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

The little jobs

Hey, it’s been a little quiet here the past few days/week, what with work and I’ve been waiting for various items like conduit for the wiring and exhaust wrap, some little fixings from good old eBay, and oh I’ve revisited the brakes.

After speaking with a friend he suggested that they really shouldn’t be spongey and that I should redo them, so I did. Before I used the Eezibleed kit to do it myself, so although this got me started, evidently it didn’t get ‘all’ the air bubbles out. With the assistance of my wife and secondly a friend we set about bleeding the system the old fashioned way! While they manned the foot pedal, I was on the brake nipple. With all tube in place, crack open the nipple, depress the pedal, while the pedal is still at the bottom, close the nipple and release the pedal and repeat … and repeat! We did this for all four brakes lines and eventually after what was about an additional 2.5lts of brake fluid going through the system the brake pedal is now nice and firm, solid at the bottom, and it feels like it would stop if you ever really needed it too. One little job done (did you see what I did there … heading, clever huh, no, ok lets move on)!

Back to the wiring, the pilgrim module comes with a certain amount of conduit to cover the wiring, however if you’re like me and want it all covered and as neat as I can possibly get it, then you’ll soon run out of it. Hence having to get a load more of eBay and wait for it to arrive! Before this I decided the wiring job I wanted to tackle first was in the drivers footwell. Using conduit and loom tape (another eBay purchase) I was able to cover all the wiring and fix it to the chassis for what will be relatively easy access for later for the fuse boxes and relays. Once I’d positioned everything where I wanted it, I drilled the holes, purchased some little brackets (B&Q) so the fuse boxes were facing forward and mounted them along with the main set of relay switches on a metal bracket as the side of the bulkhead wasn’t 100% flat. The only real issue and slight annoyance was that one of the cables in the fuse boxes was a little tight and pulled out where I wanted it mounted, I only noticed this after I fixed most things, so I ended up mounting it slight at an angle. you see in the photo, but as this is in the footwell where lets face it NO ONE will see, I can live with that as It still easy access. With the remaining conduit I ran the wiring down the divings side to the rule tank and the first section of the engine bay. You will see I have decided to drill holes in the bottom of the frame to fix clips to that I can then attach the wiring conduit. I noticed on some cars they simply use cable ties to loop around the frame and fix them this way. I’d like if possible to keep everything as neat and tidy as I can.

Now the footwell is complete I can reposition the steering wheel back on the car and look at wiring that in. it looks like so much fun! But to be fair the wiring isn’t actually as horrible as I thought it first was going to be.


My Engine is finished 🙂 I had a phone call this week from Jim at JRV8 who is building my stage three 3.5lt RV8. It appears the engine is a feisty one with a lot of torque which I look forward to using. He did send me a photo, but I’m going to save putting them up until I have it here and I can share it with you all then. The gearbox is due in this week and then it can be packaged up and shipped, so its looking like I could have my engine within the next 2 weeks easy, lovely.

In preparation of this the last thing I had to do for the exhaust manifolds was to cover them in exhaust wrap, apparently this is part of the IVA so I thought I’d best get that sorted now, because once they are on, thats it. Easy enough job really, I brought 20m of basalt Titanium heat wrap (2 x 10m rolls) which come with steel cable ties and basically set about wrapping them. One tube at a time, and the forth one led into wrapping the entire lot.

photo-16-10-2016-16-55-14I don’t think they look half bad. The steel cable ties were a bit of a mystery to me as to how on earth do you get them tight … you tube to the rescue, all you need to do, is hand tighten as best you can, then cut of the remaining length ensure you leave about an inch. Then using a pair of long nosed pliers, take hold of the end and twist them towards the clip in a rolling motion, as it gets to the clip it tightens into it and thats it. Easy really … when you know how!

So that’s a quick update on prepping all the little jobs I had left to finish. I still have the wiring in the engine bay to finish and a little bit to the rear of the car, but I’m waiting for a fuel sender to finished wiring that up. Until the engine arrives I am practically sat waiting for the next part to arrive. But once its here I will be back, what will most likely be towards the end of October, until then, stay frosty!

Brake lines … finally!

Well I’d done just about everything else, so now it was time to get the brake lines sorted. I think if truth be told this seemed a little daunting to me at first, which maybe why I have been putting it off and off and off and getting all the other jobs done first, when really once you get started its all fairly logical and straight forward.

I purchased a brake flaring kit and got stuck in, firstly concentrating on the driver side brake line then the passenger and finally the rear. No real issues here, just remember to put the brake pipe components on the lines before you flare them, oh and make sure they are around the correct way! Drilling plenty of holes the chassis for the clips was ok and this time, no broken drill bits! I just made sure the clips were no longer than 5″ apart which I’m pretty sure is well within tolerance for the IVA.

I didn’t have time last night to finish the rear brakes as I needed a few more bolts, rivets and clips so I called it an evening (every little min or hour counts)

I had to head to Pilgrim in the morning to pick some spare wheels I am borrowing in the meantime until I buy the actual wheels as I want to get things things moving on all four wheels ideally. Picked those up along with a few minor parts and headed back into the garage.

Time to get the rear brake line finished. Everything was fairly straight forward, following the same principal and I’d already taken a few cheeky pics at the Pilgrim garage as reference, this made things easier for me, I’m a very visual learner, which is probably why I’m doing this blog and adding so many photos. There’s obviously other ways to do and built the kit but this is mine and if it helps anyone else, then that’s gotta be good really.

I guess in hindsight the only thing I would have done different is fit the rear brake lines before I fitted the diff and rear suspension arms etc, there’s not a lot of room under there which made things tricky, but no impossible. I still managed it on my own so it can’t have been that bad.

So once I had all the brake lines fitted, I decided before I bled the system I would temporarily fit the roll bars, because up till now, they’ve just been sat there. I’d read this takes while and is pretty noisy and tricky … Umm, took a while, tick! noisy, tick! tricky, well not really, just takes a while. I decided to place the roll bars on the chassis and drill straight through them using size 5 bit. That took a while but was ok going. I then took the bars off and enlarged the holes using an 8 and then 10 on the chassis and finally on the bars themselves, lined them all up and bolted them together, job done.

You’ll notice, I’ve actually bolted them in two different ways, one side on and one front on. I think this will help stabilise the bars and limit any movement while making a little easier to fit an remove once the body is on … well, thats the idea anyway.

And finally today I bled the brakes using an Eezibleed kit, which to be fair was awesome, so easy to set up and use on your own, I’m glad I researched about it. All you need is a spare tyre pressurised to about 20psi, you link this to the bottle filled with brake fluid which goes into the brake reservoir, then when you release each nipple in turn, the air pushes the brake fluid through the lines. All you really need to do is keep an eye on the amount of fluid you use so it doesn’t start pushing air through the system. Make sure each calliper bled has the brake fluid running clear through the hose and you’re good to go, nice and easy. I started at the further wheel away and made my way around the car in turn get closer to the brake reservoir. Basically, passenger rear, driver rear, passenger front and finally driving front.

I put a few of the wheels on I borrowed and tested the brakes, a little spongy to the feel so I will look into what its suppose to feel like, but as there’s still no electrics set up I don’t know if it should go hard or not, but a few pumps and the wheels don’t move at all. So I must have something half right to start with 🙂 plus no leaks!

And that’s about it for today, I’m having this evening off, as I need to prep for tomorrow’s England match against Malta, until Sunday I’ll leave with the the last two photos I took today, 1 as the build stands currently and the other, things to come …

Ahhhh the loom!

Well that’s another day in the garage done, all those extra hours or two in the evenings are really helping get things moving, 4 days left and I will have hit the month anniversary of the build, not to bad so far I think.

Wednesday night madness

You’ll never guess what … I now have the brake flaring tool I was missing, thanks to Mark for bringing it around and letting me borrow it. With that in mind there were a few little bits I tendered to this evening. I purchased some little brackets I could rivet on the chassis to hold some of the cabling and hoses so I decided to fit the expansion tank hoses tonight in preparation for the engine. I am seriously hoping that all this work is all alright and that I don’t have re-position any of it! By the looks of what I’ve seen at Pilgrim it should be ok, plus it gives me more to do and get ready.

Everything was nice and easy, with the exception that I broke another 5mm drill bit, dammit! Other than that I was going to call it a night until I thought I’d quickly run the hydraulic clutch line from the master cylinder through the chassis and down to the bottom rail for connection to the gearbox. I also finished off the hose and connected that all up and tightened all the hoses with clips. The copper pipe was lead up through the chassis with a grommet to protect the pipe, along the top of the bulk head and down the front, all fitted again with the rubber clips at around 5 inches.

Now I have that sorted I can properly get on with the brake lines, which will either be tomorrow evening or on Friday. I’ll also adjust the battery clamp which needs shortening and look at fixing the roll hoops.

I should also be picking up some spare build wheels on Friday so i’ll be able to get the brake system bleed and everything rolling, hopefully I can then also begin to look at the steering geometry and once the engine is in, tighten all the suspension bolts.

Still lots of little bits to do but its getting there, rolling chassis by the end of the year would be nice, under its own power … thats the aim … watch this space …


Hydraulic Clutch!!!

It’s been a few days since I’ve been able to get to the car, for one reason or another, I had a small part missing from the module which meant I couldn’t attach the clutch master cylinder to the pedal. After a quick visit to Pilgrim to pick up what I needed I decided I’d also purchase the next module for the remaining engine parts, hoses, radiator and manifolds etc. Other than the wheels once I have the engine that should give me a running rolling chassis … one can hope anyway 🙂

On to tonight, I had another busy head last night thinking of what I needed to do, so as soon as work had finished I got straight on to the car. I’d researched the clutch and been to Pilgrim so now I had a much better idea of ‘HOW’ it all worked. Firstly I started by putting the clutch master cylinder on the provided clutch bracket and offering it up to the chassis, there are a few holes that need drilling in the top of the bulk head for added stability. Once this was done, I married it all up with the servo and bolted it together. After a quick test I the brake seemed to work ok, the clutch pedal was ok and the throttle pedal was bolted on by nothing fixed as of yet.

I decided to install the reservoir next to the servo, which should be an ok place to install it. I need to make a ‘z’ bracket to move it away from the chassis, but for now, its in roughly the right place. Now I have the pedal box all fixed I went around around the car fitting the four flexible brake hoses, all straight forward, and bolted on no problem.

I have the radiator to fit and then I’ll be onto the brake lines … front ones first, lots of holes to drill, pipes to flare and the rear! Bleeding the system should be fun, I think I’ll need a wheel to do that, which could be interesting, I might have to source a spare one to fit the sierra hubs.


Usual Thursday evening

Another couple hours out in the garage saw the passenger side rear arm, suspension and brakes all put together. Nothing too difficult here, just needed time and 3 arms (thanks to the wife) to fit it all together and after completing the other side, the steps were the same so things were straight forward … manual, ha who needs it!

Once I had it all together I managed to fit the handbrake properly and test it and to my surprise it all worked! and really well, a little adjustment required to the lever arm but otherwise that works fine. One thing worth noting is how the hand brake cable is attached to the chassis for adjustment. It’s not shown in the manual but when you’re working through it its fairly easy.


While fitting the drum brakes however this time I decided to put them together before fixing them to the axel! It was a lot easier to do this especially fitting the shoes to the plate, the fiddly little spring and pin were no problem doing it this way. Bolt the whole thing together, again new wheel bearing were used and now have a complete back axel.

So next its time to get on with the pedals, hydraulic clutch, fuel pump and brake lines. I might even have a look at the wiring loom before the engine gets here, then again I might not 🙂 we’ll see how things go.