Well, we got to stop by and visit with Blooz this morning. We also took along our new wheels and got to try them on his 355 body. I think they look pretty good. Whew......... the pressure to pick the right wheels and tires for a project car that is little more than a bare chassis. But I think we'll be safe with our selection. Here are a couple shots, although I am a terrible photographer. But in my defense, it's hard to focus on taking good pictures when you are surrounded by so many cool cars, engines and various parts. Its always a treat to visit his shop.
We also got to talk suspension options, body modifications and materials. Yesterday we picked up our transverse frame from the welding shop so hopefully this weekend we'll start installing it and adding the vertical braces and such. Then get all the parts blasted and primed and then welded to the chassis for the final time. Then........ off with its head (roof)......
So... I've been working on a suitable design for connecting the upper tranverse frame to the lower frame rail. The main issue is how to get it welded as securely as possible because having it up against the back of the firewall and against the sheet metal connecting the B pillar to the lower frame rail (not shown in the drawing), access for full perimeter welding is quite limited. In the end I opted for a simple angled plate that caps the lower end of the vertical support as well as provides a somewhat secure anchor between the vertical support and the top and inside face of the lower frame rail. With it all tacked together, the entire assembly can be removed for welding completely around the perimeter of each joint and then returned to the chassis for installation and welding were possible. If I had more nerve, I'd remove much of the firewall sheet metal to allow for structural welding and then return the firewall sheet metal afterwards.
While I spent most of the day crouched in the engine bay fitting and refitting steel, I also fitted some cosmetic sheet metal on the inside face of the lower frame rail. ( It's remained uncompleted since I did the frame stretch). I'll complete the final welding and finishing when I complete the final welding of the transverse frame and supports.
Its quite tiring climbing in and out of the engine bay with step ladders all day long with gloves and welding apron on. I think if I ever do another Fiero like this, I'll build a permanent patio around the entire car with proper stairs and then just lift the car out when its done. Then put a hot tub in the hole.
Here is the drawing of the vertical transverse frame support and a picture of the parts tacked together in place. The camera flash sure lights up the ugliness of the unfinished welding.
Not sure if this counts as "making progress" on the project, but I did buy a rack for the new wheels. May as well have a nice place to store them as its going to be a long time before they are rolling down the road.
I think if I ever do another Fiero like this, I'll build a permanent patio around the entire car with proper stairs and then just lift the car out when its done. Then put a hot tub in the hole.
On your progress! Wish I could borrow you and Blooze for my upcoming project! I can handle the fiberglass aspect, but my days of machining and turning wrenches is very far in the past....guess I'll muddle through...albeit...slowly.
Looking great on the project. Tire rack makes for nice storage for the new shoes!
Just when I was going to post the need for an update! Glad to see some progress being reported... I'm sure it's happening all the time but there are some stages that take 80% of the work and yet show only 1%. Have you confirmed that if you tack it all together you'll be able to pull it out of the engine bay in one piece? Your design in that area is what I'm going to be using so I'm keeping a close eye on this part... letting you make all the mistakes first
I think it's time this thread got moved to the Construction Zone... I'll send Cliff a PM and see what he says.
We got the passenger side vertical support for the transverse firewall beam cut and tacked in place. It took a few attempts to get the right angles on each end together with the correct length. You wouldn't think it would be so hard to do but for some reason, when it was 1/8" too long, taking 1/8" off the end made it 1/8" too short. I think my boys are starting to understand why I always bring home twice the amount of steel we think we will need to do the job.
With it all tacked together, we tried removing the assembly in one piece and it worked well, even with the lower frame rail being unfinished and rough. This will allow us to remove it for full welding, sandblasting and priming before installing it permanently in the chassis. I think Blooz is considering a similar structure for his car to provide an anchor point for his dogbone and possibly the hinges for the rear deck.
I hope to have the rollover hoops made this week and then installed in the transverse beam and tacked in place prior to final welding and installation of the assembly.
Here are a few shots of the beam out, then lowered between the frame rails and then pushed forward against the firewall.
edit: remove photo of family member
[This message has been edited by Yarmouth Fiero (edited 02-23-2015).]
As always, looks fantastic. At first glance I might say "overkill" for side to side support, but it's definately a case of "rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it", at least in my mind, and obviously yours too.
Considering the size and design of your side supports, I don't know how you could've done the cross brace any differently..nice job!
Anxious for you to move on to the body...but we all know..."good things come to those who wait" I B Waitn.
Thanks guys. It has been going a little slow lately but as we all know, even when we are not physically working on our projects, our brains are fully engaged.
The beam is substantial Sage, however, I did want something robust to provide a solid anchor point for my roll over hoops while minimizing the intrusion of additional structure into the engine bay. I think tieing all the frame rails together should provide a solid support and increase the transverse stiffness of the chassis once the roof is removed.
Thanks Fierogt28, it's nice to be in the construction zone with so many amazing projects. There is certainly much more "construction orientated traffic" here and I'm hopeful ideas and opinions will flow freely as I move forward.
Hi fieroguru, last October during a visit to Blooz's, I located the fuel fill location on his 355 body. It appears to be located very similar to the stock fiero fuel fill. So I located my fuel fill opening accordingly and the stock fill pipe "just" clears the new rocker frame reinforcement so hopefully all will be well. I may have to rotate the fill pipe slightly but I think its going to work. As a back up plan, I could make a new pipe if neceaasry.
You will need to cut the fuel filler pipe and extend it by a few inches anyway since the 355 hips are out further than stock Fiero. I made my fuel pipe cut right where the frame brace is so that I could add in the fuel filler rubber section right there to help with no metal on metal touching for the fuel pipe and the rubber pipe can be manipulated a bit easier to avoid the brace.
I finally got the material for our roll over hoops. I went with 1 1/2" Sch 40 Seamless DOM Pipe ASTM A-106. This gives a O.D of 1 7/8". The reason I went with pipe and not tubing is because I don't have a 2" tubing die for the hydraulic tubing bender. The 1 1/2" pipe die had a radius of 4" so that also dictated the general shape of the hoop. The design looked good on the 3D model so I hope it suits the car when I get them installed.
I have left the ends long until they are fitted to the transverse frame so they look a little lopsided propped up against the chassis.
Here is the design followed by the actual parts. I hope to get them installed this week so I'll post a pic after that to get a better idea how the shape suits the car.
edit for typo.
[This message has been edited by Yarmouth Fiero (edited 06-02-2013).]
I've been debating all day about the height of these roll over hoops. I have them centered with the seats so I think that looks fine. But the height is questionable. In the photos, I have them about 3" higher than the head rest. I think they look ok but without the actual rear deck in place, they may actually be too low. I don't want them looking too low on the finished car but I also don't want them towering over the seats. Does anyone have a picture of a Fiero with roll over hoops?
Blooz, would it be possible to get a measurement of the rear deck height above the top of the firewall on your car?
Thanks Blooz. I got one hoop mounted through the transverse frame. It's a little nerve racking to make sure the holes are in the exact spot .... on both sides of the beam. The pipe is 1 7/8" O.D. so I used a 1 3/4" hole saw and hand filed the holes to the final diameter. In these pictures, the hoop is 4" above the seat headrest. This will allow me to notch the top flange of the firewall so that the bend in the hoop is just slightly above the flange. With the body work about 1" higher than the firewall flange, I think the hoops would look proportional in height to the seats.
I now have both the hoops fitted to the transverse frame and tacked in position. Now to notch the firewall top flange so that the transverse frame can slide forward up against the firewall. I set the height of the hoops about 4" above the seat headrest.
Tonight we notched the top flange of the firewall so that the transverse frame with roll hoops could slide forward and tight against the back of the firewall. I used a 2" hole saw to start the notches and then finished the opening off with a a zip wheel. Then dressed the edges with a file. Those suckers are very sharp.
Once the notches were completed, the transverse frame slid right into place. I raised the hoops slightly to compensate for the 30mm deck height when the body work is done. I think the final height of the hoops is pretty close to what I want. They are slightly lower than the current roof and windshield top edge. I looked at a few different convertable models and I found I liked the look best when the roll hoops / bars were at a height somewhere between the headrest and top of the windshield. I got a few pics with Kirk in the drivers seat to give some reference.....he's 5' 9".
With everything tacked together the way I want, I'll remove the frame, cut the excess tubes below the frame, get it all welded, sand blasted and primed. I am considering having just the hoops powdered coated to accent the final body color. When we get to the body work, I'll include a stylish body panel to cover this frame and the base of the hoops.
Well, we have agonized over accent colors for the car. The first parts to get powdercoated will be the roll over hoops as they must be welded to the transverse frame before coating and also before the frame is welded into the car. As I stated in the previous post, our plan for the car is a full carbon body with gold tone accents. We think this will give the car a unique look that is not exactly pretty, yet not too ugly. Sort of a " omg...... it's oddly strange yet I can stop staring at it" sort of look. We hope it will walk that fine line between gorgeous and hideous.
Its amazing how many choices there are to select from when it comes to powdercoating and finishes. We have narrowed it down to the following color..... 365 Gold Nugget. Its a true gold tone with a slight shimmer yet does not have that 24 k in your face gold shine. We shot one of the spare hoops with the gold nugget and also shot part of the hoop with a gloss finish and a matte finish as well as left the center section with no clear coat for reference. Its been raining in Nova Scotia for 3 months now so I don't have a good picture in the sunlight. However, we think the au natural finish is the nicest and will suit the satin finish of the carbon body. Hopefully, if and when the sun shines again, we'll get to see some shimmer in the color.
[This message has been edited by Yarmouth Fiero (edited 07-01-2013).]
Yahoooooooooooooo. I can hardly wait Blooz. I hope you got a pic of it on the truck with the chopper parts. Let me know what your plans are and if you need a hand unloading it. Thanks again to Don and yourself for making this happen.
[This message has been edited by Yarmouth Fiero (edited 07-01-2013).]
Glad to help guys. Hopefully the parts are put to good use and help you guys out.
Keep the posts coming.
I now have a 3" stretched convertible Fiero frame with 8" wider rear suspension and 4" wider front suspension I need to do something with...... Maybe a new project coming my way that doesn't entail copious amounts of fiberglassing like my last ones......
Good luck and talk to you soon Don
[This message has been edited by 355Fiero (edited 07-01-2013).]
With all the frame modifications welded and ready for final installation, I had them all sandblasted and primed with a welding primer, Nippe Ceramo. Its a product we use extensively in the shipbuilding industry. They are now ready for final welding into the chassis. The transverse frame will have the rollover hoops welded in prior to powdercoating. Once the powdercoating is done, the frame will take up its permanent home behind the fire wall. The rocker frames weigh 40 lbs each and the transverse frame with hoops weighs 38 lbs for a total weight gain of 118 lbs. While this is quite significant, most of the weight is low on the chassis and the increase in structural rigidity is worth every pound. I expect the roof and original rockers that have been removed already will be a weight savings of about 25lbs. I'll confirm this when the roof is removed.
The rollover hoops have required alot of finish work to get them to a level of finish that I will be happy with. Even though I ordered quality pipe and handled it carefully, there are a million very small dings and nicks which I want sanded out prior to powdercoating.
Here is a picture showing the 4 steps the rollover hoops went through. The black steel pipe was formed using a hydraulic bender to get the desired shape and dimensions. The hoops were then hand sanded with emery paper to remove all the surface imperfections. I did it by hand to ensure that the pipes kept a nice smooth surface with no flats that can occur with power sanding. Also, powdercoating tends to reveal surface imperfections quite nicely and I didn't want to have to refinish them after they are welded to the chassis. Following sanding, I had the hoops lightly sandblasted to give the surface a nice even profile. Finally, the pieces were powdercoated with 365 Gold Nugget with no clearcoat.
[This message has been edited by Yarmouth Fiero (edited 07-04-2013).]
Looks like a "kit" to me! Maybe you could get with Archie and have him produce these if you didn't want to get into it yourself. You've done all the hard work in figuring out what needed to be done, now it's a rinse and repeat deal! That has to be the best solution to "how to brace up the frame so you can cut off the top" that I've ever seen. Very nice work.
Your "hoops" also look fantastic! You've solved the problem of "jumping through hoops"....you made your own!
Still following your build, gets more impressive every time you post. Thanks for sharing and documenting the process.
Thanks for the compliments Sage. It has been alot of work to get it exactly how I want it. I don't think I would ever get into " production " as I do that for a living at the shipyard. I'm sure my design is far from perfect but I am happy with the results and the fact that they can be made and fitted to the chassis as complete units means that I achieved my goal. I would never " sell " my design as I have taken inspiration from others on this forum who have gladly shared their knowledge, experience and opinions. If someone wanted a copy of the 2D drawings so they could make the modifications to their own car, I don't mind sharing. Once the frames are finally fitted, I'll update my drawings to " As Built " status.
Today we welded the hoops into the transverse frame. With the height set to what I hope will be suitable for the finished car, we welded them on the top and bottom of the frame. When I was fitting the hoops to the frame, the top hole was easy as I simply drilled them the same size as the O.D. of the pipe. However, getting a tight fitting hole on the underside of the transeverse frame where the tube passed through and that lined up perfectly with the top hole proved to be impossible. So I drilled the lower hole slightly over sized. This left a slight gap so I fabricated washers that fit the tube O.D. and allowed us to get a nice sound weld rather than try and simply fill the gap.
Now the frame will be dropped off for powdercoating of the hoops. He gives them a light sandblasting to even up the surface profile and give a nice clean surface for coating.
We've finally had 2 nice sunny days in a row in Nova Scotia and looking at the finish on the test hoop, I'm kind of liking the clear coat more than no clear coat at all. The clear coat certainly brings out the gold flakes in the finish. I guess I'll make a last minute call when they get the powdercoat.