15 Aug Floor It
Today’s all about the floor. Not because we’ve spent too many Saturday nights falling asleep there, although we’re not denying that either.
First up, we’re back to the LS-swapped WRX as we finish cleaning up the trunk. If you recall from the last time this car graced us with its presence on the blog, we were able to finish constructing the cage for the trunk-mounted fuel cell. Once that was welded into the body, well, there are a whole lot of gaping holes left in the trunk, seeing as how we cut the floor out. Well, now it’s time to patch those up. We started with arguably the trickiest piece of flooring, as it’s a relatively thin strip of metal that needs to have several crazy contours in it to match up to the rear body panels on the car.
Now, we’re not just taking mental note of the general shape and doing a “cut as you go” method when it comes to replacing this floor. Nope, we’re doing it the good ol’ fashioned way — with cardboard prototype pieces. Once we’ve figured out exactly how we want the metal cut, then we transfer it to the proper medium. But there’s no sense wasting metal (or time), so it’s better to measure twice and cut once.
As you may expect, on top of prototyping the metal pieces before we cut them, we also do plenty of test-fitting with the floor panels to ensure an even, attractive fit.
After the pieces have been shaped and fitted, we bring it back over to our working space, where we take a ruler to it and mark it evenly around the edge of the piece. We’re doing this so that we can drill those marks out in preparation for spot-welding the new floor to the old body. Each piece is marked, drilled and welded in individually upon finalization of fitment.
Now we’ll fast forward a small bit — our intrepid blogger was too busy wasting a sick day to nurse a particularly awful hangover — and the floor is complete! After the spot welding finished up, we cleaned up the welds, applied a coat of primer to the metal to seal it off from any moisture accumulation, and then seam-sealed the floor together at the end. Now, it’s water-tight, matches the inside metal of the trunk pretty nicely, and will provide some extra trunk space around the fuel cell. After all, he’ll still need to buy groceries, take clubs to the golf course and take dead hookers to a friend’s industrial meat-grinding company.
In other news related to the floor, the Audi A4 in our shop will be sitting on the floor soon enough, as we’re making headway in his bags installation. Last time, we situated the Bagyard Bombers airbags into the vehicle, along with some rudimentary mounting of the ECU and air control systems in the trunk. Now, it’s time to get the air lines installed. Since there’s plenty of space underneath the car, we’re able to run the lines in a way that will have them go virtually unnoticed if the car is lifted up in the air. The rear bags were the easiest to mount, as you can basically tuck the lines up and behind the rear differential, with only a small bit peeking out at the airbag itself.
The fronts are a little trickier, since there’s a lot more distance the lines need to cover, but up by the bags it’s not too bad. We’re able to run them through the stock bodywork and out of the way of all the drivetrain and suspension components near the steering knuckles. And since these lines look more or less like every other small, black line running around in the car, you’ll barely even know they’re there.
We even came up with a stealthy solution to run the air lines to the front of the vehicle. By following the OEM hard lines that are already there, it’ll look like just another fuel or oil line running back and forth down the length of the car. The one problem with this setup, though, is that the air lines won’t be held in place by anything … or will they? Jay, being the crafty little shrew that he is, had a few extra hard line clips in his toolbox that he modified to snap to the air lines, securing them against the OEM hard lines and giving it a very OEM+ appearance underneath.
As always, there’s plenty more action happening at the shop than what you see on the blog. Every corner of FMU is bristling with work, and we’re doing our best to get through it all with thorough documentation for you lovely blog reading folks. Some customers have requested a bit of silence or suppression of pictures during the actual build progress, and we’re gladly obliging. In due time, though, that means we’ll have dozens upon dozens of pictures to show you, on builds you don’t even know about yet! Get ready, big things are always making their way through the woodwork.