Back in the Saddle — October 24, 2016

Back in the Saddle

Wow… It’s been a over a year since my last post. I guess this is the challenge for anyone with a project car, a young family and a house that needs maintaining. I’ve been focussed on some other projects around the house and dealing with an increasing guilt at not touching the RoadRunner. On a positive note, here are a few pictures of the projects I’ve been working on!

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In true Reddit style, here is a before picture of the thing that’s kept me most occupied. Bit of a grassy hillside that was a pain to mow and a tree that turned out to be my nemesis.

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And that’s what it looks like now. Still some work to do with cleaning the cement off the wall, making that breeze block retaining wall look a little prettier and finishing off the patch on the right. I’m properly happy with it all in all though and look forward to getting plenty of veg on the go next year (we had 50kg+ of potatoes out of it this year to start breaking up the soil).

I’ve also been knocking up a firewood shed, growing my little helper some more and making him a balance bike (on a weekend I got rained off from the garden). Anyway, the guilt has finally overwhelmed me and I’ve started chipping away at the car again.

This has reminded me that I have lots of part cleaning and preparation to go before I get into the interesting work of assembling a working car. Ahh well… I just need to learn to enjoy cleaning corrosion off the surface of metals for a bit.

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Here’s the diff after taking a first pass at it with a dremel and a small polishing stone. I’ve marked the casing in a few places, that I’m not happy about, but a big part of this for me is learning as I go. Before fitting to the car I’m planning to;

  • Go back over the aluminium half of the casing and try to get a better finish on it
  • Replace the differential bushings with a set of these PowerFlex ones. I’ve read reports of them increasing noise / ride discomfort, but in an open top kit car I don’t think that will be my primary concern.
  • Paint the cast iron half of the differential casing with some Satin Black Hammerite.
  • Pull the taped up bits that the driveshafts attach to and replace the oil seals.
  • Replace the gearbox oil in the differential.

I’ll update the last couple of points with links when I’ve spent the time researching and sourcing with parts.

Wish me luck anyway. I’m going to try and get moving as much as possible over winter before the wife starts requesting I start on the front garden come Spring 😉

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2015 in review — December 30, 2015

2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog. We’ve had a busy year with a young family and work to do on the house. I aim to put more time into the car this year though and get it much closer to being on the road!

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,900 times in 2015. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Making a Build Stand — September 2, 2015

Making a Build Stand

I imagine this is the case with any family man who buys a kit car… I’ve had chance to do practically nothing with it over the past couple of months. It’s simply sat on the floor gathering dust while I try to stop the kids dropping their bikes on it, or my 18 month old walking boy over to “help” with a screwdriver.

Instead I have mostly being:

  • Removing an old fountain & patio
  • Removing a concrete shed base
  • Removing a flower bed
  • Putting in a barked area for a trampoline
  • Turfing the gaps
  • Sorting the spare bedroom for plastering
  • Getting rid of a 30-40ft tree (my nemesis)

We’ve also been abroad for a week. I enjoy doing all of the above so it’s not all bad news. I’ve just been getting that creeping feeling of guilt around the SR2.

This weekend has been a typical drizzly bank holiday so I got myself out to buy parts for a build stand. Here is a picture of the finished stand. It was around £150 of parts and a day & a half’s work (I’ll tot up more accurately when I check the bank statement).

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As with my dodgy petrol siphoning, I have a disclaimer before I go through how to build this. I’ve never made a build stand before so chances are I’ve done multiple things wrong. I don’t know if it will take the weight as the car gets closer to completion and I’ve not fully thought through how I will get it down again. Soon as I tried putting the chassis up there I noticed my first mistake. The castors I bought don’t give enough clearance to get the engine winch under the base by maybe 40mm!! It sure is pretty though! 🙂 That being said, here is a parts list to build the same stand:

  • 2 x 69mm x 69mm x 2.4m from B&Q
  • 5 x 20mm x 140mm x 2.5m from Wickes
  • 2 x 20mm x 140mm x 3.4m from Wickes
  • 4 x 125mm swivel castor with brake from toolstation
  • 48 x m8 x 130mm coach bolt from B&Q
  • 2 x 18mm x 2.44m x 1.14m structural plywood from Wickes (I trimmed from 1.22m wide to get it in the car)
  • 50 x 3.5mm x 40mm screw

Start off by building the side panels. I did this by using a g-clamp to hold the upright and cross member together then drill a couple of holes with an 8mm auger. Make sure to position these to each side of the upright so that it won’t pivot.

Once the two verticals and horizontals are in place (being careful that everything is square before drilling each hole) it’s time to do the diagonal cross member. I did this by tapping the coach bolts in from the wrong side and flush with the surface of the wood. Then clamp it up, take the bolts out and drill from the “wrong” side. I.e. through the existing holes to make sure it lines up.

Do both ends, trim any excess wood off with a jigsaw and you have one of these

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Now make a second one 🙂 you can now clamp the width cross members in place to start making a box. I went for 1.14m wide on the top (7cm sticking out each side) and 1.0m wide at the bottom. This will hopefully give better strength where the weight is while supporting the full width of the worktop. You should now have something that looks like this.

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Now turn it over to work on the base and fitting the castors. I’ve trimmed 7cm off each side to get it down to 1m apart from a section upon which to mount the castor. I moved these along the length of the table a bit in order to get away from the bottom of the upright. I aimed for two brackets either side of the cross member and as close to the upright as possible

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And here is a closer version with marking for the castor bolt holes.

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I secured the base around 8″ apart round the cross members with additional screws at the corners and into the base of the uprights.

Then drill with an 8mm auger and fit the castors after cutting down those long ugly coach bolts

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Now flip her over and onto the home straight. At this point my wife came outside to see if I’d be finished soon. I came outside at 08:00 “for 20 minutes” and it was now 15:20!

Time to add in a couple of additional braces to support the plywood worktop and provide and provide a little more rigidity. I did this using a carefully cut 60mm tall x 21mm wide slot into the longer cross member. If I were to do it again I’d reduce this to around 40mm tall x 21mm wide in order to retain more strength.

Go through the same process is screwing in every 8″ et voilà! Completed build stand!! 🙂

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I then took a few attempts to lift the chassis with out adding any dings or scratches.

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But I now have a chassis on a build stand that I can move freely around the garage. I’m a happy man!

I just need to clean it up and put a dust sheet over it now until I can get on to assembling it. Prepping and mounting the diff I reckon.

If you have any feedback or suggestions please drop them in the comments box.

The Chassis Has Landed! — July 16, 2015

The Chassis Has Landed!

About a month ago, the day finally arrived! Mike and Janine from RoadRunner Racing kindly did the 400+ mile round trip to drop of my chassis.

Here are a couple of pictures of it in the RoadRunner workshop before it went off for powder coating. Wish I had a stand like that to carry out the build on!

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Once Mike and Janine arrived down at mine, we had to get the chassis out of a covered trailer. It then needed walking around 10 metres up a sloped drive and into the garage.

Jesus H Christ… This is probably the heaviest thing I’ve ever had to lift and move (around 150 – 200kg between two of us). The guys at RoadRunner had kindly fitted the steering, pedal assembly, suspension and road cage. All nice and helpful but all adding to the weight!

I’d been quite clinical about the whole choice of kit car up until this point. Seeing the chassis on my garage floor I absolutely can’t wait to get on with the build and enjoy the completed car (‘scuse the pink bmx… It’s not mine)

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From talking to Mike you can tell he really loves what he does. We spent maybe the next hour with him offloading information and tips to me and me scratching stuff down with a sharpie. To be fair, a lot of the information feels like a foreign language at this stage. I just plan on taking my time, asking stupid questions and trying not to make any stupid mistakes.

Next thing is to make a build table and get the chassis mobile around the garage. Some helpful folks on the following sites have set me on the right track for this

http://www.reddit.com/r/kitcars/
http://www.madabout-kitcars.com/forum/

I’m planning on going for a 4′ x 10′ wooden table with lockable wheels and a storage shelf underneath. Also gonna be careful to make sure it’ll still wheel out of the garage door while on the table.

Keeping Track of Costs — January 20, 2015

Keeping Track of Costs

As I said in my previous post, I know that I’ve underestimated how much this is going to cost me. When I’m finished I’d like to know how much I’ve spent (to the penny).

I’d also like to know how much money I think I have left to spend at all times.

With this goal in mind, I’ve created the following google spreadsheet

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Ani3Xd-jakSodDc2d3RnRFk4ZW5MdjVfT3J6eG1JQkE&usp=docslist_api

In here I will keep;

  • A log of all spending
  • A price list of everything I need to complete the build
  • A list of non-essentials I’d like

For posterity’s sake my starting estimate is £11,140 all in. This is already miles out as I’ve not accounted for

  • engine wiring loom
  • dashboard wiring loom
  • delivery for the kit
  • uprated suspension (can’t cut corners)

I’m going to do what I can to help this by breaking what remains of the donor. I’m also considering what it would take to educate myself and make my own loom. Sounds like a bad idea as soon as I type it :mrgreen: