Saturday, December 26, 2009

Radiator test-fitted

Lots of stuff going on. First off, I got a request to quote from my blog, but the requester didn't leave me an email address or a way to contact him/her. If you want to quote from here, that's totally fine, but please leave a link to the original post when you do. Anyway, today's post covers the progress over the last 10 days. I got the holes drilled, the radiator test-hung and started working on the radiator cowl / shroud.

Drillin' holes
The 1972 Westfalia is a little unusual in how the underside is arranged. Unlike the later years, there are belly pans along the sides, running from front to rear wheel between the mid rails and the edges. The center section between the rails is (mostly) exposed to the floor. Within this center space is where we're playing.
After first looking at off-setting the radiator to the driver side of that middle space, I discovered that I couldn't make it fit. Between the tubes that carry the emergency cables,the clutch cable tube, the accelerator tube, etc, there's a lot of junk in there. I was only able to get it up high enough in the center, so after some wrestling, I marked spots with some chalk and bored 1/4" holes in the rear beam. The picture here shows the right side hole.

Chain of Fools
I tried to hang the radiator to the holes I drilled, but I had to reverse the brackets to make a test fit happen. I want the holes to be parallel to the floor and had initially thought that they would be much closer to the floor, but the thickness of the drill made that impossible. I discovered, after I got the brackets reversed, that I had to flip the radiator over because of junk tubes blocked access to the coolant inlet / outlets. Argh. So, now the inlet / outlet point down as does the temperature sensor on the front. This is the orientation that TurboBus uses, and he doesn't have issues with air in the system (my biggest concern with the in/out pointing down).
I was able to get the rear end suspended from the holes with the use of simple eye-hooks, and a few links of 600lb-test chain. For the front end, I was able to use a couple of holes that were already in the cross-beam. Each is next to a hole that is used by the emergency brake cables. The picture here shows the eye hook / washer / nut combination that I used. Suspended from that eye hook is 8" of chain to the front edge of the radiator bracket. The net resulting install leaves the front lip just 4" below the belly pans. That's better than I planned, in terms of clearance, but I'll be copying the TurboBus model for "scraping" air with a down-pointing lip. I think his install grabs as much air as hanging the radiator, but without the risks.
The picture to the right, here, shows the test fit hanging by the chain. I am able to move the radiator a few inches side to side and slightly front to back. In theory, this should help prevent damage to the radiator if something pops up. Since the front lip is now only 4 inches below the belly, the front beam and front axle are both lower to the ground.

Cowling Corner

After the clearance picture above was taken, I grabbed a cardboard box and started cutting a template for the cowling. It took a few times of test fitting, but I was able to make a decent template that worked for both sides. At least it seems that way. From the template, I marked cut lines on sheets of HVAC zinc-coated steel. Some quick work with some tin snips, and then back to test fitting. The picture to the right, here, shows one side cut, riveted together and in-place. I was able to get to the same point with the other side, but I didn't get a picture of it.

Next...
I'll be finishing up the cowling / shroud next. The riveted steel sides need to be bolted to the radiator brackets (bolts so they can be removed for maintenance). Then, I'll be test-fitting the radiator again. If it fits well, I'll run some kind of closed-cell foam insulation along the top of the shroud - to reduce the possibility of the edge cutting one of the junk tubes as well as reduce the air leakage over the top. After that, the cabin heater will get installed and routed, and the coolant lines will be run. Lots left to do just on the coolant system, but I can feel the wheels moving. I should get more time to work this next week. We'll see.

pictures:
top - drilled hole for rear mount.
middle top - eye hooks with fender washers, lock washers and nuts for front body-side mount
middle bottom - radiator hanging on mounts
bottom - left-side shroud fab'd, in-place, ready for bolting to bracket

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