Friday 4 October 2013

Reflecting on the Build

Now that the car's been picked up and with my evening freer than it has been for some weeks I thought I would reflect back on the build to provide future prospective owners some insight into what, with hindsight, I'd have done differently if I were to do it all again. I'll also be detailing some of the less obvious, incidental costs that I have had to bear on top of the kit itself.

Before I do though, a couple of pictures of the car being collected.

Off she goes!

Might be a while before I get it back again

Tools & Incidental Costs

To start, some details on the various tools that were used and purchased for the project. Where known, I have disclosed the approximate purchase price. You will note that not all of the tools have a cost associated with them. This is because I was lucky enough to have some tools thrown in from Draper (Caterham's Sponsor) by buying the kit from Catertham when I did. I've listed all of the tools though so you can see what was required and what you might have to get hold of if you were to buy all the tools yourself. To be honest, up until now I hadn't sat down and totalled up all of the costs. Now that I have it's actually quite frightening!

As you can see there are quite a few tools and parts you will need to complete the build. I'm thankful that I had quite a lot of tools thrown in for 'free' as the figure probably would have been closer to £1200.

It's also worth noting some other incidental costs which need to be factored in to the complete 'On the Road' price. For me these included:

So all in all then, its cost me quite a bit of cash to get the car on the road and that's on top of quite a hefty price tag for the kit itself. In actual fact, its almost at the point now where it would have been just as cost effective to purchase the car ready built. To me though it wasn't really about the money, it was more about the experience and I'm still really glad to have done it. At least I now know the car inside out. It's also a shame that VOSA charge so much for the IVA. I understand the cost of this has gone up quite a bit recently and £450 seems like a lot of money for what is essentially a glorified MOT. The £700 worth of work that Caterham quoted me for was also quite unexpected. I plan to break down what needed to be done in a subsequent post however.

Things I would do differently

Having completed the car, there are a few things which, in hindsight, I'd do differently were I to build it again. Hopefully someone benefits from this by reading it before they start their own build. There's probably more things to share than this but these are the ones I can remember and can help with. I'll be sure to come back and any further ones as I think of them:

1) Headlight Assembly - The Assembly guide tells you to put the headlight brackets on as you build the front suspension. Its actually much easier to build the entire headlight assembly (headlight, indicator pod & bracket) as one unit and then fit it all in one go later on during the build. In fact you could do it near enough at the end. The wiring for the headlights that needs to go down through the bracket is particualrly fiddly and would be much easier if done off the car. Apparently thats how Caterham do it and the guide is due an update!

2) Wide Track Suspension Extenders - I didn't get any in my delivery nor does the guide mention them but for a wide track car, there are supposed to be extenders that go on each of the front suspension struts. Make sure you get these from Caterham and fit them during the build if you can.

3) Filling the diff - I left this till quite late on in the build. I'd actually already fitted the carpets to the boot only to realise that the only real way to fill the diff was with the boot floor lifted up so I could gain access. I suggest filling the Diff as soon as the drive shafts have gone in.

4) Get Caterham to supply some proper instructions for the coolant pipework routing for the SuperSport R - The manual is devoid of any information on how to route the coolant pipes on this particular model.

5) Fit armourfend (or similar) during the build - The car has gone off to IVA without it fitted. In hindsight I wish I'd purchased all the relevant transparent plastic film etc and fitted during the build. The rear wing protectors in particular would have benefitted from having these fitted after the film had been applied.

6) Get some foam/lining for the rear wheel arches - I've heard that stones coming up underneath the rear arches can crack the paintwork on the rear wings. I will be fitting something as soon as the car is back but in hindsight I could have purchased in advance and fitted during the build

7) Buy a battery conditioner before the car arrived - I needed one of these during the build as the imobiliser ran the battery flat quite quickly. I bought one from CTEK for about £50 and its seems like a good bit of kit (missing from the costs above incidentally!)

8) Doing up the top bolt on the Diff - It's going to be a pain whatever you try but I wish I'd got my trolley jack out sooner than I did to jack up the diff from underneath to aid alignment before whacking the top bolt through

9) Take the Bellhousing Off the engine - It came bolted to the engine already. The manual isn't clear about this but it needs to come off so that the gearbox can be bolted to the bellhousing in the correct manner (Bellhousing to Gearbox)

10) Take the Alternator off the engine before trying to fit it - It wont fit and we wasted quite a bit of time before finally giving up and taking it off

The good news is that the car is now being worked on in Dartford following the PBC. The IVA is scheduled for the 10th October. Not quite the 1st October I was aiming for but not too delayed. Let's hope it passes first time!


  1. Another great blog with some tips I will be adopting! Shocked at the PBC cost from Caterham though! Certainly haven't factored that kind of cost in! Mine is due for delivery by the end of the month! :-)

  2. Any more pics of the car?

  3. Tom, I find all the caterham build blogs useful but yours in particular has been very helpful as I have the same engine. The tips regarding the alternator and the bell housing were very useful.

    1. Glad to hear it. I learnt the hard way so you don't have to :)

  4. I agree with all of the points keep up the good work.Thanks for sharing this.

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