Sunday 15 April 2012

Spanner check, broken exhaust bracket and some more trim

I was returning from a run out yesterday when I started to hear a knocking and scrapping noise.  When I finally found somewhere to pull over, I found that the exhaust mounting bracket had come away from its fixings.  I had no option but to continue home and took it very carefully for the last 10 miles or so.

Once home I was able to survey the damage.  This is what it looked like.

If you look closely enough, you can see that the rivnuts have pulled out and some of the aluminium has broken away.  On closer inspection, I could see that when the rivnuts were fitted, they only secured themselves to the aluminium body panel that was resting on the chassis rail and not in to the chassis rail itself.  This wasn't strong enough to take the abuse that an exhaust bracket is likely to give it.

In the picture below you can see one rivnut still attached to some body work!

The resolution to this was to cut away the excess body work to fully reveal the chassis rail underneath.  I need to get and fit 2 new M8 rivnuts and then bolt it all back together.

So the moral of this story is to make sure that the rivnuts are clamped up against something solid and not just body work!

Something I had had sat in the garage since collecting the car was the trim piece that runs along the top of the rear panel and hides the boot cover edge and the edge of the carpet.  I got this from GBS and thought it was an aluminium one and was going to cover it in either leatherette or carbon wrap.  When I took the plastic wrap off it, I found it was a stainless steel, so I decided to leave it as it was.  It is simply bonded in place at either end with Sikaflex.

Here is the finished job with the harnesses fitted back on.

I also went round the car and did a spanner check.  I have done 250 miles now so it needs checking over.  There were no major finds, in fact most nuts and bolts were still as tight as the day they were fitted.  Even the nut in the driving seat!!!

Monday 9 April 2012

Fixes and Tweaks

So, the car has been home less than a week, and I have already started to do some fixes and some tweaks.  First thing to change was the front number plate for a smaller one.  The reason is simple.  Where I live, there is a small ramp leading up to the garage and the bigger plate catches it, this one won't.  I know I will have to swap it back for MOT in 3 years time, but never mind.  Hopefully it won't catch the attention of the boys in blue as, strictly speaking, it is  not legal!

Next job was the Sat Nav.  To be perfectly honest, I thought I was being clever, building the Sat Nav in to the centre consul and it looked pretty good.   However, there is no point having it there if it can't get a GPS signal!!  There are options.  You can purchase a re-radiating booster that acts as the GPS aerial and the Sat Nav then picks up the signal from that.  It means something else plugged in to the 12v system and I would have to find some way of hiding the cables so it could get the GPS signal but not look naff.  It is an option that I can re-visit at some point, but in the mean time, I have had to move it.  I have made up a simple blanking plate to cover the hole.

The Sat Nav is now attached to the windscreen, the same way most people do.  However, I don't like trailing wires, so I have run the power cable down behind the dashboard to keep it neat and tidy.  Whilst in there, I replaced an earth cable that had come off the rev counter, so the back light on that now works as it should. I wonder how that got through the IVA?

Next job was the speedo sensor.  I had used 2 magnets, as supplied by ETB, for the pick up sensor, but it turns out that ETB had sent me a Hall Effect sensor, and they don't like magnets.  They will work, but they prefer the bolt head method.  The effect I was seeing was that the speedo worked OK up to an indicated 70mph, but if I went above that, the speedo shot up to 130mph, which I clearly wasn't doing.

Anyway, the fix was to remove the 2 magnets and then move the sensor to act against the 4 bolt heads holding the prop shaft to the diff, thus creating the required pulses.  I had made up a bracket to hold the sensor over the magnets so had to do something with that.

This is the way it was.

This is what it looks like now.  It is not pretty but it was the best I could do in the tight confines of space!! I was able to get in to the mount and use a pair of mole grips to bend one of the sides down in to the right place.  Some careful adjustment of the height of the sensor is then required so that when the prop turns, the LED in the sensor lights up as it passes the bolt head.

Next job was to re-calibrate the speedo.  You can get full instructions from ETB on how to do this, but the number you need for the pulses is 013021.  I managed to get it to 013020 as for some reason it didn't allow me to change the last digit.  Next job will be to get the car out on the road and try and test it against the speed showing on the Sat Nav, which is another reason for mounting it where I have.

Whilst the car had been sat in the garage, the rear number plate decided to part company with the rear panel.  It was held on with double sided tape but the wet weather on the journey back had got in and it had come unstuck.  I was lucky it waited until it was home to fall off!!  I have now held it in place with a couple of self tappers, although I might go a step further and add rivnuts.

Working down my list of jobs, next was the ride height.  As mentioned above, there is a small ramp leading up to my garage area and the car bottomed out as I drove in.  Looking under the car, I can see that I have about 4/5mm of thread on the seat mounting bolts, so the first task is to save my self that by cutting them off.  The pictures are a bit blurred, but you can see the before and after.

With these duly cut (which was not easy with the car already being so low to the ground), I moved on to the actual ride height.  The car is set up at the factory as 120mm from the floor to the lower chassis rail at the front wishbone and 130mm to the same point just in front of where the rear wing meats the bottom of the car.  Checking this, it appears to be at 110mm and 120mm, so would appear to have settled a bit.

I found an old bike C spanner and was able to turn the the suspension adjustment ring.  I didn't take exact measurements, but it appears that 1 full revolution on the spring, raises the height by about 2mm.  I did 4 turns either side, so the back is now at about 128/130mm.  I still need to do the front but I need to wait for a proper C spanner as the bike one is not really suitable.  E-bay to the rescue, although I will have to wait.

Stone Guards

I am really upset that the nice new paint work has been pitted with little stone chips on the leading edges of the rear wings.  The number is quite amazing in such a small amount of time.  I need to consult with my paint expert to see it is is worth treating them first or just adding the stone guards I have had made.

I have also ordered some clear vinyl paint protection material, to try and help the paintwork last a bit longer.

More fixes will follow as I do them.

Wednesday 4 April 2012

IVA Fixes

IVA Fixes

I have been asked if I can detail the fixes that the factory have made for me to get it through the IVA process.  First off let me say that Simon at GBS was brilliant.  He does all the IVA work for GBS, with help from the other guys and has, to date, put through around 70 cars and works closely with the testers at the Nottingham test centre, so what he doesn't know about  the test isn't worth knowing.

I would also add that as long as you build for the IVA and not for yourself, and have a PDF copy of the IVA manual to refer to when ever you are in doubt, you won't go far wrong.  If that doesn't help, and the blogs and forums can't help, ring the factory.  They want you to pass and be on the road as much as you do, it is not in their interest to have part built cars in garages.

So here are the fixes:

1. Fit IVA compliant steering wheel - remove after test - the old Sierra one will do
2. Fit IVA compliant wing mirrors - remove after test.  My mirrors will be fitted to the windscreen.  You must have the correct field of vision behind you (see the manual).
3. Fit centre mirror - remove after test as you really can't see much through it.
4. Mark heads of bolts not fitted with a visible locking device to confirm they have been fitted with Locktite.  Best to use paint or a permanent marker pen, as long as it is clearly marked.  You may get away with TipEx but as this is not really permanent, it may be best to avoid it unless you know the test centre will allow it.
5. Fit headlamp bolt protection - You can see there is a nut cover and some tubing to protect this.  The actual fitting rod could also be cut shorter to help here.  You can also see the mounting bracket trim going all the way round the end of the bracket.  Doesn't look nice, but has to be done.

6.  Apply some extra trim to the rear panel as you can see on the corner.

7. Apply extra protection to the wing stay bracket. nut covers to the flexible brake pipes.

8. A small amount of trim to a square edge on the callipers, because that is radius tested too!  NB:  Not all calipers will needs this.

9.  The red and black fuel pipes were too long and needed shortening so there was more flexibility to secure them and route them correctly.
10.  Some of the pipes at the rear of the car needed to be secured to IVA standards.  For example, do not cable tie the brake pipe to the suspension arms.  You can use a cable tie round the suspension arm, then pass the cable tie through some tubing and then finally attach the brake cable.  It means it is attached but has some movement to it.

Same with the fuel pipes.  They need to be secure but have some movement.

11.  Added some armour to the indicator wires and bonded the wires to the inside of the  nose cone so they don't touch the radiator.

As for the non IVA fixes, Simon found a few other things that should be watched out for.

1. I had wired the starter motor up wrong and had incorrectly wired the earth. Rookie mistake!
2. The steering rack was too low and the suspension bracket was digging in to the off side gaiter.  If you use the standard steering rack clamps that GBS supply, this shouldn't be an issue, but you need to be able to move the steering rack to adjust the setup.
3. The suspension needs re-shimming.  The washers I have used as spacers are not big enough as the need to cover the face of the neoprene bushes to help prevent them wearing out.
4.  Also make sure all bolts are long enough to protrude several threads beyond the locking nuts.
5.  Watch the spacing on the pedals.  The newer pedals have been re-designed to give a bit more space between them.

I will add any more if I remember them.