Last few bits

This is it, I’m almost at the finish line, just a few more bits to do. Enough chit chat today lets get straight into the next piece of work.

At some point you need to reinforce the tunnels fixing the chassis to the body, it helps with keeping it stable apparently. So with this in mind the manual says to use ply wood, however I decided because I love fibreglassing I would do that instead! First off I measured the gap, cut up and moulded some wire mesh to fit. Positioned this in the tunnel which was fairly fiddly and left my arms looking like I’d been attacked by a pack of hungry cats!


Anyway once the mesh was in and fixed I fibreglassed it in place, another very messy job and tricky with everything in the way but not impossible. Once Id’ built up enough layers of fibreglass I left it to go off and then painted it black with the same paint I used on the rest of the car (rear inner wings etc) just as another level of protection really. Once the inner front wheel arches are in you won’t even see that area.

OK, next item was something I found out about which is required for an IVA pass. It’s not in the manual anywhere so thankfully someone mentioned it otherwise that would have been very annoying! So what is it you ask, well, you have blank off the area in the passenger footwell next to the mini-heater so that in the event of a problem with the water pipes your passenger doesn’t get sprayed with hot water! Safety first

I asked the question at Pilgrim and had no response so I went online on the cobra forum and got my answer almost immediately! I have to say if you need to know anything, get stuck or have an issue, ask online. Theres some very knowledgeable people on there, always happy to help.

Right, back to the issue at hand. Firstly I made a cardboard template of what the shield needed to look like. Then (luckily) I had some aluminium left over which I cut up, moulded and made as my template. Once that was done, I covered it with black fabric, drilled the holed through to the chassis and bolted it in place … done!


Consider you won’t ever actually see this, its functional and fixed in place, all IVA ready … hang on … ALL IVA READY! Yes, well almost yes, I’m waiting on the VIN plate from Pilgrim but thats it. The car is done, the forms are filled in and I’m ready.

Other than this, all I have to sort with the car is to over come an overheating issue I’m currently having. Hopefully this won’t be to much of an issue but apparently its quite a usual one for the Sumo. I’ll keep you posted once I know more.


I was told to check several things, including the expansion tank, restrictor valve, water levels, ensure all the air is out of the system etc and that the fan is blowing in the correct direction! … Guess what, the fan wasn’t. Who knew you could wire it incorrectly. Swapping the wires over has seemed to have fixed the issue tho 🙂 It was running for a longer period at around 90deg as apposed to the other day when it went up to 120deg! … Problem solved!

Until then, I also managed to get the car out of the garage for a clean …



It’s been a while

I think the title says it all really.

With one thing or another the past year has flow by as has the time. But I’ve still had the car sat in the garage gathering dust which is really annoying (especially as summer is approaching again) BUT to be honest I went through what a lot of personal issues and something a lot of amateur builders go through and that just everything get on top of you and it feels like every little issue is a massive one.

Well after feeling so down for a while, I approached Pilgrim to ask for help getting the project finished. Sadly after 1 email they never got back to me, which is a shame. Either way you look at it, customer service should be paramount, in my view anyway! So I took to the UK Cobra forum and the guys on there were very helpful and encouraging, I even had one guy ‘Tony’ who was going to come down and help me. So thanks Tony for the offer but sadly Tony had a fall so it didn’t happen but I wish him a speedy recovery.

With all the encouragement and help from fellow owners and builders alike I decided to take a week off work and get it sorted myself. So there is a plus in all this, I get to finish my car!

OK … on to the build progress.

Quite a few issues to sort out, firstly I had a strong smell of fuel from the boot, which I was informed is quite normal. I had a quick look and noticed the top clip was pinching a little so it may not have had a 100% seal on the cap. Quick rotate, retighten and all was sorted. There were a few pieces of carpet that were coming unstuck too which I managed to re-stick, this time using a special glue spray we used to carpet the VW camper. I should have used this first! Worked so much better.

A few other places in the passenger and driver footwell needed some attention, more sticking the carpets down, easily done with the right glue!

Next step was to swap the front callipers over! Somehow, I managed to put them on the wrong side, so basically the bleed nipples were at the bottom. This turned out to be a easy job, couple of bolts and off they came, quick swap and done! While I had the front wheels off I decide to play a little with the camber of the wheels. I had to wait until the wife came home to re-bleed the brakes, but thats straight forward. I didn’t bother with pics here, because it all looks the same as before.

After this I had to fix a little problem the passenger front light. No idea what was happening here, everything else was working ok, but nothing from one head light. I checked all the fuses, all ok, took the light apart to check the bulbs hadn’t blown and that was ok, so lastly I opened up the conduit to find two of the cables had come apart!? Not sure how that happened but it did, so another quick fix. Once back together I crimped them to ensure a tight fit and placed them back in the conduit and taped it back up.

Then it came to sorting out my leak on the hydraulic clutch. I’ve had this very annoying leak in the footwell, where the clips I was using I just couldn’t get tight enough. I’d also noticed that the hose was touching one of the rocker covers so knowing the IVA is on the horizon I thought I would cut this shorter and re-route it. Pity I waited till now to do this as it made life difficult with everything in the way! However once done, theres now no leak and it looks neater and works better. I ended lifting the clutch reservoir up slightly (by about an inch) which also helped.

The other little job was to place a restrictor in the top hose from the radiator to the expansion tank. I did this before with a piece of plastic where I drilled a small hole through it, but I was never 100% happy with this. So I decided to redo this area by using some good plumbing materials. A flow restrictor with compression connections on to a piece of 2″ copper pipe, all connected and clips together (see picture above) This apparently helps the flow of water go through the radiator rather than through the expansion tank. Hopefully helping keep the engine temp down.

What else was there … oh yes, I had a slight wobble in the steering column so that was adjusted slightly, I also noticed I hadn’t quite tightened the bolts up as it joined the steering arm.

Last but not least! The HT leads were failing on the rocker covers, which from what I understand would be a failure, so I made up some quick brackets to keep them off for now. I’ll find a better solution, or at least one that looks better anyway later. For now, they are off the covers.

Oh I nearly forgot, I also managed to stamp the VIN number I received from the DVLA on the chassis. I used the lower part of the chassis, just in front of the wheel, drivers side to do this. There’s still the VIN plate to go inside the engine bay but I’m waiting for this to come from Pilgrim.

And that was it for the day, very happy with all the progress made. I still have the inner tunnels to fibreglass and seal off, and I need to redo the camber (I did it way to much) and I’m looking at shortening the amount of turning (lock to lock) the steering currently has as it is a fair bit. But I’ll see how it drives first.

So with that lot done, I’ll get on to the tunnels in the next few days, and then all I have left is the IVA to look forward to!

Update …

Hi all, firstly I should apologise for being absent as it’s been quite a while since my last post and secondly I should give you an update on where the build is.

So after the Kit car show, I left the car with Pilgrim and had them check and finish the dashboard for me. We weren’t overly happy with how we’d done the work, and my electrical skills are sketchy at best so this seemed like a good option to get it professional done. I said there was no hurry and as such I’ve only just got the car back recently, so it sitting pretty in the garage at the moment.

There’s a few items I NEED to get sorted which they’ve let me know about, brakes and steering rack need some attention but slightly more frustrating are some of the lights aren’t working now, which were when I gave them the car! and the VIN number I asked to be stamped on, wasn’t. Not really big issues but sometimes its the little things that make a big difference, but not so in this case. It shouldn’t take to long I hope and then shes more or less ready for the IVA. The only issue I have currently is getting those little bits done, time wise and cost. The money pot is finally empty :/ needs must currently so the car has had to be covered up and it looks like it wont be ready for the summer now which is annoying.

If things change you will see me post again and once I’ve fixed the parts I need to, that should hopefully make it drive better, we’ll see.

I wasn’t going to post this but actually it kinda helps talking about, my mum’s been diagnosed with a form of stage 4 blood cancer, so she’s really not good at the moment. This has kinda put hold on a lot of things at home and life for one reason or another has changed at home. So I’m struggling to find the motivation currently, I’m sure it will return but for now please bare with me … Thanks

Until next time … J

Easter Sunday is all about your car!

Happy Easter everyone, for me it became another day I was able to get a few things finished on the car, completion date is looming (I think) as is some exciting news regarding the car, which I will reveal nearer the time, perhaps next week!

On with the build, the main things I had planned to get done before I get back to work and loose a possible few weeks was the bulk of the interior. Today started off by finishing the seat belt fixings and fixing the seat to the floorpan.

The seat belts are straight forward, follow the instructions and they go together nice and easy, I’d already brought some 50mm square plates and pre-drilled all the holes, marked the carpet and put holes in that too. After the belts where fitted and it was time to finished the seats. I didn’t quite finish these the other day because the M8 bolts I had left were only 20mm which didn’t quite work out to be long enough, I could get them through but after tightening them up I couldn’t quite see 1-2 threads on the bolt, which I think is an IVA requirement, either way it left me feeling nervous so I managed to acquire some 30mm M8 bolts and after changing them, all was done and good, the runners are a little stiff, but seats are fixed and feel really comfortable.

As it was a lovely day, a big part of the day was also spent sorting out the garage again, everything was getting covered in fibreglass dust and muck, all sorts, the car was looking a state. So out it came in the sun, I gave it a quick clean and to my horror noticed quite a few little nicks and marks all over the body, I clearly wasn’t being as careful as I should be! The gelcoat does tend to mark easily and black shows it all! So there’s more work to be done on the body! But it did give me a good chance to have a proper look at the car out of the garage.

Once that was all done and another box and huge bag of rubbish and dust, all ready for the tip tomorrow it was time to check in on the wife to see how the dash was going along.

This was actually quite tricky, trying to get all of the creases out of dash was near on impossible or at least it was for us. I don’t know if it was the leather or how we were doing it, but clearly without proper tools and knowledge/skills etc this is a tricky task. The dash itself comes in two pieces which you have to cut out all the holes and put together, all straight forward. I put four bolts in the top, fixed with a nut the other side so that It can be position on the car easier once done and cover with the foam and leather you can’t see them. I also did this to the centre section, I wasn’t comfortable with the thought of holding it together with just glue, just make sure you grid the head bolts down a little so you don’t see bulges in the foam. We ended up using spray glue to fix the foam to the dash and pulling it around the edges and into the dial holes. This was then glued onto the back with either glue or tape. It takes a long time and finding the right glue makes a big difference. We found using a glue gun was much better and quicker way of fixing the leather or foam to the back.

You can see our first attempt wasn’t as successful as we’d have liked, the layout, dials and lights all fit in fine and look nice, but the wrinkles in the leather aren’t the best. Once we had the glue gun, and peeled it back off and tried again it did end up fixing a few of the wrinkles out and looks better now. I’ve not looked at the wiring for the dash yet, as I wanted to get it fixed to car first to make sure I had plenty of room etc, after a bit of trimming, cutting more fibreglass off the return where the dash sits it all sits in nicely.

I honestly can’t wait to get a proper steering wheel on! The sierra one looks hideous! But its an IVA requirement it will have to do for now.

And that was about it for today, we had a small mother-in-law emergency so had to rush off to sort a light bulb! Anyway, looking ahead I still have the door mechanism to finish so I can finish off the door cards and properly close the doors. The gaiters around the hand break and gearnob need to be finished, all the wiring for the dash! Glove box, battery tray and finally theres the inner tunnel needs fibreglassing to seal of the cockpit area. Once that’s all complete I’ll need to get the car ready for its IVA inspection … quite scary how close the could be now, but I guess I’m still a little ways off, just because time is becoming less and less again with work.

Anyway, thats me for today, hope you like how the car’s coming along and looking now, signing out … J

Almost there

Another day in the garage saw a bit more progress, after waiting for the fibreglass to dry and harden I got out the underseal and painted over all the fibreglass in the cockpit area, in the boot and under the rear wheel arches. Once that was done, I had to leave the car alone for a while to let that dry! all this waiting around is getting to me!

Once done, I fitted the door sill and went around the rest of the cockpit area sealing all the holes, making it watertight (hopefully)

Doesn’t seem like much and there was a lot of waiting and popping out down the shops for dog food! Feeding 4 huskies takes a lot of food!

Ok so the other bit I got stuck into today was the dashboard, which there is actually a fair bit to do, more cutting holes for all the dials, switches and lights. Annoyingly the hole cutter I had was either to big or to small, so I went for the small one and then used a rounded file to enlarge all the holes big enough to fit the dials … I also managed to rope Kat into helping as she’s going to finish the dash off for me and cover it 🙂 leaves me free to get the seats, belts and hopefully carpet fitted, plus a little tiding up to do on the electrics I’ve already done.

Photo 12-04-2017, 18 49 59

Again thats it for today, rough day today hopefully on to better things tomorrow

Signing off

My new love, Fibreglassing!

It’s been a very busy week, the hours I thought and planned had disappeared until yesterday, when I thought ok it was time to fit the rear inner and cockpit wings. They’re not a bad fit straight out of the bag, you have to do a little bit of trimming especially around the door, but otherwise you can pretty much see where they go and the manual tells you this anyway.

The rear wings once I’d trimmed where I needed, I riveted to the chassis to hold it in place where I could, the manual is slightly different as it shows rivets in different places which simply aren’t possible on the mkiii chassis. So choose a position and fit it on. Fairly straight forward fixing both sides and then the inner panels in the cockpit area are a simple fit, trim around the door for the door sill to fit flush too and then rivet to the chassis again. I also fixed this to the body where I could to extra strength.

I also used some contact glue just around the seal for good measure as you can see in the last pic, I used a couple of clamps to hold it tight. The next step is to fibreglass over the gaps to create a waterproof and secure cockpit and watertight boot space.

In practise this is actually quite a straight forward process … just a messy one! So cover what you don’t want plastered in resin! I don’t know if you need to but I glassed the outer edge and inner edges of the boot.

This shows the first coat of fibreglass going on, which will later receive a second coat and finally painted with underseal for added protection. Any extra little gaps will be filled with silkaflex prior to the carpet being fitted … yes I have my carpet now 🙂

The inner cockpit area wings were much the same …

It doesn’t look pretty, but again this will be painted, holes sealed and finally covered with the carpet and seats etc. But all in all a successful job done, finally finishing at about 9.30pm … it was a late one.

Oh I nearly forgot, I also got around to fitting the door mechanism and handle. This was a little more fiddly as you have to cut another hole in the door for the latch to lock into etc. I used a piece of paper to draw a template so I knew where I had to drill the holes to bolt the latch to the inside of the door. Offered up the door hook I guess its called?!? and marked the position on the chassis. Drilled and bolted into place with a little bit of adjustment. Drivers side was almost a perfect fit, passengers needed a couple of washers to separate it from the body to lock properly.

I should also say I used my door cards to position the handles correctly so they come through the already pre-made holes. I’m not sure how I’m going to get this to work yet, but I’m they’ll be a way to do so.

That was it for now, onto painting and sealing the cockpit ready for carpeting etc 🙂


Another day, another few hours spent on the car!

Hello again, I had another good few hours in the garage today, and although it feels like ages in there, it doesn’t actually feel like I achieved a lot today.

I started off by finishing off the front end, attaching the front indicators again, fitting the front grills, drilling a hole for the washer jet (plastic one, prior to IVA) and fixing the windscreen in place once and for all.

Everything was fairly straight forward, the small grills where glued in place and the main grill is held in with self tapping screws. I ended up getting the wife to help on that part because I was having a nightmare with the mesh, getting it to bend where I wanted so the screws would catch it. Once Kat was on the screws, I ducked under the car and pushed and squeezed the mesh into place, 5 mins later and we’re done.

Moving on to the windscreen washer, nothing to it really, drill a hole, insert and tighten! job done. The windscreen is straight forward as well, following the manual I had to drill out one extra hole in the chassis to line up with the windscreen upright and then using some fairly long M8 bolts and load spreading washers I set about fixing it all together. It’s important to note here that the windscreen shouldn’t be under stress, so I managed to squeeze a M10 nut in between the chassis and windscreen mount (similar as the door hinges) on all the bolts. I now had the windscreen escutcheon plates so those were fitted as well.

Below was my set up for setting the correct distance to install the windscreen.

Photo 24-03-2017, 13 59 13 I didn’t have any wood at home so I used a piece of metal I still had lying around, so to be careful I used a couple of rags on the body work and windscreen to help set the correct distance, 870mm from memory. It’s important to get that right so the hood fits after IVA.


With the front done, I had to redo the rear lights, this was after a quick visit to pilgrim and a chat with one of the mechanics, he explained that the rear lights can’t have any movement at all, not even a little bit and luckily they had a car in that had gone through its IVA so I decided to copy their set up for now. You basically wedge the lights inbetween the rear nudge bar and fit to the underside of the chassis via a small piece of steel. Once its all bolted together the lights don’t move at all and it looks ok. I’ve reused the holes in the body for the wires and will decide what to do with them after IVA.

I also wired up the repositioned lights, and had a quick look at wiring all the back end.

Wiring takes time, but I managed to get it set up temporarily together so once I wire up the steering column and I can test it all, oh and then I realised I forgot about the license plate light! So I guess my next venture has to be the wiring on the steering column so I can test all these.

Photo 24-03-2017, 17 57 26 It’s all just a jumbled mess of wires really 🙂 I also ran out of wire today, so I’ll need to get some more before I carry on.

And that’s about it for today, hopefully I’ll get some time over the weekend to look at the wiring more and the rear wings that need fibreglassing, now that should be fun!

Dinner time, have a good weekend all