Sunday, 7 December 2014

50 Shades of Brown

The cage has been returned.  Behold: BMW Mini Brilliant Copper Metallic.
It won't be a lot of people's mug o' chai, but I like it.


Thursday, 4 December 2014

Propping-up the economy

My prop shaft, not including its original manufacture, has now visited specialists four times. For once, I'm not really to blame. I gave-up with the Bristol-based firm that I'd been using as their idea of customer service was very different to mine, they'd failed to follow instructions and because the quality of their painting is hilarious.

Instead I flicked through a kit car magazine and e-mailed the advertising specialists asking for a quote to carry out the modifications required. Dunning & Fairbank came back with a great quote so I sent the prop to them. It's back, sorted and painted.  Sometimes using a local firm isn't the smart move. It's also now fitted.  Huzzah.
The only impediment to this was the fact that I didn't have any HT bolts of the correct length. I searched EBay and found some 10.9-grade button heads in the right size. This is rather good news as  a hex-head would've been likely to scuff against my leg. 

Looking ahead, I had a call today to say that my cage is painted so I'm quite excited to see that.


Sunday, 30 November 2014

Two fish in a tank...

... One turns to the other and says, "You drive, I'll fire the gun."

What? A tenuous link to my non-fishy tank, I've failed to find someone who presently has both the time and the space to take the car and design and fabricate a tank so I'm having to do the first part of that myself. Here's a selection of images showing progress - ignore any internal supports, they exist only to keep the cardboard in shape.

As they say, watch this space.


Saturday, 8 November 2014

Roll Out

I have an unusual issue in that I'm looking to spend a significant amount of dough on aluminium tanks and pipework and nobody seemingly wants my money.  I've three specialists in the locality and one of them is struggling to fit my work in and the other two don't seem to want the work.

This is a bit of an issue as I'm unable to fit the bodywork until the main tank is in at least.  This isn't holding me up as such but has caused me to deviate from the schedule.  Next on the list was to get the roll-bar finished.  I hadn't actually trial fitted the cage since the final welding was done and I was concerned that the heat might have caused some distortion.  To be frank, it has a tiny bit but not to the extent that it's a big issue.

The trial fit went well enough as a result:
Now, in terms of putting some colour on the roll cage, I had planned to drag the cage to Leominster to get it powdercoated.  This would've involved a three-hour plus round-trip which seems a bit unnecessary.  This is particularly the case now that I have a bodyshop with a quickly-developing reputation within walking distance from home.  So, this morning I attached two ratchet straps to the cage so that I could sling it over my shoulders and wandered down the road.  I probably got some funny looks from passing motorists but it was easier (and healthier) than faffing about with the trailer.

News of the cage's 'Mini Adventure' will follow soon.

For now though, it's time for some Rugby.  Pob lwc bois.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Third Time Lucky

It may not sound like much of a step forward but at the third attempt I finally managed to do a decent job of putting the last wheel together so that it doesn't leak.  I don't know why this one was so difficult when the other three went together fine first-time.  

It's rather a large relief.  To celebrate I weighed the wheel:  
That's rather pleasing, even if it does now have 35g of wheel weights attached - which isn't bad actually.  Here is the offending wheel actually on the car...
The panhard rod is also visible here - all bolted-up now that I don't need axle stands where the rod should be.  Also visible is the rear anti-roll-bar.  This isn't quite finished as I need to plate a couple of mild steel spacers to stop them from going immediately rusty.  I've bought a kit; have no idea how to use it.  The wife did chemistry so I'm hoping that she can help.
She may kill me for using that image - it's from a spoof video that she did whilst at Uni.  I should add that despite initial appearances, it bears no resemblance to Fedde Le Grande's 'Put Your Hands Up For Detroit' video.  Anyway, I digress.
Here's more of the ARB.  I had to strip-back the powdercoat for the sliding drop-link connecting things,  This was annoying.  I've waxed the bare metal to stop it from rusting.  Can you guess that I hate rust?
You can also see that the handbrake is starting to take shape.  Interestingly (to me at least) it looks like I will get away with using one from the Escort with the only mod being a longer spring.  That would be good. What else is there to report?  Ah, I'm still working out how I will fill any holes in the bulkhead - for the gear-change rod, a bellow-style boot from a Beetle and some swaged aluminium tube will soon be welded to a small panel which will then be bolted or riveted in-place.
Also, I've finally fitted the panel that sit's adjacent to the driver's hip.  There was a small gap at the bottom where it is notched around the tubes so I've run a bead of grey sealant up the whole panel to fill the gap and keep it tidy - the passenger-side has had the same treatment.  For some reason the photo won't load.  It's not very exciting so I won't bother - not that being boring has ever stopped me before.

Before I sign-off I should say that whilst away on holiday I wrote a list of what still needs doing and attached estimated time to complete the action against each entry.  It totalled 120 hours.  Apparently you can put a Westfield together from scratch in that time.  Perhaps that's what I should've done.


Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Proper Grown-Up

No time to write anything significant - and indeed little time for much else.  Our bouncing baby boy and 'heir to the overdraft' (how my Dad often used to introduce me) was born in the middle of June and things have suddenly got very busy. So, here's some images of the very small amount of work that I've done.

Front ARB
Brake bias bar 
New Gear Stick
 Wood, like a Porsche 959, innit
 Expensive addition (total star)

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Flooring it.

With Junior just two weeks away if the midwife is right, my focus has been on other stuff.  However, I have managed to finish a job that has been dragging-on for yonks. Dave at Track Developments made the panel to go beneath the engine as far back as March of last year.  However, I'd made a boob when ordering the eight Dzus fasteners that attach it to the chassis.  Frustrated, I hadn't bothered to work-out what I actually needed so the panel has just sat in a corner of the garden shed.  The stimulus to get it sorted was a need to order some other stuff from Car Builder Solutions.  So, having measured again, I added c.£50 of the little clips to my order.  Fifty quid!!

Anyway, once they arrived I was keen to get them fitted - over two short evenings I finally got the job finished but not before I had to remove some clips for the second time because the rivets needed to go the other way around.
The clips are seriously tight - I used a big penny washer to twist them into place but it was a real wrestle.  I need to order one of the special tools to make my life easier in the future.  I've also added some sound deadening just to try to stop it from flapping about due to resonance and also to stop it from clanking against the sump if it does move.
Here it is in-place:
It j-u-s-t clears the motor which is exactly what I wanted.  As well as the Dzus clips, I am going to attach a stainless steel cable tie between two p-clips - one on the floor and one on the motor - to stop it from being pulled down and to provide some extra security.
I'll try to post a remaining to-do list later this week - it will do me good.


Thursday, 22 May 2014


In the very short amount of time that's been available I've managed to collect the last aluminium fitting for the gear-shift rods from Track Developments.  Having cut the rod carefully to size I applied epoxy cement and put it in the vice to set.
Fitted it looks like this:
Unfortunately it seems like my special glue has gone off as it's not worked.  I need to get some ordered from RS.


Thursday, 8 May 2014


Crikey, another thrilling update: My new-old-stock 'retro' indicator switch is fitted to its switch pod.  This has a super-seal connector fitted to its own mini-loom awaiting connection to the main-loom and light-looms. Loom, loom, loo..... ugh.


Monday, 5 May 2014

Beep Beep

So, I resolved my slightly flappy fuel pipe by indeed drilling a very small hole in on of the webbed portions on the engine.  No harm done and it took very little time once I'd bought a flexible drill extension to get me in there.  A small zip-tie did the rest.
The last few bits of hose arrived in the post so I plumbed the oil feed and drain that will connect to the puke/separator tank.
I added a cable-tie base to the airbox that allows me to clip the vent-hose in the right location.  I drilled the airbox in-situ but had the vacuum cleaner on the whole time making sure that none of the nasty carbon could remain or make it into the bell-mouths.
At the top here is t'other end of the same hose.  There will be a tank between it and the hose in the foreground which will feed any oil back to the engine...
... as seen above.  This hose also provides some support for the high-pressure fuel-line as it moves towards the fuel rail.

I'd somehow managed to lose the resistor for the master switch.  After a bit of Google-ing, I found that a suitable replacement could be had from RS for a couple of quid and further-more it was suitable for panel mounting.  
I've also collected some powdercoating this week - most notably my re-coated, previously leaky rear wheel. I'm just awaiting some fresh fixings to put it back together.  I really hope it doesn't leak again; the other three I rebuilt are perfect.  Also collected were my side-impact-protection bar and my modified throttle pedal.
Here's the 'S.I.P.S' cable-tied into place - I can't fit the bodywork with it in place.
Something was lost in translation on the pedal, I wanted both ends left uncoated; that's almost what happened:
Rather than get it re-done, I made-good with some hand tools and paint.  Here it is sporting it's grip-pad and the little rod-end that the cable will connect to:
Despite the warnings on the packet, I managed to snap the corner off the grip pad.  Thankfully, it doesn't seem to make a huge difference.  I may change it next time I order from Burton Power.

I've also continued to work-on the wiring to the extent that I can test it.  I've got power to coils, fuel pump and throttles plus the EXUP valve cycles so all is looking okay.  It did give me a bit of a scare however as I hadn't expected an odd noise from the fly-by-wire throttle servo.  I therefore posted the following video to ask the question:

Apparently this is normal - so all is well.  I still have some sensors to finish connecting-up and then have to sort-out the wiring for all the switches and run the cables forward to the front lights, horn etc.  Speaking of which, the only thing that doesn't seem to work is my second-hand transponder.  I wonder if it can be repaired?


Sunday, 13 April 2014

Testing 1-

I managed to complete the electrical connections at the CBS Wiring Module-end this weekend. This meant that the most basic connections could be tested. Power reaches the ON switch; the accessory switch powers up the lights and cycles the motor that would normally control the air trumpets. It's early days and there is LOTS still to do and prove. I'll take it for starters though - completion did for the first time in a while seem tangible however.

My leaky wheel is disassembled and with T.P.C.S for refinishing (I had to use chemical to soften the sealant and this wrecked the paint.). Also, I've realised that my old hand injuries mean that using the paddle shift will be painful after a few minutes, so a new column-shift is planned. Oh and I've run the fuel hose going from the (as yet imaginary) swirl pot to  the throttle bodies.
The only issue is that it needs one more clip to hold it well away from moving parts - the best way to do this seems to be to drill a small hole in a lug on the motor. I'm not sure if it's either RGB-legal or wise?


Saturday, 5 April 2014

Friday, 28 March 2014

Seen it all before...

The RGB season kicks-off this weekend which is depressing.  Yet again I have no car.  The progress made has been to finish some stuff that has been WIP for ages.

Rear Loom:


The plan is maybe to upgrade the standard JC50 filter to a proper box-lid at some point, but that's another £400 project so this will certainly do for now.  Noise will likely determine if I need to change things.
I'm trying to keep the bonnet bulge as small as possible.  I'm conscious that I'm used to driving cars with cycle-wings and seeing as much of the road as possible is important to me.


Sunday, 9 March 2014


The rear loom (mainly running lights) is very nearly complete:
I've used splash-proof connectors - some genuine AMP, some not-so-much i.e. evidently not quite so good quality.
The free plug 'by-yer' is for the rain light.  I'd have completely finished the rear loom if it weren't for the crimp connectors that I've bought for the earths.  Lord-knows how you are supposed to crimp them; they are so stiff - it feels like my fingers might break before they bend.
 Next stop: wiring in and around the cockpit.


Saturday, 8 March 2014

Pipe Down

(Almost) first-thing this morning I headed over to see Andrew Graham at  He did a fine job of welding the AN8 fitting to my oil cooler take-off.  He's all of 15 minutes from home so definitely and option for my tanks etc. 
It's budget time in work so I spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon modelling labour costs.  I was relieved to finish and having met the delivery driver from Tesco at the top of the drive - they don't fancy the incline much - I wandered out to the sheds to do a bit.
With the take-off plate torqued-up, I was able to finish the oil hoses.  It's worked out quite well albeit that it's quite tight where the hoses move up-and-forward to the cooler itself.  I may need to use some heat resistant material to protect the oil lines, including the pressure sender take-off line.
While I was messing about with bowls of hot water and rubber hoses I thought I'd have a go at the flexible fuel lines at the rear.  This was a tougher job than I and anticipated and even having warmed the hoses it was a struggle.  For the second hose, where it connects to the hard pipe that runs down the tunnel, I actually smeared a little vaseline on the copper to help the rubber to slip over the ferule that is acting as a bead.  The proper stainless clips (these arrived in the week) then fitted over very well.
I'll need some tanks to finish the job.