Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Let there be light!

Today was spent fitting the lights, now the car really starts looking like a Caterham!

Crimp type bullet connector used instead, not sure about the blue though. Nice toes...
First off was the number plate light (see above), a simple task, the wire provided was way more than needed, so it was cut down to size. We're thinking that in the future of converting to LEDs, so left a little extra for re-wiring, if required. The only problem we had was that the bullet connector provided turned out to be a solder not a crimp-type (against what the Assembly Guide said), so split when I tried to squeeze it together. Fortunately I had some in my aero-modelling toolbox - potential disaster averted - however the blue insulation is somewhat conspicuous.

Pre-drilled 30mm hole (wiring) and a 4mm hole for the mounting screws.
Next up was the rear lights, again a relatively simple task. The rear wings come pre-drilled with a 30mm hole and one of the four 4mm holes required to mount the rear light assemblies (above), we used a screw to attach the assembly and a spirit level to make sure everything was level.

Mounting the left hand rear light assembly using the provided self-tapping screws. Not our first choice...
Then it was a case of drilling the other 3 holes and screwing them in (above). We have to say that the use of self tapping screws was not our first choice, they're a little crude and it cracks the fibreglass. Also, it makes a horrible cracking noise when you tighten them, we would have much preferred to have used bolts. We may come back and revisit this once the IVA is complete.

Rear lights fitted.
The front lights and indicators were relatively straightforward also, first off you have to add IVA strip around the mounting cone then mount the indicators to them, see below. 

Front indicator and mounting cone. Note the IVA strip.
Next up it was taking the front lens off the light and getting to the headlight bowl (see below).

Front lens assembly and headlight bowl.
This was so that after you pass the headlight mounting stud through the indicator cone and into the headlight bracket you can then pass the black indicator earth wire back up inside the thread and mount it inside the headlight bowl. And breathe, gottit?

The black indicator earthing wire heading up the thread to mount inside the headlight bowl.
This was repeated for both sides and a big part of the car's identity had started to come together; it started to look like a Caterham!

Front lights fitted, big part of the car's identity!
The wiring for the headlights and indicators pass through a hole into the headlight mounting bracket and reappears inside the body, where it is connected to the loom via a connector block. Routing the wiring though this hole was somewhat fiddly to achieve. We inserted the individual wires into the connector block later, as we had to include the wiring for the repeater lights (on the cycle wings). 

Wiring from the repeater into the cycle wing support, note the heat-shrink.
The repeater light wiring was a bit of a bugger to route into the car, the holes were quite small in the cycle wing supports (above) and getting the connector out near the brace was a bit of pain, to say the least (see below). Part of the problem was of our own making; we chose to lengthen the earth wire and mount it inside the chassis, rather than on the wing-stays themselves, meaning that the space available inside the tube was reduced, however we feel that the extra time spent was worth it.

Bit of a pain getting the wiring out of the hole in the cycle wing support. Note the lengthened earth wire.
This was then shrouded in heat-shrink and routed around the back of the top wishbone, as per the Assembly Guide (see below)

Repeater wiring shrouded in heat-shrink and cable tied to top wishbone.
For mounting the lengthened earth wire inside the body there are a couple of positions that work very well, (see the next two photos below), both are threaded holes, making attachment easy and are natural earthing points. For the left side we used the brake line T-piece and the right side we used the corresponding hole (I'm guessing it's used for the same purpose when the car is left hand drive) - indeed the left hand side already had other earthing wires attached to the bolt.
Left hand repeater earth (red insulation) mounting point, on the brake line T-piece.
Now that all the ingredients were in place we were then able to fully wire the connector block to the loom. The problem we had was that the various colours of wire were of differing lengths, particularly the green indicator and repeater wires, namely because they were coming from different locations to the headlight bunch. This presented some problems with packaging and wrapping them together, particularly on the right side.

Right hand lighting connector block, caution over the position of the various wire colours!
Note the earth wire mounted to the chassis.
When clipping the connections into the connector block the manual was helpful with the various colours of wire (with some small differences, depending on the side of the car) and their function. Crucially, what we did was to note down the positions of those wires from the loom into that connector block, so that they would obviously match with those on the lighting side.

With the lighting hurdle now completed we're turning our attention to some of the incomplete and outstanding jobs, such as the shoulder harnesses and the boot cover, as well as the lambda sensor wiring attachment to the chassis. Until next time...

Wednesday, August 10, 2016


I always look forwards to receiving my monthly copy of Lowflying, the magazine of the Lotus Seven Club, however this month's edition (August 2016) was rather special for Amy and I. A couple of months ago we got in touch with the editor, Michael Calvert explaining the wonderful gesture by Caterham and Simon Lambert (my blog post HERE), he was interested and asked me to write an article. It got published this month!

My article! Mum was very proud...
A huge thanks once gain to Simon Lambert for the use of the car and to Michael Calvert for allowing us to put our story into words!

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Rear Wing and Stone-guard fitment

Today we spent a very long time fitting stone-guards and the rear wings to the body. They're pieces that show, so we wanted to spend the time getting them right.

Holes punched and cut out in the P-seal. Note the pre-drilled holes
Fortunately the holes on the rear wings had been pre-drilled, we test fitted both sides and also the rubber P-type seal. We then marked the holes with marker pen to then punch out using a leather punch (The Assembly Guide says you can cut out slots, but we thought it would be more prone to splitting), see above.

Holes enlarged in rear wings for Watt linkages/Radius arms
It was also suggested in the Assembly Guide to again cut slots in the fibreglass for the radius arms/Watts linkages, however we had some concerns over the potential rigidity and cracking of the fibreglass in the future. Therefore we chose to enlarge both holes, in case we upgrade to Watts linkages in the future (see above).

Stainless mudguards
Next was fitting the stone-guards (above); they come out of the box flat but we needed to bend them to shape, so that we didn't put stress on the rear wings. But what to use? How about a gas cylinder? It's the right sort of radius and left the stone-guards a nice shape!

Gas cylinder, ideal for shaping the stone guards!
The P-seal was then taped to the back of the stone-guards, so that the sections around the corners that had folded up could be cut out (see below).

Tape holding the seal to the back of the stone-guards, helps cut out the corners.
Once we had all the parts ready we could start drilling and riveting the stone-guards to the rear wings. We weren't happy just riveting straight into the fibreglass as the rivet could just pull though the hole, as GRP is not a particularly hard material, meaning it could crack and eventually work its way loose. We bought some 1/8" rivet washers (oversized to spread the squeezing force over a wider area, thus reducing the chance of cracking), see below.

1/8" rivet washers.
Drilling and riveting was a simple enough procedure, (see below), however take your time, making sure they are located in the right place on the rear wings. The assembly guide suggests something like 5mm outboard from the edge (due to the round section of the P-seal between the body and the rear wing) and also flush along the bottom, however we adjusted each side 'to look right'.

Drilling and riveting the stone guards to the rear wings
Once this was complete it was time to fit the wings to the body, trying not to over tighten the bolts, again to avoid future cracking of the fibreglass.

Fitting the wings to the body, note the rivet washers for the stone-guards.
It's amazing seeing how much wider the car is with them on and how rigid the rear wings have become.

Next time we're going to tackle some of the wiring.