Friday 9 November 2012

The Upgrades Begin - Lighting

Since the last post, I have had presents!! The first parts to turn up were the Dominator headlamps.  I like the look of these smaller 4 inch units as opposed to 7 inch ones which I think are just a little too big.  This is all subjective, of course, and other people may disagree.  Hey, that is fine, it is what makes our cars so unique.

The next arrival was the mini indicators (not from a Mini but mini in size).  Here are the items laid out ready for fitting.

The next items to arrive were the new shock absorbers (or dampers).  These are the new ones that have been designed by GBS, working with Dampertech (  They are nitron filled and look the mutts!!

Anyway, I had a rare day off work and as the weather wasn't really conducive to a drive, I thought I may as well get on with the upgrades.  First job of the day way to get some head light markings from the old lights, so I would have something to line up the new ones with.  This was a simple task of shining the dip beam pattern on to the garage door and then put some masking tape where the line of the beams are.  This will at least give me a good starting point for the new lights.  I can take the car to get the lights properly aligned later.

So it was off with the bonnet and the nose cone first.

Then it was off with the old 7 inch lights.

I wanted to make use of the existing wiring loom as this included headlight and side light wiring.  It was a simple task of removing it from one light unit and adding it to the next.  It took a couple of attempts to get it right as far as the 4 way connector to the loom was concerned.  I initially only had main beam and nothing else, but a quick look at the GBS wiring diagram and I was on the right track, but not before I had blown the side light bulb!  A quick trip to the local motor factors and that was sorted.  I plugged the new light in and checked all the lighting functions and as they say, the jobs a good 'un.  I then repeated the process for the other side.  I won't actually fit the lights on to the car until some other jobs have been completed.  It stops them being knocked and also help with access.

I then moved on to the front indicators.  First job was to remove the old indicators.  This is when I noticed that there was some slight cracking and crazing in the fibreglass where they were fitted.  I think this is caused by the extra weight they carry and the extension bars causing them to bounce up and down a bit.  Not a lot I can do about this without having the nose cone repaired and re-painted, and that is not possible at the present time.

When fitting the new, very light weight, smaller units, I added a couple of penny washers either side of the fibreglass to add some extra support.  You can just see one in the image below and you can see that I have sprayed it blue so it is less obvious.  You can also see how much smaller these units are.  

Here are both fitted.

Final job was to finish the wiring inside the nose cone.  This was a simple job of joining 2 wires, solder and wrap in tape.

Final job of the day was to plug in the wires to make sure they worked OK, which I am happy to say, they did.  Again, the nose cone won't be put back on the car until other jobs have been completed.

Monday 5 November 2012

Winter Upgrade Plans

I think it is fair to say that a kit car is never really finished.  It may get to a point that you are happy with it, but is it really finished?  My car has been on the road for 7 months now and I have covered just over 1300 miles.  In that time, I have had to replace the exhaust (which has been covered in an earlier post) and also replaced a fuel pump and fuel filter, following some fuel starvation/dirt issues.

When I built the car, I had to build it to the IVA rules.  That is now a thing of the past, so I can start to change things.  I didn't want to take the car off the road in the summer (well, what summer we had) but now, as the winter months approach, I am planning to make some changes.

So what is being planned and why?

1.  New shock absorbers - I would like to be able to fine tune the suspension a bit better and try and get a more production car type ride, which I just don't think is possible on the GAZ shocks that came with the starter kit.

2.  Re-Shim the rear suspension - When the car went through the IVA, it was pointed out to me that I needed to add some extra shims (washers) in to the rear suspension, so whilst I am replacing the shock absorbers, I might as well do the shims.

3.  Head Lamps - The 7 inch lights are a little too big for my liking so I am going to fit smaller units

4.  Front Indicators - I had to fit larger indicators and extension bars to pass the IVA test, I would now like some smaller units.

5.  Quick Release Steering Wheel - I like the idea of one of these for extra security if I take the car away from home, especially as I am hoping to take it abroad.

6.  Finish wiring the Savage switches - I never got round to wiring in the lights on these switches so at night they light up.

7.  Get speedo working correctly - I have never been happy with the speedo sensor so I am going to try and get it working correctly.  There are a few option to how I might do this.

I have a few other ideas of things I would like to do, but I haven't decided fully on them yet so I won't mention them in case they don't come off.

So there we go, that should keep me busy for a few weeks.  First thing to do is to start ordering the parts I need and then start to take the car apart.  I just want to leave it a bit longer, just in case we have a warm spell and I can get another couple of blasts out in her before the work starts.  Yeah, who am I kidding!!!