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Pressure Isolators are Cool

May 28th, 2009 No comments
Autometer pressure isolator, P/N 5282

Autometer pressure isolator, P/N 5282

Pressure isolators are the coolest thing since sliced bread. This is one area where I probably went overboard and spent money I didn’t strictly have to spend. However, it gave me some peace of mind. I have in the car mechanical fuel and oil pressure gauges. So, if they fail, fuel and 200 degree oil could come into the cabin under pressure and in theory, ignite.

In reality, the quantities we’re talking about are quite small so I probably shouldn’t have worried about it. Disclaimer out of the way, I’ll explain why I think they are so cool. The brass bit has a diaphragm in it. The hose on one side goes to the pressure source. The hose on the other side is filled with a mix of antifreeze and water, and goes to the gauge side. You mount the isolator in the engine compartment and run the line inside the car to the gauge (in the kit, they even include the right rubber grommet for your firewall). The diaphragm transfers the pressure change from the source fluid to the non-flammable fluid and thereby to the gauge.

Cool right? AN-4 fittings are used, but AN-4 to 1/8 NPT adapters are included so that you can adapt to the standard gauge fittings.

Safety Equipment

May 28th, 2009 No comments

Just in case there is anyone reading this, and looking at the tools post, I’d be remiss if I didn’t say something about safety. If you are planning on undertaking the kind of project I have, you really need to get some basic safety gear. Anyone who’s done a fair amount of work with power tools has probably had some experience that has made it known, on no uncertain terms, that they are to be respected.

Just recently, I was grinding my floor pans. I’d become tired, but persisted, single-minded about getting the dang weld or whatever ground down nice and flat. In a moment of distraction I lost focus and zip! the grinding wheel hit my finger and in a fraction of a second it went through my glove and almost 1/8″ into my finger. I cleaned the hell out of it and it healed fine, as injuries often do, but the point is, this happened in just the briefest moment of distraction. This, I told myself, was the last time I’d buy cheap gloves. Even better would have been to take a rest!

Both presence of mind and safety gear are important, so here is a list of some of the safety gear I have found important:

  • Fire extinguisher – keep one in easy reach whenever you are doing welding, grinding, etc.
  • gloves – good ones. You need to be able to feel, but you also need protection, so you’ll need a selection of appropriate gloves. For welding, it’s important that you have some large welding gloves, probably leather ones. For other tasks, other gloves are appropriate.
  • face shield – I’m talking about one of these clear shields that covers your whole face. So useful for keeping showers of sparks at bay, or protecting you when you don’t feel like wearing goggles
  • eyeware – you need safety glasses and there’s no way around it.
  • Welding helmet – get one that is auto-sensing. Even a cheaper one will do unless you are doing hours upon hours of welding
  • Welding cap – simple little fire-proof cap that covers the top of your head. you’d be surprised how far up the sparks can travel, and how very easily they can burn through your skin.
  • Long leather welding jacket. Like many of these things, it doesn’t have to be expensive. I bought mine from AirGas for $60 I think. It’s long, has snaps around the neck, etc.
  • Welding blanket
  • Good protective shoes appropriate to what you’re doing
  • Ear plugs – I bought a box of a couple hundred pairs for not too much and I use them when I do any impact stuff or other loud stuff. It helps fatigue as well as your hearing.
  • Respirator – get a decent N-95 respirator. Use it while grinding, painting, etc. This is some toxic stuff and N-95 should be good for most vapors and particles (read the label).
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