Starting to add the seatboxes

I’ve now started to add the seatboxes (the parts under the seats). The front one is original, but the second row I’m fabricating from scratch, as I want it to be deeper than normal, with a view to having traction batteries, and perhaps the electric motor, in there eventually.

The first stage was to finish attaching the back bulkhead to the chassis; I had to fabricate four steel brackets to support it, and add a couple of temporary timber supports to hold it steady. Once those were in place, I could open the front doors again (the back bulkhead had been held in place partly by the door locks before this), and lift the front seatbox into place.

The front seatbox. almost in place but tilted up a bit

The front seatbox. almost in place but tilted up a bit

As you can see, it didn’t quite fit. This turned out to be because the enlarged under-seat compartments that I had made several years ago, which fitted alright around the old chassis, interfered with a slightly different design of crossmember on the new chassis.

Front seatbox being blocked by crossmember

Front seatbox being blocked by crossmember

The interfering part is around the centre of the picture, where a corner of the treadplate is concealed by a black-covered piece of metal, which is the crossmember (covered in Waxoyl). (You can also see that the first layer of Waxoyl doesn’t stick well to galvanized metal.)

It’ll have to come out again, for fine tuning with an angle grinder. I’ll cut those corners off the seatboxes, and if I manage to cut them neatly enough, I’ll probably turn them inside-out and re-attach them with some pieces of aluminium angle.

The beginnings of the second seatbox

The beginnings of the second seatbox

I also started to fabricate the second-row seatbox, from angle iron. I got most of the front of it done, along with the front brackets for holding it to the chassis. I’ll make the upper rear part of it from box section, for extra strength, as that’s where the seatbelts will be attached; then there’ll be a diagonal bracing running forwards and down, to the chassis, to take any forward force from the seatbelts.

Detail of the front of the second-row seatbox frame

Detail of the front of the second-row seatbox frame

The forward-facing angle iron along the bottom of the front of the seatbox will support the rear of that section of the floor.

The bolts (apart from those holding it to the chassis) are temporary; once I’m satisfied that it’s all the right shape, they’ll be replaced by welds.

Some more pieces will probably be needed to hold the hinge/supports for the seats, but I’ve not yet decided whether those will be horizontal or vertical, nor even whether the skin of the seatbox (treadplate) will be strong enough not to need more steelwork for this.

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