Things have been progressing well with work now well under way on the front wings. These 4/4 wings have had to be widened by adding about 70mm to the inside edge and lengthened by about 60mm to match the wider stance of the rebuild and the Roaster body.
The traditional way of adding this extra sheet metal would have been by butt welding. This method, however, leads to quite a bit of distortion even when carefully done so I have chosen to use a more 21st century method by using structural adhesive and a stepped lap joint reinforced at some points with spot welds. After all, if its good enough for Morgan, BMW and Boeing to glue their products together its good enough for me.
The process necessitates a good supply of clamps. The adhesive I am using is Sikapower 4720 and gives a 1 hour window to hold everything together before the adhesive starts to cure. Curing takes 24 hrs. This photo shows the first join (from bulkhead to front) being bonded.
This photo shows the completed wing
ready for filling and priming.
Advancing well with the body panels now. The body tub has been repaired and coated in epoxy primer ready for the painter. The rear wings have also been widened, repaired and primed along with the new number plate panel. Starting on the front wings now. These being from the 1995 4/4 they need to be both lengthened and widened to suit the wider/longer chassis.
The body tub is now repaired and ready for the epoxy primer.
I had the steel wings, bonnets, cowl and rear number plate holder stripped by RediStrip. They did a fabulous job and the panels come back protected from rust and ready for priming.
Steel will need to be added to the inside edge of both front and back wings to allow full coverage of the wheels.
Onto the body….
By end June I had finished the aircon plumbing and rebuilt the front calipers on Project Phoenix and they were the last items needing attention on the rolling chassis.
With the rolling chassis finished I am able to park it elsewhere in the shed and move the Roadster donor body to the hoist.
I have now started to repair the frame and body. This requires replacing or repairing parts of the timber frame and repairing small dents in the rear panel and drivers side door. The panel behind the door was badly damaged and I will make up a new panel.
The new aircon condensor and plumbing are all now installed. This condensor is not only larger than the factory installation it is also oriented correctly with the inlet at the top and outlet at the bottom.
A Bespoke Dashboard
The last six months have been amazing. Through December/January we were protecting our property from fire and since then we have the COVID 19 pandemic.
I lost several weeks on Project Phoenix during the fires as I had to drive her from the shed to our garage where she could be more easily protected. I strapped on the Roadster body and had my first drive of Scarlett. Click here for a short video of her returing back to the shed..
Self-isolation has given me dedicated time to work on Project Phoenix. I was always looking forward to redesigning the Roadster dashboard using Australian timber so this is how I spent my self-isolation in the shed. The timber is Tasmanian Myrtle and the dash differs from the Roadster dash in several ways…
- Instruments are now centred (offset 2” in old dash)
- Aircon vents in dash (2 more in centre console)
- New dash is about 1” shallower to allow more room for gearshift (Relocated 3” forward)
- Redesigned glovebox to allow room for vents
- New dash more like older traditional dashes
- Dash switches relocated to centre instrument panel from in front of driver
- Aircon controls deleted (now on the centre console)
- Background to instruments, vents etc 3M carbon fibre wrap. This is continued on the centre console.
I fabricated the aluminium transmission tunnel and console to allow the fitment of a parking brake similar to the AR4 and new Plus 6/Plus 4 plus aircon controls and radio.
Next step is installing the airconditioning plumbing and then I can get on with repairing the roadster body.
Lots of work has been done on Project Phoenix since I last updated this log. Scarlett is now a proper running chassis with only the transmission tunnel/handbrake to install and the air conditioning to plumb. She was started in September - hear what she sounds like here. Turn up the volume.
The exhaust system on the donor Roadster was up to me from the catalytic converters back so I decided to design a system which had a nice sporty note on idle and acceleration. As well as obtaining ideas from the Morgan V6 forum I talked to a tech at Magnaflow in the US (they design systems for the 3.7 Mustang) and omitting the X pipe which cannot be fitted to the Mog he suggested a 4” x 24” resonator up front and a stubby 6” x 6” muffler at the rear. Both full flow units. Pipe is 2.25” all the way from the headers (factory is 2”)
I was able to buy the Magnaflow parts from the Australian importer, and along with some stainless mandrel bends from my normal supplier, I have finished fabricating the system. For anyone interested in the details, the Magnaflow products I bought were 2 x MagnaFlow 10425 - Performance Mufflers and 2x MagnaFlow 14158 - Race Series Mufflers.
It will be a few weeks before I can start the engine to see how it sounds.
Five link suspension and new wheels.
When I read about the new Suplex 5 link rear suspension a couple of years ago I thought it sounded great but it’s not really traditional Morgan so I decided to stick to the original cart springs. Move forward to now and that has all changed with the factory now building all new Roadsters with a 5 link suspension.
I decided to bite the bullet and fit a complete set of upgraded front and 5 link rear suspension from SSL, the British company which now supplies Morgan with components and carries what was formerly the Suplex brand. This was a big investment but with the chassis unencumbered by a body it was the ideal time to fit these components.
SSL shipped the parts (44kg) to me and have been most helpful throughout. The parts reflect their premium pricing - beautifully made.
The photo shows the 5L as installed in the Project Phoenix chassis which is early Plus 8.
I have also bought a set of 15” x 7” Australian made Superlite wheels. Ordered with an offset which allows plenty of room for an upgraded exhaust system.
3.7 V6 motor and Transmission installed in Project Phoenix chassis.
Motor Rebuilt for Project Phoenix
On 31st December I completed the rebuild of the 3.7 Roadster V6 engine. This comprised a new short motor, new timing cover, new RH cylinder cover, new aircon compressor, new harmonic balancer, RH head cover and a few other bits and pieces. All parts were purchased from Ford dealers in the USA.
The original cylinder heads, alternator, water pump and LH cylinder head cover were moved from the old (damaged) block.
Next step is bolting on the flywheel, clutch and transmission and fitting it all into the chassis.
V6 3.7 Gear Lever relocation
Whilst waiting for the engine parts to arrive from the USA for my V6 engine rebuild I decided to modify the remote gear lever extension on the 6 speed MT82 transmission. Most owners of the 3.7 Roadsters would acknowledge that the gear lever position on those cars is less than desirable, being too close to the driver and often meaning that when engaging 2nd, 4th or 6th one’s elbow hits the seat cushion. The whole experience being akin to trying to eat a meal on economy air travel.
Later roadsters do not have this problem as the factory modified the original mustang gear extension to move the gear lever forward. This is quite easy to do however the gearbox/transmission tunnel needs to be modified as does the trim. As I have neither the tunnel or the trim I decided to go ahead and modify the extension. The pics below show before and after the modification which moved the gear lever 70mm forward, approximating the gear lever position in my ‘75 Plus 8. By removing the centre transverse swivel point the feel of the gearchange is also improved. My design was based on several aftermarket gear selectors for the Mustang which either eliminate or reduce the number of swivel points.
Left pic shows the original gear lever extension.
Right pic shows the modified extension moving the gear lever 70mm forward.
Enter the 1995 Plus 6!
June was a big month as I had the opportunity to buy the body and other parts from a 2013 Roadster that had been declared a statutory write-off (meaning it could not be registered again).
The parts from this wreck will find a home on my Project Phoenix car, including the body, easy up mohair hood and side curtains, fuel tank, dashboard, aircon, wiring loom and 6 speed gearbox. The 3.7 V6 has external crankcase and timing cover damage so I intend to buy new parts to rebuild the engine as that will allow me to use the car’s ECU, fuel delivery system and other related parts. This is a big change from the original plan to install the Ford EcoBoost engine but will make the rebuild that much easier.
The body has only minor dents and despite the impact of the accident, only two pieces of timber are damaged. Remarkable!
This is a marvellous boost to Project Phoenix as I was just about to start making a body from scratch ( I had even bought a band saw to make the frame).
I guess the car will now become a 1995 Plus 6!
With other projects needing attention Project Phoenix slowed a bit last year but I have still managed to do a few things. This pic shows current status with floors loosely in place, pedals and brake booster in place and electro-hydraulic steering rack now installed. I will be doing a full write up on the steering rack installation in due course.