This is the part of the project where a lot of inter-related things need to come
together so there is a lot of fabrication mixed in with time just sitting there
and trying to visualize the next step. Obviously everything is going in
with tack welds just in case I miss something.
Early in the week I managed to get the rear seat setting in the chassis. I
placed some blocks on the upper links to set a clearance between the seat and
upper links (I guessed 6" of clearance). The extra clearance is important,
I was told the bench seats can flex quite a bit when the suspension bottoms out
and you don't want the passengers making contact something solid.
Once that was done I set the seat in the back and angled it back. The
extra angle is a way to add in some extra room for the passengers legs. Once I
was happy with the seat position I took some measurements so I could start on
the roof bars.
I managed to get the roof hoop bent up on Friday night and in place before
calling it a day. Getting the seat in/out of the chassis is going to drive
the bracing of the rear tubing, more on that later.
On Saturday my Dad and I concentrated on the roof bracing over the new passenger
compartment. The challenge was to integrate the old bracing into the new tube
work. It took a while but we managed to tie the front roof cross braces
seamlessly into the new rear cross braces (the picture above is taken from the
roof looking down).
Once the roof cross bracing was tacked in position I started cutting off the old
cross bracing behind the front seats. I was avoiding cutting everything
off in one shot to keep the cage from shifting as the braces were cut off. With
the bars behind the drivers seat out of the way I added a diagonal brace from
the roof to the middle of the B pillar. Once I remove the remaining
bracing I will add another brace running from the middle of the B pillar to the
We also started bracing the lower hoop to the main chassis.
The upper link mounts at the chassis end were also finalized. I wanted the
bolt to be inserted from the inside so the load would be supported on the
non-threaded portion of the bolt, we had to adjust the angle of the frame sleeve
to allow this. Next my Dad cut some gussets from some scrap tubing to
allow us to use some pre-fabbed tabs for the other side of the link mount.
The humidity really made Saturday seem much hotter than it was. Since we
were both kind of wiped out from the previous day my Dad and I decided to do
something that would allow us to keep the garage sealed up: installing the
electric water pump I had ordered for the engine.
It took 4 trips to the parts store to get the right length belt. I was assuming I had a stock
length belt in the system so ordered a shorter belt with the water pump kit.
It turns out I had a shorter than stock belt so the shortened belt was still 5"
too long. On trip # 2 to the auto parts store I had read the belt length code
wrong and ended up with a belt less than an inch shorter than the one on hand.
The 3rd try to the same store netted a belt that was a hair too short (I needed
81-82", they had a 79 or 80.5" belt). I called around and found an 82.5" belt at
a local Checker and after 4 tries we ended up with a belt that fit and re-installed the
radiator and engine cage.
Later in the afternoon I put some finishing touches on the dimple die station.
Here's a comparison between the new bench seat and the old child seat I had in
the back of the buggy. Surprisingly the height and depth of the new bench
is very close to the preemie seat but it is about 3 times wider.