I’m pretty pleased with this welding


Pity I’m going to grind it flat though. Thanks Jules, for making me sweat every gramme. By the time it’s powder coated most of it won’t be visible anyway.

This is also welding 2mm onto 6mm, so it’s slightly trickier as well. Too much heat and it blows away the thinner steel – too little and it doesn’t penetrate well.

Shocker bottom brackets are finished – part 1


here are the two brackets. Each is 6mm thick to give strong support to the bolt – it’s not rotating but being shoved backwards and forwards. If you don’t use a decent thickness of steel, the holes will oval in no time and the bracket will lose it’s precision and things will rattle about.

The shocker has a 1/2″ spherical bearing in there, and will be coming in at an angle of about 40 degrees from the vertical, hence providing some back gusseting support.




Also, the back plate was 2mm going onto 6mm steel, so needed a little careful welding. I made a mistake on the first one (which you can see above on the right – the fillet is too big). I was running 95A which is good for getting a good puddle up on 6mm steel with a 1.6mm rod. I forgot to take it down to 85A when putting the gusset in (2mm corner fillet). however, I spotted my mistake and this side here is the result.


Tomorrow, I pick up some more argon and then these will go on the car.


Best laid plans of mice and men

Dammit! – I got the wrong gas when I swapped cylinders – I’ve taken home Argoshield and not Pureshield. The first is more for use in welding machines and MIG, and not TIG which is what I do. The welds are splattering a bit, and I’m getting a lot of crap splattering on to the tip. The gas with a little oxygen gives a flatter weld but not the cosmetic quality I want. I was only welding radiator brackets today so I don’t mind of they get the flap disk and are potentially a little porus. The powder-coaters can hide many sins.

I’ve only used the gas for a few minutes, so hopefully they’ll swap it for the right gas. The only balls is that I can’t weld this weekend, and that was the plan. Double-balls is if I get charged to swap – then I’ll have paid £140 for a small cylinder of the right gas, and I could have had a large cylinder delivered to my house for £120 after the delivery fee.

So, this weekend’s plan is two-fold now:

Do Some Staring at Stuff:

Get the block-sump-starter-motor in there to see if I have enough clearance to move this cross-member:

As you can see – the cross-member goes to the middle of the footwell (Ken-Smeg-Brown arrow) which is not something I’m upset about per-se. Fisher had to decide where some things go in order to give a fairly universal engine bay. However, if I can get a cross-member to clear the starter-motor and sump and join the chassis in the logical place which makes for a triangle, then I will look to chop this fellow out and put a new one in where the blue arrow is. It may mean having to rework and put new engine mount brackets in, but that’s not a monster job if tackled now.

Finally the yellow arrow points to the supporting plate which again, is large because it is universal. it’s also 5mm thick steel. Nearly all of that can go and I will bond an aramid plate on the bottom instead. Much lighter for the same strength.

Start Building the Engine

I have a cupboard chock-full of gorgeous new engine bits. I may as well start hammering it together.

Welding up the holes

I’m welding up every hole in the chassis. I need to do this for two reasons:

Firstly, when I have it sandblasted any holes will allow the grit to get into the chassis and add weight. Secondly most of what I’m going to be attaching to the chassis in future it will be bonded on not welded on. So I may as well add some strength back to the chassis and fill in the holes.



angled sump design – needs new flap gates

So, following is the photo-record so far for the 10 degree angled duratec sump I’m making for someone out of stainless.

What you can see is the longer side (40mm longer) which has been tacked every inch at 70A. Deep penetration isn’t actually needed here (and you tried you would run the risk of of blowing through the thinner wall or warping the base plate). Stainless is really tricky for warping. I guess there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

Here is the front, and again, one inch tacks. It also shows the internal sorted flap gates. These aren’t fully tacked in place yet, just in for positioning.



Here you can see the problem that comes out when adapting the design and not redesigning the flap-slats. Bear in mind this sump is upside down and the flange is sat on the welding plate on the side that goes on to the block. The central flap-slat matrix is designed to mate with the flange and sit snug against the sump bottom (or lid in this orientation).

I don’t think this is going to work because there is a lot of room for oil to flow under the flap gates, and if I cut angled plates to make up the gap then the flap gates will be too high, restricting oil flow and defeating the design of the sump.

Here it is the right way up, and the orange hammer handle shows the gap between the flap-slat plates and what would be the bottom of the sump.



So, next steps are:

  1. remove the flap-slats, which are tacked in, so a little time consuming to get out
  2. get the cad out and recalculate the profile of the gates
  3. whilst 2 is being cut, I can still complete the seam welds and test it for oil-tightness.

This is a little frustrating because it’s the neatest sump i’ve made yet.

I am proud of my dipstick

So, just about the last job to do on the sump is to get the dipstick path routed up the side of the engine. As per flak’s instructions, I bought some 15mmOD stainless tubing to match the hole machined in the side of the sump. My original plan was to route the pipe vertically up the side of the engine and emerge between the throttle bodies. As you can see from the pic below, this isn’t a great route, and runs far too close to many things, including the engine mount bolts, and one of the water pump housing take-offs.


So, I needed to either go for a simple route up, hoping i could get the angles so precise that it missed everything, or find a better way. Digging through the heap of stuff I’d taken off the original engine, I extracted the dipstick tube (just pulls out of the sump – held in with an o-ring) and took a look at the convoluted routing it takes – i found it to be good.
Now that I had a plan to take a route, i needed to plan the take-off from the block. Wrapping some paper around the pipe and using duck tape to make it rigid, i now had a template of the pipe that could be cut with scissors until I had the angle right without risking multiple chops into the steel.


Note that it comes off the sump at a slight angle away from the sump to move the dipstick into the void space there. I’ve kept the template in case i make a sump for anyone else (Furyous is getting one if he likes this design).



Next came the plan to fit the dipstick tube onto the sump take-off pipe. When measured, the tube is about 0.3mm short of half an inch, and the ID of the pipe is about 11.5mm, and i happen to have had my trusty 1/2 inch reamer ready. In order to make the dipstick pipe fit the sump, I reamed out the end of the take-off pipe to 1/2 inch. This was a little tricky, needing to position and clamp the pipe in the drill-vice, and then gently ream down and back (lots of cutting spray) in order to take it out. The end result is that the dipstick tube fits nicely into the end and has a little swivel room.

look at the shiny end of my tubeI also cleaned the end up ready for welding. However, I decided not to weld it straight away for a couple of reasons: firstly, there’s no going back after putting that tack in, especially if it’s routed wrongly, and secondly I’d also be welding stainless to mild. In the end, I decided that the better solution by far would be to fit it all back to the car, make a support bracket for the tube so it hugs the engine nicely, and then epoxy it in. It will be a very strong solution, easier than a weld, and will give me a couple of minutes wriggle time before it goes off.

Here’s the final run up through the void. In the background middle-right you can see the starter motor bolts, and i’m going to fabricate a bracket to go onto this bolt as well – job done – dipstick now properly secure.


Here’s another picture from a slightly different angle showing the take-off from the pipe, because I’m so pleased with it. It’s a good thing when something runs neatly and without fuss – generally simple is always best, and not necessarily the easiest to achieve. Occam’s Razor.



I originally made this post here on the loccost builders sitebut it’s my post, so I’m following my policy of echoing the content to the blog, just as I push most of the blog content to the forum, only fair to share. I think the only copies I have of these photos are on that site, hence being tagged with their logo. I don’t mind.



Narrowing my OBP Pedal box – or “is my warranty OK?”

So, as expected, my lovely OBP Pedal Box doesn’t fit the admittedly narrow fury footwell. There’s nothing wrong with this per-se. It’s a lovely made piece of equipment and I knew when ordering that it wouldn’t fit. This previous post shows the modifications I’ve needed to make in the footwell to prepare the shape to accommodate the OBP box, but after careful consideration, I decided there wasn’t enough room to make it all fit with any degree of clearance so decided to slit it like a cheap whore and make it thinner.

So, what you can see here is the pedal box in the 360 degree vice, scored and cross-hatched ready for cutting. I’ve been sure to leave enough room for the brake and clutch cylinders to have plenty of clearance, and the slit also takes into account the cross-bracing gusset. The only place it should be narrowed is between brake and clutch, not between brake cylinders – the clevises need to be straight when they go onto the cylinders. Moreso, it wouldn’t really be feasible narrow it here, what with the pedal wanting to be in the way.

Also worth note is the fact that I bought a 360 degree vice for the clean half of my garage. This means I can mount and mark and weld things without having to take them over to the dirty grinding cutting side of the garage. What you may be able to see on the right there is the corner cut off and grinded ready for welding.

It’s not all that clear in this photo, but I’ve got the whole thing cut now (0.8mm slitting disk for maximum accuracy). The steel used the the pedal box is only 1.2 or 1.5mm thick (hard to tell with the powder coat) so the disk went through it like a e.coli in an OAP home. I was pleased with the results though – the fact that it’s difficult to see the gap in this photo is because I’ve got very clean mating edges – essential when tig welding something so thin. One cock-up and you blow straight through.

This is what the extracted section looks like. There are a couple of stitches on each edge of the gusset that need removing. Up close, you can see where the stitches have penetrated the back plate (a good thing) and this meant I had easy guidelines to mark and cut against. The gusset came out quite unscathed, but in hindsight I wish I hadn’t ground it quite so thin at the base to remove the stitching – it made it very thin to weld. I would have rather left a little metal around it and used that as filler. Live and learn.

Next is lots and lots of spots at about 1″ distance. They’re done at 40A and with very little filler. Bearing in mind I am seam-welding this, and the metal is so thin it would just warp away from me (in the vertical plane) if I attempted to weld in a seam. Patience now means a better result later. At this point I was also glad I have so many different welding clamps.


When it came to completing the seam welds I stitched an inch and let it cool completely first. I also drilled mounting holes in it and bolted it down to my big heavy 1cm thick welding plate. Even then I ended up with a very small amount of warping, but so little that it pulls flat when bolted down. I initially kicked off at 40A but found that to be too hot when putting the seam in and had to back off to 35A. That gave me a great weld, full penetration and very little filler needed on the 1mm dia rod.

Here’s the end result. I’ve ground the seams flat (little effort) because I want to get the ‘not been touched or modified’ look when I get it back from the powder-coaters. You can’t see the gusset in this shot. I did struggle a little with this blowing through (where i’d ground it a little thin). I compensated by going up to a thicker filler rod and chucking a lot of metal in (it ended up looking like tidy mig). Then I got my pointy ended tungsten carbide burr and dug around in there like a demented dentist until it was all nice and smooth again. As long as the powder coat goes on reasonably thick, no-one will be any the wiser. The strength is all there though.

Following is the final result. Note the greater amount of room on left now – plenty of space to rework the foot well. I feel fairly chuffed with this result.

how I made my engine mounts – very happy with them

How I made my engine mounts putting a duratec in my fury rebuild

So, as part of rebuilding my fury and shoving a duratec engine in, I decided to make some new engine mounts. I wanted to reduce weight and improve the packaging as well – the old mounts used up a lot of space that could otherwise be spent moving mass down – I have swirl pots and fuel pumps to put somewhere after all.

Firstly, I went to Fast Dan (DanST Engineering) and ordered some engine mount plates. They’re a great fit. I think the price is good value and there are times when buy is far better than build.

Secondly, I decided on the design, and went for something inspired by SBDev and which gave me quite a compact result and rather contradicted the original design that was somewhat agricultural (see the picture on the right). The original design was from my previous pinto installation.

So, here is the assembled list of bits. Rather than go for a huge rubber mount (which of course would be good for absorbing vibrations) I’ve taken a gamble on using (reusing) the bushes I’ve taken out of the suspension. I’ve fabricated everything from 32mm dia 3mm thickness CDS. The sleeve inner diameter didn’t match the bush outer diameter, so I bobbed over to a friends and put it into the lathe. It was then machined out to take the bush with a reasonable amount of slack, knowing the sleeve will clench up a little when welded.

The mounting plates needed to be notched in order to accommodate the way the plates were offset when mounted on to the chassis rail. Note that each plate is a different size to account for the angle of the rails; I wanted to feed the load into the chassis at 90 degrees, rather than an angle. An angle would mean putting some bending load to the leg from the plate to the chassis (not ideal). In order to get the hole in the correct place for the plate, I hand-fitted the sleeve and plates to the chassis, and clamped it with a welding clamp (you need a third hand for this, thank you Zaphod). Then I used a CD marker pen to draw around the sleeve, added cross-hairs after dismantling and punched a hole.

These plates are 3mm stainless (left over scrap), so you can’t just go riving at them with a 1/2 inch drill bit (the bushes are the standard, mandatory, obligatory, inexplicable 1/2″ inner diameter). I started out with a 3mm hole, and went up in increments of 2.5 or 3mm, depending on which bits I had to hand. I also found that the cobalt set of drill bits bought from tool-station started to show their value. A cheaper set of bits just screamed and blunted making virtually no impact on the hole, yet the cobalt ones cut through nicely. I also used a spray cutting-oil (and lots of it) to help things along.

The thing you have to remember is that drill bits don’t cut round holes, and the larger the bit, the more obvious this becomes. Once I’ve got the hole out to 12mm, I then ream it out to 1/2 inch. I bought a tapered reamer from ebay for not a lot of money and it’s done me proud. It reams stainless out as well, but again, it wont go out more than 0.75mm. You can see on the right here how the hole isn’t perfect before reaming.

Next, I needed to machine the down-leg to fit the sleeve. The sleeve was cut from the same tube I’m making the leg from, so that was at least reasonably simple to cut a matching fish-mouth. I used this software, printed it out, stuck it to the tube and got busy. I cut the majority of the metal away with a 0.8mm slitting disk, and then tidied up and ground out to the the marks using a tungsten burring tool on an air-die grinder. You can see the results yourself on the right.

There are other things to note in setup before finally welding it together. The main one is to try and have the engine level in the chassis. It helps to keep coolant and oil levels as horizontal as possible. I used a spirit level on the back of the car to be sure the chassis was level (it was) and then put the same level on the flat gearbox top to be sure i had the engine in the right place: one can’t really take a measurement off the top of the duratec: it’s all curvy.

I found out that chocking the engine in place was tricky – the chocks were difficult to place and kept popping out. Interestingly, a run of duck-tape from the chassis rails to the top of the engine was a great way of keeping it in place (Thanks Darren – very smart move). Duck Tape is like the force – it has a light side and a dark side and it holds the universe together.

This is what the mount looks like from the engine down to the bush:

and this is what the whole lot looks like when nailed together to try the fit. The offset between one bracket and the other is more noticeable on this side.

Finally, this is what the almost completed installation looks like. There are a couple of points to note – I’ve put a reasonable seam in to hold the bracket facing the camera (and the one you can’t see the seam on) but I won’t be able to complete the seams until I get the engine back out. This was part of the plan – the engine is just a dry-build at the moment to be sure I have everything in the right place.

I still have one job left, which is to put a bracing plate in at 90 degrees to the bracket to tie the front-to-back loads to the chassis. I don’t think the loads will be all that significant, but they may eventually fatigue the joint. I only need one plate because the bush will transfer the load from the other bracket to the bracket with the cross-brace. It’s only going to be a few grams of steel but it’s worth getting right. Even if I’m being paranoid I’m only wasting a few grams.

Speaking of which, each mount is 500g lighter than the previous, so I’m a kilo up on the deal as well.

to make some things fit, you have to commit

There are some things in life that require commitment, whether it’s getting married, having a prince-albert or modifying your transmission tunnel to take a pedal box that is too big. Then it gets complex when fitting a bell-housing that has an uncomfortable lug that digs in like an unwelcome hard-on in the back whilst on the tube (or jail for that matter).

I would like to point out that I’m in the ‘fitting the pedal box’ place, not in the prodded place.

So, my lovely bell-housing (with the Mazda rather than classic-Ford bolt pattern) has a lug that sticks into the side of the drivers footwell, canting the engine over at a silly angle. It’s not there on the standard type-5 gearbox; this is the first engine Ford have done where the bolt pattern isn’t the same for their 4-cylinder engines. So, fixing this isn’t so tough – cut a hole.

Also, my lovely OBP pedal box is too big for my footwell, and that needs fixing as well. As you can see on the right, and can infer from bugger-lugs above, there are two points of note: Firstly the drivers side footwell is very narrow, and secondly the lug pushes the engine over.

So, in order to make things fit, I have a cunning plan.

  1. put the bits in as well as possible
  2. cut an access hatch
  3. make some small holes to be sure the notches, etc for the bellhousing all fit neatly
  4. patch over
  5. realise this isn’t going to work with this many variables, and abandon 3 and 4
  6. cut out the entire footwell apart from the frame
  7. start fitting the parts
  8. again realise there’s not enough room.
  9. look to cut out from the other side of the footwell so it all fits
  10. measure the new panels and get them laser cut
  11. hammer
  12. weld

So, where am I now?

Well, I’ve cut the access hatch. This mattered for several reasons. Firstly, adjusting and working on the pedal box from the front is difficult on just a bare chassis, and very awkward when the car is built. I’ve had to lie on my back on the seat with my head in the footwell before to operate on it. It’s a good job I’m not claustrophobic. Even in that position you can’t work there in a sustained manner for long – your arms ache. I’ll make up a new top-plate that overlaps the lips and weld in some captive nuts. From that I’ll bolt through from the underneath with socked-headed dome screws – nice rounded edges. I will need to be a very good seal to ensure the fire-barrier is maintained between my lovely feet and the engine bay.

I’ve also cut the side and back panel out, leaving a lip where I can. I don’t know if I want to keep the lip to weld against, but at least I have the option. I can always grind it away later. You can now see how the box has moved back, but there’s a struggle with the engine being so close. I do have a couple of options – I can trim a little off the corners of the pedal box and I can remove a little from the side panel on the right. It just depends on what works best.

So, moving along a little bit. I’ve taken a notch out of the side of the base plate in the pedal box, and a major cut out of the side of the footwell. I could go a little further and remove a little more, but the problem is then that the pedal starts to foul the side of the remaining side of the footwell. I don’t mind this – the ally pedal is massive so trimming the top corner off won’t hurt.

Next, we get to see that we’re almost there – when you look at the next two, you can see the intrusion of the bellhousing (simply not there on the old pinto housing) and how close the pedal box ends up against it. Furthermore, look at the left and you can see that I’ve also taken off a corner diagonal to allow the pedal box to slot into the triangular hole (above)


As stated above, this is photo 2, in which you can see how close the box nudges the bellhousing. It’s tight and I can’t chop the enclosure on the left – there’s bracing in there for the hydraulic clutch pedal. This position it’s at so far involves some nudging to get the engine canted over to allow the box to slot home. Needless to say, this isn’t a situation I can continue to work with.

And ta-daaa – here is the box in it’s new home. It’s not remotely ready to go in yet, but at least the fit is getting near. I’m not convinced it’s perfect and I’m probably going to narrow the whole box mounting plates. If you look above (+1) to the gnats chuff photo, you can see there’s best part of an inch between the clutch and brake pedal. I’m going to take it to bits and remove that inch. It’ll mean tig-welding it all back together in a seam, grinding it smooth and sending the whole lot back off the powder-coaters again, but the results will be worth it. I want at least 5mm clearance between bulk-heads and tunnels, not 1-2mm at the moment.

Welding in a t-shirt

So, when you’re up to 75A there’s a chance things can go wrong unless you follow my safety rules set out below:

  • gloves – check
  • gauntlets – check
  • proper mask – check
  • poking a hot rod through your t-shirt and into your chest – check
  • smell of cooked flesh – check