October 9th

After much messing about, I managed to get the front wings fitting rather better. This entailed fitting the spacers provided by Westfield to the wing supports and to the wheels themselves. The spacers on the wing supports were a bit tricky as, as predicted a long time ago, the mounting holes did not line up. The photo shows the plate in the back of the upright after being attacked with a file to make the holes fit. As you can see it's not exactly round anymore.

The remaining problem is that the wheel studs definitely need replacing with slightly longer ones. The ones promised by Chris Masters have not arrived yet so I tried to get some from the local Ford dealers, but left it too late and they were shut. With luck Chris's will arrive before I rush out and spend some more money sometime this coming week.

October 10th

I decided that I was going to have to fit the hood. This is because I will surely need at least the sidescreens for getting to the SVA test and the manual says that the hood must be fitted first as the sidescreens have to line up with the pockets in the side of the hood. This means I will have to be a bit careful about covering the studs and frame for the test itself, but that is supposedly fairly easy to do.

The first thing to do was to fit the hood frame which was fairly easily accomplished, although the bolts provided are at least 30% too long and will need cutting down to size.

The frame itself is spectacularly difficult to use at the moment as all the joints are very stiff. This is predicted in the manual so presumably they'll get easier with use.

After that, it was a matter of fitting the studs at the front of the hood, around the windscreen, and them moving on to the back of the car. As expected the hood has to be really stretched to fit, which as I suspect it will get looser with use, is probablya good thing. It does mean that it's definitely a two person operation though as one person is needed just to hold the hood in position while the other marks where holes, etc., are needed.

After a while the studs on the back of the body were all in position, although the fact that I had to stand where the spare wheel would go to fit one of them, just to get enough purchase on the hood, is indicative of the tension.

It was very useful having bought the correct tool for fitting the studs. I'm sure it would have been much more difficult without it.

The sides of the hood though were less successful. The very front of the hood (at the back of the "door") is held in with a Tenax fastener, which has a positive release mechanism. In retrospect, I should have fitted this first and them made the studs in between this and the rear of the car share out the tension equally between them. As it was I worked forward with the result that I had a bit too much material left by the time I got to where the Tenax should go. This means that at the moment there's a bit of slack at the side, although the back is fine.

Another useful tool was, again, the rivnut tool. Without it I would have had to get at the back of the panel to put a nut on the back of the part of the Tenax fastener that is secured to the bodywork. That could have been very difficult due to the sealing panel and the underseal all over the place.

This photo shows the left hand side of the hood, including the Tenax and the most forward stud that's currently fitted. I have to decide whether to fit a couple of studs into the remaining gap, sharing out the "spare" between them, or to try moving some of the studs along the side of the car.

One interesting thing about this whole process is that the "shoulders" of the rear of the car, effectively between the roll bar and the wheelarches, are quite a different shape on the left and right side of the car. This was obvious in that the poppers on the left of the car kept popping open under tension whereas those on the right were more secure. Looking at them it's clear the right side poppers are operating more in shear than those on the right. It seems obvious that these sort of fasteners are much more secure in shear than tear.

All the same, it all seems to fit fairly snugly and, although I'm sure that it will leak when raining, it should be enough to keep the occupants mostly dry.

The worst thing about the day is that all the fitting and unfitting of the hood, involving stretching it all the time, has left me completely knackered and with this pain in my elbow. I need a couple of days rest!

October 11th

The new wheel studs arrived today. They looked as if they had been prepared by leaving them out in the rain for two years first. I left them to soak in some nice oil for a while. With luck I won't have to cut them down but it occurs to me that if the studs are too long then it will be much harder to get the wheel on and off; it's already a bit tight with the cycle wing in position.

With reflection on the hood, I think I'm going to have to move the positions of some of the studs. Rats.

Still no SVA word.

October 12th

Anthea phoned the SVA testing station today (I'm in Toulouse on business) to see if they knew about the test date. They said that the papers arrived today. As the people in Swansea said they sent them on the 1st they must be using a new and innovative mechanism for transport, presumably involving one overworked carrier pigeon.

However, the testing bod is not in today so we'll have to phone back tomorrow.

October 13th

Well, amazing, he phoned us! The SVA is now set for November 8th at 1:30pm. We could have got an earlier Saturday appointment by paying an extra £75, but it didn't seem worth it.

I'd better get on and finish it!

October 14th

Refitted the studs on the left hand side of the hood, which now looks like this. You can see there's a bit of slack but I think it's OK. With luck tomorrow will see the whole hood done.

25 days to SVA---eeek!

October 15th

Finished fitting the hood today, and then fitted the sidescreens. This means I can now take the hood off!

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