Sunday, July 30, 2006

Steering rack/column

Steady stream of visitors today to see my purchase -the neighbours are a lot more interested this time round as they know something interesting will appear shortly.

Well, you have to start somewhere, so I started with the rack and column.

Rack went straight on, having been an exchange part provided by Onyx. When I connected the steering column I first made the mistake of offering it up under the chassis rails - then realised there was nowhere for my legs to go! Putting it on top where it should be it laid out quite nicely, but I needed to cut off the bracket shown on the image along with the locating 'pegs' on the mounts.

Five minutes with the grinder had the bits removed, and offered up the column again. Better fit, but have realised I will have to remove the steering lock to make it fit properly as the lock fouls the cross rail.

I have decided to dry fit all the major components then dismantle it and get the chassis painted - this should result in a better finish overall.

Got it!

After a long day yesterday I have most of the kit now in my garage. Onyx is 275 miles from where I live so I split the trip over two days, staying with friends overnight.

I collected the main parts of the kit - chassis, grp panels, alloy panels, shock absorbers, waterpipes, steering rack, additional set of hubs. The rest is to follow and will be with me in 10 days. I spent time with David Golightly looking over the prototype Mongoose which has been partly dismantled and I also took lots of digital images to help me. The build manual should be completed by Onyx in a couple of weeks

Got the chassis up on axle stands. Have been thinking about the finish to give the chassis, but as there are holes to drill in certain areas I will dry fit most items then dismantle it and get it painted then.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Good bye Metro

Not too much to report. The Metro shell has gone - last piece I took off was the rear fog light - might be able to reuse that. Was hoping to have a picture of the Metro being collected but unfortunately the scrap man came whilst no one was at home.

Managed to clean down the gearbox to get rid of years of combined road grime and oil - it came up quite well. Just need to cut the bottom ball joints out of the suspension arms.

The next report will hopefully be on the collection of the kit.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Engine clean down

Split the engine from the gearbox today - needed to do this as the engine will be canted on the Mongoose via an adaptor plate which goes between engine and box. Gave the engine a bit of a clean, wasn't too mucky and came up quite well. Taking the gearbox to work tomorrow to use the steam cleaner to wash it down as it is quite a bit muckier.

Also took the T pieces off from the brake system following a reply from Onyx as to whether they are required - they are! Arranging collection of Metro tomorrow.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Engine out, donor strip down completed - images

The website wont let me upload to todays blog - perhaps I waffled on too long.

This is the engine just prior to its removal from the subframe.....

And this is the Metro now full of all the bits that used to be underneath!

Engine out, donor strip down completed

At last, the Metro and its subframes have let go of all the parts I need. I must say, compared to all the cars I have worked on in the past, it is a truly horrible thing to work on, and I am proud I have rid the world of one. That said, the subframe concept is ideal for kit cars and I am surprised not more kits took advantage of this - four subframe mounting points and two shock mounts and the whole front end is in place.

I digress. Back to the plot I dismantled the rear subframe for the trailing arms (for David Golightly) and the handbrake cable (for me). That done the subframe was thrown in the body shell. Then removed the gear linkage, which came off quite easily, then the steering rack, that didn't. The main mounts came off, but the track rod ends put up a fight - one didn't want to split the taper, but after some bashing of the splitter it did. The other taper came apart on its own, but before the nut had come off, so it would not allow the nut to turn without spinning itself. Out with the grinder and cut the nut in half, so steering rack was then out.

I then turned my attention to the hubs so I could get the driveshafts out. The brake calipers came off quite easily - I will dismantle these and have them sandblasted. I then undid the top balljoint and split it apart - again, we are going well. Then I tried to undo the bottom bolt - not happening - I put so much leverage on it the subframe lifted off the axle stands. Even hammer whacking the wrench didn't help. So I got the grinder out and cut the bottom arms so the hub would come away. Tray to catch the oil and a good few tugs and the drivershaft was out. Process repeated for the other side.

This now meant the engine & gearbox should come out. Strapped up the engine, lifted it on the the hoist.....and DAMN!!! The idea was the engine would go up and the subframe would drop away. But it didn't - the exhaust front pipe and rear engine mount were still on preventing it coming out. The mount could come off, but the pipe woundn't - the bolts joining it to the manifold had rusted and rounded off, so the manifold needs to come off first.....but the subframe is in the way!!! So I had to remove the top side of the subframe gearbox end, but of course the bolts were rusted solid, so out came the grinder again. And the subframe duly dropped away from the engine.

Engine now in garage, subframe now inside shell which is ready to go. Final job was to remove the dim dip unit from behind the front bumper.

What have I learnt.......take the engine straight out of the car. I ended up doing the job twice - once removing the subframe, then the engine from the subframe.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Engine strip

This evening decided to strip off the engine wiring loom, coolant hoses and drain the sumps. Also took the fuel pump out of the tank.

The pump came out easy enough, and I drained the last bit of petrol out, and then filled the tank with water to make it safer and placed it back in the car.

The wiring loom came off quite easily, and I carefully labelled everything as I went (see image). The coolant hoses came off, but then I went to drain the sumps. The engine sump plug came out quite easily, the gearbox one refused to budge and eventually got rounded off. Damn. This means gearbox oil will leak out when I remove the driveshafts. Oh well, plenty of trays and pots should reduce the mess.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Exchange parts list

Well not much progress to report over the last few days - two club committee meetings and a social run out in my Robin Hood 2B have disrupted progress. In fact the only thing I have done is to remove the handbrake lever - but at least I did something!

Spoke with David Golightly of Onyx on Tuesday. He confirmed the kit will be collected on the 29th July, and also gave me the list of parts he requires for exchange:

Oil pick up pipe
Steering rack
Fuel pump
Handbrake lever
Gear change linkage
Drivers side engine mount
Tubular exhaust manifold

None of these cause a problem, except the manifold to exhaust pipe nuts.studs will require cutting off as they have been rounded off, but as Onyx cut the manifold flange off this does not cause a problem.

We also had a discussion about Totalkitcar live! at Brands Hatch in October. We had spoken loosely about me having the Mongoose driveable for that show, but as David said two people were already building I assumed they would be finished in advance of me. However David advised that they were unlikely to finish before Christmas, and he was still hopeful I could finish for Brands.......nothing like a bit of pressure! Gives me 10 weeks to build the car!

Plan for this weekend is to have a final strip of the Metro parts and dismantle the front subframe so that can go with the bodyshell. Engine & gearbox need a clean so hoping to use a truckwash I have access to.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Last few bits off

Not much to report today. Removed the brake master cylinder and the VIN plate (essential for registering) from the Metro this evening. The last piece is the dim/dip headlight unit under the off side wing. David Golightly is back from holiday Wednesday so will check with him I have removed all I need to from the Metro so I can wave bye bye to the shell.

Managed to pick up a pair of fibreglass race seats off Ebay for £36 tonight, which I think is a bargain. Just hope they will fit!!!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Fuel tank/rear beam part two

Another day of good 90 minutes I had the rear beam and fuel tank out.

I got an early start as we had a lot of things on today - 8.00am I was out and getting on with it. I tried to disconnect the handbrake cable from the hubs, but it was having none of it, so I cut through the rear hydragas pipes and support straps, then unbolted the beam mounts, having lowered the body shell to the ground. I then lifted the shell back up and left the beam on the ground, just disconnecting the hand brake from the front (lever) end.

I then removed the fuel tank bolts, and it dropped away with some jiggling - the filler tube and vents were reluctant to come apart, but with a bit of leverage they did. Pumped out the tank with a hand siphon and took out 10 litres - that will keep my motocross bike running for a while! I will have to remove the pump from the tank and then I will probably fill it with water to remove the vapour for safety.

All I need now is to remove the handbrake lever, brake master cylinder and VIN plate and hopefully by next weekend I can wave goodbye to the body shell - it is now sat on the driveway on its belly.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Fuel tank/rear beam part one

Well, after the great progress of last night, didn't get very far today. People came round, I chatted to the neighbours, and never really got going.

Got the engine out from under the car, and cut the exhaust off shorter. Then I lowered the front of the car and raised the back to give access to the tank & rear beam. I cut off the remaining exhaust, released and disconnected the handbrake, and then released the fuel lines so they will come out with the tank. I managed to disconnect the tank filler pipe, but then was running out of light - unfortunately we broke the inspection lamp last night, so that brought an end to the evening.

Funny event though was when I pulled myself out from under the car by the rear wheelarch and I heard a crack - one good tug and the whole arch came off - underneath it was totally rotten and had been repaired by sticking an arch on with filler over the top!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Engine out

Had a great leap forward tonight. With the help of a friend Terry we managed to get the engine & gearbox out, still on the front subframe. But what a nightmare it was.......

I had decided to take it out on the subframe as I needed the steering rack, and to get it out the subframe needs to be lowered. We started by depressurising the Hydragas suspension system via the valves near the rear wheels - what a messy job. We then detached the last ancilleries - fuel lines, brake pipe, etc and unbolted the subframe. As we lifted the body away from the chassis we realised that we had not disconnected the rear engine mount or the gear linkage. Both were very reluctant to come apart, especially the linkage, and we had to resort to removing the exhaust and then the gear stick end of the linkage as we could not disconnect it from the gearbox. The mounting bolt was reluctant as it was now under tension, but it submitted to hammer & drift.

The subframe was then free, and the last thing to do was cut the hydragas lines. Unfortunately as the weight was all on the rear wheels, this pressurised the front units, so it became a very messy job - eventually I just cut through them quickly and Terry held them up as soon as they were cut to prevent any further leaks.

If I did it again I would removed the driveshafts and then the engine and gearbox. Terry had suggested the method we used, but mentioned half way through he had never actually tried it!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Steering column out

Managed to get back to the Metro for an hour or so tonight. Got the steering column out and the remaining switches (brake light switch and the switch on the throttle pedal). Also disconnected the clutch cable. Had a rethink on engine removal - was going to take the engine out complete with the subframe, thinking it may be easier to remove the engine and gearbox once I have removed the hubs and driveshafts. Will consult the Haynes manual.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Wiring loom fully dissected

Decided to go for it tonight and rip out all the parts of the loom I won't require. Went very well just following back wires either to the bridging blocks or fuse board - I have left about 100mm of cable of each cut off wire to use to tidy up later. Other good news is on the cable that ran down the nearside wing of the Metro -I have managed to separate the engine and lighting parts of the cable, as the engine loom will now need to go backwards from the fuseboard rather than forwards. I am hoping there is enough cable to reach the engine in its new position to save the hassle of extending the loom. Picture shows the loom once I had stripped out the redundant circuits, and the plastic bag has all the wiring removed in it.

Will get back to removing the drivetrain this weekend, but as I have a road rally on Saturday night this will interupt progress.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

More wiring loom stripping

The Metro interior got collected today (yippee) so with space created in the garage I was able to lay out the wiring loom on the floor. I continued stripping from the back end of the loom, removing circuits such as heated rear window, rear wash wipe, central locking & courtesy lights. Plan at the moment is to hold the loom together temporarily with cable ties, then lay it out in the Mongoose and see where everything goes, such as the petrol tank, and route the wiring accordingly.

The picture shows the sub loom which my neighbour has returned after soldering up to remove the 'bridging' blocks Rover used - this loom connected the fuseboard to the instrument binnacle and various dash items including cigar lighter, glove box light, rear wash wipe, etc , the wiring for all of which was removed except for the fog light switch. This was a real sprawl of electrical spaghetti before, and is now just the instrument wiring and fog light switch - next time I will take before and after pics to show the difference!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Wiring loom time

Not feeling too good today - appear to have picked up a cold from someone at the wedding, in fact think it was the bride!

Spent a short while with my electrical expert neighbour starting stripping the loom down. We laid out the loom on the drive in the same format as it is in the car, and started on one of the sub looms which served the dashboard switches and the instrument cluster. We managed to remove all the wiring with the exception of the fog light switch and instrument wires, which narrowed it down no end. The main problem was the bridging blocks which Rover used to distribute power and earth leads about which we could not get the wires out of. So we cut the wires not required and the others will be joined by soldering.

Tomorrow we plan to start on the main loom, working from the back to the front.

Spoke to David Golightly today to confirm my body panel colours - main body will be yellow and the wheel arches black to give it that open wheeler look. Kit collection still planned for the 29th of July.

Monday, July 03, 2006

More dismantling

Well the wedding was got out of the way on Saturday, with a lovely 550 mile round trip, so decided to have a lay in Sunday morning, then we had a thunderstorm, then I decided to take my son out to a car show, so ended up doing nothing to the car all day! Building kit cars is often like this!

Got back on with it tonight. Started stripping the engine ancillaries in preparation to remove the front end. Got the radiator, header tank and battery tray out. Could have got more done if I hadn't spent so much time chatting to the neighbours. Another evening on it should mean the front end is ready to come out - the plan being to lift the body off the front subframe once everything is disconnected, probably at the weekend. But I also have a road rally to compete in at the weekend......

Had a bit of success with some parts off the Metro - sold the bodykit and seat belts for the grand total of £62. Didn't find a buyer for the interior, but have managed to find someone to give it to! Have purchased a Mountney steering wheel boss, which matches a wheel I have spare from a previous project.