February 2012

Wednesday 29th February 2012
I've finished the current bodywork modifications off, and the rear wing is now bolted to the car on the freshly painted brackets. I've assembled a wing strut on one side, just as a proof of concept. Altiss are machining the aluminium posts for me, and when they're ready I'll fit them. The bottom of the strut uses a plastic clevis pin, with built in quick release mechanism, which will allow for easier removal/fitting of the tailgate. I'm really pleased with how the car now looks though the front spoiler definitely needs lowering, as its 110mm further off the ground than the side skirts.

Saturday 25th February 2012
Here are the pictures from Thursday evenings session in the garage. First the ends of the running board were profiled, identically to the shapes I cut out of the drivers side board, to give clearance in the wheel arches. Next I cleaned the board and the sills with a wipe of solvent to degrease them. Then the Loctite adhesive was applied, liberally, and the board bolted to the sill using M4 fasteners and 20mm stainless washers. The masking tape keeps the mess from the sealent down to a minimum, and when the sealant has cured, the tape is removed leaving a sharp edge.

All I have left to do now is make an end cover again for the leading edge, and get them painted.

The wing brackets are finished, and I shall be collecting them today. There is no sign of the 10mm round bar I bought on ebay, for the wing supports, but as soon as it turns up I'll make them up. I bought a pair of XR2 door handles on ebay this week, and I'm going to put them on a diet to see how much I can cut out of them to see what weight we can save. Speaking of weight, the aluminium running boards weighed 900grammes each, so I've not added too much to the car so far.

Thursday 23th February 2012
Last night I started fitting the 2nd running board. I've cut the ends off the bottom of the front and rear wheel arch, and the board sits up underneath each wing. I've also profiled the ends of the board, and its now ready to be bolted to the sill.

The wing brackets have been taken over to Faircharm Restorations to be blasted and painted in satin black paint. I had tried painting them using rattle cans, but it just flakes off too easily, and I know I can count on getting it done properly by them. Collection should possibly be Friday or Saturday. I've also made additional right angled brackets to re-inforce the wing brackets. I'll post the pictures when its all painted and bolted in place.

Here are a couple of pictures of the finished drivers-side running board.

Sunday 19th February 2012
I fitted the first of the 16gauge aluminium running boards to the Fiesta. It is bonded on with Loctite adhesive, and fastened with 3 x M4 bolts with 20mm washers. I've also made support brackets for each end, which should stop the board from flexing. I've also welded tabs on to the wing brackets, which will allow me to install push rod linkages between the rear of the wing, and the bottom of the bracket, to provide additional rigidity.

Thursday 16th February 2012
The rear wing (which I've learnt is from a Radical) is now fitted to the car. A lot of midnight oil has meant that the brackets were cut out from the 4mm steel plate over the space of a couple of hours. I started off with carboard templates, and once happy with the position of the wing on the car, extended them both upwards by an inch to raise the height of the wing, and I then made two more templates out of fresh cardboard. These were then transferred to the sheet steel, which I cut out using a jigsaw (and three blades in the process). The brackets were then bolted together, using M4 fastners, so as I profiled them, they both took on the same shape. (even though it effectively made it in to an 8mm thick piece of steel). Using a large hacksaw, I refined the shape, and next moved to an angle grinder to profile the curves. The brackets were then drilled to fit the body shell fixings. I've used M6 rivnuts on the Fiesta shell, two on each side, to locate the brackets which both sit snugly against the shell when bolted down. I then had to seperate the two brackets, and bend them each to the right shape. The tailgate apeture in the Fiesta is wider at the bottom than it is at the top, so the brackets needed to be bent inwards in order to make them parallel to the rear wing mounts. The problem with doing that is that it affects the overall height of the rear edge of the bracket, but I'd planned for that already, so the end result is a very horizontal wing, with adjustment to allow it to be moved around 8-12 degrees.

I'm really happy with the end result. The tailgate still fits without interference from the wing or the mounts, and the wing is very rigid.

Monday 13th February 2012
I finished off the fuel system install last night, and it tests out without any leaks. The pump primed itself, and very quickly reached working pressure, and I'm pleased to say that the persistent odour of petrol from the stainless braided lines has now gone (along with the old fuel lines), and therefore the car no longer smells of petrol when seated inside.

The outlet from the tank is angled at approx 45 degrees, so that the pipe is in line with the bottom of the tank. This should help prevent starvation wwhen cornering or braking.

A very big thankyou to James Wills at Goodridge, and the staff at Earls, both for their continued support of my project.

Sunday 12th February 2012
More good progress made this week see's the first of the two running boards ready to be fastened to the car. I abandoned the idea of using quick release slide latches, after I discovered the hassle in trying to get the latches to work effectively. So I've used three M4 rivnuts in the sill, with corresponding holes in the board and 20mm washers. I'll use Loctite 5368 bond/adhesive to stick them on too. I've made some additional brackets which mount underneath the sills to stop the boards from flexing. And I've also profiled the ends so that the box section doesn't protrude in to the wheel arches. Anyway, the first side is ready for bonding, and I'll start on that job early this week. I love working with aluminium, its by far my favourite material. Easy to drill, cut and shape and very light. As for the finish, I may vinyl wrap the boards with some reflective chrome wrap. I've not decided yet.

The remaining Goodridge hardline connectors turned up yesterday (thanks again to Goodridge for the discount), so this week I can also finish off the fuel system, and test it for leaks. Then I can turn my attention to the modification of the firewall for the fuel tank.

I tracked down a rear wing during the week too, and it was delivered on Friday. It is a 49" wide element, with a 10" chord, constructed from carbon fibre. The mounts on the underside should make it easily adjustable when fitted, so I just need to make a couple of arms for it to fit on to. I intend to mount it above the rear door, hopefully above the height of the roof, and will most likely also fit a gurney flap.

Tuesday 7th February 2012
Fuel system is almost complete. I bought 3 metres of Earls Pro-Lite 350 flexible hose, which I've used to connect the fuel pump to the hardline that runs to the engine, and the pump to the filter. I'm using hardlines from the sump in the fuel tank, to feed the filter. Just waiting for some parts from Goodridge for the hardlines, so I can finish it all off. The reason I bought 3 metres of Pro-Lite hose is that I still need to plumb the fuel cooler in, and although I haven't quite decided where to place it yet, the hose gives me enough to fit it in the engine bay, which is most likely where it'll end up.

I've fitted an M12 dowty seal on the outlet of the fuel pump, and I just need to tighten everything up once the remaining parts arrive, and so long as there aren't any leaks, the engine should be running again by the weekend.

Here is my latest video blog which shows the progress with the fuel cell.

One of the running boards is fitted to the drivers side. I've abandoned the idea of using sliding latches to make them removable. There was too much flex when fitted, so I've now drilled and fitted M4 rivnuts in the sills, and the first board is bolted on. I can then concentrate on making them permanent, by adding additional fixings to make them rigid, sikaflex to bond them to the sills, and finally I can colour code them to match the rest of the car.