12/2/07 – Body Off & Build Begins

Since the car’s arrival on Wednesday, we’ve been pretty busy around here.  The first order of business was to inventory the 16 boxes worth of parts that accompanied the car.  This part actually reminded a lot of building HeathKit electronic kits as a kid.
 
I didn’t find anything missing that wasn’t already on the backorder list.  The list isn’t very large (especially compared to some other builds I’ve read about), but includes the upper control arms for the front suspension, some rear suspension parts, and the steering wheel.  The only one of these that might pose a problem are the UCRs since the build starts up front.

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Once I dug through all the boxes (a big-boy’s Christmas!), it was time to document the body, aluminum panels and chassis with photographs.  This stuff was all temporarily installed at the factory in the proper places, with the pieces overlapping the right way.  The more documentation at this stage, the easier it will be to reinstall when the time comes.

A body buck is a temporary stand that holds the body, usually made out of plywood.  Some people build them to roll over the top of the chassis but because our driveway is gravel, I’m just storing the body outside in the yard.  Since the weather was so nice, I invited some of my neighbor-buddies over to help build one using the drawings from the manual.  They did all the work while I watched and took pictures.

Did I mention it was snowing? (!)

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After cutting the pieces outside we assembled the buck in the garage and test fit the body.  We then put the body back on the chassis, and moved the buck into the side yard.  Finally, we took the body off again and shuffled it through the gate and to it’s new home.  By the time we wrapped it in a tarp with bungie cord it was too dark to take any more pictures – here’s one from this morning (I still need to prop a couple of pieces of wood in there to encourage water runoff):

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Then today I was able to remove all the aluminum panels from the chassis.  Before pulling the sheet metal screws that were holding them on, I outlined where they contacted the frame with a Sharpie in order to make it easier to locate the rivet holes that I’ll soon be drilling.  With the chassis bare, I was ready to start building something.

As I mentioned earlier, the build starts up front, so I started here by adding the lower front control arms.  I then installed springs on the shocks and attached them to the LCRs.  I left the top shock bolt loose because to install the UCR you have to slide it over the shock.

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It feels good to move into the assembly stage now that I’ve disassembled all that needed disassembly.  The one thing that I have to figure out is how to paint some of the donor pieces without destroying the garage (and the engine parts strewn about) with overspray.  Right now I need to paint the differential, front spindles & brake calipers, gas tank.  I also have to figure out how to clean and/or paint some of the cast aluminum parts like the steering rack, intake manifold, and intake plenum.

All photos available here:
http://flickr.com/photos/caropepe/tags/mybuild/

Take care!

-Joe