Sunday 25 August 2013

Day 4 (Full day)

And finally the weekend has arrived and the first opportunity to work on the car for a full day and what a day it was too. My friend Leon arrived in the morning (with a hangover) having been out for 'some drinks' the night before. I did the decent thing, took pity on him and put him straight to work on reading the next stages in the assembly guide. If his head wasn't scrambled before it certainly was after that.

Leon's first taste of the wonderful Assembly Guide
Quite a few jobs were on the agenda for today and I will go through the order in which we completed them.

Adding the Uprights & Wingstays

Job number 1 seamed like reasonably safe ground on which to start the day. The Uprights were both in a box of their own labelled left and right respectively so we took them out and then set to work. Frankly there is only one way these are going to go on the car so there is little to get wrong here. Just needed to make sure that the various bolts were torqued to their correct settings.

The Wingstays fit over the large bolt that holds the upright assemblies together (big bolt that goes right through the middle). You have to temporarily remove this bolt, fit the wingstay over it and then refit the bolt. The guide does tell you to discard the nyloc nut that was previously on there, presumably because they don't work so well once refitted. Unfortunately we couldn't locate any replacements in the parts supplied so these have had to go back onto the car again with a liberal application of Loctite. Hopefully this suffices. 

Anti-roll bar

Next we moved on to fitting the Anti-roll bar to the front of the car. Again reasonably straightforward once you know how and quite a fun job given all the sexual innuendoes which are impossible to avoid given the need to regularly talk about greasing ones balls (ahem).

Once the plastics balls had been fitted to the end of the roll bar, we plastered them both in LM grease and then set about pushing them into the plastic cups that form part of the upper wishbone. This was reasonably straightforward with two of us on the job but we did need to apply a fair bit of pressure to get them to locate. Remember to pass the little rubber boots up the anti-roll bar before pushing the ends into the cups as these are then used to cover over the ends of the cups and keep all the grease in the joint. Cable ties are used to keep them in situ.

Front ARB located into Top Wishbones
Front ARB mounts

Brake Hoses, Calipers & Pads

Then it was onto the front brake hoses and Calipers. Once they'd been found this was again a reasonably straightforward job. You need to be a little careful not to over-tighten the nuts either side of the side skin where the brake hose passes through the side of the car to make sure you don't crush the aluminum too much. The end of the hose that you are left with nearest the brakes locates to the caliper by way of a banjo bolt. That bit's easy and the only thing you are really left to think about is the routing of the brake line itself. We opted to fit it through the triangle that is formed by the attachment of the Wingstay. A quick check by way of turning the steering fully from lock to lock confirms that nothing will be fouled with this arrangement and that there is sufficient length on the hose not to rip it from the car on full lock!

Routing of brake line

The Calipers were another straightforward fit. They'd both been kindly scribbled on in marker pen to indicate which was left and which was right. The guide made no mention of the fact that these were to be fitted at this stage with the brake pads in but we chose to do that anyway as it seemed logical to do so. We were surprised at just how small the front pads were but then I guess the car is so light it simply doesn't need the stopping power of larger more modern machinery.

It shouldn't be too confusing when you fit them but just in case, the arrangement looks as follows when you do. Make sure that the curved part of the pad is towards the outside of the caliper (so that it follows the natural curvature of the disk once fitted). The securing pins work as shown in the image below. We also applied lots of copper slip to the backs of the pads at this point to ensure no squeaking of the brakes later.

Locking the front pads in place

The bolts that are used to secure the calipers to the uprights had been loosely fitted to the upright assemblies for us by Caterham. We quickly removed them and then reused them to bolt the calipers in place. We did make a small mistake at this point and initially had the supplied washer up against the bolt head. This meant there was no clearance between the caliper and the ends of the hubs. Re-arranging it to that shown below just gets you the clearance you need.

Correct sequence of bolt and washer to gain clearence

This is what the final assembly looked like viewing it end on with brake pads in place:

Completed brake assembly

At this stage we broke for a well deserved lunch. This year my wife and I had decided we'd plant some Courgettes in the garden (something not previously tried) and so today it was decreed that we'd be having Courgette soup. As lovely as it was, this was something we would later come to regret as it began to work its way through our digestive tracks. I won't go much further other than to say that its quite a small garage and that opening the window was definitely required later in the evening!

Engine & Gearbox prep

This one took us most of the afternoon (about 4 hours in all) as things didn't go quite as smoothly as we'd hoped. Being a Duratec car, the bell housing had come pre-attached to the engine. The guide suggests that you should then offer up the gearbox to the bell housing, locating the splines at the end of the gearbox shaft into the hole in the bell housing. Could we get it to locate? Could we heck. After much deliberating and swearing we resorted to asking a question on the Lotus 7 Club's forum to see if anyone could shed any light on it for us. The general consensus that came back within only a matter of minutes (got to love the power of the forums) was that there was nothing obviously wrong with what we were trying, but that removing the bell housing from the engine and fitting that to the gearbox first might help. So thats what we did, took it off, bolted bell housing to gearbox (the bolts were a very tight fit) and then offered that lot up to the engine and hurray, it went on first time. It was still a tight fit mind and the bolts going into the engine effectively had to be used to pull the thing together finally. We were careful to ensure we went round the various bolts tightening them bit by bit to make sure we pulled the whole thing on as straight as possible. The final arrangement is shown below and is now almost ready to be fitted to the car:

Measuring the shaft to try and work out where we were going wrong

Complete engine, bell housing and gearbox assembly

It was then onto some of the smaller jobs

Washer bottle, Horns, Engine mounts and Earth Lead

I particularly enjoyed fitting the washer bottle, mainly because its a job that we seemed to manage on the first time of asking. You have to fit the washer jet (there is only 1) to the scuttle which is pretty simple. The hardest part is getting the plastic tubing onto the end of it. After a few times trying to do this blind by passing my hands under the dash and feeling for it, I gave up and resorted to a new method which I'm sure is almost certainly how they do it down at Dartford.

The inverted attach method

Once the pipe was on the end of the washer then I set about running the pipe along the existing wiring loom that passes down through the bulk head and exists part way down the transmission tunnel. This job was definitely easier using the method shown above as I could easily see what it was I was attaching the cable ties onto. We then neatly ran the rest of the plastic tube down to the (newly located) washer bottle, the bracket for which was already attached to the chassis in the engine bay.

Plastic tubing leading to washer bottle

Washer bottle in position
It was starting to get late by this point so we finished off with a couple of simpler jobs these being the horns. these are very straightforward and need no explanation. Simply attach them to the relevant part of the chassis having first loosened them off on the bottom so that they can be rotated (you need to get them so that the single connecting plug can reach the connectors on both horns). Make sure they don't touch each other (presumably so they don't resonate against each other when you use them).

The engine mounts were already fitted to the engine in my case but the rubber bushes that they locate into needed to be added to the chassis. One of these also needs the engine earth lead attaching to it to provide a ground for the engine. This was another nightmare part to find. In the end I had to resort to the pick list that comes with the car to try and find what the part number was for this. Eventually I found the relevant part identifier and duly found the cable I needed in a pack that had been loosely put together in the boot of the car with no other useful identifiers on the pack.

So thats now on the car, tomorrow we look to do the various other bits of engine prep work before we attempt to fit the engine, although we do need to source a crane first.....

No comments:

Post a Comment