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BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim SuperDork
8/28/11 9:12 p.m.

I need some sheet aluminum to build a radiator duct for the Talon (in the hope that this'll solve the coolant temperature issue). While "Home Depot Racing" lists some suitable materials, it appears the local branches don't stock it and I'm not overly keen on paying shipping on a single 3'x3' sheet of aluminum.

Asking yellowpages.com didn't produce anything useful over and above the local scrap metal merchants or a/c companies so what do I search for when I'm looking for a shop that sells retail quantities of sheet metal to people like us called over here in the US?

Sorry for the dense language question, I know what to look for in the UK, but I'm a little lost over here...

Taiden
Taiden Dork
8/28/11 9:14 p.m.

Thin steel sheet is real light. Just sayin

JoeyM
JoeyM SuperDork
8/28/11 9:16 p.m.

See if there's something like this local to you http://www.metalsdepot.com/products/alum2.phtml?page=sheet&LimAcc=$LimAcc

Our local shop in central FL is Mine and Mill

rob_lewis
rob_lewis Dork
8/28/11 9:17 p.m.

Box van at the local junkyard?

Tractor supply or Ace hardware, too.

-Rob

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess SuperDork
8/28/11 9:18 p.m.

Metal suppliers. Just look up Metal in your local (real) phone book yellow pages. Call the first one and see if they have what you want, or know who does. There's several here in NW AR, so there's bound to be some near you. Also, check MetalMart, which is a national chain. MetalMart will probably sell 3x3', but a real metal supplier will probably want to sell you a whole sheet (4.x10').

JoeyM
JoeyM SuperDork
8/28/11 9:20 p.m.
Dr. Hess wrote: Metal suppliers. Just look up Metal in your local (real) phone book yellow pages.

+1 Call a few. The pricess here vary wildly from shop to shop.

mad_machine
mad_machine SuperDork
8/28/11 9:30 p.m.

how about a fabrication shop? Might also be able to score some from a HVAC place

L8APX
L8APX None
8/28/11 9:34 p.m.

Look up Scrap Metal recycling in your area. They not only buy scrap metal but they sell it too. I am picking up a 1/4 diamond plate sheet of Aluminum soon for a subaru skid plate.

Sometimes they get new stuff that's just got a cosmetic blemish and was junked.

fasted58
fasted58 Dork
8/28/11 9:45 p.m.

check w/ the local stock car crowd, aluminum interiors and bodies are dime a dozen, usually 0.040". 3X3 should be no problem.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim SuperDork
8/28/11 9:53 p.m.

The "real" doorstop type yellow pages threw up a single shop in Reno. Which is at least one shop more than I had on my list earlier .

The problem with searching for "metal" out here is that it gives you a lot of people who want to buy the E36 M3 you dug up and not so much someone who'll sell you a single sheet of metal...

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim SuperDork
8/28/11 9:54 p.m.

In reply to Taiden:

Yeah, but it'd need painting, plus aluminum would go really well with the aluminum intercooler and radiator

flountown
flountown Reader
8/28/11 10:28 p.m.

Absolute last resort should be McMaster-Carr. Find any type of machine shop/metal fab place, and they will be happy to shear you a 3x3 piece. I know we did that sort of thing at my last job if a customer wanted to buy metal from us.

Also, use McMaster as a reference for pricing. If someone even comes close to a McMaster price, run away, as a real metal supplier is pennies compared to what McMaster asks.

speedbiu
speedbiu Reader
8/28/11 10:35 p.m.

If you know any truck repair shops ask if they have any broke trailer doors.The doors are 4x10 and you can delaminate the aluminum from one side of the door and have a sheet about 3 1/2' x 9'.The doors are no good to them and they will give you one or two free or cheap.

egnorant
egnorant Dork
8/28/11 10:38 p.m.

Junkyard hunt! Local scrap metal yard is a gold mine...uhh aluminum mine!! They usually have what I am looking for and after a few bribes of pizza, they know me and will cut it to my specs.

Old RX-7 hood! Or of course...Miata hood!

Several vehicles have aluminum body panels..I checked my cars and the Aurora, Mountaineer, RX-7 and Miata have aluminum body parts.

http://www.paintgages.com/List-of-Car-Manufacturers-who-use-Aluminum-Body-Panels-s/51.htm

Good if your junkyard hunting.

Buddy made many killer aluminum parts from an old boat from a yard sale..$25!

Check aluminum siding sheets, fence panels or even the repair guys at the travel trailer place for scraps.

A lot of the newer license plates are aluminum, but may need more working than your used to.

If you want just a new clean sheet, I can't help ya...I'm a scrounger!

Bruce

fasted58
fasted58 Dork
8/28/11 11:06 p.m.

highway traffic signs are T6 aluminum... as a good friend once told me... not that I was party to it

ncjay
ncjay Reader
8/28/11 11:18 p.m.

An HVAC place or a sign company would be a good place to look. You didn't mention what the cooling problem was, but if it's not staying cool now, adding a duct probably won't help. And yes, road signs are fantastic sources of fabrication material.

motomoron
motomoron HalfDork
8/29/11 12:00 a.m.

Places I've used:

https://www.airpartsinc.com/default.asp

http://www.metalsdepot.com/products/alum2.phtml?page=sheet&LimAcc=$LimAcc

http://www.speedymetals.com/showproduct.aspx?productid=80

And McMaster when I'm in a pinch. Also - the sheet metal fab shop I send work to from my day gig. I've been stuck and called them to plead for a cup of sugar and they've bailed me out.

neon4891
neon4891 SuperDork
8/29/11 12:03 a.m.

Big metal drip pan?

novaderrik
novaderrik Dork
8/29/11 12:17 a.m.
fasted58 wrote: highway traffic signs are T6 aluminum... as a good friend once told me... not that I was party to it

it's amazing how big a stop sign is when it's not up on the pole..

but yeah- any local metal supplier can hook you up with some sheet aluminum.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim SuperDork
8/29/11 12:47 a.m.
ncjay wrote: An HVAC place or a sign company would be a good place to look. You didn't mention what the cooling problem was, but if it's not staying cool now, adding a duct probably won't help.

One of the cooling issues appears to be that in order to fit the large FMIC, all ducting between the bumper cover and the radiator has been removed to make space for the FMIC. As a result there is a guesstimated 2" gap between the FMIC and the radiator that allows a lot of air to bypass the radiator. Unfortunately pretty much all the panels and shields that would keep the airflow from escaping around the radiator have been removed. I don't know if that was as misguided effort to rein in the engine temps or if that was unrelated.

At the moment, at our current temperatures (90F+) I'm getting insufficient cooling both at really low speeds (that's most likely a fan issue) and at constant load with mild boost (~5psi), say, when going uphill at between 40-50mph. The latter tends to happen at speeds that would indicate insufficient airflow through the radiator. The radiator has been uprated and should be fine for the current power levels, but I have a suspicion that I'm giving away some of the advantages by the suboptimal install of the FMIC. The car was/is fine at lower outside temps but something that doesn't work at 90F+ around here is a lawn ornament, not a useable car.

This is with a new waterpump and a new OEM thermostat - it looks like the PO tried to "fix" the issue with a lower temperature thermostat but, surprise, that didn't make any difference...

Current plan is to fit a more accurate water temp gauge so I don't have to drive with one eye on the datalogger (I've got a prosport gauge cluttering up the shelf already), re-burb the cooling system just in case, check the base timing again just to be sure and then see if ducting between the FMIC and the radiator improves coolant temperatures or not. That's basically the plan for next weekend, if I can't get the temps under control then I've more or less run out of time and will have to sell the car and buy something working with AWD for the winter.

One of the main issue with this car seems to be that it's got a ton of good parts on it, but they don't necessarily seem to have been purchased all for the same spec car - for starters, it looks like the turbo is way to big for the already uprated fuel system, the big wastegate and the intercooler piping is preventing me from fitting a second 12" fan for the a/c and so on. I'm trying to make the best of what I have to see if I can get it running OK; if I can I'm likely to go back to a smaller turbo and replace the hacked about exhaust manifold with a decent flowing one.

4Msfam
4Msfam New Reader
8/29/11 2:38 a.m.

"onlinemetals.com". Cuts to your measurements, ships out of Seattle. Nice guys too!,

ncjay
ncjay Reader
8/29/11 3:19 a.m.

Exactly how hot is the car running? Low speeds the fan(s) should keep it cooled off and above 40 to 50 the airflow should be decent enough. Yeah, those gaps around the radiator sure aren't good. Sealing them up should help. Summer's coming to a close. It shouldn't be such a problem in a few weeks.

44Dwarf
44Dwarf Dork
8/29/11 8:33 a.m.

Wow everyone missed the best place (cheapest).

Sign shop or sign supply house. 0.040 alum sheets white on one side color of your choise on the other with plastic protector so you dont scatch it while forming.

I use http://hartsupply.com/

Keith
Keith SuperDork
8/29/11 8:41 a.m.

You'd be surprised at how important fans are at speed. While you might have 80 mph airspeed over the body, the high pressure in the engine bay usually means quite a bit less over the rad. You're not just hanging that radiator out in the breeze.

One of my Miatas had a persistent overheating problem on the highway, and it was a good set of fans that finally fixed it. Ducting is important, but if the car is overheating at slow speeds as well I'd start with the fans. Good fans (big fat ones, not slimline ones with no torque) and a sealed shroud.

I get my metal at the local metal supply shop. It doesn't make sense to ship a 3x3 sheet of alloy.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim SuperDork
8/29/11 9:26 a.m.
ncjay wrote: Exactly how hot is the car running? Low speeds the fan(s) should keep it cooled off and above 40 to 50 the airflow should be decent enough. Yeah, those gaps around the radiator sure aren't good. Sealing them up should help. Summer's coming to a close. It shouldn't be such a problem in a few weeks.

The "impending headgasket failure" light comes on at 234F and I've seen water temps up to 250F-ish when I couldn't pull over in time. Amazingly enough I haven't seen any signs of actual head gasket failure so far...

Typical one was a trip to the store on Saturday - outside temperature was in the mid-nineties and it had trouble keeping the temperature in check in the 25mph.

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