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Archive for the ‘Shops & garages’ Category

Before I go any further with the Swift DB-1 reassembly, I’m going to build a rolling chassis stand for the car. The bottom half, including casters, is done:

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After way too many months of sitting and collecting dust, the DB-1 is finally settled in to its new home!

As you can see, both the race car and the garage are works in progress.  When I bought the house in late May, the garage was unfinished, and I had to stuff it full of random junk that came with me in the move.  Some of the junk is now gone, and a lot of the parts for the car are in the attic–which gives me some room to move around.   I’ve also gotten most of the insulation up on the walls and about half the ceiling.  Drywall arrives in two weeks.  My goal is to get the drywall up by the end of October so the garage can be heated once the cold weather arrives.

At the same time as I’m finishing the garage, I’m going to have to start working on reassembling the Swift if I want it to be ready by spring.  I ordered a 80″ x 20″ sheet of aluminum for the belly pan (6061-T6, 0.187″ thick), it arrives in a couple of weeks as well.  The first steps will be to cut it to size, mark all of the holes for rivets using a transfer punch, and then drill the holes.  I’ll post pictures and progress reports when the work starts…

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On Sunday night, I watched the season finale of the IndyCar series from Homestead Miami Speedway.  It was a great race, and the championship went down to the wire.  Last night, I watched the Grand-Am series finale, also from Homestead.  Even though it finished under caution, the race was just as good, and that championship wasn’t decided until the last laps either.  (Congrats to Alex Gurney, Jon Fogarty, and Bob Stallings Racing by the way–I’m a huge fan, and was on the edge of my seat for the whole race!)  And later this week, I’ll watch the American Le Mans Season-ender on DVR as well.

Three of the four racing series that I watch regularly are done for the season.  The fourth, Formula One, only has two races left.  For me, especially in a year where I personally sat out of racing, the offseason is something I don’t look forward to.  It’s more than three months until the 24 Hours of Daytona, and not only is there no good racing fix to be had in the mean time, I have to stay motivated for the very long to-do list on my Formula Ford.

Last year, I buried myself in work to get through the offseason, and as a result got very little done on the race car.  This year, I’m going to try something different.  Since my goal is to have my car ready for the first New Hampshire SCCA regional next spring, and there are dozens of things I need to do on the car before reassembly can start, this weekend I’m buying a dry-erase board to put in the garage.  It’s going to have to fit every task that needs to be done between now and the first shakedown laps on the car, so this will be a LARGE dry-erase board.  But I figure the best way to keep myself motivated is to never forget how much work there is to do.

There’s one other aspect of staying motivated: when the weather gets cold, I find it harder to go to the gym regularly.  (Isn’t it easier to just put on a layer of food-based insulation and hibernate?)  Other than having to fit into the same firesuit next year, I’m still working on the strategy for not letting my fitness slip.  If I figure something out, I’ll be sure to share it…

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It’s no secret that racing on a budget is all about compromises.  In my case, a perfect example is my garage.  When I was looking for a space where I could work on and store my Formula Ford, I ended up settling on a shop that suits my purposes, but is not exactly ideal.  The main drawback is the floors, which are plywood on top of 2×4 joists, under which is plain old dirt.  The floor holds the weight of the car without any issues, but there’s nothing to keep moisture from making its way through the floor and into the shop.

As I found out last year, the result is conditions that are way too humid for a race car.  Once I noticed that any part on the car that could conceivably rust started doing so at an alarming rate, I bought a humidity gauge.  Over the course of a couple of months, it rarely dipped below 90%.  The problem isn’t just the floor, it’s that the shop isn’t ventilated enough to let the moisture out either.  Since the floor had some damage already, I decided that I’m going to replace it in a way that keeps the moisture out, but that’s a story for another day.

Now that I have the DB-1 frame back, I’m working on it in my basement while I’m fixing the garage floor.  When I moved my humidity gauge into the basement, I discovered that it’s almost as damp as the shop.  So today, I dropped $200 at Home Depot for a 45-pint dehumidifier.  Hopefully it can keep the basement at around 40% humidity, a much better level for racing equipment.  When the shop is done, the dehumidifier will go into it.  After a frame-up rebuild, the DB-1 deserves it, I don’t want to see my hard work go to waste!

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