January 2006

4 January 2006
Been suffering from a stinking cold since new year so I haven’t felt like doing much. Today got out in the garage to look at the brake master cylinder (BMC) issue.

The problem is that the BMC won’t line up with the pedal, the BMC needs to be in line with the pedal, you can’t really have an extension spindle off the side of the pedal not with the forces involved in the braking system, it would bend it. By looking at the Ford pedal assemblies at my local dealership I cannot find a pedal where it is cranked to the left of the steering column where it would allow the BMC to be fitted in its current location. So after purchasing a hole saw it was decided that a new hole should be drilled in line with the pedal.

Unfortunately where the new hole has been drilled its very close to the old hole and so a blanking plate was constructed out of steel sheet to provide some strength to the area. It will be fitted between the BMC and the chassis and bolted into the original BMC holes as well as riveted to the chassis, this should provide some lost strength.

Took a picture of the mounted accelerator pedal, the blue tape in the bottom left hand corner is covering the chassis number plate which I fitted now before I lost the damn thing!!


5 January 2006
I requested some information from Sylva about how Jeremy had mounted the brake pedal in the R1ot demonstrator and yesterday received some pictures.

From the picture you can see that the brake pedal has been modified with an extra bracket welded on the side, ahh, that’s how he did it!! I decided to stick to my original plan and got on with fitting the BMC to the chassis. The plate I made up had dried and so I offered it up and pop riveted it in. I got the chance to use my lazy tong riveters as well, if you get the chance to get some of these, do, they make setting rivets really easy. The it was a simple matter of bolting the BMC to the chassis using M8 bolts.

At first I wanted to use the Ford pivot point as on the production car brake pedal but it wouldn’t work as it caused the BMC push rod to move too far off axis and foul on the BMC body, damn, rethink required. I re-drilled the pedal and by using the bracket that came with the BMC I was able to make a new pivot pin an secure it with a cotter pin. The pedal now moves full travel and the push rod doesn’t foul.

I noticed when I was finished that the brake pedal sat slightly higher that the clutch pedal and I’m unable to adjust it anymore to pull it in, however after looking at my Cavalier I noticed that the pedals were like that too with the brake pedal being slightly higher than the clutch and I’m sure that it won’t affect driving the car either.


10 January 2006
Been accumulating parts that I need for the build recently. I’ve ordered my engine and gear box for the R1ot. I managed to source a 1.7L puma engine and gear box and it should be delivered on Friday, hopefully. I’ve also been looking into making some templates for the aluminium panels thinking that it might be a good idea to cut and drill but not rivet the tunnel side panels before I got too much fitted. I was trying, without success to get some cardboard sheet (you wouldn’t think it was that hard would you!) but then managed to source from a sign maker some CORREX. Correx is corrugated plastic sheet about 3mm thick, its the same stuff For Sale signs for houses are made from and only costs around £7.50 for an 8′ x 4′ sheet. It’s rigid enough not to flex when making the templates but can easily be cut with scissors and it doesn’t deteriorate as quickly as cardboard.

Still been having problems getting the brake pedal right and found out today from Steve that the pedal needs modification by Sylva. Pity, I’ve already moved the cylinder now, but I’ve almost got it right and will need the pedal re-welded which is no bother for me. Though I would like to have known this earlier!!:)


13 January 2006
The engine I ordered turned up first thing this morning. I got the Ford Puma 1.7L engine and gear box. I seemed that one of the drive shafts had popped out in the delivery van and had allowed stinky transmission oil to cover the floor of the van. The engine is complete apart from started motor, alternator and coil pack. Fancy taking the coil pack off to sell separately, tight wads. The engine is of the variable cam-shaft timing varieties. It seems to only apply to the inlet cam and isn’t continuously variable either. It has 2 stages of timing I think I know how it is actuated and will require an ecu with auxiliary outputs which is suitable for vvt systems. I shouldn’t think it will be too hard to get this to work, it’s been done before.

I’ve also noticed that the right hand engine mount on the 1.7L engine is different to all the other engines, probably due to the larger inlet cam sprocket (due to the vvt cam driving gear). This means I’ll need an alternative mount from Sylva, but I’ll contact them in due course.


14 January 2006
I have changed the build order plan. I now want to get the inboard tunnel panels made. I want to get them drilled but not fitted just yet. The plan is now to fit one tunnel panel probably on the drivers side to allow all the services to be run through the tunnel, then fit the floor pan and then the bulkhead panels. By doing the tunnel sides first will allow me to get the drill in all the awkward positions which might be impossible once the floor is fitted.

I made my first panel template using some of the correx. It’s certainly very easy to use and cuts easily using scissors and a knife was used for the more fiddly details. I couldn’t quite get the angle right at the rear bulkhead so I over trimmed it and then stuck a extra piece on when I had got the main template in place. One of my main concerns is scratching the chassis tubes when fitting and moving the finished panels into position. I might have to see which tubes are at most risk of damage and protect them in some way.

Due to a lack of a relief at work it doesn’t look like I’ll be paying off until early February, so it will be a couple more weeks of this piece by piece building. Still need to get to a breakers yard for the last of the donor parts.


21 January 2006
During the week I made another template for the bulkhead between the driver and engine compartment and a smaller template for the tunnel top, now all I need to do is get past the fear and start cutting aluminium!! The hubs from the Fiesta that were modified and the Capri hubs were taken to be powder coated and I should get those back in about a fortnight. I also modified the brake pedal as the pedal pad sat too far forward of the clutch pedal after I had repositioned the BMC. I cut out from the the back of the pedal a small V notch of about 3mm of metal and then bent the pedal back and had the cut welded up. The pedal pad now sits in line with the clutch pedal and is easy to operate when tested (I say tested more like sitting in chassis steering an imaginary wheel and making brum brum noises).

Today was spent down a breakers yard. I had to get another steering column as the adjustable one I got needed an extra bracket welded to the chassis and I didn’t really want to go down that path now. Only took about 20 minutes to pull and once home was cleaned up and painted ready for fitting.

I also managed to get the gear link rod and it was an utter b*stard to get out! As usual one nut rounded off and access was too tight to get the hammer ‘n’ chisel in. In the end I had to go home and get my cordless drill and come back and drill the stud out. The problem is you have to get right under the car to remove this item and although the car I was working on was well supported on axle stands it was a little disconcerting to see that this car car was in the breakers for a terminal rust problem!! Anyway after about 2 hours I managed to pull the gear linkage and this too was brought home and cleaned up.

After looking at some pictures from the Sylva factory it might seem that the gear linkage might need to be modified, it looks like it might have been extended, a quick chat with Steve will clarify on that.


24 January 2006
I decided to have a go at fitting the radiator tubes in the tunnel. I had bought some aluminium strip from B&Q a while back and decided to use this to make the straps for holding in the pipes. I needed to bend the pipes slightly to allow the tubes to twist over each other and to allow them to separate at the front of the chassis to allow rubber hoses to be pushed over the tubes. I bent the pipes by wrapping a thick towel around the tube and clamp them in a vice. Then by gently tugging on the tube I was able to put a bend in the tube of a few degrees without kinking the pipe. The brackets were formed out of the ally strip and then pop riveted in position.


25 January 2006
Found out from Sylva today that the gear linkage has to be modified. JP is going to send me a copy of a sketch to do the modification. As far as I’m aware the part that the gear lever engages in on the Vauxhall linkage has to be sawn off/removed and the Ford Fiesta linkage has to be sawn off and welded onto the Vauxhall linkage, this is an educated guess and will be confirmed on Monday. I also spent some time this evening and made a small bracket to fit a microswitch on to switch the car brake lights on and off. The microswitches lever touches on the brake pedal pad that the production brake light switch presses against.

Jobs for the weekend, going back to the breakers yard where I got the Ford Fiesta gear lever from and praying that the car is still there so I can get the linkage from it as well! Marking out and preparing to cut my first panel.


28 January 2006
Important information for the R1OT SE builder. When collecting the parts for your gear linkage you need the MKII Vauxhall Astra Gear Link Rod and the MKIV Ford Fiesta Gear lever. You also need to collect the MKIV Ford Fiesta Gear Link Rod as well However the only part you are interested in is the box in which the gear lever fits in and the link rod away from the box until it ‘dog-legs’. These two items are show in the photo’s below.

With the part salvaged from the Fiesta the socket that the gear lever fits in needs to be cut away from the rest of the assembly and this along with the gear lever fits in the split tube in the chassis and is secured with a jubilee clip. The metal bracket and tube with the knuckle on the end of the gear lever engages in needs to be cut to length and welded to the Astra gear linkage, the exact dimensions will be confirmed on Monday when I should get a sketch plan from JP.

I have also got the hand brake lever fitted but it will need to come off when the tunnel side panels are fitted. In the photo’s you can also see how the gear lever is fitted. The fitment of the gear lever, hand brake, steering wheel and pedals meant more ‘testing’ took place 🙂