Build Diary of a Roadster (Kit Car)


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29th & 30th May 2009

Had a length of time away from the build, only for the stay in the tin tent to end early due to rain!  So came home and did a bit more on the car, and had much better weather to boot!  Hard to see any difference to previous pictures, but have done the passenger foot well bulkhead, wired the horn, spent money at an electrical wholesalers on bags of electrical terminals and P Clips so tided the wiring in the engine bay.  Fitted the exhaust rap and finally made a big metal P clip to hold the brake switch still.

indulge1.jpg indulge2.jpg

Yes I know a lot larger pictures, but indulge me.  I have two 4 point harnesses and the rear wheel arches on order.  Next job I think has to be the front wings, so need to make the stays.


31st May 2009

What a glorious day for the last one in May.  Well I set about working on the wing stays and it took all day for me.  Did not work from the book on these as I could bend the 19 mm tube in one go, this meant less welding and distortion and because of less welding should perhaps be a bit stronger.
The first picture is the offside stay on the garage floor, if it looks peculiar it is just that I removed the shadows from the picture so it stood out better.

wingstay1.jpg wingstay2.jpg wingstay3.jpg

For now I have just rested the wings on top of the stays for the next two pictures, still undecided how I will fasten them on.

wingstay4.jpg wingstay5.jpg


7th June 2009

A very slow week, with several one step forward and two back periods as the jobs have been completed.  On a positive note, I am now a lot happier with the handbrake.  I replaced the standard Ford crescent shaped cable linkage with a straight bar, machine to have two adjusters one for each  cable.  It is allows much better setting of tension in the handbrake  which now starts to be applied from 3 clicks.

On one step backward, the wing stays, were removed and a section on both sides ground out of the way of the front brake callipers.  This after the realisation that as the pads wear, the calliper moves inward!  Now both back on and the wings bolted through.

The second step backward.  Made a lighting bar to hold the headlamps and indicators, goes just behind the top of the front frame.  I dea was to use the indicators to cover the sharp edges of the headlamp mount.  Could only get square ones at the time. but OK try them and fitted well.
Only to be told they would not pass IVA/SVA because the viewing angle is not good enough. 

So after consulting the manual, I found that each front indicator as well as meeting set minimum and maximum heights and distances from sides, must also be viewed 80 degrees outward and 45 degrees inward from the front.  So much for just using the Westfield site as reference. 

The picture below give an idea of what I mean.

front3.jpg front2.jpg

front4.jpg

This really means the indicators will have to be mounted on the front nose cone on stalks to the sides, which is something I did not want to do, or make stalks and bring the indicators forward on the existing bracket.  Ho hum!


11th June 2009
A few days since update, it is amazing how a small setback can mean you do not feel like working on the car for a couple of days.
I decided to look forward, so stuck some paper together and set it over the engine to form a bonnet.  Once in place and taped down, I pressed down over the edges leaving an indent showing the required shape for the bonnet.

bonnet2.jpg bonnet1.jpg rearlights1.jpg

I also bought a set of lights for the back end of  the car, one of the to do jobs soon.


13th June 2009

Picked up a 1.6 CVH rocker cover to replace the standard one, it gives a bit more clearance under the bonnet line.  Now on hold as I need to get fasteners to keep the bonnet in place and rubber strip to lift it about 10mm from the scuttle lip to bring the aluminium level with the scuttle and nose cone.

bonnet3.jpg

The front indicators have been moved forward by fitting modified table legs!  A test run of the engine on idle does not cause them any vibration so there should be no issues.  The indicators should now be visible from the required angles.

front6.jpg front5.jpg engine3.jpg

The last picture is looking down on the engine area, I could do with some form of graphic on top of that engine cover!

Tomorrows plan is to make the radiator grill, then may consider fitting the lights to the rear panel, still not sure if it looks better with lights on there or the rear wings.


16th June 2009

Text only update tonight, very little done over the weekend, called in at an auto jumble in Garstang and bought some edging trim for the cycle wings and for the bonnet, some closed cell foam strip,  1/2" square, again for the bonnet to hold it away from the fibreglass and a fun rear number plate, nothing fancy just has BOF 3 on it!  Made the front grill out of 8 mm aluminium tube, but not sure if I will use it.

Tonight I have been cutting down the light pods to hold rear fog and reversing lights.  These are cut at an angle of 9 degrees to keep them vertical when bolted to the rear panel.  Anyone watching me do this on my milling machine, using bits of wood, my hands and a few wood screws, would have entered me for the Darwin Awards.  Luckily I left the garage with all fingers attached. 

Came to a major decision!  I can not fit, the rear wheel arches or bonnet without the side panels being fitted.  Without the wheel arches the rear light clusters can not be fitted, with out lights fitted I can not finish wiring.  So must put thought into side panels.


18th June 2009

Made mind up, bought a 2.5 x 1.25 metres by 1.2 mm thick aluminium panel this evening, had it chopped in two length ways and brought it home in the car, just!  The scuttle has been taken off tonight ready to offer up the panel, mark it out and cut to shape with over lap for folds top and bottom.  It is covered one side in black plastic to help prevent scratches.  Cost £64 plus VAT which I did not think was that bad, it will not do the full length of the side, but will be jointed just behind the front wishbones, allowing for a removable piece to be fitted in and around the wishbones.

scuttleoff1.jpg sidepanel1.jpg

Last picture below is of my home made radiator grill made over the weekend, I have been given some steel mesh, so will make a comparison and decide which one to use.

grill1.jpg


19th June 2009

Ok started by cutting the aluminium pannel down to 224 cm to get from top of rear wheel arch to just behind front wishbones, cut a small triangular piece out to get it to fit around the rear wishbones then clamped to the side of the car.

Pushed in against panel to keep it close to the chassis and used a permanent marker to draw lines along the chassis edge top and bottom, ended up as shown below.  Next stage was to use 25 mm masking tape from inside edge of line outwards.

bodypanel1.jpg bodypanel2.jpg bodypanel3.jpg bodypanel4.jpg 

Using the masking tape means I now have approx 25 mm to fold over the edges.  Next use air shears to cut of the excess metal to leave a side panel!

Tomorrow I will use this to make the other side panel, making sure I do it the correct way round of course to keep the plastic cover on the outside.

I hope it works, I know it is not as per book method as it goes all the way to the top join with the rear panel and folding on the arc may be a bit of an issue, but I still have an option to trim that edge back.

22nd June 2009

It has been a weekend of hard hork and some more this evening.  The panels are on the car, still in black coat and have put the scuttle back on the car with wheel and dash.  A lot of bashing with rubber mallets, drilling for rivets, de burring then refit and fasten up.  Tonight put a pear shaped (sort of ) hole in the side panel for the exhaust to pass through and will refit the exhaust when I can.  I will work on the final pieces of the sides to cover the front suspension area.  The plan is to make one out of cardboard then duplicate it twice in aluminium and fit.  Will need to remove a damper and spring to allow free movement of a front wheel.


sidepanel2.jpg sidepanel3.jpg


23rd June 2009

A bit further each night is the aim.  Spent most of the evening trying to slice down a length of 8 mm diameter copper pipe to form the edge protection around the exhaust.  There must be a better way then an air powered disk grinder with a 1 mm thick disk.  Anyway managed to achieve some sort of result, this is another piece to go on the list that may be improved later.  Took the protective plastic off, probably a bad idea!

sidepanel4.jpg sidepanel5.jpg Also working on a new front grill, using diamond shape mesh.


24th June 2009

Just an update now the adhesive on the grill has set.  The side fill panels are also underway.

grill2.jpg


25th June 2009

Have taken the front suspension off, disconnected the steering arm, remove the brake pipe, just removed the lot so I could make the small side panel, this is the nearside undergoing the work, offside still to be done.  Hope to have the side panels all done over the weekend and get it back together again. 

sidepanel6.jpg

Down side, the wings stays are fowling the steering arms, especially when the suspension is at the end of its downward travel.  This means rework to the bottom sections of the stays.

28th June 2009

wingstay6.jpg

Re made the bottom ends of the wing stays, so they no longer hit against the steering arms.  I spent a bit of time with the exhaust clamp, grinding the upturned edges to remove them and end up with a flatter finish.  Re fit the brake pipes and bled the system of air, removed all the plastic trim left on the side panels and it looks like we are getting there!

general8.jpg general6.jpggeneral7.jpg


29th June 2009

Started on the bonnet, placed the paper template on the aluminium sheet, marked out and cut with air shear.  Note the two bending jigs.  This is quite difficult and really could do with being higher off the ground and a few more hands, but you get the idea.

bonnet4.jpg bonnet5.jpg bendingjig1.jpg bendingjig2.jpg

Now it is just a case of bending the panel over the jigs in the correct place, doing a test fit,  bend it again, another test fit, bend again, test fit and repeat until you are happy.  I will get back to it tomorrow night!  This one will need all the marks polishing out.

testfit1.jpg testfit2.jpg

I have put masking tape on the edges of the nose cone and scuttle to help stop scratches from the aluminium sheet.


1st July 2009

IVA/SVA Compliant catches arrived for the bonnet, so fitted them this evening.  It is not a perfect job, but looks good and I will improve the bonnet when as I fit a few extra braces for the bonnet edges to hold against.  Still have to cut out the hole for the air filter.  Two pictures below:

bonnet7.jpg bonnet6.jpg


4th July 2009

Mounted 'U' Channel to the inner edges of the bonnet, put in the hole for the air filter and fitted a bit of trim.  Also finished the cut down type 9 gear stick and fitted that with it's trim.

gettingthere4.jpg gettingthere5.jpg modgearstick.jpg


12th July 2009

Time for an update.  The gear stick now has a home made cover and trim ring, the speedo drive arrived earlier, so has been fitted, getting the cir clip to fit was a real pain, had to clean out the slot before it would lock in place.

general10.jpg speedodrive.jpg

Have also been working on the rear boot lid.  Cut this out of a sheet of ply and then covered with leatherette.  Have sprayed the roll bar in black and fitted all together.  The normal bolt heads seen here will be replaced by black cap head screws soon.  I managed to get some Gates, 2 inch (51 mm) internal diameter fuel filler hose, lots of edging trim and adhesive trim to cover sharp edges. such as holes for the wishbones, back of seat belt mounts, wing stays etc.

general9.jpg general11.jpg

The fog, reversing and numberplate lights are also on the back of the car ready for the wings.

The small jam jar fuel supply has now gone and the tank piped up to  supply the engine.  Fingers crossed, no leaks so far.  Next to do is the lid of the boot, I have wing mirrors on order and my paperwork has been sent to DVLA to start the process for VIN number.


26th July 2009

I have not done much but little bits here and there.  The boot has a lid but needs a lock and there is no storage area yet!  I have the date for the DVLA inspection and hopefully all goes well that will be Tuesday the 28th July 2009.  This is just an inspection to obtain the chassis or VIN number.  Hope to do a few more things with the car when out such as weigh it on front and back axles, get the steering checked and camber front and back wheels and also if time permits get the breaks and emissions tested.

I have tried to learn a bit of metal spinning to assist with the IVA test standard.  This is for the exhaust.  Below are pictures of the leading edge of the exhaust system, which certainly would not pass, so having made a former I spun an aluminium disk over it and trimmed to size and fitted it.  It is not perfect but a lot better then original and if I can improve on the technique will do one for the trailing section.

exhaust5.jpg exhaust6.jpg exhaust7.jpg exhaust8.jpg

The exhaust bracket has also been redone bringing the silencer out around 15 mm from the bodywork.


28th July 2009

The inspection by DVLA went OK today, took the car up the VOSA site at at Kirkham a few minutes later I was ready to leave, this was a check for donor parts in the build such as engine, gearbox, back axle etc. and that the engine number matches that of the donor V5.  All seemed to be well and should indicate an age related plate.

Managed a few other things while out.  Had the brakes tested and all OK with rear brakes and handbrake, front brake individually will ramp up and lock the wheels, but when done together the nearside is down 32% on the offside.  So I read that as the nearside is lacking braking effect and would tend to make the car pull to the right under heavy breaking.  That is something I will have to look at, as all parts are new, I will need a bit of head scratching first.  Last to be checked at the garage was the exhaust emissions, and that was clocked at 1.8% Co, so a smile for that.

Near home I went to a weighbridge, the car is 640 Kg on its own and 740 Kg with me in it, (FB).  With me still in it, I asked them to give me front and rear axle weights and had 340 Kg front and 380 Kg rear.  Yes that only adds up to 720 kg.  It turns out the weighbridge, meant for heavy goods wagons has a resolution of  20 Kg.  So estimate the car is around 630 Kg has a balance of around 47% front 53% rear.

The weather was less then kind, I made it to VOSA dry but as I  left the heavens opened and continued to rain through the brake testing and weighing, I gave up trying to keep the car covered.

trailer1.jpg

It has been suggested that the VIN number should take around a week to arrive and to ring if I have not heard anything by then.

29th July 2009

I used an afternoon in the workshop making jigs to test the camber of the rear wheels.

camber1.jpg

They are basically just T pieces with a stand for vertical laser lines made as accurate as my digital calliper would allow.  They fit on to the rim of the 15 inch wheels and allow me to project a line and compare it to a vertical plum line.  The rear camber is set as close as I could get it to 1 degree negative on both sides and I will do the front wheels when I can.  Then the amount of toe in can be set and the front sections covered up ready for IVA.

30th July 2009

Letter from DVLA in the post this morning with the VIN number, starts off with SABTVR then numbers.  I cut the number into a flat length of steel and welded this to the chassis on the right hand side as requested.  Still have to get a VIN plate made up for under the bonnet. vin1.jpg
This was then sealed all around with Sikaflex and finally sprayed black

Did the front wheel camber as well this evening here are a couple of pictures showing the basic set-up:

camber2.jpg camber3.jpg

The stick is there keeping the indicator pressed tight against the wheel allowing me to go to the garage door and take measurements.  For general interest, over a height of 1145 mm, 20 mm offset is very close to 1 degree.

So the next thing will be to set up the amount of Toe-in on the steering, lock it all up and cover the required parts.


5th August 2009

Did the front wheel Toe-in today and have covered the parts with bright yellow heat shrink, Ugh!  There is self centring on the steering so that is good.  I have replaced the front disk pads in an effort to sort out the imbalance on the brakes but will not know if cured until back on rollers.

Have added side repeaters, a lock to the boot lid.  Still no boot though!  Last few things to do awaiting the wings are:
Get some mirrors on it, simple covers for the adjustable spring rings and the mushroom second securing.


6th August 2009

Did the second fixing on the mushrooms today, something I had been putting off for some time.

As the mushrooms are only held in by pinch force, it is considered normal to have a second method of securing them.  Many will drill a hole through the steel casting and tap the mushroom for a M6 bolt.  I did not like this idea, to me, it puts a hole in a highly stressed part and may lead to fractures in the future.  So I came up with an alternative clamp arrangement that I hope meets approval.

In the front hub there is a squarish void, as seen in this picture. upright1.jpg


This gave me an idea of making a hook style clamp arrangement, that would lock into here and bolt into the mushroom, the next picture gives a better explanation of what I mean. upright2.jpg

The small hole will let any water drip out (was really there from the lathe work), the larger hole is clearance for an M8 bolt.
2ndfix1.jpg This view shows the bottom clamp, turned to fit inside the mushroom!

These are handed so two made up and more welding to beef-up the clamp.  The top of the mushroom has two holes, both off centre.  One is tapered to match the Transit drop link, the other threaded m8.

2ndfix2.jpg 2ndfix3.jpg 2ndfix4.jpg

The m8 bolt pulls the mushroom and clamp together against the upright collar and stops the mushroom from coming out of the upright should the pinch bolt come loose.

Of course, the idea is it never comes loose, so use of split washers and thread lock on the m8 and m12 bolts certainly helps.

2ndfix5.jpg


4th September 2009

The rear arches arrived this week, but up to now due to the weather I have not had chance to fit them.  But at least I tried a mock up with some 3 inch spacers on top of the tyres.

reararch1.jpg reararch2.jpg

During the wait, and still to complete, is a car trailer to tow the roadster behind the normal family car, it is getting there slowly.

trailer2.jpg trailer3.jpg


6th September 2009

A break in the rain has given me a chance to do a bit more.  The trailer now has the sections complete  in between the wheels and mudguards are fitted, just a bit of paint to finish the car deck, service the breaks, new tyres and then it will be ready for use.

The rear arches have been fastened on, six bolts on each side should hold them both in place.  I need to purchase some 'P' trim to finish the edge between the arch and bodywork, but it's looking OK to me.

reararch3.jpg reararch4.jpg

Rear light clusters and reflectors are next.


13th September 2009

The rear lights are on and finally wired, will eventually get some form of wedge shaped spacer to align them vertically.  The mirrors are on and I truly think that the build is now coming to an end.  I will fit the decal for the brake master cylinder, edge trim the bottom of the front suspension springs and locking rings and ask a few friends to have a look over the car for their advice prior to IVA.


14th September 2009

'Pushed' the car out of the garage swept up, and I took a few pictures.  The forms will now be sent to apply for the IVA test.  I am not saying the car is finished, will it ever be finished?  But at is at a stage of close to it!  The lights all work, the horn bip's, I am generally happy with it.

gotthere1.jpg gotthere2.jpggotthere3.jpg




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© A Hodgson