Following the sequence in the build manual, the next panels to be
fitted were the fibreglass inner footwell panels. These were then followed by the aluminium
passenger footwell end panel. A cardboard template was made as a trial panel,
with notches made around the bracing. The aluminium panel was cut from the
template, although needed bending and twisting to get it into place. The
manual says to fix the footwell top panels next. Whilst I trimmed the panel and marked and drilled
the fixing holes, I didn't bother fixing for the time being, considering
best to leave until the other footwell panels had been fixed.
After beginning to get fed up of drilling
and pop riveting and fancied a change, I set about fixing the rear
differential and drive shafts. All went together as planned, however when
putting the springs on the dampers, I spent ages trying to compress the
springs enough to slide the top plate onto the damper. I found that the spring
compressors I had were too big when fitted for the spring to fit over the
damper. After a bit of head scratching realised that I hadn't extended the
damper, after which the springs fitted without needing compressing. The
build diary didn't state whether the 300 or 375 springs went to the rear. A
quick look at David Thompson's
build diary confirmed 300 to rear, 375 to front.
The driveshaft rubbers end up fouling the
edge of the springs, however after reading
Chris Bell's build diary he had
the same concerns, and probably won't be a problem once the weight of the
car is on the springs. With all the weight now on the back end the plastic
trestle was showing signs of buckling so it was time to put the chassis on
Brake pipes next and started by fixing
the 4 way union to the rear. Rather than using a self tapping screw, I
drilled and tapped the box section to take an M6 bolt. Also I had bought a
packet of brake pipe clips from Premier Wiring's stand at Stoneleigh over
the weekend so used these in preference to the ones in the Dax brake kit.
Also as Dax hadn't had the flexible hoses in stock was unable to finish the
connection to the callipers.
Rang Dax today to see what had happened to the parts.
Darren said they had been posted but must have gone missing and would send
After another productive evening, the rear brake pipe
was routed through into the engine compartment, hopefully choosing a route
that isn't going to foul with the gearbox once installed. Then back to
fixing panels, starting with the passenger internal side panel and finishing
with the top panels. Having used up most of the 2 tubes of Wurth already
(whoever said you only need 2 tubes), I managed to get some tubes of Sikaflex
11FC from work which will hopefully be just as good. My air powered
angle drill came in handy for drilling the holes at the lower end of the
footwell panels were there wasn't enough space for my battery drill,
although there only seemed to be enough air in the compressor to drill one
hole, before having to wait for the pressure to build back up.
At this rate my wife might win her bet that everything
will be done within 6 months although that all depends on when Dax will have
the next bits ready ! If you look at the photo's and are wondering how or
why the garage appears to be tidy, the house is up for sale at the moment so
I keep having to tidy up at the end of each day in case someone rings up and
wants to view.
Rang Dax again today to see what had happened to the
missing parts, being 2 weeks since I had reported them missing. I left a
message for Simon to ring back but had no response. Noticed a piece on
Trevor Turner's build diary
which seemed appropriate : "Seems
that they are too busy chasing after new customers to bother with keeping
the saps that have already parted with £5K+ happy with an efficient parts
operation. Anyone else had this problem??. I
wouldn't mind but they never give any indication of delivery and don't seem
to advise you if there are likely to be any delays.
Trev's Tip:- Go and get any parts you need from the 'factory'
yourself...... unless you have had the foresight to order the parts at least
two weeks in advance, much valuable build time will be wasted.
" I'll try
again tomorrow ! (found out later they were awaiting delivery themselves
- why not tell me this in the first place ?)
Ordered a full set of EBC discs
and green stuff pads from
Graham Goode Racing. I've decided to stick to the original 240mm front
discs at the moment rather than convert to the front Cosworth discs. Next
thing to buy is a set of extended wheel studs. I also need to think about
oil for the gearbox. There is oil in it but I'd rather change it whilst I
have the opportunity. Looking at the Rushowner's archive, the favoured oil
for an LT77 seems to be Redline MTL.
Just a note about the guy I
bought my engine from, Smax, as I've
just been checking out his website - he is planning to be the first in
Europe to do 310mph (500km/h) over a 1/4 mile drag track ! - who thought 0-60
in 4 seconds was fast !
As the next panels to be fitted
were GRP and this was my first experience of cutting and drilling the panels
I was unsure if a core drill would cut successfully without ripping or
splintering the gel coat. As the first hole to be drilled was for the
trailing arm bolt in the corner panels, any damage to the panel would
eventually be hidden by carpet. However the core bit cut cleanly through the
panel and left a neat edge. This was rounded smooth with fine sandpaper to
finish the job. The side panels were drilled and riveted into place followed
by the rear bulkhead. One problem with fitting the rear panel was that the
brake union stopped the panel sitting tightly against the chassis rails. An
aluminium bracket was fixed to overcome the problem.
Next the rear tub was trial fitted,
although can't be fixed until the missing parts turn up. Notches were cut in
the underside of the tub to clear the lower chassis rails and the top of the
rear corner panels trimmed as shown in the photograph. Whilst the tub was
clamped in position, the side panels were trial fitted. There was quite a
bit to trim off the end in order to form the mitre joint with the rear tub.
As the ideal place to fit the fuel pump is directly
behind the drivers seat on the rear bulkhead rails, an aluminium bracket was
cut and fixed into place to attach the Facet Silver Top pump to. As the pump
has a self contained pre-pump filter, I am not going to fit a separate
filter at this stage. I need to sort out fuel hose and connectors from tank
to pump and the best route along the transmission tunnel for the fuel hose
but will leave this until the engine and gearbox are in.
Having thought about installing the engine next, I
needed to rearrange things in the garage. There was not enough space to fit
the engine hoist past the chassis to pick up the engine, without risk of
damaging anything. The chassis ideally needed to be facing the other way
round anyway so the easiest way to move everything was to put the rear
wheels on, pick up the front and manoeuvre it like a wheelbarrow. As the
Image wheels had not arrived yet, I had to use the old Sierra wheels - good
job I'd kept them. This threw up the problem that the 14" alloys wouldn't
fit over the brake callipers and the studs weren't long enough to just turn
the wheels round. Once the brake callipers were removed and wheels fitted it
was easy to move the chassis outside.
Before installing the engine, the gearbox oil was
drained and gearbox filled with 1.5 litres of Redline MTL oil. Surprisingly
Laurraine took an interest at this point and decided to help, unless she
thought I might struggle by myself. The engine mounts were removed
from the engine and fixed in place on the chassis - these had to be removed
again as they fouled with the bellhousing when installing the engine. I
tried to install the gearbox with the remote housing (minus the gearstick)
installed but this also had to be removed whilst everything was hanging
precariously in mid air. Although I had thought about it beforehand, in all
the excitement of finally getting round to installing the engine, I forgot
about removing the rear lug from the gearbox. It was possible to remove it
from underneath with an angle grinder but needed the gearbox jacking up to
allow clearance from the chassis rail. As I don't have the gearbox mount
yet, I just hope that this can be fitted (or adapted to fit) after
After prompting Simon at Dax, a parcel arrived today
with all the missing bits, plus everything else is in stock and ready for
collection (except for wheels and exhaust). The arrival of the foam meant
that the fuel tank could be fixed in place. At first I used M8 rivnuts but
no matter how tight I tried to fix the rivnuts there was always one out of
the four which kept turning when the bolts were tightened, so resorted to
fixing the tank with the self-tapping screws. The front brake lines were
installed and the steering rack fixed in place. I will have to make sure
that when I go to Dax to collect the parts I take the Sierra steering column
to be extended.
Thursday 29th saw another drive down to
Harlow to collect what I though was the remainder of the parts. I was
disappointed to find that despite being told that everything was in stock
except for the wheels and exhaust, the heater, seatbelts, expansion tank,
wiring, headlights and SVA bars were also out of stock. The seats and other
trim were there though and the car still seemed to be full with the
windscreen and bags and bags of other parts.
We couldn't resist trying out the seats
when we got back home which were unbelievably comfy, particularly after
driving for 400 miles, and appeared to be of a high quality.
Having laid everything out to see what had been
collected, there seemed to be a few parts missing, including that the
pockets had been missed off when manufacturing the carpet set and the
carpets for the rear tub were completely missing. In fairness to Simon
at Dax, after listing out what I believed to be the missing parts, they
were posted out with the minimum of fuss. I have however sent back the
side carpet panels and await there return.