Saturday, January 17, 2009

Drive train and painting

A good friend of mine has been kind enough to weld the pieces of my slip yolk together (see previous posts to how these were made). A good solid weld was achieved without any distortion of the universal joint arms.

This is the slip yolk after a bit of grinding of the weld bead as it spun on the lathe, which should help to keep it balanced.

The slip yoke connected to the original prop shaft, completing the drive train.

Series wound electric motors, like the kind I plan to use in my conversion, are susceptible to over-spinning and destroying themselves if power is applied while not under load (i.e. if the accelerator is pressed while the car is in neutral). To protect the motor, I would like to have a lock-out so the motor cannot be energized when the transmission is in neutral. Here I have drilled a hole in the transmission casing to receive a spare reverse indicator switch, which I will use as a neutral indicator switch.

On the gear selector shaft, I have added a set of copper sleeves to push against the switch when in the mid position. Pieces of regular copper plumbing did just the job.

The final assembly, and it works.

In researching methods of DIY car painting, I found many reports of people having good success using a roller to apply the paint. Using a front fender as a test piece, I am applying a first coat of paint using a high density 4" roller. The paint is thinned about 15%. It looks like there are lots of bubbles here, but most disappear before the paint dries.

The trick to this method is a color sand between coats to remove imperfections, and the occasional bubble that didn't pop. This is the fender after after about 4 coats and some wet color sanding.
After another two coats, more sanding, finishing with 1500 grit paper, a buffing with rubbing compound, then polishing compound, it looks not bad.

Monday, January 5, 2009

shifter and other body work

It's been -30C outside (and in my garage) these last few weeks, so I'm mostly working on things I can do inside the house.

Finding a shift lever for a Chevette 4-speed (i.e. the transmission I am using) is a real challenge. The recent hike in the price of steel has sent a lot of these cars to the crusher. "You should have come 6 months ago" I was often told while searching for this part. My transmission supplier was able to find something close (the parts on the right), which I have to fit into the control housing on the left.

With a little bit of cutting and turning, a workable solution was obtained.

The inside of the steering gear box. As per my Yahoo Group contacts, the lubrication to use here is gear oil.

The existing seal for the pitman arm shaft would certainly not hold oil, so I renewed it.

In this North American version of a British car, the steering and foot pedals are all on the left hand side, however, for some reason the manufacturer didn't switch over the door lock to the driver door. Thus, locking and unlocking the car by key has be done on the passenger side (there's only one lock). Seeing this would not be convenient, I decided to move the lock over. By rubbing a card over the holes for the key and handle assembly, I am making a template to mark the hole locations for the other door.

Using the template, I have cut the hole for the key lock.

A pic of the lock mechanism inside the door. The only modification required was to add a copper bushing to the handle to better guide the shoot bolt.

I now have my door lock on the driver door.

While most of the car is relatively undamaged, the front fascia was a rather twisted piece of metal .

After some hammering, it got reasonably straight. The rest will have to rely on putty filler.

Making new interior door panels. The old ones were water damaged, and as I found out too late, had shrunk rather significantly such that they weren't reliable to use as templates for the new ones.

I thought I would use a stiffer material (5 ply veneer) rather than Masonite, however I didn't notice the panels need to have a slight bend at the top end, to which my panels resisted. Using a router, I cut grooves where the bend needs to be (see previous photo), and used a clamping jig to form a permanent bend.

The panels are painted, and then covered with a padded vinyl.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Adapter plate machining and transmission assembly

The adapter plate is made from a 1/2 inch thick 6061 aluminum plate, which as mentioned previously, I purchased as an offcut where the dimensions reach exactly to the edges of the bell housing. I may only need only to trim some of the corners off, which is a significant relief as cutting 1/2 plate with home tools is a slow process.

It is critical that the electric motor be concentric with the transmission shaft, therefore I thought it best to keep the plate and the transmission indexed with a pair of guide pins. This will also allow for some forgiveness on any misalignment or play in the other bolt holes to be drilled, while not affecting the overal plate alignment.

Using a punch and a centering tool (i.e. various bits of tubing) to mark the center for the holes.

Drilling the holes. You can see why some forgiveness in hole alignment is needed, as the drill does tend to wander with this kind of set-up.

Taping the holes that will receive bolts.

Checking the hole alignment. Only a couple holes needed touching up with a rat-tail file.

Cutting the hole for the motor shaft with a jig saw. Very slow going. Applying oil to the blade seemed to help.

Finally done. The hole is actually slightly undersized, as the plan is to make the hole concentric when it is enlarged, as I will only know where the exact centre is once everything is assembled.

Now to put the transmission transmission together, which hopefully will be easier than the disassembly. Because of the erroneous directions from the Chilton manual, many loose part fell out the casing before I could see where they came from, which included 16 roller bearings for the main shaft. However, in putting things toghether, there is only room for 15 pins. I'm hoping that the extra pin was just a loose one left behind in the transmission by GM.

The main shaft, counter shaft, and gear selector mechanism before slipping over the casing.

The cover installed

Here are the aluminium couplers with an elastomer spider that I will use. These are very light, and should not add too much to the rotational inertia that the synchronizers will have deal with when shifting, as this is a clutchless system. Now I wait for my motor to come before making final adjustments to the plate.