Damian came round last Saturday and we had a go at getting the main tub lined up. Its a pig of a job for a few reasons.
The first is that the bodywork is nowhere near symmetrical, the front left wheel arch is a few cm smaller than the front right. The inner distance between the front arch and rear arch on the left side is shorter than that on the right. The curves of the front bumper are different on each side which makes it hard to line up. The rear end is slightly higher on one side, and the rear left arch has a different curvature. The front bulkhead is concave meaning you will never get a good shut line against the bonnet – this is the one that is going to annoy me the most once its all lined up.
The second annoyance is the quality of the GRP is pretty poor, I’d been warned about this so it wasn’t a huge surprise. Talking to a few people it seems that this is primarily down to the molds, but is also down to some poor GRP work.
The body is in 4 pieces, this makes it somewhat harder to keep it all together to get a good idea of what’s going on, Tim and Colin seem to have perfected the way of getting it all on, to do this you require copious amounts of gaffa tape, and basically tape all the parts together. Once they are together you position it as best you can.
I’d got the easier (right hand) side pretty much where i wanted but couldn’t get the left to line up, to make things easier I put a rivet into the bulkhead at the front right which allowed me to keep it roughly correct front to back on the right side, but still allowed a lot of movement of the rest of the shell.
Damian and I then proceeded to stretch, tilt, adjust, press, squeeze and maneuver the shell into a position we could both live with – I preferred to look at shut lines, and gaps around the arches, Damian was more focused on height, and stance.
In the end we got it pretty much where we think it should be, there was just one problem, the left hand side was going to be a disaster. The front wheel was almost hitting the bonnet at the front, and the rear arch was hitting the rear wheel.
Somehow we had to stretch the bodywork, obviously this is not a trivial thing to do, so we moved it back to give a little more space around the rear, and the bonnet forward on the left side, this gave a better look from the left hand side, with a larger shut line around the bonnet.
We shuffled it around for an hour or so more until we were happy with the shut line on the bonnet, got tape and shims out to stop it moving, and then I painstakingly crawled around the front of the car clamping the bonnet to the hinge. Once i was sure it wasn’t going to fall apart, we lifted the bonnet up so I could get in with the drill to put the holes into the bonnet. Of course it all shifted, and we had to repeat the whole process again.
This time I decided to try to drill the holes with the bonnet down, whilst it was awkward it paid off and i got the holes where I wanted.
This week I wanted to get the tub on properly – its been clamped in place with some dowels for good measure up until now, and I decided to have a bit of a fiddle to try to get the left side to line up better. The right hand side looks fine, so I put a couple of larger rivets in the tub to stop it moving.
The problem is purely that the arches are smaller and will foul the wheels, and there is a larger shut line at the bonnet. I decided to cure the shut line first and shoved the tub forward on the left side until it hit the bonnet. I then clamped it all in place and experimented by twisting the tub at the back and raising the height and reducing the width. This gave me some additional space at the rear, and I then wedged a bit of wood between the chassis and the back of the tub to see if I could force it out, in doing so it now looks pretty good. I will need to find a more permanent way of doing this, but I expect with some additional fibreglassing I can force it to stay in this shape.
The front is still too close to the wheel and will require some trimming, as its slightly smaller than the front left, I will trim away a very small amount of the GRP to give me more clearance, this seems quite common, I will experiment with some black tape to simulate the effects until I’m happy with the lines.
I need to think of a way of bringing the center of the scuttle forward a few MM to eliminate the shut line but I don’t think it will happen to be honest, its very stiff and its about 10MM out.
Today I finished off fixing on the rear tub, I used large head rivets, on the leading edge I put a strip of Aluminum down to hide the rough edge and neaten things up a bit.
I then attached the side-pods with rivnuts. I made up some additional brackets to ensure they are well supported, the bodywork is now becoming a lot more rigid which is good news because I felt it was quite flimsy before. The trick for getting the shut line good on the side pod is to use rivnuts as close to the outside edge as possible, this is hard due to the access constraints, but also because there is not a lot to bolt through as there are cut outs close to the edge for the impact protection.
I put rivnuts into the GRP and bolted through the floor into them, this seemed to give me the best fit. Both sides are removable, in the future I want to use the right hand pod for luggage space so it makes sense to make it easy to remove so I can fit additional GRP compartments into it.
I lined the exhaust side with heat reflective material in the hope it will stop anything melting, the exhaust will get really hot, its wrapped in heat wrap, but I want to try to avoid any over heating here.
I made an opening in the front of the pod for cold air to come through, I shall put gauze over this to keep stones out.\n
I’ve fully decided on a flat floor of sheet aluminum, I just need to find a source of large aluminum sheets. I will make one for the front which will go from the crossmember at the front of the transmission tunnel right to the front of the bonnet, it will go out to the wheels with cut outs where the wheels turn. There will need to be additional cut outs for the sump, and access to water drain, and perhaps the oil filter. These will be sealed when not in use when possible.
There will be a central section over the transmission tunnel, and a rear section from the crossmember to the end of the bodywork.
There are two main reasons for this, the first is aerodynamic, the fury produces lift at speed, especially at the front, so anything I can do to aid downforce is going to be beneficial. The second is for the IVA test, the less the tester can see, the less chance he has of spotting something he doesnt like. They are removable so if he does need to visually inspect anything, he will be able to.