Goodbye, Old friend….

After about 10 years of fun I decided to part ways with my cobra. I found my self on the “back side” of the fun curve. Building it was challenging but fun, and the pride I had from that build made every ride I took so satisfying. But after ten years that was wearing off and it was time to let someone else enjoy the car. It was very hard to let go after all that work and all those memories but it was time. The car seems to have a good home with a family of “car guys” who will surely get more use out of it than I have in recent years. So this is the end of this blog and this journey. The sunset today was absolutely gorgeous and it was a fitting end to a bittersweet day.

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4/7/13 Its Done! (for the most part)

I drove up to Metal-Morphous today and picked her up. She started right up.   Had a greatride home….I have to get some “Real” pics of the car when I have time and a nice day.  In the meanwhile I plan to get the final gremlins out..and also put in the Alex’s Roadster’s wheel well liners.  I have to put some trim on the carpeting near the doors. I need to check that all of the body parts they put on were put on correctly (I found a few loose things – parking light, license plate holder, side mirror and still looking for more).  I need to make some faux-screw heads to cover up some holes in the dash where there used to be screws holding the dash to the hoop…I also need to do an oil change/analysis and tune the engine (runs rough when cold).  I also plan to bring the car to Mark Dougherty in PA to get the suspension perfect.

I  have to clean the interior and engine compartments a bit…lots of dust from the paint process….it was my choice to finish the car and have it painted as a finished car…most do the interior after for just this reason.  But I decided to drive the car for a bit to shake it out a bit before I had it painted.  I wanted to minimize the chance that I might have to pull the body off ever again to fix something.

So this is it….the journey is basically complete.  Just fun from now on.   I plan to get some real pictures and ill post them when I get them.  Maybe every year I’ll do a total maintenance look-over and possibly pick a project now and then to improve/upgrade/restore things as they get used.  Maybe Hawk XP pads are my next project 🙂

First pic with paint...

First pic with paint…

Driving her home

Driving her home

George washington bridge

George washington bridge

parked...aint she a beaut?

parked…aint she a beaut?

good pic of the stripe and interior

good pic of the stripe and interior

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2/5/2013 Trip up to MetalMorphous in Wallingford Ct

I went up to see the car mainly to 1) take advantage of the body being off to trouble shoot an electrical issue with the heater (I found nothing wrong) and 2) in light of #1 I wanted a reasonably simple way of removing the dash without removing the whole body.

In order to accomplish #2 I removed the screws that hold the dash in place along the dash   hoop…it is held in very well with the under-dash panel.  Up above I attached some aluminum angle and put velcro on the angle to hold onto the dash hoop…this along with the body lip pressing against the dash will hold it perfectly fine (I hope)

Here are some body work/paint pics so far

More details

More details

More details

More details

Body work mostly done ready for first gelcoat

Body work mostly done ready for first gelcoat

Lambo Silver Stripe

Lambo Silver Stripe

Hood/trunk/scoop painted

Hood/trunk/scoop painted

Body off for paint

Body off for paint

Stripe Color is Lambo Silver...and here the stripe is blocked off

Stripe Color is Lambo Silver…and here the stripe is blocked off

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Hurricane Sandy….Off for Paint Nov 2012

So I drove the Cobra for the majority of the summer…I put about 400 uneventful miles on the car.  I am very happy with the way it drives.   I did spin it once.  I have a healthy respect for the power of the car now.  I plan to take a driving course asap once its back on the road.

Cobra bundled up in a municpal garage for the Hurricane....Note Mclaren next to it...Great minds think alike!!!

Cobra bundled up in a municpal garage for the Hurricane….Note Mclaren next to it…Great minds think alike!!!


My neighbors house...this hurricane was awful.

My neighbors house…this hurricane was awful.

Driving up to Wallingford CT to Metal Morphous for pain.  Ron was a saint helping me out after the storm.

Driving up the Merit Parkway...great driving road!!!

Driving up the Merit Parkway…great driving road!!!

The sign at Wallingford

The sign at Wallingford

Ron has had the car for a few weeks now…here are the first pics.  Weird seeing it like this…ugh…but I know she will look amazing in no time!!!

Another view

Another view

Rons first pictures

Rons first pictures

I’ll update more as they come available!!

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8/2/2012 Legal in NJ!

Today I passed my inspection.  Joe B at the Asbury Park specialty inspection station was very nice and reasonable.    I passed with no deficiencies.  Next step I just wait for my title to come in the mail and go to the DMV for plates and registration.

Inspection took 90 minutes and the best information I can give anyone in NJ is go over the regulations in the “specialty car” packet you get from Trenton one by one and make sure you have fulfilled them.  Also, they don’t have it in the regs, but its common knowlege you need a brake fail light.  There are a number of clever ways to fulfill this reg (that isn’t even a reg, but they look for it).  I plumbed in a pressure sensor into the brake lines and put a light on the dash for low pressure.  Others put a float into the brake fluid reservior.

Next I get to drive around until the winter and it goes off for paint!  Wooo Hooo!!!

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6/25-7/15 Final Assembly!!!! Awaiting Inspection 8/2/2012

The last three weeks have consisted of putting the body on, putting on the bumperettes, putting back on the doors, trunk, hood, windshield etc.  I had a few stray areas of carpet to do still and then it was the wind-wings, Sun visors, mirrors and a few test drives.  Its AWESOME.  I have finally gotten my go-ahead for inspection from Trenton and my inspection is on 8/2/2012.  The inspector was very nice and spent time on the phone getting me prepared for the inspection.  He told me the things that are most likely to fail me so that I can avoid those issues.  (stuff too low under frame rails, Non-conforming lights or windows, tires rubbing on frame, no brake fail light etc).  He seems very reasonable by the way.  Joe B is his name and he seems like he wants to pass you and you you have to not listen to him to fail.  Here are the pics of the car in its final, but pre-paint form.

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6/10-6/25 DMV Submission, Fire Suppression System install, Put car back together (beginning)

So in the last two weeks I have submitted my paperwork to DMV  For anyone doing this in NJ this is the deal:  1) Get paperwork packet from the Special Title Unit at DMV in Trenton.  Fill out the two forms (the rest is info about what makes your car legal or not legal…read that to be sure you didn’t screw up).  Send in the forms along with 1) every receipt you got 2) proof that nothing was stolen (i.e. receipts or a notarized affidavit from someone like an engine builder that states that the engine was build by them and sold to you rather than stolen) 3)   7% sales tax on anything not already taxed 4) A description of how you built the car (I submitted my instruction manual and my build log from this site)

I put it all in  a very organized, large binder to make is as simple/easy as possible.  I sent it overnight, trackable mail.  I called a few days later and they confirmed they got it.  I called another week later to get a status and they thought is was funny I was calling so soon (silly me to think they might start to look at it 10 days after they got it)  They told me to wait another week or so.  I will call them before this week is over.

After they review everything they “allow” you to get an inspection.  The only station really to do this is Asbury Park, fortunately fairly close by.  As of last week Asbury had no “permission” to inspect my car.

If Asbury signs off on the car, then I get to pick up my tags!  Only thing after that is my emissions inspection which is all but waived because of my block-year.

But in order to do all this, I need to put the car back together.

After carpet I put in the speaker grilles:

Rear Grille

Front Grille

I need to get some more pics but I put the seats and belts in on both sides and put the Console in and the Tranny tunnel cover back on. Here is a pic of that (Ebrake boot also went on after this pic)

Seats and belts are on now too…will post a pic of that soon.  The S.S. Ebrake handle looks good though, especially with the boot on.

Pull Handle for Fire Suppression system in rear of tranny tunnel

I am almost done with my ESS fire Suppressionsystem install.  You don’t order from the company but their website lists dealers.  Easy install, just takes time. As of this writing I am waiting for more tubing to run one more line to the engine compartment.

ESS bottle in place, activator Cable installed and one of the pipes routed along trunk floor and into cockpit.

After I get the final tube installed, and the bottle filled, the next step is to test the electrical one last time before I put the body on, then its body on, mild body work, Roll bars on, Doors on, Hood On, Trunk on, windshield on and then off to inspection!!! hopefully within the next few weeks.

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5/23-6/9 Carpet, Heat Protection, Welding Tranny Tunnel Crossmember, Defroster, Brake Bias Adjuster

In the last few weeks I have done the following:

Finished up my sound and heat protection, and installed the trunk Carpet.  Trunk carpet is not furnished with the kit, so you have to purchase more (I got mine from FFR) and custom, design and cut and paste in the carpet.  Its a pain , but here is the result…

Finished Trunk Carpet. I attached the access panels on top bare..I like the look!

Side view of the trunk carpet on the sidewalls.

Next, in light of Jon’s fire, I did a few things: 1) I tightened all fuel line connections.  Actually one on the distal end of the fuel filter was a little less snug than I would have liked.  It never leaked, but I tightened it up. 2) I bought some heat-shield products to shield various pipes/hoses and areas from heat.

Note heat shielding along where sidepipe will be next to car

Here is the stuff that velcro’s around hoses and pipes. I put it around the fuel lines near the engine/headers

Heat wrap around fuel lines

Someone on the forums pointed out that the PS defroster vent is hard to fit and he suggested making an end-to-side connection to the vent.   I crimped off the end and “gooped” it closed

clamps on end of hose while it dries

Vent modification

Side view showing how the vent is now hooked up to tube…again I used “goop”. Great stuff

Here is Lumen of the vent….very ample!

Someone modeled the car with and without the crossmember on the tranny tunnel that I removed to get the TKO 500 to fit….He said it lost some torsional rigidity with it cut…So I got some guys from the local marine repair shop to come by and weld in a new tube I bought.



Finally, today I installed the brake bias remote adjuster.  Very simple.  Just took some thinking.

Remote cable arcing along inner wall of DS footbox…It works great

Here is the Handle

Riveted it in. Really cool addition.

And this week I sent in my DMV Paperwork.  Hopefully I’ll hear back soon and my only remaining things are:


Install last bits of carpet once back from Binder

Install fire supression system (ordered)

Paint crossmember welds

Do some body work, (minor adjustments)

Mount body and other parts



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4/26-5/22 Interior work and pre-final assembly punch list

After finishing all of  my sound-deadener (HushMat) I placed my heat-barrier in the foot boxes and all vertical panels near heat (doors and tranny tunnel).

Covered pedals etc to avoid sticky spray on them. Silver is EZ cool and Black is HushMat.

Other side.

I hooked up the heater vents.  Routed the Defroster hoses and they will be hooked up once the body goes back on

Heater vents hooked up.

Defroster vent tube is on top. Heater vent tube is on the bottom.

I’ve been stressing about how to hook up the rear quickjacks/overriders and how to make it easy to remove them in the future.  I installed some coupling nuts so that all I have to do is use some threaded rods to hook up whatever I finally decide to use as my bumper solution.

Installed Coupling nuts so that installing/removing the rear quickjacks or whatever is easier and you don’t have to drop the tank ever again. In fact, to install this I only had to drop the PS of the tank about 2 inches. Just used a Jack to let it down and then pushed it right back up and bolted it back on.

Decided to spruce up the cubby cover.  Used 3m Vinyl “carbon fiber” to cover it.



Used a piece of angle to make a catch for the latch. Had to use some extra aluminum to shim it thicker and have a tight fit.

Made a cover for the EFI computer which will keep it safe from people feet and also allow for carpet and a more finished passenger footbox



Finally, Jon’s car caught fire and is totally gone.   Here is the sad picture of the fire, and one after the fire is out.

Fortunately he is ok as was his passenger.  It turns out he had a faulty connection on one of his fuel lines.  Totally not his fault, just a major bummer.  He ordred his replacement kit within 48 hours!!!!!  Here are his blog entries on the subject.

I’ll check back in when I’ve done a few more things!!!

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3/25-4/25…Rear End Issues and taking the car apart for final steps!

So last post I showed how my wheels were set back a bit far in the rear wheel wells.   Its seems it was because the snout of my “pumpkin” of my differential was pointing more upwards than it really need to….furthermore, my drivetrain angle was a bit more down-angled than it needed to be.  So…

1) I removed the shims from my engine mounts to lower the engine down 1/8 inch

2) I cut one of the Tranny Tunnel cross members to allow the tranny to be boosted up 1/2 inch.  I also had to cut a tab off the tranny to clear the ebrake.

This tab is was blocking my ability to raise the was hitting the ebrake mechanism

This cut bar would have contacted the shifter...had to go to raise up the tranny and get my pinion angles right

3) I added two 1/4 inch spacers to the Tranny mount and boosted it up 1/2 inch.

4) I checked the pinion angle a million times and now the drivetrain points down 1 degree as you look from front to back….that would typically have the snout of the diff pointing UP 1 degree so that they are on the same relative angle…but you want the Diff offset by -2 degrees to allow for some upward shifting during high torque…so in fact the snout is pointing DOWN 1 degree.

5) after getting pinion angle set, I removed the coils and  checked for binding at full droop and at full compression and binding!

6) with the diff pointing more down, my wheels were much better centered in the wells…

Passenger side

Driver's side

Finally, I added the Under-door aluminum panels…this was my last aluminum piece to be fitted to the car.  Note that I had already started removing seats etc by this time in prep for removing the body for the final push to road-certification!

We are looking at the curved piece at the bottom of the red door....Its one of the last pieces to go on the car.

After this was done, I started removing the seats, harnesses, Trunk, hood, Radiator cowling, quickjack bolts, doors, sidepipes, wipers and unhooked all the light wires.   I am ready to take the body off…I just need a helper.  Once the body is off (hopefully this weekend) I am in the final push to do the last things on the car, cut out for the defrosters and then reassemble everything!  After that its a few more test drives and off to the DMV for inspection.

Exciting!  Just need time.  Thats the thing in shortest supply.

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3/12-3/25 Final Aluminum, Wipers, Re-assembly, Gel-coat test drive

Over the last two weeks or so I put the Elephant ears in, the Radiator Cowl Aluminum and put the roll-bars, seats/harness back in along with the side pipes.  I needed to do minimal adjustments to the cutouts to get all this to fit.  The body sits nicely on the dash hoop.

Typical elephant ear...note cutout for cobra earl vent. I used rivnuts to secure these...much easier to take on and off.

Here is the jig that gives you a rough approximation of the angle you need for the wipers to be installed right.  You do have to adjust this a LOT to make it work.   I took the advice of the MKIV site and used plastic tubing instead of the supplied metal tubing…much easer.

Here it is ready to drill a hole in the WRONG place!!! its supposed to be 15" on the Driver's side....this is the passenger's side...

Here it is with three holes...oh well. I guess I have some body work to do.

Wipers about to be tested with some water on the windshield

Yay, it worked!

Now on to some real issues:

I took the car out for a gelcoat drive….when I got back I realized the rear DS wheel was rubbing.  Some of it was the ride height had droped down from the extra weight…but if you look at the wheel…its really set back far in the wheel well…

Driver's side....its about 3/4 inch rearward

Here is Passenger side for comparison

So I went on the forums…and after taking a bunch of measurements and getting some advice, it seems that the driver’s side lower control arm attachment bracket on the axle is not perfectly lined up in the same plane as the passenger side one.    This is resulting in the DS of the axle being about 3/4 inch rearward.  I might have to get an adjustable LCA for that side to compensate.

In any event, the car looks great.  Here is a side view and a back view

The main reason for the rear view is to show the wheels seem pretty well lined up in the wells from a left-right point of view.

So I am trouble shooting this issue, puting the finishing touches on the car..Maybe gel coat drive it a few more times and then take the body off for some final stuff…then its DMV time!

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2/26-3/11. Body Work

Like Jon, I am having my car painted by Metalmorphous in CT.  He apparantly does all of the “REAL” bodywork, so all I have to do is get the doors, hood, trunk etc on so it works, but he will do the rest.  Thus, what you see here is exactly that.  NO more, No less.

After doing the Scoop, I installed a Finishline Accesories Hood Prop.  Apparantly the gas-shock hood openener warps the hood over time.


This is the catch for the prop

Here it is in action

Nice prop!!

Next I went on to the windshield.  Just follow the directions.   I thought that the body work instructions were pretty good.   Not the best pictures, but good descriptions.

Initially there was a gap here in the gasket. I moved the window forward a few degrees and that went away.

Doors and Door Catches were next. Directions were good!

PS windshield post isn't curved right. when I remove body next, I will fix this.

Drilled holes and put in drain grommets for when I get stuck in rain

Installed trunk and latch

Roll bars went back on

Had to adjust cutouts a bit

Finally, I put a cover on my pedestal, and reinstalled it all.

Pedestal reinstalled. Fits perfectly You can also see here I installed the Heater vents

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2/11-2/25 Clutch Safety, Mounting Body and Hood/Scoop

I’ve been busy “cleaning up” to get ready for body install.  I stopped putting in the sound/heat/carpet after having done the trunk only, because people warned me that my fiberglass work (as minimal as I plan to do) will make such a huge mess that Ill be happier if I only have to vaccum up bare aluminum.  I still need to do more, but I siliconed most of the openinings between the aluminum.  I installed all of my bulb-seal.

Here is a pic of my Tune Trapper antenna installed hidden behind the dash.  Fits nicely.

Antenna is the white thing

Then I installed a Clutch safety switch so you have to depress the clutch to start the engine

mounted some 1/8 aluminum angle to a nearby support beam. Works great.

installed some LED lights below the dash

Hidden...they are very thin.


And then Jon had some free time to come help me mount the body.  I still had a few “loose ends” I had to take care of before installing the body (like attaching my heater hoses for the hot air vents)  but I can do that when the body comes off next…


In a weird way, its painful removing the sidepipes, seats, seatbelts, roll bars…..You feel like you are backtracking.

Then I decided to start on the front and work my way back…

Hood hinges in place (actually did this before the body install). Note the radiator rail is not straight...Im trying to figure out why. Body is totally bolted down and seems straight. Preliminary info from says some of these bars are crooked fromt he factory. Ill have to see

Hood got hinge attachement points

Rivited on. I painted them too first.

Then I had to cut my hole for my Air Cleaner since the hood wont sit down without that hole.  It was scary cutting it out…was worried I would mess up.  Went well though!!

Yes, air cleaner is supposed to be offset a bit

Then I worked on the hood scoop…trimmed it all around to 3/4 inch as instructed.

Hood scoop trimmed and placed into position for me to gloat!!!

Thats it for now.  I have to finish the hood and go on to the windshield!!!

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2/10/2012 Body Prep, Taming Wires, Dash Install,

Over the last few days the following happened:

1) I tested the lights and the brake lights didn’t work (that was because the trigger switch was too close to the pedal so was an easy fix), the flashers and hazards didn’t work (I have no clue to this day what was wrong but I unsecrewed and retightened every connection on the dash and now it works) and finally one rear bulb wasn’t working so I simply reinstalled it and its fine.

2) While troubleshooting the lighting issue, I tamed the dash wires and this is the before, and after


after...much tidier

Then, I installed the dash “for good” with screws per the manual

Manual calls for 5 screws...I thought it lookd a bit flexed and flimsy so I put "tweeners" too (no pic of that here)

I tamed some of the wires in the engine compartment and used adel clamps to hold them safe and secure.  I also removed and reinstalled all of my header bolts with some loc-tite. It was amazing how loose some of them were after just a short amount of engine running.  I also looked over every accessable suspension bolt to be sure that they look tight and I’ll get around to putting some loc-tite or nail polish on them before I put the body on.

EFI harness routing into the PS footbox. Not such a great pic. Note Adel Clamp

It was now time to get the body ready for install onto the car (omg…how exciting!!)  I installed the front and rear lights (headlights were a bit confusing, but I got it figured out from the manual and Jon’s blog)

First you put the buckets in place. I bought some nylocks for the bolts. Extra security for cheep.

Then the light and trim ring go on next.

Here are the rear lights.  I put the brakes on top and the blinker on the bottom.  No law says what  you have to do that I could find.  Just make sure they are the same!  I did my weather paks different so I can’t plug the wrong one into the wrong harness port.

Easy insall but I had to enlarge the bolt holes a tad.

I started to put on the Cobra Earl Vent scoops…This is how I held it in place while the Silicone set that holds the scoop in place.

Piece of Aluminum bent to follow nose...large cable tie holding scoop in place.

Here is inside of scoop with Silicone applied. Note inside of front lights too...

I also put on the engine vent grilles….Just clamped them in place with some silicone for a day.  Seem very secure now.

Clamps are distorting the fins, but they line up with the clamps off.

Next, I put on the gas cap.  I swear it looked straight to me when I installed it, but this picture makes it look not lined up.  I am having a cow right now but I’ll go check the car tonight.  Not a hard fix, but I hate the extra holes in the body even if no one will ever see them.

I think its lined up with the axis of the body, the fender curved seams are giving the illusion that the cap is not straight. Ill check later...ugh

Finally, I installed a grab bar and curved some 1/8 aluminum to fit under the dash lip in the body to secure the handle (I can’t see fiberglass being the best thing for the handle to be directly attached to)…I put some 10-24 riv nuts in the aluminum “half-pipes” of curved aluminum and drilled the holes for the bar (got the bar from Tony D. Branda – pricy in retrospect you can find them cheaper try Finishline).  The bar then bolts to the little curved aluminum “pipes” that have the rivnuts in them.  It seemed very secure when done.

Here is the bar installed...below are pics how I got here

Used the 10mm socket to bend the aluminum around then cut off the pieces

rivnuts in place

Home made "half pipes" holding bar in place without relying on the fiberglass as much.

Finally for this week of little projects, I installed the wiring for my brake light fail light.  Note the really cool spiral wire cover that I used to cover the wires and create a harness.  This stuff is really cool.  I have used a ton of it to tame the wires.  I think I got it from McMaster Carr.  It comes in different diameters.  You use more than you think you will.  Ive used 50 feet so far.  Id recommend getting 75 feet as a starting order if you will be using this type of thing to harness your stray wires.

Note little harness going to sensor in brake line

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2/3/2012 Dead Pedal, Headlights/Tail lights, Wiring Troubleshooting

My next job is to make sure the lights work before I mount them on the body.  You have to put the lights together and create weatherpacks that connect to the weatherpacks that were previously put on the Ron Francis Harness.  Before I did that, I quickly made a Dead Pedal to rest my foot on when its not on the Clutch.  Its 14 inches long, cut on the ends to match the floor and the curve of the bar it rests against at the top.  I epoxied a thin piece of carbon fiber to the front to give it a  finished look.

Dead Pedal Front View

Dead Pedal Side View

Then I mocked up my lights, front and back….they went on, and the brights/dims worked….but unfortnately the brake lights didn’t come on nor did the turn flashers or hazards.  Darn.  I plan to trouble shoot this over the next few days.  I pulled out the dash, and am going to go though it wire by wire (I needed to tame it back there anyway…this is a fine time to go at it).  After that, I will check all the fuses and relays, and finally double check that I wired the lights properly.

Headlights and Driving Lights ON!! Note pigtail on lights to give some length to ease hook up with the body on.

Tail lights also working!!! (flipped up so I can see them from the front while I test things)

What a mess. I plan to fix this while double checking my connections

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1/29/2012 – Finish Front Speakers, Pedestal Install, Go Kart #2

I finished installing the front speakers today.  I had to trim the grills because they are round and abutted a straight edge in the car.  There was no way to put the speaker any further away.

Had to trim the edge of the grill because of the structural beam

Here is the back of the speaker

See why it couldnt go any further rearward?

Here is how I made the pedestal mounts.  Lots of Rivnuts

Screws (with sanded down heads) go UP from bottom of Tranny Tunnel cover into rivnuts on the brackets. Holes in the pedestal line up with the rivnuts on the vertical portion of the bracket and secure the panel. Note hole in Tranny tunnel cover for wires to pass too and from the tranny tunnel to tthe firewall area.

Here is the pedestal in place. The radio sounded great in my opinion today.

Pedestal painted, but not covered in any way.

This is the radio I used. See URL for company I bought it from.

I also took the car out on a longer and faster go kart than thanksgiving.  It was great.  Super fast, and handled great.  I decided that power brakes is not necessary.  I am very happy with the car so far.

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1/27/2012 Front Speakers, Transmission Tunnel Cover


I got a 4 inch hole saw and made holes in the front for my speakers below the doors

Between this and the one behind our heads, sound should be OK

Next, I covered the rear shift cutout on the tranny tunnel cover, and drilled a 4 inch hole for the mid shifter I have.

Creative use of the covers....The mid shift is 4 3/4 inches to the left of the PS of the tranny tunnel and 12 11/16th inches behind he firewall. I later cut a hole for the rear harness at 3 inches back and 3 inches to the right of the DS of the tranny tunnel

Here it is in place.  Note the hole for the rear harness.

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1/14-1/19 Finishing Cockpit aluminum, Seats and Seatbelts

I finally bit the bullet and riveted in the rest of my cockpit aluminum.  Its scary because you worry that you will need access later….Oh well. lets hope for the best.  I finished the install of my seats.  The seat brackets from breeze are nice, but a mild pain to install.  Im glad I did it though.  Of course, you have to remove and reinstall the seats to get the carpet in later.  Make sure the seat mount is evenly spaced between the inner and outer wall of the car (on its respective side) so that you can fit you fat fingers in to install the hold-down bolts.  Breeze’s directions are pretty clear so I won’t elaborate too much.

I made an oval hole for my speakers.  I installed them with a bit of cork between the speaker and the cockpit aluminum.  I am hoping that will minimize or eliminate rattling.  I found some 4X6 speaker covers on Amazon.  They are very nice.  I don’t recommend 4X6 speakers because as I now know, they don’t come with covers, and the covers I found were hard to get.  Typically 4X6 speakers are OEM replacements and fit inside the doors of modern cars, so they don’t need covers as there is one built into the door of the car.  My bad.

Seat Belts are pretty straight forward.  Many don’t install the anti-submarine strap.  Its an extra ten minutes, so why not?  You don’t have to use it if you find it to be a big pain.

My latest dilemma is whether or not to install an aftermarket brake boost kit.  In the few gokarts I’ve done, I found the brakes to be very heavy (manual brakes).  The car has so much power, I am concerned that the stopping power isn’t equivalent without some assist.  Still thinking about this one.

Seat Mounting plate in place. Note its parallel to the tranny tunnel. Note anti-submarine strap too.

Speaker in place, starting the harness install.

Driver's side done...Note the aluminum bezels for the shoulder straps.

Also, its a good idea to use an extra washer between the post on the car, and the metal end of the straps – that puts a small distance between the strap and the post and can prevent chaffing over time.  Its also clear that the speaker is kind of behind the seat…but there really isn’t any other great place on this build.

Both Done!!!

And for good measure, here is a shot of the engine compartment right now….

Purty, huh?

Thats it for now…gone skiing.

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1/13/12 Seats

I got the Breeze Seat mounts.  They aren’t easy to deal with, but I think they serve a good purpose.  The directions aren’t totally clear.  You mount the bracket to the floor without any carpet/insulation.  Then you cut little holes in your carpet/insulation to sit the seat down on the pegs.  Here are the seats in place:

Seats in place...they angle outward on both sides...

You then have to pull out the seats to paint the mounting brackets.  Careful drilling the holes to mount the brackets…you can do some bad things on the other side if you aren’t careful.   I don’t have a pic, but I riveted in my rear wall too….

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1/9/12 Cubby Lock, Rear Speakers

My cubby lock arrived today..simple enough just drill a hole and pop it in…well not so fast….the catch is too far back and ill have to fashion something to catch the catch when the door is closed…no biggie

Lock installed

Note that the catch is too deep and doesn't catch anything!!!

Then I bit the bullet and sawed out my 4X6 ovals for my rear speakers.  There isn’t any good place left for them…they will be covered by the seat for the most part…Oh Well.

Started hole with hole saw then used jig saw/dremel to finish.

Used Riv Nuts and bolts to secure the speakers. I put cork behind them to absorb some vibrations

Nothing too earth shattering here…but Im making progress!!!

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1/8/12 Roll Bars, Plan Speakers

Spent the day installing the Tangent Roll bar mod.  Instead of an exterior “frankenstein” bolt sticking through the Roll bar (to hold the rear leg to the front hoop) it puts a friction clamp INSIDE the tubes and there is nothing on the outside.  Very clean.

No Bolt here!!!! its all on the inside

Here is the lower connector….see the bolt?  This is what it would have looked like

Drilling these is a pain...start small and work up to full size

Here is what it looks like when done

Looks great....

I am prett sure my 4X6 speakers are going just behind and lateral to each seat and the 4 inch rounds are going inside the below-door kickplate area….More to come on this

Overall its looking very much like a car!!!!

I made this!?!

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1/6/12 Rear Cubby Door, Misc Electrical, Getting the Body Back in the Garage

Its been a mild winter, but eventually its going to snow….and once that happens then getting the body inside will have to wait until spring….So I took this opportunity while the ground was still soft to dislodge the buck from the ground (it had sunk in a few inches over the last 8 mos sitting in the back yard) and wheeled it around and into the other side of the Garage

with the body inside I can mount the lights and things like that....I can even trial fit the body if I want!!!!

Then I spent some time finishing up putting the individual weather packs onto the head and tail lights and fabricating grounds for each set of lights.  I put a dab of Automotive Goop on each screw to hopefully prevent any of them from backing out over time.  I spent some time putting whatever wires I could back into the looms, but some just have no proper place.  I got some spiral loom-creator stuff.  I think I like it!!!

Here is the Loom stuff

I have started wrapping around these three unruly ground wires...Here is the finished product...looks very respectable! I will spend some time cleaning up all loose wires and behind the dash as well with this stuff

Here is the finished product...looks very respectable! I will spend some time cleaning up all loose wires and behind the dash as well with this stuff.

Finally, I fabricated a door for the trunk cubby.  I did it slightly differently than Jon, but I think mine is just fine.  I am still waiting on the latch I ordered.  Ill drill that hole when it comes.

12 X 6.75 inch aluminum with hinge installed with rivets

Door installed....I used rivnuts on the bottom so that its removable if need be (like to service the latch, or if I loose the latch key...) Notice the nicely radiused edge....I ordered some edge grommeting for the inner edge so that its not sharp

I plan to install the rest of the aluminum, install the speakers and maybe get the console set up along with the under dash lighting and trunk lighting this weekend.  Then I can get the car off the jacks and maybe gokart it a bit more while its nice.  Still have rollbars, seat belts and seats to install….

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12/30-1/2 (2012) Aluminum work, Side Pipes and trunk Wiring

I spent an inordinate amount of time fabricating a cover for fuel pump (their cutout is too small).  This is the final  result:

Here I have cut it better so I can access the fittings

Then I made a cover out of some scrap  I used little rivnuts to hold these block-off plates on

Its a different angle, but you can see how I covered that L-shaped cut out

Then I spent an even LONGER time making the top 2 pieces of the DS footbox removable.  Darn aluminum wouldn’t line up.  I had to make HUGE holes for the bolts to line up with the rivnuts.  Oh well.  After all that, I realized that without removing the body, I wont be able to remove the bolts…so I made a patch cover anyway…looks pretty good!

Patch panel for access to pedal box/wires/etc. Note holes in top piece for bolts into rivnuts in 3/4 inch tube


Then I bolted the side pipes on.  I am pretty sure they aren’t far enough away from where the body will sit…but I am going to wait until the body is on in gelcoat before I adjust them any more.

Driver's side

Passenger's side

Then I passed the license plate light up through a grommet and began the wiring work…note the pigtail extension I made.  I have to separate out the lights into weather paks…thats one of my next jobs.

Same pic as look at that nice trunk wiring!!!

And the pigtail I spliced to allow release for trunk removal

Weather paks for splicing pigtail

Tomorrow I think Ill just work on the wiring at the lights….

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12/28 Rear Alignment and Trunk Cubby Install

I measured both wheels from a similar point on Chassis and used the panhard bar to allign the rear end.

Driver Side

Passenger's side


Then I installed the trunk cubby.  I ordered a southco latch for it.  Jon has good info on how to make the door.  I might buy one though.

Trunk aluminum installed and cubby too!

Side view of cubby


I installed the floors of the cockpit too…here are pics.  Its starting to look like a car…wow.

Driver's side floor

Passenger's Floor


This weekend i’ll get more done.

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12/24 Aluminum Mounting

Today I tied up a few loose ends (I try to tinker/fix a few nagging things every session) and then I embarked on my first few aluminum panel installs.

The first thing I did was move the clutch and brake foot pads over one notch…that gave me a little more clearance from the gas pedal.  The few times I gokarted the car I tended to hit the gas along with the brake.  This should help that.

Notice how I moved the pads over to the left a bit

Next, It has been bugging me that two points had metal up against things that I don’t want metal touching:  1) my brake line as it passes through the DS footbox to the underside of the car and 2) My alternator wires as they pass fromt he DS footbox into the engine compartment.  I put a plastic edge cover on both of these:

Rear Brake Line passes under DS Footbox and then curves rearward to rear brakes. Note the plastic edge cover to prevent chafing.








Same protector stuff where wires pass through semi-circular cutout in the DS INNER footbox wall

Next, I got down to new stuff.  I put my most-rearward trunk panel in.  I had to redrill most of the holes to allow the rivets to pass through the powdercoating.  Its a quick zip with the drill, but a pain nonetheless.  I also read a comment on Jon’s blog that now is a good time to place a rivnut where the trunk latch will attach to the frame.  I noted a larger hole in the rear of the frame (see the picture,  you will see the rivnut – its bigger than the rivets) and assumed this was the right hole.  So I drilled it bigger to accept therivnut and crimped it in place.  You have to remove the right side gas strap to get the aluminum on, so put a jack under your tank so it doesn’t drop down.  These straps are a huge pain.

See the RivNut on the bottom right of the group of 4 in the middle of this pic? Its slightly to the right of centerline (1/4 inch off center), but thats where the hole was....

I was about to put the large flat, more forward piece of trunk aluminum in next..but I realized that once I do that I will have much less access to the panhard bar and pinion angle adjuster.  I will leave this one off until I can get the car back down off the jacks so I can adjust the pinion angle and center the rear end on the chassis.  Here is my understanding of pinion angle:  With the car at load, you measure the angle that the input part of the driveshaft is at (and this is usually sloping DOWNWARDS as it moves rearward….)This angle should be mostly parallell to the angle of the pinion which is the place where the driveshaft attaches to the “pumpkin” part of the 3 link rear end.   The pumpkin thus should be angled in a similar DOWNWARD slope so that the FRONT of the pumpkin is HIGHER than the REAR of the pumpkin (just like the ENGINE is higher than the end of the TRANSMISSION).  These two angles should be close to zero.  In actuality, there should be a slight negative angle (meaning the engine/tranny angle should be slightly MORE sloped downwards by a few degrees than the pumpkin’s angle).  This is because at high torques, the pumpkin tends to tilt back a bit more…and this allows for the two to come to ZERO on high torque loads.  Here is a good link to explain since there are some nuances to this.

The last thing I did was note that the access to the fuel pump, while large, doesn’t give access to the fittings.  This kind of defeats the purpose, so I will make a larger hole and fashion a larger cover than the one provided.

You can see the pump, but have no access to the fittings.

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12/22 Finish Driveshaft Safety Hoop/Inspect Koni Shocks

I don’t know if I blogged about this, but I attempted to install a driveshaft safety hoop.  This keeps the driveshaft from tearing up your pelvis if it breaks free.  Its a good idea.  Anyway, the riv-nuts that came with the hoop kit are HUGE and I had a tough time getting them to sit in their holes (which I over drilled slightly)  When I was putting in the bolt in three of the 8 riv-nuts, I just pushed the darn things into the 4 inch tube.  This is going to bum me out because Im pretty sure its going to rattle around forever.  Darn. Anyway, I found these expansion bolts at McMaster Carr and they are expensive, but they did the trick.  They are a great way to salvage this type of a hole.  I drilled the holes out to 1/2 inch and tapped in the expansion bolts and then tightened them up.

Expansion bolts

Here it is in real life

Top left and bottom right are the rescue-bolts (these expansion bolts)

The other thing I did was remove all 4 wheels, remove all 4 shocks and check that they weren’t part of a Koni Recall (they weren’t)  While I was doing this, I noticed that my rear coils were contacting the rear axle.  They shouldn’t.  Went to the forums and some suggested changing the spacer arrangment.  Others said to flip the shocks.  That was the answer.

See how the coil is hitting the axle

I was able to properly torque all of the bolts and also the lug nuts for the wheels.  I also placed the spinners.   They twist on clockwise for the left side of the car and counter-clockwise for the right side of the car.  This helps prevent them loosening I guess.

Well that was 5 hours right there.

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12/11/11-12/15/11 Tune Engine, Finish Electrical

Now that my engine is running again, I spent some time checking the timing (seems fine now 14 degrees BTDC).  I also pulled the codes from the EFI and I only had a low idle speed code…and that may be an old one I have to reset since it seemed to be idleing fine.

My DS header is very close to the DS footbox inner wall.   It is even melting the paint.

Check #8 Header elbow almost touching footbox...melting paint

Ill get a pic up soon but I put a piece of Thermo-Tec adhesive thermal mat on the footbox wall to protect it.  That should do the trick.

Before I put any body panels on I am spending a ton of time tidying up all of my wires and harnesses.  I am also dieting my harnesses and adding things like  my speaker wires so they don’t run separate from the harness and  clutter things up.   Here are some pics of that:

Clean Tranny Tunnel...On left near shifter you see some raw wires that will plug into the radio, but if you see the tunnel, there is only one loom traversing it on the driver's side. Very clean in there. Even the speaker wieres (royal blue wire emerging from loom on right) is inside the single loom of the tranny tunnel.

I got my radio from Vintage Auto Radio.  Its expensive, but its very small and fits in the custom built dash panel I fabricated.  Jon has the specs on how to fashion the console on his blog.  I plan to put two 4X6 speakers behind the seats and one 4 inch round inside each door kick panel.  I ran the wires today.

This is where the center console panel will go. These are the hot wires and grounds for the radio and two 12V receptcles which will run radar detector, GPS, seat heaters etc.

This is the radio mocked up.  I kind of screwed up cutting out the hole for the radio because I didn’t cut the radiused edges right…I have a straight edge.  But I think the dash covering will obliterate this screw up.

Nice looking!!!!

I followed Jon’s suggestion and got a common ground bus and mounted it.  I also mounted a small fuse panel inside the driver’s footbox to accomodate the things I added….footbox vents, two 12V recepticles, and anything else I might add.  Jon added some lights under the dash…not a bad idea, but I’ll worry about that later.

Inside the DS foot box....I put a fuse panel in.This is the common ground bus This is the DS just inside the firewall.

And one last convenience item is this battery charger/conditioner that I mounted inside the F panel.  Should make the winter months a bit easier on the car/battery

Batter charger mounted inside PS F panel. Just plug it in and it does its own thing!


If I have regretted anything so far, that is putting the engine in so soon.  I had to because I was moving, but it is WAY easier to put things in when the engine or tranny isn’t in the way!!!!.  so now I am spending time making sure everything looks good.  I have secured the wires in the engine compartment many times until I got them right.  I am pretty happy where everything is sitting now.

Next is to start putting the aluminum in…pretty cool!!!

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