Project Hellraiser 3

Page 15



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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.

The 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.

The 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.

At 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 to metal.

The 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.

The 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 dash braces.

For 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.

The 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.

The 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 destruct.

The 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 firewall.   

After about 12 hours of work I had the firewall roughed in. 

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