Well, another wallet lightening day today (ouch) but I can't proceed without the final few bits to finish the car. The biggest headache has been guages. After considering a number of options I've decided to go for the Eclipse range from Demon Tweeks, really great looking, modern, mechanical (except speedo/tacho) and most importantly, quite good value! Be careful to shop around for bits, Demon may be pricy for some bits but are also quite a bit cheaper for others e.g. Wheel nuts from Burtons - £65, from Tweeks £32! A number of other suppliers also had the pleasure of my business to order the following:
Eddie White Motorsport
I've decided to add a 'top-tips' section to the site. This was originally in the message board but no bugger seems to look at it! It makes more sense that way anyway. I've got a day off to get stuff done tomorrow but won't get to update the site until next week. So remember to come back soon! ;)
As I've said before, the nearer you get to finishing, the slower your progress seems :( Still, at least I got a couple of jobs done. Firstly, the fuel tank and lines. I fitted the short length of fuel pipe to the tank and secured with a jubilee clip. The alloy collar (or spigot) went in the other end with the threaded portion clear to allow for the fitment of the Monza style filler cap. 5/16" guage fuel piping was p-clipped from the rear, along the transmission tunnnel into the engine bay where it was attached to the fuel pump via an in-line filter. Flexible hoses connect the tank and the pump to the fuel line to allow for engine/chassis movement. Job done! The only problem I have is that the Monza filler cap's vent doesn't allow for non-return which means that if the tank (along with the car) is inverted the fuel leaks out - doh! I'll have to plug the cap vent with silicon sealant and fabricate a seperate one on the tank for the valve which I got from Tweeks.
Simple job next to change the kill switch for an FIA approved job. As you can see from the pic, you need the additional terminals so that the ignition circuit can be isolated from the alternator as well as the battery. Fortunately, this was from the same manufacturer of the original one and so fitted without modification. This was the starting point for making the loom and so I made up the cables for the live and earth from the battery to the chassis, solenoid and kill switch (I used a chassis earth to make wiring the lighting easier. A quick test showed that the earth through the chassis is VERY good all the way along the car). Ran out of time at this point so next stop - wiring!
After a weekend working in Madrid I treated myself to a day off to crack on with some more work on the car. The biggest news is.... THE STEERING COLUMN HAS FINALLY ARRIVED!!!! I could hardly believe it. If I had known that I'd have had to wait for more than 8 weeks for the final item I would have saved the 40 quid or so and done it myself. That said, the end result was of better quality than say, the pedal box, but was a bit underwhelming. Anyway, the important thing was that it fitted and that it works! Hoorah ;)
That done, it was time to start making the loom for the wiring. Rear first, I needed 5 wires from the fuse box location. These are:
The lights are earthed on the chassis and the side/brake lights are linked left and right with a short loom under the fuel tank. It's laborious, strapping everything in PVC tape and crimping bullets and connectors, but important to make sure they're secure and durable. Make sure you use decent grommets wherever the wiring passes through the ally panelling as it will chafe the insulation off. Label the wiring before strapping up the loom to make life a bit easier when everything is in place. Every connection was tested and then connected to the lights. After a bit of reconnection (despite labelling the wiring the links to the RHS of the car were inverted - doh!) the rear lights all worked :)
Onto the front. Similar procedure to the rear:
The loom runs from the firewall along the diagonal front chassis cross member and up to the lights. For convenience (and easy maintenance) I made a mini-loom for the front lights which connects to a small loom to the fusebox. More connections which can fail, but far easier to replace headlights like this if they get knocked off! Again, earths are on the chassis to keep things simple. Everything worked first time - surprisingly. When I get as little time I'll make up a diagram to explain the system. I still need to run a loom to the engine (alternator, oil sender, fan etc.) but that's a seperate issue. Next job is to fit a dash so that the instruments can be fitted. From then on, I'm almost done!
OK, so today starts with the remaining parts of the loom and the dash. The battery box and side mirrors had arrived from Eddie White, I was disappointed that the mirrors (a so-called bargain at 29 quid) didn't come with mounting posts!! Bloody useful they are then - NOT. Need to source some from SPA. I sourced some indicators from a local motorcycle accesory shop for the grand sum of 20 quid (which reminds me - I must update the costs section!). Mounting them caused a bit of head scratching as there are no obvious points on the chassis so I opted to mount them to the nose cone. They're connected via bullet connectors to the loom so removal of the nose is still a simple affair. The headlights were connected to the short loom to the fusebox and tested. A short loom was run down the o/s of the engine bay for the coil, oil pressure light and fan. That's about it for the wiring. I started with the best intentions of using colour coded wire and meticulously recording all the connections but in reality, the system is so simple and you'd need SO much wire I just used lots of red and black and bits from an old loom. Each end was labelled however but I must find a neater way of finishing it off.
That done, it's time to wire the dash. Hang, on a mo., sorry I meant to say it's time to MAKE the dash! I wanted something functional but looked good which was removeable from the scuttle. First thoughts were of a brushed finish stainless steel but three things made this impractical:
So that idea was canned. Instead, for strength I deciced to use some ally sheet and would cover it in that carbon fibre looking sticky stuff which whilst being totally unconvincing as the real thing (unless you're a good few feet away), looks good close up. I made up a cardboard template and marked the approximate instrument and switch positions. This was then taped to the scuttle and I checked from the driving seat whether everything fell to hand and was visible. I then taped the template to some spare ally sheet and cut out the basic shape which was then trial fitted to the scuttle. Next came the holes for the instruments themselves. They're pretty tight tolerance and I didn't want gaps so cut the holes undersize and then dress down with a file. Once all the instruments and switches were in, they were removed and the whole thing covered with the carbon look vinyl. Back in with the instruments (as most of you know building a Locost involves putting it together and taking it apart again about 500 times!) and I was ready to start wiring it up. Now, the ally of the dash itself isn't good enough for an earth to the dials and lights so first job was to connect all the instrument earths together. Once done, the instrument lighting circuit live was taken from the FIA killswitch so that it was only active with the ingition panel switched on. Whilst this was being done, the ignition panel and battery feeds were connected to the killswitch in the correct fashion so that the engine could be 'cut' by removing the key. Where possible the instruments where connected, which in reality meant the Tacho was linked to the coil as I'm awaiting the delivery of the oil pressure guage (one in the pics is temporary), speed sensor for the speedo and will wait to connect the water temp. guage until the scuttle is fixed into position. Once all this farting around has finished the dash panel was fixed to the scuttle and placed in the car - and damn good it looks too! Next up was to fit the battery box (which for something so simple was a pain in the arse!) and to panel in the rear.
I can hardly believe that the car's almost finished - but not quite. Karl turned up to help with the panelling and the bonnet cut outs (for the exhaust) so whilst he was beavering away I got on with the remains of the wiring. One of the last bits to go in was the battery box. This I got from Eddie White and isn't too bad but the glass fibre weave is well rough on the inside and splinters now abound in my hands! The box was bolted into position in the passenger footwell (probably could have done with being further back but the main battery leads weren't long enough!), make sure that it's in the right way round as the lid only fits one way. Terminals were connected and I fired her up to check everything. Amazingly everything worked first time, instrument lights, light switch, tacho all there. Need to set up a brake light switch on the pedal (yet to figure this one out) and get the indicators/flashers working. Fiddled about with the Sierra indicator stork (also controls main beam) but couldn't make sense of it! Martin's gonna speak to his electricial mate to see if he can shed some light on it but I'm convinced it's going to include some relays ;) By this time Karl had cut the pieces for the boot panelling. A small oversight with the hinges meant that it fouled on the rollbar - doh! A quick rethink to the mounting points and everything was OK. Time to fill her up with fuel and spank it senseless!!! Ok, ok, have a little pootle around the yard then ;)
Fine finishing Karl's efforts looked good - even if he does need a little direction now and again ;) (joke matey!) Last job on the bodywork was to cut out the bonnet for the exhaust pipes. A careful bit of template making, come cope-sawing and some filing made for a very neat finish.
Well, the car was sitting there, fuelled and ready to go. You've just got to test it don't you! I strapped myself in, switched the ignition panel to 'on', pressed for a few seconds on the started button to get the fuel up the newly fitted lines and the engine burped into life. Clutch depressed and first gear slotted into place with no effort or graunching and I pootled out of the workshop. There's a gravel car park just behind the unit and the weather was so nice, and my foot got stuck honest and, and, and.... as I had predicted the car had become possessed by the devil and I HAD to do a couple of donuts in it! It still needs the fluids topping up so it was a short outing but in those few seconds I could feel how sorted the car felt. I wanted some better action shots but blame the crap cameraman ;)
Well, the car's almost finished (I'm sure I've said that before ;) the list of jobs to do now looks like this:
So come back soon for the final installment. I'm off to Le Mans on Thursday for a weekend of pure petrolheadedness so if you're going - see you there!
Back again! Well, Le Mans was a right laugh, I thoroughly recommend it to anyone who is into drinking fo 4 days solid whilst watching a few minutes of motorsport ;) Anyway, today's news is that I've finally got hold of a carb - which was nice. Gower & Lee (01923 247300) managed to track one down whilst checking availability of Weber 32DGV's. It's come from a race car (Locost possibly) and has reputedly done 500 miles since re-con and rolling road. It was 80 quid plus the VAT and postage which seems a reasonable price with the bonus being that it should be reasonably well set up. I sourced a twin-choke manifold from Stuart Taylor for 20 quid which should be with me by the end of the week... or maybe 8 - who knows ;) Oh, and FINALLY to beat ST's record, my beautiful blue Samco silicon hoses have arrived so I can replace the dodgy old braided jobs currently on the engine. Braided hose kits are, frankly, crap. Either get the hoses professionally made or don't bother. A waste of 40 quid, but I may be able to salvage some money from them by flogging them to my mate's son who has a MaxPower type Escort! I'm away again at the end of the week so I've got all of Saturday morning to get some work done. Just as well that there's not a lot to do then!
Well, so much for the ex-race carb! Gower and Lee phoned to say that they'd received the carb but the flange was cracked - arse :( However, in amongst their phonings they'd managed to track down a NEW boxed 32DGV which they'd do for 116 quid! Seeing as a refurb was gonna cost 90, well, you do the maths, it was well worth the extra. Saturday looks like it's a no-goer due to work so I'm going to take tomorrow off work to do some work to the car before I have to go away on business (again) for a fortnight.
Well, the carb arrived AND ST's manifold and bless him, he even refunded me 10 quid ('cos I collected the seat from Stoneleigh and had paid extra for split delivery) and chucked in the tie-rod lock nuts. Cheers Ian, all is forgiven ;) Anyway, cracked open the boxes to see what was in store. The 1300GT manifold was in reasonable nick but had some heavy deposits inside. A good wizz round with a fine wire brush in the drill got rid of the crud to help gas-flow. No manifold/carb gaskets so I made a pair up from some gasket paper (cardboard;). The 32DGV was there in all it's glory and looks fab. I just hope it does the business! I checked the stamp on the mounting flange to see the 32DGV model and the venturi sizes are cast onto the sides of the choke barrels. I removed the choke flap from the second venturi to help air flow but left the first in for cold starting.
So, that's the carb. I'd also got a new K&N for the twin choke (anyone want a K&N for a 1300 single choke downdraft, in fact, along with the carb and manifold!) so everything was ready to fit. Which leads me on to my lovely, bloody expensive, Samco silicon hose kit. These really are the dogs dooda's. Total overkill of course but hey, in for a penny and all that! The hose kit was for a Caterham x-flow which I ordered in the hope that they'd fit. Time for a silicon implant (sorry about that). Well, I was almost right. The rad. bottom hose bent the wrong way so with great trepidation and a steady hand, I cut the hose and reversed the bottom section with a connector pipe (from an old hoover!). The result was great and everything looked spanking gorgeous after fitment.
So, only thing left to do was to fit the water temp sender to the block. Removed a core plug, water pisses out, put sender in... 1" too long - arse! The capillary end was way too long for the block hole and fouled the cylinder liner. Oh, the thread was a different size too :( Time for creative solutions. After considering butchering my lovely silicon top hose for about 2 microseconds, I decided that it was best to put the sender inside it with the capillary exiting where the hose joins the stat housing. Attempt 1 failed with water peeing out where the seal was poor as the capillary is quite thick. So, I filed a groove in the stat housing, sat the capillary in it, added some silicon sealant and re-tightened the jubilee clip. Fired up the engine which, despite having a new carb, blasted into life as soon as the fuel was pumped though (excellent) and zero leaks - woohoo! It will probably lose some under pressure, but I'm told that this fitment is common practice in race cars. I left the car running for a while to check the fan which cut in and out without overheating. Excellent. The fan cuts in at about 95 and brings the temp. down to about 88 before shutting off again. Job done.
On to July