Journal: May 2001
Monday 5/31/2001, Well it's the end of May and the car is still at the body shop. I'm trying to look at it in the light of Michangelo painting the Sistine chapel. Hopefully Gary (alias Hoopy) my painter will come through like Michangelo. As it goes though, I still have some things to finish up on chassis so I'm not getting real concerned.
Since last month's update I've actually put quite a bit of work into the car. First thing I did was complete the installation of the Energy Suspension poly lower ball joint boots. I had to bite the bullet and remove the brake calipers and rotors to get the spindles off. I should have done this in the first place but I wanted to avoid torquing all the bolts in the front end again. These boots seem like they will hold up much better than the rubber ones I replaced so it should be worth the trouble.
Next I installed a clutch quadrant and adjuster that I purchased from Mike Forte. They are nice anodized aluminum pieces that replace the stock plastic self adjuster. So why would you want to replace a perfectly good stock piece with one you have to manually adjust? First it's much stronger so it should be able to take the additional pressure of the heavy duty FMS clutch that I'm using. (It would be a major hassle to replace a broken stock quadrant after the body is installed.) And B. the manual adjuster at the firewall allows you to adjust the clutch pedal height. I actually had to make a stop to limit the pedal height but the adjuster allowed me to snug up the cable without preloading it.
The next major hurdle was wiring the wipers, I found a really nice diagram on the Cobraforum that showed how to wire them using two relays to activate the self parking feature of the wiper motor. (The FFR wiper kit just gives you a 49 cent SPDT switch and says you are on your own if you want to do this.) Now, you can buy a special Lucas switch for this but since I wanted to use the cool aircraft style covered switches this wasn't an option. So I found the relays and got it all wired up, double checked it and nothing. Well not quite nothing, I did notice a distinct smell of burning electronics. Another "Oh shit" moment in my Cobra build. I dissected the motor and apparently no permanent damage was done. Put it back together and tried again after triple checking the wiring. Same deal. Made a post on the Cobraforum and found that the circuit diagram I was using had some issues and had been revised with a new one that required an additional relay. Luckily Wade Chamberlan came to the rescue with a circuit that used two relays and worked. It was wired totally different so I spent another day wiring it up. This time it worked great. So that was about three days down the tubes. Buy the switch from Finish Line to make your life easier!
Next I hooked up the heater wiring, vacuum lines and duct work. The diagrams that come with the FFR heater are great. It was very easy to get this connected but it did take some time to mount the solenoids, and get the wires and vacuum lines trimmed up. I ran one of the ducts over to the drivers footbox and the other one to the center of the dash for the windshield defroster vents. This is another area where you are on your own to come up with a solution. Hoopy ( You remember Hoopy the painter) is going to cut slots for the vents in the body and I bought some chrome vent covers from FinishLine to trim the slots. To connect the vents to the blower duct I'm planning to use some foam pipe insulation glued to the bottom of the body. Seems like it should work, but we'll see.
So that pretty much completed the dash wiring with the exception of the stereo. (More on that later) I also added a Cigarette lighter outlet under the dash and wired it to the other switch on the dash. I'm thinking I might be needing a radar detector. Before I closed it all up I got in to a zip tying frenzy and tried to make some order out of the chaos of the dash wiring. It looks a little better now but there is still a mess of wires in there. Since I'm using terminal blocks instead of the Mustang gauge pod the thought occurred to me that it would be ugly if a hot wire worked loose and shorted out against the firewall. Just to be safe, I removed the blocks and replaced them after I placed some wide vinyl tape under them. If a wire does come off now it shouldn't immediately short out.
I've also been working on the stereo. I'm going to use an Alpine CD head unit I've had for a few years coupled to an old Sherwood 240 watt 4 channel amp I've had for a lot of years. Haven't quite figured out what I'm going to do for a sub woofer yet but what ever it is it will have to be small to fit in the front portion of the trunk. The rear speakers will be mounted between the seats on the rear bulkhead. I was originally going to mount the radio on a hinged panel that pops up out of the transmission tunnel. Wayne Presley from the Cobraforum installed one like this in his second car and it is sweet. Totally hidden until you pop it up. What I didn't count on was that the Tremac transmission Wayne used isn't as tall as the T5 that I'm using so I don't have enough room. I really liked this location so I mocked up a couple of transmission tunnel consoles out of cardboard to get an idea of what it would look like. One had room for a small glove compartment but it was kind of ugly so I settled on this one. I have a new found respect for sheet metal gurus after making this simple piece. It's not a pretty as I would have liked but with some carpeting it should look great. I picked up some surface mount tweeters that I'll probably mount on the side of the console and then mount some midranges under the dash firing into the footbox. This is defiantly not the hot ticket for great sound but what I'm shooting for is "good" sound that I'll be able to hear at highway speed. This should work for that.
I don't think I mentioned my final color choice yet. (and this has been an excruciating decision) It's going to be BLACK with matte black powder coated rollbar and quickjacks and flat back side pipes. I've seen a couple like this and they just look mean. Kind of understated but I'm not the kind of person that likes to draw a lot of attention to myself. Well maybe a little, after all I am building a Cobra on the Internet but I think basic black is more in line with my personality than say purple. So to this end I got the rollbar, quickjacks, door hinges and C clamps for the wiper motor powdercoated black last week. I had a shop in Akron Ohio called Cruzin Parts do them. They look great and are just sitting there waiting to be installed.
So that's all for now. Hoopy says I'll have the body back by mid June and then the real fun will begin.