So eventually I spent an evening taking measurements to figure out exactly what the control board height should be, and then where exactly the pivot point would be when the board is raised. The idea is that there are widgets sitting on the control board and clearance is needed between those widgets and the hood. However, the amount of head room increases as you move from front to back, so it depends on where you place the widgets on the control board, as to how low the board has to be placed in the motor compartment. Here is the control board sitting on wood blocks on my dining room table before being wired up. The controller sticks up about 4 inches and we need an inch of head room.

With the hood off the truck, I took measurements using string taped across the motor compartment and then string taped across the underside of the hood (in the other garage), to measure and compute where exactly the underside of the hood would be in space. It was not an exact science so I was winging it. I’m not going to explain it all here, but lets just say that it took awhile and I filled up a sheet of paper with measurement values and computations, and didn’t take any pictures.

Once I decided exactly where the board should be in the motor compartment down to a 16th of an inch, relative to a sharpie mark I drew in the motor compartment, I wanted to verify that all my numbers were correct. To do this, I needed help so I asked my friend Xan if he could come over to help for an hour (should have taken some pics). I worked with Xan a few years back and he has a quick mind and a talent for problem solving. (Actually, software is almost all problem solving.. after that you just type).

We cut 4 posts using wood and then propped them up on the floor and attached them inside the motor compartment using tape… so that the top of my template would be at the exact height that the control board would be, using my computations. This actually worked much better than I thought it would.  Then we installed the hood back onto the truck.

Funny Story: this was actually the first day we could do this because when the hood was removed weeks before, one of the very special bolts that is used for the hood pivot, was dropped down into the left fender abyss, and has never been seen since. We had to use the VIN number of the truck to order that bolt which took a couple of weeks to arrive. Xan and I plugged up the abyss that is conveniently provided next to where the bolt lives so we would not repeat that scenario.

So we installed the hood and then we wanted to actually see how much room there was/is between the top of the template (control board) and the bottom of the hood. Apply the “refrigerator door light” metaphor here. Actually, since the radiator was gone, you could almost get a ruler in there, but we decided to do an actual experiment… so we made a little box that was 5 inches tall and painted the top with toe-nail polish (which happened to be the same color as my girlfriend’s toenails). That would have made a cool picture.

We could shut the hood and then open it back up and check the fire retardant material for toe-nail polish. It passed the 5″ of clearance test, so we made another little box at 5 1/4″ which also passed. The third box at 5 3/4″ left  a line of toe nail polish from the front edge of the box, so the experiment was a success.

Ok.. The title of this entry is “change request”.. I’m getting there.. So once I verified the exact location of the board, it was actually a little lower than I thought it would be when I originally made the template. So I started to worry if I had enough room to clear the break fluid reservoir. Hence the name of this blog entry.  Actually, I did or didn’t have enough room, depending on where the actual pivot point was to be for the board. In order to figure out my options, I had to do more measurements and computations. Here is the tool I used. A cardboard box. I always keep one around just in case.


The bottom of the board is represented by the middle horizontal line with the numbers on it. Yeah those are numbers from 9 to 11 by 1/2″ increments and each one represents a possible pivot point. The brake fluid reservoir is represented by the dot on the vertical line. I could hold the string on the possible pivot point dots and then grab the other end where the edge of the board is (on the right), and then rotate that section of string, up toward the break fluid reservoir dot to see if it would CRASH into the break fluid reservoir or just slip by. The result of this experiment was that I had very little choice for the placement of the pivot point unless I cut a notch in the board. Ouch. My bad..

I really, really, really didn’t want to cut the board. I emailed Rich of Chapel Hill, master of woodworking, famous from the previous two blog entries, and builder of the board, and asked him about possibilities. Before it was done we will have exchanged about 20 emails on the subject, as he talked me through the process.. like the pilot was incapacitated, and it was up to me to land the plane.

For example, when I removed all the masking tape and newspaper once the primer had dried, there was some over spray on the board. How did that happen!! Panic!! Sent email to Rich, who must have been sitting at the computer at that time and he wrote back to say, use a crumpled up brown paper bag like sandpaper and rub it off.. and of course that worked like a charm.. Apparently, the grit number of a brown paper bag is like 2000, so basically I just sanded the primer over spray off and didn’t even scratch the enamel (unless you look really, really close).

Below is the end result, followed by the metaphoric plane that I landed (I’m heavily into metaphors).

Seriously, that little notch took 4 evenings and 3 trips to Home Depot. First, I spent two nights practicing on the left-over scrap MDO board. I learned that I was not going to be able to cut the notch with a jig-saw close enough to where I could sand it down perfect. Others probably could, but not me. However, I also had a coping saw (hand saw with very thin blade) which appeared to work much better, and even better if I first used the jig-saw to quickly notch out 80% of the wood, and even better if I replaced the coping saw blade with an even thinner coping saw blade.

From there I could use three levels of sand paper to round off all the edges by hand in about 2 hours. I toyed with the idea of using a dremel (google it) but sanding by hand would reduce the chances of screwing it up. It was 30 seconds of sanding followed by 30 seconds of observation, repeated for 2 hours. Over the next two nights I sprayed on primer and then sprayed on the paint. Here is the primer picture.

OK.. So when I started this project I did not know that I was going to learn so much about woodworking.. but I have. Actually, the control board will reappear in several more future blogs, as I try to attach all the widgets to it and wire everything up.. stay tuned..