Monday, August 4, 2014

Teach me how to dougie?

For the past few years I've wanted to visit Alaska, but never had the time or money. Finally this year I was able to go.  Alaska is a amazing place in so many ways but car culture isn't exactly booming there, which makes sense when you consider that it is half the size of the continental US and has 5 roads total. That's not to say that there are no interesting vehicles in Alaska. The people, the land that shapes them, and the tools they use to survive fascinate me.

I would gladly live in this, down by the river.
Box by FIAT
The American Dream
A double decker for two levels of freedom.
As much as I love cars, the ultimate in Alaska transportation is not a car. It's a small plane, and because of that I feel a little conflicted. I have nothing against small planes, and I wish I could love them. I'm just afraid that if I were to ride in one I would puke like cat in a dryer.You see, I'm one of the 15% blessed with motion sickness. Once I went for a spirited drive up a canyon road and had to get out to dry heave. I hear that's difficult to do in an airplane.
Alaskan parking lot
This is not car related at all, but I have to share. Anybody who has spent any amount of time around me in the past few years knows that I love bears. Bears are the best. Bears can do whatever they want and they get to sleep through the winter. Nobody messes with a bear. And for the first time in my life, I saw a bear in the wild. Actually, I saw 8 bears. And it was awesome.

Grizzly Bear; don't care.
So now I'll finally get to the reason you actually came here (I think). This week I gave Grace some much needed attention. I think I spent three evenings with her, working at a leisurely pace but mostly just enjoying the company and a soda, sometimes hanging out with my imaginary internet friends. 

As with most parts I've built for this car I had a rough sketch in my head that I scribbled on a piece of cardboard. You may have noticed I'm a hack with an angle grinder and a welder using third world fabrication techniques but if it works, it works. This week I built a transmission mount. I had the motor mounts finished before I swapped the engine and was waiting until I had the engine and subframe connectors installed to make a tranny mount. With both of those items out of the way, I could finally get the powertrain secured.

Beginnings of a U-channel
My anvil, vise, and brake.

The U-channel is made of some 1/8" mild steel sheet I cut out and scored with a cutoff wheel on the angle grinder. I bent it into shape but using a BBC cylinder head I plifered from Backyard Steve's old pile of junk, a harbor freight C-clamp and a hammer. A real brake would have sped up this process immensely.

smooth like a baby's bottom
I made a jig so I could match the angles on both sides of the crossmember.

The trans mount is about 95% finished. All that remains is a couple holes to drill in the U-channel for thru bolts and this job will be finished. I also started working on the driveshaft this week. If you remember, I picked up an Explorer driveshaft from the wrecking yard a couple months ago. It turns out the Explorer transmission has a different spline count than the T-5 transmision, so I had to switch yokes. I wasn't sure this would work, but I measured the u-joints and they appeared to be the same. I connected the T-5 to the Explorer driveshaft and it seemed to fit. It looks like I will have to have the driveshaft shortened about 3-3.5".

left: Ranger T-5 yoke       right: Explorer yoke
Ranger T-5 U-joint
Explorer U-joint
T-5 yoke from Ranger on Explorer aluminum driveshaft
This weekend I went to Galco's, a grocery store in Pasadena that only sells beverages. I picked up a large variety of diabeetus. One of the best parts about this trip was actually the parking lot. I spotted a massive Cadillac that caused me to break the tenth commandment. No, for those of you who skipped Sunday school, I didn't murder and didn't commit adultery with a Cadillac. I just coveted a little. It was soooo coooool! Anybody have any knowledge of these things? 

The most un-American thing I've ever done. Get hammered and sickled!