Post Build Check

Uh oh – its crunch time! Somebody else that knows way more than I do, is going to take a look at my handiwork and tell me how much my ignorance is going to cost me.

The Post Build Check is taking place today, Wednesday after I’d finished my Big Push last Sunday. For those of you that are only casually following… firstly, shame on you. Secondly, the Post Build Check is where the dealer you buy the kit through will give the car a thorough once over. The PBC is included in the cost of the kit and is meant to check on whether the car is fit for IVA. It’s not a guarantee that the the car will pass IVA test, but in my opinion it’s a must-do part of the build.

However, since Sunday, I had got itchy fingers and couldn’t resist adding some IVA trim pieces that I didn’t think the PBC would need to remove.

Exhaust Rear Mounting – IVA Treatment

All the rear exhaust bracket nuts/studs/bolts need to have caps on them…

Rear Exhaust Bracket needs caps on the nuts and “dashboard” IVA trim on the leading upright edge. Switched out the taller cap for a regular M8 cap after taking this picture.

Front Brake Hose to Bodywork – IVA Treatment

I also added a soft cap to the front flexible brake hose body work fixings. The cap is supplied as part of the IVA trim. As others have done, I drilled a hole in the top, ran a slit down the side and cable-tied it all back together.

Soft cap added to front flexible brake hose where it meets the bodywork

Oops – Don’t Tip a Caterham That Way Up!

One practical tip I’ve not heard discussed anywhere but I bet is something the old-hands chuckle about when a Newbie tells them what happened…

If you tip a Caterham on it’s nose then the washer fluid dribbles out the washer nozzle.

As part of the process of dropping the car onto it’s wheels, ready for the PBC pickup, I dropped the front of the car off it’s wheely stands and left the rear still up in the air. I then went and did something else around the house only to come back into the garage to find washer fluid all over the floor.

Rear of the car up high and the front down low, the washer bottle in the boot is higher than the washer nozzle in front of the windscreen. It’s just then a matter of gravity.

Mental note to self… in the future bung up the washer bottle nozzle if you drop the car nose first, or drop the rear first.

I guess there may not be a problem if the washer bottle is placed in the engine bay, like they used to do, but it certainly seems to be a problem when the washer bottle is in the boot,

Blue Washer fluid on the floor

PBC Pickup

Back to today though…

The plan was set for Williams to come and pickup the car first thing in the morning. Then, one the car is loaded, I’d follow them over to spend some time with the technician as he/she takes a look at the car.

Having read the guidance notes on the DVLA website again… it seems that it would have been possible to drive the car to Williams. The guidance is that you have to have a pre-booked appointment for the purpose of completing tasks associated with the IVA check. Then you can drive it on the road to those appointments. So while that is technically possible, Williams is about 15 miles from our house and I wasn’t keen to test my ability to put the car together without someone else checking it first. Perhaps I could have driven it back from Williams after the PBC but I’d have had to have got someone to take me over there first. Decision made – let them trailer it both ways.

So, I opened the garage door and let the Purplemeanie loose.

The Purplemeanie waiting to be picked up for PBC
The Purplemeanie waiting for PBC pickup

Once the car was outside I could see that I was going to have to take a look at the jubilee clips holding all the coolant pipework in place.

Uh oh! Coolant on the garage floor. Looks like I’ll need to take a look at a coolant leak at some point too

Here’s some video of it running…

Tony from Williams arrived on time and got to sticking the car onto their low loader…

Loading up for PBC

Unloading At Williams

It was still a crisp autumn morning when we arrived at Williams…

Looking good on the low loader. Couldn’t resist a gratuitous patriotic pic
Another patriotic shot at Williams
Off the trailer waiting to go into the shop

In the Shop

The technician working on my car was Tom and he got the car into the shop and onto a ramp once he’d finished off an early morning job. He then came and got me from the showroom and we had a look over the car on the ramp.

On the ramp in the shop
From the back, on the ramp

Here are the things we discussed…

PBC – Wheels

For the eagle-eyed amongst you, you’ll have noticed that in my haste to get everything done, I’d got the front-left and rear-right wheels switched – the tyres are directional and I got them reversed.

PBC – Coolant Radiator

Another interesting tidbit from my discussion with Tom was that he spotted a weeping weld on the coolant radiator. He said that this is not unusual. We agreed it was small enough that it might “heal” over time but I’ll keep an eye on it over the coming weeks. It’s not an IVA fail and the worst case is that I’ll have to drain the coolant system and get it re-welded – it’s so small I might be able to bung it up myself.

Weeping coolant (pink) from a radiator weld

PBC – Speedo

Whilst I stood with Tom we had a look at the speedo reading – or not as it happened. As Tom had run the car in gear, he noticed the speedo wasn’t reading anything. So, we both headed to the RHS rear wheel to take a look at the sensor.

Tom pointed out that as you turn the RH rear wheel, with the ignition on, the shroud around the speedo sensor tip will light up and pulse as the wheel is rotated. So, you can get a rough check on whether the speedo will operate correctly without having to run the rear wheels via the engine. As it happens I had got the sensor too close to the armature on the wheel and so the speedo wasn’t working. For those interested: the mark-space-ratio seems to be something like 80/20… the light is on more than its off when operating correctly. We also discussed the possible need for the “spare” speedo earth lead included in the kit, but mostly not used – see below. Here’s what the illuminated shroud looks like…

Speedo sensor illuminates at its end to show it is picking up the tessellated armature

As discussed above, the item in the polythene bag below is used on “some” cars where the speedo isn’t working as intended. The strap replaces the earth pin on the connector that the speedo sensor connects into on the chassis by the RH rear wheel. You then attach the other end of the lead to the chassis. According to Tom: you drill a hole in the chassis tube running up the rear bulkhead and attach the lead to the chassis there. Derek had also told me about this lead when I asked what it was for, though Tom was more explicit about how to install it. I’ll now know something to ckeck if I get poor speedo reliability.

Speedo earth lead for cars with dodgy speedo readings

PBC – Brakes

Tom and I also discussed the spongy brake pedal. He thought it could definitely be better… And coming from someone who drives Caterham’s every day, who am I to argue. He showed me a self-bleed system he uses that pressurises the brakes via a pumped tank which holds a reservoir of fluid. He said that you could bleed a system in a few minutes with it. That’s gotta be on my list… I can imagine I’ll be bleeding brakes often, if not regularly, and sounds like an investment I should make. I hear Amazon calling me!

PBC Conclusion

I hung around at Williams for a couple of hours then headed out to let Tom get everything done. The car was to stay at Williams for a couple of days anyway so that PPF (Paint Protection Film) could be added on Friday.

There wasn’t much that needed doing in the PBC that I didn’t know about already, but here’s the list of stuff that we agreed and that Williams did:

  • Perform Post Build Check
  • Brake pedal travel, bleed system, still poor. Customer to sort out
  • Remove rear callipers to check pad notch to piston alignment – ok
  • Stop light now working correctly
  • Swap OSF and NSR wheels around for correct tyre rotation
  • Set headlight alignments. N/S bulb had a bad pattern, bulb bent, supply and fit new bulb
  • Set suspension ride height higher
  • Adjust washer jets
  • Coolant temp gauge erratic, found poor solder joint in link lead. Make up new lead, tested ok

Of those items… I didn’t know quite what happened to make the stop light not work and I thought I had the washer jets set reasonably well, but those are small points.

Tom and I had agreed that he should set up the ride height. However, that seemed to consist of Tom going to find a car with a similar spec in their portfolio, measuring it’s ride height and setting my car to be the same 😂. I also knew about the brake system and will sort that out when I get the car back.

The one item I’m very embarrassed about is the coolant temp link lead. As an electronics guy who’s been soldering for 45 years, I should have got that one nailed – doh!

That all came to just over £200 for labour and parts, and was probably what I was expecting. The PBC is included in the kit price but not any remedial work carried out. I couldn’t get away completely scott free could I?

I now have to wait for Friday to come around and hope that the PPF gets fitted early enough for Williams to drop the car back that day. Then I can spend the weekend on IVA preparation.

Seems as though my handiwork wasn’t too bad – Phew!

Build Session 37 : IVA Preparation and Tidy-ups

It’s the final shove in the The Big Push – Day 5!

We’re pretty much finished now. Everything is installed, attached or bolted down. With the exception of some wiring for the front repeaters it’s all about tidying things up and getting all the finishing touches done for the IVA test.

So lets get on the that pesky wiring…

Front Repeater Wiring

Now the front wings are on the car I could finish up the wiring of the repeaters.

The grommets were included and inserted into the holes at the bottom of the wing stays…

Grommets for the repeater wires as they exit the wing stays

Heat shrink is in place from the repeater into the wing stay and I aded another layer of Sikaflex. The Sikaflex looks a little untidy here but I found I could mould/flatten it once a thin skin had formed on it.

Heat shrink all the way to the repeater. I’ve added some more Sikaflex at this point too.

RHS wiring looks like this from the front…

RHS wiring for all the lights and indicators

… and looks like this from the back looking forwards…

RHS wiring for lights and indicators

Here’s what a repeater looks like on the wing…

RHS Repeater Installed

With that wiring done, time to get on with some other jobs.

Washer Fluid Fillup

Caterham provide washer fluid, just needs to be added to the bottle and then diluted…

Concentrated washer fluid added then toped up what water

Fuse Box Cover IVA Trim

Next up is to add IVA trim to the fuse box along the long and short edges…

IVA trim added to fuse box cover. I opted for a 12v socket to be included in the options I selected

And then installed…

Fuse box cover installed with IVA trim. No velcro.

The build manual calls for velcro to be used to attach the fuse box to the bulk head. It seemed to me that the fuse box was perfectly snug enough inserted in between the bulk head and the dashboard, so I didn’t bother with the velcro step.

Protection Around Repeater Wires

The build manual suggests that the repeater wiring be protected from chaffing when it passes through the bodywork. It recommends using spare washer bottle tubing…

Washer bottle tubing added to repeater wires where they pass through the bodywork

I probably only added a couple of inches of tubing to my wiring which I think is probably a bare minimum. I’d recommend putting a longer length on but I only spotted the recommendation to use more in the build manual after I’d finished both sides. It was tricky to get the tubing onto the wiring, possibly because I have two wires running here which makes the wiring thicker, but there’s not much space around that aperture. I got there in the end though and got the cable ties on.

Exhaust Springs IVA Treatment

Another chance to use some of that spare washer bottle tubing. You have to put some of it on the brackets used to hold the reverse springs on the exhaust. This step seems a little facile or superficial – I’m not sure adding tubing here is going to fool too many people about how “safe” this makes these hooks… But its a requirement for IVA… so on they go…

Probably the most bizarre IVA requirement, the reverse spring brackets are too “pointy” to pass IVA so you have to cover them with washer bottle tubing

Door Bracket IVA Treatment

This one doesn’t seem quite as bizarre as the reverse springs above, but its getting there. You need to add grommets, that have been cut in half, to the brackets that would normally hold the doors onto the windscreens. I’ve seen people post in blogs to say that Caterham now supply these brackets with rounded tops and that you don’t need the grommets. Mine didn’t seem that rounded, so I added the grommets on the basis that anything I do to mean I don’t have a double IVA visit has to be a good idea. They were fixed to the brackets with SuperGlue/KrazyGlue.

Grommets added to the door brackets

Nut Caps In the Footwells

I can’t remember quite where I saw this, I think it was in Caterham’s addendum IVA document that came along with build manual, but it talks about making sure all the exposed nuts in the footwells have nut covers on them. So out with the Superglue again and I glued some nut covers wherever I could think to look. Some didn’t need SuperGlue, but I didn’t know how much poking the inspector would do and if they’d fall off on the way to the test.

Nut covers added to the back of the heater on both driver’s and passenger side
Nut covers added to the rivnuts installed in the roof of the passenger footwell. These rinuts are what the air filter attaches to

Bonnet Springs IVA Treatment

Again, the Caterham IVA addendum talks about making sure the screws that hold the bonnet springs onto the bodywork needing to be rounded. Mine looked reasonably rounded but I decided to go OTT and added plastic caps to them. I had to put a slot in the side of the cap, but it seemed to do the job…

Caps added to the bonnet spring mounting screws

Catalytic Converter IVA Treatment

Another IVA point… the front of the Catalytic Converter Shield needs to have spare IVA trim as used on the dashboard…

Dashboard IVA trim added to the leading edge of the Catalytic Converter

Lower Oil Pipe IVA Treatment

One of the changes I’ve seen done during a PBC is that some of the aforementioned spare dashboard IVA trim gets used to protect one of the lower oil pipes from chaffing on the underside of the steering rack cross member. This one makes sense to me, I can see that pipe chafing on that cross member.

Dashboard IVA trim installed on lower edges to steering rack cross member (left to right) above the oil pipe (middle top to bottom)

Cladding Removed

One last task for today was to remove the cardboard and masking tape that had been protecting various bodywork sections for the past few weeks. We can now see the full effect of the hours of fun we’ve had…

Bodywork protection removed to see the full the can in its fully glory

I’m Done… ish

For the moment… I’m done. It’s the end of my 5 day big push and I’ve got as much done as I need to for the PBC. There’s a bunch of IVA items that I need to do, like adding “soft” protection on nuts/bolts where they might be deemed to be dangerous by an IVA inspector. However, whoever is doing the PBC is going to want to get access to these various nuts and bolts to check they’re tightened… so I’m leaving this last IVA step until after PBC.

Another two areas I’ve not addressed are Headlight Setup and Suspension Setup. I can sort the headlights after PBC and I’ve a mind to let Williams do the suspension setup as I suspect they’ll have an opinion on that anyway.

Finally, I didn’t get a chance to flush the brake system through again. The pedal is ok in my mind, but probably still needs another bleed. I’ll see what Williams say about this.

I’m (for the moment) done. Phew!

Build Session 36 : Repeaters, IVA, Mirrors, Wipers, Rear Hubs, Wings

Day 4 of The Big Push – Phew! This is getting tiring! I’m glad I decided I needed to take some time off to get this knocked out. While I’m not getting as much time on the car as I hoped, I am making progress. All that’s going to change today… no distractions, no excuses!

Front Wings Again

Today, I wanted to at least get to the point where I had the Carbon Fibre Wings “tacked” onto the Wing Stays.

As far as I know the only hard and fast regulations around the front wings are the IVA trim needed around the edges of the wings (done) and the requirement that the leading edge of the wing has to be forward of a line drawn vertically at the front edge of the wheel (not tyre).

On this second point I have read blogs, and seen emails from Caterham, where they recommend the leading edge of the wing is 75 mm from the wing stay. That’s a good starting point but seems a little vague to me. It’s fine in the factory where they know what has been done to the car already but in a home-garage, where I’ve been tweaking and bending the wing stays, I could have inadvertently moved the wing stays fore or aft. In the correspondence I’ve seen it’s also not obvious whether that recommended measurement is to the front of the wing stay or the centre line. It’s much easier to measure to the outside front of the wing stay, so I assume that’s what they’re referring to. So, anyway, my recommendation is still to set up a plumb line of some sorts and verify that the wing will sit forwards of the wheel.

To this end, I sat a wing onto a wing stay and used  a large set-square I had kicking around to make sure the wing was in front of the leading edge of the wheel. I then measured from the front of the wing stay to the front of the wing (including IVA trim). ISTM that a little extra distance would satisfy my fear of getting this wrong, so I set my measure at 80mm (8cm) and marked it with masking tape…

Leading edge of front wings set to be 8cm (80mm) from front of wing stay.

Next up was to try out the routing of the repeater wiring. I’d extended the earth lead of each repeater a couple of days previously so could try fitting them.

My repeater/wing install consisted of the following:

  1. Insert pull cord through wing stay – a thin piece of coated wire in my case
  2. Add approx 15cm of 7mm heatshrink to the wires nearest repeater
  3. Thread repeater heatshrink/wires through 16mm hole I’d cut in the wings
  4. Thread heatshrink/wires through wing stay (using pull cord)
  5. Add grommet to wires and insert where wires exit wing stay
  6. Add long piece of 7mm heatshrink to wire ends
  7. Insert heatshrink through grommet added to wing stay (using lubricant to get the heatshrink as far in as possible)
  8. Apply heat to heatshrink
  9. Bond wings to wing stays
  10. Cable-tie wires to rear arm of top wishbone
  11. Bolt earth lead to chassis (there’s a threaded hole on both sides where the front t-piece is bolted on both LHD and RHD cars)
  12. Wire repeater signal wire into the econoseal connector

Here’s a few pics of some further tidbits…

A paper-clip worked better than tweezers at getting the pull cord out of the wing stay…

Paper-clip worked better than tweezers

Tape the repeater wires to the pull cord…

Repeater wires taped to pull cord

I removed some material from the back of the grommet I used for the wiring exit from the wing stay. This allowed the grommet to go in more easily, especially as I’m feeding two wires down the tube where Caterham only do one…

Modified my grommets to make them easier to insert

I did a test run again without the wings in the stack…

Dry-run of repeater wiring again

Ok. So at this point it was still early in the day and I was being nervous about attaching the wings to the wing stays while having to work around the car all day – I might knock them as I move around. I still have 4 days until the PBC (Post Build Check) and so could afford to wait until the end of the day to stick the wings onto the stays.

Onto something else then…

Engine LHS Wiring Tidy-up

Next up was to spend a couple of hours (2:15 to be precise) sorting out the wires one the LHS of the engine. I’m happy that I don’t have anything that’s going to mean I need to pull this apart again, so time to tie it all down for IVA.

There’s a few things going on with the wiring under the intake manifold:

  • Oil pressure sender
  • Alternator
  • Mystery unterminated spade connectors
  • Engine to chassis earth lead

When I started on this, it was all just hanging about still. The car had arrived with some of the alternator wiring half held in a P-clip and the oil pressure sender wiring was just wrapped around the oil filter.

The picture below summarises where I got to…

Engine LHS wiring tidy-up

In the picture above, here are some salient points:

  • The P-clip (top left of pic) was only half attached when the car came. I attached both eyes of the clip and kept the +ve lead from starter to alternator included in the P-clip. I also added the wire that runs from the timing sensor on the bottom of the RHS of the block. This wire runs under the front of the engine and then up the LHS of the block. I have a picture of that sensor and will add below
  • I added a P-clip (centre right-ish of pic) and ran the red/white wire from the starter motor through it
  • The oil pressure sender wiring is long – even for an SV chassis. You have to run the wiring along the engine mount (from top right-ish to bottom left of pic), down onto the chassis rail (bottom left), across the chassis rail (bottom left to bottom right) and then “lose” the excess wiring by doubling the heat shrunk covered wires back on themselves and then into the sender (to the right of the oil filter).
  • Make sure the boot is on the +ve cable going into the alternator from the start motor.

I’ll need to come back to this area later and add IVA plastic caps to the various nuts that protrude into this space.

Grey cable running under bottom front of engine block… from timing sensor to ECU via the LHS of block. This cable was added to the P-clip (right of picture above)

As for the mystery spade terminals in the loom on this side of the engine (I think they may be something to do with oil temp… maybe??), I just taped them up into the loom and cable tied it all back together again…

Mystery spade terminals now encased in black electrical tape (top middle of pic) and cable tied in place.

Mirrors

Mirrors next…

I’m presenting the car to the IVA test without the doors or hood. I didn’t want to get into the complexities of those extra bits in the test… less is more.

Irrespective of this (the side mirrors still need to go on the sides of the windscreen), the side “wing-mirrors” need be fitted to the windscreen – not the wings! 🙂

First up though is the rear-view mirror. Simple job to take the 3M protective paper off the back of the mirror stem and fit it to the top of the windscreen. There are lots of mods that can be done to improve the rear-view mirror options but I was going for an IVA pass and so wanted a bog-standard mirror to get through the test.

Simple install of the rear-view mirror. Made sure the bracket was level and plumb and a few mm from the windscreen top rail.

Side mirrors next…

Perhaps its me but I didn’t find the build manual very helpful when figuring out what to do with the side mirrors. As I mentioned above, the side mirrors need to be attached to the windscreen for an IVA pass. Once the IVA is done the accepted wisdom is that these mirrors are moved to the driver’s/passenger’s doors. The idea being that with the mirrors installed on the windscreen the doors won’t open far enough for the doors to rest on the bonnet – where they will stay put and you can then more easily get into/outof the car. With the mirrors installed on the windscreen the doors only open half way and you have to hold them there so they don’t fall back into the closed position again.

So… the mirrors need to be installed on the windscreen.

Now, how do we do that?

The mirrors are supplied with the stems used to attach them to the doors, not the stems used to attach them to the windscreen. And… in order that the mirrors be adjustable the mirror frame is attached to a stem using a ball and socket arrangement with a screw running through the stem, socket and ball to tension the whole thing (see exploded view of the parts below). The ball also has a short stem of it’s own that the screw thread goes through.

Now, of course, when you take the screw out from this tensioning arrangement, the whole thing falls apart. And to make things a little tricker, the ball floats in the mirror frame so that when try and put the screw back in the ball just rotates in the frame.

Now, because you’ve not had a chance to see all of this before, you’re left with a bunch of bits that need to be assembled onto the new stem.

There’s a trick…

As I mentioned above, the ball in this arrangement has a stem on it… and on that stem is a flat on it’s side. You use the flat on the ball/stem to lock the ball/stem into the larger stem – it will all make more sense with some pictures below. That way you can do up the torx screw without the ball rotating all the time. I needed a pair of pliers to get the whole thing going, before the flat on the ball/stem can engage in the larger stem slot.

That’s a lot of words… but we all know a picture paints a thousand words… so here’s some pictures:

Rear of mirror frame with captive ball/stem, larger slotted stem, cup
Close up of slotted stem
Close up of captive ball/stem – you can see the flat side of the stem

This is how it’s all arranged in an exploded view…

Exploded view of wing mirror assembly for windscreen attachment

Here’s me using some pliers to get the torx screw started back in the assembly…

Using some pliers to get the torx screw started in the wing mirror to windscreen assembly

It’s then a simple case of replacing the middle screw on the windscreen sides with a stud fixing…

Stud inserted in windscreen side

Here’s a finished wing mirror ready for IVA…

Finished IVA wing mirror

That was a lot of words and pictures for such a simple part of the build. I hope it helps any future builders.

Like I said… lots to get done today… onwards!

A Ding

It was at about this point that I had a bummer of a moment. I was rushing around a bit and managed to drop a pump-clamp onto a rear wing – bummer!

I touched up the resulting ding with some of the spare paint that I’d been supplied with in the kit. I’m not too precious about the whole “pristine” thing but its a shame to have dinged the paintwork at this point.

Dinged (centre) the RHS rear wing and applied touch-up paint from…
Spare touch-up paint came to the rescue

I guess I was being a bit sloppy not to cover the rear-wings with some cardboard or bubblewrap when I’d installed them. The PPF (Paint Protection Film) I’m proposing to add later would have protected that particular point, but it doesn’t cover the whole car.

Front ARB Tidy-up

For those of you following closely you’ll remember that I had to disconnect the front ARB (Anti Roll Bar) in order to add grommets to the front light stem wiring – after my bonnet drop-off visit to Caterham, Crawley.

A simple job was then to refit some 2mm x 200mm cable ties. I’d had to order these in specially, they’re narrower than anything else in the kit and there are only enough in the kit to do this job once… and I am doing it twice!

Re-cable-tie the front ARB gaiters

Air Filter

Next up is the air-filter. There’s almost nothing in the build manual about this step, but it’s fairly simple. The filter is, of course, inside the black box…

Air-filter installed

Next it’s the air intake trim, that seals the air-filter assembly to the bonnet. After a bit of research it does make sense that it fits with the flange making a funnel but there’s no pictures or instructions in the manual. It needed lots of lubricant and “pre-shaping” before it would go on. The trim is constructed like the IVA trim for the dashboard, i.e. it has a metal strip moulded into its centre and so can be “formed” to get the small and large radiuses needed to attach it to the filter assemebly…

Lubricating the air-filter trim
Air-filter installed

Odds and Ends

Next up a couple odds and ends that I’ll lump together…

First is to attach and cable tie the 5/16th hose used to protect the braided clutch hose…

5/16th hose cable tied in place on the braided clutch hose, running bottom left to middle of the picture. Covers all of the hose.

… and add the IVA trim to the catalytic converter cover…

Added IVA trim (spare left over from dashboard) to catalytic converter cover

Windscreen Wipers

Another 10 minute job to add the windscreen wiper blades to the windscreen wiper stems. Its important to have run the wipers at least once through a cycle prior to attaching the blades. The windscreen wiper motor and cams/rods could be installed part way through a cycle in the factory and putting the blades on at the wrong point in the cycle could drive them into the bodywork or off the side of the windscreen.

Here’s a video of the comedy wipers in action, I still need to bend them some more so they sit closer and more parallel to the bottom of the windscreen…

Tightening Rear Hub Nuts

Penultimate job today…

The rear hub nuts need to be tightened to a pretty hefty 274Nm, to make sure they don’t allow the rear wheel assembly to come apart and therefore have a wheel fly off into the distance (happened to me before, but that’s another story!).

Because of the magnitude of the torque needed to tighten up these two nuts (one on each side, one left hand thread, the other right hand), it’s almost impossible to get to 274Nm without the aid of the handbrake and a gadget or with the car on the ground.

I decided that I couldn’t do these nuts up with the car on the ground – the wheels would get in the way. However, it was pointed out to me later that the centre inserts of the wheels come out, and you can get the requisite 41mm socket in through the hole and onto the nuts. With the 15″ Orca wheels I had the circlip holding the wheel centres in looks a bit fiddly, I’m glad I didn’t go with this option. For those interested in doing though – you’d take out the wheel centers, attach the two rear wheels, lower the car onto the ground, apply the handbrake and tighten the nuts. You obviously have to have adjusted the rear handbrake cable at this point in the build and in theory the lever created by the wheel and handbrake can counteract the force needed to get the torque-wrench up to 274Nm. I didn’t try it, but it sounds plausible.

Anyway, back to the way I did things. I made a widget.

I took a piece of oak I had kicking about (it needs to be a hardwood or else I think you’ll snap something less sturdy) and fashioned a brace to stop the wheel from turning as I did up the hub nuts. Here’s some pictures…

Rear hub nut problem… big torque and nothing to hold it back
Solution: a Morgan’esque brace
Just the job for the rear hub nuts

Bonding the Front Wings – Finally

Last job of the day is to bond the Carbon Fibre Front Wings onto the Wing Stays. I’ve seen other blog posts where people go to great lengths to line up and level their wings. I was planning to be a lot more methodical than I finally was, but in the end I eyeballed them.

I added Sikaflex 521 to the top of the Sikaflex beads, that I’d applied a couple of days ago, and plonked the wings on top. I did some basic measurements to make sure they were level and centred but then left them to soak overnight. Here’s the best picture I could get of the Wing, Wing Stay and Sikaflex…

Wing, Wing Stay and Sikaflex

As you can see from the picture above, I sanded the Carbon Fibre to try and give the Sikaflex something to key against. The Sikaflex instructions didn’t seem to need that step but it wouldn’t hurt.

I had also got more nervous of the continual handling of the wings by this point and decided to coat them in masking tape – should have done something along those lines to the rear wings…

Front wings now tacked onto wing stays and protected with a layer of masking tape

That’s it for today. Nearly 8 hours in the garage, more like 10 elapsed with meals and other jobs, and good progress I think.

Day 5 of the Big Push tomorrow…

Build Session 35 : Front Wings, Handbrake Cable and Tidying Up

Day 3 of The Big Push – a Friday! I was hoping to get a lot done today but instead of a Big Push it turned into more of a Gentle Shove. Still… progress was made.

Today I wanted to get going on the spacing theory I’d formulated for the Front Wings and Wing Stays. There were also a bunch of tidy-up jobs that needed doing, not least of which was to get the routing of the handbrake cable finally nailed down.

Some Dates for the Diary

Before we get to any building though… I’d got enough confidence together to book both the PBC (Post Build Check) at Williams and the IVA (Individual Vehicle Approval) test. Today is November 24th, I’ve booked the PBC for next Wednesday, November 29th, and the IVA for the following Thursday, December 7th. That’s 5 days and 13 days, respectively, from today! Gulp! Better get a move on!

Front Wing Spacing

So, I’d decided that I needed to space the front wings off from the top of the wing stays. That would allow me to move the wings laterally, without hitting the vertical part of the wing stay, and therefore to get them centred left to right.  It would also bring the wings upwards and give me more clearance from the tyres.

Now, the question is: what do I use as a spacer? Hmmm. I’m using Sikaflex 521 to bond the wings to the stays.

Sikaflex 521 – Weathering Resistant Adhesive Sealant

For my spacing needs I wasn’t really looking for anything to mechanically attach the wing to the stay – the Sikaflex will do that. All I needed for the moment was something to hold the wings in place while I cake the joint between the two with the Sikaflex. I also probably need to apply multiple layers of Sikaflex or else it will take an age to cure. It cures in the presence of moisture and needs about 24hours to set with a bead thickness of around 10mm and late November garage temperatures.

I thought about using some copper pipe that I have lying around. I could flatten the pipe and make it whatever depth I wanted. However, I wasn’t sure how the Sikaflex would react with the copper, probably inert, but didn’t want to risk it. I also didn’t know how it would work over time. I wasn’t thinking of putting the crushed pipe along the whole length of the wing stay, just a couple of pillars. But how would I attach the copper pipe to wing stay – Sikaflex I guess.

However, the obvious choice was to use a bead of Sikaflex along the wing stay, let it “go off” and then bond the wings to the stays with the first bead of Sikaflex as the spacer. I could be quite precise with the depth of Sikaflex I put down, so that gave me the control I was after. The only issue here is that I’m going to need to let the bead cure and that will add at least another day to this saga.

Anyway, decision made. So the first job today is to get that bead on and start it curing – I’ll have to be extra careful walking around the front of the car today with “wet” Sikaflex on the wing stays…

Black Sikaflex bead applied to the wing stay

With four beads applied to the four wing stay arms I can move onto something else.

IVA Trim for the Carbon Fibre Wings

Next up is to get the IVA trim applied to the Carbon Fibre Wings. The trim needs to be permanently applied – I used Super-Glue/Krazy-Glue (Cyanoacrylate)…

SuperGlue blob every few cm (more on corners) to hold IVA Trim to Carbon Fibre Wings

Rear Brake Anti-Squeal Plates (I think)

Simple job next to attach what I think are anti-squeal plates to the rear callipers…

Anti-squeal plate – the thin plate on top of the calliper

Handbrake Cable Routing

Like so many other jobs, this one took longer than I was anticipating.

I’ve read many blogs where people have failed IVA because they’ve not got the handbrake cable “out of the way” enough from the drive-shafts. The cable has to loop over the top of the shafts, down behind, then under and up to the brake callipers. The cable essentially spirals around the drive-shafts on both sides.

I could get the RHS cable running reasonably nicely seeing as the handbrake adjuster bracket on the side of the diff allows the trajectory of the cable to start off nicely on its spiral journey.

The LHS was proving to be more of a problem. As the LHS handbrake cable exits the transmission tunnel there’s a semi-circular flange on the diff casting that obstructs the cable’s exit. This flange tends to push the cable sideways and down… bringing it very close to the LHS drive shaft.

My solution… grind off the flange.

The flange didn’t seem to be used for anything and I just couldn’t see any need to keep the flange on the diff. So, out with the Dremel and I ground about 1/3 of the circular flange away…

Modified diff by grinding away flange. The flange originally continued around to the left

… which allowed the cable to exit the transmission tunnel much higher than before the mod…

Handbrake cable can now exit transmission tunnel more horizontally than before the modification

I used cable ties to keep the cable run away from the drive shaft.

After these changes the cable is kept on its spiral trajectory with two P-clips fixing it to the A-frame…

Spiral trajectory of LHS handbrake cable. You can see it running from the transmission tunnel exit, top left, over the drive shaft, down behind it, under and then into the calliper handbrake actuator, top right.

For those eagle eyed among you, you’ll note that the cable is actually P-clipped to the chassis in the picture above. It should be attached to the A-frame… that change will come later.

You can perhaps also see that I’d left on the long (3cm?) rubber cover/tube that come on the handbrake cable. This tube was really useful to place coincident with the P-Clip on to the handbrake cable, otherwise the P-clips I had would have been too big. In the end I think I used a 13mm and 19mm P-clip.

The P-clips were arranged like this…

Double P-clip used to tie the handbrake cable to the A-frame

The grinding of the diff took a lot longer than I was planning to spend on the handbrake cable today. But… I also got a much better solution than I had hoped for. This change worked really well for me. In all I probably spent two hours on the change. I used one of my Dremels but I needed the flexible extension attachment on the it or else there’d have been no hope of getting in there, it was tight. It needed access from both the top and bottom to get enough material off the diff and to get it to where I wanted.

Some Tidy-Up

Before packing away for the day, I did a bit of engine bay tidy-up. I’d been pondering how the ECU plug was going to get fixed down for a few weeks now.  When I finally got to having a look at it, rather than just thinking about it, it was straight forward. All the “spare” length in the cabling to the plug/socket all folded up on itself and I could cable tie it to the existing loom.

The final place for the ECU connector is circled red… under the battery in the picture below…

Final resting place for the ECU connector

That was it for today, only managed about four and half hours today. Must do better tomorrow.

Here’s what the car looked like by the end of the day…

Progress to date by the end of the Build Session 35

Build Session 34 : Brake and Clutch Fillup/Bleed, Bonnet Collection and more Front Wings

Day 2 of The Big Push!… and I’m also getting close to pushing the button on putting a date in the diary for the PBC (Post Build Check) back at Williams and then of course the government IVA (Individual Vehicle Test) test too. If I’m really, really lucky it will have passed both before Christmas.

I want to get some more fluids into the car today and to get those systems bled properly. I’ve also had word from Derek on two fronts. Firstly, the Bonnet is heading over this way today. I’m not entirely sure where or when it will be arriving but its on the van for delivery today.

Derek also got back to me early this morning to confirm that you need to bend the Wing Stays until you can get the wings to fit centrally. I think I knew that already but there were no other words of wisdom from him so I’ll have to figure out how to attach the wings the best I can myself.

Getting the Leeches Ready

That was a Bleedin’ Awful headline – sorry! And again!

With the bad jokes out of the way, I’ve got both the Brake System and Hydraulic Clutch to fill and bleed today. I’m armed with a very low-tech set of tools to get the job done – a few spanners, a glass jam jar and a length of hose pipe from the washer bottle install.

There are plenty of gadgets available to help bleed both these systems but I’m going to have a go at the old school way of doing things and some ingenuity. I’m only trying to get a first round of bleeding done today anyway.

[Note from the future: the pressurised brake bleeding system I purchased later on would have done the brake setup in one fell swoop – so perhaps I was being rather cautious with my expectations on a first bleed]

Forming the Pipe Ends

First off I needed to get the only pipe I had, that was close to being the right size, ready for the job. I employed my hot air gun and a “form” to one end of the pipe for each of the clutch and brake nipples…

Using a hot air gun to form some washer bottle pipe to the right size
… and ending up with two ends of the pipe the right size for the Brakes and Clutch

Filling the Hydraulic Clutch

I thought I’d start with the smaller of the two hydraulic systems with my rudimentary tools… the Clutch.

The first job is to protect the area around the clutch fluid reservoir. Brake fluid is nasty stuff and I didn’t want any finding its way onto anything it shouldn’t be on/in.

Protecting the paintwork around the clutch fluid reservoir

I undid the clutch bleed valve/nipple and tested out how I’d get a spanner in to the depths of the engine bay to turn it on and off.

Testing out actuating the bleed valve

Next the pipe was attached to the nipple and dropped into a jam jar partly filled with brake fluid.

Fluid will bleed into the jam jar until there’s no air or bubbles

The actions required to bleed the clutch are:

  1. Depress clutch
  2. Leave clutch pedal depressed
  3. Open bleed valve
  4. Wait for fluid and air to stop flowing through the pipe
  5. Close valve
  6. Goto 1 until no air/bubble flow in step 4

It’s step 2 that’s the problem when you’re doing this yourself. You have to keep the clutch pedal depressed and operate the bleed valve at the same time – my arms just aren’t long enough to do that myself.

So, I used a bit of enginuity and cut myself a length of wood that would just fit between the depressed clutch pedal and the cross member that cuts across the floor of the cockpit, just in front of the seats. It looked like this…

Wooden brace used to keep clutch depressed.

Using this mechanism also meant I didn’t need to keep getting into and out of the car for iteration of the procedure.

I spent about an hour and 15 minutes filling and bleeding the clutch system. In the end the clutch felt good and it was now much easier to engage a gear once the clutch was depressed. I took that to mean the clutch was operating successfully.

Now its the Turn of the Brakes

I essentially used the same approach I’d used with the clutch to fill and bleed the brakes. It was much more of a chore to do it by myself but at the time there was nobody else in the house. I’d have to pump the brake, keep the pedal down with my brace and then walk around the car to the corner I was working on. I worked from the furthest point from the brake cylinder around the car to the closest (Rear RHS, Rear LHS, Front LHS, Front RHS).

It took about 2 and half hours to do the brakes by myself, but I took my time and got a reasonably firm pedal. I was fully expecting to have to let things settle a bit and have another go at it, but I was happy with the first go.

The jam jar and washer tubing worked well..

Jam jar and washer tubing working a treat

I did have to modify my brace towards the end of the bleeding process. As the brake pedal “came towards” me as the air was expelled from the system, the pedal wouldn’t depress all the way. I also needed some additional mechanical advantage and so put a cross piece on my brace and employed a pump-clamp in “expanding” configuration to give me a good solid push of the pedal…

Modified brace and pump-clamp

At one point I forgot to put some rubber/latex gloves on and got fluid on my hands. I soon came up in a rash on my fingers and wrist which took a couple of hours to go down…

Brake fluid not good for the skin

Mental note to self: always wear gloves when handling brake fluid. We never had cheaply available latex gloves when I was last playing around with brake fluid 25 years ago, perhaps my younger skin was more resilient then.

A Telephone Call and a Trip to Horton

As I was finishing up the brakes I had a call. It was Williams Automobiles (for those of you that haven’t followed all this blog, they’re the dealer I’d got the car from) and they had my bonnet!

Now… this wasn’t totally unexpected. When I’d been discussing the bonnet delivery with Derek, I had actually offered to go to pick it up from Williams… if it was easier for Caterham to get the bonnet to them rather than to Bristol. However, Derek hadn’t confirmed that as the plan and I was rather expecting the bonnet to be delivered to my home – anyway it gave me a chuckle when Williams service team called 🙂

So, pack up the garage and head over the Williams to get the bonnet.

Getting the bonnet back was the last part of the whole puzzle and with a fixed bonnet in my possession I was feeling confident enough in my progress to start talking about booking the PBC and IVA test.

While I was a Williams I took the opportunity to have a look over a couple of cars they had in the courtyard. Everything seemed to be as expected except that I noticed something I hadn’t appreciated before. The cables for the front wing repeaters are routed along the rear of the top front wishbone. I’d been thinking that I was going to route them along the bottom, but the top made much more sense – further out of the way of any debris from the road and a shorter route to boot.

Repeater cable runs across rear arm of the top wishbone

Once I’d had a chat with their service team about how soon I could get a PBC done (pretty much as soon as I was ready – i.e. next week if needed) I headed home with the newly sprayed bonnet in the 3-series. We also spent a few minutes going over the bonnet to make sure it was all in good shape this time – it was.

Bonnet heading home for the last time – hopefully

It was a couple of hours round trip to Williams in Horton and I didn’t get back home until about 4PM. I did also take a detour to Halfords to see if I could find some better tubing to work on the brakes with. But they only had some simple brake bleed systems – I bought one but didn’t use it in the end. With some other family stuff to do for a couple of hours it was 6PM before I could get back into the garage.

Nipping up the Brake Lines

I spent an hour looking at the brakes again. When I’d got back into the garage there were drips of fluid coming from the LHS bodywork coupling and from the flexible hose to calliper coupling. I tightened them up again and will check again tomorrow.

[Note from the future: I was being a bit conservative with the brake line tightening. It took me two or three more goes to stop the various front joints from weeping. All the rears were fine. But, I struggled a little with the fronts. I got there in the end but they needed to be tighter than I first thought]

More Front Wings

I then spent another hour trying to figure out what to do with the carbon front wings. I came to the conclusion that just putting them directly on the wing stays was not going to get me to where I needed to be. The wings would still too close to the tyres. At the end of the hour I had decided I was going to space the wings away from the wing stays somehow. But how? Hmm.

I mocked up some spacers with some pipe lagging that I kept cutting down to size. It seemed I’d need about 10mm of spacing…

Foam pipe lagging cut to size to check out the spacing I needed

I spent the rest of the night writing a couple of blog posts. The blogging is taking almost as much time as the building.

Day 2 of the big push was about 7 and half hours in the garage. Day 3 tomorrow…