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(Continued from page 17)

the buckle strap which was mounted on the seat frame.

I've now finished the entire paneling and will be taking them to the paint shop on Monday.  Rang to find out if the scuttle had arrived in Cairns safely and it did but no work had been done on it at this stage.  Fitted the rear lights into the quarter panels.  I had decided on a set of Toyota Hilux lights.  They have a curve that almost perfectly suits the panel radius of the Clubman and fitted the wiring plug ends to suit while I was at it.

My SS tubing arrived for the rear bumper/Spare wheel holder and will work on that while the panels are away being painted.  The first problem I had was bending hard drawn, thin wall SS tubing and decided after one very bat failure I would make it out of mandrel bends.  So in went an order and another week of waiting for them to arrive from Townsville.

I finally got my service manual so that I could finish of some of the nagging electrical problems and on inspection found only every second page was supplied and the manual started half way through the index.  Fortunately the electrical schematics I needed were part of the pages I got.

I checked on my paneling and was disappointed to see no progress had been made, but was assured things would be ready for finish coating by the following Thursday.

I started to fabricate both the front and back bumper bars that didn't require any bends I was waiting for.  Mounting brackets etc and welding the 20mm tube that forms the spare wheel rack etc.  The bends arrived on Friday so I got busy finishing off the bumpers.  See photos.

The next item on the list was the windscreen.  I've been putting a lot of time and thought into this task because of the ADR on wiper area etc.  If anyone wants some reading that will put you to sleep, have ago at this one.

I decided on my windscreen size and have also softened the corner radius quite a bit for two reasons.  Firstly so that I can get the correct wiper sweep area, still use two wipers and satisfy the ADR requirements.  The second reason is to make life easier for me when it comes to bending the aluminum "H" section I'm using for the windscreen frame.

That pretty much brings July to a close....

August 2000

August is the month where everything has to happen.  Panels need to be painted and fitted all the lights and accessories need to be fitted, the bonnet needs to be made, painted and fitted then a final detail inspection before my final engineer/ADR compliance inspection.  It seems long enough but since I'm not in control of some of the work, I'm worried about the timing.

Never the less I got started on the final few thing I could do and they were finishing the front bumper and the Windscreen.

The windscreen was the most challenging because the "H" section I selected for the frame was quite thin, was an extruded section and therefore hard drawn.  My first attempts at bending were an absolute disaster mainly because of the hardness of the material and the section shape.

After talking with some of my plumbing mates I decided to try annealing the "H" section with a technique they use to soften flashing.  Light up a pure acetylene flame and lightly soot up the section for annealing. Introduce the Oxy and have a strong neutral flame.  Sweep the soot coated aluminum at a rate that doesn't generate localized hot spots.  About 400-500mm per sec I found works well. 

If you sweep at a steady pace and heat the area up evenly, you will see the soot disappear at about the same pace with each sweep of the flame once you have the material up to annealing temperature.  You have to make sure you heat it enough so that ALL the soot disappears and then carefully give it a few for good measure.  BUT, be very careful because at this point too much heat will leave you with a hot spot heat fracture or have the section of aluminum sag away.  Let it cool naturally at ambient air temperature.

It all happens quite slowly and if you have a section to practice on then the real job is a lot easier.  The end result is a very well annealed section of aluminum that can be very easily bent into the shape you want.  I didn't end up needing to make a bending gig once I annealed the "H" section I was using.  I did however make a 20mm thin wall SS stiffening frame for the windscreen that was used to weld the side brackets on to.  See photos.

Today is Monday the 7th and day off.  I have dropped off my wind screen frame to get the glass cut for and to drop in to the painter to start applying pressure on getting my paneling done.  To my pleasure he was working on them so I came to an understanding that Friday would be my "Absolute "day.  Absolutely ecstatic that it's all finished and can start assembling the panels or absolutely irate that I have to start fitting unfinished panels that will need to be disassembled for painting after my inspection. He promised me it would be the prior.  Let's see....

Friday afternoon and there was a message on my voice mail telling me the panels were finished and to come and pick them up ASAP because the panel beater was shutting up at 2:00pm to go away for the weekend.  It's 3:45....  Quick trip to se if I could catch him and sure enough his workshop was all locked up.

That not the way I planned the weekend so I made sure I got away form work at 4:30pm and thought I'd go around his home hoping he may have been delayed packing up and getting ready to go.  It's about a 15-min ride on my bike.  As luck would have it I spotted him on the main road heading out and I managed to catch his eye.  He pulled up and after we talked for a while he agreed to put the panels in the lockup compound on his way through and gave me a key to his yard so I can pick them up.  So I rode home, picked up the trailer and did just that.

(Continued on page 19)

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