Hello again folks hope you are all well and enjoying the great weather and making the most of being able to get out and about in your cars.
We have been on some fabulous tours with our good friends and fellow club members over the summer months. We have been to several events, including the Newark Kit Car Show, The East Midlands Event at Ross on Wye, thanks to Charlie and the EMCRC for organizing a brilliant tour and the Annual Northern Cobra Club Yorkshire Dale event that is so well organized by Mike and Angela Hammond every year.
So back to the build!
So, from where I left off in the last article, we are now finally at the paint stage! The day arrived and on the 7th of June I very carefully transported the body in our Race shuttle down to the guys who were doing my paint Job. It was on this day that it hit me that I would now need to get a wriggle on and carry out the Dash build, wiring work and hopefully run the engine prior to collecting the body. The guys had given me an ETA of 5 to 6 weeks for the Paint job to be done. So, first job on the List …
It had been playing in the back of my mind for a considerable amount of time as to how I could get the dashboard that was supplied by the USA supplier through the IVA Test. Unfortunately, the dash is extremely basic and is purely a piece of folded aluminum which has many sharp edges.
I am sure with lots of foam tape and rubber edge trims I could have made it work, however me being me, I wanted to have something more modern and pleasing on the eye rather than the original race style Dashboard. So out came the joinery tools once more and off to my supplier for some MDF and some polyurethane foam modelling board. Let the Dashboard designing begin!
I have spent a lot of time creating a Dashboard that fits in perfectly with the overall look I want for the interior of the Car.
I have created a decent looking dash plug for a mold, that has been radiused were required and has an eyebrow built into the top.
Once I was happy with the shape, I then applied Pattern Coat Primer and Pattern Coat Gloss to the plug, this is so it can be sanded and polished to a gloss finish. Once this was completed, it was time to apply the release agent to the plug and coat with a tooling gelcoat.
Following this I then had to apply six layers of chopped Strand Matt using Unimold Tooling Resin which would give the Mould its rigidity. Once left to dry for 48 hours it was time to remove them all from the plug and polish the inside of the Mould.
Following on from this, I then applied 6 coats of release agent to the Mould then layered down the Polyester Gelcoat (grey in colour). This then had to be left to dry for 24 hours. Once dry I then applied 4 layers of chopped Strand Matt using Polyester Resin.
It was then the waiting game for 24 hours until I could release my manufactured Part from the Mould and praying that it would be an incredibly good part once released. I was delighted with the result when the part was removed from the Mould and with a little trimming of the edges it fits like it should belong there.
I then had a thought that it would look nice and be very convenient to have two separate parts within the dashboard that will accept the switches, gauges, and warning lights. I will be having the dashboard fully covered with Black Alcantara which will have a small amount of gold stitching that will pick up on the chassis & roll cage within the car.
I decided that the two parts would look great in carbon fibre. Once the decision was made, I began making two carbon panels using my Resin Infusion Equipment for making carbon fibre, which is done on a large piece of glass.
Once complete, cured and cut into shape I then installed the switches, warning lights and gauges into the two panels. I am incredibly pleased with the outcome of the whole dash and have now made inroads to have the Alcantara applied to the dash.
Next on the list was the electrics around the dashboard. This again has proved to be a mammoth task as the looms provided by the supplier is one generic loom that works on all the cars they manufacture. So, as you can imagine, there has been a large amount of chopping, jointing and alterations. The loom is also predominantly manufactured for a left-hand drive car so many of the cables have also required a lot of altering and extending.
There are also some large plugs within the loom which cross over and double back, these wires I had to either remove, hardwire, and heat shrink as it looked very untidy. Yes I could have purely stuffed them behind the dash and forgot about them, but for those of you who already know me, they will know I do not work that way and like to keep my wiring as tidy as possible.
Many images have been shared with me from the paint shop team on the body progress over the past few weeks and wow what an excellent job SMS Autospray have done with the bodywork. I am thrilled with the quality of their work.
I received confirmation that the body was ready for collection on the 5th of August, which was quite fitting as it was my birthday, what a nice present to have!
Engine Oil up!
With this in mind, I wanted to run the engine prior to the refit of the body, so it was time to fill all the fluid lines and check for any issues and ensure everything was bled off correctly.
Firstly, I filled the water system and the power steering and ensured those were bled okay. Next up was the oil system. I wanted to ensure I had primed the oil ways in the engine before I turned the key due to the engine not being run since October 2021 at Dyno stage.
To help with this task I manufactured a fitting that fitted into the oil gallery at the bottom right-hand side of the engine located behind where the alternator is located. I then adapted a garden pump spray to fit the newly manufactured fitting so I could pump oil into the system until it reached the rockers at the top of the engine.
Then I added 2 Litres of oil and began to pump away. I had also temporarily connected my oil pressure gauge to check the pressure switch was working.
I managed to get around 12 psi pressure and proved the switch was working and received oil to the top end of the engine.
Then came the painful part as I topped up the dry sump set up. The system took a whopping 10 L of Valvoline oil OUCH!! but I guess when it comes to engine oil more volume is better, right??
Next it was the time to crank the engine over with the ignition key, however I did not want any fuel or strain on the main and rod bearings before I was sure they were properly lubricated.
So out came the spark plugs and the fuse for the electric fuel pump and the cranking began! We had good oil pressure and oil up to the rockers and had no leaks on the supply and return oil lines.
It was now time to add fuel to the tank for the first time and set the fuel pressure regulator to the running pressure of 4 bar. At first glance, all appeared okay, until I could smell fuel, so the search began to find the leak.
Starting at the front I began checking the fuel connections that I had made up and found nothing but then I found the issue to be with a small pin hole within one of the steel fuel pipes as they exit the fuel pump cradle.
I had heard that the cradles were poorly made and have ordered an excellent quality one from PRO M Racing in the USA, as I am not taking any chances when it comes to fuel.
All things being equal this was a major setback as we had already made the arrangements to collect the body that week! but hey ho these things are sent to try us.
Fortunately, there is an access panel within the boot area of the car so I can at least change the pump when the new one lands thankfully.
A Job Well done!
So, body collection Day Arrived, Thursday 11th of August, I had been so looking forward to this day. as you can imagine I was enthusiastic to get down to see the finished Paint job, so it was time to load the chassis into the race shuttle and head down to SMS. I had an early start and left home at 5am and after a good journey down we landed at 8:30 and began preparations to refit the body. We were also joined by Charles Freeman, Graham Heatrick and Ray Picker who kindly came to join the party and help fit in the body. I would like to personally thank you ‘ guys for your help with this as very much appreciated.
That’s about all for this article I am afraid, look forward to showing you all the finished build in the next Issue.
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