Monday, June 25, 2007

Out for paint!

This morning, I put the car on a flatbed tow truck and sent it away for final painting. Should be done in about a week! In the meantime, my batteries should be delivered, and the garage cleaned and ready for reassembly...

Pedal Cluster Rebuild

This weekend, in a spare moment :-) (well, a spare 3 hours or so) I decided it was time to attack the pedal cluster. When last seen, it was quietly rusting, as can (kind of) be seen here:

Following the instructions at Pelican Parts - and equipped with the rebuild kit - I disassembled the cluster (note: removing the pin that holds the whole thing together was every bit as hard as the article implied - I ended up using my air hammer with a round chisel attachment to drive it out). When I got the old bearings out, here is what I found:
I then cleaned the cluster of old paint and rust (soap and water, along with elbow grease and a wire brush on my angle grinder). A liberal application of black POR-15 on the non-bearing surfaces followed, resulting in:
The new bronze bushings went in very easily - again, the hardest part was installing the new brake pedal retention pin (I used a hammer against a sledgehammer backing ultimately...). The final result: a pedal cluster that should last another 30 years.

Sunday, June 24, 2007


May/June 2006

I had visions of doing the complete paint job myself, so I experimented with a temporary "paint booth" - a pop-up canvas shelter to keep bugs, leaves, etc. off the paint. I primed in this booth to see how it goes. I found out two things:

1. Painting is harder than you would imagine
2. I'm not very good at it

Here's the paint booth, with the car inside:

Here I am, fully garbed, spraying primer on the interior (in this case, over the POR-15, but the rest of the metal-etching primer was sprayed on bare metal):

And, finally, the result: ready for painting. I have an appointment for June 25 to take it in. While it's in, I'm going to build cables, get the garage wiring in shape, finish mounting the motor to the transmission (including a clutch rebuild), and other miscellaneous things. I hope to bedoing the major parts of EV assembly the week of Fourth of July.

Interior Painting

March/April, 2006

A long winter (blizzards, extended freezing temperatures, and no car progress). But finally spring showed up with extended periouds of 60-degree-plus weather.

After some research, I decided I wanted to POR-15 the whole interior. I never want to mess with rust again... so I did the full prep / rust inhibit / paint cycle. Turned out pretty nice, IMO.
Also, remember the "hell-hole"? Here it is, welded, seam-sealed, POR-15 primed, and sprayed silver (not quite the same silver that the exterior will be, but, oh, well):


October, 2006

Just an example of my (pitiful) welding skills. After stripping, I found a massive bondo plug in the right rear tail light area. After much grinding and prepping, I was left with this clean hole (see the tire!)

I cut and fit a patch, and used various sizes of Vice-Grips to hold it in place for welding
After welding, I ground the welds down flush to make it easier for final Bondo when the time comes:

Sand Blasting

October 2006.

One-year anniversary of ordering the AC kit. But I'm still playing with body work. The gross stripping is complete, but there are nooks and crannies that I can't reach well with my scraper, sander, or angle grinder. So, I hooked a home sand blaster up to my compressor and went to town:

EA AC Kit Parts

September 2006

After a trip to Bonny Doon, California, to pick up the battery boxes, I actually have most of the parts in-hand (except for the controller mounting, see later post...). Here are the parts layed out on my living room floor:
...with labels:
Here are the battery boxes and mounting hardware. They are well-constructed, and I'm happy to have them (I saved EA quite a lot of money by getting them myself)
I took this opportunity to mate the motor with the mounting hardware. Stage 1 is the adapter ring, a massive hunk of well-machined aluminum:
Stage 2 is a custom-machined piece designed to fit the 914's transmission:

Just for fun, I dry-mounted the flywheel I'm not ready to do it for real yet.

Stripping It Down

August, 2006

I stripped the paint from the car, using a combination of chemical strippers...
...and an orbital sander with a dust bag attachment. My oldest daughter helped out a lot with the sander - she did all the fenders for me. Here I'm showing her the technique (good: proper eye/ear/dust protection; bad: inadequate clothing and no gloves...)
It's amazing how much work this is.... the stripper just never gets enough of the paint by itself.

Rust, rust, rust

August, 2006

Spent much time cleaning up the "hell-hole" - here it is, almost ready for welding:
I also spent a lot of time taking bits-n-pieces off the car. Here's what I found when I took the rocker panels off:
...and the bumper (other side looks jus as bad):
...and the floor pans (after using a heat gun to get that crappy tar off of them...)
Fortunately, none of this rust is structural. But it does lead me to conclude that it is time to take the whole car down to bare metal (a decision that took me nearly a year to recover from...)

Disassembly - Part 1

July 3, 2006Bye, bye, internal combustion!

I dropped the engine. After the drop, I got my first good look at the actual rust damage in the "hell hole." Much worse than I expected. Time to buy an arc welder...

The Donor Car

September, 2005
The donor car is a 1975 Porsche 914 4-cylinder. I found an ad for it online - it was located in Colorado Springs, about 120 miles from my home. I flew down, took a test drive, then bought it and drove it home (quite an act of faith in retrospect!). I did look at the typical rust spots - the "hell hole" below the battery mount, the longitudinals, etc. - and did see a little rust. But not enough to worry about (or so I thought...). And, yes, it was very purple.