Build Diary of a
Roadster (Kit Car)
Tube bender Projects
I have fitted 1.5 mm aluminium
plate in the front of the engine bay and have mounted the coil and
expansion tank on that. This makes up for the lack of wing
space normally found on the Sierra where such items would be
fitted. The top of the expansion tank is just under that of
the bonnet contour. I have now wired up the radiator fan,
the horn needs an extra relay as the horn only requires a positive
feed and my wiring loom is for a switched negative! Started
to chop down the instrument cluster so it can be fitted in the
I am still working on the car,
honest! I have welded some 25 mm by 2 mm hot rolled strip
into the transmission tunnel and fastened two fuel lines to this,
hopefully a good idea but need to centralise the gearbox as it is
slightly over the the right. I need to check gearbox
movement will not damage the pipes. Then fit the brake line
and fasten the wiring loom. Also working on the handbrake
cable and rear brakes at the moment. I bought a fitted a
Pipercross air filter to replace the old pan housing, the air temp
sensor has been fitted to the Pipercross base plate, but the oil
vapour valve is not an easy job so will take the rocker
breather into a catch tank. The vacuum feed to the valve has
been blocked and the idle jet adjusted using my old Gunson
I have also sliced the front off the speedo or instrument cluster
to make it flat. Bought and glued on some 2 mm Perspex so
that can be fitted into a dash when I make that. All getting
there slowly. Will add pictures when I remember to take
One step forward and two back! Finished fitting the rear
brake shoes, adjusters and handbrake cables. But later
realised the metal strip carrying the fuel lines is in the way of
gearbox movement, so pulling it all back out and starting
again. Could do with finding what the perforated strip was
used in the book, may save me some time. Must remember to
get a fuel sender, some rubber or neoprene strip for the fuel tank
and some antifreeze!, would be my luck we have a cold snap and
damage the engine.
Still not replaced the fuel pipes
yet, but have done some work on the pedal box. Have fitted
the clutch and accelerator cables to the pedals and included some
springs to stop the pedals falling forward. These are
secured via the stop bars on the bulkhead. Fitted a 6mm
threaded bar for the bake system and the floor mounted stop for
this. Now need to fit the pipe work and get the brakes
Trying to do one job at least when
ever I can in the evening. Tonight the tank was fitted,
rubber strip from Ebay and 30 mm wide by 3 mm aluminium strip used
to fasten it down. Now awaiting a fuel sender and that will
mean drilling and tapping the tank to fit that.
The fuel sender arrived, cut down
the float arm to suit the tank, drilled 6 off 4.2 mm holes and
tapped 5 mm thread. The tank is double skinned around the
sender hole for this purpose. Fitted the sender and added
the earth wire ready for completion of the wiring. Also
prepared two aluminium strips of 25 x 3 mm with holes every 100 mm
to have another go at running fuel pipes down the tunnel.
Job for another night perhaps.
A few days since last update, have
just about finished the fuel and brake lines down the tunnel and
fastened the wiring in there as well. Started to fit the
brake pipes to the rest of the car but need some more bits such as
3 way adapter, brake switch and the flexible hoses. Fitted
the front callipers and re-did the rear brake shoes as I have put
them on the wrong sides!!
The fuel lines are fastened every
100 mm. Using 4 mm screws and Ny-locks rather then rivets on
them. On the brake line I have done 200 mm centres and a
mixture of 4 mm screws and rivets. Hand brake cables are
fitted and now need to get some clamps or come up with a different
way of fastening them to the handbrake. The car will move
under it's own power but only as much as forward and reverse will
get me down and up the drive to the garage. No brakes
I have recently changed operating
system from Suse to LinuxMint. So updates a bit slow as I
try to do the same things as before the change.
Work has comprised of completing the braking system and making
hard work of it as I go. Hitting a few problems such as
wanting a hydraulic brake switch in metric 10 but buying 1/8" NPT,
still to be resolved. The last issue is the rear up-rights
get in the way of the flexible brake pipe and the pipe will just
not fit, and this is with quite thin braided pipe when compared to
The picture on the left shows the
problem where I can not get the threaded section to enter the hole
because there is no clearance. So thinking of adding a small
rigid pipe to a new bracket on the rear of the round section of
tube on the hub carrier, as in the mock-up.
The front flexible lines are in,
have used 470 mm from tip to tip on these, and I am hoping that
the two 420 mm pipes I also ordered can be used for the rears when
I fit the extra rigid pipework. (I should have asked for 520
12th April 2009
I welded small brackets for the extra pipework on the rear hubs,
also added a few more brackets on the rear chassis a bit closer to
the wheels and fitted the solid and flexible brake lines.
Should be OK now at the back end!
I got a brake switch with a 10 x
1.0 mm taper thread and put that into a T piece, when tightening
up to try and get a seal, I ended up cracking the T piece, when I
tried a new T, even with PTFE I could not get it to seal, pressure
on the pedal would always lead to fluid dripping out of the
threads. So plans to use the 1/8" NPT switch (Classic
Mini). Searching for an adapter starts.
17th April 2009
I have done the brakes at last, a
session on the lathe to turn up a brass bar, drill it out both
ends and tap for 10 x 1.0mm one end and 1/8" NPT at the
other. Then a small piece of copper tube and two male
connectors and job done.
Yes I will replace the tie rap
soon with a proper bracket or clamp.
Do the handbrake next.
21st April 2009
The handbrake is done, not that happy with it and will continue to
look for better ways to clamp the cables, might just make a better
balance bar for the cable adjustment, or preferably find a
crimping unit for 2 x 2.5 mm2 steel cable.
Cut and formed the rear cockpit
aluminium panel this
evening and trial fitted that, will pre-drill the unit, get some
more sealed rivets and glue gunk and fasten that in. I will
work on the transmission tunnel pieces but will have to wait unit
seats are fitted before completing the panels. I may well
fit floor stiffeners out of 19 x 19 mm box section, these to
fasten the drivers seat runners to.
I am very undecided what to use for seats at the present time,
basically because they are a major outlay and range from
£180 for Cobra copies to £250 for wide fibre glass
seats. I want to find someone local using both types before
22nd April 2009
Fastened the behind the seat panel in tonight, just realised
before I glued and riveted the panel, that I needed holes for the
diff bracket bolts, so you will notice some extra holes in the
panel. DUH, yes I could have had the nuts on that side but
if I wanted to use a socket set on the heads/ nuts I would have to
remove the panel. I am sure I can find blanks to cover!
Next quick job should be the
battery tray purchased from the bay.
23rd April 2009
Battery tray fitted. Simple, but will need new clamp for
battery or could foul bonnet, dam!
25th and 26th April 2009
Well I feel like these have been good days! Solved a seat
issue, such as which type do I buy? Fibreglass bucket seat,
Cobra style seat that I had been following on the bay or some
other. well it ended up being some other. I only have
one at the moment but another is on it's way to me, a Renault Scenic
rear centre seat, as put forward by a member on the Haynes web site,
good on ya!
I removed the existing clamps from the bottom slide rails and a bit
of plastic and I am left with two runners that will either bolt to
the floor or onto two braces welded to the chassis.
Approximate price of £30 each, yes I will have to sort out
matching covers, but at least both the wife and myself could drive
I have also been working on the dash panel, starting with a
cardboard cut out then transferring to aluminium and the rolling a
tube at the bottom to add the safe edge and adds a lot to rigidity.
27th April 2009
Bit more on the dash, cut out a rectangular hole and fabricated a
bracket to hold the bottom edge of the instrument cluster.
Stuck on carpet underlay foam to the front of the panel to provide
cushioning. Need to buy some 5 mm round head screws and if
possible wing nuts to hold the dash in place, the plan is to glue
the screws onto the plate, cover and then fasten the dash onto the
Initial mock up in just under-lay foam shown here: -
I have bought an exhaust silencer from the bay, this is one of the
"Great British Sports car" style ones, it is a stainless steel one
so should look OK when fitted. Need to get the manifold
adapter plate done.
29th April 2009
Covered the dash in leatherette, fitted back the steering column
fittings and wheel to get an idea, very basic, and yes pod is over
to left to see the instruments from the drivers seat without being
obstructed by the wheel. Should be good for test. I like
Have removed the covers off my second Scenic seat, the idea now is
to get them copied in the same leatherette and re-cover the seats
the second seat I purchased was all fabric.
30th May 2009
Roll bar started, bought some un-used plates for it from a forum
member. Used the band saw to get the correct angle at the base
of the roll bar, couple of magnetic clamps, tack welds. Then
welded around the bar on both ends, good start!
Need to get some 32 mm CDS tube to do the seatbelt fastenings and
2nd May 2009
Small amount of time in the garage today, bought and fitted some 40
x 5 mm flat bar to act as seat supports, cut, drilled and welded to
the chassis between the transmission tunnel and outer chassis rails,
as below: -
3rd May 2009
Had a long day in the workshop, running the milling machine and
cutting steel for the exhaust adapter plate, this started off 3/4
inch (19 mm) plate reduced to 17.25 mm after removing all the rust,
had done a cad drawing weeks earlier taking measurements from the
Escort manifold with a set of callipers, then transferring them into
the drawing software. When the cutting had been done and I had
de burred the metal I tried it against the engine block.
All eight, 8 mm bolts fit
into the block through the 8 mm holes, satisfying showing everything
I took pictures down at port height to show what further work I need
to do, not as bad as first thought needing only metal on the lower
edges cutting away, the exhaust gasket is higher then the ports by a
good 4.5 mm.
This simple paper profile will be used to
determine how much metal needs removing.
4th May 2009
I have milled several mm from the top of the plate so it will now
sit flush against the exhaust mating surface. I have also
attacked it with a electric power drill and a burr. It will
now match one side with the escort turbo manifold and on the other
with the 1.8 Ports, I am sure I could be neater!
But it will not be a problem with exhaust flow into the
manifold. Next stage is to make a flange to fit the single
header pipe flange and make up a section of tubing to go to my newly
7th May 2009
OK a few days since update. Have trimmed a corner or two from
the above adapter plate, not much reduction, but could always do
more if wanted. i have done the plate to go from the end of
the manifold branch into the downpipe as such. Just a piece of
5 or 6 mm steel drilled to match the T3 Gasket. The hole
should take an OD exhaust tube of 2.5 inch dia, this will be welded
in place, and from there get reduced to the 2 inch OD dia of
the exhaust system.
Have also been sourcing some 1 -1/4 inch OD 1/8 inch wall CDS tube
to finish the roll bar, should be able to pick up weekend if
lucky. Prices quoted ranged from £50 to £150 plus
9th May 2009
The better half is working to convert the cloth seat cover to
letherette, that is going well. I could not get the steel to
complete the roll bar, as I found they are not open Saturday!
Still working on the exhaust system, have changed plans several
times during the day, and in the end have used a piece of flexible
exhaust, a reducer and a 90 degree bend to come up with this simple
The plan was always to use exhaust wrap in the engine bay to reduce
heat in that area, now it will also serve as a cover and better
finish for my welding skills. Next step is to make fastenings
to support the exhaust system front and back, some rubber mounts and
mark another job done?
10th May 2009
Made bracket up for exhaust system, and bent part out of the way in
case I need it! The wife finished the first seat today, so
fitted the metal supports for the runners and fitted the seat.
I like it a lot and just need the other seat doing to match.
the two seat belt buckles have been removed from the base of the
seat, you may be able to see this from the pictures.
Last picture as it appeared on Ebay!
The exhaust system Must admit not sure if that can is IVA
friendly? But it sounds nice.
13th May 2009
Nothing to show for an update, but I am working on the roll
bar. I have fitted and welded up the crossbar and harness
mounts. Tonight I cut and formed the stays ready for
welding. Hope to have it finished by weekend if I do not run
out of Argoshield. Have on bought from the bay, exhaust wrap
and a type 9 gear stick. The stick will be shortened by about
3 inches, should make changes easier and keep it away from the
14th May 2009
OK! done the welding on the roll bar, had fun with shrinkage, but
thankfully only 2 mm overall as the end plates moved in due to the
heat in the cross bar. The stays were initially tack welded in
plate then the assembly removed and fully welded up. Movement
on them was very minimal and everything fitted again after, here are
a few pictures. If Saturday is sunny then the car will move
out of the garage to enable me to clean up around it and I might get
chance to take some overall shots with out all the clutter. I
can sit in it and go brumm brumm!
17th May 2009
Work has started on the second seat, found the frame
suffering from surface rust. So use of the wire brush on the
angle grinder and soon removed all loose rust and back to bare
metal. The strange thing was this frame was never painted
unlike the other seat, can only assume it was a cost cutting
exercise. Anyway cleaned and sprayed with zinc paint to stop
it rusting as easily.
Whilst the seat is out of the drivers position I started on the
aluminium panels for the transmission tunnel. I need some more
pieces so only managed the drivers side and the top around the
handbrake and gear stick. I will have to fit edging trim
to give it smooth edges but it still looks reasonable at the moment
just placed in position.
18th to 21st May 2009
Purchased a 2 by 1 metre sheet of 1.2 mm aluminium to do the rear
panel, Used a roll of paper from a craft shop to make a template for
the back end of the car and added 1 inch all the way around for cut
and bend tolerance. This was the result
The shape was then cut out of the panel and the work
started to fix it to the rear of the car.
To say the panel was perfect would be wrong, but I am very please
with it, the first corner I did could have been better on the inside
turn overs, but did improve as I did the rest, It is quite
difficult to do on your own so suggest you get assistance when doing
The following evening, still light and without the green paper, we
24th May 2009
The second seat is finished and both fitted, the transmission cover
is finished, barring the gear stick and handbrake gaiters. It
has been a nice warm sunny day.
Time for a bit of a break from the build for a few days. May
start again next weekend, I have front and rear wings/arches to
fit. A passenger foot rest to make and fit and the passenger
foot well firewall to cut and fit, might see if I have enough 1.6 mm
steel floor plate left for that. Make brackets for the front
headlights, buy and fit rear lights, the list still goes on, and on,
and on, and on!
If you wish to contact me, please
E-mail by clicking on the following link and then remove the
© A Hodgson