6 Feb '09
Well a VERY VERY VERY big day today, not in so much that I got a lot done, but more in what today represents... a very very special part of any rebuild. Today was the day when my car hit the turning point. To this point it's all been dismantling/cleaning/prepping/refurbishing, but today I finally started on the long-overdue REASSEMBLY!
I've been saying for months now that "next week or two I should be able to start bolting things back together" but it never quite happened, I always found something else to pull apart or work on, but I'm at the stage now where it really is time for some stuff to be reunited again.
First a couple of pics of the mess so far... really not a lot of difference from the pics I first took last may really, although a LOT of work has gone on since:
Still not really looking much at all like a car, but what's there now is clean as a whistle, fully fettled and ready to start becoming a car again.
Today I finished cleaning up the chassis around the engine bay and then began a couple of hours sorting through all my new fasteners. I've got the bulk of them now but am still missing a few so it's not quite all smooth sailing.
First job was to re-mount the rear lower wishbone mounts, which had the honour of being the first thing to go back onto the chassis.. and here they are in all their refurbished glory:
Then, a slightly more substantial part to go back on was the shiny, re-galvanised rear subframe. Bolted up a treat after I'd spent a bit of time cleaning and re-tapping some holes that were a bit blocked up with extra zinc! Still a long way to go to become a car but she looks better than she did this morning!
Tomorrow I hope to get a few more fasteners (hoping my supplier is open on a Saturday morning!) and I will mount the rear wishbones. I will also mount the front lower wishbones, but I can't mount the upper ones as my new castor shims (I'm having some stainless ones laser cut along with my new camber shims) aren't ready until early next week.
We're on our way.... FINALLY!
7 Feb '09
And on tonight's episode of "PIMP MY WISHBONES
Got the first rear ones hung tonight and they look even sexier on the car than they did sat on the floor!
I can't fully hang them or go much further as it seems I'm missing a bunch of the bolts I need to do it so can't go much further now sadly. I'm sure I'll find plenty to keep me busy while I get them though.
---------- Post added at 10:52 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:51 AM ----------
1 Mar '09
Frustratingly little progress of late. Work has been INSANE and to be honest, after working from 8 in the morning until midnight, I don't much feel like popping out to the garage for a couple of hours. When I DO get a day off it's been spent mainly in bed catching up on sleep!
Still, I've been working away at getting together more bits I'm missing.
Another consignment of fasteners has arrived from Lotus courtesy of the fine lads at Bell & Colvill. Geary at Eliseparts is also sending me the remainder of my fastener set which was missed in the last shipment.
I've also been trying to get together the necessary adhesives and primers to bond on the rear longerons. After much searching I managed to find all the components locally. I had hoped to be bonding them on this weekend and completing the boot floor but thanks to the global recession and cost-cutting, most fastener places here aren't open Saturday mornings now... which is a MAJOR piss-off as it means MORE time during the week I have to spend f*cking around getting stuff.
Anyway, this weekend I got all the plinths bolted onto the balljoints as well as a bunch of custom fasteners turned up in the lathe... these were just a bunch of non-standard length bolts I needed that I've shortened down from longer ones.
Another job, which took a lot longer than expected was to clean up the rear longerons. Getting all the old glue off and getting them cleaned up was a mission and a half. Much elbow grease later though they're as good as new and ready to bond on as soon as I get my missing rivets.
Hopefully more progress by next weekend.
14 Mar '09
Well time marches on and progress of late has been slow. Still working insane hours and been suffering a bit of ill health lately (damned viruses), which have kept me outta the garage. Have been doing a lot of behind-the-scenes work though getting fasteners sorted (I've now got a full compliment of all the right ones I need to finish the rolling chassis) and also sourcing the glue / primers to bond the rear longerons back on again.
I WAS going to bond the Longerons back on this afternoon but I didn't have a rivet gun large enough for the 1/4 stainless rivets that clamp the longerons down. I borrowed my boss's industrial lazy-tong rivet gun and duly broke that (oops, sorry boss) so I didn't manage to get it done today. Off to Hirepool first thing in the morning though to hire a compressor and a 1/4" pneumatic rivet gun so that'll deal to the bastards.
Got everything mocked up though and it all fits together!
(I shouldn't sound so surprised).
Fingers crossed by the end of play tomorrow I should have the rear end structure including the boot floor all bonded in place and finally sorted, the rollbar backstays bolted and torqued and all of the wishbones (bar one, which needs a new balljoint after I accidentally buggered one of the threads.... (don't ask) hung on the chassis and torqued on. All of the shock mounts should also be hung on the chassis as well as the front ARB.... tomorrow will be a busy day!
On the engine front, the wonderful Mr DVA had just about finished my head. It's now fully ported with Colisbro Bronze valve guides, new stem seals, larger Paul Ivey valves, dual valve springs with stock VHPD solid lifters. Everything's all ready to bolt together although I decided to have the camshafts (Piper ARK1444s) and vernier pulleys balanced as a precautionary measure... I know balancing cams is complete overkill, but given how much I'm spending on balancing the bottom end, the paltry sum to balance the cams too seemed like a complete no-brainer.
Crankshaft has been drilled and now tungsten inserted by Mr Steve Smith at Vibration Free and is just awaiting balancing with the lower assembly (Crank, Flywheel, Clutch Cover, Crank Pulley, Cam Drive Sprocket, plus rods and pistons).
Once this is done, my head will be built up, and then I'll be getting everything back to NZ along with a full engine rebuild kit (including new liners, uprated oil-rail etc) so that i can begin engine reassembly.
Still a long ways to go, but as we enter autumn here, I'm not too worried about deadlines so long as it's ready for springtime
In another couple of weeks it'll have been a year since I started what was going to be "just a suspension refresh"..... my how these things get out of hand!
23 Mar '09
Well it's been a frustrating week (yes, another one!). I made preparations to hire a suitably-sized rivet gun and the required compressor this weekend, all sure that I'd have this infernal rear subframe job FINALLY finished this weekend come hell or high water, but NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Predicatably, all mother of cock-ups has resulted in it still being unfinished.
This morning I started in the garage, full of hope. Tested the rivet gun on a spare rivet and it worked perfectly, FINALLY I was going to finish the job. I loaded the sikaflex in the caulking gun and applied a bead as described in the Lotus Service Notes, I hooked on the longeron and then installed the boot floor and then shot in three rivets.... easy, job done!
But... then I noticed the boot floor was still free to move about a little. Inspecting the rivets (that I'd sized from the Lotus Parts catalogue) were too long to grip and were loose in the holes as a consequence. So now I had sikaflex going off, with an improperly clamped joint!
I had some shorter rivets I bought as a backup (but only had four instead of the six required for the job), so I tested them when I installed the left-hand Longeron. I again applied the requisite bead of sikaflex and shot three rivets through and voilà! Perfection!
Now, I had to then drill out the too-long rivets on the otherside and find a way to temporarily clamp the longeron so the glue would bond correctly. Now these rivets are stainless (read, HARD) and since they were loose in the holes they just spun... GAH!
However, after much swearing, I dug out the trusty Dremel and with a small cutting disc attached, I managed to gradually mangulate (yes that is a word dammit!) the head enough so that I could punch it through. This took at least an hour to do all three rivets as it took GREAT care to cut the rivets without touching the boot floor.... today I had hands like a neurosurgeon!
With the rivets finally removed, I was able to temporarily install some M6 machine screws to clamp the joint sufficiently to allow the bonded joint to form properly. Now I need to waste MORE time (and money) tracking down further supply of the shorter rivets during a lunch break this week as well as popping back next Friday to re-hire the pneumatic rivet gun (at a cost of about $100 (that's about 35 quid to you Brits) and compressor to bang in the final two rivets to complete the job! F*$#ing annoying!
This rear subframe re-galving has turned out to be one of the worst bits of the whole job so far. It wasn't really a necessary (the subframe was in fair shape, but I decided to do it because it was easy and accessible only in the current state of disassembly. The job was budgeted at about $150 (50 quid) all up, but I think the costs add up to the following:
Sikaflex and Primers $130
Rivet Gun ($65x2 = $130)
Compressor ($35x2 = $70)
Petrol and running around to various places (2 tanks in all, @$70 per tank = $140)
= $595 total which is about 200 quid. This assumes I WILL actually finish the job next weekend (bear in mind I've not reattached the heat shield yet) and bills my time out at $0... so not really the cheap and easy job I've hoped for.
Still, I'm sure that when the car's finished, it'll be something I won't have regretted doing and the extra bling of a nice shiny, new-looking subframe will allow me to sleep well at night.... I hope.
Still, chin up eh?
23 Mar '09
Well I've got it sorted... FINALLY!!!
SEXIGE now has fully structural rear subframe, longerons and boot floor, all shiny, as new and ready to take many years of abuse
Thanks to James and Scott at RivTec in Otahuhu, if I'd known about you guys I don't think I'd have had half the issues I did getting the riveting bit sorted.
The longerons and boot floor are now all riveted down with 1/4" Stainless rivets (through the subframe) and bonded with Sikaflex221, all properly primed and prepped. With this job finally behind me I can get on with getting the rollbar backstays bolted down and the suspension hung. But for now, pretty pictures of this week's progress.... I HAVE A BOOT AND SEXIGE FINALLY STARTS TO BECOME A CAR AGAIN!
10 May '09
Well here 'tis, the first update in AGES... the last month and a half I've barely even LOOKED at the car. I've been working insane hours then spent best part of 3 weeks in the states with work, so only now back to it.
It's taking a while to get back into things. Spent early this week chasing up e-mails etc and paying for engine bits (ouch!). Good news is that everything's finished over there now and will be shipped back here in a couple of weeks, should be ready to start engine reassembly in a month!
Spent saturday pressing my front hubs back together and torquing them up. All went pretty smoothly in the end, which was nice.
Spent this evening in the garage and while I've not made any great progress, tonight I FINALLY got my first suspension corner hung on the car! I've got the driveshaft torqued in and the upright bolted on. I've yet to torque in the wishbones or toelinks as I've got to get the toelink heatshields powdercoated first (in heat reflective ceramic). Going to get my powdercoating done this week so hopefully if I get a good run at it next weekend, I'll have the bulk of the suspension hung on the chassis! I'm stoked because it'll then start to look like a disassembled car rather than a bathtub on axle-stands.
But for now, a couple of photos of gratuitous rear suspension porn
11 May '09
Another cheeky hour or two out in the garage tonight... now have the right rear looking suspiciously like the left rear!
Note toelink boots missing from this side as they're currently in transit. These will be added later.
Also snapped this pic to show that after about 11 months, my engine bay is now officially no longer empty! It contains driveshafts! (and an old, dirty tee-shirt) Of course these will be removed prior to the engine going in, but will sit there until then to hold the hubs together while it's being wheeled around.
Next job is to measure up the wheels and tyres to get some idea of what the wishbone angles will be at ride height. This weekend when my powdercoating is back, I'll be able to torque the wishbones in place. Then I can move on to the front as I'll have my missing balljoint by then to press in.
Then attention will shift to cleaning up the brakes so that they can be bolted on and then the old LSS shocks will then go back on as a placeholder until Randy can get me some nice shiny Nitrons sorted *hint hint Chris*
This will allow me to put some air in the tyres and then drop it down off the axle stands and she'll be a roller! God that is going to be a momentous day! will give me a chance to clean the garage out!
One thing I've noticed (happily) is that my hands are staying a LOT cleaner bolting all this together as they were when it was coming apart!
17 May '09
Right, not quite as much progress as I'd hoped this weekend due to the garage being a bit of a mess and also because I spent a lot of the weekend tinkering with my new toy, a Peugeot 306 GTi6. This will take the daily driving / Lotus parts-hauling duties from now on
I DID however get the left front corner hung on the car. This took a bit of mucking around as anyone who's done it before will attest to. Getting the castor shims in just right was a little bit tricky, but I managed it in the end, the anti-roll bar mounting particularly proving to be a pain in my *******.
But a few hours work yielded a VERY fine-looking front left corner and it's turned out looking even better than I thought it ever would!
I'll do the FR corner another night as that's currently buried in a very packed corner of the garage and I should clear some space first. One of the bits in the way is the fuel tank, which can now go back in so that might be a job one night after work this week as I can't think of any good reason not to get that done.
Pick my powdercoating up tomorrow, although in typical fashion, I found one bit that I left out of the consignment that I'll have to get done this week... such is life
On with the pics! (ignore the random crowbar... it was just there to brace against while I was torquing up the plinths and anti-roll bar drop-links)
18 May '09
Got a batch of stuff back from the powdercoaters today. Here's a random assortment. The silvery stuff is ceramic coating (for heat shielding/retention purposes) and the black stuff is all done in satin black
Came up nice.... although I think I may need to hack apart my exhaust flexi and weld in a new flexi section (and re-coat) as it looks a bit fragile in one place... had hoped to make it go again, but I guess it'll need to be replaced... ho hum