Thursday, 22 May 2014

Handbrake, headlights and Petrol Cap

The first handbrake solution I put in I was never totally happy with. It felt like the outer cable wasnt secure enough so was moving giving a weak handbrake. So I removed the cable holder I had quite far down underneath the car and decided to fit brackets to hold and clamp around the plastic further down. Much like a standard MR2.

The Pic below shows the new setup;

You can see the clamps around the white ends to the cables that run to the brakes. Now when the handbrake is pulled the cables don't move. As well as this the position they now sit in when slack and the handbrake is off is much better with the equaliser sitting more level.

This is because when positioning the clamps I aimed to get the distances from the clamps to the handbrake taking up the required slack. (The handbrake is slightly to one side giving one side more slack)

Overall the handbrake feels much much better now!

Next I did the flush mount petrol cap, the key comes out when the cap is turned to the lock position outside of the hole so will need to be tethered (IVA requirement)

I also installed the RHD lights, luckily the lights I bought were direct fitment so that was good! However the bushings for the balls for the adjusters to fit into have to be cut and destroyed to remove the light so don't fit them wrong!

I also started back on the sealing of the cockpit and fitting the carpet. My biggest advice for anyone is stay away from velcro, no matter what make or what they just doesn't work!

I personally think gluing is a bad idea so I went for these. Simply drill a 6mm hole, push the plastic through (the legs squeeze closer) and tap the pole into the middle to pin it in. Worst case to remove would be to drill the plastic if it couldn't be easily removed.

In the future when I do my carpet again I will use these all over to secure it in place.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Completing the front Engine Bay

So after the body fit and bodywork, I wanted to complete the front engine bay properly so that I could leave the shell on, the jobs were;

* Fit battery tray
* Lower clutch reservoir due to fowling on bodywork
* Fit L brackets for wiring so can reach direct to headlights without joiners (will be under 300mm for IVA)
* Cover over final cables with conduit
* Put conduit on brake hose which before was cable tied directly.

So firstly the battery tray was easy enough, 3 holes drilled to fit it and then drilled two holes so that the battery can be clamped down on to the tray like it would be in any normal car. The battery can be fitted without the need for removing other parts which is good because I did think it would be close.

Next I fitted the L brackets for the headlight wiring and again this was easy enough. Then I lowered the clutch reservoir, I simply made a plastic template with 4 holes to move it lower. Once it was lowered I actually ignored it until I saw a lot of fluid leaking, I nipped up the clamp a little but made no difference...eventually it all leaked out, when I took the reservoir off it had a hole torn in it, maybe it was on too tight and when I moved it I disturbed it enough to cause it to break. Luckily I had a spare so fitted that to solve the problem.

The brake hose between the master cylinder and reservoir previously was just cable tied directly to stop it moving, I then realised this would fail IVA as it could chaff and cause a hole, so I placed some conduit around it and refitted it. At the same time I moved the two master cylinder hose connectors in opposite directions to give a larger gap between them. This is for the windscreen wiper to allow to have enough room and not foul on the pipes.

The only thing not completed in the front area and centre console area for that matter is the aircon system. Simply put its been near on impossible to find a mobile aircon expert to make the pipes I require. So this will be completed once I can drive the car to a place after the test and I'm on the road, it could be a hot summer for a while!

The picture below is the completed front engine bay with the relevant parts labelled.

The majority of the work recently had been on fitting trim seals so the bodywork to chassis was an airtight / good fit. However it went horribly wrong and the shell just would not fit. The issue is i'm afraid to say is the panels on the car are just very poor and not symetrical or even straight edges compared to the fibreglass.

When I look at the metal side panels where the fibreglass shell is placed on it one area has an air gap with light coming through, another is so tight with no light / gap and hence when fitting the rubber the shell could not attach to the chassis properly and drop low enough.

The advantage of the trim seal was it pinned my carpet up so I will need to come up with a new solution for the carpet and to stop the air gaps. You cant see these airgaps normally without looking for them....but I know they are there.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Windscreen Wiper, Bodywork, part protection

So I've continued with bodywork prep whilst the shell has been on the chassis as it gives me a nice platform to work on, so I'm filling and sanding a lot including the other arch. Its still far from perfect but much better then it was and a professional will do the final bits closer to the spray time, however I should of saved a fair few hours work.Whilst doing the bodywork I lined up the front bumper just to get an idea of fitting. By having this big area at the front removable should make the car quite serviceable on part if something broke or needed replacing.

You can see the difference in colour alone between the worked on body compared to the front bumper.

The door hinges and mounting plates are made of steel and the weather is getting to them so again parts have gone off for zinc coating to protect them. Below are pics of some of the rusted parts and then a pic of a coated part.

These parts can all be seen so they will now look like OEM car bits and of good quality.I also cut the door seal trim to size for fitting and went for a side seal as it should seal the door better and keep more water out, around the top of the door as this is the key area. The seals on the DDR Demo car were straight seals which can be seen in their pics. If its not quite right then they can easily be changed.

I next had to install a wiper solution, I found out the wiper on the DDR car doesn't actually fully work. so I had to complete a design to get the mechanism in, so that's the motor, linkage and the actual pivot point, as well as this of course I had to ensure the sweep of the blade cleared the vital areas of the windscreen.

I had a bracket made and the motor was mounted just to the left of the front bonnet allowing for easy disconnect of the linkage (which will be needed)

Following on from this I had to decide on where to mount the single wiper, some mount single wipers in the centre of the Windscreen but if I did this it wouldn't clean enough of the windscreen as the area is large, so the mount is quite far over to give me a longer wiper arm, however I had to find a position that meant it didn't fowl on any other parts when running. You can see I had to extend the linkage in the middle. this solution doesn't foul and hit the reservoirs or hoses.

Rather than increase the angle range of the wiper to around 140 Degrees, I've kept the wiper at a standard 90 degree sweep angle. (like a normal 2 wiper system works) so the wiper will sweep up and vertical on the drivers side giving a good clean for forward vision. to help further I've taken an MR2 wiper arm and it will be extended slightly to allow for a blade around 28" in size, by having a large blade it should be able to clean a larger area as well.

The IVA has rules to meet on sweep cycles, the MR2 system meets these requirements so I wont need to make any altering.

I test fitted the passenger door and it doesn't shut properly (just does the first click on the latch) I found the door bodywork had been sanded to get it to even click on to that latch in some areas. So there could be a lot of work to do on the doors....but that will be for another day (or probably week of work) and be almost near the end of the projects when the doors are worked on.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Interior progression, Windscreen test fit and bodyshell

First of all I continued on with the interior, starting with making a cardboard templete of what the centre console will be like, I've made this out of cardboard to get a feel for the design as I decided where things will go.

Following this I installed the rear sound deadening and carpet, as well as sealing the carpet along the roof lining with some rubber door trim as this then sealed nicely to the body to help work towards an air tight interior to keep noise out. Seat belt anchorages were welded with triangulation plates and threaded bushes to meet IVA requirements and the seat belt hook eyes were fitted as well were the seats. Everything went in without an issue and the seats are on runners for adjustable seating to allow shorter people to drive it as well, being 6ft 1 I still have to bring the seat quite far forward although headroom is tight.

Once this was done I needed to test fit the body ready for a windscreen test fit. (the Windscreen is an E marked screen I've had made). The body went on very easily and sat neatly in position, not forced at all and everything lined up. It was actually very easy and the fibreglass being so strong due to its thickness didn't to appear to of suffered from any large amount of sagging over the 6 months its been sat around.

So on saturday morning the windscreen arrived and we gave it its test fit, apart from deciding we potentially should add some supports to the fibreglass on the sides to help keep it more rigid it was a good fit.

Again the shell showed just how strong it was during this test fit and it really is very well made, the only issues with the shell are some pitting on the edges from a lot of release wax or in some cases missing gel coat (probably from the other extreme!) However its only body work and with hours of working it can get you to the point you want it.

So I then spent the day working on the body work, 6hours and I have one wheel arch and half a side to show for my efforts but if I get it up to even a 90% finish it will save a lot of time in the body shop, below is one front wheel arch and you can see the bottom edge of the skirt is much straighter.



Whilst the shell is on its allowed me to look into the windscreen wiper solution which will be worked on over the next few weeks and also noticed that the clutch cap fowls on the front bonnet (you'll notice its not shut in the pics) so this will need to be lowered slightly.

The rear clam shell closed on to this main body work with clips at the top and 2 locating spikes per side on the rear, these appear to be made of steel and not lasting well, so those have been replaced with some stainless steel ones.

The shell will stay on the chassis for a week allowing me to do work I need to do to it, however it will then be back off allowing me to work on other bits of the car again. The main bits at the front I need to do are the battery tray and the clutch reservoir. I also will order and then apply the relevant door trim for sealing in the cabin when I next fit the body, but overall a very good weekend.

Other things I found out;

* Wiring will reach directly from chassis to lights meeting IVA spacing - no more connectors needed
* Getting out with any sort of dignity will be asking alot
* Its going to be quite low! May be road restricted or in the future in car height adjustable suspension might be needed!
* Headlights will  need replacing with RHD ones