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Demolition Derby: Mod Session 3

The third demolition derby modification session was a slow but steady success, as we knocked out a few to-do items and made it easy to finish a few others in the next session. Thanks to both RP and PF for their brains and brawn.

The Battery
Finally, the battery requirements can be scratched off our to-do list! Although we had a few hiccups, we mounted the battery box to the floorboard and put in the battery. There are no more battery-related requirements.

Remove Front Header Panels
The rules require that the front header panels be removed, which we interpreted to mean remove all the header panels. It took us some time, but the process was relatively straightforward and manageable. In the end, we learned that drivers of Honda Accords are protected by Styrofoam. And now I’m not even protected by that.

Chain Everything Down
In order to secure the hood, trunk, and doors–as the rules possibly require, depending on one’s interpretation of the poorly written list–we had to remove the header panels. Once we finished that, we were able to identify the holes through which the wire and chains will run and exactly how we will do it. Unfortunately, my drill’s battery decided to die a permanent death and we weren’t able to finish the job. We did, however, identify where the holes will be, and I’ll drill them as soon as I buy a new drill (another Amazing Prime purchase, here I come!).

In addition, we chained down the engine mount.

Next steps:
(1) Jason buy a new drill.
(2) Jason drills and deburrs the holes that will be used to run the chain and wire.
(3) Jason buy the bolts and nuts we will use to secure the chain and wire.
(4) Jason measure and cut the wire for the securing.
(5) At the next mod session, we determine when each point will be secured (we still need access to certain areas and inspectors must check the hood and trunk before securing those areas).
(6) Remove the hood latch, as required by the rules, once appropriate.

The Agenda for before the Next Mod Session
(1) Jason take care of all relevant to-do items for securing the various parts of the car.
(2) Jason continue to research the gas tank dilemma.

The Agenda for the Next Mod Session
(1) Assess and finalize the securing of various parts of the car, which may include leaving some parts unsecured until day of. This includes dealing with the hood latch.
(2) Remove windows.
(3) Reinforce the driver’s and front passenger’s doors.
(4) Determine timeline for flushing the various systems and filling them with water (e.g., radiator and cooling system).
(5) Gas tank decisions.

Demolition Derby: Mod Session 2

The second demolition derby mod session was held yesterday, following the initial session a few weeks ago that sketched out the changes. Yesterday’s session was productive and lots of fun. Thanks again to RP for doing a great job in leading the mod efforts; it has been a blast.

The Battery
The last mod session included replacing the inherited battery with an extra RP has. Although the battery worked fine when we jumped it that day, it failed when I tried again a couple days later. That leaves us with two batteries that don’t want to work. RP brought his battery charger, which I will set up in the next couple days to begin properly charging both batteries for a real test of their ability to rock and roll.

Yesterday’s mod session picked up where we left off with the battery switch by moving the battery from the engine area to the passenger seat floor area. We already had the needed parts, so the actual work was quite easy, also in part because there was a plug we removed in the floor that allowed us to run the battery cables without drilling. The final result looks very nice, and just needs a “covering”.

Next steps:
(1) I figure out what the organizers mean by “covering” the battery.
(2) We cover the battery and secure the battery to the floor (currently, it just sits on the floor).

Hole in the Hood
One of the requirements is that there be a hole in the hood over the carburetor, which is used by firefighters to gush water into the engine to extinguish fires. We used RP’s Dremel, buying fresh bits, to cut a hole in the hood. Again, the result looks great.

The bad news is that I failed to register that the rules state the hole must be “approximately 12″ or larger, square or diameter”. Our hole is 13 x 9, so I think we’ll have to go back and cut more, which sucks for several reasons (it’s not a fast process, we have to cut a reinforcement piece again, it wears bits away like crazy, and we thought we had this one done).

Next steps:
(1) Jason buys additional Dremel bits.
(2) We expand the hole.

20100623 Edit: PMS and IR visited to help me with expanding the hood hole a few inches. This task is now complete.

Chain Everything Down
The rules require we secure a number of different points in the car. The last mod session included time where we discussed how we would do this. This mod session, we bought some initial hardware to do the job. We needed these initial pieces to bring back to the car so we could measure out chain and wire needs, although we did buy wire for some of the securing. Next mod session will include purchasing the remaining chain, wire, and hardware, and then installing it.

Next steps:
(1) After we remove the fiber glass bumper covers, etc., measure chain and wire needs.
(2) Purchase relevant items.
(3) Install.

The Agenda for the Next Mod Session
(1) Work the battery situation, to include doing real checks on the existing batteries, covering the battery, and securing the battery to the floor.
(2) Expand hood hole.
(3) Removing fiber glass parts of bumpers, as required by the rules.
(4) Secure or almost secure various parts of the car, requiring us to finish (2), measure chain and wire needs, buy remaining items, and execute.
(5) Discuss gas tank moving plans. I have some research to do on this, in particular finding a metal gas tank.
(6) Discuss removing the hood latch, which is required but should wait until we have a way to secure the hood (e.g., chains).

Future Mod Sessions
If we accomplish the four items on the next mod session’s agenda, then we have the following left to do (in no particular order):
(1) Reinforce the driver and passenger doors (PMS may ride along).
(2) Window removal.
(3) Flush radiator and cooling system and replace with water.
(4) Gas tank decisions.

Demolition Derby: Mod Session 1

Although we are all mentally prepared for the demolition derby, there are a number of modifications needed to properly prepare the car. Thankfully, RP is as excited about this project as I am and, like old times, is contributing his skills. Yesterday was our first mod session, and this is an after-action report of sorts. A more general update will also be sent to the distro list, so be sure to visit Jason at the Derby and follow the instructions to sign up for the list.

We reviewed the to-do list and sketched out priority, timeline, and basic approaches, with a hands-on review of the car afterward. Here are the major mods to be done:

The Battery
The current battery does not hold a charge, meaning I need to jump it every time I want to practice driving. RP happened to have an extra battery he thinks is good, so the first step was to swap out the old battery with the “new” one. That was easy enough, and the only item left is to start the car today to see if the newly installed battery works.

Edit: The battery did not work. Bummer, USA.

In addition, the rules require we move the batter to the passenger area. We, well, really he, sketched this out. RP doesn’t think will be a problem, just an effort that takes some time. We bought wire for the battery move and RP has terminals that will be donated to the cause. Presuming the battery is okay, the next steps are:
(1) RP finds the terminals.
(2) RP finds where to buy the other end terminals and tells me.
(3) I buy the terminals.

Edit: The cables we bought have one set of correct ends, and RP has the other set.

Gas Tank
There is some concern that the current gas-cap area will not pass demolition derby inspection. There is no concern that I am in danger. RP suggests, and this follows the derby organizer’s recommendation, that we move the tank to the rear passenger area and insert a tube into the existing gas-cap area tube. This will primarily serve to assure organizer’s that the rusted out gas-cap area is a non-issue with the added safety bonus of putting a gas tank a couple feet from me. Note, the battery and gas tank will not be in the same area.

The next steps for this effort are:
(1) RP will identify the parts (e.g., fuel line, valves, etc.) and tell me.
(2) I will buy the parts.

p.s. RP, the rules state that a metal tank is required, so no plastic one. It also must be within arms reach of me so I can turn the tank off in time to prevent my animated gif from becoming reality.

Hole in the Hood
The rules require we cut a whole in the hood above the carburetor, which from my attendance at derby’s is used by the fire fighters to gush water into the engine compartment to put out fires. RP does not think this will be a problematic, just a bit time intensive. There is no timeline on when this will be done. The next steps are:
(1) RP identifies needed Dremel bits (his are old or whatever).
(2) I buy the new ones.

Chain Everything Down
Various parts of the car (e.g., hood, doors, etc.) need to be chained down. Following MW’s initial suggestion of using chain and carabiners, RP and I will make a future hardware-store visit to buy the equipment. This will be combined with an almost guaranteed other trip for this or that. Next steps are:
(1) Buy the hardware and install it, waiting to lock it up until the night of the derby.

Other Tasks To Do
In addition to these major efforts, there is other homework (in no particular order):
(1) RP looks for a jack handle, figuring out where I can buy a replacement if possible.

Other Tasks Done
(1) RP recommended I buy a Haynes manual for the car, so we know for sure where everything is and how to go about doing different things. Thanks to the patented one-click buy of Amazon and my new Amazon Prime membership, the manual should arrive early this week along with about $200 of other stuff I’ve bought since going Prime. Specifically, the manual will help us move the gas tank and deal with the carburetor. Oh, and it was super inexpensive ($5, I think).

(2) I find a solid relevant car forum, in part to seek help and in part to taught the people that we’re destroying this car. The best one my search revealed is Honda-Tech.com, which has a “classic” Hondas section. There is also 3geez.com, which is dedicated to third-generation Honda Accords. Both will be used, and added to the wiki page. I still need to go through 3geez to see if there’s anything useful.