Problem Solving 101

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Topic author
Ron Horton
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2019 7:38 am
First Name: Ron
Last Name: Horton
Location: Pleasant View, Utah
MTFCA Number: 31269
Board Member Since: 2011

Problem Solving 101

Post by Ron Horton » Tue Mar 05, 2019 4:49 pm

After 5 years and two truckloads of money, Ole Gert, my 26 Touring, is ready to come out of the hanger for a test flight in another month or so. It’s been a hoot and I’ve enjoyed the whole process, even when things weren’t going right or I had to redo something 3 times before it worked out right.

Come fall I’m going to start on a 1915 3 passenger runabout that followed me home a couple of years ago and has been lurking in the back of my very small shop waiting it’s turn. I know, I know, there is no such thing as a 1915 3 passenger runabout, but there will be when I get this one done.

The car has a mother-in-law seat in place and came with two speedster seat shells. Advice here on the forum said that the shells needed to be stiffened up, otherwise things would get mushy when leaned back in so looking ahead I started searching for a solution to the problem. Rob Patterson, from down under, was kind enough to send me several pictures of how a friend of his addressed the problem for him. After a couple of inquiries locally, it was apparent that it wasn’t going to be cheap or easy, especially to have them turn out as well as Rob’s did. Since many of those involved in this sport tend to think outside the box, including myself, I headed off into uncharted territory.

There is an aluminum beer keg (empty) up in the attic that has been there for more years than I care to remember so I climbed up there to take a look at it. My thinking was that I might be able to cut it in half vertically and make 2 prototype seats, then wrap the shells that came with the car around them to give them a finished look. The keg has too many ridges, flanges, etc to work, but there is a salvage yard in Salt Lake that handles barrels, so that was my next thought.

Many years ago I bought some equipment from a dairy that was going out of business. The 600 gallon milk vat that I bought is sitting on top of a 20 foot tower down at my Ranch (it’s a small ranch, 5 acres) and serves as my water tower. I also bought a stainless steel cleaning vat, put it on wooden blocks in front of the house, filled the bottom third of the vat with scrap styrofoam, topped it off with topsoil and voila, Momma had an elevated flower bed!! An old handpump from a sink finished it up. We dismantled it a few years back and it has been biding it’s time among my other treasures. I re-discovered it a couple of weeks ago while I was looking for a viable solution to my problem.

The vat is 3 feet long, 16 inches deep and 18 inches wide, It has a round bottom and after I used a die grinder to cut off the ends, leaving a 2 inch flange to work with later, then cutting the remainder of the vat in half, the beginning of two speedster seats started to take shape. I used the shells that came with the car for a pattern to rough out the backs of the seats and was pleased with the results, The ends or seat bottoms, of the vat measure 16 inches deep and are 18 inches wide, basically the same as the Rootlieb seat bottoms. I intend to bolt the backs of the seats to the bottom flanges that I left in place, then after powder coating the shells, wrap them around my stainless steel seats with no welding. I’ll have my upholstery guy use some leather that I intend to harvest from a couch that Momma wants to replace and I think I’m going to end up with two very nice looking and strong seats for the runabout at minimum cost.

I realize that the odds of someone that wants to stiffen their speedster seats and having access to a vat like I did is zero to none, but on the other hand, who knows. Should you happen across a vat that measures 18”X16”X3’, take a second look. There are 2 speedster seats lurking in it!! :lol:

i realize t
I can’t tell if I’m handling life well these days or I just don’t give a sheet anymore :D :D