February 2006

6 February 2006
Finally on leave for a few weeks and have mainly spent the last few days getting my front garden back to the way it was before the builders started work. I’ve also been sorting out my neighbours garden, I can’t believe the mess they left behind. As for the driveway’s at the front I’ve used about 20 litres of acid to get rid of all the concrete that they managed to smear all over the place. So now I’ve done all that time to crack on with the car.

With reference to the last diary entry the gear linkage off the Fiesta you actually need the whole linkage up to the gear box not just the bit with the gear linkage as you need the UJ and bracket to fit Sylva’s gear linkage modification, I also got a copy of the modification to the gear linkage off Sylva, you can see it in the photo below.

I decided to make a start on the panelling, the tunnel sides need to be drilled to fit first as when is fitted I won’t be able to drill square to the bottom edge of the chassis. I made the template ages ago out of correx and being plastic hasn’t lost it’s shape. I copied the dimensions from the template onto the thin ally sheet and marked it out using a fine tip pen.

I cut out the panel using a jigsaw at first a rough cut to separate the panel from the sheet to make it easier to handle. Then by running the jigsaw guide plate along a straight edge I got a nice straight cut. The magic measurement for Bosch jigsaws is 32mm to achieve a cut on the waste line.

If you buy only one tool this month make sure you get one of these. It’s made by Noga and has a blade that can swivel in the end of the handle and by running it along the edge of the raw cut nicely de-burrs the panel taking off the sharp edge. It is far better that using a file and it is really quick too.

Finally all that was left was to put a bend in the rear of the panel where it meets the rear bulkhead. I used the work mate and a block of wood and a 4lb club hammer to put in a nice sharp bend. I was really worried about damaging the powder coat when fitting the panels but the powder coat is really tough providing you don’t deliberately try to knacker it with the panel edges. I’m leaving the drilling until I can get some of those spring clamps to hold the panel still while I drill it. I’ve got some on order and they should turn up tomorrow, £1.50 for a pack of 4 from CPC, so I’ve ordered 4 packs, should be enough!


7 February 2006
Learnt a valuable lesson today, kit cars are not symmetrical. The actual chassis is, I checked the diagonals. However some of the tubes aren’t, mainly the tunnel. I assumed (there’s the word) that I could reuse the template that I made for the drivers side on the passenger side of the tunnel. I cut it down to length and stupidly didn’t try it for a fit, I assumed (there’s that word again) that it would and cut out my panel. Fortunately the panel was too large and I was able to trim about 5mm off the edges to make it fit. Never assume, if in doubt make a template. I also cut a hole so I could get my mitt inside the tunnel to tighten the bolts for the hand brake, but I didn’t make it big enough so tomorrow I intend to enlarge it slightly.

After that I continued to make up some more correx templates for the other panels. I keep having problems about which order to rivet on the panels. So I think I will keep making up the panels and drill the holes to fit them for now. I think the order to fit is floor then rear bulkhead and then fit the tunnel sides because they need to rivet through the bulkhead. But the footwell panels need to be fitted and access will be difficult with the floor in place. Maybe I’m thinking too hard about it and should just get on with it.

It seems that this car is being built by Ebay. Today I bought a box of 250 4mm rivets for £3, A LASER Rivnut setter for £20 and two 3 way bolt on brake pipe T-pieces for £3 a piece. All in all it’s still cheaper than buying it over the counter.

9 February 2006
It’s been really cold the last two days and haven’t felt like working in the garage so I’ve been working on the website, updating and such like. The T pieces have turned up from Ebay but the other stuff hasn’t. The clamps from CPC have also turned up but some of the pins that hold the clamp bits have fallen out, bugger. Still got enough to hold the panels in place while I drill for the rivets I’m going to get a bulk pack of 4mm drills tomorrow and start to drill to fit the rivets. I’m also going to get so Waxoyl to treat the inside of the tube before I rivet the panels on to reduce corrosion.

11 February 2006
My trusty Chavalier decided to throw a hissy fit this morning and dumped it’s coolant all over the road. It’s been making a bit of a noise for a while now and I’ve been putting off doing anything about it. It’s got a few oil leaks on the top end and the cam belt needed changing as well so I decided to do it all in one go. The water pump was shot to bits and when I pulled it out the shaft had about 5mm of lateral movement!!! It was a miracle the cambelt hadn’t fallen off as the tensioner was at it’s maximum setting. Going to be on this for a few days so kit car will have to wait.

But before the car got the monk on I managed to pick up my hubs from the powder coater. The finish is superb and will look great when they are fitted. Will post some pics soon, right now many muscles hurt and I’m hungry.


14 February 2006
Got the Chavalier finished yesterday after a day and a half of solid work. Changed the water pump, cambelt, a few dodgy hoses and lifted off and rebuilt the cylinder head replacing all the seals and cleaned out all the lifters as they were all full of treacle. New coolant and oil and it’s running great, good for another 30000 miles or so, hopefully.

Got the hubs back from the powder coaters and like I said the finish is great as the photo below shows. You can’t really get over how shiny they are in the photo though.

Today has been a panel frenzy. I finished off the drilling of the drivers side tunnel panel and so it can be fitted once the floor is in place. You need to be an octopus to get the drill in when you get to the foot well but it is do-able.


Before I could fit the floor panel I needed to fit the panel at the end of the drivers foot well. It was hard enough to fit without the floor in place but would have been impossible with the floor fitted, plus I was itching to get riveting so it seemed a good place to start.

After that I made and fitted the panel at the front of the pedal box.

Then I made the cover for the top of the pedal box. It was also a chance to use my rivnut tool. I almost broke it on the first go as well! I didn’t realise how little effort was required to set the rivnut and pulled to mandrel out of the rivnut stripping the threads. Mistake made and feeling a bit of a gorilla I drilled out the knackered rivnut and put a new one in. Four rivnuts in total and the cover was fitted. In the picture it looks like I’ve used rivets but they are in fact stainless steel button socket headed screws, they look the part.

By this stage I was on a roll and decided to tackle the floor. A panel was cut to size by measuring around the chassis and cutting to shape using my jigsaw. The chassis was then flipped over, which is easier said than done especially by yourself. I had the foresight to protect the roll bar with pipe lagging which made the whole job easier as I wasn’t worrying about it and supported the front end on a workmate.

The panel was held in place with clamps while 188 (I counted) 4.9mm holes were drilled at 25mm centres. After the panel had been de-burred and the chassis had been cleaned up I was ready to fit the floor. Last week I had bought a Bosch professional mains drill, cordless drills whilst being convenient don’t spin fast enough and blunt drills quickly whereas a mains drill won’t plus they are lighter. For drilling 188 holes I was glad I had bought it. I applied a small bead of black sealant where the panel was going to fit go give extra security and a degree of water protection. Then 188 4.8mm rivets were set in place. I bought a lazy tong riveter and once I had got into a rhythm of popping the rivet, then swinging to tool down and releasing the mandrel I managed to pop all 188 rivets in about an hour and a half.

Tomorrow I intend to start the rear bulkhead using the remaining aluminium left over from the floor panel. Then I’ll fit the drivers side tunnel panel as I want to mount brackets on it to support all the pipes and cables that run through the tunnel. Then once I’ve got the gear linkage in place I can rivet on the passenger side tunnel panel. I reckon I’ll get the rear bulkhead panels and the drivers side tunnel panel fitted by tomorrow as on Thursday I’m heading down to Sylva to pick up my seats and radiator.

15 February 2006
Managed to get the rear bulkhead done today. Again a template was made using the correx and fortunately this time I was able to use the same template for both sides. I noticed in the drawing that there is a slight curve on the top edge of the rear bulkhead to allow for the curve on the engine cover. I made a curve by using the engine cover and holding it in place, times like this you need more that one pair of hands. Then I cleaned up the curve the best I could and copied it onto the template.

The drivers side panel was cut first and it fitted nicely into place. A bend was made on the bottom edge to allow the panel to fit on the bottom chassis tube which is right angles to the floor this was done with the work mate and a piece of wood. I’m seriously thinking about buying a sheet metal folder now as it gives a much neater bend especially when I come to do the trim panels. I cut out clearance holes for the top seatbelt mounts and decided to cut access hole in the the bulkhead too to allow access to the engine bay. These will eventually be covered up with panels rivnutted in place to allow future access.

The panels were then riveted in place with rivets used at 60mm centres. At the top where the two rear bulkhead panels join I made a small plate out of scrap ally and riveted through this to join the two panels together.

I’m off to Sylva tomorrow to collect my seats and radiator and to have another look at the demonstrator now I know what I need to look at. I’ll also hopefully get my gear linkage modified too.

16 February 2006
Managed to get down to Sylva, eventually. Got caught in heavy traffic on the Forth bridge and the engine in my chav got very hot. As I got onto the clear highway I noticed that the temperature was starting to climb and I thought that as I started to move it would cool. It didn’t though and climbed into the red. When I pulled over I found that one of the coolant hoses had popped off dumping all of my brand new coolant all over the road. The AA was called and he didn’t have a spare jubilee clip big enough, nor did Halfords down the road. In the end I managed to scrounge one off a guy who fixed petrol pumps. New clip fitted and some more coolant I set off down the road and hour and a half later than I wanted. Whether I failed to tighten the clip fully or it broke we’ll never know, though I did about 60 miles during the week before driving down to Sylva so it should have failed then, a bit of a mystery…

Managed to get to Sylva about half 2. A1 was closed, accidents etc took ages. When I was at Sylva I got my seats (which are pictured sitting in the chassis when I got home) and I was lucky enough to have Matt modify the gear linkage as well.

It’s now nearer 11pm and I’m pooped, even though I managed to share the driving with my dad. Thanks dad.

19 February 2006
Just couldn’t be bovvered on Friday to do anything on the car, too tired. Besides I had the electrics in my garaged signed off, just need to hand the forms into the Council and I can get my completion certificate. Saturday was spent painting and fitting some outside lights besides too cold to work on kit car.

Today was spent getting the drivers side tunnel panel riveted in place. I think drilling holes at 30mm centres was a bit of an over kill and its a lot of rivets too!! Most of the rivets could be popped with the lazy tong riveter and the rest in the more awkward places had to be done with the hand riveter.

The I worked on getting my recently modified gear linkage in place. It needed to be spaced off the chassis by about 5mm for it to line up with the bottom of the gear lever. A little bit of filing was required to allow the holes to line up but was fitted without problem. The fixing nuts were also screwlocked in place to prevent them from working loose. I have also chopped the gear lever down so it’s roughly the same as it is on the demonstrator and cleaned the end up, I think I will put some form of padding on the end until I get a knob as I know I will just injure myself on it. I’m going to leave fitting the passenger side tunnel panel until last now as it will allow me to access the tunnel for fitting the pipes and the wiring loom. Looks like fitting the hand brake will be the final thing to do!


21 February 2006
Pipes, pipes, pipes… Been running the brake pipe, clutch pipe and the two fuel lines through the tunnel. I used P-clips and riveted them to the drivers side tunnel panel. I’ve been using multifast rivets which among other things will pop against soft plastic. They are also quite effective on holes which are slightly oversized useful when the drill wanders! The copper tube despite being quite soft gets really hard to bend especially when trying to bend it out of the way of the chassis tubes. I’ve left the clutch and fuel pipes just sticking out at the rear and will put them properly in place when I decide where everything needs to go.

I then decided that the next job should be fitting the outside panels. Once again a template was made using the correx and the template copied onto the aluminium sheet. That was as far as I got today as I didn’t start on the kit until about 3pm.

Should get a full day in tomorrow and will hopefully have both the side panels fitted. While the chassis is on its side I will also be able to get a bracket fitted to secure the divers foot well end panel to the floor panel as at the moment it kind of flaps around. After this the chassis will be going onto axle stands as the chassis is starting to get really heavy and if I put it back on the truck I might not be able to lift it again when I start fitting the suspension. I also ordered a sheet metal folder as well and hopefully that will come tomorrow too.

22 February 2006
I simply didn’t realise how much work was involved with fitting the out side panels. It took the whole day just to fit one side. Once I had cut out the aluminium that I had marked out yesterday I thought it would be a simple pop, pop done affair. Nope. It wasn’t particularly difficult just really time consuming. I was really concerned about getting the panel to stretch tightly over the chassis rails so it would fit square. Where I have bent it over it’s sort of flat, well as best I could get it by beating it with a rubber mallet, and riveted in place. Having a look at some of the Sylva pictures I realised that all of it will be covered with trim panels and the rest of it with the glass fibre panels so I felt a lot better. I made sure that I also fitted the pieces of right angle section on the edge where the bonnet sits, I wouldn’t want to be drilling out any rivets would I! I still need to finish off securing the panel where it bends around the round tubes at the rear of the chassis but will leave that until the chassis is on axle stands, otherwise I’m working upside down.

My metal folder hasn’t turned up yet, maybe tomorrow. Using the folder will allow me to make really neat trim panels to hide the rough edges. I also riveted a brackets to hold the foot well panel to the floor panel. I would have liked to have fitted it on the outside of the foot well but alas I couldn’t get the drill in there so you can see a line of popped rivets. At least it’s down the end of the foot well so you won’t see it unless you really look hard.

Getting some axle stands tomorrow and hopefully will have the other out side panel fitted by Friday and as I suspected the chassis is getting really heavy now!!

24 February 2006
I got my axle stands yesterday and also a few other things. My sheet metal folder arrived by post first thing this morning and once assembled sits in my vice. It’s crude but does a nice neat fold, it’ll be perfect for making up the trim panels. When I was getting my axle stands I also bought a gas workshop heater. It can be pretty cold up here any time of the year so the heater can be ran for about 20 minutes when I get into the garage in the morning, it just takes the edge off the cold. I can’t leave it on continuously otherwise it will chomp through a 13Kg gas bottle in a day!

I managed to get the other out side panel fitted today. It was proving to be a bit of a pain especially when I realised that I had folded the bottom edge too far over and had to remove the panel again and try to flatten the bit I had just folded so I could try again. It took about 5 hours to fit the panel in the end, but it fitted the same as the other panel and that was my only concern that it wouldn’t look symmetrical.

The final panel to fit for now was the passenger side foot well end panel and as usual a template was made and a panel was cut. On the outer edge however there is no chassis rail to mount it on so using my new folder a bend was made allowing me to attach the panel to the out side panel. It was a bit of a pain to drill and rivet (I’ve got small hands so getting the hand riveter to pop was quite hard) but this too went in well.

The next jobs on the list is to start building up the suspension and steering and getting the glass fibre panels trial fitted. I need to get replacement calipers, discs and pads first though. Fortunately I can get armed forces discount at Partco which means I can get the parts I need at trade prices, need to make a list!!

26 February 2006
Panelling, no problem. Engines, a doddle. Suspension not a scooby doo!! Started building up the front suspension today. I’m afraid I’ve got no experience whatsoever with suspension so I felt I was just building up a giant Meccano set with no instructions. It was fairly self explanatory though which was a relief. I’ve come to the conclusion though that I’m missing some bolts so I’ve got to go and buy some more. A few mistakes were made along the way the first being where the front coil overs bolt to the chassis that must be what the short bolts are for. Nope, when you do them up the thread doesn’t even pass half way through the nut. Also on the lower wishbones there is a threaded insert which is at an angle, that has to point upwards, not downwards. doh. On the Capri hubs the brake calipers bolt on towards the rear of the hubs on the front, yes that’s right I put the hubs on the wrong sides, idiot.

I also managed however to figure out how to get the rubber boots over the rose joints. It’s not difficult, there’s just a proper way. First of all strip the hose joint down until it all looks like this.

Then if you look at the rubber boot there are three openings. One for where the threaded part sticks out and the other two for the spherical bearing holes. If you look closely one is open

The other one has a lip inside

The hole which is open (the first picture) can be stretched the other can’t. I found the rubber boot can be stretched quite a long way with no real problems, so I gave it a good stretch to open the holes up. Then you put the rose joint in the boot like this.

Then stretch the boot over the rose joint. You don’t need any tools at all you can use your fingers and, with a bit of effort the the bearing will be then fully encased in the boot, like this.

Ta, da. After that I injected a squirt of grease into the boot before bolting it onto the lower wishbone. The only nut I wasn’t able to do up was the upper wishbone to hub nut. Because it is a taper fit I think I’ll need the wheels on the some weight on the chassis to fully locate the taper tight enough so I can do the nut up so I’m going to leave that for now, remembering to tighten it up later.

I’m picking up the rest of the brake components from Partco on Monday. I’m also going to order my rims and tyres as well. I’ve decided to fit TSW Hockenheim R, rims and Yokohama A048 tyres, they should take a couple of weeks to come in. I also bought from a breakers a pair of Sierra rear brakes. I’ve already got the new calipers as I bought them off Ebay but I needed the mounting bracket, so these were duly stripped off and the the calipers binned. To buy the brackets new would cost, wait for it, £40+vat each!! Second hand purchase methinks, they’ll get modified and then sent off to be powder coated before fitment. To refit the front calipers and discs I need new bolts to mount then as unfortunately I had to wreck the old bolts getting them apart, you wouldn’t think it would be that hard to get new ones would you, eh?!?!

28 February 2006
Got the rest of the braking components from Partco, I think I need to start a spreadsheet of how much I’ve spent so far.. I tried to get my alloys but unfortunately TSW don’t make the Hockenheim anymore, in fact getting 14″ alloys is quite difficult now. I went to a secondhand alloys place and the guy there wanted about £40 a corner for a set of pepper-pot alloys, they were slightly scuffed but one alloy was buckled, don’t worry he says they can be straightened you know, yeah right pal not a chance. However I’ve found that my local Ford dealership is selling some nice 6 spoke 14″ alloys for £55 each, brand new, so I’m going to order them. The company that I was originally going to buy the alloys from has agreed to order and fit tyres on any alloys I source, which is nice.

Started to look at my second hand steering rack and stripped it down, everything is in good condition, so I put it back together gave it a shot of lube and put it one to side, I’ve also have ordered the clamps and track rod ends for it as well. I also decided that I wanted to fit the rear hubs but not the drive shafts yet. I’ve never taken a CV joint off before and expected to to be a right pain to do. I didn’t realise that there is only one circlip that has to expanded and the joint falls off. All the joints were shot to bits, they made a nasty grinding noise when they were flexed. I cleaned off all the snotty grease, yuk and used the output ends in the rear hubs to hold them together while I get the discs on and modify the rear brake carrier. I also need a 30mm socket to tighten the nuts up. I need to do this anyway as I’ll need to use different input CV joints as the XR2 CV joints foul on the gearbox housing.

With the garage heater fired up (it’s freezing here) I fitted the rest of the suspension links. I did the front suspension earlier in the week and decided to start on the rear suspension. The new bearings were fitted in the rear hubs, the oil seals fitted and then packed with grease. I protected them with some latex gloves to keep the crud out of then. Earlier in the week I had also modified the top mounts which need about 5mm grinding off one side so they fit flush with the top brackets. These got painted with Hammerite as did the small brackets for holding the bottom of the hubs in place. The it was simple matter of bolting the hole lot in place. I needed to modify the holes where the lower wishbones pass through the the outer panel to give it extra clearance but apart from that it went smoothly. The only problem I encountered was locating the top mounts in the hub, this was mainly due to the powder coating I had done which reduced the clearance, some judicious manipulation was required, ie a big rubber mallet but they went in, eventually, and nicely cleaned out the holes as well! I haven’t fitted the rear wing carriers just yet but will do so when I get the rear brakes modified. I have left them off to give me extra clearance.

Here is some pictures of the front suspension

This some pictures of the rear suspension

As the chassis is black it tends to make the pictures rather dark, no matter how I manipulate the exposure on the camera, I do try to clean them up on Photoshop, but it tends to make the lighter colours flare. When I get some wheels on it I’ll get it outside and take some better pictures in the daylight.