TQ Midget Racer Build.
Installing the steering gear and fabricating the firewall
TQ Midget Project - The Stuchamp Special
In this 2nd installment of the TQ project, we'll be fabricating and
installing the upper & lower firewalls and the brackets that will mount the
Ross steering gear in place. Normally the firewall would be one piece
mounted between the engine block and an in/out box, but since we're using
the Crosley clutch and trans setup I decided to split the firewall into
upper & lower sections.
The first thing we needed was some posterboard, (available at any arts and
crafts store), to make the patterns. This is a time consuming process that
requires a lot of measuring and test fitting. The easiest part is using the
fiberglass cowling to trace the top section of the pattern. The difficult
part is tracing the pattern around the bellhousing. The simplest way I found
was to get a pattern cut to a close fit and then to use masking tape to
follow the curves to get a tighter fit. From there you can then transfer
this pattern onto another piece of posterboard for the final pattern. Once
this was done I traced the pattern onto a sheet of .090 aluminum. The steps taken
can be seen on the TQ Midget photos page
step is cutting the aluminum pieces and then checking them for fit. Once
that was finished I welded some small brackets to vertical cowling brackets
that will hold the firewall in place. The lower firewall will be bolted to
the top section and also to the front belly pan with some angle brackets.
Later on we're either going to polish the aluminum or possibly engine-turn
it for that vintage look.
Next it was time to mount the Ross steering gear. First I made some
temporary plywood mounts to hold the gear in place while measurements could
be taken for its placement. This also required the help of my wife as a
seat dummy" (heehee) to get the correct angle of the steering wheel shaft
and to be sure their was enough knee room. Midget cockpits are a very tight
fit and you need to position everything to get all the leg room that you can.
Once I had the measurements, I transferred those to another small piece of
posterboard for a pattern. Next we cut out the mounts using mild steel plate.
I then bent the plate 90 degrees near the top and drilled out the holes
where we will be using exhaust clamps to hold the steering gear to the
mounts. Next I welded a large gusset to the mount. This gives the mount a
lot of strength and also provides a nice fit to the frame for welding. We
then mounted the steering gear to the mounts and then I welded a piece of
square tubing across the upper cowling loop which will also act as the lower
dash support. Later we will add a bearing support for the steering wheel
shaft that will attach to the lower dash support.
After we had all this accomplished, I removed the steering gear and the put
the fiberglass cowling in place. Next I placed a wood dowel that was the
same diameter as the steering gear supports, but short enough to fit between
the insides of the cowl and placed it in the mounts. We then traced around
the dowel onto the cowling. After removing the cowl, I drilled a pilot hole
in the center of the trace and then used a holesaw to make the hole for the
steering gear. I then reinstalled the steering gear and cowling. Later we
will install a grommet on the cowl to give it a more finished look.
Phew, that was a lot of work for this installment ! LOL
Next up, we'll be fabricating the dash panel, installing the radiator, and
also the brakes and linkage.
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