Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Stripping the chrome!

Scottie arrived early Sunday morning, and the boys got into removing the chrome/badges/lights etc from Booger Mobile.

The day had two goals:
  • remove all external mouldings/accessories/badges etc ready for bodywork to commence
  • remove the front seat to investigate adjustments required to fit Damian's impressive 6'5 frame comfortably!

Working at a steady pace, the boys managed to remove a good number of parts with the use of the newly purchased "Imperial" spanners and sockets, until Damian discovered that the one spanner size that wasn't in the kit (11/16") was required... After nearly destroying the nut with a slipping shifter, the decision was made to take a road trip to the shops to purchase a spanner of the right size... Super Cheap Auto had spanners that could be purchased individually for around $12, but ever on the lookout for a bargain, Scottie suggested checking Bunnings for a kit of spanners that would do the trick!

At Bunnings, it would seem that individual spanners were a bit light on the ground, however for $16 or so there was a kit that included a set of Imperial and Metric spanners, including the elusive 11/16" spanner! After some shennanigans at the checkout (there were two kits on the shelf, each missing a single spanner, so Damian suggested removing the matching spanner from one kit to match the missing spanner in the other kit - but honestly, it was like he was speaking Swahili!!) Still, once armed with the kit, the boys headed back to Damian's place, where the recalcitrant nut was removed with the correctly sized 11/16" spanner!

After lunch, the rest of the external trim was removed, including wipers, door handles, locks etc etc. The only trim not removed were the front and rear window trims - these will be left to the window removal dude (who will be used to remove and refit the windscreen and rear window - these things break easily for the untrained!!)

Goal One - CHECK!!

Looks a bit lonely now without the magnificent chrome grill etc

The red in the middle is the bucket of parts inside the boot!

Driver's side view

Passenger side view

The next part of the day was spent removing the internal items of Booger Mobile - namely the front seat (the back seat was already out, but sitting inside the car). While lying under Booger Mobile, Scottie made a discovery that was to be the cause of much celebration... Although the XM Falcon did not come standard with seat belts, and indeed, you don't need them to get registration, the boys will actually be fitting seat belts (for safety, ignoring the fact that it is an esCarpade requirement). In order to do this, you need seat belt mounting points of suitable strength to hold the belt in the event of an accident... For a vehicle without seatbelts, this usually entails adding the seatbelts following the Queensland Transport guidelines and getting a machinery modification plate - however Booger Mobile has factory fitted seatbelt MOUNTING POINTS!! Even if Damian and Scottie put seatbelts in, because the mounting points are factory fitted, no modification plate is required!!

The front seat was successfully removed (Goal Two - CHECK!!), and what was left of the carpet removed for closer inspection of the floor pan... Reasonable condition - some repairs necessary, but all in all, not a complete disaster, and SEAT BELT MOUNTING POINTS INCLUDED!!!

It will be a bit quiet on the blog for a while, as the boys have come as far as they can without Damian's shed being completed (the concreter is meant to be coming this week to box up and pour the concrete), but you can rest assured that the project is gaining momentum every week!

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Progress Update

Been a hectic week or two since the blog was updated... so what have the boys been up to? Well, Scottie has been busy doing some more work to Booger's head. Metal reinforcing and framing has been prepared, along with the creation of his nose...

Booger's head is beginning to take shape - next comes the chicken wire and fibreglass!

Meanwhile, Damian has been busily preparing the base (for the slab) for the shed that is going to house Booger Mobile while it's being built...

That's a lot of fill for a small Kanga (well, the Kanga is pretty big actually, but there's a LOT of fill!!)

Hopefully the boys will be back onto the actual vehicle work this coming weekend!!

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Booger's head begins to take shape!

While Damian has been busy working this week, Scottie has been equally busy working on the shell for Booger's head! Of course, Booger's head will sit on top of Booger Mobile, with plenty of surprises in store!

Here are a couple of sneak peeks at the progress so far!

Start by building one half of the frame (the inside of Booger's head will be used for storage)

Both halves of the frame will join together like this, note the nose on the front...

Just need to flesh it out a bit (so to speak)!! Scottie has done a champion job so far. Note the premium sponsorship panels either side... Sponsors? You listening?

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Reality is setting in...

Where to start? I suppose the beginning is the most likely place, so we'll go from there!

Having previously met on Tuesday evening (planning meeting - probably should have posted something to the blog but didn't) and deciding not to work on Booger's head this weekend, Damian and Scottie decided on the following goals:
  1. Get the fuel tank in and fuel lines hooked up, and get the engine starting consistently.
  2. Compression test the engine to see what needs to be done (will it just be head work, will it be a full rebuild, will it just be left alone?)
  3. Sort the brakes out, so hopefully there can be some circle-work in the back paddock!! (Boys will be boys!)
First things first, it was time to make a shopping list. Brake fluid, muffler ring thingymabob, fuel hose clamps, compression tester, wheel bearing grease and an air blower for Scottie's compressor (as he'd left his at home). Off to SuperCheap Auto the boys went (another sponsorship opportunity there, how about it SCA?), and managed to get everything except the air blower. Not to worry, there's another SuperCheap Auto around the corner, so they headed off to that one. No air blower's there either (sold out) - not to worry, they'll just have to make do without one. Damian noticed that trolley jack's were on special, but since Scottie brought one with him, decided against buying one. (He was later to regret this decision!)

Returning with their required items, the boys got into the process of sorting out the fuel tank. Scottie worked under the bonnet adjusting the timing and points as per his newly acquired Gregory's manual (another sponsorship op? Hello, Gregory's?) while Damian began installing the fuel tank. Finding no bolts or nuts to attach it, it was decided to just sit it in position and connect up the hoses. That done, the tank was filled with around 10 litres of unleaded petrol...

Cranking, cranking, cranking nothing... Oh blast, not this again!! Seems there is no spark - AGAIN!! After some minor diagnostics and general faffing around, Damian suggests replacing the coil to distributor lead with a spare found in the back of the car, and what do you know? There's spark again!!

Damian and Scottie in their usual positions...

After much ginning around, including ripping the top off the carby and manually filling the float bowl with fuel, finally Booger Mobile would spring to life with a turn of the key, with regularity!! Goal number 1 - CHECK!!

Time to check out the compression... The manual tells the boys that the cylinders should be somewhere between 175 and 185psi... They take the plugs out and attach the flash new compression tester... Cylinder one - quite reasonable - 150... Cylinder two - alright, Cylinder three - absolute cracker (180)!! Cylinder four - bit sad, Cylinder five, about the same, bringing us to Cylinder six - trouble child of the BM engine!! It managed only a pathetic 45psi. Oil test of Cylinder six leaves the level stagnant at 45psi... It's time for a complete Engine Rebuild! Goal number two - CHECK!! (Although it would have been nicer if it just needed some headwork rather than a full rebuild, but hey, the goal was achieved nonetheless!)

After some delicious lunch supplied by Tricia (Damian's wife), and with the arrival of Paul to have a look at Booger Mobile, Scottie and Damian began the task of inspecting the brakes. The rear of the vehicle was jacked up and placed on jack stands (curse you dodgy trolley jack - why oh why didn't Damian buy the new one at SuperCheap Auto?), only to find that the cool rear wheel arches that make the XM look so delightful actually stop you from removing the wheels if you have the car resting on jack stands at the axle... So it was battling with the dodgy trolley jack again, and moving the jack stands to the chassis rail, and hey presto the rear wheels were off!

Jack stands - turns out they were in the wrong position!! And Scottie's dodgy trolley jack!

After much bashing and belting with hammers, the rear wheel drums were removed (been a while since they were off it would seem), and the true magnitude of the breaking system (pun intended) became apparent. The wheel cylinders - seized. The brake shoes - average at best. The rest of the components - in need of a good clean and some attention. It would seem that Booger Mobile would not be having any brakes without a complete set of replacement parts. Goal number three - sadly remains unachieved.

Having reached the sad conclusion that the amount of money required to get Booger Mobile into the 2010 esCarpade was mounting rapidly, Scottie and Damian took time to re-assess their plan. After several tense moments and a brief discussion, it was decided that the best course of action was ALL SYSTEMS GO!! Money schmoney... just takes more sponsorship and fundraising!! It's for the kids, remember!!

The rest of the afternoon was spent itemising the things required for Booger Mobile to reach roadworthy standard (to allow it to be registered), and having some fun with Booger Mobile's horn that was found in the spare parts in the back... Turned out that the relay wasn't working, but hey, when you hook that horn directly to the power my lord does it make a sweet sound... albeit really, REALLY loudly!!

The afternoon ended with Damian and Scottie agreeing to the following - Booger Mobile will live... and it will be a cracker!! Stay tuned...

Damian's CQ bucket hat (he loves them) makes a special guest appearance!