Monday, September 29, 2008

Installing an inexpensive seat slider.

Since I've never driven a BugE, I don't really know what seat position would be the best. So, I decided to put in some inexpensive seat sliders in case my guess was off a few inches. By doing so, I also have made the BugE easier to service since the seat can be completely removed from the sliders. The locking sliders I used were from Northern Tool for a bargain price of $14 plus $8 in shipping. The seat sliders do not come with hardware. However, I found it was easy to create the hardware. If the sliders are mounted directly to the fender, there are some barriers to seat sliding happiness. In the rear, the knob that secures the fender to the fender hump prevents the seat from going back very far. In the front, there is a "glove box" hump that prevents the seat from sliding forward for taking the seat off during maintenance. So, the sliders and seat are raised slightly to clear these barriers.

Main part used:
Northern Tool seat sliders, A & I Slide Track for Model# ST100 - part# 11995
Note: Although these instructions are rather detailed, you may want to use another model of seat slider. I've noticed that Northern Tool has stopped offering the seats these sliders attached to. So these sliders may not be available for too much longer.

Pieces needed for mounting bottom rails to fender.
4- 1/4-20 x 1" hex bolts
4- flat head caps (included in kit) that were on the bolts which now hold the battery tray on.
4- 1/4-20 nylock nuts
8-aluminum washers 1/4"i.d. , 1"o.d. (o.d. can be more - aluminum is used since it doesn't rust)
a short length of aluminum pipe, at least 6" long with a diameter of 1/2" and a wall thickness of 1/16.

Pieces needed for mounting upper rails to seat.
4- 1/4-20 x 3/4" hex bolts
8-32 screw, nut & washer (if not included on handle in rail kit)
4- 1/4-20 nylock nuts
8- 5/16" washers (used for spacers between rail and seat)

Tools needed.
Socket or adjustable wrench (for driving hex bolts)
Flat head screw driver, medium size
Drill with 1/4" bit
pipe cutter for copper pipe
Reaming tool (or rat tail file & pliers)
Hex key (for flat head caps)

First, put sliders on the BugE fender & drill 1/4" mounting holes as if you were to mount them directly to the fiberglass. I put the rear holes lined up with the rear knob and front holes 9" further front. This was my best guess to where my seat would normally be. Of course, where you decide to drill holes is up to you. Just make sure rails remain parallel with each other.

To make the mounting hardware, I recycled some unused parts that were included in the kit. The black hex cap in the middle should look familiar. It's one of the four flat-head caps left over when the battery tray was installed. So these flat caps have found a new use. These caps can accept a 1/4-20 thread. Each of the 4 mounts consists of a flat cap, a (1/4-20) 1" hex bolt, two washers and some aluminum spacers that are cut from some stock aluminum. This arrangement will lift the sliders up and also give the clearance needed for the sliders to move properly by each other (inside the sliders, the tolerances are really tight). In the lower right yellow box, the new mount is shown assembled. The key to the slider mount idea is using an aluminum pipe to construct spacer parts. Aluminum needs to be used since the metal needs to be soft enough to cut yet strong enough to support the sliders & chair. On the upper right of the photo, one of these is shown installed on the rail.

To construct the aluminum spacers, use a pipe cutter for copper pipe. Cut from the pipe, 4 spacers 5/8" long and 4 spacer rings 3/16" long. Since the pipe may decrease slightly in size, the larger spacers may need to be reamed or filed so the flat head caps can slide through (see photo on right). The smaller spacers can be made by putting a flathead cap in the pipe as the ring is cut so the rings don't collapse. This saves a step since there is no need to file the rings to fit!

After the spacers are made, for each hole, take the bolt, put a washer or two on it to take up some length, then push bolt up through the hole. Then put on another washer, then put the large aluminum spacer on, put the rail on spacer, then cap off with the flathead nut (with smaller ring installed on it). Then tighten with an Allen wrench. You now should have some pretty nice looking lower sliders!

Then, mount the upper sliders to the seat based on measurements from the installed lower sliders. Careful not to get the sliders backwards! Note the position of the teeth in the lower sliders and handle on the upper ones. Loosely install the top rails to the seat with bolts, washers & nylock nuts. Then wiggle on seat to the mounted rails. If movement is stickey, add a small amount of oil. Once everything fits, jam each nylock nut with a screwdriver & tighten each bolt from the top of the seat. Then install supplemental padding in the seat if you want some & put on the seat cover which is included in the kit. The seat should now freely move back and forth & can be easily removed when servicing is needed.


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The rear fender and battery pan

Here, the BugE frame sits right side up on saw horses. The BugE was shipped with some cushion material that was just right for stapling to the wooden sawhorses so the paint doesn't get ruined when the BugE is on them. Here, you see the grey material stapled to the sawhorses. The BugE has the rear sawhorse supporting the back and the front saw horse supporting the front. Moving the front sawhorse to this angle allows clearance so the battery tray can be dropped in to have a fender pan fitted to it. The rear wheel has been installed and the chain fitted to the motor. The car is getting a bit heavy but I can still lift he frame onto the sawhorses one side at a time. It will soon be time to move the BugE to lower jack stands to work on it further. For now, it's nice and high so it can be easily worked on.

Here are some images that show how the battery tray and rear fender were attached to each other.

First, some aluminum piano hinge was fitted to the front of the fender of the BugE using 8-32 screws. I decided to use those screws rather than rivets in case the top needs to be removed at a future time. The holes were drilled, then screws & nuts installed to make sure the hinge fit well & was centered. Then the orientation of the hinge was marked with a magic marker & taken off. Then, the other side of the hinge was mounted to the battery tray, centered, then screws were installed.

Then, an assistant held up the rear of the fender so the hinge could be re-attached to the rear fender using the screws and nuts that were fitted earlier. To the right, the image shows the attached rear fender held up by a garage rafter as it's being worked on. Next to the rear bumper-shock hump, a single 48V charger has been mounted with zip ties. However, this charger may move to the front with another parallel 48V unit if charging time is found to be too long.

Back to the rear bumper-shock hump. A reversing switch has been placed on the left. To get the switch to stand on it's side, some inexpensive "L" brackets were added. The brackets will eventually attach to the white support board using 4 - (1/4-20) - 3/4" bolts. The rectangular metal shaft on the left is for the reversing knob that will stick through a side hole in the fender. Since we now have a fender attached via hinge, we can lower it to take some measurements, then drill the hole.

There are several ways to measure where the hole for the switch control should pass through. At this point, the switch is not attached to the board. That way, if the horizontal measurement is slightly off, I can move the switch to meet it. However, the vertical measurement is critical. It was found by measuring the distance from the shaft to the bottom of the board plus the distance from the bottom of the board to the lip of the fender when it's lowered. The side hole can then be marked, then drilled using a hole saw. The photo on the right shows that the the fender was still rather close to the motor cover when it was put down so additional body material was removed using the Dremel. Note, you may want to secure the battery tray first and fit the rear fender knob to the rear shock hump BEFORE drilling this hole for the reversing switch.

In the image to the left, the fender is lifted off of the battery tray so a small square can be cut out where the emergency brake assembly can be attached. The large white thing is the fender in the UP position. On the right is a closeup of the cut out area which shows where the emergency brake will attach to the side of the car's frame. Here, we see the fender lowered over the battery tray. The parts all fit together nicely so the battery tray can now be attached to the frame using the flathead bolts provided in the kit.

The rear fender is off in this photo and the battery tray is clamped down to the frame. Drill material was left in the photo so the flat head bolt locations can be seen more clearly. Holes have been drilled down from the top of the tray to the frame. Then the exit holes were marked, then drilled up from the bottom. The flathead bolts go through the frame and are secured on the other side with 1/4-20 nylock nuts.

The front of the fender is normally secured by the hinge. The rear of the fender will be secured by a knob in the rear that screws into the threaded hole in the shock-hump. Then, some neoprene (provided with the kit) will be placed onto the shock hump so the fender can rest on it. The neoprene is attached with hot glue.

Pieces needed for fender knob.
1-Ace Lawn mower replacement knob
1- 1/4-20 x 1 1/2" hex bolt
1- 1/4-20 nylock nut

If you can find a low profile knob with a 1/4-20 thread, you can avoid this last step. Otherwise, here's how you can make a knob. The ACE lawnmower knob is female. We're going to make it male. Use a Dremil or hacksaw to to cut the nut that came with the knob out from bottom. Doing this should make a 3/8" nut fall out. Then, install a (1/4-20) 1 1/2" hex bolt and tighten to knob with a nylock nut.

Time used
Attach and install the battery tray & fender- 1 hour.
Add brackets to rear switch, then fit switch to fender - 1 hour.
Cut out fiberglass to allow for battery mount points - 1/2 hour.
Blogging about it 4 hours.

Parts substituted.
8-32 screws, nuts & lock washers instead of rivets.