Thursday, September 27, 2007


Been giving me a headache this dashboard lark.

The steering column movement I wish to reduce is mainly coming from the top of the mount thats spotwelded to the dashtop. Its just a bit floppy it usually gets support from the various panels and dash, none of which are present. I have pondered some strengthening but just cannot realise a neat and simple solution I am happy with or that can I see making any honest improvements constraints, wiring there, heater vents etc etc.. The movement in the steering column is minor its a not major issue at all., I'd just like it fixed, now is the time.

I was intending to fit another bar to the roll cage just to sort this issue, I cannot see the bar adding any real strength to anything else as its horizontal, and any bulkhead flex is also going to effect the bulkhead in a horizontal way, across the bulkhead, side to side... to be worthwhile any bars would need to be an X inside the bulkhead and relating to the cage... so its an overkill solution adding a bar to across and a waste of time considering any X bars or sillyness. Also to run it under the steering column is a bit unsightly, over the column it gets in the way of my clocks and dash...

So forget that idea.

I made a dummy bar brace that runs from the steering column to the roll cage bar (a hammer wedged in the gap), where the glovebox brace would normally run across...which has done the job. Just need to weld on a bracket to the rollcage so this brace can be removed. The brace will join onto the steering column by way of a tube. The tube will be sized to be just an interference fit onto the steering column outer tube, so you can slide it up and down the column etc (to fit it!). So...the brace will consist of a piece of16gauge wall CDS tube (I had lying about)welded at 90degrees onto the tube the steering column is fitted into...the entire brace will then be bolted to a bracket on the rollcage. Lower part of the column can't move left and right, so problem is solved...the column movement is not up and down at all so this seems the easiest solution.

I can then make an easier job of the dash...The dash will be as previous post in shape, just it'll become 3 dimensional to add strength to the lower edge...the top edge will be bolted to the dashtop via the remains of the old metal dash pressing, I left about 1/2" lip here ...the lower edge of the dash will be bent 90deg with a 1/2" lip going it won't bend and flap about, bent adds strength, obviously, and keeps the dash in shape, simple enough...the 2mm thick alloy I am using needs to be stressed to some extent or it'll be a bit floppy in the length plane...

I will need to construct a bracket to weld on the main steering column bracket too. This will support the lower part of the new dash above the column, bolted to the 90deg lip on the bottom of the dash and also through the main face...It'll have some captive nuts and this will also stiffen up the steering column and dashtop area slightly - as it'll be a stressed panel linking 3 loose parts together in one plane. This will require all holes drilling and fixing places drilling in one sitting - through both parts being fixed at the same time...As all holes will relate to current location of each part!

Should stop all movement of the column and give me a solid dash and keep it simple eh??

I had loads of ideas, thoughts and considerations its taken me a while to mull it over! Didn't want to wade in...There's alot to think about! Its a bit like when you first get the engine and start pondering 10 different effects of something on something else and strive to come to a good solution that suits all the things you can and cannot control.

I'll be quite glad when this job is done...Not really looking forward to the gearbox tunnel either. another perfectionist annoyance I guess. Anyways that would be all the hard work done then!

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