Monday, 16 October 2017

Update, at last!

It's been just over a month since I wrote anything for the blog - fair to say I've been a little tardy. However, although I may not have been writing about the build, I have managed to bring it on a little way. Having almost finished the rear end, I decided it was time to be brave and begin tackling some of the interior panels. Now of course common sense would suggest that a wise person with no, none,
ziltch - or I should probably say zero - experience of fitting body panels, would begin with the smallest, least noticeable panels. That excludes me then. I gamely picked up the large panel that "fits" behind the seats, and offered it into position. No way was it going to go in. I tried left edge first - no chance - then right, then top, then bottom. After about a dozen attempts, I put the panel down, shut the garage door and went indoors for a little cry.

One of the reasons I'm writing this blog I'll share with you all when the build is complete and The Zero has passed it's IVA. The other is because even before I had the kit in my garage, I had a gathered a huge amount of info, knowledge, hits and tips from other builders who had taken the time and made the effort to document their own journeys. So whilst having my little cry, I checked a few blogs and discovered that all I needed to do was bend the panel slightly....

Back in the garage, a little bit of pressure in the centre of the panel and it pretty much dropped right in.   :). Here is is, bonded and riveted into place.

So, feeling buoyed by this momentous acheivement, and armed with an open cartridge of Alpha bond, I cracked on with the driverside foot well panels.

The photo above shows the panels just trial fitted. The front footwell panel with the U shape cut out is correctly positioned on the engine bay side but, initially I placed the front tunnel panel in the footwell side. It is possible to fit this panel in the footwell or the transmission tunnel. By opting to fit in the tunnel you gain about an inch of foot room - apparently inches matter - and with my clumsey old size elevens, I took that option.
The main tunnel panels were next and these were a simple but very time consuming job. The boys at GBS said that they don't tend to rivet these panels, opting to only use bond. I opted to rivet as well, simply because I had no other means of holding the panels in place whilst the bond was drying, as this can take up to 48 hrs. Because the tunnel panel is mounted on the cockpit side of the chassis and the front tunnel panel is mounted on the gearbox side, to make the panels meet, I needed to put a bend in both ( you can just see it in the next photo).

And from the otherside

So, the day was going well so far :)

Next job was to fit the bracket for the speedometer sensor. This fits in the transmission tunnel, positioned over the the heads of the bolts that secure the prop to the diff flange. The sensor itself generates an electrical pulse each time a bolt head passes its tip. To do this, it must be positioned between 1 and 2 millimetres from the bolt heads. 
The bracket comes with pre-drilled holes for the rivnuts which needed opening out to 9mm and two holes for the sensor which I turned into a slot to make it easier to adjust the sensors position once the bracket was in-situ.

The first of 4 rivnuts

Ready to fit

Now to fit the sensor then. I'd previously seen it in the box which contained the gauges for the dash, but when I went to get it, it wasn't there. I emptied the box and one by one went through every box of parts I had. No sign of the *loody thing anywhere, yet I was sure I'd seen it just the other day. Frustrated as a Bishop in a convent, I gave up and went indoors for my dinner.

Friday, 11 August 2017

I do love a tidy rear end

The back end of the Zero really seems to be coming together.

Fuel lines have been  run through conduit and joined to hoses.

Hoses routed then secured with tie wraps and saddles before being connected to the fuel tank.

It seems like these jobs had been waiting to be finished for some time, so it's good to tidy up the loose ends and start on something new. Once done it was time for a brew, talking of which, I've been thinking about getting a kettle for the garage and maybe a fridge, but then I suppose I'd need a loo as well....

Anyway, time to open a reveal one of a pair of Sierra Cosworth rear brake calipers.

The plan is to eventually paint these to match the rest of the car but for now I'm fitting them as they are.
The lugs on the caliper mounting brackets were too long, causing the caliper to touch the disk and prevent it from turning so I reduced each one by approx 2.5mm and this centralised the disk in the caliper nicely. The caliper mounting bolts also needed fettling, as, they were about 6mm too long and hit the disk long before they had been tightened. A quick visit with the air cut off tool soon had them fitting fine. Handbrake cable connected and brake flex screwed into place and, voila, Bob's your mothers brother.

Doesn't seem like a massive amount of work but by the time I'd had a tidy up, I had again spent most of the day in the garage.  So, that's the mechanical side of the back end pretty much completed, save for some adjustments to the suspension and the handbrake cable once the car is sitting on its wheels.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

A visit from the boss

Not the most productive of days today as far as the build is concerned, but a good day none the less. Most of the morning consisted of a tiding up of the garage/workshop which had become a little chaotic.
Graham arrived after lunch and we spent most of the afternoon in the garage mulling over the jobs that had already been done, the jobs that needed completing and what was next on my agenda.

A google expert, Graham set about the task of fining a solution to my dilemma about the proximity of the handbrake cable to the brake pipe / fuel lines / loom. He came up with this from a series of pics he had taken on kit collection day. Jake had cut a small aluminium plate to cover the services - genius!

Here's my version:

...and viewed from the other side:

So while we pondered the sheer beauty of the Zero, we also offered up a few panels to see how it was all going to fit together.

I can't say that I'm looking forward to fitting the scuttle - I think this is one of the jobs I'm going to save and share with Graham on his next visit.
We are still undecided on the finish for the interior panels, but think we're going to go with carpet for the sides of the tunnel and use wrap for the tunnel tops, maybe like this.....

Over a few ciders that evening we wondered wistfully what it was actually going to feel like when the Zero build is complete, it's IVA'd and we can finally drive it. Seems a long way off yet and to be honest, I'm having too much fun to want it finished too soon.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Tanked up!

After such a productive day on the Zero last week, I've been hoping that I could keep up the momentum. Included in today's plan of action are:

1. Finalise the route for the front to rear brake line and then P-clip to the chassis.
2. Route the feed and return plastic fuel pipes along the tunnel.
3. Roughly route the main chassis loom and hold in place with cable ties.
4. Clean and fit the fuel tank.

In the last post I mentioned that I'd roughly routed the front to rear copper brake pipe. Mostly straight forward, from  the three way splitter above the diff, it ran along the offside tunnel rail, going over the chassis at the end of the tunnel and then under the steering column to the master cylinder. Once I'd got it roughly where I wanted it, cable ties were used to temporarily secure it to the chassis.


Where the pipe runs over the chassis, I intend to protect it by covering with some split silicon tubing but I'll do this later when all the pipes are in place.

Once I was happy with the route, I drilled and P-clipped the pipe to the top tunnel rail and then cable tied the plastic feed and return fuel lines to the copper pipe.

The GBS loom is great. Pre-wrapped, fully labelled but, MASSIVE. Lying coiled up on the garage floor it looked big, but uncoiled it ran the full length of the garage (forgot to take pics). Having routed this along with the fuel and brake lines I stumbled upon a snag. There didn't seem to be enough room for the handbrake cable to move without fouling the loom/fuel lines. Need to research alternative routes.... Graham is due to visit for a chew the fat/Friday night out session this week, so I'll see if he has any ideas.

It's amazing how the time disapears when I'm in the garage. I started when Ali left for work at 8 o'clock and it's already lunchtime. Time to get the kettle on again, before tackling the fuel tank.

Lunch done, I followed the advice issued by Steve at GBS on collection day, to give a blast through with the airline and then flush the fuel tank with petrol before fitting to make sure there was no swarf or other debris hidden inside. Once clean inside, I degreased the outside of the tank and did the same to the chassis rails ready for the deadly black sticky bonding stuff.
The chassis and tank where measured and marked up to make sure it would end up in a central position and then bond was applied to the chassis along all contact points. At this point I took some deep breaths, lined the tank up with my marks on the chassis and pressed it onto the bond. I used a couple of ratchet straps to hold it tight, then went to try and clean off the black gunk which had managed to get just about everywhere.

If you've read any other build blogs you'll already have heard the warnings about the black adhesive. It has to be the strongest, stickiest substance know to man, with gripping power second only to dried on Weetabix. I'm still picking it off of my arms three days later.

I was tempted to connect up the fuel lines but having bonded the tank, I now need to allow it to cure for 24/48 hours before doing anything that might disturb it, so I'm calling it a day.

Next session I'm going to attempt to finish off the plumbing of the fuel lines at the back of the car and finalise the routing of the loom. Almost all the build so far has been at the back of the car and there's not an awful lot more to do there before tackling the rear panel, just the rear disks, calipers and brake pads.

Friday, 28 July 2017

First hole drilled!

First on today's agenda was the low pressure fuel pump bracket. This comes with six pre-cut holes, four of which I will use to fix the bracket to the chassis with the rivnuts supplied. I held the bracket in place with a couple of mini clamps and used a centre punch to mark where the holes would need to be drilled. Pilots were done with a 3mm, followed by 6 then finally 9mm bits. I de-burred the holes and then gave a good squirt of waxoyl to give a bit of protection.

Fitting the rivnuts

I've never used rivnuts before, so was treading new ground. Many of the blogs I've read have described how people have broken their setting tools after fitting just one or two rivnuts. With this in mind I splashed out on a decent quality tool and it made light work of the job. After setting the four rivnuts it was a simple case of bolting down the bracket and then fitting the pump and filter, making sure the direction of flow was correct. The thread on both the brass filter (inlet side) and the brass outlet is slightly tapered, so shouldn't be over-tightened. To help prevent any leaks I used a single wind of ptfe tape. To make it easy to change the filter at a later date, I fixed all clips with the screw heads facing up so that they were accessible from the luggage compartment inspection panel (yet to be fabricated).

Pleased with this result. Time for a brew 🍪🍵

So far, so good. I decided I would celebrate my achievement by having a sneaky peek at some porn.....

Ahh so shiny

Not fully satisfied, I gave them a little stroke.... and then trial fitted them. 

Whoops! Wrong way up!

 Note: good job they were just trial fitted...Simon (formerly of GBS) kindly pointed out that I'd fitted them upside down! They have since been "re-fitted" the correct way round!!!

Then the driveshafts and hubs. The driveshafts are different lengths but it's fairly obvious which side is which, plus the nearside hub nut is a left hand thread. The calliper mounting bracket sits behind the hub with the calliper bolt hole at the front.

I've decided to postpone torquing up the hub nut until the Zero has been dropped onto axle stands:

1: Because I'm unsure if the trestles can take it.
2: I can't get a definitive answer as to what the torque figure should be....

Next in my schedule was the handbrake, two bolts with nylocks, a nice five minute job.

 There are two holes to choose from when connecting the cable to the handbrake lever, I opted for the lower of the two as this allowed full travel of the lever without the cable fouling the front to rear brakeline.
Note: taking advice from Simon I have repositioned the handbrake cable to the upper hole in order to give greater efficiency (crucial for the iva).

The cable routes through the chassis next to the brakeline three way splitter, which I fitted at the same time.

By now, I'd almost run out of steam so it was kettle on and stand back with a cuppa to admire a good days work. Now every fisherman knows, that, if you've had a successful session, when it's time to pack up for the day, it's difficult to resist having one last cast.....

...and here it is. Master cylinder in and Front to rear brake line roughly routed and cable tied to the chassis.

All in all a busy day. Loads done and I've popped my "first hole drilled in chassis" cherry.
Tired but happy...

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Up and running

It feels good having made a start, even if it' a little bit of a modest one. So yesterday I fitted the diff, a slow start but a start none the less.
 Today's plan is to prep the rear upper and lower wishbones, fit the gearbox centre mount and the lower steering column bush.

Starting with the steering bush. I'd read that this was a bit on the tight side, so was a little surprised when it just popped in. Imagine how excited I was then, when i discovered the plastic locking ring that sits inside the rubber bush to hold it place. This was tighter than a nuns knicker elastic. I rummaged in the toolbox and found a little used tool designed to wind in brake caliper pistons. Worked perfectly!                                                                                              

Here's the end result.

Pleased with the result, I cleared down my workbench and set out twenty eight bushes and fourteen crush tubes ready to fit to the rear wishbones. To have any chance of getting the bushes to fit, I had remove the powder coating. Out came the emery cloth and I set to - for all of two minutes - before declaring it hopeless. Good stuff, powder coating, as long as you don't want to remove it.
The kettle was calling , so off I went to make a brew and ponder.

Fifteen minutes later and I was digging out my Lidl version of a Dremel. The small sanding drum attachments made light work of the powder coat 😊. Once I'd cleaned out the powder coat from all the wishbone ends I smeared copper grease on the bushes and used a vice to squeeze them in. This did work but i found it difficult to keep the bushes going in square. After trashing a couple of bushes, I changed technique and used the plate from a puller with a bolt and a large washer to wind the bushes in instead. Much easier!
When I shut my eyes, I can still see bushes....

 I used a bench grinder to create a chamfer on one end of the crush tubes and then pressed them in, again using copper grease. Definitely a time consuming job, but strangely satisfying.

Fitting the wishbones to the chassis was fairly straightforward. In some of the brackets I needed to pack out with two penny washers on one side of the bushes and only one on the other. Checked with the guys at GBS and apparently this is normal.

The gearbox centre mounting is standard Sierra kit and requires a little fettling to make it fit. I got a bit carried away here and forgot to take some photos. Simple job though. I just placed the mounting into it's aperture in the chassis, held it with a couple of clamps and marked the cuts I needed to make and the four holes I would need drill. I then removed it and held it in a vice where I used an air cut off tool to make the necessary cuts. I used a centre punch before drilling the holes to prevent the drill bit skidding around.
I did remember to take a photo of it in situ....

My next job is to fix the bracket/mounting plate for the low pressure fuel pump and fuel filter. Need to do some research this evening before ordering a rivnut tool 🔧🔧

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

On the spanners (Build day 1)

Procrastination over, it's time to start turning this huge stash of metal and plastic into something that resembles a car. Each day that I allocate to the build I intend to have a clear(ish) plan of action. Today I have decided to allow a couple of hours thinking time (walking around the chassis,
scratching my head), an hour or so for tea making and calls of nature and the rest of the time actually adding weight to the car.
Following the advice from Jake on collection day, I'm starting with the Diff.

I knew this was going to be a little on the heavy side, so, as I was going to be on my own and the ratchet straps I'd ordered hadn't arrived, I had to improvise a bit...

 I wrapped masking tape around the top rail and cut down some drain pipe to fit over it.

 With a bit of gentle persuasion I coaxed the diff into position and following the advice from many other blogs, the bolts went in, following this sequence:

1. Bottom bolt - fairly easy due to the long slotted holes.
2.Middle bolts - needed to tap the threads in the diff to clear the paint.
3. Top bolt - both spacers needed aprox 1.5mm removing with a bench grinder to fit

Both top spacers needed reducing
     I then stood back to admire my work, well earned cuppa in hand. Nothing to this building malarky. However.... the sharp eyed amongst you may have noticed that in the above pic, the nylon rope has been replaced by a ratchet strap. Which hadn't been delivered....

However, by the time I came to fit the diff again it had! Yep, I had to take the whole *loody thing out again because when I'd held up the prop I could see that there was no way it would go in from the front. So, it was diff out, prop in, diff back in........DOH!! Lesson learned, I cleaned up the tools and packed up for the day.