December 2006

3 December 2006
On Friday I managed to get my replacement cover and a new tube of sealant and fitted the new cover, I haven’t filled it with oil yet I’m too afraid. Maybe I’ll have the courage tomorrow. I also fitted the rear wings. At the moment they are just bonded on and I’ll reinforce the mountings with screws at some point this week.

In a break from everything else I decided to make preparation for fitting the electrical systems. I had bought a box from maplin with the intention of mounting the fuse box and isolator in. I know the isolator should be mounted near the battery but by mounting it by the fusebox, under the lockable bonnet should be sufficient as an immobiliser, I don’t intend to go racing in it and a scrutineer would want the isolator by the battery but there you go. I also drilled some holes in the box where I intend the cables to pass through.

On the back of the dashboard panel I had cut an access hole a while back and I made a removable plate to cover that and on that I fitted three relays (rad fan, horn and main beam) and the flasher unit. I also drilled some holes beneath the relays and fitted small grommets to allow the wires for the relays to pass through. If you are having problems trying to fit small grommets try putting them in boiling water to soften them before hand then they go in really easily. The other relays for the engine management will be fitted in the engine compartment with the ECU.

I also picked up with fitting the rear number plate bracket/light. I had cut out the back plate a few days ago. I want to fit it now otherwise I’ll forget to run in a wire for the light otherwise. I used some L section aluminium and fitted 2 pieces on the back of the panel this holds it square against the silencer. The intention is to fit 2 straps between the L sections around the back of the silencer to hold it in place. The edge of the panel will then be finished of with some edge trim. I’ll probably stick the number plate in place. I’ve go a feeling that the number plate will get mighty hot where it is but I’ll just have to see how it goes.


4 December 2006
Plucked up the courage and filled the gearbox up with oil. So far so good no sign of any leaks if it had leaked again I would have probably cried.

I carried on with fitting the rear number plate bracket. I cut two 50mm wide straps and riveted them to the lower L section before passing them over the exhaust silencer and riveting them again at the top. I also put a length of rubber between the silencer and the bracket to stop it slipping, it may melt though when the engine is running. I can confirm that the straps are really tight and I had to lever the strap into place while I put one rivet in and then the other so I don’t think it will slip down somehow.

I have put some edge strip around the edge of the bracket it just needs to be trimmed around the corners and glued in place.

I then made the final aluminium panel on the car!! I made up a template for the tunnel cover and transferred the measurements onto a strip of aluminium sheet that I had kept especially for that purpose. A single bend was put in and a hole drilled to clear the gear lever. Then the panel was trial fitted.

I secured it using M4 rivnuts, I hate setting these things as just a little too much pressure and the tool will pull the thread clean out of the rivnut and the tool will snap shut on my fingers prompting a spot of silent screaming. I only did it once and finished the job with one spare rivnut, pheww!

Then all that was left was to secure the panel in place with M4 dome headed set screws. The panel will eventually be padded and covered in vinyl, but I’m going to leave that until last thing after I have all the wiring done.

The more eagled eyed amongst you would have noticed that the passenger side tunnel panel has not been fitted yet, but it has been made and the holes drilled in fact it was one of the first panels I made and will be last to fit after I have got the wiring in place. So the tunnel top panel is the last panel to be made for the car. Buy a Bosch Blue jigsaw it’s never let me down.

7 December 2006
I’ve been doing lots of little jobs that seem to take ages so I’ve decided to collate them all in one go so here goes.

I started out by re-fitting all the trim panels that go around the roll bars on the rear wings I decided not to use normal pop rivets as I don’t think the fibre glass can take the stress anymore. I went out and bought a box of peel rivets. I tried using the black ones first, the ones I had bought earlier but the results were poor and elected to use natural coloured aluminium rivets instead. The whole point of the trim plates are to hide the gaping holes left when I cut out the wings not to draw your eyes to them, as the black rivets did.

I had noticed that my rear view mirror was not going to pass the SVA due to too may sharp edges.

I used some of the edge trim I had and cut off one side of it and then super glued it to the the mirror edge which now gives a nice rounded, more SVA compliant edge. Also the securing nut in rather sharp so my intention is once it’s secured into position to cover the nut assembly with a couple of layers of heat shrink. Which should blunt the edges sufficiently.

I then fitted the repeaters. Due to the lack of space on the dashboard top panel which I’ll need for the wing mirrors I have put them into the side panel. There is an area at the top which from the inside is concealed by a strengthening fillet and when the repeater is fitted cannot be seen from inside the car, without craning your head into the foot wells. The whole repeater body will be covered with heat shrink eventually to ensure no connections get knocked off.

I drilled a hole in one of the chassis tube to fit the earth bolt for the battery. One side of the bolt bares against the aluminium floor panel and on the other side I scraped off some of the powder coat to give a good connection. When the bolt was tightened I measured the continuity from the bolt to the another point on the chassis and got a reading of 0.1R (R=ohms). I got a reading of 0.1R with the leads of the Fluke shorted out so it’s as good as 0R across the chassis which is good enough for me.

I needed some high current cable for the run from the battery to the isolator, for the engine earth straps and from the battery to the chassis. I bought some cheap jump leads which is 10mm sq which will carry more than enough current and cut them up. I used some heavy duty crimps on the ends which I crimped and soldered onto the ends and covered them with adhesive lined heat shrink to support the cable and crimp. In the end I made up several cables. One to short the Cylinder head to the block, one from the block to the battery, one from the battery to the chassis and finally a positive lead from the battery to the main isolator/fuse box. I haven’t connected that yet. Not until I’ve finished the wiring and double checked it!

I worked out on the newly fitted dash panel where to fit all the switches. I put the seat in and the sat in the car with the steering wheel on and worked out the best place to put all the components. From that I drilled the panel and trial fitted them into place.

I have ordered my Digi-Dash from ETB which should turn up on the 12 December so I took the fixing dimensions for it from the website and transferred them onto the dash panel and also where I wanted the rocker switches to be fitted. I was advised that once the rocker switches are fitted it doesn’t do the housing any good trying to remove it any good. So I decided to cover the dash panel in vinyl now and I must admit I got a little carried away..

I wanted everything to be padded so I had bought some 6mm thick scrim foam and first of all drew around the panel to be covered. Then I moved the line in from the edge by 5mm and cut it out this is to ensure that the vinyl will pull in cleanly around the edges. This was bonded onto the panel with spray adhesive, which ejected from the can like silly string and made just about the same amount of mess! Then the panel was covered in the vinyl sheet which was lest deliberately oversized so it could be trimmed to shape later. Then the rear edge of the panel was coated in glue and the vinyl was cut and bonded in place creating a good looking panel from the front and a complete snotty mess on the rear!

I said I got carried away, so I decided to cover the trim panels that go on the outside edge of the cockpit again with the foam and then vinyl. I riveted them into place using the black rivets and between the two I sandwiched in the wing piping to create a nice “clean” line down the side of the car.

I then covered the centre panel as well, using the same technique but this time bonded the wing piping directly to the panel. Any excess glue that was accidentally sprayed onto the visible piping was cleaned off with solvent. I’m not happy with the hole for the gear lever so I’m going to make a gaiter to cover the hole. I’m going to dig out my sewing machine (yes, I have a sewing machine) and make up a gaiter for the gear lever. I was also going to make up some pads to go on the side bars in the cockpit so I don’t bang my head on them when I’m driving. Below is also a picture from the drivers side with the seat in place, it’s a snug fit.

I’ve decided before I get to the wiring I’ve got to fit the expansion bottle and the rest of the cooling hoses on the engine side. I’ve also got to get the hand brake cables in place as well as the throttle cable. It’s easier to route the wiring around these that to try and route the above around the wiring. I’m planning to get my engine management unit after Christmas so I’m going to run the required wires for the engine management into place whilst I’m doing the rest of the loom and also tidy up the wires on the engine itself so all I’ll need to do is mount the ECU and connect it. At this point I’ll also book my SVA test as well. I also want to have a go at making up a custom scoop for the engine cover mainly to clear the top of the engine cover and also to incorporate a hi level brake light. I’ve looked into an off the shelf unit but it’s either a lot of money or simply not big enough. Even the breaker yards want silly money for a scooby bonnet scoop and I’d have to pay to have it repainted anyway.

10 December 2006
In anticipation of starting the wiring I needed something to spool the wire of their drums. I made up a simple wooden frame and suspended all the drums on a piece of timber along the top. Cable has a tendency to twist if you pull it off the drum in any other way than it was wound on. Plus it makes it easier to run multiple wires through a loom as you can independently pull wires off the spools and cut back what you don’t need.

On Saturday I went down to my local breaker yards and managed to find an expansion bottle from a early Corsa which is the perfect bottle shape and can be mounted on the bulkhead easily. I also got a throttle cable adjuster which should make setting up mine (when I get it) a lot easier. I was also able to find a section of hose off a Ford Escort van which has a T in it which will connect easily to the expansion bottle. I intend to use it for sizing but will get a new one from Partco, as this one is full of crud. The expansion bottle I got was also full of lime scale. I managed to remove it by using brick acid which dissolves lime scale really well. I made sure I thoroughly washed out the bottle afterwards as I don’t really want acid in contact with the aluminium engine block!

I used a small piece of angle iron and drilled three holes in it to make up the hand brake adjuster. I’ve only set it to give me a feeling of where it will be fitted to I can leave room for hoses and cables. I guess the hand brake will be the final thing to set up as it can only be done when the tunnel side panel had been bolted on.

I started to hook up the cooling hoses in the engine bay, I started on the easy side (water pump side and used two 90deg elbows to connect the water pump spigot to the aluminium tube that runs down the tunnel. I also got some copper blanking plugs and soldered them to short lengths of copper pipe which were then fitted inside some tubing and fitted over the heater tap off points as I will not be using them.

It had also concerned me that the headlight were not quite upright so I removed the lights and the brackets from the car and managed to bend the brackets slightly bring the headlights more to the upright position. The headlights also flapped around on their brackets quite a lot so I made up some smaller brackets which fit under the original brackets at right angles and are attached to the bonnet with small screws. These brackets have no physical strength they are purely there to stop the lights from shaking about.


13 December 2006
The weather has been utterly crap for the last week or so, high winds and rain. So much so that my garage has started to leak the wind has actually been forcing the rain through any small gaps in the brick work so I’ve been mopping up small pools of water three times a day, hopefully it’ll dry out soon at least before everything starts to freeze!

I’ve stalled on the expansion bottle thing. I had found a suitable hose from a scrap yard which has a “T” in it that would nicely connect to the expansion bottle and to the engine/radiator tubes. I decided to get a new hose in case the one I’ve got in case it splits a few months down the line. Unfortunately Ford don’t make that particular hose anymore so if I used the one I’ve got and it split I’d be screwed.

I’ve found a replacement style hose made for the Mondeo which has a suitable branch to connect to the expansion bottle however this particular hose costs £56, which is far too much money just to cut it up, so back to the drawing board if I have an idea I’ll let you know.

I made a big start on the wiring. Starting from the back end I connected all the rear lights to their respective colour codes, and using spiral cable wrap neatly wrapped all the wires out of the way. I’ve included an extra set of wires for a high level brake light which at the moment is not being used. I’ve decided to run in separate wiring looms to keep it simple. One loom for the lighting, another for the heavy power cables and another for the sensitive signal wires for the Digi-Dash. I have limited cable colours so by using separate looms i can recycle colours without getting them mixed up and causing problems.

I then started connecting up the front end including the headlights, radiator fan, indicators, horn and brake fail switches. I couldn’t help but power up the air horns, they ain’t ‘alf loud!! At the moment all the lighting looms all meet up at the same place until I decide what to to with them.

The ETB Digi-Dash turned up so I mounted on the dash panel. I was wondering what my £375+vat was getting me and I’m impressed it’s very good quality it seems a shame to bolt it onto a car.

I decided that it would be easier to wire the dashboard separately and by using connectors hook it to the car loom, besides i can wire it up in the house where it is a damn sight warmer, on the up side I’m less likely to make mistakes. I wired up using my wiring diagrams and ran each respective circuit back to multi pole connectors. The whole loom was then then wrapped up in spira-wrap and cleated into place. The connectors were then numbered and the connections were notated so that it would be easier to make up their respective counter connectors.

For the foreseeable future I’ll continue running in the required wires and hooking them up also I’ll try to remedy the expansion bottle saga as soon as possible.

14 December 2006
I won a auction on ebay the other day for a universal throttle cable kit. It comes with a 4m outer, 4m Teflon liner and a 4 and a bit length of steel cable, also included is a bag of adjusters and clevis pins etc, the best bit all for £20. I got mine in black but he had cables in blue and red, I’ll put a link to his shop when I find it again.

Carrying on with the wiring again the car is looking pretty messy with lengths of cable all over the place. I’ve been running in all the power cables to the fusebox and then into the dash area. I’ve been tallying all the ends of the cables with tape and a pen otherwise I’ll get in a right mess.

The intention is to get all the cabling into the back of the dash and line up the respective tails with the ones on the dashboard itself. Then it is a simple matter of mating the respective plugs. I started on looking at the sensors that came with the ETB Digi-Dash. I already ordered an adaptor to allow me to screw the coolant sensor onto an inline adaptor. I hoped that was it but unfortunately I’m going to need an adaptor to allow me screw the oil pressure transducer into the block. While I’m at it I’ll also get an adaptor that allows me to use the sump drain plug as the oil temperature feed, but I’ve got to work out the thread forms first. For the oil pressure switch I think it’s M14x1.5 but I’ll have to check it out, the same I think goes for the drain plug.

15 December 2006
Still wiring… After yesterday when I ran in all the associated power feeds for the individual circuits now came the time to neaten them all up and connect them. On the scuttle panel I connected up the relays. One for the fuel pump, one for the cooling fan. these two are wired for negative switching which is what the ECU needs the other relay is for the high beam control. Then all the wires were spira wrapped and tyrapped into position. The wiring further forward still needs to be secured properly but there are still wires that need to be shortened as required. Still that is just tidy up.

The wiring behind the dashboard was separated into the respective circuits and terminated with the correct plugs ready for plugging into the dashboard. It still needs to be cleated into place.

I need to tidy up the wiring around the engine next and blank off any wires that are not going to be used for a while such as ones for the engine management. For example I don’t want the fuel pump control wire shorting to chassis before there is any fuel in the tank otherwise the pump is toast. I should be looking at testing the systems in the next few days.

I think I may have a solution for the T piece for the expansion bottle. I bought some 28mm copper pipe fittings. The T piece outside diameter is about 31mm and provides a snug but not tight fit on the rubber hose, however a couple of jubilee clips will remedy this. On the output of the T I have bought a 15mm reducer which will fit the rubber hose i have bought that will fit onto the spigot on the expansion bottle I shall have a look at it once the wiring is finished and I have threaded in the throttle cable.

17 December 2006
Still wiring. Where the loom comes into the back of the dashboard panel and is divided up into the plugs I cleated the loom to the panel behind the dashboard to take the weight of the loom off the plugs and sockets. I also included one more loom that is for the Digi-Dash sensor connections and tied that into place as well. I also fitted the plug for it as well.

I also made the final earth connections and did a final tidy up on the wiring on the scuttle and then the whole lot was cleated into place. I never imaged that there would be so much wiring required for such a small car!

The 3 separate looms were then routed through the tunnel and cleated in place the loom you can see at the back is the one for the Digi-Dash. I decided to try and keep it as far away as possible from the “noisy” cabling to try and prevent as much interference to the low level signal voltages, especially the one for the tachometer input. I also bought some 4 core screened cable so I could extend the speedo pickup for the digidash I’ll run that in as soon as I’ve made up the leads. I’ve started on neatening the cabling in the engine bay but I need to decide on the final route of the cooling hoses before I can finish it properly.

I also started with routing the throttle cable in. The cable I have got has a Teflon liner which makes the action of the cable very smooth especially on long runs or with tight radiuses, however I will try to keep any bends as smooth as possible. I epoxied the cable sleeve into the Ford adjuster I already had and then had to figure out a way of securing the cable to the throttle pin. The pin that was already fitted had a rubber ring that was held on by the pin having a domed end. I sawed off the domed end so I could slide the clevis that came with the cable over the pin. I then drilled and tapped an M3 thread into the pin and screwed in a m3 screw and washer retained with some loctite red. Then I ran the whole cable up the tunnel. I shall try to cleat it with as few as tyraps as I can get away with to prevent the cable from binding. I’ll make up a bracket to hold the other end of the cable in place and I’ll also need to make some form of pedal stop so I can avoid stretching or damaging the cable or throttle with over enthusiastic accelerating.

18 December 2006
The weather has gone from one extreme to the other now. For the last six weeks it has rained almost solid and we’ve had really high winds, now it fantastically cold and where the sun didn’t reach the frost didn’t melt at all! Normal weather please..

I tested the electrical circuits today. After carefully checking to see that I had no short circuits I connected all the connectors up and hooked up the battery. I was a bit dismayed to see that a lot of things didn’t work. I work with electrical systems and I’m good at it so why did my own wiring go completely sideways. The horn worked, well you can’t really screw that up and the Digi-Dash worked as well going through it’s colourful start up sequence. The hazards, the headlights, brake fail and the brake lights weren’t working though.

The brake lights were easy to fix as I have a microswitch actuating on the pedal and I had simply connected the lead to the wrong terminal, fixed. On the hazards there are 4 terminals that short together when the switch is made as to flash both sides of the indicator circuits I had simply got one of the terminals wrong so when the switch was made the flasher didn’t connect so by swapping it over the terminal the hazards worked, fixed.

The headlight circuit was just plain weird as everything came on at once hi beam and low beam. This should have been impossible as I have used a double pole changeover switch and used each side of the switch for the dips and hi beam so they should be electrically isolated. When I was checking the switch out I noticed that one of the terminal lugs had been pushed into the switch when I had fitted the terminal spade connector thus negating the switch action. The the terminal lug pulled out to it’s proper position and reconnected the headlight circuits worked properly, fixed.

On the brake fail circuit it blew a fuse every time the push to make switch was depressed, the reason I had got the wires swapped over in the plug, only two wires mind you and I had them crossed so every time you closed the switch I shorted the supply straight to ground. Wires swapped over in the plug, fault cleared, fixed.

I’ve ordered some wing mirrors that should hopefully turn up before Christmas. Once fitted I will be able to fit the dash properly once and for all. I also want to make a small hole in the rear dash panel to fit the socket for the Digi-Dash so I can plug my laptop into it without having to remove the dash panel.

I also worked on getting the throttle cable fixed into position. I made a bracket and secured it to the front of the pedal box to fit the cable adjuster. The cable outer was shortened and fitted into the adjuster and the cable inner was pushed through the hole in the pedal and the cable secured into place. I have used a combination of springs to, one hold the pedal in position and, two, to provide a positive spring return to the starting position which also keeps the cable as tight as possible. A pedal stop (not yet fitted, paint drying) was made out of angle iron with a piece of foam on one side which gives a mechanical stop for the pedal to stop it being pushed too far an putting undue stress on the cable and throttle body. The pedal movement is free and easily opens the throttle butterfly. I am concerned that the travel isn’t an awful lot and may affect driveability but we shall see when the engine runs. It would be fairly easy to move the cable down the pedal thus giving greater travel.


19 December 2006
One job I’ve been putting off is fitting the expansion bottle as I knew it would be a pain. Fitting the bottle was relatively easy I’ve tried to find a location that was a high as possible to give a “head” of water over the highest point on the engine. I fitted the bottle on the bulkhead at the top. It’s not perfect but it’s the highest point I can use. I just fitted it with M6 bolts. I had made up a T piece with copper pipe and fitted it to the bottom of the bottle with rubber tube and hose clips.

Then from the engine to one side of the T piece I used two 90° elbows and connected them together and to the engine and the expansion bottle.

Connection from the bottle to the aluminium tube that runs up the tunnel was slightly harder. There is so much going on at the point where the tubes exit the rear of the tunnel such as the hand brake and gear linkage so space is a bit tight. I cut down an 90° bend but it fouled on the gear linkage. To make it clear I had to shorten the tube by about 30mm, easier said than done. I used a keyhole saw with a metal cutting blade and managed to lop off the required 30mm.

With the tube shortened the rubber hose now clears the gear linkage and hand brake cables and another hose is connected to that and goes to the expansion bottle. I could of done with a 45° bend but with some careful manipulation managed to make do with the 90° bends. The job I wasn’t look forward to turned out to be not that bad!

Moving onto the speedometer. I decided with the speedo fitted and the cable run up the tunnel I could put the passenger side tunnel panel on. I decided to fit the sensor on the side of the engine and mount the speed sensing magnets on the the body of the CV joint. The bracket has to be robust enough so I made the bracket out of angle iron. I used two bolt fixing points that secure the engine to the gearbox. The bracket is made out of two pieces one piece was mounted on the block and the other was welded at an angle to hold the sensor at right angles to the magnets.

The bracket was then painted black and lest to dry overnight with the intention of fitting it tomorrow.

20 December 2006
The speedo bracket was mounted to the engine block and bolted into position. I poked a pen through the hole that the sensor is bolted into a spun the wheel thus drawing a line on the CV joint. I marked a start point and used a piece of paper strip to find a point 180 deg from the start point. The magnets were then stuck down with epoxy resin and left to cure. Once the glue had cured, which took a longer than expected probably due to my garage being like a fridge at the moment. I fitted the sensor and set it up so that the head of the sensor would clear the magnets by about 1mm. I’ve had to extend the cable so that it will reach the Digi-Dash, I plugged it into the sensor and ran the cable through the engine bay and up the tunnel.

With all the cables in place up the tunnel I could now fit the tunnel panel. I had cut it about a year ago and was surprised to see that it still fitted. Fitting it was another matter. The open section ie the bit towards the rear of the cockpit was easy enough, the section in the footwell was a little more difficult. By sitting crouched in the drivers side craning over the tunnel and trying to pop the rivets with my left hand I managed to fit all the rivets. Now I’m in pain with every muscle aching and two tubes of Nurofen Gel lying empty next to me!.

With the tunnel panel on I started to fit the handbrake. The handbrake mounting point were drilled last year when I made the tunnel panel. The handbrake bolted on the cable runs along the bottom of the passenger side floor and through the bulk head. I set the adjuster up so I have some handbrake action. The brakes probably need to bed in a bit to improve things a bit.

With the hand brake on and sort of working I made a cover to protect the occupants from the handbrake mechanism. The aluminium cover was then covered in vinyl and rubber edging applied on the top edge. The finished cover was then riveted on over the handbrake. I tried fitting the passenger seat for size, it’s a tight fit but it looks ok. I don’t know who would be sitting there as I can’t I’ve known minis with more leg room!!!!!

23 December 2006
Didn’t do much on Thursday, simply couldn’t face it for some reason. I did however dig out my sewing machine and had a go at making a gear lever gaiter. I used some of the vinyl and stitched together a sort of witches hat. The base will be glued to the underside of the tunnel top panel and the top of the gaiter is tyraped to the gear lever with a small vinyl trim which hides the top of the gaiter.

On Friday I was still waiting for the wing mirrors so fitting the dash panel for good can’t be done until then. After spending most of the day pottering around waiting for the postman eventually at 3 pm the wing mirrors turned up, thank god!!

No time to waste I fitted them on either side of the scuttle panel, making sure that I could adjust them to get a good field of view. The mirrors are convex which helps and they are also tinted slightly which should reduce glare. The base of the mirrors have a hex nut which could prove a problem with protrusions so I blunted them with some heatshrink.

I then fitted the dashpanel screwing it in place and then I fitted the mini edge trim around the top of the dashpanel. The steering wheel was then bolted into place. In the steering wheel centre I wanted a SVA pad for the middle of the steering wheel. Unfortunately Mountney who made the steering wheel broke their machine that made the pads and with no plans to replace the machine therefore no more pads. I’m intending to make a pad and with no horn button needed I aluminium blanking plate will be fitted in the middle which should hold any pad I make in place.

With the seats trial fitted it’s certainly very snug and even though I’m 6’4″ tall I fit in the cockpit with no problems whatsoever.

I also received some RIOT stickers from JP so I fitted one of the engine cover. It looks the part and will at least let people know what just passed them!

I couple of weeks ago I bought some Bilt Hamber Auto Clay and Autobalm polish. The Auto Clay flattens the gelcoat and removes fine scratches. Then the polish gives a great shine, with a finish that resembles glass. The aluminium side panels were matted down with a scotchbrite pad to remove the shine and then a couple of layers of autobalm polish applied over the top. The side panels now look like a dull silver and the polish prevents any further oxidisation of the aluminium.

The car is pretty much finished now all is left to do is to get the engine running, fit some seatbelts, fabricate/obtain a engine scoop and finish off some small trim problems. I’d say that the car is pretty much 90% finished and I’m really looking forward to driving it.

30 December 2006
I’ve spent the last few days, barring Christmas working on something else. I’ve been making up a scoop/bulge to cover the holes in the engine cover and I’m also incorporating a high level brake light. It’s my first go with making anything with fibreglass so I don’t know if it will work. So far I’m making the buck which is made from MDF and a pot load of body filler. It’s been a lot of sanding so far to get the shape I want and now it’s being varnished then I’ll have to leave it for a week to dry out. I’ll order the fibre glass stuff on the 8 Jan when everybody goes back to work.

I had a problem with the handbrake. There is a bolt that the cable loops around so when the handbrake is pulled the force is transmitted to the adjuster and then to the calipers. Unfortunately the bolt I had used had bent when I applied the handbrake. I removed the bolt and using a piece of angle iron mounted a new bolt between the the angle iron bracket and the hole in the chassis. Over the bolt I put a piece of steel tubing to give the cable something to run over. the bracket is bolted to floor panel. Now when the handbrake is applied the bolt now has two points of contact on the bracket and the chassis and shouldn’t bend when the handbrake is applied.

With the handbrake now working properly I then refitted the handbrake cover. In my recent copy of Practical Performance Car there was a catalogue for the new Emerald ECU called the K3, which has all new features, including a way of switching the VVC system and also being able to produce an engine map using known AFR values. It can also have multiple maps stored in memory that can be switched on the fly. So I could have an “mot” map, super unleaded and a cruising/economy map. The catalogue also had the ECU dimensions so I made a plate that I fitted at the top of the engine to mount the ECU on. I made it out of aluminium sheet I might need to brace it to handle the weight of the ecu and so it doesn’t flap around. I’ll order the ECU after the New Year, I’ll also apply for the SVA as well. I’m determined to get the car done before I need to go back to work so I can use the car straight away when I get back in the summer.

31 December 2006
I found out that you can’t get the SVA pad from mountney anymore as the machine that made them broke and they have no plans to replace it, so no more pads. I made my own by tracing around the spokes and translating that onto some thin plastic, a lid from some weedkiller. The plastic template was covered in foam and vinyl. Bearing in mind that it only has to be there for the SVA and then I’ll remove it.

I made an aluminium blanking plate from 3mm aluminium sheet and then I’ve cleaned it up and lightly polished it. I intend to have it engraved as a “record of build” plate. The blanking plate was then bolted through the pad I made through the steering wheel and onto the boss.

I started to have a look at the engine management. I want to use the Emerald K3 ECU which I want to order as soon as I can. With the capabilities of the K3 and with the extra sensors on the engine such as a cam phase sensor which could be used for sequential injection i want to push the limits on what I can do. I will discuss this with Emerald when I order the ECU. In the meantime I’m trying to extend, route and identify connections on as many of the sensors as possible. It looks messy, it is…