Thought I'd post up a few notes.
In the last update I totally forgot to mention about almost losing the entire car in a fire. Towards the end of 2017 I was happy to have the car on display at the very first Subifest and won the award for "best offroad vehicle". The very next weekend, we had a house fire at home and the L series nearly went up in smoke. We came home about 7pm and there was thick black smoke coming out the garage. Basically our solar inverter had caught on fire, and this was right next to the L series. It got a bit melted (tail light, some trim) and luckily the jerry can with ~8L of fuel didn't ignite. It was pretty much seconds away from being incinerated but I managed to get the flames down in the few minutes before the fire brigade got there. That was a while back down, it still works fine, but has a permanent smoke smell inside (the windows were down), and the paint and entire driveline has this terrible black layer of soot kindof seeped into it. I've still been offroading it very regularly, and it went along to Subifest 2018 too. We got the house fixed up but the L series wasn't covered. We're still in some legal back and forward and there might be a small pay-out coming to help with at least some paint correction.
I've been watching plenty of YouTube videos on the Raptor Bedliner product. Used in utes to line the bed with. It's a hard wearing coating with quite a rough textured finish. You can get a tint-able version and I'm considering spraying the entire car in it for something different.
Front end rebuild.
I have been making some progress on this just in the last couple of weeks finally. I'll try to divide it out into components as it covers a number of areas:
a) Radiator: I am trying to fit a very large triple-core Aluminium E-bay jobbie. It is to suit a GD WRX. It's very big, and very thick. I have had to "delete" quite alot of the front of the car - basically the entire part in between the headlights, there the bonnet latch normally goes, all the way down to the lower radiator support section which is also totally gone now. I have mounted two Davies Craig fans to the back side of the radiator and got a pretty good idea of where it will go now. The aim here is (unlike before where I heavily customised a radiator to fit the car), I will customise the car so I can fit a standard "off the shelf" radiator. I like that idea better so I can renew the radiator more easily in future. It will also double as an upgrade as the previous setup did work...but got hot on the beach, needs improving. I am still sorting out replacing the bits of the car that are missing and sorting out actual mounts for the radiator. I want to use the standardard two rubber mounts at the bottom and brackets at the top just like a normal EJ car. The EZ30 of course has two pipes at top (one per head) and I have worked out a combination of silicon tubes, joiners, and a T Piece to get it to one 38mm pipe to suit the radiator now.
b) Bonnet latch: I have replaced the part of the car I deleted with one single long piece of galvanised box section I have run from one side of the engine bay (tucked in behind the headlights) to the other. In the middle of that...well almost the middle....I have bolted an SG Forester bonnet latch. I chose that because I had one from a wreck, and because it's a lot thinner than the L series latch. I've run the matching cable and plastic release lever through to the interior and mounted that. I've also mounted the SG jam to the bonnet in place of the L series one. This is pretty tricky as it's offset to the left, and a good 4" further "down" the bonnet than before. I've utilised the original bolt holes and while I have done some welding for this, the up/down force doesn't rely on any weld, it should be just as solid if not more solid than the original latch setup. This still requires some adjusting but I have it at the point now where I can open and close the bonnet.
c) "Chassis": I have used two very solid pieces of steel angle to create my own front end chassis. Basically it slips in between the engine crossmember and body-lift block like a sandwhich, with those two bolts passing through. It then goes along the front chassis rails (hugging them with a right angle), and come straight out the front of the car - at the moment both by a good 40cm of so. They also bolt through where you would normally bolt the brackets for a bullbar. The idea of this is to provide something very strong to help support these needs:
- Bullbar mount
- Winch mount
- Radiator lower support
- Recovery hooks
- Bash plate mount
d) Winch mount: I have welded a piece of box section across in front of the radiator, directly to my two chassis rails (above). I've also done another one in front of that, but with two pieces dropping back in a kindof triangle shape to allow clearance for the bullbar uprights. This has created a rectangular "platform" directly in front of the radiator for my massive new 12,000pound winch to sit on and bolt to. This also is exactly at the right position to sit "inside" the bullbar. The bullbar I have chopped out a bit from underneath (which you can't see) for the bottom of the winch to poke through as the winch is too big to completely side inside the bullbar. There is just enough room behind it for the radiator to sit, taking into account the A/C condenser which I'll also mount there.
e) Supercharger: I have mounted the big bracket to the engine, and explorer "clearancing" for the actual supercharger. It's designed to fit into a Liberty without any mods. Unfortunately the L series of course has almost no room. Plus I have body lift, so the engine sits low. Basically I've cut a massive gaping hole out behind the driver side headlight. I will need to mount the supercharger properly to the motor then look at "rebuilding" this part of the engine bay around it. It just will fill up the wheel guard a bit more on the outside of the car, but it's miles away from the wheel so should be no problem.
f) Recovery hooks: This is a real simple one. I have a couple of proper big dirty recovery hooks I bought way back when I first got an L series but I've never had anything substantial to bolt them to. I intend to bolt them directly to the two big chassis rails I've created. They'll be accessible on both sides from just below the bullbar.
g) Bash plate: Once I've finished the radiator mount I'll put some extra bits of box running back under the car. I haven't "designed" this in my head yet but I'm thinking of mounting them to where the swaybar used to mount on both sides of the engine crossmember, and a couple of others further in the middle going right back to the middle of the crossmember where you jack from. Then I'll just get some aluminium sheeting to fill it in. I think I will have to go in between the headers and leave them exposed. I'll loose too much clearance if I go around them. Not sure exactly yet, like I say, I haven't totally figured this one out yet.
Right now my next step is to mount the winch to the platform - I just finished welding the platform yesterday and plopped the winch ontop of it. Then I'll mount the bullbar over and around it.
Then I'll do the radiator mounts and get it filled up and run to temperature.
I will then stop for a little bit - basically I need to do that much to get it driving again. This is becoming an issue as my two girls need me to get it driving so we can go into the dunes again!
The rest I can do without making it un-driveable for too long at a time so I will progress those when I can.
Then maybe do the Raptor re-spray in time for Subifest 2019!