August 28, 2008

I know, I know, the transmission isn't finished yet...

I just felt like getting back to the garage for a while. This is where I left off with the dash. The steering column is out, the radio is out, the instrument cluster is out, etc. The mounting bolts have all been removed. According to the manual, the only thing holding the dash from coming out as a unit is all the electrical connectors.

Thought I'd start with a little photographic survey of what's already been disconnected.

These 3 connectors go to the instrument panel.

These are for the stereo.

I forget what these two do, but they're near the stereo stuff.

This is all the stuff that gets hooked to the steering wheel.

Now, on to more mayhem!

This strangely long housing for the instrument light dimmer pops out easily.

Next to that is the switch for the fog lights.

On the passenger side now, this connector is for the airbag.

The passenger airbag is held in by two bolts and two nuts...

...which have been safely packed away and labelled.

I need to remember how this wire routing looked.

One of many little cable stays that had to be unhooked.

With (nearly) everything unhooked, the dash still isn't free to move very much. I finally realized that it is hung up on the trim that covers the inside of the A pillars. Another difference between the manual and reality. And yet another: to get the A pillar trim off you have to release the trim that runs across the top of the windshield. That involves taking off the sun visors and the locater pads for the top.

Another cable stay.

A nice thick harness of wiring leads to this fuse block (located near the driver's left knee). I undid the two mounting screws and released the fuse block as a unit.

One half of a big connector is held to the frame of the dash by one of those push in thingies. I undid this only to discover it wasn't necessary and put it back.


This black wire is the only one in the stereo bundle that couldn't be disconnected. I had to cut it. Maybe I'll see if I can find some kind of plug for this at reassembly time.

Finally! The dash is out.

This is it, standing on end on the garage floor.

I took a lunch break and thought about my next moves.

It's time to start the job I've been dreading. Cutting out a space for the rear battery box. I guess there's something symbolic about this -- once you've started cutting, there's no going back. Oh, I suppose you could still go back to ICE-hood but the car will never really be the same.

I stopped by the house, intending to make a template for the cutting process, but when I did that, I realized that I'd basically just made the bottom of the battery box. So I just kept going, and by 5 o'clock I had this:

This core is made from 3/16" plywood with 3/4" custom made fillets in the corners. I'm planning to cover this frame, inside and out with fiberglass, which will be reinforced in the corners with kevlar tape.

I used an electric brad gun to tack everything together.

Each of the inside corners has three fillets meeting at right angles. The fillets each have two 45 degree cuts on their ends so each piece actually extends into the corner.

Here's a snap of one of my cell carriers sitting inside the box. I plan to have 3/4" foam insulation all around.