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The build:

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What happened in November

1st November 2000

The big day arrives. First stop is dumping all the crap from the garage. Unfortunately the local council tip won't accept half the front end of a Peugeot 205 GTi as being 'household waste' so I have to find a commercial tip. When I ask the bloke how much it costs, I was quite pleased at the price of 30 per ton seeing as I had about 50kg of stuff to dump, until he said 'minimum fee 15'. In the end he was so embarrassed about the poxy amount I wanted to dump he asked sheepishly for a fiver and we left it at that!

Next step was to pick up my mate Al who had volunteered to help load and unload the kit. Al works at HSBC as an investment banker and had asked me to pick him up from his office as he had a meeting until 11 a.m. After getting into all kinds of grief trying to find the place and then trying to find somewhere to park, I eventually settle for a pavement job right outside with the lights flashing. It wouldn't have been so bad if Al hadn't been 25 minutes late.....

We got to Fisher about half one and loaded the kit up. MF told me about the change in the braking set-up, with the change from a twin master cylinder set-up to a tandem set-up to avoid SVA problems. Unfortunately, the roll-bar didn't have the extension I'd asked for on it, but Mark said he'd have a new one made up.

This was the first point at which I realised that the lightweight chassis wasn't panelled. It was just a bare chassis with a 8' x 4' sheet of ali for me to play with. Gulp.

Al and I had a good look over two Fury Fireblades that Steve and Tony were making up for customers and then set off for the garage. After battling through the North London traffic, we get there, unload the kit, build the shelves, tidy things away a bit and then go off for a celebratory curry.

4th November 2000

Day 1 of the build. Al piles along after a while and we set to the panelling, starting off with the four pre-cut panels on the sides of the transmission tunnel and along the flanks of the car. I start laying up the first of my carbon fibre panels.

5th November 2000

More curry with Al, and a late start as a result. Not a terribly productive day: we get the four pre-cut panels trimmed to size, bent into shape and the holes drilled for the pop rivets, and cut out templates for the panels around the back of the seats.

8th November 2000

Skip off work early and start cutting up the panels for the backs of the seats. I'm starting to regret not having bought a sheet metal bender for the returns. The garage is rapidly getting an attractive floor of aluminium shavings. I first try using my Turner power nibbler. After 5 minutes it breaks, in exactly the same way as I say another one that had broken. Apparently they tend to do this unless it's VERY thin metal. My 15 jigsaw with a metal blade, however, does its proverbial knife-through-butter routine and the blanks are soon cut out.

Rushing to get things done (recurring theme) I put a return on one panel the wrong way round. Fortunately there's enough spare to cut another one.

11th/12th November 2000

Bending panels, taping them into place with gaffer tape, drilling the holes and cleaning off the swarf. Not exactly exciting. I've decided to paint the panels black as I don't want to have to keep polishing them, and anyway, quite a few have been rather scratched in the build so far.

15th November 2000

Starting regret deciding to paint the panels, especially once the heater breaks down. Painting and spraying Hammerite in near-freezing temperatures does not produce the best of results.

18th/19th November 2000

Although not all the panels have a terribly good finish due to the cold weather I decide I can't wait any longer and fit them in place. I can always wet'n'dry and T-Cut them to a better finish later. The exception is the panels down the side which I make sure are good before fitting them: given their location they can't be done later.

22nd November 2000

Chassis turned upside down and floor panels fitted. The rubber underseal paint hasn't dried despite the fact that I put it on about two weeks ago.

25th November 2000

A good day. My Dad lends a hand again and we get the rear axle into place. I decide to fit the fuel tank although (again) the mounting holes in the chassis bear little relationship to the holes in the tank frame. Additionally, if the tank's bolted straight to the chassis then it touches the chassis in lots of random places, in particular on the strengthening panels on top. In the provisional fitting I use 5 penny washers apiece to space out the tank. These will be replaced by nylon bushes in due course. I finish off my fitting the fuel line and go home feeling that we're really getting there, especially as I managed to fit one of the carbon panels at some point during the day as well.

26th November 2000

Rather unproductive day. I tidy up the garage, which needs doing, and sweep all the accumulated detritus off the floor. I start trying to put the brake lines into place but the change from a twin master cylinder setup to the tandem setup means that the diagram in the manual is (again) totally chocolate teapot. I try working it out from first principles but keep getting confused by pipe 1 which has a male connector which doesn't appear to fit anywhere. Eventually I just give up and decide to call MF for enlightenment.

27th November 2000

MF sends me a diagram showing where the brake lines go. It turns out that I'd almost got it right, and the Pipe No. 1 which was confusing me has the wrong connector on one end. It looks as though its an M10 x 1.5 when it should be a M12 x 1.0. I decide that it's time to invest in a brake-pipe flaring kit and make up some brake pipes myself.

I fit the front brake pipes, though, checking that there is no more than 30cm of brake pipe between the clips. I'm using some rather nice double clamps from Rally Design, held in place by rivnuts in the chassis. Both of the pipes for the front are much too long, the one to the nearside wheel so much so that it'll have to double back on itself. Unfortunately, while bending it by hand I over bend it everso slightly. There is only minimal crimping (less than .5mm reduction in width) but I don't want to risk it. Fortunately there's enough left to crop the pipe before the crimp and still have enough to take it to the flexible hose, so I can do that once I get the brakepipe flaring kit.

Still leave feeling a bit gutted that I didn't finish the job though.

29th November 2000

The new caliper brackets from Rally Design arrive and I do a trial fitting. The brake pads seem to protrude beyond the edge of the brake discs by a couple of mill, although the calipers were a tight fit so the upright may need a bit more 'relieving' with the angle grinder. The thing that does concern me is that the number '22' is on the back of the brackets, and the BK22 braking kit is for a Renault 5 GT Turbo: given that the BK1 kit had a '1' on it and the BK8D kit had '8D' on it, I start to wonder whether these are for a Renault 5.

30th November 2000

No, they're not. They're the right bits and it looks as though another evening with my angle grinder might be called for. Oh, and my coil springs from AVO arrive. They look rather short but my calculations show that they won't get coil-bound (or even close) before the dampers hit the bumpstops.

Ring Machine Mart to see if they've got an engine crane at my local shop. To my amazement they do and say they'll put it to one side.

Time to leave work early again....

Get to the garage and try fitting the brakes again having 'relieved' the uprights a bit more. One of them is OK, although the brake pads still protrude beyond the edge of the disc. The other one is way out and will need fiddling with. I decide to assemble one of the front corners (the one with the OK brake system) but get stuck. The top of the upright is held in place with a Chevette knuckle joint, and I can't put the nylock nut on it because the shaft just rotates when I try to turn the nut. Time to ask the Sylva boys on the web...

Al with chassis

Me with chassis

Carbon fibre

Panels go on

Dad with chassis

Rear axle

First brake line

This document maintained by Dan Bromilow
Material Copyright © 1998 Dan Bromilow