Last time I said there were 4 different things I could focus on next. Turns out, there was a 5th - finishing the engine hatch. I did 90% of that finish work today. I'll cover that, and then rough out a plan for the inter-cooler mounting.
Where'd that hole come from?
Over a year ago, I needed to put a hole over the engine compartment so I could fit the new engine. After some examination, it was really only a short section of support bar, but I really didn't like not having a hatch. (see "it's in the hole" for a longer post about the hole). Anyway, I put a roughly square hole over the engine compartment.
Don't cut your lip
In December, I posted about the radiator cowling. Within that post ("Radiator Shrouded") I talked about wrapping the edge of the hatch door with drip-irrigation vinyl tubing to protect my fingers from getting cut on the lip. Well, I discovered today that it does a pretty good job of sealing off the engine compartment from the passenger cabin. I will have to pull it off to remove the remaining bits of blue tape, to put some paint on the exposed steel and to glue it back, but its a keeper. I did file all the way around so it isn't sharp. That took much longer than I expected, but so much of this project falls into that category.
hinging on what?
I thought about piano hinging this door so it lifted from right to left instead of front to back. I thought is would be more useful or that I could figure out a way to get it to stay put using the cabinet. I discovered, though, that the square-ish hatch and the roundy roof wouldn't support that. So, we're going with front-to-rear. The shape of the floor is all lumpy, though, so a simple piano hinge would look weird. Instead, I got 4 1" hinges at Lowes and a small packet of 4-40 1/2 machine bolt/nuts. The hinges were set into the floor of the bus with rivets. Maybe I should have gone with bolt/nut on both sides. We'll see. Once the hinges were set, it was just a matter of patiently aligning the hatch, marking, drilling and bolting.
keeping it closed
Now that the door will go up and down, how do we hold it in position? First, we need something to keep it from falling into the engine. Since the hole was cut without regard for where the supports were, the rear edge was hanging 4" +/- from the rear support. To remedy that, I got a 1" angle of steel (36" long) and cut a 1-1/2" square from each end. After bending the remaining tab, I had a 33" long angle bar with a tab for mounting to the front-to-back supports. (I'll post a picture). I had to hammer on it a bit to get it to fit, leaving about 3/8" sticking into the open space. I riveting the tab's into the front-to-back supports. That left defining a knob of some kind to hold it closed.
I rooted around in the box of spare parts I got with the bus and found an old glove-box knob. "Perfect," I thought. Like setting the hinge holes, it was just a matter of patiently aligning, marking drilling, dremeling and filing. The hole is about the size of a nickle. I found, though, that the hole was a touch too close to the support bar I installed in the last paragraph, and the catch was too low. I took on of the cut-off squares I cut off the bar and fab'd a striker. After an afternoon of messing with it, I have a hinged hatch that holds shut.
All that's left is pulling the tape, sealing the hinge-side with vinyl tubing and maybe putting down a strip of weather stripping along the support bar. I think that might help eliminate any rattling. Oh, yeah, I'll probably put some noise/heat protector on the underside of the hatch. I already mentioned a little paint and glue. That's 10% left.
Well, I thought that by the time I got to this part of the post, I'd have a plan. I really don't. I'm going to use some thin flat-bar that I have lying around from my different radiator mounting experiments. Now that I have a cross-bar supporting the top-side of the hatch, I can tie into that for the top support. The bottom should be able to tie into the base pretty easily. I doubt I'll get to that work during the week, but it should be a small enough job to complete next Saturday. With luck, I'll be able to finish the hatch stuff too.
That's it for this one. Thanks again for following along.
top: after installing hinges. You can see how I spread them out. That red circle is where the knob goes.
mid-top: while installing hinges. You can already see how it will look like it used to, except for a big black square. That rubber hanging over the seat back is a rear hatch seal.
middle: close-up of a hinge install.
mid-bottom: the striker during a test-install. I cut it down about 1/4" from that to work better.
bottom: hatch closed. close-up of glove-box knob holding it down.