Sunday, 28 November 2010

Rear lights - all finished

I finished connecting all the rear lights. I'd covered all the wires with self amalgamating tape but I decided it would be better to cover with plastic split tubing. Even with the plastic covering I was concerned about it going past the edge where the rear arches join the main tub. The solution was to use large P clips. The wire can then be tie wrapped to the P clip:

Tested all the lights: sidelight, indicators, brake (I had to do this by shorting out as I've not connected the brake connector at the front), fog and reversing all working. Here they are with the hazards and sidelights on (only took 3 attempts before I got the picture with the hazards illuminated):

Friday, 26 November 2010

More dashboard

More work fitting the dashboard. It's now starting to get close. I was able to put the dials in and get it all to roughly fit in place:

There's very little room between the indicator and the dash though so I might need to bend it forward:

This is the view I should get from driving. Good visibility of the dials with the bus driver's steering wheel that comes with the MX-5. Wonder how it will be if I put a smaller steering wheel on.

It isn't always the easiest to get a look under the dash:

Very elegant:

I still had the problem of holding the front edge down so I decided the fibreglass in tabs. 1st stage was to remove the steering column for access and use a bracket/string to hold in place:

Next stage was to fibreglass a tab in place. Here is my 1st attempt before I'd trimmed it:

With the 2nd one I was getting the hang of it. I stuck some plastic on the underside of the body. That way I could form the tab without it sticking to the body. Here it is with just the 1st layer:

Tuesday, 2 November 2010


Getting a good fit for the dashboard proved (and continues to be) a challenge. The lower part of the dials area hits the steering column:

which meant it wouldn't go down:

After quite a lot of trimming and slightly lowering the steering column I was able to get it to fit around the majority of the scuttle:

Although I might have to put a couple of spacers on the steering column mounting as with it in the original location there isn't enough space for the dials to fit:

I still have a problem that there is a gap at the front where it's not sitting flush to the scuttle:

The "dome" where the dials go needs to be held down. By pressing it I can get a good flush fit:

So I'm considering fibre glassing some sort of catch or hook on the underside to hold it in place:

Monday, 1 November 2010

How it looks now

Front wheel arches are just placed on the brackets as they will need to come off to fit new IVA compliant side indicators.

Front wheel arches

Rather than drilling through the wheel arches I decided to the "bigheads". These are bolts with large flat heads that you can fibre glass in place. By doing this you have hidden mounting, no future problems with cracking around the holes and a very firm mounting.

The first step is to drill/file slots in the mounting brackets. The reason for slots was so that it would be possible to fit the arches without having to bend the brackets out. The bolts would be at almost 90 degrees apart.

And there are the big heads in place:

Next step was to remove the black coating from the underside of the arches. To do this I used a wire brush attachment on the drill:

Still needs a bit more to make completely clean:

I offered up the arches on the brackets to make sure I was cleaning off in the right place:

and finally I used the dremel to make sure the bigheads lay flat:

I put a layer of fiber glass down first then placed the bracket with the bigheads in place and held until the fibre glass was firm:

After the fibre glass was firm I could remove the bracket leaving the bigheads in place and apply a couple of layers of fibre glass over the top.
By applying a layer of cling film and washers I could ensure the fibre glass was held firm against the bigheads.

Exhaust - final fitting

Originally when I tried to fit the exhaust it didn't quite line up correctly at the rear mounting. As I put in the post last November, when I was at Westfield collecting the bodywork I got them to bend the exhaust connection pipe and it seems to be okay. Now with all the bodywork on it was time to put it on for the final (did I really say that!) time.

It all fitted fine:

No sideways pressure at the rear mounting:

And the front hole is still perfect:

Rear light connectors

Started to connect up the rear light clusters:

Rear fog light - working

Connected up the rear fog light:

Stone guard - RHS

I'd fitted the one on the LHS side earlier but hadn't done the RHS as it was against the garage wall. So this weekend I finally fitted the guard on the rear RHS. It should stops some stones and general road stuff from being kicked up between the body:

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Clutch problems

I had a big problem with the clutch. With the engine running and the clutch pedal fully pressed it wouldn't go into gear. The engine revs would drop slightly which indicated the clutch was not fully dis-engaged.

Initially I thought there might not be enough travel so checked the clearance. There was plenty of clearance.

Next tried re-bleeding the clutch. Got a tiny (and I mean a tiny) amount of air out but didn't help.

I jacked the rear of the car up and started the engine with it in gear. With the clutch pedal pressed, the wheels continued to go round. By applying the handbrake I could get them to stop and keep the engine running by applying a bit of pressure on the accelerator pedal. This meant the clutch was only slightly engaged.

I was just about to consider taking the whole engine and gearbox out to start stripping it down when we tried one more test: with it in gear I got a friend to push the car as I slowly pressed the clutch pedal. Amazingly after a small amount of travel of the pedal the car rolled easily. After about 2/3 travel the car stopped. It seems the clutch somehow re-engages it you press the pedal too far.

I'd wasted hours of time but at least I didn't have a gearbox strip down!

The next task was to work out how to stop the pedal travelling too far. In fact there is a mounting thread on the chassis (nothing in the manual of course) so you can fit a bold that will stop the pedal from travelling too far:

I put a rubber cap over the end of the bolt head and glued a piece of rubber around the pedal (the clip in the picture is holding it in place while the glue dries... must remember to take that off later!):


The official way to attach the front grill is to drill holes in the nose and use cable ties. I wasn't happy with that as the cable ties wold be visible so I fibre glassed mounting plates inside the nose code and attached using self tapping screws:

I was pleased with the result as there's nothing visible from the front:

Stone guard - rear

There are brackets that you fit inside the rear wheel arches that stop stones from getting in the gap between the chassis and the fibreglass body:

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Fuse box mounting

To mount the fuse box I re-used the bracket from the MX-5 but it needed some modification. One of the legs had to be moved round.

I then painted it black:

I then mounted it between the water expansion tank and the battery. In the manual it shows it mounted further forward but I decided it would be better on the scuttle. It would be easier to access, not get in the way of other items and be less prone to getting dirty from road spray.

Battery mounting

I decided to re-use the original battery tray from the MX-5 and some of the mounting components. Firstly I had to drill 2 holes for the bottom of the plastic tray molding. I had to be very careful when measuring to make sure the holes didn't overlap with any of the chassis bars that run underneath the scuttle.

And here is the tray in position:

For the LHS I re-used the mounting bracket and upright bar. Across the top I used a new box section stainless bar:

and on the RHS I will use some M5 threaded bar with large washers at the bottom either side of where it goes through the panel to spread the load:

Washer jets

The manual says there should be a "dimple" where the washer jet goes. I thought I'd found it, drilled the hole and fitted it then afterwards thought it didn't look quite central. Stupidly I didn't measure before drilling (yes I know... measure twice, cut once). It doesn't look too bad though:

One of the IVA checks is that it has to withstand a blockage for a few seconds (I assume to simulate icing up). The tip I got from other builders was to fix a cable tie underneath to make sure the connecting pipe doesn't pop off:

Monday, 24 May 2010

Number plate light & IVA mod on rear lights

Fitting the number plate light was simple. I made a number plate template out of cardboard to make sure it was in the right place.

Fitting the rubber around the fog and reversing lights to keep the IVA man happy wasn't so simple. There wasn't any gap between the lens and the surround so I ended up having to file both edges and use Vaseline to get in place: