Assembling the Rolling Chassis

Build Diary: Engine | Collecting the kit | Chassis [1] | Chassis [2] | Body
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25th October

Got back from Lanzarote at about 2am, so I couldn't get started in the garage till 8am . Stacks of email to get through, and while I've been away I've rewritten the build site so I get that uploaded.

The steering rack had arrived while I was away along with some screws for mounting the seats to their bases. But no b****y propshaft bolts. Ho hum, I'll need to ring Westfield and ask for them for the third time ... I did try to just buy some, but my local fastener supplier didn't have any with a fine thread pitch.

First thing to go in is the steering rack. No probems here, used a bit of glycerin as a lubricant to get the clamps snug on the rubber bushes and bolted it in. Next fitted the trackrod ends. Had trouble with one of them spinning instead of tightening until I realised it had flats on it that I can use to I can lock it using a spanner. The build manual says to leave 4 threads visible, so I did. But I left 4 visible with the locknut on which left me with some interesting looking toe out, so I took them off again and adjusted them. The same is likely to have happened with the rose joints and ball joints in the suspension, so they'll need looking at again. No problem as they were going to need setting up anyway once it's on the ground.

Next bit to fit is the upper steering column. No mention of spacer block in the manual so I double check with Dave Hackett's nice online manual before fixing it at the bottom mount. It doesn't take long to fit the lower column and I then pop the steering wheel on to see how it looks.

I couldn't fit the battery before as it fits fairly tight up against the steering rack so I mark this then drill and fit with silicon and rivets.

Steering Column and battery now fitted (click for larger image)Steering Rack and battery now fitted (click for larger image)Steering column in situ - will tweak this later when dash fitted (click for larger image)

Quick break while I ring and moan at Westfield about the propshaft bolts who promise they'll get them in the post right away, although why they never sent them the first or second times I asked for them I don't know. Realised after that there were a couple of other bolts and bit missing that they'd said they'd send. In the end you get fed up of ringing repeatedly each time you find something else missing, so I decide to wait till Monday by which time I'll no doubt have a larger shipping order!

Nip up to my local fastener suppliers for a few bolts, washers etc along with some decent threadlock.

After this I decide to finish off the engine as I reckon I ought to start thinking about fitting that next. Start by refitting the valve cover then reconnecting all the coolant hoses. Next refit the carbs and remove the upper mounting cradle to fit some wiring loom saddles to it. Now it's in the nounting cradles the engine's much easier to handle, it was difficult for more than one person to find a hand hold previously but now much more 'handles'.

I set the trusty Workmate up next to the chassis and carry the engine over with the kids and confirm my suspicions that it'll be too difficult to lift it in with the chassis so high. So using a combination of trolley jack, a few bits of wood and my axle stands we set about lowering the car. This has to be done in several stages, but it doesn't take long before we get the car sitting with its wheels on terra firma for the first time. We can't get over how incredibly low it looks.

Chassis now on axle stands, engine waiting in wings (click for larger image)Wheels hit the ground for the first time (click for larger image)

While looking at the mounting lugs on the chassis I realise that the lower mounting cradle will need some careful negotiation to get past the brake master cylinder and brake pipes. I decide to remove it from the engine, slide it in position and refix it to the engine once the engine's in. Next it was all hands on deck and within half a minute the engine was sitting pretty in the chassis.

Engine dropped into chassis (click for larger image)Engine waiting to be bolted in (click for larger image)

The front propshaft mates up easily to the output flange on the engine, but it's at a bit of an angle, so I try adjusting the position of the engine to optimise this before drilling the chassis for the fixing bolts. The two rear points on the lower cradle are quite fiddly to drill, so I just got a small pilot hole through then jacked the whole thing up onto the axle stands again then drill the 8mm hole from underneath. Once the bolts are all torqued up it's time to clear up for the day.

Engine bolted in, chassis back up on stands (click for larger image)

26th October

Bad start to the day with a neighbour's alarm waking me at about 3am. Bloody thing kept going for almost an hour . Couldn't get back to sleep so got up at 3.45. At least I got my email cleared and the website updated.

Started thinking about the seats a bit more this morning, they're not exactly a priority, but still an area of concern for me because of my height. I want them as far back and as low down as possible, and so far it's looked as though I may well get away with the factory supplied sliding rails. After a tinker round I think it's going to be OK, but I can't get far as I need some more bolts etc.

The rear brake calipers hadn't been fitted securely as I was missing a couple of the bolts and had no spring washers. They'd arrived before we went away so I can fit those now with some of the thread locking stuff I got yesterday.

Now the engine's in I can tidy up the front end of the wiring loom. Not that many spurs off this now so not too difficult. Riveted some of my few remaining plastic loom saddles to the front of the chassis and tie wrap the loom across the upper diagonal engine cradle then across the front of the chassis. There's a spare spur for a windscreen washer so that gets securely taped back into the loom.

The postman arrives with a Jiffybag from Westfield containing 4 propshaft bolts, nuts and washers. These look like standard metric thread rather than the fine thread I was expecting so I presume the reason they hadn't sent them in the first place was because of a lack of stock. These should be OK anyway, they're only torqued up to 47 NM anyway so not much risk of them snapping. More of a risk is of them vibrating loose but the threadlock should take care of that.

After breakfast I go out shopping. First call is Halfords for some oil for the rear diff. While there I can't resist treating myself to some cheap rails for keeping my sockets tidy. Also get a box of electrical connectors as I know I need to fit terminals to the fuel pump wires. Next on to Swansea Fasteners for some M6 and M8 bolts, washers and nyloc nuts. I wonder whether I should open an account here!

When I get back Chris decides to join m and he's itching to fit the seats so I let him assemble the frames the seats bolt on to while I get on with fitting the final part of the gear linkage. There's a short rose joint linked rod from the triangular lever at the top of the bulkhead down to the gear shift lever on the engine. It all goes together OK but I'm a a bit concerned that the gear lever in the cockpit is a bit rearward and is almost contacting the handbrake lever when pulled back. I screw in all the rose joint as far as they'll go but am still not happy so I take it off, cut a centimeter off the rod, retap the end and try again. Much better, no fouling at either extreme now.

By now Chris has finished the seat mounts and wants to fit the seats but I decide to fit the propshaft bolts followed by the handbrake cable. The prop bolts are fiddly but don't take too long. The handbrake cable seems quite tight - the end of the outer cable is impinging on the compensator bracket and I don't seem to be able to do much about it. I set it up as best I can and will ring Westfield on Monday.

I'll need to fit the speedo transducer at the rear end of the tunnel - it can't go where it's shown in the manual as I'm using a Freelander diff and there are no bolts on the lobro joints for it to pick up on. It'll need to pick up on the bolts holding the propshaft to the diff, but I'll need to fabricate a braket and haven't got any suitable aluminium or steel sheet so it'll have to wait till I can find some.

On we go to the seats next. After a couple of trial fittings it's clear the seats are going to be quite low in the supplied frames, so I drill the holes throught the floor rails to mount them then make sire the seat is sitting square and in the right position before drilling through the fibreglass seat and popping the bolts in. It takes quite a while doing all this, most of the afternoon. It's made more difficult by the fact that the seats are quite assymetrical, the right side of the front being higher than the left, so my plan of using a spirit level to get them straight foes out the window. We get there in the end though and I'm happy with the end result but may need to take some off the mounting frames at the back when I come to fit the harnesses.

Seats now bolted in on sliding rails (click for larger image)

Now I can sit in the cockpit it's really starting to look and feel like a car. I'm very happy with the legroom, although the steering wheel is pretty close to my legs. This needs to be raised a bit more anyway as at present it's sitting too low for the hole in the dash.

All the pedals are still floppy so I decide to connect up the clutch and throttle cables next. The clutch is first and I encounter no problems. I make sure there's plenty of free play in the cable before tightening the lock nut on the cable adjuster at the engine end. The throttle cable is similarly fairly simple. Next job is to fit some stops to stop the clutch and aaccelerator pedals from being depressed too far.

So far the carbs have been open to the air, with bits of cloth in them to keep the muck out. I decide now will be as good a time as any to fit the air filter. This makes the engine look much more finished off.

Engine almost ready to go with air filter, wiring loom, clutch and throttle cables fitted (click for larger image)

I tidy up the rear end next, connecting up the fuel pump and fuel tank sender, then tie wrapping all the cables including the handbrake cable.

Handbrake cable fitted, electrical connections made and all tied down (click for larger image)

Then I fit the engine loom. This is from the original bike loom, and has been modified by Westfield. It all goes OK till I realise I have a spare connector block with three wires from the engine loom which aren't listed in the Westfield manual. A quick check in the Haynes manual suggests that the breaker has given me a loom from a later model, and that this connector is for a throttle position sensor. I'll need to make a few enquiries about this, it may be that it will work as it is, but I may need to get another loom and ECU. I also don't have a starter solenoid and rectifier yet so will need to source those too. Once I've got these electrics sorted I can think about starting the engine up.

Time to finish for the day, so a quick tidy up and have a look at the manual to see what's next. Fitting the bodywork ...

All tidied up ready to make a start on the bodywork tomorrow (click for larger image)

Build Diary: Engine | Collecting the kit | Chassis [1] | Chassis [2] | Body
D Day! | Finishing Off | SVA | Registration | Post Registration | Trackdays
Home | Links | Contact me
The next project ...

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