Nov 12, 2011

What happens when modification A gets in the way of modification B.

Fabrication (metal fabrication) 

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Mustangs are a common place to find modifications.  And with modifications come risks.  Repairs can often be opportunities in disguise.  Let’s just say don’t race this car for pinks, okay.


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This Garrett turbocharger is one of a pair being fitted onto an intercooled manifold from a 3 valve 2005 Mustang GT’s supercharger kit.   I think Tim Allen said it best: “more power, aaarrrrggg”
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Clearly modifying a supercharger setup to be fed by twin turbo warrants some serious modifications.   You just don’t find plumbing for this at O’Reilly’s .  Look closely and you’ll see both turbos.

   
The further you depart from stock the less likely anything will ever install easily and look elegant. We’ve all done our share of  innovating and scrounging to “fabricate” a solution to that kind of problem.  Eventually things will get complicated enough that you wont be able so scrounge the appropriate parts and tools at home to get the job done right.  If your favorite shop does in house fabrication, then lucky you. Things that are problems for other shops can simply opportunity to make something cool.fab9
Enter the professional speed shop, like Blood Enterprises (the source of these photos). I’m talking about the kind that does in house fabrication or at least is well connected for such work. If you choose your shop wisely, you’ll see solutions that not only get the job done, but execute your performance solution with elegance too.   Check out the size of the power cord in the background.  


Welding of course is a fabrication basic.   A good fabricator will have a host of different techniques at his or her disposal.  TIG welding and TIG brazing are good qualifiers in my opinion.  Don’t be discouraged if your shop doesn’t  TIG weld, but do be concerned if they don’t immediately know who they use to TIG weld. Wire welders, well, don’t get me started that crap.  
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Custom fuel pickup.  AN fitting.  
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Welding thin aluminum tubing is a bit harder than your last cherry bomb muffler installation in high school.This fabricated configuration was required when installing Cleveland heads on a Windsor block and expecting it to fit in a detomaso pantera.  (the toilet in the background is stock)
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This fabricated radiator shroud is a small detail that is no small detail at all.  Some of the best fabrication gets little recognition because is looks so unobtrusive.   Sexy isn’t it .  That’s the work of a press brake.CIMG1208 
A press brake is what you use to bend large pieces of sheet metal like that radiator shroud.  It’s not the kind of thing you find at your local Ford dealership.  Heck, they are huge so it’s rare you’ll come across one at anything short of a “blue chip”  performance shop.  Most shops just don’t have the room, or volume of fabrication for such an item.  Not to worry, they can out source this work for you.  Just remember sending stuff out for fabrication means delay$.  
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Someone has built an airbox here using a press brake, a mill and some welding. 
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Although you can buy wheel spacers, these American Racing Torq Thrust wheels on my FIA 289 Cobra Replica have custom spacers behind them. Tool of choice, the lathe below.
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Your shop’s lathe need not be too big.  After all, you aren’t turning table legs.  Usually this is used for fabricating small pulleys, or tapping/threading various items.  Heck, I really don’t know what else they use it for, but judging from all the aluminum scraps on the floor whenever I visit, if must come in handy quite often.
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Ever just dream something up out of thin air?  That’s quintessential fabrication.  Which, if you are working with metal, will require a mill.
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Custom fabrication done at a machine shop (where you commonly find a milling machine like this) can be costly and time consuming.  Furthermore, they really don’t respond well to diagrams written on a napkin.  So if your mechanic had his own or at least worked closely with a local machine shop then you’re golden.

 

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While technically not fabricating.  Another use of the mill is to trim for clearance on the exhaust valve in this case. The green stuff is puddy used to imprint the location of the valve. The fine point sets the mill to find center

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The idea behind these fabricated coolant rails is to look OEM. 


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Dykem blue, a machinist’s pencil and eraser.
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This manifold was in to have a IAC (idle air control valve) installed discretely in the valley.  This will stabilize the idle.

 

All photos courtesy of Blood Enterprises Auburn WA,  Check them out on Facebook.