PART 19: A DRIVERS PERSPECTIVE
Finishing the Dash and a little HVAC work.
After taking care of some of the small things and having sourced some more parts from the junkyard I went ahead and reinstalled the heater core and blower motor - I want heat in the car for winter events. The blower motor was tricky as it wouldn't clear the roll bar front down tube (Right red arrow in pic). Probably why it wasn’t installed in the car when I picked it up! A little bit of trimming of the blower motor box and it was wedged into place. I also fabbed a short duct to fill the gap where the A/C condenser used to be with some AL dryer pipe from the local hardware store. I think it was 8 inch pipe. I also fitted the left and right defroster ducts with the unneeded holes suitably taped over (Left arrow in pic).  
The components needed to get heat to the driver.

With the heater core and blower motor mounted, and the defroster ductwork fitted, so I could have a working windshield defroster (and backup radiator - which is what the heater core is), a little wiring work was in order. The wiring harness that runs behind the dash for the HVAC components also contains all the sound system head unit wiring plus extras like the cigarette lighter power and some other dash lights (glove box, ashtray, cigarette lighter, etc.). I decided to weed out all the extra wires, just for simplicities sake and it only took about 30 minutes - it's a short harness. The pins in the big connectors can be removed by inserting a small flat tipped screwdriver from the pin side of the connector (not the wire side) and releasing a small locking tab. With the tab released the pin (and wire) can be slid out with a gentle tug.


Weeding the HVAC wiring harness: before (left) - arrows showing unneeded wires and after (right) - arrow showing left leftovers.

With the the “stripped” wiring harness plugged in I could temporarily reinstall the dash...to make it useable - there is more work to do (wiring some more gauges like I did in Rusty) but it can wait until later. The dash BTW will have to be replaced eventually as it is pretty trashed and will not meet ITS regs - too much has been cut out of it and much of the mounting tabs for other components have been broken or cut off. The dash, believe it or not can be fixed in place by only eleven 10mm bolts (2 by each a-pillar, 2 on either side of the transmission tunnel, and three on top of the dash itself)


Dash installed (left) fitting gauge panle and auxilliary gauges anbd switches (right).


Easy In, Easy Out
Next up was the quick release steering wheel hub and steering wheel. Egress in an accident has always been a concern of mine and exiting a car quickly with a fixed steering wheel can be tough. So a quick release steering wheel hub was on my short list of thinsg to install. I waited 6 months for the QD hub and adapter from a company called TekniqAuto in Canada. They call it their "Snap-Off System." Two versions available, a street version with a key lock (advertised for security purposes) and a race version...well for race cars. Why the race version is more expensive escapes me though. I bought, for obvious reasons, the race version without the key lock. I splurged a little and bought this as a new part and at over $180 it wasn’t cheap. And this was even as part of a group buy! But having the QD makes getting in and out of the car MUCH easier. The install is a piece of cake, merely a case of unbolting the OE steering wheel and bolting the hub adapter in it’s place. Oh, and there is no horn wiring to worry about in this car. The QD then bolts to hub adapter and your new racing steering wheel. In my case a Momo Fighter 350mm wheel I bought used. I actually bought two wheels as a package deal for $150 but I'm going to try the Momo first. The otehr wheel is a 320mm Sparco "D" ring and is pretty small. The only drawback with the QD set up is that the steering wheel is about 1 inch closer to the driver than before. I have short arms so no issue for me.


Hub adapter and QD baseplate mounted (left) Momo steering wheel on QD disconnect.(right)


LazyBoy
No race car would be complete without a nice race seat. In fact it wouldn't be a race car without a race seat. As it would so happen I picked up a brand new Sparco EVO seat that was being sold for $400. Not cheap but it is an awesome seat and as with parts of this kind, can be used in any subsequent car later on down the road when RC expires. Since RC was already fitted with a race seat (Kirkey since sold) I had floor brackets already made. The EVO however is a side mount seat -the Kirkey a bottom mount. Off to eBay I went and bought a set of used Sparco side mount brackets for $25 and they fit the seat perfectly...obviously. I had to drill a few holes to fit the Sparco side brackets to the floor mounting bracket but this was fairly straight forward. The Sparco side brackets look like swiss cheese there are so many bolt holes, so any future adjustment for front to rear position as well as overall height and rake should be easy enough. When it comes to the weight question lest just say the stockers are heavy and the fibergalss is light. The Kirkey was pretty light also but not as light as the featherweight Sparco. The mounting bracket onthe other hand could be lighter and who knows maybe someday I'll fab something out of AL to replace the steel parts currently employed. While the seat was going in I installed the 6 point drivers harness. These were purchased as new items. They are dated and have a shelf life. Buying used is a bad decision anyway you look at it. These were bought as part of a group buy so some pennies saved here. Basically your standard 3" webbing, 6 point Sparco harness with camlock lever quick release. Not to much to the install here either. Shoulder belts are wrapped (properly) around the roll bar, the lap belts go to the rear OE seat belt anchors points, and the two sub belts are mounted to the rear seat mounting bolts. No drilling, hacking, or other butchery necessary for thre install. While rounding out the interior I padded all the roll cage tubing that would be considered any potential threat to the driver...took me 8 sticks of padding to get everything I wanted to! There are a few more things to hook up in the interior like the window net, maybe a wide angle racing rear view mirror, a shift light, and I do need to eventually disable the steering wheel lock but that will be added to the To-Do list and done later. That pretty much does it for the basic interior niceties.


Apologies no pics of the mounting bracket bracket. No roll bar padding shown.


Chapter I: To Begin the Hooptie to Hotrod Saga: Part 1 of the First 16 Installments
Chapter II: The Saga Continues, A Good Rear End: Part 17
Chapter II: Ritual Cannibalization: Part 18
Chapter II: The Final Touches?: Part 20
Chapter II: Drum Roll Please...How Much Did it Cost?: Part 21


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This page last updated May 3, 2004


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