Sunday 25 November 2012

More Exhausting

If any of you watched the YouTube videos, you may have noticed a heavy knocking when the car is moving slowly. It's the exhaust tip hitting the pod as as it exits. The exhaust runs through the nearside pod, which keeps it tidy & hidden, but is a git-of-a-thing to engineer nicely. Anyway, since the Zetec went in it's rattled. Time to do something about it. The solution was a couple of rubber mounts attaching the tail pipe to the side impact frame, easy enough to sort, but in getting it all tied down nicely, it's moved a little, added to which there's a tell-tale burn - rub on the inside of the pod with a matching crack on the outside, so the rear of the silencer is touching the pod as well. 

The Tray
Moving the silencer isn’t really ideal as wherever I put it, it’ll louse up the run of the pipe past the side impact protection. I decided drastic action was required & decided to attempt a fairing in the side of the pod. But what to mould it on? It had to be a female mould (fibreglass component on the inside), I could spend ages carving wood or foam, but my eyes fell upon a semi-disposable food tray we bought for some event or other. It’s aluminium foil, but thicker than kitchen foil. I started working it into a dome with my fingernail– resulting in a smooth polished nail the TV ads would be proud of. I finished off the shape with a teaspoon (yes really) & gave it a coat of furniture wax.
The Tray With A Bulge
Then to the garage, I made up some gel-coat (using the prised kitchen scales - shhh) & laid that on the wax, a little heat to cure it, then a couple of layers of chopped strand. So far it was all going quite well, no failure to cure, no bright yellow sticky hands, it was strange.

After a little more heat, my patience gave out - as it will on these occasions &I peeled off the foil tray, & because my new fairing was still “green” (flexible) I duct-taped it to the side pod, to take the shape. So far it looked good, but my fingers were firmly crossed.

The very next day, I did some more podding. The fairing had fully cured, so I washed the wax off & marked out the pod where the fairing needed to go. I decided on a butt joint where the fairing is trimmed to the same shape as the hole, dropped in & laminated on the inside, this is the easiest to finish nicely as there's little filling, but by far the hardest to cut as the fit has to be pretty close. So I marked where the fairing needed to go, cut the hole, covered the fairing in masking tape & offered it up from the inside, marked the shape, trimmed it & trimmed it only a little more, then superglued it in place & finally bonded it in.

 Phew - sounds easy doesn't it? Doesn’t look half bad though I say it myself, & it fits pretty well, hopefully it may even provide enough clearance. In the last picture you can see the extra “filler” resin needs a lot of cleaning up, but it shouldn’t be too bad, most of the time this area’s covered in mud anyway.

So the fairing's bonded in place, there's a little yellow gel / resin run into the gap (less that 1/2mm at it's widest) & I just need to cut that back & polish & it's all done. Well, except I need a new exit plate for the tail pipe. But it's nearly all done.

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