May 1st

Seatbelts now fittedI really am getting very close now to finishing the car, apart from all the odds and sods that need doing.

Today I fitted the seatbelts first. The mountings for the belts have the added benefit of holding the front part of the bootbox in rather better than it is on its own.

I must admit that I got the black belts at Anthea's suggestion, but I wish I had something a bit less sombre. Oh well.

The next thing to look at was the front wings. These are very tight to the tyres on the Rush, which is one of the reasons that they look rather good. However, in order to get close they seem to need to be carefully fitted.

I decided a while ago that I was going to glue them on like I did the Westfield's ones. They seemed to stand up to a great deal of punishment there so it seems a good idea to do it again. However, I keep wondering if some bolts wouldn't be easier.

Front wing being glued onAnyway, I spent a while trimming the wings to fit and then glued them in place with Würth, holding the wings down and in position with tie-wraps and a carefully inserted old pair of pliers. I'll now have to leave them for 24 hours to let the Würth set properly.

I've now got all the bodywork attached to the car, and just about nothing else left on the shelves to add to the car. Perhaps I'll see about sorting out an MOT for Friday.

May 2nd

I took some time off today to try and get the car finished. I was thinking about going for an MOT tomorrow, but I've decided that it really isn't feasible. I didn't really do that much today, or anything profound, but the car is now at the point where everything else is finishing off, and resolving problems.

Anyway, I installed the rear view mirror, which as Dax provide it for SVA is a bastard mirror with the chrome base of one attached to the plastic mirror of something that came off one intending for suction fitting to a windscreen.

Lots of shiny mirrors!I also added the wiper blades. These work OK but there's a bit of a problem, which I thought was going to happen, in that the sweep of the blades really isn't good enough. This is fixable by getting a new gear for the wiper motor with fewer teeth on it, but the problem is doing it in time. One possibility is to go to the kitcar show at Stoneleigh this weekend and hope I can find one there. The other is to just go and buy Dax's wiper motor.

I need to go to Dax anyway as I also added the wing mirrors and discovered that I don't have the plastic plug that goes in the bottom of the mirror mounts for one of the mirrors.

I took the tie wraps off the front wings and they look pretty well lined up. However, I don't want to bash them around too much for a while in case the glue isn't completely set.

I also did a few other odds and sods, like putting the centres in the wheels and sorting out the engine breather pipe. (Thanks Alex!) With those done the car is essentially finished, apart from the various adjustments and so on, as well as the snags such as the wiper motor thing.

It's been a long time!

May 3rd

On the way off to the MOTHaving said that an MOT wasn't feasible today I had a go anyway. So, I booked in the car at a garage in Bottisham and took off a couple of hours in the afternoon and drove over there. On the way there I had chance to notice a couple of things:

  • Both rear tyres are rubbing on the bodywork, at least that's what I think the noise is.
  • The brakes don't seem wonderful, but they probably need bleeding again and definitely need bedding in.
  • The speedo doesn't work! At least it doesn't above about 30 mph. I suspec this is due to the sensor not being close enough to the prop shaft magnets. This is a bummer as it's rather difficult to get at the
  • The mirrors need some serious adjustment.
  • The wipers really do need a different gear so that they cover rather more of the windscreen.
  • Filling up the tank is really difficult without getting it all over your feet.
  • The engine smoke does seem to be dying down.

Most importantly, it doesn't half go!

I had a fun chat with the mechanics at the garage I took it to, they were very complimentary. The only thing wrong turned out to be a duff beam shape on one of the headlamps, traced to the bulb not being square and which was therefore replaced. So, I ended up with an MOT certificate and returned home happy, and windswept.

Also, I sold my Fiat Coupé today. You can just see it on the right of this photo. I hope it's gone to a good home as I miss it already...

May 4th/5th/6th

The speedo sensor exposedThis was the bank holiday weekend that contained the big kit car show at Stoneleigh. Although I needed to get on with the car I also wanted to go to Stoneleigh as it has become a bit of a tradition. I decided to go on the Sunday so that the Monday was still available for car fettling.

So, on the Saturday I set about doing various completion things to the car. The first thing was to look at the speedo sensor. Having thought of how to get at it, I managed to get the rear part of the tunnel moulding removed by pulling a lot of the carpet off and undoing the bolts that held it down.

That was all very well, but I had to see why it wasn't working. So, I jacked up the rear of the car and actually drove the car with the wheels off the ground. That way I could watch the speedo. After adjusting the sensor so that it is just 0.5mm away from the magnets on the prop shaft I managed to get it to the point where it mostly worked, apart from a fit at about 80mph where the displayed speed drops back to about 70 before fixing itself later on. I came across someone else who said that he found getting a suitable signal from the propshaft to be just about impossible and had moved the magnets to a wheel instead. However, that doesn't help me. I suppose it might pass SVA the way it is now, but it isn't comfortable. I am wondering about removing two of the magnets, in the interest in slowing down the rate at which the reed switch is clattering. (It could easily be that the glitch that I've got is some sort of resonance and removing two of the magnets would shift the resonance to 140mph. However, I'm not sure how must of a mess removing two of the magnets would make.

All back together againAnyway, I put the tunnel and everything back together and turned to some more prosaic things. I adjusted the tracking albeit a bit more carefully this time. I adjusted the camber, although the Dax manual is more than usually incompetent on this, I'll have to ask Dax about this as I couldn't get the camber down (from ridiculously negative) to what I wanted. Still, it can wait for now.

I also decided to take the wiper motor apart to see what I could do about the limited throw of the blades. On inspection, the gear inside has "90°" written on it, so that would explain why it does 90° then. I decided to see if I could get something at the Stoneleigh show on Sunday to fix this.

So, on Sunday I ended up at the Stafford Vehicle Components stand at the Stoneleigh show. They said they could get me a 130° gear, but only by the next day. Luckily, Jim was going on Monday, so I could ask him to drop in for me.

The chap I spoke to at SVC seemed to epitomise the best aspects of this whole lark of kit-car building. He was knowledgable but quite happy to chat even though he was only going to get about £15 of revenue from me.

Air cleaner with neatened up holes...Monday started with bleeding the brakes again. They are nice and firm now, which is nice change from the Westfield. I decided to try and set the brake balance so I charged about the car park over the road for a while. Unfortunately, I couldn't get the balance set so that the front wheels locked before the rears, regardless of the setting of the balance bar.

I have two master cylinders, one is 5/8" and the other is 3/4". The larger cylinder is connected to the front brakes, as recommended by Dax. However, I could perhaps do with swapping them over. However, a trawl of the web shows that doing this will probably result in the balance being biased towards the front. The only resolution is another master cylinder. Many people have ended up using two 5/8" cylinders. So, I phoned Jim who was still at the show and managed to go straight to the Europa stand and buy me another cylinder.

After that I cleaned up the air cleaner hole and fitted some trim to the edges of various holes, as well as making the bonnet fit a lot better by shifting the aluminium angle that forms the side of the hole for the bonnet to rest on.

The pedal box with the front brakes master cylinder removedLater on, Jim arrived and I could do something about changing the master cylinder. Unfortunately, this is a major deconstruction job and entails taking off the scuttle, again, and consequently draining the coolant (because of the heater). So, I set about it all and eventually removed the master cylinder, as in the photo here. Of course, there is brake fluid all over the place again and I'm going to have to bleed the front brakes again.

After much swearing I got it all back together. With Anthea's help I re-bled the front brakes, although it doesn't seem very firm yet. It probably needs a while to let the bubbles coagulate again.

The problem now is that I need to re-set the brake balance again, before which I need to get the engine going again which will mean getting rid of the air locks in the cooling system. Sigh... Of course, if the balance isn't any good I'll have to take it all apart again.

The insides of the wiper motorJust about at the end of the day, I changed the wiper gear for the new one. This seems to work fine, although in putting it back together I managed to scrape one of the wiper blades across the top of the scuttle putting a rather serious scratch in it. Bummer... I will have to get some gel coat and pigment from Dax to try and fix this, as it seems too deep to get out just by grinding the rest of the gelcoat down.

Ho hum...

May 7th

No photos today as it was all pre-SVA fettling. Also, it was rather a frustrating evening.

I re-bled the brakes and late in the afternoon took the car out to try the brakes with the new master cylinder. This time it wouldn't even lock the front brakes at all! After much re-bleeding the pedal started to feel a bit better and with the bias wound fully to the front it was a bit better. However, it really wasn't wonderful. Oh well, I locked the balance bar in position with some roll pins (carefully managing to snap a 2mm drill when it was inside the balance shaft). I will be able to see what it's like at the SVA tomorrow. It may be that after bedding in the front brakes will perform better anyway.

I spent a lot of time putting blunt bits on the car. Most frustratingly the Dax bonnet catch covers are clearly a joke. I've seen some badly engineered things but this is ridiculous. I can see no reason why they don't use some sort of flush catches. As soon as possible I'm going to replace these.

Having been running the car around trying the brakes it's obvious that it's running waaaaay too rich. I took out a plug to confirm this and it is nice and sooty. This clearly will need a rolling road trip as soon as possible.

Finally, I sorted out all the tools and things for tomorrow's trip to Norwich. Unfortunately it's going to be rather an early start...

SVA and registration

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