Well, the last few months has been pretty hectic. The July storms resulted in my tintop being written off - water got into the cabin as well as the engine, so the insurance company wrote it off. So, had to spend time sorting out the insurance company, a car so I could get to work, and we decided to replace Claire's car as well.
The blog wasn't really up to date at the last post, so I'm going to try and show where we're at right now....
After the MCs at the front, we tackled the top ali panel, which has the MNR Chassis number stamped on it. This was a pretty tricky job. Because of the lovely round tube chassis, you need to be precise where you mark and drill your holes. Because of the fairly complex structure around that part of the car, it's also difficult to get this odd shaped bit of ali into place to mark it. It has to be bent in the middle to get it into place, then you need to try and bend it back again to make it flat.
You can see from this picture the shape of the ali piece. There was a fair bit of cursing at this stage (mostly from Claire to me), as the panel had moved slightly as I was clamping it up. It's not the neatest job ever, but it's going to be under the bodywork at some point, so hopefully it won't be too visible.
Next up was to fit the diff. This was fun... :) The car's on trestles, so is quite a long way off the floor. Diffs are heavy. So it was with much heath robinsonism that we made a platform (out of toolboxes and Haynes manuals, mostly) to sit the diff on, while we spaced out the diff with nuts and washers so it was sat centrally in the tunnel.
To help with this, we also trial-fitted the propshaft, and to figure that was in the right place, we needed the gearbox as well. Thankfully it was already disconnected from the engine, so on it went. I could see where Marc had had to take a chunk out of the bellhousing to fit into the tunnel, and it's pretty much fag-paper clearances against the bulkhead when it's in. That's gonna be fun when it's all bolted to the engine again!!
At this point, we were kind of getting near-ish to thinking about fitting the bodywork. Before getting that far, I wanted to trial-fit the front suspension, as I wanted to figure out how the pushrod bits work, and I wanted to find out about any possible problems before we got anywhere near the body tub, as that needs to be cut to fit around the suspension pickups. The first bit of that was to fit the inboard suspension coilover shocks. Tricky!! As you might imagine, they're quite stiff. With some persuasion (and a crowbar) they were bolted in place. You can see the first one here...
With them both in place, we started on the front wishbones. Here we came across a snagette. Or maybe a whole snag. One of the wishbones didn't fit! Out came the vernier calipers, and true enough, one set of the top mounts was 3mm further apart than the other. This being the first car I've built, I was pretty worried about bending the bracket to make it fit, and worse luck, it was over the week Marc was off for his wedding! We found other things to do till I could get hold of Marc again. He said that it wasn't a massive problem - the jig for making the chassis needs some movement on the pickups to compensate for the heating during welding. He said that bending the brackets slightly to push the wishbones in would suffice - when bolting them up, it would tighten against the polybush. Phew!
The rears went in with no trouble. The uprights haven't been on yet, as they all have to come off to fit the bodywork, but I've had a play with them and figured out how they fit, so I don't think they'll present a problem.
Next up was the fuel tank fitting. This wasn't too drastic, some superglue and foam strips from the local craft shop, some rivnuts and then some washers and nuts. I like the easy jobs :) We also had a Racetech fuel level sender (I decided I liked the racetech analogue gauges, they remind me of aircraft ones), which went in without a struggle. We found that the best way of getting the swarf out of the tank again was to put the vacuum nozzle into the filler hole, put our fingers over the rest and shake it. We also mounted the fuel pump at this stage, but the fuel hose we had knocking around the garage wasn't marked - this is needed for the dreaded SVA, so we need to get some more.
We've also started to put the engine back together. It came apart for an inspection, so after being given a clean bill of health by Ron, it was cleaned inside and out, painted (outside only) in VHT silver, and left in a corner of the garage.... We spotted a tuned head with a 285 cam on Ebay, and it was not far from my work, so we went for it. 100 quid turned out to be pretty good - the guy had bought it to go onto his westie about 7 years ago but never fitted. It still had the waxoyl all over it. It had been kept wrapped and dry and looked pretty good (we were also struggling to get the sparks out of the original head...), and that's now been bolted and torqued down onto the block.
This weekend, hopefully, the engine, new clutch and the gearbox are going to be assembled and mounted up. Then we need to figure out where the exhaust manifold comes out, as we need to make a hole in the body for that, and then trial-fit the body and see if / where we need to cut holes in the bonnet for the twin webers and their filters.
One of the locostbuilders fraternity (Sonja from Sydney, who races a VortX), has promised some pictures of the necessary holes in the body. They should help no end in the fitting!
That was a mammoth post. I'm knackered now - I'll have to keep it more up to date in the future!!