Sunday 8 September 2013

Day 14 (Full Day)

Being a Sunday and having had a late night the day before I was actually quite pleased to be starting on the car by 9am. Unfortunately the BigHeads hadn't turned up in the post before the week was out so work would have to be confined to other parts of the car for now. Turns out there was LOTS to do so I needn't have worried.

Steering Column

On looking at the instructions, I'd been led to believe that this would be another of those 5 minute jobs so I thought it would be a good one to kick start the day. Unfortunately that wasn't to be and it took rather longer than I'd hoped. Fitting the Union Joint to the Steering Rack was simple enough, as was fitting the lower steering column into the other side of the Union Joint. The only issue I had was with one of the retaining bolts that go through the UJ. I just couldn't get one of the bolts through as the alignment was slightly off. In the end I cut a big taper onto the end of the bolt, coated it in Copper Slip and gave it a big whack (several actually) before enough of the bolt came through the other side to get the nut onto it. I then pulled the bolt all the way through by doing it up. Apparently this is quite common so when you get to this job and you are getting frustrated, rest assured that I know how you feel.

At this point you are then told to pass the upper steering column down through the dash, down through the lower bush and onto the lower rack. Unfortunately, despite greasing up the column when I pushed the upper column through the bush, the white plastic inner of the bush came loose and came right out of the hole in the dash - damn!

I tried various attempts to bush the plastic part of the bush back up the column but I wasn't getting anywhere. I couldn't see what I was doing and the plastic inner has a couple of retaining notches which have to align perfectly with the rubber part of the bush it sits in so the chances of getting it to locate were slim to none. Apparently it's quite common for this to happen but its bloody frustrating when it does. Time to search for a solution. I couldn't really leave the inner out of the bush as I was sure that would mean lots of play in the steering which was not something I wanted. Thankfully I worked out a solution quite quickly which I will share below just in case it happens to someone else.

  • Step 1 - Remove the upper steering column completely.
  • Step 2 - Remove the lower column completely (take it out of the UJ). This needs to be done as it is fouling the hole that you need to insert the plastic insert back into
  • Step 3 - Spray the white inner with silicone spray and use your middle finger to insert it back up and into the bush. You can look down the hole through the dash from the top at the same time to make sure the white notches align correctly into the locators on the rubber bush
  • Step 4 - Grease the upper steering column and insert it back down through the dash whilst at the same time keeping your middle finger inside the bush so you can feel when you have it central. When you do gently push it through. Hey presto its through the white inner!
  • Step 5 - Refit the lower column and then slide the upper column over the lower one as shown in the Assembly guide.
This goes against the order in which the guide tells you to do it in but actually if you started with this approach I'm pretty sure you'd save some time and if you are unlucky enough to pop the white inner out of the lower bush you have nothing in the way in order to pop it back in again!

Once that was done, I then had to fit the upper steering column bush. This is presumably the same as the lower bush although you never actually see that one as it is hidden beneath the dash. The guide says to fit it over the upper column pushing it down into the dashboard tube. Its got two rubber lugs on it which are supposed to locate into corresponding holes in the side of the dash tube. I tried for about 20 minutes using loads of rubber lubricant but could not get the bush to push home into the tube. To be honest I was getting a bit pissed off. In the end I stopped for a bit, had a cup of tea, calmed down and thought about what other ideas I could come up with. In the end, I pleased I did as I happened upon a good one which I strongly advise others using too.

I popped down to B&Q and bought a length of metal tubing. the diameter was 25mm, just wide enough to fit completely over one end of the bush. I also bought a load of M12 washers which could fit over the end of the upper rack. The lot cost me about £8.

Tools for fitting Upper Steering Column

The metal pole I'd bought was over a meter long so I cut it down to size, fitted it over the Upper Column and then added a number of washers over the end. Using what would later become the securing nut, I then did the whole lot up, pushing the bush into the hole as I did so. I had to repeat this procedure 2 or 3 times, adding further washers each time so that I could push the bush further into the hole. It was a job well done but one that had taken over 2 hours to complete.

Improvised Steering Bush Locator

Once that was done it was a simple case of fitting the steering wheel boss, doing the large nut up and then screwing the steering wheel into the holes on the boss. Steering now complete!

Rear Wings

I then moved on to the rear wings. I started off as suggested in the guide by fitting the wing protectors. The protector plates fit to the wing with a rubber bead that runs round the top, outer and bottom edge. To simplify things I stuck the rubber beading in place using tape. This is now on the car but is hidden behind the plate so it won't be seen.

Securing Rubber Bead in place

Flipping the protector plates over, I then stuck them onto the wing, again using tape. Happy that I had the alignment right I then drilled through the existing holes and through the fiberglass wings. It was then just a case of gently riveting the panels on. I started in one corner and then worked my way around. Just be careful to ensure that the rubber bead is tight to the edge of the plate before you rivet each hole.

At this point I tried to test fit one of the wings to the car. I realised quickly that there was an issue. The rear radius arm was in the way. A quick check of the guide confirmed that it was OK to cut away some of the fiberglass so it would fit so out came the Dremel again.

Enlarging Wing Holes

Breaking right through

With the wing then fitted flush to the side of the car I loosely held them in place. Some of the bolts go straight into holding nuts that re fitted to the body of the car. Those towards the back of the car come out into areas such as the boot and below the boot floor and need a nut to hold them on. Additional (Wider) Rubber Bead then needs to be fitted behind the wing, being sandwiched in place when the bolts are eventually done up. The end result looks as follows:

Cut out for Radius Arm

Completed Wing

Rear Lights

It was then time to fit the rear lights, Harriet kindly offering to take this job on whilst I moved on to tidying up some of the wiring in the engine bay. The first step was to loosely fit the rubber mounting blocks to the car having first removed the light clusters that are screwed to them. There is a single hole drilled in the wing already for you. You use that to get the position of the lights right and then drill the additional 3 holes to fit the blocks. Simple screws that go directly through the wing hold them in place. Although this has worked successfully, I do wonder about the safety of having screw heads protruding through and into the wheel arch the other side. Might ask Caterham whether its safe to file off the ends?

Holes drilled, ready to be fitted

Rear lights in place

Wheels & Initial Alignment

Whilst the lights were being fitted, I decided to align the front tracking as best as I could. I test fitted the front wheels and then looked down the line of the car to get a visual indication of whether it was toe in or toe out on each side of the car. They were both a bit out so I adjusted the track rod ends and did everything back up again. Its good enough for now but I'll be sure to get the whole geometry set-up properly once the cars is back from its IVA.

First Start

With the rear arches fitted I then decided to fit the rear wheels as well. This meant that I could now lower the car down and off the Axle stands. Some friends duly arrived for some dinner so I took the opportunity to try and see if the car would start.

Following the advice given in the Assembly Guide, I cranked the engine for about 30 seconds with the Inertia switch disconnected so it wouldn't start. When I saw that the oil pressure was registering I stopped, reconnected the switch and then started it up. Broooooooooom Broooooooom - It's alive!!!

The first thing I noticed was that it was running at a very fast idle (2.5k) so I switched it off and tried readjusting both the throttle cable but also the idle screw. These helped but the car is still idling very quick. Think some more adjustment might be in order but I shall leave that for another day.

Just the front wings and the weather gear to do now and I should be nearly there. Still no word from VOSA regarding my IVA date but hopefully I hear from them this week.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the advice on the Steering 'white plastic inner'. I pushed mine out - couldn't get it back in. However the steering is quite solid without play & I've driven about 2000 miles in its current state. I'll have a go following your method when the snow sets in & the car's laid up for the winter.