May 2006

1 May 2006
I decided to have a look at modifying the engine mount. I took a guess on where to remove the metal to clear the tube and a few re-cuts later managed to make the tube clear the engine’s mount. I need to get some off cuts of steel to make the fillets to fill in the tube and to remake the bracket. I think 2mm steel to fill in the tube and 5mm steel to remake the bracket.

When I come to make the final mount I’ve noticed that the chassis isn’t quite level due to the engine being mounted on one side so when I come to make up the bracket I’m going to have to make sure that I chock the engine up to the same “level” as the chassis so that when the mount is all bolted up the engine doesn’t sit on the piss.

Here’s some pictures of the modified tube sitting in place next to the engine.

I also put the cam cover back on to see if the the engine cover would fit, nope, it doesn’t. To make the engine cover fit I’m going to leave the cam cover off as its too tall. I’ll probably make up a ally sheet cover to hide/protect the ignition leads. Also on the cam cover there is a cam phase sensor and the cam actuator solenoid neither of which I’m using which also adds to the height of the engine. If you are thinking of using the 1.7L engine think long and hard and be prepared to fiddle with it to make it fit, you will need a welder too.

3 May 2006
I managed to source some 2mm thick steel to make the fillets to fill in the hole I cut out of the tube. I managed to weld in one piece that I bent that goes in between the top and bottom of the tube and then welded in fillet pieces to fill in the ends. My welding isn’t very pretty as this is the first time I have picked up a mig welder in over 5 years but I have got good penetration and the weld is strong. I’ll try to clean off the rest of the splatter and dress the welds before I fit the bracket.

I have found a company in Edinburgh that specialises in selling small pieces of steel for the hobby builder and they will supply the 5mm thick steel strip I need for making the engine mount. I should be able to get that hopefully on Friday.

5 May 2006
The company in Edinburgh let me down so I went to a local steel merchants and bought a strip of steel 60mm wide and 5mm thick. First of all I bent the steel to make a right angle. I used my angle grinder to cut through the steel just over half way before bending it in a vice and then welded up the cut to replace the metal lost in the bend before grinding the weld down and creating the angle as shown below.

The cutting the bracket was more luck than judgement and fiddling with a crude cardboard template until I got the bracket right. The cut out that you can see was to clear the tube but I cut too much out so I ended up welding most of it back when I welded up the bracket.

Then I welded up the bracket to the tube, first of all by bolting everything in the car and then tack welding it in place before carefully removing it from the car as not to shift any of the tack welds. I also made sure that the engine was level relative to the chassis so that when the bracket is bolted on the engine will be level in the chassis. I was using my welder at it’s maximum setting and managed to get a very satisfactory weld with good penetration and tried to weld all the seems I could find, I’m confident with what I’ve done will be strong enough.

After that it was a quick coat of black paint to protect it and a couple of hours to let it dry before bolting it into place.

As you can see the mounting of the 1.7L engine is very tight and the mount I made just fits and it is one hell of a juggling act getting it in place, but it does and the engine is level, thank god!! I torqued up all the engine mount bolts to the torques specified in the ford manual and everything is now secure. Next job is getting all the ancillaries such the starter motor, alternator and tensioner. I’m also going to try and get the gear linkage working properly and the clutch connected and bled through as well.

I’m going to produce a rough drawing on the main measurements you need to modify the engine mount to take the 1.7L engine a lot of it though, you’ll have to work out for yourself. Saying that, big milestone, the engine is IN!!

7 May 2006
What a stroke of luck, I went down the breakers yesterday to get the UJ I needed to complete the gear change mechanism, form a Ford Fiesta. I asked the guy at the gate if he had any Mk4 Fiesta’s he said all the fords are in the middle of the yard. As I walked over I came across two 1.7L Ford Puma’s!! 30 minutes later I had the alternator, starter motor and drive belt tensioner all for £80, well pleased. Plus I got the UJ and a piece of the hydraulic clutch pipe to replace mine which was badly corroded.

I’m so pleased I managed to get the engine ancillaries as the 1.7L Puma isn’t that common but for two of them to be sitting in the one yard, fantastic. I’m going to go back at the weekend and get the fuel pump and a few other bits like clips and bungs and a new TPS and plug as mine is knackered probably from when the people I got the engine from lifted the engine out.


8 May 2006
Been having a bit of a play with the gear change mechanism and bleeding the clutch line through. Bleeding the clutch line through was fairly easy and when I pushed the pedal for the first time there was a loud pop and the fitting came out from the master cylinder spraying fluid everywhere. Looking at some of the pictures I had taken it dawned on me that I had never fitted the little spring clip that holds the fitting in the cylinder , I’m a berk. I think I’ll get a new pair from Ford for the master and slave cylinder as they corrode really easily and if you lose the fluid and you lose the clutch, it’s not worth it for the sake of reliability for a 20p clip.

I also had a look at the gear change mechanism and and fitted the Sylva parts the bring the gear change from the front of the engine to the rear and assembled and fitted the linear bearing and bracket to the side of the engine. Once in place I could have a play shifting gears albeit from the back of the engine.

The throw between 1st and 2nd is about 30mm and I’ve got over 50mm of throw on the Vauxhall linkage. I decided the best place to set the neutral position on the gear lever and set the neutral position on the gearbox and measured up the linkage for cutting to length. I’m going to have to weld the Ford UJ to the Vauxhall linkage which I’ll do tomorrow night. I’m so glad I bought that welder!

9 May 2006
I welded together the Ford and Vauxhall gear linkages that I had prepared yesterday. My welding is also getting better too.

Once it had cooled down I went about re-fitting the whole linkage back on the car. The only thing that concerns me is on the Ford UJ one of the axis is quite tight and binds I’ve loosened it off with some WD40 but it is still quite tight. I decided to try it out on the car first and if it’s still a problem I’ll need to try and free it off some more. The pictures below show the linkage in situ and my makeshift gear knob so I can have a go at shifting.

Having got the gear mechanism in the car I was right the UJ is too tight and I’m having problems engaging 1st and 2nd. I think I’ll try soaking it in oil overnight and then wiggling it around should free it off, failing that I’ll have to try to open the bracket a bit to see if that also frees it off. Saying that though the gate is tiny and each gear slots in with a solid thump I will have no problems working quickly through the gearbox!

11 May 2006
I picked up the little clips that hold the clutch line in from Ford. I also bought an oil filter and some oil as well since the engine doesn’t have any in it currently and since the starter motor is fitted I wanted to pump some around the engine. Fitting the clips and re-bleeding the clutch line took a few minutes and now you can hear the clutch plate separating, probably for the first time in about 6 months. Happy that was ok I moved onto filling the engine with oil.

When I was fitting the filter I fumbled it pouring oil on the engine which will drip now for ages which I didn’t really want to do as I wont be able to tell if I really do have an oil leak. The engine slurped up a good 4 litres more until the level on the dip stick was just above the upper mark. I had a battery which I used to have in my old Landrover so I hooked it up with jump leads to the starter motor and used the solenoid lead wire to kick the starter motor I cranked it for about 5 seconds I did this about 4 or 5 times to make sure the oil was thoroughly circulated around the engine. This is the first time I’ve heard the engine turn over and it struck me how loud it was probably since its rigidly bolted in the chassis. All car engines are mounted in rubber mounts so vibrations transmitted to the body are kept to minimum. When the engine is running properly the whole car is going to shake it’ll feel great!!

12 May 2006
Went back to the breakers yard this morning and got the fuel pump and a better TPS from the 1.7L Puma, as mine was broken, probably from the guys who supplied the engine. The fuel pump is quite a neat unit with a fuel level sensor included on the pump mounting bracket. The only problem is the pump is designed to fit in the car’s fuel tank which is only about 200mm high and the R1ot tank is nearly 400mm high. First job was to strip down the pump until all was left is the bracket.

The pump bracket was then cut into two pieces and a piece of aluminium was cut and bent into the profile shape of the metal bracket and pop riveted to the metal bracket.

Then the pump was reassembled and a new length of fuel pipe was fitted to the pump and the union at the top.

The fuel level sender was then re-mounted midway on the bracket. The rod that connects the float will need to be extended with some some steel wire so the that the float will cover the full range of the fuel in the tank.

The loom that connects the pump and the sender to the top of the pump is now far too short and will have to be extended. I have somewhere some lengths of PTFE insulted copper wire, the stuff is aerospace specification. I would have liked to make the whole loom for the car out of it as it’s heat resistant, chemical proof, always remains flexible at any temperature and being silver plated can carry higher currents. The problem the amount I would need to do the whole car would probably cost more that the whole car itself!! But the amount I have will be perfect for doing the fuel pump.

21 May 2006
Over the last week I’ve been working on my garden and other things so I haven’t really put a full day into the R1ot so I’ve been working on it in dribs and drabs. This is what I have done over the last week or so.

The one thing that has been bugging me lately is the dashboard itself. Sylva show it as fitted behind the tube that runs along the top of the dash, but with the side bars fitted it’s just not possible to fit a dashboard panel in place as you would have to bend it to fit it in and with a curved panel you just can’t do that. The only option is to fit the dashboard panel in front of the tube that runs along the top dash so the dashboard panel can be slid in place and no bending is required to fit the panel. In order to fit the dashboard like I wanted it it would mean replacing the scuttle panel as I have folded the aluminium around the tube that I need to screw the dashboard panel to.

I had run out of 18G aluminium sheet that was large enough to make a new scuttle panel. I sheet of 18G 1M by 2M was bought from an alloy suppliers in Glasgow, slid in the back of the Chavalier and brought home. From that I was able to mark out a new scuttle panel and also able to leave a 10mm lip around the edge to the dashboard panel could be screwed directly to the tube and a strip of edging could be fitted to please the SVA man.

When I made the first scuttle, it wasn’t right anyway. The way the top dashboard tube was welded to the chassis means that it is slightly twisted so the distance between the top dashboard tube and the main bulkhead top tube changes on either side. When I made the first scuttle panel I assumed that both sides were the same and it was when I cut it out that I frigged it to make it fit but it never really looked right. So this time I made a unique template for each side of the scuttle top and when it was cut out the distance between the dashboard top tube and the edge of the scuttle panel is constant. This does mean that there is a 40mm difference in the panel widths, but I’ve used the same amount of rivets on either side and only the eagled eyed critic would possibly spot this.

I also think leaving the “sharp” edge of the panel looks better and with some edging on it it will look the part.

Then I made up the dashboard panel. It is very simple with a single curve and is secured to the chassis with screws along the top dashboard tube and then by bolts with rivnuts under the front bulkhead tube…thingy (I’m running out names to call the various tubes!!) a series of cutouts had to be made to clear the chassis tubes and these were made more by luck than judgement but soon a good fit was sorted out. I tried to use rivnuts in the dashboard top tube but couldn’t get the rivnut to grip properly in such a small diameter tube and in the end I had to drill them out and tap holes directly into the tube and screw the panel on that way. I’m now left with three holes in the dashboard itself but since I figured that the dashboard will be covered in vinyl anyway you won’t see it.

I also cut out a hole to clear the boss of the steering wheel which now sits in the dashboard itself which looks quite cool and won’t need disguising to cover it up. It also means that the dashboard is close enough to the steering wheel to allow me to use toggle switches to control the indicators and the main beam without taking my hands off of the steering wheel. Now I have the dash in place it was time to see if I could get in the car. With the seats back in you have to slide yourself in and drop down into the seat. I’ve got to watch I don’t put on any weight otherwise I’m screwed ’cause I’ll never get in the car. The passenger seat on the other hand I wouldn’t like to spend too long in it as I’d get cramp, but for a holdall it’s fine.

Turning my attention to instruments I’ve been trying to decide whether to use the ETB Digi-Dash Lite or traditional analogue instruments. The problem is the space between the steering wheel boss and the dash top is very tight and any instruments mounted behind the steering wheel would not be visible. So the instruments would have to be mounted towards the centre of the dash. I cut out some pieces of card and stuck them on to represent traditional analogue instruments and tried to position them as best I could to see revs and speed whilst trying to cover all the others such as fuel and switches etc. This is the best I could come up with.

Then I tried using the template for the Digi-Dash Lite, which was certainly a lot less cluttered the only problem I could envisage is that the LCD display may not be visible unless it was directly viewed on axis so the Digi-Dash Lite would have to be mounted on a plate so it was in line with my head.

Plus the Digi-Dash Lite has a built in shift light and preset warnings which is useful especially with a small fuel tank with only a 150 mile range, less if you boot the car! Price wise there is not a lot in it especially when you take into account that the Digi-Dash Lite comes with all the sensors needed and has more instruments and warning lights that I could possible fit on the dashboard anyway. Mind made up, Digi-Dash Lite it is.

23 May 2006
The rear mudguard carriers had my attention today. When I first fitted them they fouled the rear wheels and I wasn’t able to bend them clear of the wheel like I was able to do on the front. I was able to cut sections out of them to allow me to bend the tubes back to clear the wheels but I wasn’t able to weld them up. Now I have my welder it was an easy job to weld up the cuts I had made.

From the pictures you can see that I only needed to bend the tubes back a few degrees to clear the tyres. Also one of the welds that connects the carrier to one of the flat bars that the mudguard is bonded to had cracked in one of the previous bending attempts. This weld was also remade and then all the welds were ground smooth with my angle grinder.

The modified carriers now need to be re-powder coated and they were taken to IPF in Glenrothes to be done. They should take about 2-3 weeks to be done.