Sunday, February 5, 2012

Building the Hinge Setup and Hood Support

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My idea for the hood on the buggy was to make it as clean as possible.  This meant no gas cap showing, no hinges, or latches showing either.  I want easy access to the electrics and other items that will be mounted behind the dash, under the hood.  A forward opening hood allows for access to everything I need and also looks neato!  

Let me tell you, this was a tough project.  Getting everything lined up so the hood aligns properly when closed and has some adjustment to make the seams line up was complicated.  I had to work from two sides and mate them with the hinge setup once everything was aligned properly.  The hood support is made from some 1" .120" wall DOM (wayyy overkill, but the tubing was $0.40 a lb, can't beat that).  The hinge setup is made from .625" .120" wall DOM, with oilite bearings on 1/4"-20 bolts.  I wanted the hood to lift up a bit before beginning to rotate forward so I used two hinges with different length arms to create the articulation.  This motion minimizes the drag between the hood and the body.

Welding this up was such a pain.  I'm working on this project in a 12'x25' shed so I already have extremely limited space.  I welded up the hinge arms on a jig to keep everything the same.  The hood support was bent to match the lines of the hood and push up the sagging fiberglass.  I temporarily mounted the hood support to the hood with some JB weld and steel wool.  It allowed me to remove the support for priming once it was welded up.   The complicated part was the tacking of the hood support to the hinge.  Alignment, symmetry, and very limited space under the hood made this very aggravating.  I'm sure with some more room to move around it wouldnt have been as bad.
The pictures above show the dash and front nose of the hood still attached.  These will be cut and mounted separately so that the hood wont interfere with any other systems.

I have also installed an 8 gallon fuel cell offset to the passenger side.  The clearance between the hood support, hinges, and fuel cell are so close it's nerve-racking.  ARG!  I'm just hoping that once the body is bolted down solid and everything is mounted in place that the clearance will still be good enough.  I'm expecting to have to do some tweaking down the line. 

All in all, I'm really happy with the hood now.  I'm going to install a hood latch from a compact car and run a cable down through the dash for access.  If I need to replace a fuse or fill up the tank, I just pop the hood and everything is right there.