Roll Cage: Welded, window net, Dash, ductwork, and Fire patching

The thing missing from this post is “reinstalled exhaust”.  That’s because it won’t fit.  The catalytic converter is incompatible with my transmission tunnel notch.  Not sure what I’m going to do about that.  I’d really hoped to be able to install the cat for street use.  I guess I’ll have to find out if I have to pass an emissions test, or if I can pass it without the cat.

This is a long post-everything listed in the title is completed and chronicled in this post..  Bear with me.  I guess I could split it into multiple parts…but, it was one long weekend (3 days, by the way); might as well have a post to mirror the way it went down…..

Roll Cage: Done

The welder came over on Saturday, and welded everything together.  He did a nice job, even if he doesn’t think so.  He’s a ASW certified structural welder.  He decided to use my welder rather than bring one of his own 240 Amp/100% duty cycle monsters.  My Chicago Electric 120 Amp/ 20% duty cycle welder from Harbor Freight held up well.  But, its wire-feed speed control seems to be a bit unpredictable.  he kept cursing it.  Even still the welds look good to me.  He thinks they are the worst welds he has done in years.  His worst was better than my best.

 

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Window Net

Upper Mount

As with everything else in this project, I didn’t know “exactly” how the window net is to be installed.  I looked at lots of pictures on the net, and came up with a plan that replicated most of what I’d seen.  I refitted the door, and the hardtop to make sure the mounts would clear.  First I placed the rear mount on the main hoop just below the door bar joint.  I had to leave room for the spring loaded ring to clear the gusset.  So, I couldn’t go any higher (it bound against the gusset).  I tacked this tab into place.  Then I compressed the mount spring against the rear mount, and marked the length on the A-pillar bar.

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I wanted to make sure that the front mount left room for the weather-stripping to be installed.  So, I temporarily reinstalled the weather-strip and marked the final location for the front mount, removed the weather strip and welded the bracket into place.  Finally, I installed the window bar, and welded the handle flush to the bar.

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Lower Mount

The lower mount, is a simple 1/2” aluminum bar, that threads through the bottom of the net.  The bar has to be mounted to the roll cage.  I made some simple tabs out of 1 1/2” x 3/16” steel and 1/8” angle.  I bent the bar to match the profile of my door bars, then I clamped the brackets to the bar, and welded the tabs into place.

 

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Dash

Okay, so the dash doesn’t fit back “stock”.  There weren’t any instructions for how this was supposed to be done.  Time to figure it out on my own.  Initially, I’d planned on only removing as much of the dash as absolutely necessary—“keeping it stock” as it were.  That was not to be.  I held the dash up to the cage, and marked the locations of the cuts.  I used the angle grinder to remove the necessary bits, and then refit the dash.  I had a heck of a time getting the dash over the wiper and turn signal stocks.  With the steering column held up by the knee bar, its “impossible” to get the dash over these.  So, I had to remove some more plastic.  In addition, the knee bar interferes with the center console side panels.  I needed to remove the plastic below the cig-lighter, and the passenger map-light.  After removing all this plastic there was only a 1” piece of plastic on the inside of the door bars on both sides.  This bit was just too flimsy and there isn’t anything to bolt it to to support it.  Off they come.

I’m thinking about mounting the pieces removed from the top (with the side defrost vents) permanently to the space behind the Apiller bars.

Here are the pictures of the dash, and all the bits that I removed.

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The dash mounts back to the substructure.  But, not with nearly as many screws.  In the picture below, the spots with blue-tape are the mounting locations.

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Wiring and Ductwork

Since the dash-bar is never coming out of the car again, there’s no need to keep the wiring harness “removable”.  So, I spent some time with some wire ties tidying up the harness routing.  I pulled all the wires up tight to the bar, and made sure that the connectors all easy access for attachment to their respective devices.

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Again, since the dash-bar isn’t ever coming out, the ductwork has to be installed “by hand”.  It was all screwed to the dash.  Now its just “resting” in place.  I attached the dash-vents with aluminum tape.  But, the defrosting vents don’t have any supports.  I think I need to fab a bracket to support the center mounting points of these vents.  I also used the aluminum tape to block off the unused openings.

Fitting the defrosting ducts was tricky.  It took a few minutes to figure out where they mount.  Its weird…they actually mount BELOW the dash-vent outlet of the heater controller.   I had to separate the center section from the two vent-ducts.  This center section has an “up” arrow, that in my case needed to face DOWNWARDS.  That seems odd, but the part number was right-side-up, and it wouldn’t fit the other way round.  Go figure.

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Fire Patching

Last task of the day: patch as many of the holes in the firewall, floor, transmission tunnel, and rear package shelf.  Two tools for this job: Aluminim tape, and fireblock caulk.  In order find all the holes I placed a bright shop-light in various strategic places to illuminate the holes.  All bright spots get either caulk or tape.

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I bought a kit from Advanced Autosports to cover the rear wall above the package shelf.  This covers a lot of holes.  But, it doesn’t SEAL them.  So, I used the fire-caulk to run a bead below all the holes.  That way the whole thing is sealed.  Futher I ran a second bead after the pieces were in place.

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Finally, a lot of aluminum tape covers all the little holes.  There are a lot more than you might think.  It took over an hour to find them all.  It would have been much better if I’d sealed the firewall before installing the heater and other bits.  But, I didn’t.  So, I got to crawl on my back and get several cramps to get to the holes.  Luckily, there aren’t very many on the firewall…even if almost all of them are in hard to reach places.

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I’d hoped to get the car back on the ground this weekend, but it didn’t quite happen.  I got a ton done, but I was thwarted by the catalytic converter and simply ran out of time.  In theory, I could set her down as soon as I get the cat-replacement-pipe.  I’m hoping to get the inside primed and painted though, too.

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