I drove my last buggy so I
went the fixed route.
One difference from
the previous buggy was to fabricate a steering column as opposed to
using a rod end to position the steering shaft. I ended up
utilizing a piece of tubing with a 1" ID along with some delrin
bushings for the column. A pair of clamp on shaft collars on
either side of the column will orient the steering shaft front to
rear. This type of setup should weather the elements better than the
rod end which required frequent oiling to keep it from squeaking.
The actual steering shaft will look like
the above diagram. After some thought I am going to wait till
the front shocks are positioned before determining the final
mounting position for the steering valve.
The view from the drivers seat with the
lower dash bar and steering wheel in place. I chose not to
have the lower dash bar go frame rail to frame rail to allow for
more entry/exit room on the passenger side.
My original thought was to mount the
transmission shifter in the dash but it just didn't fit in that
location so I ended up mounting it where it wanted to go due to the
shifter cable and my reach from the drivers seat. I
constructed this shifter tower from some .06 thick steel which will
eventually bolt to the center floor. When designing this I
tried to make it so the shifter cable could be changed without major
disassembly (I have melted a few in the past).
Next I fabricated some brackets to mount
the brake master cylinder.
brackets were mounted flush to the tubes so I could wall off the
area with a piece of sheet metal to create a place to mount some of
the electrical circuits and PCM. Pulling the side hood panel
will provide full access for service and there is room to do the
same sort of thing on the other side of the chassis.
cutting brake was mounted to a plate next to the drivers seat.
While I had the plasma cutter out making the panel above the master
cylinder I also cut two panels that would form the upper/outer dash.
I went with a two piece design so I could pull just the drivers side
for wire access if required.
this point I decided to go ahead and continue on with the dash and
firewall sheet metal. The advantages of getting this done at
this stage of the build are ease of accessibility and putting in the
sheet metal now will help define the boundaries for packaging the
remaining engine bay components. I spent most of an evening
making cardboard templates of the various closeout panels with the
goal of sealing off the engine bay from the passenger compartment.
I don't quite have the closing off of the air intake tube figured
out yet, hoping it'll come to me as I transform the cardboard panels
first piece I started in on was the lower dash panel. I made a few
small adjustments to fill in some gaps present in the cardboard
panel when I cut the steel piece.
lower dash panel bolts to the electronics tray over the brake pedals
on it's leading edge. The rear edges attaches to the lower
dash bar via some drilled and tapped angle brackets. I used a 5"
hole spacing along the lower dash bar up until the curve where I
closed up the spacing so the panel would conform to the curve
better. A larger bracket ties the end of the panel into one of the
reference I am using 10-32 pan head screws (McMaster Carr
#90272A829) with sealing washers (McMaster Carr #90130A011) for all
my panel hardware. I have found the rubber on the sealing
washer works as a lock washer to keep the hardware tight but also
absorbs vibration better than just metal washers.
lower dash panel took about 4 hours to get trimmed and mounted .
After that was done wrapped up some other small stuff like the fixed
plate that sets along the outer chassis tube. With my water line
routing finalized I could now notch it for the hose and tack the
panel into place.
next morning I started in on the firewall. After pulling the
passenger seat (and welding up the seat mounts) I drilled and tapped
mounting holes for the center floor closeout and shift tower. Next
the center firewall closeout was cut and bent. The center
piece ended up with two 1" flanges top and bottom; the bottom flange
bolting to the center floor closeout. The drivers side firewall
closeout was next and utilizes a flange to attach to the center
firewall closeout. You may notice I am using steel for most of
these panels mainly so I could weld stuff to them as required.
A secondary reason for using steel for the firewall is to contain
any shrapnel if the flex plate or transmission decide to self
passenger side firewall closeout was next and the most complex of
the three panels due to the angled and curved jog around the
headers. Again I used a flange to attach it to the center
closeout and will add some more tabs along the front of the
After about 12 hours of work I had the firewall roughed in.