Thursday, September 27, 2007


Been giving me a headache this dashboard lark.

The steering column movement I wish to reduce is mainly coming from the top of the mount thats spotwelded to the dashtop. Its just a bit floppy it usually gets support from the various panels and dash, none of which are present. I have pondered some strengthening but just cannot realise a neat and simple solution I am happy with or that can I see making any honest improvements constraints, wiring there, heater vents etc etc.. The movement in the steering column is minor its a not major issue at all., I'd just like it fixed, now is the time.

I was intending to fit another bar to the roll cage just to sort this issue, I cannot see the bar adding any real strength to anything else as its horizontal, and any bulkhead flex is also going to effect the bulkhead in a horizontal way, across the bulkhead, side to side... to be worthwhile any bars would need to be an X inside the bulkhead and relating to the cage... so its an overkill solution adding a bar to across and a waste of time considering any X bars or sillyness. Also to run it under the steering column is a bit unsightly, over the column it gets in the way of my clocks and dash...

So forget that idea.

I made a dummy bar brace that runs from the steering column to the roll cage bar (a hammer wedged in the gap), where the glovebox brace would normally run across...which has done the job. Just need to weld on a bracket to the rollcage so this brace can be removed. The brace will join onto the steering column by way of a tube. The tube will be sized to be just an interference fit onto the steering column outer tube, so you can slide it up and down the column etc (to fit it!). So...the brace will consist of a piece of16gauge wall CDS tube (I had lying about)welded at 90degrees onto the tube the steering column is fitted into...the entire brace will then be bolted to a bracket on the rollcage. Lower part of the column can't move left and right, so problem is solved...the column movement is not up and down at all so this seems the easiest solution.

I can then make an easier job of the dash...The dash will be as previous post in shape, just it'll become 3 dimensional to add strength to the lower edge...the top edge will be bolted to the dashtop via the remains of the old metal dash pressing, I left about 1/2" lip here ...the lower edge of the dash will be bent 90deg with a 1/2" lip going it won't bend and flap about, bent adds strength, obviously, and keeps the dash in shape, simple enough...the 2mm thick alloy I am using needs to be stressed to some extent or it'll be a bit floppy in the length plane...

I will need to construct a bracket to weld on the main steering column bracket too. This will support the lower part of the new dash above the column, bolted to the 90deg lip on the bottom of the dash and also through the main face...It'll have some captive nuts and this will also stiffen up the steering column and dashtop area slightly - as it'll be a stressed panel linking 3 loose parts together in one plane. This will require all holes drilling and fixing places drilling in one sitting - through both parts being fixed at the same time...As all holes will relate to current location of each part!

Should stop all movement of the column and give me a solid dash and keep it simple eh??

I had loads of ideas, thoughts and considerations its taken me a while to mull it over! Didn't want to wade in...There's alot to think about! Its a bit like when you first get the engine and start pondering 10 different effects of something on something else and strive to come to a good solution that suits all the things you can and cannot control.

I'll be quite glad when this job is done...Not really looking forward to the gearbox tunnel either. another perfectionist annoyance I guess. Anyways that would be all the hard work done then!

Sunday, September 23, 2007


Wanted a new dash. Nothing fancy.

This is just a template I made from some board.
The basic face is somewhere to start. It'll need further engineering in the final piece, to be stiff and solid. Will be made from alloy. Its obviously big enough to add bits and bobs to.
Not fussed about millions of switches and clocks. Just be switches for heater, lights, washers, wipers, oil temp and pressure, fuel, water temp, rev counter - built in digital speedo and a ignition switch.

Friday, September 21, 2007


Made some progress on a few bits. Been distracted from the main event by a side project or two.

I decided its just not sensible to have a roadcar I intend to use whenever I want, with a hardtop on but no heater. So I picked up a heater unit today. It needs some paint and whatever. I broke it down into parts to add to my powdercoating box, flushed the inside of the elements. I made sure it would fit in with my plans anyway. I won't plumb it up initially as I want to just assess the water system as it stands first. I am actually toying with the idea of fitting the latest pressure relief thermostat unit they fit to Lotus,MGFs and Freelanders, refitting another mechanical pump. Nothing against the EWP, range of reasons . I can use all the hoses and pipeworks, I have made on either system anyway. I have to carefully design my water rail for taking water out of the engine to the radiator, as this needs to now account for and be useable with two water systems, and a heater. I need to plan this carefully.

I still remember one wet dark night at rush hour in Northampton when on the ring road system I just had such a bad time. It was steamed over inside on every window and I couldn't see any signs or do anything bar collision avoidance. It was really bad.

The drive to the Ring was ok, but really not ideal in similar conditions :) the road was quiet and wide but again couldn't see nothing!

Heater will help with that and keep my feet warm. With the exhaust out the side you won't get that long journey heat build up under the floorpans and gearbox area, not as much anyway.

I was also keen on redoing the dashboard, as it was a temporary affair before, something really light from alloy that spans the width of the cockpit, covered in some black vinyl. Saves staring at a load of heater, pipes, wiring and neatens it up.

Not sure about this extra rollcage bar to hold the steering column, might add something a bit more sutble for now.

I removed the dashtop, that will probably not go back on as there is nice shiney white paint under it. Dashtop not really important it is (bar to your forehead if you are in the passenger seat with no belt on). Also offsets some of the mass added with the heater. The basic engine is over 36kilos lighter than the 1300 anyway, so a 1kilo or two won't hurt :)

Kind of distracted from the main business of making a gearbox tunnel and getting some paint on.

I don't want to be crawling all over the freshpaint inside, drilling new holes and bashing it up so ever item has to be fitted, sized, adjusted and whatever, so its quite time consuming.

This engine swaps been a marathon :) I can't see it seeing daylight till early next year. Some gentle testing and mileage, tuning of the engine, getting any issues sorted...Looking at the bigger picture I'll be keen to just cruise about and enjoy it for a little while :-D. Then it needs some tougher rear suspension, before going on any tracks...

I haven't changed a thing on the chassis since it was going round Combe. It should be just as I left it, working well with a touch too much understeer. I don't intend to do anything to the chassis at all before its running again, just to feel how much difference it makes moving the engine back 4inches and reducing its mass by 29%! I have a feeling that my understeer maybe gone!

11months since I picked up my K-series engine. Kind of forgotten what its like to drive...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Some progress

Done a few bits, but nothing major. All progress though.

Slung the engine back in, its pretty easy, easier than the triumph lump. No need to remove the radiator etc...

Stuck a few things on to see where things were at with the new bulkhead.

Have to make this gearbox tunnel soon. Thats the hole to fill. It was necessary for clearance issues to angle the passenger side footwell wall out at the top, slightly, the tunnel opening isn't square in this plane. The areas where the seal will run are all flat and square, happy with them should be a totally tight seal.

Been test fitting everything and making adjustments before paint.

Fitted the steering column back in. Had to dril the hole for the steering column, as in above picture. Got it dead right! Rather than the Triumph "seal" rubber sheet with a hole, I will just make the hole a tad bigger and fit an grommet type thing in there.
Drilled a hole for the footrest, which had not been in the car for years.

Dropped the motor back in to check a few things also assess the gearbox tunnel.
The bulkheads come out ok in the end. Hadn't had the motor in since remaking the bulkhead.
Finished off the pedal box welding tonight, just have to get it blasted and painted/powdercoated.

The pedal box is just remains of the triumph stuff hacked up and welded together, why make new when the old will do!...My welding has improved. Need a new mask, a decent one or a new lens you can barely see through it now! It was £6.50.

Got a few things for powder coating will get that done in a job lot.
I found a decent grade bolt that was a tight fit in the pedals and box. I will cut two grooves in this bolt either end to add the standard circlips. Pedals have zero slack, may add some lube facility...
So the bulkhead and pedal adjustments are just about done. I need to move the rear brake line from the passenger side of the chassis to the drivers side and remake the front brake lines...This means it will be neater and the brake pipe and union won't soak up heat from the exhaust which would be right by them...

Monday, September 10, 2007

Little things

Been waiting for the next rush of motivation...Hasn't really arrived yet.
Did a few small jobs last two evenings. Finished off the bulkhead welding ready for paint and gearbox tunnel making.

Finished off my master cylinder bracket. Added another piece of steel to the top...
Drill 3 holes :)
All lines up nicely.
Pedal boots fit perfectly. Just have to finalise the pedal bracket underneath, want to re-bush the pedals or cut a bespoke bolt to take out the bit of slack...I noticed the Jaguar e-type pedal box pin fitted nicely. Can get some paint on it soon.