|Alex Smith's Vortex|
|Vortex Discussion Group|
Vortex 3-wheel Vehicle
17' Wind Turbine
Bradly GT II Kit Car
1966 Ford Fairlane GT
Xantrex XW Monitoring/Logging Software
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This page will show detailed information concerning how I outfitted/finished the front trunk area including: fuel cell, battery, electrical, master brake cylinder and pop-up headlight mechanism.
The area that I had to work for the fuel storage is: Width=21", Depth=14", Height=12", and I figured that I could fit about a 14 gallon tank into that space. I contacted a company that would custom make one to my dimensions and they said that it would cost approximately $325.00 plus $65.00 for the sending unit - ouch!
I ended up purchasing an aluminum fuel cell that has the capacity of 12 gallons mainly due to the fact that I was able to pick it up on eBay pretty reasonably ($145.00)... It is an aluminum fuel cell manufactured by RCI, it also came with the 90-ohm sending unit and has the capacity of 12 gallons and it's size is 18 " W, 12 " D, 12" H, so will fit pretty well.
The top of it has the sending unit, a #8 outlet, #8 vent and #8 rollover valve as well as the filler. The trade off was a couple (2) of gallons storage for a savings of about $240... I can live with that!
Here is picture of the fuel cell located in the front trunk, fits real nicely!
I decided to go with a 1970 Triumph Spitfire dual line master brake cylinder, they are pretty compact and can be gotten pretty reasonably. Whatever master brake cylinder you go with just be sure that it has two outlets, one for the front and one for the rear brakes. Don't use a single line master cylinder! you really want them separate in case of a brake line failure! I may have to make up a mounting bracket and possibly rebuild it but it is a good start!
I modified a wiper assembly to work with my vehicle:
Here is picture showing component layout inside the trunk area:
I realized that I needed to make and install some mechanism to make the front headlights pop-up before I put the top skin over the front of the vehicle. If I waited till later it would make the task far more difficult than if I did it now...
The motors for the lights will now be located inside the front trunk area instead of directly behind the lights, I think that this will be easier than trying to stuff them in that little space. I will be using 2 bronze flange bearings for each side and make a mechanism to operate the lights. I also wanted to be able to remove this assembly. There will be an access panel inside the wheel well so that if need be I can get access to this area.
I located inside the trunk where I wanted to drill for locating the bearing and drilled it so that the flange was flush with the inside surface. It is near impossible to get 2 holes perfectly aligned so using a saw I removed a portion of the gusset for the headlights. My plan was to use some Tiger-hair bondo to locate the other flange bearing by using the 1/2" diameter shaft to properly locate it.
Once the bondo hardened sufficiently I cleaned up the area a bit to remove excess from around the area. Since the bearings are oil impregnated the bondo does not adhear to it and can be removed.
I then made up both of the mechanisms and any required spacers, the portion behind the headlights uses a 1/4" bolt and this can be removed allowing the shaft to be removed from inside the trunk area if needed for future maintenance. Here are some pictures showing the components of the mechanism, and one assembled so that you can see how they go together.
I still have to make up the end of the linkage but want to mount the motors first. I did not have suitable steel to make the mounts so this will have to wait a while. Finally got the headlight motors mounted, I may need to tweak the final position but temporarily will be a good start. I used a piece of mild steel and bent it to provide the proper spacing of the motors and the mounting surface. The motors had a steel end piece that luckily was removable and that is what I welded the mounts onto. Here are some pictures showing the headlight motor mounts and lifting mechanism from inside the trunk area.
Once the motors were mounted I worked on making the linkages necessary to get the popup headlights basically working. A lot of work goes into these small parts as I ended up making one set, throwing them away and starting over as I did not like the results.
The 'interior' linkages that connect to the headlights are a fixed length, while the ones that go from the motors to the mechanism are adjustable. My thinking was that it might be necessary to adjust them for proper operation and the ones inside the front trunk compartment are far easier to get to than the others.
Here is a picture of the fixed length ones on the left and the adjustable ones on the right:
Since the wood that forms the front trunk contains a slight bow from putting on the 'skin' onto the vehicle, I was afraid that when I cut off the front trunk lid that the stresses will allow the lid to flatten out! To help the lid keep it's shape I needed to add at least 2 layers of glass mat and 1 layer of cloth and in addition some temporary foam supports to retain the bow.
Using seam tape I taped and fiberglassed all remaining joints on the front of the vehicle. I ended up using 2 layers of mat and one layer of cloth thinking that the foam supports will help hold the deck lid shape. I used some 2" pieces of foam shaped them so that they would conform to the deck curvatures and using some 3" glass tape on all edges to hold them to the surface of the deck lid.
Once I cut off the front trunk lid and glass and reinforce the inside of the trunk area the temporary supports and extra seam tape will be ground off.
The 1/4" plywood directly in front of the lights is actually a bit too high and would block some of the light coming from the headlights so I decided to 'accent' this area. When done this area directly in front of the headlights will be slightly lower than the rest of the front end, I think that it will add an interesting break up of the continuous front end styling and when done I will add some nice radiusing to the transition areas.
Next I moved back to the hinge situation, I recently received the other style hinges and after looking them over quite a bit decided that I wanted to see if I could get the original hinges to work for me (ok I flip-flopped!). I did not like the way that the longer hinge opened up, the hinges would move the trunk lid up and swing the bottom of the lid quite a ways into the trunk area. In addition they are easily 2x the size so I figured that if I could not get the original hinges to fit properly that the bigger ones would be a backup solution.
I needed to form a lip around the edge to hold some rubber sealing strips. I ripped up some wood so that there would be a 3/8" recess under the trunk hood and about a 1/2" wide landing. Using some wood glue and a brad gun I tacked all the pieces and then clamped them into position around 3 sides of the front trunk area (I will be doing something slightly different for the front edge of the trunk). Here is a picture of the lip clamped in place:
I had to make up a U bracket from a couple pieces of angle iron so that I could bolt them through the sides of the trunk, extend past the trunk lip and mount the hinges onto the other side of the U, one bolt goes into the headlight area and one in the empty void in front of the headlight. I trimmed out as much steel on the mounting face so that as little as possible would show from the interior of the trunk. I also had to make up some 1" spacers for bolting the rear of the hinge to the bracket. Here are a couple of pictures showing the hinges:
Once the resin went off I removed the clamps and trimmed up the area. Finally I mounted the trunk lid, reconnected the nitrogen cylinders and tried it out. I have to do some alignment but it works and looks great! As you can see the trunk lid still swings in at the bottom, but had I used the other hinges it would have come in almost 2x the amount - a bit too intrusive in the trunk area! The nitrogen cylinders are pretty strong and it takes a fair amount of effort to close the lid, in the future I may see if I can get some others that have less pressure. I am happy enough with the hinges that I will be keeping them!!
Worked in installing the poppers into the trunk area today first I made up some fiberglass angle about 1-1/2" x 3-1/2" x 10" long using two layers of cloth and about eight layers of mat. Once it went off I trimmed it up and split it into two pieces, one for each side. The plan was to place one end against the inside wall and the other under the bottom trunk lip.
After locating how they would be mounted I drilled the center for the plunger portion of the popper and using two layers of mat behind and above the angle glassed it into the trunk, before the resin went off I also put a couple more layers of mat and single layer of glass on the topside. Trimmed it up and installed both the poppers. I will probably only be using these to make positive stops for the trunk lid, and plan on putting in some weaker springs so that the pressure from them will not torque the lid.
Went to work trying to see how I could better mount the motors inside the front trunk and after a couple of hours I came up with a far better solution than previous. The original brackets mounted the motors from the inside rather than the outside surface so I hacked them up a bit, a little bending and welding on some new mounting tabs and had a much better looking mounting system that used a simple angle bracket below that the motors bolt onto:
The Autocraft battery has dual posts, meaning that it has the top posts and on the face it also has screw posts. It was about the biggest battery that I could fit the space allocated and has 1000 amps cranking power. Lots of power, I have always heard that since motorcycle engine based 3-wheelers do not have nearly as much alternator/generator power as do automobiles and as such extra reserve power is preferred. One other neat feature is that the battery came with a removable top cover (possibly for shipping) that I discovered could be flipped over and used as a battery tray!
As well as using a couple of screws to hold the cover/battery tray, I used a web strap to retain it in the front trunk area so it can't move around as shown below. It's starting to get a little tight in the front trunk area:
The brake lines that went into the brake master cylinder had to be redone for the new master cylinder. The new unit uses 10mm-1.0 fittings, so I remade them.
Here is a picture comparing the large cap model to the small cap one, other than the ports there is another major difference that being under the back of the reservoir. The large cap one has a raised section at the rear, which when mounted horizontally makes it marginal for getting enough fluid into the reservoir so that the rear 'intake' remains covered. While looking at the late model 'small cap' one you can see that the master cylinder does not have this raised section, making it more appropriate for my application.
I had previously modified the old plunger on the master cylinder so that the length was adjustable, it easily swapped onto the newer unit.I installed both the brake and the clutch hydraulic cylinders, got the pedals adjusted so that when they were in their 'normal' position that the plungers were not depressed. There has to be a very little bit of slop here otherwise there will be pressure in the lines.
Very important note here: the ends of the brake lines that go into the master cylinder have to have a bubble flair! Be sure not to double flair them or they may not seal properly. The other ends of the lines used a 7/16"-24 tube nut with a proper double flair. Here is a picture showing the new plumbing installed it looks real nice with the new master cylinders installed!
I needed to run a vent for the fuel cell and decided to put it into the tunnel for the steering rack. I used a 1/8" NPT to 1/4" barbed nipple and drilled a hole and screwed it into the plywood. The red arrow above shows it mounted right next to the battery. A short length of tubing is used along with a couple of clamps to connect to the tank vent. Here is picture showing the current front trunk layout.
Front Trunk compartment - Done!
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