Finishing Off

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The next project ...

4th November

Now I've got a functioning car I need to get on with the finishing off. I'm well aware that there are loads of fiddly bits which take ages, and it can get frustrating when the rate of change seems to slow down. Having said that I really feel I'm getting there, and can't see it taking more than a couple more weeks.

Checked the DVLA website out and although the address to send the SVA application form is in Swansea, the only test centre is in Pontyclun, this side of Cardiff. I'd better get one of the forms, and I might ring them to find out roughly how long their waiting list is.

I rang Westfield this morning and asked about the gauges. They confirmed that the water temperature won't work with the standard Blade one (I sheared off the Westfield supplied VDO one ). They suggested checking the wiring is the right way round on the oil pressure gauge. Also got a couple of tips on fitting the boot box, and discovered that I'm supposed to have spome P clips to secure the aluminium coolant hoses in the engine bay. I can cope with vague (or absent!) instructions, and with missing parts, but when you've got both it's impossible!

I decided today's first job would be to start on the boot box and roll bar struts. The struts are very heavy bars, threaded at each end for a rose joint. The boot box needs cutting out for the main roll bar mounting brackets and for the struts. The main body also needs recesses cutting in the boot box surround for the struts, so I did that first so I could see where they go. After about an hour off measuring, marking and cutting I had the body recesses done as well as the cutouts in the box for the main roll bar. It became obvious that fairly major surgery will be needed to get the struts through the box, they'll actually be running down through the side wall of the box. Might be easier just to blank it off ...

I'd had enough of this so I decided to move on to sort out the speedo transducer. I hadn't fitted this earlier as I didn't have anything suitable to fabricate a bracket from. Cue the carpet joining strip from Wickes. This was fiddly and took some time, making the 18mm hole for the transducer was the first task, so I drilled a 10mm hole then enlarged with the file, then worked out where to bend it to fit. I made two slots in it instead of holes, so I could adjust it to get the clearance required from the prop bolts. After drilling two holes in the handbrake adjuster bracket running across the top of the rear tunnel I had it fitted and ready to wire. The wires for this actually exit the loom at the wrong point as the SEi is intended to pick up the speed from the diff lobro joints, but with the Freelander diff there are no bolts there to pick up on. Soon freed them up and connected up.

To calibrate the speedo you use a formula based on the wheel circumference and diff ratio, and since mine is a Freelander diff the figures given in the manual wouldn't work for me. Another quick call to the factory establsihed that my diff's ratio was 3.21:1, and they gave me a figure to use. I programmed this into the rather clever VDO speedo unit and set off up the drive to check it out. Stopped after a few yards as the transducer was clipping some of the bolts. Managed to flex the bracket enough to just get it clear then off I went again to find that I was managing 50mph on the drive. Nt entirely unexpected - the figure Westfield gave me was counting each revolution of the prop, while my transducer was picking up each bolt. Multiply the figure by four, program it in and Bob's your uncle. The kids have a couple of friends round and they all want a quick trip so I spend 10 minutes ferring them up and down. We seem to have just the right kind of leaves on the drive at the moment, excellent wheelspin even keeping it below 4,000 rpm!

On next to the instruments. I'd also installed the headlamp and fog lamp switches upside down, and although I'd swapped them back it had pulled the switch illumination wires off and they were pretty impossible to get back on with the dash in situ. I also needed to fit the aluminium panel covering the front of the tunnel, so out came the dash and off with the scuttle again.

The wiring to the gauge was indeed correct, so I got the multitester out to check the continuity from sender unit to gauge to find there was none. Odd. Tracing it back I realised that although the modified Blade loom still has the wires which connect to the original senders, they weren't connecting to anything in the main loom. I cast my mind back to the loom installation and remembered the wires for oil and water gauges which I thought were redundant and had taped out of the way ... d'oh! Pulled those out and in seconds had a functional oil pressure gauge. I got the wire ready for the water temp sender and will order a new sender unit tomorrow.

The next job was fitting the panel over the top of the tunnel which was pretty straightforward, just needing a slot cutting in it for the reverse gear lever. The panel was then fitted with self tappers.

Another little job needing doing was cutting down the brake cylinder pushrod, and the Wizard and cutting disk made light work of that.

Next was the final panel covering the tunnel, which was precut for the handbrake lever but needed a hole cutting for the gear lever and reverse lever. I started with a small hole and gradually enlarged it for the lever. Puzzled about a gaiter I checked Dave's site and found he'd made one from neoprene. I'll have a word with Westfield in the morning and see what they say. This was a fiddly job and took quite a long time as I didn't want the holes any bigger than they needed to be. After drilling and screwing the cover on I fitted the handbrake gaiter which poprivets on. This made the tunnel look much more finished.

Refitting the dash and scuttle took half an hour or so with Chris's help. While I'd been doing the tunnel covers he'd taken the seats out and fitted the machined alloy bosses for the screws holding the seat shells to the frames. He was keen to get the seats back in again, but I was minded to wait fit the harnesses first, otherwise it'll mean taking the seats out again later. However, I don't really want to fit the harnesses till I've finished hacking the boot box as I don't want them covering in yellow dust! I decide to have a look at the harnesses and discover a couple of problems. Firstly I can't get the nearside eyebolt in for the passenger harness as the diagonal brace on the roll bar is in the way. Also I don't seem to have any bolts for the bottom harness fixings. On this rather negative note it's time to clear up for the day.

After we've been out to play - nice and dirty! (click for larger image)Car needs a  wash after several trips up and down drive (click for larger image)

5th November

Got up early this morning to get on with some of my IT work. By early afternoon I felt like I was developing square eyes so gave up and after a bite to eat went through the ritual of opening the garage and getting the Evo out of the way. I'd rung Westfield this morning to order a few bits and pieces - the bolts/spacers for the harnesses, some P-clips for the aluminium coolant hoses and a replacement water temperature sender to replace the one I mangled.

I didn't fancy tackling the boot box today, nasty messy job with all that fibreglass dust and I'm sure it's going to take quite a while to see any progress. So I decided to sort out the front end.

The first job was to fit the indicators. It all looked straightforward until I compared the build manual with relity and realised that the indicator pods I was supplied with weren't the same as the ones in the manual. I measured exactly as the manual stated to make sure they're OK for SVA. As the car nears completion I find the SVA test is on my mind more and more! Once I'd fitted the indicators I removed the nose cone as I thought I may as well bung the grille in the front too. I popped up into the garage loft to get it and realised that all that was left up there now was the pair of front cycle wings and their brackets. The manual doesn't mention the grille at all, but I'd heard it was generally fixed with some tie wraps. I wondered about bonding it in place, but it lies up against the perpendicular edge of the return where the cone is recessed and it didn't look like it was going to be viable. So tie wraps it was, and it looks fine. The indicators come with bullet connectors which need to be snipped off and replaced with the AMP block connectors. I'd familiarised myself with these while wiring the dash, so no problem there.

While the nosecone was off I decided to make a check on the alternator. The thought had accured to me while I was lying in bed last night. So I stuck the mintimeter across the battery, and was pleased to see the meter rise from 12 volts up to 14+ when the angine was running. No problems there then.

Next I fitted the front headlamps. This didn't take long, although I couldn't find a spanner big enough for the nut which secures them. Next it was back on with the nosecone, and a bit of a struggle to connect up the indicators wires. This was tricky as there isn't much room, the cables only just reach, and my hands are in proportion to my 6' 5" stature!

Nose cone off while fitting headlamps (click for larger image)Headlamps and indicators on, also bracket for nearside cycle wing (click for larger image)Front view with headlamps, indicators and grille (click for larger image)

Once the nosecone was bolted back on I checked out the lights and indicators. All well so off round the back end to connect up the rear light units.

Again the light units are fitted with bullet connectors, so I snip these off and fit the AMP connectors. This is a bit tricky as there isn't much wire to pull out under the wheel arch. I start with teh nearside one and am disappointed to find that the indicator doesn't work. It turns out to be the wire going into the factory fitted block, and not my fault at all. These blocks aren't designed to be taken apart, but I eventually persuade it out and manage to uncrimp the connection and redo it. Once done all is working fine, so I repeat the exercise on the offside.

The fog light is on this side and needs AMP connectors fitting as per the others. Once done this is in working order. I try the brake pedal and am rewarded with a nice bright response - some complain about the pressure acticated switch not working till you're really leaning on the brakes. Having said that, I've found I do need to lean wuite hard on the brakes - they seem to work fine, and no doubt will improve as disks and pads bed in and scrub each other up a bit. First time I got in the Evo after buzzing up and down the drive in the Megablade I nearly put myself throught the windscreen after jabbing on the brake pedal too hard! So, all the electrics are fully functional with no major dramas. Chuffed.

Next on the agenda is to consider the front cycle wings. I identify the left and right brackets which bolt directly onto the upright, quite differnt to the spec in the manual. They love keeping you on your toes these Westfield boys! I realise I have no 6mm bolts left to fit them, then remember the bag of stainless bolts I got to replace some of the engine casing bolts. These are a bit long, but 10 minutes with the Wizard and they've shrunk to just the right size. I bolt the nearside one on, then while referring to the manual realise that the reference height they give is relative to the chassis, but my ride height hasn't been set yet. The manual states 160-165mm at the front of the chassis, mine is at just over 80mm. Hmm, bit of a discrepancy. I decide to jack the front of the car up to allow me to adjust the front suspension easier. Quite tricky, and requires pushing the car onto wood blocks to be able to get the jack under it.

After some tweaking the ride height is now about 120mm. The manual says to set the back of the cycle wing about 90mm above the bottom of the chassis, but this looks way too high. The ride height also seems a bit excessive, and I suspect the setting is different for the standard SEiW compared with the bike engined variant. I plonk the wing where I think it looks right, with the rear of it roughly vertical. I check any pictures I can find on the web and they all look like they're roughly in this position, so after drilling the brackets I mark up the wings then drill them. I'd considered bonding them on, but firstly was nervous about them flying off at speed and secondly am a bit unhappy about not being able to take them off the brackets again. There's no real way I can drill from the outside, so I drill a very small 2mm pilot hole from the inside after putting masking tape on the outside to hopefully stop it splintering. So far so good, then gently does it with the 5.5mm drill from the outside, and offer it up. All loks fine so I stick a strip of foam tape along the bracket and pop the stainless dome headed screws in. Looks very pretty and I caan't say the screw heads visible on the outside bother me too much.

Next it's abandon ship as the kids are ready for their fireworks. Today's the first time for a couple of years that I've ben home on bonfire night, and the boys enjoy the fireworks, especially the rocket I set off at a bit too much of an angle which ends up burning out in a neighbour's garden. Oops!

After the fireworks I pop out to clear up. The car is still up on blocks poking out of the front of the garage. I decide I can't resist popping the seats back in and taking it out onto the drive to see how the headlights look. As soon as I fire it up Chris appears and hops straight into the passenger seat. The lights are great, I park up on the drive in the dark and tweak them to approximate positions. We blat up and down a couple of times, then tuck her up in the garage for the night.

Later this evening I've been reflecting on what jobs I've got left, and it's a diminishing list! I now have very few parts left, and within a few days it'll be down to going over it with a fine toothed comb looking for sharp edges etc. for the SVA. I'll get an application form tomorrow and enquire about how long it'll take to book the test. I'm away from early Thursday till Saturday evening so I won't get much else done this week.

6th November

Rang the Vehicle Inspectorate this morning and ascertained that there's only about a one week wait for an SVA test at my nearest centre near Cardiff. They're going to send me the application form.

At lunchtime I pop in to see someone I know who built a Megablade earlier this year to ask him about his SVA. Turns out he'd failed, with a fairly long list of problems, first time. The problems had mainly been to do with edges, and most of them were things I was already aware of thanks to the Westfield forum and the various build sites I've perused over the last couple of months.

I can't spend long in the garage this evening as I've got an early start tomorrow. Before I fit the bracket for the offside cycle wing I have another go at the upper ball joint which I couldn't tighten as it just kept spinning. I'd had a few responses to my plea for help on the Westfield forum, and in the end got it to tighten by using the air ratchet while standing on top of the ball joint!

Having already done it once marking up, drilling and fitting the offside wing was a doddle, all I needed to do was make sure I got it the same height as the nearside. The only other job was to have a quick look at the instruments - the fuel gauge illumination wasn't working, and it turned out to be due to the lamp having dislodged itself from the gauge and this was easily put back where it belonged.

9th November

Got home from my 3 days away at about 3pm. Out in the garage before 5 past . Some more bits had arrived yesterday, the new water temperature sender, harness mounting bolts and spacers, P clips for the coolant pipes and the brass trunnion for the choke cable. The cheeky buggers had charged me over 2 P&P for the sender even though they were sending me the (much heavier) bolts etc !

The water temperature sender goes in first, bit fiddly as access is pretty restricted - last time I was fiddling with it the carbs weren't on and there was no coolant hose in the way. I needed to cut a bit of the nylon cover from the terminal on the end of the wire to allow it to fit on. Then I used a bit of silicone gasket sealant on the threads before screwing it in, then reattached the hose to the thermostat housing and started the engine up to see if it worked. It didn't take long before the needle moved up to the 40 degree mark - excellent.

Now on to the boot bar and roll bar struts. Not really looking forward to this as it's going to be really difficult. As mentioned previously the struts don't just need a hole to go through, it'll be a long slot right down each side of the box. Absolutely impossible to measure it up accurately as you can't get the struts in while the box is in and vice versa. I decide to make a start by cutting away a small hole at the top, having marked the lip of the box from underneath. Then I stick the upper and lower strut mounting bolts in and run a piece of string between them. I can then mark on the outside of the box roughly where the centreline of the strut will be and cut out a narrow slot using the Wizard. Leaving the string in situ I then widen the slot progressively until it looks wide enough for the strut to go through. It's going to be impossible to get it absolutely accurate with a tight fit, and of course the narrower the gap the more obvious any imperfections will be. I also want a decent clearance, and in any case you can't manouvre the strut into place without a bit of clearance.

Partway through this my mate Trevor arrives to have a look, with his brother Andy and son. Trevor and Andy have been to a couple of trackdays with me and have been monitoring progress via the website. Don't worry Trev, I won't tell anyone it was you who couldn't manage more than 3 laps at Donington without going greyish green and sweaty . After a couple of test rides up the drive, a coffee and a chat about the MR2 Mk I they've bought as a track car I shoo them off so I can carry on. Sorry lads!

After a lot of trial and error I'm fairly happy with the offside, and the nearside doesn't take me so long. Then time was up - off out for beer and curry with Jen. Must take some pictures tomorrow.

10th November

Early start in the study to clear the mail, email etc. then off out to play! First off was finishing the boot box slots with some wet and dry to round them off a bit and smooth them. Next I got the masking tape out to mark up for the harness eyebolt holes. I wanted to get these right as the whole thing could look a bit tacky if the holes didn't fit right or weren't placed right. I took the main roll bar off, then started with a 4mm drill and checked the position of each hole. Then it was out with a bigger drill, then some enlarging with the Wizard. The Wizard really does make short work of cutting and sanding GRP, and as it's such high speed it leaves a very good finish. One of these or a Dremel is highly recommended. Once I was happy with these I tidy up the square recesses for the main roll bar mount plates.

Once the boot box is ready for fitting it's time to make sure everything is sorted out at the back of the chassis. I take the car out of the garage and wash all the yellow fibreglass dust off where it's coated everything - chassis rails, diff, suspension, fuel tank etc. Also wash off the roll bar and struts. Then bring the car back in and jack up the rear end and take the rear wheels off. I nip out to Halfords to get some adhesive backed tiewrap mounts, bullet connectors and some HT lead tidying clips I spotted the other day.

After much umming and ahhing I decide to fit the number plate light at the top of the spare wheel recess. Westfield had said they stick them to the left of it, but after checking the size of a standard 'square' rear plate I realise it's going to overhang at each side, and decide it'll look better in the middle. Westfield also said they'd had SVA failures with a light shining upwards onto the plate. Masking tape, measure up and drill then fit the number plate light. That all works fine so after carefully drying off the tank I stick a couple of the tiewrap mounts in place and secure the wiring. That means the electrical stuff is now complete.

Wires to number plate light and fuel gauge sender clipped to tank (click for larger image)All dash switches and instruments fully functional (click for larger image)

I decide to have a look at the rear light unit wiring. The 4 bare wires are P clipped at the corner of the unit so I wrap them with insulating tape and use another P clip to ensure they can't chafe where they cross the joint between the main body and the wheel arches.

Wires to nearside rear light unit clipped to avoid chafing - hope nice Mr. SVA man likes it! (click for larger image)

Next I tackle the foglamp. Because the rear of the body isn't verticl, the foglamp is shining slightly upwards, which nice Mr. SVA man might not like. I undo the securing nuts and cut a couple of wedge shaped bits of fuel hose to tilt it down. Looks OK till I tighten up the nuts - because I've used large washers at the back these of course want to sit flat against the body, so they pull it upwards again. Hmm ... next get slightly larger bore fuel hose, cut a couple of wedges, then use the 2 original ones under the washers behind the body. Perfect!

Number plate light fitted, also foglamp tweaked to make it vertical (click for larger image)

I realised I hadn't taken any pictures of the front of the car since fitting the cycle wings, so take one of the car peeking out of the garage ...

View from front now cycle wings fitted (click for larger image)

Next it's time to fit the boot box. I manage to get all the eyebolts tight and facing roughly the right way and am well pleased ...

Boot box chopping completed, eyebolts for harnesses fitted (click for larger image)

... until I try to refit the main roll bar to find that the nearside passenger harness eyebolt is in the way of the diagonal brace on the rollbar. So off comes the eyebolt and the spacer goes in the vice and gets attacked with the Wizard with heavy duty cutting disk. Mucho sparko, but it doesn't take long. After burning my fingers picking the spacer up I decide to tackle something else while waiting for it to cool.

I turn my attention to the HT leads, which at the moment are just tiewrapped together and look a bit messy. Out come the nice little clip thingies from Halfords and they soon look much better.

HT leads look like black spaghettit ... (click for larger image)... and now they're all pretty courtesy of nice clips from Halfords (click for larger image)

Spacer still too hot so I fit one of the P clips to hold the lower coolant hose to the floor in the engine bay while i'm waiting.

Back to the roll bar to find the eyebolt now won't screw right in as it's now impinging on the suspension mounting bolt underneath. Take it out, chop that down a bit, clean up the threads with a die and try again. Roll bar still hits it. Bugger. Try using the grinding wheel to shorten the spacer yet more but in the end decide I'll have to attack it with the Wizard again. While I'm waiting for it to cool again I sort out the wiring in the engine bay. I'd unclipped quite a bit of this sorting out the wires for the oil pressure and water temperature senders, so it all gets tidied up and reclipped in place.

Back to the roll bar and it finally goes on. Hooray!

Roll bar refitted ready to install struts - finally got the nearside eyebolt chopped to the right length (click for larger image)

The struts are adjustable with rose joints at each end. I'd already stuck the locknuts on these, daubed them with copper greas and screwed them into the heavy bars. These were a bit fiddly to fit as the lower mount is quite tricky to get at and once in position if it needs adjusting you have to take it out again to screw one of the rose joints half a turn and try again. With these fitted the rear of the car is nearly finished, and I'm pleased with it

Roll bar, struts and boot box now completed (click for larger image)View of rear showing holes in boot box for roll bar struts (click for larger image)It's a bit dark but this is the little eyebolt that cost me almost 2 hours. Bugger ... (click for larger image)

I decide while the wheels are off to tighten up all the suspension mounting bolts. I realise that the lower bolt holding the rose joint on the wishbone to the rear of the upright isn't quite long enough and doesn't protrude through the nylon of the nyloc nut. Nice Mr. SVA man probaby wouldn't like that. I've definitely fitted the correct bolt, I measured them all. I decide to remove the washer form underneath the nut and the thread is now just the right length.

The other job I decided to tackle was the choke cable. There doesn't seem much need for it to be honest, the engine always starts OK when cold with just a bit of gas, but it needs doing. So I get the nice little brass trunnion Westfield have sent to find that it's too big to go in the sliding bit on the carbs. I pondered whether to try to make it smaller or try to fix the cable on some other way, and went for the former. Since it's brass it's not too hard, and I eventually get it small enough to fit, clean up the hole for the wire and the thread for the grub screw and in it goes. Start to tighten the grub screw and the trunnion breaks in two! Arse! .

Back to the drawing board. I cut down one of my 6mm bolts and slot two washers in where the trunnion went and tighten the nut with the choke cable between the two washers. This works fine. A quick check and it's functioning fine.

Back on with the wheels and lower her off the stands again and clear up for the day. Time to go and make some chicken fajitas. Mmmmm, fooood ...

I think tomorrow I'll check I've got all the bits I need to do the SVA trimming and might go down to the Vehicle Inspectorate office and see if I can persuade them to fit me in next week. I've got some annual leave this week to watch the rally, and am off Thursday and Friday. I didn't bother getting tickets for the shakedown on Thursday so I can spend all day Thursday sorting the car out. Might pop up the road to see how the servce area's coming on - we live about 2 miles from the old steelworks at Felindre where they have the service area and the tented village has already started going up.

11th November

The SVA form arrived in the post this morning. Before sending it off I wanted to check with Westfield that they had all the bits I need to finish off so I pop out to the garage to check on all the bits of plastic SVA trim. A few are missing, and I know I need the jubilee clips to fit the silencer cover. I talk to the tech support with a few queries, then parts to get the bits ordered. Turns out they do produce a gaiter for the bike engined gear lever, but don't supply it with the kit. Strange given that they know it's required for SVA. They agree to send me one, along with some grille for the bonnet vents and all the other bits of trim.

I decide to go for it and get the SVA form done. I need to check again with the factory to get the maximum design speed and engine max power RPM. Turns out to be 115mph and 9200rpm.

Next it's off to Swansea Fasteners for more stainless self tappers and a dome nut for the silencer. On the way I check out the Network Q Service Area.

Network Q Rally service Area under construction (click for larger image)View of Service Area from entrance (click for larger image)View of Service Area from M4 roundabout (click for larger image)
Then on into town to drop the SVA form into the Vehicle Inspectorate. Bit of a dingy looking office and it turns out they can't discuss a date with me as they pass the forms on to the SVA centre in Cardiff. Ho hum.

After getting some work done I ring the SVA centre who are very helpful. Basically I'm available next week on Monday or Tuesday, then not again for another two weeks. The chap I speak to pencils me in for 8am Tuesday pending getting the forms from Swansea. I'll ring and pester them tomorrow.

Then on with the car. I decide to take the tunnel cover off to enlarge the gear lever hole a bit and apply some trim. The trim goes on OK, but on trying the panel in the car it's clear that while it covers the edges of the panel itself, it does nothing for the edges of the tunnel side panels. Hmmm ... I think I need some different trim. In the meantime I used some gaffa tape and carried on. Out with the seats, clean up the rather dirty aluminium panels and fit grommets to the holes in the rear bulkhead which allow access to the suspension bolts. Well, I fit 4 of the 6 anyway since that's all I've got .

Passenger side ready for seat reinstallation with harness (click for larger image)Tunnel cover now has trim on it, waiting for gaiter for gear lever from Westfield (click for larger image)

Then I tidy up the bolts holding the seats onto their frames then fit them back in with the harnesses, followed by a bit of cleaning up.

Both seats and harnesses installed (click for larger image)

12th November

Spoke to Westfield about the trim - they're sending me the right stuff out today. Allegedly. The stuff they sent out first class yesterday didn't turn up today ... feeling a bit twitched about the SVA now.

Called into B&Q on the way home from work and got some Evostick and Bostick, along with some rubber paint for inside the wheel arches.

First job of the day was drilling the centre console and fixing with some self tappers. I also tidy up the wiring under the dash, then remove the console again as it can't be permanently fixed until I'm happy with the trim round the tunnel panels.

Another job I've had on my todo list was to check the tyre pressures and measure the wheel rolling circumference to accurately set the speedo. The tyres were at 27psi so they were all let down to 20psi and tape applied to one wheel and a couple of strips on the floor, 2 marks made then measured between them.

Next job was to redo the nearside cycle wing as the brake hose was impinging on it. This meant taking the wing off the bracket, removing the bracket then refixing it all. Next a minor adjustment of the brake cable to clear the bracket.

Then I undid the nut holding the exhaust onto the body and replaced it with the stainless SVA-friendly domed nut I got yesterday. Fitting the wing mirrors was next - they aren't terribly elegant but they'll do me.

Next job was making a start on trimming round the edges of things - first the GRP bit of the aeroscreen, followed by the foglamp,the brackets where the roll bar struts are attached then the GRP mouldings to cover the headlamp brackets. I struggled with Bostick followed by Evostick and got quite frustrated with it. I gave up on the roll bar brackets, and fitted the headlamp bracket covers to find that the trim all came off as soon as anything pushed it away. Back to the drawing board ... The answer was of course Superglue, worked a treat on all the rubber trim.

Nearside headlamp bracket all tucked up in its trim ready for SVA (click for larger image)Nearside wing mirror and trim around aeroscreen GRP moulding (click for larger image)Another view of nearside mirror (click for larger image)

Caps on bolts and trim around brackets on roll bar strut mounts (click for larger image)Trim around edge of fog lamp (click for larger image)Plastic caps on roll bar mounting bolts (click for larger image)

Offside mirror and aeroscreen trim (click for larger image)
I also tightened the steering wheel, and was sure I'd seen a little self-adhesive Westfield logo somewhere at some stage, but could I find it? Final job of the day was making a start on all the exposed bolt heads and nuts round the front end. Some of the plastic covers needed slicing up to fit on the balljoint and track rod end locknuts. I'm still waiting for some of the covers to arrive ...

14th November

I've taken a day's annual leave today - I booked today and tomorrow off ages ago for the rally, but decided to give it a miss today. I was hoping the Parcel Force van would be here early this morning, they're usually here before 8 if they're coming at all. But no sign ... better ring Westfield later.

First job is an easy one, I realised last night I hadn't fixed the VIN plate in the car yet, so that went onto the aluminium plate in front of the scuttle, underneath the fuel regulator.

Next job is to replace the bolts holding the boot box in - I'd got some nice stainless button head ones the other day which will look better than the plated ones in there at the moment.

Then onto the coolant hoses - I'd already fitted one at the rear of the engine bay, but wanted another one at the front. Bit awkward to get the drill in there, and needed to take the nosecone off first, but didn't take long. While the nose cone's off tidy up the headlamp wiring and tie-wrap them out of the way. Also top up the coolant - I'd drained a bit out when I fitted the new water temperature sender. Similarly I topped up the engine oil to reach the top mark on the dipstick and checked the brake fluid which was fine.

I've done a spreadsheet to calculate my speedo setting, and had worked that out this morning, so that was programmed in with a 3% over-read to be on the safe side for SVA.

The next job was the spiral wrap round the front braided brake hoses. This was a fiddly little job that took quite a bit of time. Secured each end of the spiral plastic with some electrical tape - I doubt either the spiral wrap or the tape would last long on the Evo, I'm sure both would melt after the first couple of corners on track!

Plastic spiral wrap applied to front brake hose (click for larger image)

Next is a bit of phoning round. First to get a couple of insurance quotes. I'd already got one from Footman James, and the others I try don't come close, so I ring them back and get the car on insurance (it's been on 'laid up' cover so far. The Westfield - Mark Walker is in the workshop and wants me to ring him back later when he's in the office to sort out my certificate of newness. I also speak to the parts department who on checking assure me that my parcel was despatched on Monday. He says if it doesn't arrive tomorrow to let him know and he'll send the stuff out again for overnight delivery.

In the meantime the postman had come with a Jiffy bag from Woolies wit the trim I'd ordered yesterday. Great, that gives me a good few jobs I can get on with today. The first bit to go on is the piping round the tunnel cover - it'll need to come off again to fit a gaiter round the gear lever, but I've decided to fit the cover and the centre console anyway, they don't take long to get off. Very pleased with the result of this, it looks much better. I even feel it looks better than with no trim ... it'll probably stay. In places it will be a bit tidier glued to the panel, but that can wait till the gaiter's done. The centre beneath-dash console has already been drilled and doesn't take long to fit. It's tight up against the ECU plate which isn't a bad thing - one less sharp edge to hide! While in the cockpit I decide to put some of the piping down the rearmost edge of the removable tunnel panels, no-one has mentioned them, but they look like potential sharp edges to me. They also aren't 100% straight as they're screwed on over the edge of the tunnel side panel which is riveted, giving a lumpy effect. I perhaps wasn't meant to have riveted the front edge of that panel. This also looks better with the trim in situ.

Correct trim now applied to tunnel cover and rear edge of removable covers in footwells (click for larger image)Trim at rear end of tunnel (click for larger image)

The edge of the GRP body is next for treatment where it folds over the top chassis rail in the cockpit. The U section trim from Woolies is a bit wider than the stuff from Westfield and fits nicely. Superglue holds it nicely where it goes round corners and curves, and again I'm pleased with the end result.

U section trim applied to edge of main bodywork in cokpit (click for larger image)

I still haven't got the jubilee clips for the exhaust cover, but decide to get the clamp as I want it anyway. I slacken it then turn it round so the bolt is as far round the back as I can get it. Following this I use some more U section trim round the edge of the ECU panel above the passenger footwell. I'm not sure it's an issue for SVA but I'd rather take no chances. By this stage I'm figuring that if the car is presented for SVA looking as if I've been paranoid about sharp edges it can't do any harm! At least they'll feel I've been making an effort.

I spotted a problem this morning at the front end - the bolt holding the front of the top wishbone also has a spacer and the cycle wing bracket, and is too short, the thread doesn't reach the nylon of the locknut. It's supposed to be a 3" bolt but I evidently didn't have any. I pop out to Swansea Fasteners for a pair of new 3" x 7/16" UNF bolts and check out the Felindre Service Area on the way. Switch on the Evo's anti-lag on the way to get me in the mood for tomorrow .

Felindre service area getting busier (click for larger image)Service area from layby (click for larger image)Shot from a moving Evo (click for larger image)

When I get back I take off the nose cone again, jack up the nearside wheel, and undo the upper wishbone bolts. In addition to swapping the bolts over I wanted to screw the balljoint out a turn to decrease the amount of camber on the front wheels as they're looking a bit overdone. Don't want to ruin my tyres on the way to the SVA!

I also want to retighten the hub nuts now the car's on the ground and has a fully functioning handbrake. I nip round to see Glen at the garage to borrow his 41mm socket again. I also ask him if it's OK to bring the car round for a headlight alignment check. I'd been thinking of having him do a sort of full pre-MOT type check, but decided most of it wouldn't be of much benefit. He says to pop it round tomorrow, so I'll try and slip it round between Brechfa and Walter's Arena!

Really running out of jobs to do now! The hub nuts have been duly swung on. Ah ... interior mirror. Clean off the aluminium aeroscreen support bracket with some solvent and the mirror sticks on fine. I decide to take it down the drive to see what the visibility's like. Fine - I can't remember exactly what the SVA requirement is, but basically I reckon it's OK as the view from the 2 wing mirrors overlaps in the middle only a few metres behind the car.

Back up the garage next to wash off the bits of leaf etc. stuck to it, then reverse it back in there for its first ever proper clean. The quality of the gelcoat really is very good, and it comes up great with some resin polish. Likewise the epoxy coated roll bar. Then some metal polish on the exhaust. Ouch, the manifold's still a bit hot! Really pleased with thh car now, looking really pretty. While standing admiring her I remember another minor point I was going to look at - the harnesses where they clip onto the eyebolts are drilled for split pins so they can't come off. A couple of minutes later and they're done. Sharpish ends, but it's difficult enough getting your hands in there to fit them so God knows how you'd inadvertently injure yourself on them! Or indeed get an SVA tester's sphere on them!

Interior mirror stuck onto aeroscreen bracket, Westfield badge on steering wheel (click for larger image)Bodywork waxed, exhaust polished (click for larger image)Shot of whole car - more or less finished now, waxed, perspex cleaned etc. (click for larger image)

All that needs doing now is:

... and I'm waiting for parts from Westfield to tackle all those.

15th November

Early start today, prise the boys out of bed to get to the Brechfa stage by 7.15. Get home lunchtime - no delivery from Westfield so on the phone to nag them. They say they'll resend the stuff by overnight courier. I ring the SVA Station at Cardiff who confirm my appointment for 8am Tuesday. Then it's off to the rally again.

16th November

Another early start after getting back from Cardiff after 10pm last night. Resolfen this morning. Jen rings partway through the morning, the package has arrived from Westfield. Overnight courier? No, normal post. Call into the service area after the stage then home and inspect my parcel. No bonnet grille. Hmmm. And the bolt covers are the wrong size. Nice gear lever gaiter though. Try to fit the exhaust heat shield - jubilee clips too big. Bugger. I'll need to get some more and some grille on Monday.

17th November

Rally all day today. Got home at about 4 then off into garage to get as much done as I can. I manage to get the gear lever gaiter fitted along with the little trim panels to cover the return on the scuttle.

18th November

After getting some work out of the way it's off out to get the bits I need and get the car finished ready for the big day tomorrow. I find some nice plastic mesh in Halfords which pretty much matches the mesh in the main nosecone aperture. Had wondered about bonding some tiewraps on to the underside of the bonnet, but it doesn't look on. In the end I go for silicon sealant and some gaffer tape to hold the mesh in while it sets. It's a cold easterly wind, and the silicon's taking forever in the garage so I take the bonnet into the nice warm kitchen.

View of underside of bonnet after mesh stuck on (click for larger image)And the bonnet back on with mesh in situ (click for larger image)Another view of bonnet vents now mesh in situ (click for larger image)

Next is the exhaust heat shield, and this is a pain 'cos I couldn't get any clips exactly the right size. The ones I've got just about hold it OK. It's made of brushed aluminium and looks pretty bad. It might fall off one day.

The nasty brushed aluminium exhaust heat shield (click for larger image)

The silicon sealant comes out again to stick some covers on the locknuts on the roll bar strut rose joints and the suspension mounting bolts at the front end.

Plastic trim fitted to roll bar strut locknuts (click for larger image)All bolts etc. at front end covered (click for larger image)

After that it's a matter of giving it a good clean and checking there are no loose wires etc. hanging off anywhere.

Interior now finished and aluminium polished up (click for larger image)Nice gaiter fitted to gear lever (click for larger image)

I go in the house and start to have minor panic attacks about the small aperture at the bottom of the nosecone. I don't think a sphere will get into it, but it doesn't have a return on it like the other apertures. I decide to nip back out and stick some mesh in there too. After that it's back inside and get all the paperwork sorted out rady for tomorrow.

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