November 2

Hood Mod

Hood Tube Frame

Hood Tube Frame Mod

One of the first things you notice on a replica is the underside of the hood. Original cars had a 3/4″ tube frame with an aluminum skin attached to it. Replicas – not so much.

I obtained the upper skin of the Hurricane fiberglass and then mounted it to a tube frame I built. Considering the hood is bent in two directions and has four rounded corners, it tested my skills as a fabricator. I’m anxious to see it painted…

June 13

Original Coolant lines

One of least replicated items of the 427 is the secondary air bleed line on the coolant reservoir. I can’t say I’ve ever seen a replica with one yet every original had them.

 

Note 3/8″ line from passenger side of reservoir to top of radiator

I am adding features like this to my new build, to go that extra step on my replica. 

I chose to use a dual pass radiator, the radiator is divided in half, top and bottom, so the coolant goes across on the top set of tubes turns and comes back on the lower set of tubes. That extra time in the cooling fins makes a big difference in cooling capacity.  That also puts both the inlet and outlet on the same side of the radiator. The original cars used a ‘Chevy’ configuration on the radiator, inlet at the top drivers side, outlet on the bottom, passenger side. There was a tube that crossed over on the bottom to get to the pump inlet and a 90 degree tube at the top to come out of the expansion tank and into the radiator.

The outlet on the bottom drivers side makes it easier and harder to get to the pump inlet. Easier because it’s on the same side but harder because of all the steering mechanism it has to dodge.

 

Clockwise, around the radiator, top left is the inlet; top right, air vent line; bottom right, drain fitting; bottom left, Outlet; Middle left is for an anode for electrolysis protection

To mate with the radiator, I modified the classic Ford Galaxy tank used on the FE. 

 

Ford expansion tank

To fit the cobra, that tank has to have multiple modifications:

  1. The unit is disassembled and the tank rotated 180 degrees, to put the outlet on the drivers side.
  2. The mounting bracket and inlet tube is modified to lower the overall height approximately 1/2″ – Necessary for hood clearance
  3. A 3/8″ vent tube is added to the upper corner of the tank.
  4. The assembly is cleaned up, re-soldered and pressure tested. 

To be continued . . .

May 25

Firewall/Tunnel Mods

Sorry, been a little remiss in keeping my progress reports up-to-date. I’ve incorporated a number of modifications to my Gen II Hurricane build, mostly to make it even more period correct. 

Looking at the originals and the ERA builds, I liked the removeable transmission tunnel. The Hurricane comes with a removeable ‘X’ frame for transmission service, but even so, it still isn’t the easiest chore. This makes for a little more access:

 

Transmission Tunnel & Dash

The dash shown is the Street layout, wanted to validate my use of the glovebox. (S/C’s didn’t have a glovebox). Layout was taken from a local original CSX street car.

Makes access just a little easier

Looking on the other side, I incorporated the angled firewall of the originals, footboxes angled and sized to the originals. Firewall is prepped for the original electrical items to be installed later.

 

Business side of firewall
May 23

Little details in the nose

Oil Cooler
I chose to add an oil cooler to go along with the period correct look. A few issues surfaced.

Oil Cooler: The original used a six row Mocal cooler. Those are still available today. I chose to use an Earl’s brand, based solely on price and availability.

Shrouding: The cooler is encased in an aluminum shroud to direct airflow thru the cooler. These may still be available from Cobra Restorers or Finishline. I made mine from .040 aluminum.

The originals slanted to the rear some amount. When you first set the cooler into position, it rest vertically ( and easily) on the lower edge of the molded scoop. My first pattern was done with the cooler setting vertical. But as I finished it, the look it presented just didn’t meet the rest of the build. It would have been functional and most persons would have never noticed.  But I put my thinking cap on and started cutting more posterboard patterns. The tilt of the cooler is only barely noticeable thru the opening. But the path of the oil lines is very apparent.

IMG_5519 IMG_5520 IMG_5522 IMG_5523
Shroud details Lower shroud The side ears direct air flow thru the cooler core Shroud cover
IMG_5524 IMG_5525


I ended up making a shroud that slips under the front lip of the nose scoop. It runs horizontally back towards the radiator about 5″. It then angles down about 15 degrees, to provide the area for the cooler. The upper cover then angles about another thirty degrees, down towards the lower edge of the radiator.

Looking at the pictures, you’ll notice a screen cover on the radiator. This is a 1/4″ Stainless Steel mesh, to keep some of the larger chunks out of the radiator. Just in the shop, I found it very prone to damage. Those aluminum fins are really fragile.

You’ll see a small filler panel on each side of the cooler shroud, to close off the nose opening on the bottom. Again, trying to replicate the originals as best as possible. Due to the cowl framing and fiberglass body, this isn’t an exact duplicate but it does present the more open cavity of the original CSX cars.

Cooler Thermostat: one of the issues of the oil cooler is in typical street use, it is too effective. The oil never comes to a proper operating temperature. I installed a PermaCool Oil Thermostat as part of the lines. It is tucked up under the front cowl tube. It uses a thermal wax to move a shuttle, similar to how a coolant thermostat works. When the bypassing oil is hot enough to expand the wax, the shuttle moves and directs the oil thru the cooler. Until then, it bypasses the cooler and goes on to do its job. You’ll find larger and more costly units from various suppliers. This seemed to be the most logical approach for me.

IMG_5532 IMG_5531 IMG_5534 IMG_5530
Thermostat, clamped to cowl frame tube Lower fitting at cooler Hose path Finished look

Twin radiator fans
Most S/C cars were equipped with twin fans ahead of the radiator. Very visible and obvious when viewing the car. Although the kit is equipped with a more effective puller type fan (technology has changed considerably since the 60’s), I added the twin pushers for the visual impact.

The two motors are fan motors from 60’s era Ford vehicles. A well placed search on eBay will often return these. I found three NOS motors, but they had the later vent slots in the end of them. No big deal – a little sheet metal cutting and some MIG work and the end caps are closed and sealed to the weather. Just like the originals.

The fans came from W.W. Grainger. I made spacer bushings to space the fan past the mounting structure. A 1/4″ bolt holds the fan to the end of the spacer. Twin set screws keep the spacer on the shaft and a third screw serves as a lock to the fan mounting bolt.

The crossframe and mounting brackets were fabricated in the shop. All was painted frame black before mounting. The assembly is positioned in front of my radiator protection screen and bolted to the side tubes of the cowl frame.

Not completed but on the list is a switch control to turn them on or off. Right now, they are strictly visual

IMG_3933 IMG_3936 IMG_4121 IMG_4125
basic components fan motor fan / spacer motor mount
IMG_4115 IMG_5535 IMG_5540 IMG_5541
finished components installed

IMG_5535

Finished Look

May 8

Rear done, move to the interior

Sound and Heat Proofing
We road-trip in an air conditioned Miata – and the footbox on it gets warm. I am paranoid about footbox heat and I don’t think this puppy is going to play nice. To counter the heat, I have gone overboard. I am optimistic it will do the trick.

Firewall/Footbox
The exposed portion of the firewall is aluminum. Below it is a layer of Frost King Duct Insulation. (3/16″ dense adhesive foam with a few mil aluminum cover. Next is a layer of heat barrier film that came with the kit. Finally we get to the 3/16″ fiberglass foot tub. On the inside of the tub, I used a sheet of Second Skin Thermal Block. This is a 3/16″ mat covered with a textured aluminum. Claims it will block 1200 degrees. Further back on the transmission tunnel, I used Second Skin Heat Wave, a 3/8″ jute style insulation with an aluminum foil surface. Floors and rear wheel wells were covered in Frost King foam.  All this was sealed with aluminum tape prior to mounting the carpet.
IMG_5303 This photo shows the Thermal Block, installed inside the footbox. The pedal mounting plate goes over the top of this.

Rear wall covering
I really liked the finish of Jim Reiss’ rear wall on his rebuild of HM1006. He put aluminum sheet down and then covered with vinyl. Since I wasn’t as far along as he, I was able to finish the fiberglass surface of the cockpit tub with a little Bondo. It looks as smooth as the aluminum would have. To give it a little resilience, I then installed a 1/16″ thick vinyl drawer liner. Over that I glued the same vinly material as used on the dash and seats.

Carpeting
The carpeting is pretty straight forward. There are a few tricks – these are outlined on the carpet detail page. The choice of light tan carpet to compliment my leather seats sounded good. The light color is very unforgiving of any voids or mismatch. Black would have been easier. But I haven’t done “easy” on anything else.

 IMG_5466  IMG_5468 IMG_5470  IMG_5473

 

April 24

She’s home – back to work

Body on, final assembly begins.

Rear Body Mount mod
The Hurricane kit comes with the body “hard-mounted” on the rear. The quickjack mounts and tubes sandwich the fiberglass body to clamp it to position. I was concerned this was a long term failure point. I chose to modify the mounting to incorporate rubber bushings.

Once the hole location was verified, I opened the hole thru the body to 5/8″ diameter. I then fabricated rubber bushings to make up the space between the 3/8″ bolt and this new hole size. The bushing was 1″ diameter on the outside and held into position with stainless washers.

I’ve included some pictures of the completed parts. The new pieces, in sequence are:

1. 5 1/2″ long stainless stud, threaded both ends 2. Hex Nut 3. Flat Washer 4. Vertical mounting bar of frame
5. Flat Washer 6. Spacer with stainless sleeve 7. Flat Washer 8. Rubber bushing
9. Body 10. Rubber bushing with step 11. Flat Washer 12. Spacer with stainless sleeve
13. Flat washer 14. Quick Jack 15. Flat Washer 16. Hex Nut

IMG_5498 IMG_5500

Trunk finish
The original Hurricane kit includes carpeting for the trunk. But I chose to go one step further. I’d seen original cars with their aluminum trunks. Cool. But the aluminum trunk does create a maintenance problem. If you use the car, the trunk will get scratches. I saw how Jim Reiss modified his car during the rebuild and an idea hit. How about aluminum walls with carpet on the floor.

First hiccup was the back wall of the trunk. Remember that note I said about planning your build? Well I didn’t plan far enough ahead since the cockpit tub was mounted and somehow, I had to get aluminum on that vertical surface.  With some judicious grinding, I was able to slip a flat sheet of aluminum between the lip on the cockpit tube and the 2 x 2 frame that anchors the seatbelts. The edges are back behind the vertical frame pieces and not visible. Dodged a bullet there!

The side walls were made from .025 thick aluminum sheet, formed to fit over the fiberglass trunk tub. With proper layout and bending, I was able to glue the panels to the tub with floor tile glue. My bulb seal still slipped down over the walls like was planned.

My painter seals the inside of the body with paint before delivering the car. I had him spray the inside with silver. Now the inner walls of the trunk body match the aluminum pieces I put on. Well, not an exact match but a lot closer than the black would have been.

After the body was on, I started carpeting the floor. My first experience with laying automobile carpet. With the glue they recommended, I looked like a big fuzz ball. My hands were covered with glue and pile.

To help with fitting, I built a pattern from heavy construction paper, all taped together and with the edges touching where I wanted the carpet to stop.

IMG_5481

November 22

Trunk lining

Added aluminum to trunk side of rear bulkhead. Planning to line trunk with aluminum and this piece is not accessible with body on. Installed anchor nuts into body for mirrors and demister vents.

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March 16

Door latches

Door Latches  ( or another dive into the modification pool)
The door latches that come with the Hurricane kit are duplicates of what was used on the original cars. But that’s where the replication ends. The latch handles/boxes are put on upside down, if you follow the instructions. And the male latch part mounting – it’s just plain sloppy. (Sorry, Mike and Rich, you could have done better here). Existing_Latch

Turning the handle right side up is no big deal. Just be aware the male latch protrudes thru the catch so you need some clearance under the box. A touch with a die grinder and all is well. I filled in the notch that was supplied and glassed over the surface of the new notch.

NOTE: some guys have commented about the quality of the latches. Be aware the little lever is DEAD-soft. If you pull it on an angle, IT WILL BEND (please, don’t ask how I know, but if careful, it can be straightened).

For mounting the striker, I thought I could just modify the strap iron, welding them to the frame hoop. I did this but then realized I just lost one plane of the adjustment I would need. IMG_4497I ended up cutting them off an building a mounting plate from 12ga. sheet. I formed a 3 x 5 sheet into a channel by applying heat and forming the legs in a vise with a hammer (Poor-man’s press brake). I then cut out the clearance notch and added four 1/4 x 3/4 slots for the mounting. I then welded these to the frame hoop. IMG_4506

All done, I was very pleased with the new appearance. (Sorry, the picture doesn’t do the bracket justice. I’ll repost a different picture after I clean up and paint.

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February 9

Fuel filler

Winter is here! find projects in the shop where it’s warm. Worked on the fuel filler cap and refined fill system

The Hurricane kit comes with a quick fill type cap that gets installed inside the flip-top fuel cap.  Some have reported filling problems with these. The mounting system leaves a little to be desired.

Chris Doss (HM1043) modified his car by using a filler adapter from Finishline. Unfortunately, the threads on it don’t match the threads on our caps. He ended up having the adapter machined to press into the existing mounting base. It helps to be able to learn from others. Knowing it would take machining anyway, I just bought a chunk of aluminum and machined my own adapter. I included a threaded hole for mounting a grounding lug.

Trigo_Instructions IMG_4465With the adapter done, I used a trick I learned when putting the front suspension together. I put the adapter into the freezer to shrink it, and the fuel cap base into the oven and heated to 250 degrees. After a few hours, I removed them, slathered on some JB Weld and slipped the two together. They just did fit so the JB Weld ended up everywhere but I know when all equalized and the epoxy set, these two were never coming apart.

 

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