So, this happened.
[ame=""]Locutus Mk2 test drive - YouTube[/ame]
Soooooooo happy. Lots of stuff to still work out, but this is what I've been working toward for 4 months. OK, actually more like 18 months. OK actually more like 9 years.
It sounded like a tractor pull was happening in the hood, and my neighbors gave me dirty looks, because this is my exhaust.
Before I drove it, I spent a few minutes hanging the bumper and a side skirt, just so I could see what it looked like. OMG I'm in love. Still needs tonneau and the cage needs repainted... and the ride height is all wrong... but it's still beautiful.
But when I drove it around the hood, it looked like THIS....
No seat belts, no airbags, no roll bar padding, seats not bolted to the floor, loose wiring dangling all over the cabin... but I DID NOT CARE.
Spent most of the afternoon remediating various things that drug, made noise, etc. Needed to grind the new lower ball joints (touched the DT big rotors), needed front wheel spacers (tire was touching height adjustment lock ring on the BC coils), needed to grind down some corroded spots on the rotors (dragging brakes). Now the car rolls easily and silently, as it should!
Also made an attempt to adjust ride height. My first experience adjusting coilovers, I didn't quite understand that 1" of coilover adjustment does NOT equal 1" of ride hight adjustment. But now understand that, and (duh) it's obvious why.
Anyway, need to work on that some more tomorrow, as I overshot raising the front and lowering the rear, now it's slammed in back and too tall in the front. Quick fix tomorrow, now that I know what I'm doing. Also did several complete cooling system flushes as that was NASTY from the motor sitting on a dolly for several months. Now nice and clean, and full of nice clean new coolant.
Every time I start the car, it sounds healthier. Again, a motor sitting still on a pallet for months isn't a great thing. But I think I've about gotten it rejuvenated.
Time for beer.
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OK, Christmas break is over...
Reconstituted the front end, at least structurally. All back together in one piece. Still have some paint repair to do, but that's low on the priority list right now. Looks fine for a 10 year old car... you can see some scuffs and such, in this pic of my new-to-me gently used RMW splitter.
This splitter is beastly. It's one massive solid panel. I could snowboard on it. It may be the strongest thing I've ever held...
A few scuffs on the bottom because... it's a splitter. This will go on for track days only. Definitely not made for mountain twisties. But, with the underbody panels and the GP skirts, I'm hoping this will give me a little more stability at speed... I need all the help I can get, at triple-digit speed.
Built some custom jack points, to replace the factory points, so I can roll right on and off the lift with the GP skirts, without fooling with the jack point extension blocks, hockey pucks, etc.
Yes, I cut a hockey puck in half.
Sure, I could have some custom jack points machined. Maybe I will at some point. But these will work fine, and don't weight much, and were easy. Three hockey pucks (75mm) rear, 2.5 hockey pucks (62mm) front. Should protrude just a few mm below the skirts. I don't use the little trap doors anyway, so the skirts should be more aero than usual, with the holes mostly plugged by these. I'll pull off the factory points and install them today. Need to test with the factory jack for roadside repairs, I may need to get a small flat-top scissor jack to use instead, since the factory jack can't engage these like the factory points.
Installed my Greene Performance camber/caster plates, once I figured out that the BC coilovers had a top nut with integrated bushing that's close enough to fit.
I started with them adjusted like this. Max caster, and about half max negative camber. I'll tweak them a bit as needed. If I'm reading the gauge right. looks like I have about 7 degrees of caster with these. Haven't driven the car at speed yet to evaluate, but it definitely has more "on center" feel than before. I can tell that just driving around the neighborhood.
Annnnnnnddddddd.... Yesterday was a huge day.
After a couple of failed attempts to get the car titled... I got'er done.
A truly amazing day. Went to the main NC DMV office in Raleigh early. Successfully titled the car in the name of the guy who bought it at insurance auction (via power of attorney), then transferred that title to me (via power of attorney), then titled it in my name. Then called DMV theft inspection unit, and (incredibly) they had an appointment available at 2PM. Went home and buttoned things up to be ready for the inspector. Inspector arrived at 2, was done by 2:30. I took inspection report to the local DMV office 10 minutes from my house, got a 10 day permit for the car. Back home at 3:00, drove the car to the local safety/emissions inspection shop. They were slow today, done about 4:00, passed first try. Drove the car back across town to the DMV office with the safety/emissions inspection report and registered the car, got a plate, and ordered personalized plate.
Emailed my insurance agent and added the car to my policy. DONE. Street legal!
Taxes and fees were almost exactly the same amount I paid for the car (or at least, the shell). YOLO.
Now time to schedule all the other stuff I need to have done... exhaust repair, windshield replacement, paint repairs, top and tonneau fabrication, etc. Which is fun to schedule, when the car has no roof and we're in a El Nino rainy pattern... And I need several dry-ish days to pull out the interior, strip and repaint the cage, give it a few days to cure, and re-install interior. And the rest of the TVS stuff should arrive in a couple of weeks... and I have a weekend at VIR in late February... still lots of work to get it ready.
Shell is ready to take to the painter, scheduled to drop it off this Friday!
Thanks to N2MINI for setting me up with more GPR decals.
Some more parts arrived...
Passenger-side Euro parcel shelf. Since I probably can't put the glovebox back in with the roll cage knee bar in the way.
Longacre 17" convex roll cage mount mirror
Also got roll cage mount helmet and steering wheel hooks, and some brackets for the rear straps for the bikini top.
Greene Performance coilessovers and Whiteline end links
Springs are shipping separately
I have a couple of weeks left to work on other cars, eat, sleep, work, etc. Because when this thing gets back from paint, GAME ON.
Long day today, probably worked 8 hours. Some little things take A LOT of time.
Pulled the bumper inserts, cleaned them up, filled the holes with Bondo. Sanded it down, primed and repainted. Took a couple of tries to get it "good enough". But it's much, much better than the roughly ground holes in the trim I had this morning.
Reinstalled bumper, routed harness behind and plugged in PDC sensors, rear fog and corner markers. Hopefully the bumper is on there for good now.
Pulled the dash pad and frame back out, so I could reinstall the HVAC heater ducting on the front of the unit. Then put the dash frame and pad back in.
Fitted the driver side parcel shelf. Took a lot of measuring, drilling and cutting. But fit fine the first try.
The extra holes are left over from other projects. They, and the gaps in the back, will be covered when I'm done.
Test fit the kill switch some more. Confirmed that it will fit there, but only in one orientation, and required some trimming of the switch. With the front edge trimmed (to butt against the hard dash frame) and with the bosses trimmed off (so it will bolt flat against the bottom of the plastic dash frame) it's just tall enough to flush mount in the dash pad.
Installed the right hood latch, and hung the radiator frame on the car to get it out of the way.
Spent a while fiddling with the rear convertible hoop some more. Still needs a bit more fine tuning.
Wet sanded and polished the Chili Red mirror caps, found a pair a good mirrors in my pile, cleaned them up, installed the caps, and installed the mirrors on the car.
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Another great day. Spent most of the day getting things buttoned up and really drivable.
First task of the day was to get back-up lights working, as I need them for state safety inspection (that's past due). Spent a couple of hours this morning researching wiring diagrams, figuring out what to look for and what to do about what I might find. I dug into both the back-up lights, and the clutch switch, in case the car didn't start this morning... I'd need to address that as a long-term fix.
As it turned out... the clutch switch appears to be a non-issue. The car started every time I tried today. I really have NO IDEA why it didn't start at first yesterday, or what voodoo we did to "fix" it. But it appears fixed. But I have a plan to add that capability to the roadster in the future, if needed.
For the back-up lights, I determined that the main body harness connector DOES have the signal wire to the lights (pin 1). I hit it with 12v and the lights came on. And, with the main engine harness connector plugged in, this had continuity to the transmission reverse switch. I figured the switch must be bad. I pulled it and tested it.. and it was fine. Hmmm. I traced the power wire from the switch back up the engine harness to the connector, pin 2. But pin 2 of the body harness side of the connector was EMPTY. That's right, for some reason, they half-wired this circuit on the automatic transmission body harness.
I confirmed that the same wires terminated at the auto transmission gear selector switch (on the transmission). So I made a 12" jumper wire with plugs on the end, put wire taps on the power wire on the engine side of the main connector, and on the transmission harness. Plugged it up and VOILA. Everything works as it should, using the factory fuse and wiring for the back-up lights. All good.
Then spent an hour or so fiddling with coding on several modules, to get the windows and convertible top behaving the way I wanted, getting the remote opening and closing things as it should, trying to tell the car how many airbags it really has, etc. Turns out it's the double whammy to attempt this on a convertible... because there's lots of oddities that come with the automatic, and a whole other set of oddities when it's a cabrio. Eventually got most things sorted, though (at this time) the car still thinks it has side and head airbags... I'l fiddle with that more later. Put a piece of tape on the inside of the airbag light on the speedo face... so it really doesn't matter.
Then I spent a few hours finishing up the body work - mounting A-panels, wheel well trim, bumper parts, rewiring my Hella horns, fighting with a mis-aligned bonnet that wouldn't (and still won't) latch all the way. Can't find one of the GP side scuttles, it's in the garage somewhere. It will turn up. I have another pair in a box somewhere.
Finally got things torqued down, aired up, and ready to roll. Sunny and 55 degrees.
First time I've put gas in the car in almost 8 months. Loved tooling around town in the FrankenGP monster.
Took it on my favorite 50 mile twisty country route near home. FLOGGED IT.
OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG :biggrin5: :biggrin5: :biggrin5: :biggrin5: :biggrin5: :biggrin5:
The car is A BEAST now. Night and day difference. It was quick before. It's almost terrifying now. Between the new GP-based RMW tune, the extra 2 pounds of boost (found and fixed a long-term leak), the high-revving redline, the elimination of the torque converter and the slipping auto tranny clutches, the factory LSD, and approximately 200 pounds (maybe more) I've taken out of the car and myself (so far), the car MOVES. And sounds like a force of nature. And I love the GP cockpit.
I honestly wouldn't be happier, if I had woken up to a Ferrari in the driveway. I love this car. And it's going to get even better.
It's only been three weeks since I decided to punt on the auto, and do the swap. 2.5 weeks since I bought the GP. 2 weeks since the GP arrived. Damn. Sometimes, things happen FAST.
Replacement tow hook shafts ordered.
Also ordered a very good looking used left Xenon headlight.
It occurred to me today, I should have my cage welded in before the repaint. Since the cage work is as likely to mar the paint as anything. Plus then I could get the cage painted with the body, if I want.
Called my cage fab guy, told him his last half-cage saved my bacon, and lined him up to put a 6 point in the new build. When I get the rolling shell, I'll strip it, then drag it to my fab guy's shop. Should be minimal to no lead time, so that's good. If I schedule it right, I can drag it straight from the cage guy, to the paint guy. Then home to get started on my part of the build.
Also, I put another big check in the mail to RMW today, for the TVS kit and other related stuff. 2015 is the Year of Full Retard.
Locutus Mk2 is gonna be EPIC.
Got up this morning, and buttoned up the engine bay. Header heat shield, strut bar, IC air diverter plate.
Then, the rain stopped. 4 months and 175 working hours into this project... this happened...
[ame=""]Locutus Mk2 for realz - YouTube[/ame]
Bliss. Still have plenty of work to finish things up, and the TVS stuff will be here soon... but I'm loving actually DRIVING again. Drove 50 miles today. Between two drives, I learned to align the car and installed the side skirts.
Zero toe front, a little toe in rear, reasonable camber, all good. Learned a lot of alignment tricks. I doubt I'll pay anyone to align a Mini again.
So it's still new-to-me... and I'm getting to know it, and babying it a bit (since the newly refreshed clutch started slipping at high revs; I need to let it break in before I destroy it). But, some initial thoughts:
It's a very raw, visceral car. The OSG diff does all that chattering LSD stuff. The OSG STR clutch rattles when it's in. At idle, the car sounds like it's a giant cat purring, ready to slay and eat a wildebeest. Then it pulls like a freight train and sounds like a race car. There's all manner of little squeaks and stuff from the interior, with the tight fitting dash, door bars, etc. The suspension is stupid firm, but not at all harsh. It steers like a laser scalpel. It requires very little input to do anything... just a thought, really. It demands respect. While it has good manners, you're constantly aware that if you disrespect it, do something stupid, or give it too much input, it would go ballistic in the blink of an eye.
IMO, it's the best MINI I've ever driven. It should be, given what's in it... but it's still a little surprising, because I've driven some very nice cars. And this thing was just three totaled Minis, a few months ago, plus a mountain of new parts.
Tomorrow will be cold. And I'll be driving.
I'm really, really, really happy.
Great first weekend at the track for Locutus
This weekend was mostly about me getting my confidence back (after the tire wall incident on the same track, last time out), and getting acclimated to the car with all the big changes (manual transmission! LSD brakes tires).
Other than breaking my flex joint (again), the car performed spectacularly. Took me a day or so to get into the groove, then made a lot of progress on the second day. Not sure why the flex joint broke... I have very little engine movement with the excellent VT mounts. But it gives me an excuse to upgrade to the RMW race header, when I install the stroker. Luckily, it really didn't impact the drivability of the car on track. Just makes it sound like a race car, and makes the tunnel hot.
I need a LOT of work on my shifting (heel/toe rev matching, downshifts while braking hard). Biggest weakness right now. But that's not the car's fault. I was hoping the work I did on that in them mountains last month would be sufficient prep. It wasn't.
I really love what the car can do on sticky tires. The 15" NT01/6UL setup is da bomb. I ordered a "spare" set of NT01's so I'll have some on hand whenever I need them. I should be able to get 6-8 more days out of the current set, from the looks of it.
Here's my last (and best) lap of the weekend. Working on chasing down a new Stingray.
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=duIrY_qlTvs"]Locutus CMP 6/7/2015 THSCC - YouTube[/ame]
I DO need more LSD, and I DO need more brake cooling. I was pushing the limits of the factory LSD with current power levels. Forget about it with the stroker. Was going to put a Cusco LSD in, but availability issues pushed me over the edge to order the OS Giken from Jan. Brakes did well until the last session where I was building speed and braking later, overheated them the last couple of laps, even with the BBK. Ordered brake duct brackets from Jan and will modify to fit my setup. XP10/XP8 combo performed well, I need to get smoother with my pedal action.
This was my first Tar Heel Sports Car Club event (third try was the charm). I was VERY impressed by their level of organization, quality of classroom and in-car instruction, and friendliness of the people. A very diverse and inclusive group, which made for big fun all weekend. Vintage cars, Lemons cars, M3s, Corvettes, Mustangs, Porsches, Race cars, street cars... there was some of everything. I was the ONLY Mini, out of probably 70 cars. Lots of curious folks stopped by to talk. That was fun. This club does lots of autocross and rallycross events in central and eastern NC, as well as two weekends at VIR and one weekend at CMP each year. I need to make it out to an autocross soon. Will be at the VIR full course event in September, with MOAR POWER and MOAR BRAKING.
Any track event you can drive home from, is a good one, in my book.
Spent a couple of hours finishing up the dash.
Used the sacrificial dash pad to figure out how to minimize material removal this time. Measure 42 times, and cut once (hopefully)... Really only needed a single 1.75" hole bored in each side, at a very precise spot. I intentionally made it a bit on the tight side, easier to remove material if needed, than add it back.
The trick is, getting the fatter parts forward of the cage past the cage A-pillars. I don't know how others have done this, but I tested doing "origami" on the sacrificial pad, and it works. So I did that again.
First, remove the extra duct layer on the bottom of the dash pad. I used a Dremel tool with cutoff wheel.
Then, VERY CAREFULLY score the plastic dash pad layer, about 3/4 of the way through the plastic. DO THIS VERY CAREFULLY because it's easy to plunge too deep... then you've penetrated the vinyl dash cover on the other side, and ruined the pad. I was careful and didn't mess up on either pad. Start at the deepest part of the hole, and angle toward the middle of the pad as you go to the front edge. You want a fairly straight cut.
May take a bit of trial and error to get deep enough. Once you do, you can fold the new "wing" you've made upward (as the pad faces up). It may snap the remaining plastic, but the vinyl will remain intact.
I also needed to remove more of the black duct plastic behind the side window defogger vent, and open up the vent hole for my kill switch.
Then, time to install. It was VERY tight this time, very hard to get everything lined up, get the centering pin in place, and getting the pad to slide/snap down into position... but finally did. I could have drilled the holes a few mm inward and it would have been a little easier. But now that it's in, it's good that it's tight.
Once in place, fold the wings back down and install the modified A-pillar trim. Done. The wrinkles in the dash pad should flatten out once the pad has warmed up in the sun a few times.
Decided to go ahead and make the dash a little prettier... It's starting to look like something! Motivates me to keep working.
A bunch of parts:
- Blimey/Locutus Mk1's old rear subframe (with rust converted and painted), H-sport control arms, Gen2 JCW rear brakes/cables, sensors, and a bit of hardware
- GP0769's trailing arms, blasted and painted
- New wheel bearings, front suspension pivots, and lots of hardware, from eMINIparts
- A new pair of H-sport control arms and headlight leveler sensor attachment from Detroit Tuned
- New custom-valved BC coilovers with adjusters and Swift springs, GP shock adapter bushings, and Whiteline end links, from Greene Performance
- New 25mm Hotchkis comp sway bar from somewhere
First refreshed my old H-sport adjustable control arms, with new bushings. the old bushings were showing some age, after about 100k miles. Boy, a press comes in handy for stuff that calls for it.
Then took a lot of pictures of the existing rear suspension, to ensure I could remember where everything went after I took it apart.
While looking at it, I concluded that it would be easiest to just drop it intact. I bought the high-lift transmission jack for just this kind of thing, after all. Determined that it's only 5 bolts for the subframe, 4 bolts for the shocks, and 6 bolts for the front pivots... then it's all free. The Harbor Freight Earthquake impact gun made quick work of a bunch of rusted bolts that had never been loosened before. Only took about 10 minutes, and it was off! It IS very heavy, don't attempt to drop it intact without either a similar lift to hold it up, or a couple of strong friends.
Then, time to drill the shock towers for the extended adjusters. Figured out what size I needed, scouted a hole location, was pretty sure it would emerge at a good place above, and drilled a pilot hole. When I was sure the location was right, I expanded it with a couple of step drills, until it was just large enough to pass the top knob of the adjuster through.
The long rear brake hard lines were badly corroded.
I had salvaged the ones off the old car, which were like new. It's a pain, but I swapped them while I was at it. Much better, and one less thing to worry about later.
Hung the fresh subframe, and built the new suspension piece by piece. Set the new adjustable control arms (my new lowers) to the same length as the old ones, then adjusted the old ones to match the length of the OEM upper arms. Used copious amounts of anti-seize on everything. Measured the position of the headlight adjuster sensor on the old left upper control arm, and mounted the bracket on the new arm at the right spot.
Really love how the whole thing looks, especially the painted GP trailing arms.
It's basically done. A little more cleanup to do on cables, brake lines, wheel well liners, battery cable, etc. another day.
Makes my adjuster stand at attention.
Productive day in the engine bay.
Installed tons of hole plugs.
Routed front body harness (both sides).
Wired headlights, re-routed cables.
Installed A-panel and bonnet plastic alignment brackets.
Installed DSC / Brake booster / Master Cylinder / Brake lines, connected brake pedal.
Installed complete wiper assembly.
Installed all firewall trim and brackets.
Installed extra heat shielding in tunnel.
Installed PS pump bracket.
Installed motor mount.
I really like the way the underside of the bonnet is looking. Spent some time routing the wiring to make it as hidden as possible. Not running washers. Really clean.
Here's the extra Design Engineering heat shielding I added to the tunnel. Because that area gets pretty darn hot. The coating on the header should hopefully keep things cooler up front, but the cat will be pretty much right under the shifter, at the front of the mid-pipe. Hopefully this will help. I'll be installing the OEM heat shield over this, might need to bend it a bit for fitment.
Getting close to being ready to hang the motor... finish line is in sight, finally!
Still lots to do before it's done, but it's starting to feel real now!
Made it to MOTD and back... with no problems! Flogged the car HARD for hundreds of miles (total trip was 1800 miles) and it was spectacular. Still have some things I want to do to improve it, but it's already outstanding.
Met Art and Mark2 in Hillsville, VA on Tuesday...
Drove to Bristol, and ate very good sushi...
Phil joined us, and we drove an epic route to Fontana on Wednesday.
Phil brought me the extra key, and GP floor mats (!) that he was able to pickup from the previous owner of GP0769 in Cleveland.
Art and I had a great cabin at the top of the world in Fontana...
Thursday, we did the super secret Sapphire route...
Wellzy fed us all like kings this week...
Colin enjoyed a Fistful of Bacon...
Friday, Devil's Triangle, with lunch at Calhoun's in Lenoir City...
Everyone treats me and my car with the proper respect...
Myles replaced an exhaust gasket, with Art and Wellzy's help. He also got a cam and tune while in Fontana.
Saturday, we drove Six Gap and had great German lunch in Helen, GA.
Stopped off at Brasstown Bald with Art and Mark2.
Drove home today. Exceeded 3000 miles of GPness on the way home.
"Unable to determine rate of speed at this time"
The translation is: "you seemed like a nice guy and we didn't feel like writing you a reckless driving ticket" You got double lucky that you physically survived and legally survived. Time to buy that lottery ticked indeed.
OK, like with the GP donor and manual transmission conversion, some things happen fast.
Crashed car on Saturday.
Laid around with a concussion for a couple of days.
As of now (Wednesday) have:
- Gotten corpse moved to my garage, from storage lot.
- Performed preliminary damage / salvage assessment.
- Visited crash site (twice), reconstructed accident, combed for small parts.
- Removed Meth cell/pump from corpse
- Successfully fired the engine, it lives.
- Met with claims adjuster, think I will have a good outcome. Should know tomorrow whether it will be easy or hard to get an outcome I can live with.
- Picked up police report, might as well say "aliens did it".
- Ordered compression and leak down tools to further evaluate the engine (I could borrow them, but should really own a set)
- Ordered all stuff to add oil pressure to my Zeitronix rig so I can assess oil pressure on the current chassis before I pull the motor, since it runs. This, other test tools and oil analysis will enable me to decide to keep motor and run as-is, or ship back to Cali for rework.
- Found a good donor cabrio with bad tranny, and another good donor rolling body shell. Will probably go with the shell. Price is right, location is workable, comes with some key parts I will need.
- Confirmed that best paint shop in town can do my GP Roadster repaint cost effectively, on the rolling shell, in a compatible timeframe.
- Started planning for the Bigger, Thicker, Uncut GPness Rebuild.
- Solicited proposals for volume discounts on OEM parts.
- Traded emails with Jan about axle rebuild and dual-pass radiator.
- Pulled a couple of parts off the GP that the guy with the rolling shell wants.
Gonna rebuild this thing RIGHT. It's gonna be EPIC. Have some ideas for improvements that would not have happened without this turn of events.
In the crash, I broke BOTH my fine, expensive Rennline tow hooks. Sheared them off where they screw into the bumper.
I emailed Rennline, asking if they could sell me just the posts, since the rest of them are fine and I'm trying so save money on the rebuild wherever I can. I included a pic of a tow hook, as well as a pic of the wreck, with the car upside down, and description of what I did. Here's their reply.
Great customer service.
Picked up the shell from the cage fabricator today. The cage is EVERYTHING I had hoped for. Mark Cooper at Performance Motorsports Fabrication outdid himself, as usual.
It looks rusty, because it's been raining here for the past two weeks and this raw steel rusts just from being in the humidity, but the oxide wipes right off. Easy to prep and paint.
But here's the cage porn, of (AFAIK) the only 6-point caged MINI cabrio in the universe.
The big picture view. Six point cage with dual diagonal bracing, harness bar, adjustable seat back brace, overhead halo, gussets, knee bar, and recessed door bars. Knee bar and halo braces are 1.5x.120, door bars are 1.5x.095, everything else is 1.75x.095.
The rear brace points are wide and all the way back, for maximum strength and rigidity.
The main hoop sweeps outward as far as possible, to maximize the width of the envelope for my noggin. Several inches wider than my old rollbar, as wide as possible to fit within the windows. Important to me, since I managed to hit my head on the pavement in the crash... The reinforcement plates tie into the reinforced seat belt B-pillars.
The A-pillars had to bisect the extra wide cabrio door sills. The sills were cut to size with a hole saw, and the pillars are welded to both the reinforcement plates and the sill cutouts to retain the structural integrity of the sills.
The knee bar connects the A-pillars, and is perfectly positioned for maximum height while allowing full tilt wheel function. Nests into the natural curvature of the HVAC system, behind where the stereo headunit normally lives.
Gussets at the halo/main hoop junctions, and tube braces at the halo/A-pillar junctions, improve overall strength and rigidity. View from the cockpit is almost totally unobstructed. Just a tiny bit of reduced field of view inside the left A-pillar.
The most challenging part of the build was the door bars. I wanted to retain the factory door trim panels (this isn't a race car, hence why I don't need double door bars). I wanted to recess the bars into the doors to maximize hiproom. The bars also needed to clear my pretty wide seats. Accomplished with two shallow, perfectly placed bends.
It certainly takes a bit more work to get in and out than would be appropriate in a daily driver. But it's way easier than a race car with welded doors.
Sitting in it, it's just RIGHT. The sight lines are all as they should be. Nothing is too close to my head for comfort. The open halo overhead maintains the "topless" feel. I intentionally omitted a halo cross brace because this open air experience is part of why I do this.
Lots of work to do, to get the cage cleaned up and painted over the next several days. And I need to strip the exterior of the car for painting. I stopped by the paint shop on the way home, so my paint guy could take a look. All good. He's ready to paint, whenever I can get the car there.
Just played with it for a couple of hours today, between other things.
First... while retrieving my rake to do some yard work, I bumped a box of hardware and it went everywhere. After a few choice words, I picked it all back up, piece by piece. At the bottom of the pile, was this...
This is the unobtainable clip that locks the clutch line on the bottom of the master cylinder. I've been looking for it for over a month, through about 10 boxes of mixed hardware, and haven't been able to find it. Karma, my groovy babies. Recommendation: if you ever take this thing off, stick it back in the master cylinder slot for safekeeping.
Next, I decided, it was time for some really expensive vinyl. Paint has cured over 3 weeks at the recommendation of my painter.
Really completes the GPness.
And a proper paint code sticker. Arrived today from Germany, via eMINIparts.
Painted and installed the cabrio braces that came with the new shell.
A few of you very observant folks may have noticed in some recent photos... the paint on my cage failed. I had noticed it flaking a bit. When I put the painters tape on it, and removed it, it lifted. I blame the self-etching primer, because it lifted all the way down to the steel. Bummer, but I'd rather find out now, than later.
Sooooo.... I've been researching and testing various things to decide on the best path to remediate that. Finally decided to use POR-15 Silver, plus POR-15 Silver Top Coat to make it UV tolerant. Wish I had done that originally, the color turns out to be really close to the Pure Silver. Oh, well. Stripping the existing paint and masking everything off will suck. But the new paint will be MUCH better when done and cured. After checking colors on pints of the POR stuff, I ordered quarts today, to ensure I have plenty. Will probably work on that next week.
Long day cranking on details.
Installed the front bumper for real. Which required as much time hunting through boxes for hardware, as actually working on installing it. First time installing a GP bumper, had to figure out how all the trim and stuff worked. But got it done.
Spent a while working on bonnet alignment. Much better, but still need to tweak it a bit.
Tested windows and lights for the first time. Worked! Installed the knobs that hold the window glass to the regulators. Replaced a couple of bad bulbs in the taillights.
Routed narrowband and wideband O2 and EGT sensor wiring. Have that all buttoned up under the car and in the engine bay. Need to wire the Zeitronix controller in the cabin tomorrow.
Drew up plans for my custom exhaust midpipe. Dropped of exhaust stuff at the good shop across town, showed everything to the dude and explained it. He said "no problem, tomorrow, worst case Wednesday". That's what I wanted to hear!
Adjusted ride height on my coilovers. Much better, may need to raise the rear a little more.
Adjusted rear toe, I think I have it much closer. Need to adjust camber front and rear.
Dropped the long exhaust heat shield. Fabricated and installed a little bracket to help maintain clearance under the short shifter, since there's no bottom on the shifter box. Made it out of a mounting plate I had bought for the kill switch, that I didn't need.
Modified the battery bracket to fit my lightweight battery. Nice, secure, race-legal metal-to-metal mount. Much better.
Disassembled my spare stereo headunit to experiment with alternate installation locations. I think I have a plan for fitting the whole thing (less the CD player) in the OEM location. That would be cool. Will work on it more tomorrow.
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