Youtube Update 9: Debugging the Engine & Electrical System

OK, time to get caught up on blog posts. Experience the agony of defeat and the joy of victory along with me as I debug the electrical system one fault at a time, prepare the engine for starting, and debug the engine. GSX-R1000 engines have a sensor that looks for the original ignition switch, and won’t start without it. This had to be worked around, followed by a determination that all the fuel injectors were clogged. I then made a device to clean and test the fuel injectors…

Click the photo to watch the video on Youtube.

Oil Filling

Ready to fill the engine with oil, coolant, and gasoline.

Paneling the Cockpit

 

Cockpit Panels

Fully paneled cockpit

While the sides of the cockpit already have side-intrusion panels on the outside, they will also have a second panel on the inside to prevent the seat foam from extruding between the frame tubes and pushing on the outside panels, something those outside panels aren’t equipped to properly resist. The interior panels also must follow the SCCA rule against stressed skins that requires chassis attachment points to be more than 6 inches apart. Due to their different shape and size, the interior panels have a completely different mounting pattern and can’t share any of the exterior panel mount points. Thus, many more tabs are cut and welded on.

The seat back is formed by the fuel tank and three additional pieces of aluminum, shaped at the sides to provide shoulder support on the front while providing space and access at the back to the fuel pump on one side and the fuel filler on the other. The center section is removable to access the shoulder harness mounting points.

 

Building the Floor Pan, Floorpan, Belly Pan, Whatever

Floor Pan

Formula 1000 race car floorpan with front keel

In my continuing effort to get everything welded onto the frame so can paint it, it’s time to build the floor pan. SCCA rules allow the floor pan to be a stressed skin, so this one fully welded around outside and to all crossmembers. To anyone who wants to learn to weld better, I recommend welding a floorpan. That’s a lot of welding. None of these pieces were laser cut– templates were made in plastic sheeting, transferred to sheet steel, and cut out with an angle grinder. Wear hearing protection. And eye protection. And lung protection. And heavy gloves up to your elbow. Angle grinders can mess you up.

The floor pan aroundĀ  front keel is of special interest. Some parts have a single curve which is easily fabricated, but two of the pieces have a compound curve which can’t just be bent. They have to be pounded into submission to make them fit. As this is my first attemptĀ  at metal shaping, I started out tentatively. After a lot of pounding I was getting nowhere and got angry. It turns out this is what you need to do. Pound the crap out of it, then fix the area around the big dent you just made, and eventually it takes shape. An English wheel would have been useful, but building or buying one is a big project.

There are two layers of steel under the fuel tank and the driver’s butt, one under the legs. Should be stiff, strong, and safe. And now, on to the photographs. I suffered through this. Now it’s your turn:

Building the Firewall

Test Fit

Test fitting the firewall

The firewall is a continuous, fully welded sheet of steel between the engine compartment and the cockpit. SCCA formula 1000 rules allow it to be a stressed panel, thus the continouous welding. Around the fuel tank it will be a double wall of steel for extra protection against engine explosions, insulated with shredded fiberglass to keep the fuel cool.

Fabricating the Fuel Tank

Fuel Tank

Finished fuel tank. You might want to wear sunglasses.

The fuel tank consists of an FIA FT3 certified fuel cell bladder, custom-made for this project by Aero Tec Laboratories, inside a custom made steel/aluminum container. The bottom and back of the container are made from a single laser-cut and bent sheet of steel, while the sides, front, and top are laser-cut and bent aluminum pieces. It’s carefully designed so the interior is completely smooth with all rivets and fasteners away from the fuel cell. All the rivet holes were laser cut also, meaning there’s only one way to fit it together– the correct way. This did make it very hard to install, however, as tolerances are zero to negative.

Inspecting or replacing the fuel cell bladder should be possible by drilling out all the rivets on the diagonal front panel and removing it. Not something I want to do very often.

Welding on More Random Jingly Bits

Shiny Frame

Some shiny frame porn for you…

I had not realized how many small brackets and things need to be fabricated and welded onto the frame before it can be painted. Weeks of work…

The nose mounts are so strong because the car will be lifted by a nose jack under the wing in the pits.

 

Fabricating the Steering Column

I originally sent all these parts out to the CNC shop, but they never got back to me with a quote so I ended up making everything myself. The spline onto the steering rack was a tight press fit, so for now the entire column including the rack is a single assembly. I don’t know it’s possible to remove the rack later, and I’m not going to try as it might destroy the rack. The U-joints are special units from Sweet Manufacturing in the US, but don’t seem to be anything special. In the future I might try to adapt standard Honda steering column U-joints and column splines. These use a perpendicular pinch bolt so the column can be disassembled at each joint.