Seems like I am working on so many parts of the car at once; headers, gas tank, electronics, crossmember, and none of them are getting finished. As is so often true, each part has little snags that I've run into, or I have to wait for something. Rather than stop all together I have just been moving on to another part of the project. Once I have the crossmember in place, then we can make sure the headers fit with the motor finally located. Then the motor comes back out to paint the frame mount areas and crossmember and the headers go back to Sanderson to be ceramic coated. While that is happening I can put the motor back in, hopefully for the last time, and put the fenders back on. Once the fenders are on I can route the engine wiring harness. Oh and I am waiting for a different gas tank, but that's another episode. Good news is it should be ready to bolt in once it gets here.
Enough rambling, just wanted to tie all the recent entries together.
To add strength and make the weld easier we decided to place an insert inside the tube instead of doing a butt weld. I am fortunate that my friend Dennis has a nice lathe. He chucked a piece of bar stock into it and turned it down so it would just barely fit inside the tube. Then my tedious job was to cut through the bar stock with the sawzall! Did not take that long. You can see the tube with the bar stock inserted in picture 1. Picture 2 shows the tubes tacked together. You can see our guidelines line up and can see the gap we left to fill with weld. And finally, the narrowed crossmember in picture 3. I will clean the weld up a little with the grinder to make it prettier. Next step is to install it, that will happen this weekend I hope.
I will be using a Competition Engineering universal crossmember to mount my transmission. It's a very nice piece as shown in picture 1, but much wider than I need at a full 42 inches. I have about 27 inches between the frame rails, so not only do I need the crossmember narrower, I need the dropped section narrower too. The bends of the center section were 24 inches apart which would mean that the outside bends would be almost out to the frame rails and would impact my exhauster pipe routing, We decided to section 2 inches out of the middle. That would still allow enough room for the mount bracket, but give more room on the outside edges. We found the middle of the crossmember and measured 1 inch away on each side. Then we drew lines lengthwise through the cut area to make it easy to line it back up straight.(Picture 2) I did not have a chop saw or band saw to cut with so had to rely on a sawzall. To make the cuts as straight as possible we put hose clamps around the tube to serve as an edge guide for the saw (picture 3).
Now that I have the electronic modules in place, I wanted to plug in the engine harness, just for a trial fit. I won't be able to install it finally unil I have the fenders back in place. This is a custom harness built by John Spear at Speartech.com. Really a very clean piece with very complete instructions that even a dummy like me can follow. Once I have the fenders back installed I plan to fabricate a deflector to keep water and road dirt from being thrown up onto the the components.
Next I transferred the template pattern to a piece of sheetmetal. I used a nibler and tin snips to cut out the sheetmetal. Then I used a couple pieces of angle iron as a makeshift brake to form the mount. Once the holes were all drilled and a trial fitting was done, I painted it semi-flat black and mounted the TAC. Finally I installed the whole assembly using the same bolts that hold the ECU bracket in place. It's not a show piece, but very functional and will be hidden away up under the fender where only the most curious will see it.
By the way, the TAC is a component of the electronic throttle control or ETC. There is a harness that will connect the pedal that I installed earlier to the TAC, then the TAC is connected to the main ECU. The whole works controls the throttle and also will provide a cruise control. All of this eliminated the need for a cable throttle and seperate cruise control module.