Build Diary of a
Roadster (Kit Car)
Tube bender Projects
5th and 6th July 2008
Damn, it's been a long time since
I updated the page. I did not do much over the winter months
to be honest, the garage gets very cold and damp. The
chassis has suffered with a bit of rust coating any upright
surfaces, this has been cleaned and a bit of paint applied to
protect it for a while. I have welded all the chassis
together and added the front and rear wishbone
brackets. I have also got most of the donor parts for the
car, it cost me my van! But with the price of fuel I could
not justify it sat on the drive for 9 months out of 12. I
have made some dummy rear uprights and shock absorber's so that I
could check positioning before welding up the brackets. Last
weekend was spent in the garage using the lathe to turn some
mushrooms? a couple of pictures below show what I mean. and lastly
I have also started to clean up some of the old donor bits such as
the drive shafts for the back axle.
Having now got the donor vehicle a
Sierra sapphire 1.8 CVH, I have just ordered the rear uprights to
take the drum brakes. I know that it is suggested that the
engine and gearbox are not fitted at an early stage, but I
am finding it more and more difficult to work around the chassis
on the table, so getting it on the floor and the big bits inside
it would be a great help.
12th to 14th July 2008
More time in the garage, running
very short of space as I had donor parts under the table and
sticking out all over the place. So bit of a tidy up, move
the chassis outside when it was not raining and chop up and remove
the bench. Gave me a opportunity to take a few snaps of the
chassis when outside and the sun is shinning!
I have painted it black for the
time being to stop it rusting when it gets damp in the garage, I
will have to remove the paint from the underneath when I weld on
the floor plate, but I imagine that will be a while off at
present. The rear uprights should be with me later this
week, that should allow me to fit the wheels and push the chassis
out to work on the engine etc in the garage.
I have also started on the engine
by removing the sump and chopping an inch from the bottom of
it. The next picture shows what stage I am up to with it. It
is having a soak in Nitromors to remove any paint, that way I can
tell what condition it is in before welding and repainting.
It is amazing how much rust is under the paint!
19th and 20th July 2008
The sump did not go too well, it
leeks like a sieve. I will have another go sometime or see if it
can be done for me if I can get a decent newish one. So I
have cleaned up the engine and gearbox a bit and put them
together. The idea will next be to sort out the gearbox and
engine mounts on the chassis.
I also turned down some bar to
make the steering extensions. Just need to get the taps and dies
to complete then I will cut the flats.
29th July 2008
I used a ratchet hoist today to
lift the engine and place in the engine bay of the chassis.
The next step would be to locate and weld in the brackets for the
gearbox and engine. I need to sort out a few things before I
do but at least the lifting is done the LO-Cost way.
Once again some time has
passed. I have fabricated the engine mounts from tube I
managed to scrounge, it is 50 x 50 mm box section so quite large
for my needs, but it works. Sections cut and welded to 6 mm
plate, all drilled and mounted. The gearbox mounts fitted
and welded. The rear differential fitted, wishbones and
steering rack extensions that I made on the lathe, I will have to
do some more of these later as they are to long when done to the
book dimensions and leaves me no adjustment and no possibility of
fitting lock nuts, will shorted them by 15 mm per side I
think. I managed recently to get a non adjustable steering
rack so have fitted that, welded the plates for the handbrake in
place, fitted the drive shafts and put the chassis on its wheels
so I can move it out of the garage when needed. I did this
recently and the heavens opened and it pored with rain, still a
long way to go but looking better!
Done a bit more during the
evenings and this weekend. Started on the pedal box and have
welded the parts together to form the back and the pedals.
Bought some Acetel bar to make the pivot bushes. Just short of
some 45 x 3 mm plate to make the brake pedal pad, which I hope to
get this week to complete then this lot will be done. Also
made some top-hat bushes from mild steel to locate the steering
column mounts better then just using some large washers to cover
the mounting holes in the cast aluminium mount. You may have
noticed I have stopped putting on the page how much I spend.
It's a lot!
I have to figure a way to fasten
the clutch cable and accelerator cables to the pedals, a few
questions on to the forum I think!
and 11th January 2009
I have tried to do work on the
car, honest guv! Cold in the garage, joints ache you know
how it is. So to keep it going over the Christmas period, I
have ordered fibreglass nose cone and scuttle from Triton, Shock
absorber's and springs from Rally Design. Got some original
rack mounts from a forum member. Bought some steel for the
floor. Bought another CVH sump from a forum member, this for
another attempt at the mod to it. Bought some alloy wheels
off the bay of E, for £26!!!!! Have the engine lifted
again with the gear box separated so I could remove the old
sump. Bought an engine hoist from Netto to save me some
effort £35! So spending lots of money but with not a
lot to show yet and the glamorous parts have not yet arrived.
I need to do two things quite
quickly if I can, one is punch/drill holes in the floor plate to
match with the chassis rails so I can puddle weld or spot weld it
in place. To do that I need to turn the chassis over and
clean all the paint from the underside. weld it up, paint the
floor section flip back over and paint the floor. I think I
will try a local place in Leyland for the sump mod, must visit
during the week and see if they will do it for a reasonable price.
Managed a bit more in the garage
today, the GAZ coil over shocks had arrived Friday, so the day was
spent getting them to fit. No problems on the back of the
car, need to make four spacers but that's all. The front
needs a bit of metal removing from the wishbone mounting bracket
to stop them fouling, talking of only a few mm and there is more
then enough left, in fact takes the shape back to the original
I also used the engine hoist for the first time, wonderful device will lift 200 Kg by
looping the cable, it is nice and smooth to operate, so much
better the doing it with the hand hoist.
25th January 2009
Today was all about the floor pan,
shift the chassis out of the garage, and punch/drill all the holes
in the floor, 151 holes in total at approx 2 inch spacing, I
managed to do 109 with the 5 ton hand press and the last 42 with
the electric drill.
Took the engine out of the chassis
and had a good tidy of the floor area, stuck the engine out the
way, brought the chassis back in and with the help of two
neighbours stood the thing up on its side. Cleaned all the
paint from the bottom rails and trial fitted the floor. I
hope to start welding it up as the week progresses.
28th January 2009
Have finished doing the welding
tonight and will probably wait until weekend before I grind down
some of the lumps! It would have been much easier if the
vehicle was completely upside down, the molten metal would have
formed better, but then again, it's done now. There is very
little distortion on the floor just hope it holds when I come to
try and stand in it! I have had a few messages, one saying
the fibreglass nose and scuttle are on their way up to me, so
looking forward to trying them on the car for effect. The
other message saying the fuel tank is being built up, so I would
imagine they will turn up next week.
31st January 2009
The floor is on, cleaned up from
the welding and sprayed with zinc coat. It took a few to
lift the car but getting back on its wheels was a doddle, I
I also collected the modified sump
this morning, so the next job is to check the clearance of the oil
pick up after cutting an inch out of the tube, book says about 5
mm clearance so this is the aim. If correct, I may try to
weld it up.
February 2009 (White
I welded up the oil pick up tube
with the smaller MIG welder, it is easier to handle and a bit more
forgiving. Fitted it, the sump, gearbox on the engine, starter
motor and alternator and put it all back into the chassis.
The paint work needs re-doing around the engine bay now!
Filled it up with 20/50 grade oil and turned the engine over with
the plugs out to get the oil circulating around the engine.
It took a while to refill the filter and get pressure up, but it
did it after a few goes.
7th and 8th
I ordered a fuel tank from a
contact on the Haynes web forum some a few weeks ago, the tank
arrived on Friday, so have done a simple fit into the rear of the
car, I need to obtain a fuel sender before I fasten the tank in
place. Very nice work it is too. The hole to the left
is for the fuel sender and I will need to obtain some 2 inch fuel
hose to a side filler cap.
I also had a go with the ECU and
finally managed to start the engine after some time. Two
videos on Youtube,: -
Need to figure out the cooling
system before I can run the engine for any period of time.
14th February 2009
The nose cone and scuttle arrived
Thursday, so this gave me the opportunity to try it for fit and
work out the radiator position. I used 25 x 3 mm metal strip
for this and ended up with the radiator leaning backwards to fit
in and still leave some gaps around it.
A few things I need to consider
changing next is the water pump, as the outlet heads off toward
the exhaust and then has to bend back on it self to head to the
front of the car. Looking to replace this with a 1.6 CVH
water pump. Need a compact electric fan unit approx 10 inch
16th February 2009
The existing water pump inlet pipe
is weird in that it has a large bend on it and comes by the engine
mount and the exhaust area. I tried to heat the pipe and bend
tighter without much success, I kinked the tube.
So today I picked up a water pump
from a 1.4 Orion and modified that to fit. I had to pull off and
swap over the pulley's, as although they are 20 teeth each they
have a different profile and using the wrong one would soon
ruin the cam belt. The two pumps have the same fixing holes
and thickness so the Orion pump will fit. I also had to drill and
fit a stud for the adjuster spring to push against, finishing off
with JB weld to cover where it goes into the pump body. There must
be an easier way or a better pump to use, but when done the outlet
will go directly away from the block and keep out of the exhaust
I found the tensioner bearings dry
so replacing that as well, was quoted £63 plus VAT from one
Motor factors, found one on ebay for £40 and got a final
quote from another factors at £25 plus VAT, what a
difference! Replacing the cam belt as well.
17th February 2009
Did a bit more on the car, fitted new Water pump, Cam-belt,
Tensioner, fabricated a T piece for the cooling system and started
to put it all together again, below is a picture of the T.
Other jobs done today were to
shorten the steering rack extensions by 25 mm each. This
should allow the front wheels to be adjusted correctly for
tracking and allow for 14 mm locking washers. I cut
approximately 10 mm from the nearside engine mounting bracket to
give me a little more clearance when taking the engine out of the
& 19th February 2009
Bought a radiator fan switch and
drilled it out on the lathe, soldered in a short 15 mm copper
tube, the idea is to use this as a way into the radiator from the
expansion bottle. Filled the system with coolant and had the
engine running for a few minutes, but I need to quieten the
exhaust before I can run the engine long enough to get it up to
To try and silence the exhaust I
have been spending a lot of hours trying to change the standard
exhaust downpipe to get it to exit at the side of the car.
Finally got to that stage tonight, after lots of cutting bashing
and welding, not the prettiest of things but it is a start, need a
48 mm, 90 degree bend welding on the end of it so that an exhaust
pipe can be fitted.
Will probably wrap the exhaust
system with heat insulation, otherwise the passengers shoes may
start to melt, and no the battery will not stay there!
24th February 2009
Have done more work over the last few days but this is the first
chance to update the page. The engine runs well when
warm, but has an issue when cold, found the automatic choke was
not working. So stripped it down and reconnected a bi-metal
strip and now trying to discover how it should be adjusted.
I have also been working on the pedal box a bit more. The
master cylinder hole has been taken out to 41 mm to fit the
cylinder, I have some clevis yokes on order, drilled the floor and
bulkhead panel to fit the assembly so hope to have it in place
during the week.
Ordered a 10 inch slimline radiator fan from the bay on Sunday and
it arrived today. Managed to work out a way of installing it
on the chassis rather then to the radiator it self. Not sure
it a better idea or not but I am very sure it will do the job.
I have a wiring loom on order, and
an exhaust manifold from an Escort RS Turbo. Decided that I
am not to happy with the exhaust downpipe so have another cunning
plan! It will mean more metal fabrication but will be a very
simple thing if it works!
The manifold turned up today so a
trail fit to see if it would work. I was surprised to notice
there was no gasket fitted to my engine! There are
difference between the exhaust manifold passageways as shown by
the following photo's.
Here, I am showing the 1.8 CVH
gasket here both on the engine block and on the 1.8 manifold, you
can see the gasket has 'space' around the top of the ports.
This space means the gasket will never work with the RS Turbo
I believe the use of the correct
gasket for the RS turbo manifold will work here, but there will be
steps from the squarer ports of the 1.8 CVH head to the round ones
of the RS Turbo manifold. If this will be a problem I am not
sure, but I am still going to try it. If you wonder why I
bother, the answer is in the next few pictures.
As seen in the three pictures the
turbo port is low and close to the engine block, this would allow
for a simple plate with pipe welded to it to exit in the bottom
right corner of the third picture and any 90 degree bend to
already be started to keep the exhaust system close to the side of
the body. Also, the third picture now gives an idea of how
much space is saved, and would allow a section of steel tube
to be welded in place to stiffen up the engine compartment,
replacing the one removed from the other side due to the inlet
manifold. Compare the picture from the earlier top view with
the previous manifold.
Slow progress again, have the old
exhaust manifold on again, so I can run the engine. Obtained
some aluminium sheet in 1.5 mm and 1.2 mm. Cut and fitted
the scuttle from the 1.5 mm aluminium, used a friends folder to
get the bend in it, just need to complete a cover for the steering
The nose cone has been fastened on
the top chassis rails, the bottom fixings still to be done.
Started to tidy up where the vapour filter goes and the ESC-Hybrid
system. Will have to decide on battery size and tray for it
as the standard battery just fits on the scuttle area.
I have no real progress to
report. The wiring harness arrived from Premier wiring on
Monday 2nd and it must have taken me several
nights working out what is what, and how it goes together on my
car. Have started to get it fitted, but it's taking a long
time doing a bit here and there. Spent half an hour fitting
the alloys to the car to make it look like there has been a
change, but not worth posting another picture yet.
Still slow going at present. Have done the wiring
to the instrument panel, the relays, column switches, the
engine ECU and sensors, alternator and starter. The car will
start from the key, the instrument lights work as does the tacho,
could do with the radiator fan wired before I run the engine for
any period of time. Another four or five hours should see me
left with just the exterior lights to complete and to be honest
these will only be fitted when some of the body panels are
fitted. Will be ordering the prop shaft tomorrow, when that
arrives I can look at running the fuel, brake lines and wiring
loom down the prop-shaft tunnel.
14th March 2009
Late afternoon on the 13th, I had spoken to one of the guys at North West
Propshafts, gave the dimensions of what I required, size of
differential to prop-shaft flange, length from flange to gearbox
seal, type of gearbox (Type 9) etc. And was asked about the
hole centres in the flange as apparently there are two
types. Anyway I made a guess, then was asked about the
engine and expected BHP. Agreed a price and said on the phone I
would call in today with the old flange to confirm dimensions and
was expecting to have one made ready to collect during the
following week or even next Saturday.
I turned up said I had spoken the
previous day to find a shaft ready for me, all correct and ready
to take away. What can I say, service or what!
£94 plus VAT later and I was a happy chap. Fitted it
in place this evening and continued with a bit more wiring.
If you wish to contact me, please
E-mail by clicking on the following link and then remove the
© A Hodgson