Saturday, September 15, 2007

Keeping the Rain Out

Since I live in the Pacific Northwest, I get rather concerned that rain entering the engine compartment will cause problems with the electrical wiring. Many other 914 EV'ers have protected their wiring inside conduit boxes and other shields. I just following the ElectroAuto directions and bolted the relays and terminals blocks to the engine compartment wall with wires dangling from them. This is an idea I came up with to help protect the components.

This is the engine compartment cover removed from the car. I still have the downspouts from the original car, but the original gutter that captured rain from this mesh opening was too large and interfered with the rear battery box.

I drove over to TAP Plastics and purchased a 12"x48" piece of black ABS plastic (for $4.00) to make my own rain gutter. The stuff is remarkably moldable with a heat gun. After making some measurements, I heated up the edges to make a lip for the rain to fall into.

The melting process is basically this: sandwich the plastic between two 2x4s, heat up the protruding plastic with a heat gun and use a third 2x4 piece to bend it down. You need to hold it in place for a few seconds otherwise it tends to bounce back to its original shape.

After melting the bottom and left/right edges, I made a cutout to fit around under the metal pieces to give the plastic shelf a downward slope towards the rear of the car.

Here's a closeup of one end of the finished plastic gutter that goes under the engine compartment hood. I heated up the upper right corner that goes over the downspout and used the end of a screwdriver handle to push the melted plastic into the mouth of a jar to create a depression for the rainwater to flow into. I'll cut a 1/2" hole in the bottom so that the water drains into the downspout. The slot at left (along with the barely noticeable horizontal cut) will fit around the metal struts under the compartment lid.

To hold the bottom edge into place, I'll purchase some short 6mm bolts with large heads to attach the plastic to the original gutter mount holes. My friend wisely pointed out to me that ABS plastic decays quickly in directly sunlight, so I'll probably end up spray painting the surface with an oil-base black paint to prevent the plastic from degrading.

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