Sunday 22 May 2011

Rear Panel Part 3

Before I started to look at the rear panel again, I thought I would tackle a couple of little jobs.  The first was the pedal box.  This needed 6 rivnuts fitting to enable the cover to be fitted and removed as required.  It was a simple process as can be seen in the images below.

And with the top fitted in place.  

This all still needs fitting to the car, but I can't do that until the scuttle is in place and I don't want to do that until the engine is in as there is a lot more access without the scuttle fitted.

Also, whilst the rear panel if off, I thought I would just tidy up the wiring a bit so used some P clips to secure the wiring to the chassis rail.

I also had a look at the boot panels, just to see how they would fit.  3 are OK but 2 just don't seem right.  I might take them back on my factory visit, just in case they are the wrong ones.

So now back to the saga of the rear panel.  After trial fitting and getting some advice from some other Zero builders, the next stage was to remove the dry fitted rear panel and start to finally put it together.  Between the main panel and the U shape former (for want of a better description), you need to add some 'tadpole' beading.  It is called this because if you look at it side on it looks a bit like the head and tail of a tadpole.  Anyway, this needs fitting and drilling and then the whole lot carefully riveting together.  I worked from the middle outwards, alternating sides, to try and keep it all as neat and tidy and flat as possible.  I don't think it looks too bad.  It will all get covered over with a tonneau cover later but that is no excuse for doing a poor job.

This is later in the day when I came to dry fit it  .... again.  Expect to fit it and remove it several times during the process until you are ready to take the final plunge to bond and rivet it to the chassis.  I think this is the fourth or fifth time it has been on the car!!

The last stage is to drill all the required holes in the chassis so it can be bonded and riveted in place.  This is where my day came to a halt as the 3.2mm drill bits have finally given up on me and it was too late to get to the DIY store to get some more.

I have another trip to the he factory planned soon for some more parts and to get answers to lots of questions that are building up.  I will probably hold off from finishing the rear panel until after the visit, just in case I have missed anything.

Now this is really where a proper build manual would be invaluable.  As mentioned earlier in a post, I once got part way through the build of a Westfield and there was a brilliant build manual with that.  So come on GBS, pull your fingers out, you have a great car here that is let down by the lack of a build manual. 

Thursday 5 May 2011

Rear Panel Part 2

In my last post, I had just reached a point where I had an issue with the rear panel as it was not fitting correctly.  A quick phone call to Richard at the factory and all became clear.  During the welding process, the heat can cause the stay arms to move slightly.  They need a little gentle persuasion upwards with some kind of lever.  I used a 1 metre length of 1" x 1" tube rested under the rear cross member and applied a little upwards movement.  They both had to come up about half an inch.  Once I had done this it all started to fit a bit better, but still not brilliantly.

The next stage was to start to put the thing together properly, but I didn't want to rivet it all together just yet so I use self tapping screws.  Getting some nice clean bends and corners was just a case of taking my time and putting in 1 screw at a time, then bending the panel round a bit more, lining it up, clamping, drilling and adding the next screw.  The picture below shows the progress.

I still haven't gone the full length of the sides as I need to be able to get the panel on and off at the moment.  This is the view from the back with both sides done.

Next thing to tackle was the bottom of the sides.  Again I have only used self tapping screws to hold this together. 

This is the view from the inside.

There is still a way to go on this, but it is getting there and now the bottom of the panel is in place and lined up with the chassis at the back.  Patience is the order of the day with this panel and I have just been doing a little after work each day and not rushing it.

Monday 2 May 2011

Stoneleigh, the Wiper Motor and the Rear Panel (part 1)

In my last post I mentioned that I bought an engine.  The day after getting it home, I had to go and hire an engine hoist to get it out of the car.  It took about 5 minutes.  It is amazing how easy things are when you have the right tools for the job!  I also managd to find a type company that would fit the tyres to the wheel and balance them.  The main tyre companies won't fit tyres for you that you haven't bought from them.  As you can see in the picture below, the new wheels look really nice.

Sunday was spent at the National Kit Car Show at Stoneleigh.  It was a glorious day and apart from the entrance fee and some lunch, I managed to keep my wallet firmly in my pocket!

Bank holiday Monday and another glorious day.  First I had to remove the brake callipers as I realised they were both for the nearside meaning that when fitted to the offside, the calliper was upside down.  I will need to take them back to the factory next time I go for parts so they can be exchanged for a correctly matched and 'handed' set.  I also decided it would be good to get the car down on to its wheels and get it out of the garage so I would have some room to work.

The initial intention was just to move the car out so I could sweep the garage floor and have a tidy up, but I ended up having a go at the rear panel.  This is the panel that probably causes the most amount of worry amongst builders so I did approach it with a certain amount of apprehension.  First task was to de-burr all the aluminium where it had been laser cut.  This was the same process as for other panels earlier in the build.  It takes about an hour or so with some fine files to clean it all up and then the next process is to bend over all the tabs.  Again this is the same process as I used with the rear crescent in-fill panels.  I used a small piece of right angle strip which I clamped to the bench and then bent up each tab against it.  You have to do them one by one so it is not a quick job.

This is the finished panel with all the tabs bent over.

Next job was to fit the large U shaped panel that forms the shape of the top of the rear panel.  I am lucky as on the later kits, this is all ready drilled with the holes for the rear frame stays so make this bit easier to fit.  This is dry fitted to the inside edge of the panel and this is then used to make the shape of the rear panel.

Once this is done the panel is put on the floor and there is nothing left to do but put the bend in it.  You could go and have a cup of tea first, but you still have to make the bends!  The advice I was given was to hold what is going to be the side of the panel on the floor and then lift the rest of the panel up to form the bend.  Here you can see the bend on the panel.

Once there was an approximate shape in place, I thought I would trial fit it to the car.  This is where I hit problems.  When the panel was fitted to the rear stays, the sides would not fit over the side infill panels as they should.

I decided not to force the issue at this stage and have fired off an e-mail to the factory with some images to get their help.  I'll add part 2 when I know more about how this should all fit.

This left me some time so I decided to fit the wiper assembly to the scuttle.  This is a fairly straight forward task.  The only thing that you have to do is to put a bend in the tube that holds the spring type mechanism that makes the wipers work.  You also have to cut this to fit between the two wiper boxes and also after them.  These need to be flared so they don't move.

This is the finished install from the inside of the scuttle.

And this is from the other side.

It is all starting to take shape now and I really feel some good progress has been made.