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Thread: Aluminum panels - which ones should I make removable?

  1. #1
    Member Kiwi Dave's Avatar
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    Aluminum panels - which ones should I make removable?

    Hi All

    We took delivery of our 818C kit last weekend so now it is real!

    https://thefactoryfiveforum.com/show...l=1#post350182

    One of the first steps is the aluminum panels. Which panels should I rivet later or rivnut? I think it's clear that the rear firewall should be rivnuted for access to belts etc., and I intend to put some foam tape on the edges for sealing these up, but what about:

    The aluminum under the seats - do I leave this until I have the seats installed, or rivnut for future access to remove the seats more easily?

    From what I understand the ride height will need to be adjusted from time to time as weight is added during the build. Some have cut holes in the two firewall aluminum panels to torque the LCA hurricane bracket bolts, but perhaps the two panels can be rivnutted as well or at least temporarily secured until the weight is near final.

    What about the front and rear compartment panels on the underside? These I would put on much later in the build, but I may as well drill them now while I can tip the frame over.

    Any other panels you wish you could easily remove?


    We are building a street car, so for sound/heat proofing the cockpit, I am planning on using Hy-Tech SC#1000 or similar (yes, I know these products are expensive) on the outside faces of the aluminum panels since I understand that silicone may not bond to some sound proofing products if I coated the inside of the panels. I will then paint both the uncoated and soundproofed sides of the fire wall aluminum with primer and Eastwood 2K Aerospray Rat Rod Satin Black to match the chassis (this is the color for the newer matte FFR powder coat). For the floor I will paint the interior with the Eastwood chassis paint on the inside faces and then truck bed liner the soundproofed exterior-facing sides of the road facing panels. Same deal for the fender aluminum much later down the line. Any comments on this plan?

    Cheers

    Dave

  2. #2
    Senior Member Frank818's Avatar
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    It also depends what stuff you will be installing how. For example the big alu underneath the seats, I have this one rivnuted and I removed it MANY times already, mainly cuz if I need to remove the seats I have to remove the panel. Maybe in your case you won't, this is why I say "it depends".

    However, the smaller panels on either side of the frame, mostly triangular and trapezoidal shapes, I rivetted those as I don't think I'll ever need to stick my arm across the frame in those location. Same for the front FW and dash cover alu panel.

    EVERYTHING else I rivnutted.

    Take the time to think what you might need to install around each panel that would require you to remove the panel for maintenance and that should give you a good idea of which ones to rivet and not.
    Frank
    818 chassis #181 powered by a '93 VW VR6 GT3582R ~400whp/wtq+
    Go-karted Aug 5, 2016 - Then May 19+21, 2017
    Tracked May 27/July 26, 2017

    Bulid time, including registration 3283.5h in 148 work week time and 3.5 years elapsed

  3. #3
    Senior Member Bob_n_Cincy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank818 View Post
    It also depends what stuff you will be installing how. For example the big alu underneath the seats, I have this one rivnuted and I removed it MANY times already, mainly cuz if I need to remove the seats I have to remove the panel. Maybe in your case you won't, this is why I say "it depends".

    However, the smaller panels on either side of the frame, mostly triangular and trapezoidal shapes, I rivetted those as I don't think I'll ever need to stick my arm across the frame in those location. Same for the front FW and dash cover alu panel.

    EVERYTHING else I rivnutted.

    Take the time to think what you might need to install around each panel that would require you to remove the panel for maintenance and that should give you a good idea of which ones to rivet and not.
    Rivet or rev-nut really doesn't mater. A pop rivet can be drilled out in a matter of seconds and replaced with a new pop rivet when re-installing.
    The bigger question is to glue or not to glue. Removing glued on panel can be a pain to remove. I put all my panels in with Cleco Fasteners until I was sure I never needed access again. Then I glued and pop riveted. Here is is a before and after picture. Check out all the clecos on the rear fire wall.

    cleco.jpg cleco_after.jpg
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  4. #4
    Member Kiwi Dave's Avatar
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    Thank you Frank - good to see you back on the forum. Good advice. What did you do to seal the rivnetted panels?

    I work in the Pharmaceutical Industry to develop new medicines and when someone asks me what it take to do that, the answer is always "it depends". It always depends on the characteristics of the molecule, the patients, delivery method, etc., etc. However, in the case of the 818, we have much more control! I am trying to think ahead here with the experiences of the seasoned builders like you who have forged the path for us.

    Cheers

    Dave
    Last edited by Kiwi Dave; 12-23-2018 at 08:51 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Frank818's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob_n_Cincy View Post
    Rivet or rev-nut really doesn't mater. A pop rivet can be drilled out in a matter of seconds and replaced with a new pop rivet when re-installing.
    The bigger question is to glue or not to glue. Removing glued on panel can be a pain to remove. I put all my panels in with Cleco Fasteners until I was sure I never needed access again. Then I glued and pop riveted. Here is is a before and after picture. Check out all the clecos on the rear fire wall.

    cleco.jpg cleco_after.jpg
    You're not wrong, Bob, but I sort of disagree (oh god, 1st time in 5 years I disagree with you! loll) on the drilling rivets. It depends. lllooooooooooooolllllllllllllll For me I HATE having to do that cuz most of the time the damn rivets fall off inside the tube frame and I don't want this to cause any rattles. I don't want to risk something I could have avoided making one single rattle.

    Would I hear it in a no-roof loud car? Ok, maybe you got a point! I cannot answer that. I just don't like having to drill, I prefer to unscrew.


    However, yes, glueing! Make sure you don't need to remove the panel when you do that, otherwise you'll spend a lot of time removing it.
    Frank
    818 chassis #181 powered by a '93 VW VR6 GT3582R ~400whp/wtq+
    Go-karted Aug 5, 2016 - Then May 19+21, 2017
    Tracked May 27/July 26, 2017

    Bulid time, including registration 3283.5h in 148 work week time and 3.5 years elapsed

  6. #6
    Senior Member Frank818's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiwi Dave View Post
    What did you do to seal the rivnetted panels?
    Seal the panels... You mean so no liquid would leak through? Or no air?

    I haven't sealed those panels, I mean between the alu and frame. Some places, like the splash guards, are sealed by other means so dust and stuff won't leak through. The underseats panel I have put thick undercarpet+carpet, cut in a way that the frame tubes sit on the panel and not on the carpet. I'm not sure yet if that is enough to prevent air-dust to leak through, I haven't driven the car with the panel on yet.

    As for the underengine panel (aka belly pan), that's fine cuz I have designed stuff to let air flow in the engine bay, don't mind if the panel is leaking.

    But sealing is also the same with rivetted panels. They aren't more leak-proof than rivnutted ones. For those that I knew I wouldn't remove, I used silicone, simple black silicone caulking, as a glue agent. And the funny thing is I have removed and reinstalled all the parts on the car MANY times, but never needed for those panels I rivetted+siliconed... phew!
    Last edited by Frank818; 12-23-2018 at 09:16 PM.
    Frank
    818 chassis #181 powered by a '93 VW VR6 GT3582R ~400whp/wtq+
    Go-karted Aug 5, 2016 - Then May 19+21, 2017
    Tracked May 27/July 26, 2017

    Bulid time, including registration 3283.5h in 148 work week time and 3.5 years elapsed

  7. #7
    Senior Member Frank818's Avatar
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    Let me rephrase about Bob's opinion.

    1st, it's totally true about the glue, you need to know that before you dive in.
    2nd, rivets or nuts, I think it's more personal taste than anything else.

    I hate drilling rivets.
    Others may hate drilling big holes for rivnuts. Rivets are 1/8 to 3/16 holes. Rivnuts are 13/64 to 21/64 for 10/32 and 1/4 bolts. Takes a lot more time too.
    3rd, it's true most of this is it all depends.
    Last edited by Frank818; 12-23-2018 at 09:39 PM.
    Frank
    818 chassis #181 powered by a '93 VW VR6 GT3582R ~400whp/wtq+
    Go-karted Aug 5, 2016 - Then May 19+21, 2017
    Tracked May 27/July 26, 2017

    Bulid time, including registration 3283.5h in 148 work week time and 3.5 years elapsed

  8. #8
    Senior Member flynntuna's Avatar
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    Also, you can drill and tap many of the panels that you plan on making removable. No need for as big a hole. I've been using 10-32 button head screws on most that will be removable and a few rivenuts on some. There's a thread here on the forum discussing this especially using nut plates which you should look at.

    https://thefactoryfiveforum.com/show...ght=Nut+plates
    Last edited by flynntuna; 12-23-2018 at 11:32 PM.

  9. #9
    Member Kiwi Dave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank818 View Post
    Let me rephrase about Bob's opinion.

    1st, it's totally true about the glue, you need to know that before you dive in.
    2nd, rivets or nuts, I think it's more personal taste than anything else.

    I hate drilling rivets.
    Others may hate drilling big holes for rivnuts. Rivets are 1/8 to 3/16 holes. Rivnuts are 13/64 to 21/64 for 10/32 and 1/4 bolts. Takes a lot more time too.
    3rd, it's true most of this is it all depends.
    Thanks all for your feedback. I should have been clearer - rivet and silicone for a panel one does not hopefully have to remove again (most of the fire wall and side aluminum) vs. one of the screwing options with no glue but foam tape to seal it up and stop the rattles in order for it to be removable (underside aluminum, rear firewall and front LCA panels).

    Any thoughts on sound proofing?

    Cheers

    Dave

  10. #10
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    Rather than using rivets or larger holes for rivnuts, I drilled and tapped the tubing for 10/32 button heads for all the panels I thought I would need to remove. The rear FW is a definite. The front FW will not can you must access when the car is complete. The fender liners and panels behind the front wheels will help with access if they are removable. The center console is another area that I like having removable. I have had my seats out a couple times with needing to remove the floor panels. For sound and heat I used Bonded Logic BND3000011424 Heat Insulation. I have used on a couple of other project with great results. I attached with spray adhesive and used foil tape on the seams.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Frank818's Avatar
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    Sound and heat insulation, there are plenty of solutions and I believe most are good.

    Following RDRP, I use on my end EZ-Cool, which is a bubble wrap sandwiched into layers of alu foil. Very very light and very easy to cut and place. Using here again spray adhesive. Very good for heat as well. You can use as many layers of EZ-Cool as you want it's 1/4 thick. Seems to be Canadian made, I know a guy called Trump who wouldn't like that and probably has 10% import fees on it since it's alu! lolll

    https://ezcool.ca/
    https://www.amazon.com/Super-Shield-.../dp/B00PX2C8DC

    I know Fat-Mat is also great, I think some people used expanding spray foam as well, but not sure.

    I also used under carpet 1/2 thick and carpet. These are great for sound but they are thick and more complicated to install. However I didn't want my foot wells to look Ez-Cool, so I put the Ez-Cool on the bare metal plates, then under carpet and then carpet. Same for under seat panel except without the Ez-Cool.


    I don't think bolting your panels without foam tape will cause any rattles. If you do enough holes in the right places, the panels will be firmly in place and won't vibrate. Of course if you use only 5 holes to install the under seat panel, yes it may well vibrate.
    I have had no rattle at all when I tried the car twice on a race track. And I wasn't pushing the car at all, just driving like downtown, some spots on the track were pretty harsh on the suspension in order to test all this.


    Time to buy yourself some X-Mas presents.
    Last edited by Frank818; 12-25-2018 at 06:37 AM.
    Frank
    818 chassis #181 powered by a '93 VW VR6 GT3582R ~400whp/wtq+
    Go-karted Aug 5, 2016 - Then May 19+21, 2017
    Tracked May 27/July 26, 2017

    Bulid time, including registration 3283.5h in 148 work week time and 3.5 years elapsed

  12. #12
    Mechie3's Avatar
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    I took the center tunnel aluminum and cut it into three pieces. Riveted the sides in and bolt the top piece on. Side cockpit pieces can be riveted in place as can the firewall. I made the wheel well and radiator shroud parts removable up front. In the back I made the firewall removable. Underbody is all removable as well.
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