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Paul L 2nd December 2012 17:35

Engine Re-Start - Attempt #1:

Re-connecting the fuel supply was a little bit harder with the body shell sitting in place.
I didn't want to re-route the hard fuel line until I'd worked out what I was doing in the rear of the car.
So for now it was just a temporary hose pipe join between the tank & fuel line to get me going.
I also remembered to remove the protective cover I had stuck over the tank's fuel filler hole.

I've had this 2nd hand Spitfire expansion tank for a while now (it was missing from my donor).
Believe it, or not, this is what it looks like after I've spent some time cleaning it!

I'd also bought a grommet for the top of the cap, based on forum comments.

Even I could managed the simple job of cutting a hole in it for the pipe to go through. :rolleyes:

This gives a nice seal between the pipe and the hole in the cap. :cool:

Then I connected it to the radiator and topped up the water and anti-freeze.
( I will use the bottle mounting bracket before I try to drive the car anywhere. )

I've still need to connect the Megane expansion tank to the heater hoses, but that can wait for now.
I would like to upgrade the radiator when I know more about how much space I've have under the bonnet.

I'd printed another copy of my modified wiring diagram to highlight (in pink) the minimum wiring required.
I wasn't 100% sure I needed the wires highlighted in blue just to start the engine (gearbox connections, etc.).

I thought it would be a good idea to protect the rest of the loom before taking it outside.
This "protection" was nothing more than some cling film & tape, but it did tidy things up a bit.
I just used the section of the steering column with the ignition switch attached so I could use the key.

Then it was simply a case of connecting the wires I thought I needed before connecting the battery.
( Which I had already given a bit of a charge, just in case.)

The good news was that when I turned the key to the first position the ignition light came on.

The bad news was that when I turned the key to start the engine I got a bit, fat, nothing. :icon_sad:
There wasn't even the sound of the starter motor trying to burst into life.

Try as I might, I just couldn't trace the problem & eventually I needed a torch as the light faded.
So unfortunately I had to call it a night and decided to unplug the loom & bring it back inside the house.
As to be honest it was so cold staying out any longer was not really an option.

My drive faces North and the house keeps it in shade when the winter sun in low in the sky.
The ice from the top of the car cover was still solid at 2.50pm today when I started the wiring.

I'm sure the problem is "earth" related and I hope it is something simple.

Question: Does anything need new earth leads when fitted to a fibreglass bulk head?
As things like the coil & starter motor solenoid were previously mounted to a metal body.

Well I can just about feel my feet now, so until next time, take care, Paul. :)

Psycho pops 2nd December 2012 18:16

Paul like you i will be fitting a header tank, one question will the feed from the radiator need blanking off and the expansion bottle run from the header tank?
Seeing as the radiator is now so low in the system i wonder if the water will flow out from this point or does the radiator cap prevent this from happening.
Cheers Stewart

Mister Towed 2nd December 2012 18:16

From memory I think the starter solenoid has an earth cable attached to one of its mounting screws. You might want to run a cable from the chassis to one of the starter solenoid mounting screws to complete the circuit. Hopefully, it's that simple...

Good luck getting your engine started, it's one of the build milestones. :bounce:

Paul L 5th December 2012 08:25

Got the day off work today as the Gas Board are digging up pipes outside our house & require access.
If the weather improves I might even get the chance to sneak out and do some work on the car. :cool:

But first, this...

Megane Expansion Tank:
Psycho Pops - Thanks for the reply Stewart, as this is an area I've read conflicting stories about.
Clearly my first solution of simply connecting the two heater points together wasn't a brilliant idea.
As the forced bend in the hose pipe might allow an air pocket to form, blocking the whole system. :rolleyes:

So I thought the Megan expansion tank was a simple way of forming an air free "in" & "out" connection.
In effect the bottle would simply be 'replacing' the heater & just allowing the coolant to circulate as normal.
This isn't a great photo, but you can see the two heater hoses connecting to the bulkhead in the middle.

And this is the Megane bottle...

So lower heater hose (going to left side of bulkhead as you look at photo) to the bottom pipe in the bottle.
And higher heater hose (ending up on right side) would be connected to the top pipe in the bottle.
I hoped that under normal operations, the bottle would remain full of coolant with no air inside it.
I believe this would be possible if I get the bottle fitted at the right height compared to everything else.

Clearly the bottle's cap would be handy when filling up the system with coolant (if radiator is upgraded).
If the Megane cap doesn't let air in (TBC), any water heat expansion would end up at the radiator as normal.

I know you have just lowered your radiator and if I have to do the same I think all bets will be off. :icon_sad:
DonnySoutherner lowered his Cordite radiator & I'm waiting to see what AndyP57 has done on his.
Unfortunately, I can't test fit the bonnet until after the re-body inspection, so don't know what I need to do.
( Chassis brackets need to "fall off" after the inspection before there is room to fit the bonnet. )

So hopefully the current system will allow me to re-start the engine & I'll worry about the rest later.

Note: I'm happy to be corrected if I have got the wrong end of the stick about any of the above.

Cheers, Paul. :)

Mister Towed - Thanks for the suggestion as I hope to have another go at starting the engine soon.
At this stage I think it would be nice bit of build motivation to end the year knowing that it still fires up. :pray:

donnysoutherner 6th December 2012 07:30

Starter solenoid definitely needs an earth, I earthed the coil as well for completeness sake, not sure it was required but I figured it was earthed when it was attached to metal so why not! Mine goes!

Paul L 6th December 2012 18:10

Gas Pipe Repairs:
In the end, I didn't get a chance to work on my car while waiting for the gas men to do their thing.
There were two main reasons for this, the first was how close the gas works were to the car itself.
Trying to "spark" my starter motor into life with a battery & jump leads would be an explosion hazard! :shock:

You can just about see the man standing in the hole in this photo.

The second was the fact they needed to dig up our new permeable driveway to reach a gas pipe join. :icon_sad:

I had to make sure the different sizes of stone & gravel making up the different layers were kept separate.
We will now have to wait until the Gas board's driveway specialist is available to "make good" the mess.

After spending a few hours in the cold, I then had to return to a house with no gas & therefore no heating.
Which in turn made me spare a thought for the hole diggers themselves who had to work outside all day.

Hopefully I'll get to play with my engine at the weekend.
( After I've put the Christmas tree up with my daughters. :cool: )

Cheers, Paul. :)

DonnySoutherner - Thanks for the tip Simon, I'll try that first and see what happens. :pray:

Mister Towed 7th December 2012 09:59

I don't know what you were worried about, the sign clearly says 'No Smoking'.

If you'd tried to start your engine and blown the street sky high you could've just sued the gas company for failing to put signs up saying 'No Trying to Start Classic Car Engines'. Where there's blame...

Paul L 9th December 2012 15:59

Yesterday was a major Spring (Winter?) clean before we put the Christmas tree up.
I was also forced to spend time up on on Santa's sleigh landing stop (see below).
Then most of today I have felt rubbish, but eventually I got outside just before sundown...

Engine Re-Start - Attempt #2:
Before I had another go, I re-read WCA's "First fire of the build" thread here.
I also did a quick Google search & found another great thread with a helpful photo here (last post).
And these highlighted the simple schoolboy error I made during my first starting attempt. :rolleyes:

I thought the "earth" lead bolted to the engine was providing the earthing point for the loom.

Where as, it actually needs to be connected to earth itself & this was previously where it joined the body.

So making sure the loom was fully connected to the engine was a complete waste of time.
I knew I needed new earth points on the frame for my lights, etc. but missed this completely, oops.

But before testing my earthing theory, I dug out some of the surplus wires I had removed from my loom.
I then wired both the starter solenoid & coil mounting points back to the main battery earth wires.
( This was just a temporary measure for the engine start & I will wire it all up properly later on. )

My final bit of simple trouble shooting before connecting everything back up was with the starter motor.
Using jump leads, I connected the "-ve" battery terminal to the frame & touched "+ve" lead to starter.
This got the starter motor turning over, so that was one possible problem removed from the equation. :cool:

So I plugged my wiring loom back in again to just the main connections needed (gearbox wires not required).
Along with the wiring diagram I also printed off a copy of the original solenoid & coil wiring to double check.

I then created a new earth point with a jump lead from the wiring loom at one end to the chassis at the other.
( Excuse the poor photos as it was starting to get dark. )

Turned the key the first turn, nothing happened at all and my heart sank.
Then I quickly spotted that I had forgotten to connect the loom plug back to the ignition switch. :frusty:

So take #2 of the first turn of the key and this time the ignition light came on as before, so far, so good...

But unlike last time, there were definite signs of life coming from the engine at the next turn of the key.
I hadn't re-fitted the throttle or choke cables, so needed to operated their levers on the carb. by hand.
( Sorry couldn't operate choke & throttle and take the photo. :icon_wink: )

It took a few attempts to get the petrol in, but eventually...

[Dr Frankenstein] "IT IS ALIVE! . . . . ALIVE!" [/Dr Frankenstein]

You have no idea how happy I was to hear the engine running again. :biggrin:

Obviously it was working before I dis-connected everything, so I'm just glad I hadn't messed it up.
I left it running for a while before switching it off, but thankfully it kept starting each time I tried it again.

So whilst it may not look like much, this is a functioning wiring arrangement.

Santa's Sleigh Landing Area (or Domestic Appliances #3)
It rained so hard & was so windy on Friday night that water managed to get into our en-suite in the loft.
It had come through the extractor fan, after travelling through over 8 feet of hose! :shock:
So I spent Saturday afternoon climbing out the skylight, up the front roof & onto the rear dormer.
Here is one of the views...

Turns out the builders decided to located the external vent next to the roof edge and gutter. :icon_evil:
I had to remove the gutter, tape up the top half of the vent & refit everything.
Hopefully this will keep the rain out (fingers crossed).

The only good news is that was a few extra car building brownie points in the bag. :cool:

Until next time, take care, Paul. :)

Mister Towed - I'll need to sort out my insurance with 'A Plan' before I blow the car & street up!

WorldClassAccident 9th December 2012 18:57

Glad that my earthing/fire was of use. Now be careful on those ladders too!

Keep on posting.



Mister Towed 9th December 2012 22:24

Congratulations on firing that engine up. It's quite a milestone, well done.

Paul L 10th December 2012 17:44

Mild Steel Box Section:
With a bit of luck, my mate will still be OK to give me some welding lessons during the Christmas holidays.
I'm not 100% sure of all the work I need to do (e.g. silencer mounts), but I need something to practise on.
So I've ordered 4 x 3 metre lengths of 20mm x 20mm x 2m mild steel box section (
This should be more than enough for any work on the frame, plus welding practise, plus some left over.
I have another day off work on Wednesday and they have arranged delivery for then, which is a big help. :cool:

As part of my record keeping, I will list how much steel I actually used on the car when I do the work.

Ebay Update:
I still haven't got around to listing my last few remaining Spitfire donor parts for sale on Ebay. :rolleyes:
Rather than put myself under more pressure in the run up to Christmas, I'll simply leave this until 2013 now.

Cheers, Paul. :)

WCA - I'm a firm believer in learning from other builds & hope putting lots of detail on here may help others.
Ladder? I used my "off road" trainers for grip, TV aerial mounting bracket & chimney to climb up the roof. :rolleyes:
But I must confess the thought of your foot (& death itself) did keep me focused on doing this carefully.
Mister Towed - Cheers, getting the engine to run at this stage will set me up for the winter ahead.
It also has really improved my understanding of how the wiring loom is supposed to work (especially earthing).
Which I hope will help me trouble shoot as more sections of the loom get re-connected in the future, :pray:

donnysoutherner 11th December 2012 09:25

well done with the engine mate! With my broken leg I expect you to overtake me so I can start learning from you!

davecymru 11th December 2012 10:45

If you're doing some welding practice then there is a good supplier on e-bay (might even be metals 4 u?) who do variety bundles of box section and sheet.

I bought a few packs so that i could practice with the different settings on my welder and also so that i had odds-n-sods lying around in the garage in case little jobs cropped up!

oxford1360 11th December 2012 11:24


Originally Posted by davecymru (Post 38171)
If you're doing some welding practice then there is a good supplier on e-bay (might even be metals 4 u?) who do variety bundles of box section and sheet.

I bought a few packs so that i could practice with the different settings on my welder and also so that i had odds-n-sods lying around in the garage in case little jobs cropped up!

I did the same and made some wonderfully bizarre sculptures........

However, a far cheaper way is to track down a local engineering firm that keeps box, tube and sheet. I am fortunate to have a very friendly one just a mile from The Glade and they will sell off-cuts or full lengths/sheets much much cheaper than eBay and without the postage. I have had to get out of the habit of questioning them when they say the price.

I had no contact with them before I started building e.g. I don't have a mate that works there. I just rang them.

Best of luck!

PS The oddments - big and small angle, tube, rod etc. - that I got from eBay are really useful. For example, my special-bush-removal-tool was made with them.

Paul L 12th December 2012 15:15

Box Section Delivery:
Very happy to say my box section arrived as promised, all wrapped up neatly.
( Note that isn't "real" snow on the cover, but the effects of the freezing fog we had last night! )

Day off passes me by...
Domestic chores, the gas board & my neighbour's flat battery conspired against me today.
So the small little jobs I have lined up between now & Christmas will have to wait until the weekend.

Cheers, Paul. :)

DonnySoutherner - I've still got quite a bit to do to catch you up, but I'll try my best.
DaveCyrmu - Thanks, my mate has promised me his metal "left overs" when I see him.
Oxford - Cheers, I'm hoping this & my mate's odds and ends will be more than enough.

Paul L 15th December 2012 15:28

Bonnet Holes:
Cutting the holes out of the bonnet for the headlights was hardly a top priority in my build plan.
But it was a job that didn't involve dragging lots of stuff around which made it ideal at this time.
Having said that, there was still a pile of stuff required... :rolleyes:
( Although in fairness, some of this was required for job number two of the day, see below. )

So here is the before:

A headlight outer rim helped me establish a "best fit" position to tape my cardboard template on.
I then marked the two headlight adjustment holes (9 & 12 O'Clock), plus the main shell hole.
I'd left small sections of masking tape under the template so I could drill straight through.

I drilled a couple of holes inside the main shell area to provide access for a hacksaw blade.
However, it was proving difficult to change the direction of the blade to cut a circle.

So whilst I initially thought it would be tricky to use my jigsaw, I had no choice.
In the end I don't know what I was worried about as it was very straight forward.
I just needed to run a rasp file around the hole edges and it was job done. :cool:

And here is a headlight I restored earlier...

There is enough space in the hole to move the headlight up a bit to match the body.
This was just pushed into place to give a rough idea of what it would look like.

Then it was a case of repeating the process on the other side to give this...

I will leave cutting the big hole out for my beer crate grill until it arrives.

Engine Cooling:
This photo Mister Towed posted of his blocked cooling pipe left me wondering a bit.

As I posted on his thread, I'd found some "crud" blocking my heater value when I removed it.

So I reconnected my wiring loom to the car & re-started the engine.
The plan was to leave the engine running & check the cooling pipes were warming up.
But I seemed to be having a lot of trouble trying to balance the choke / throttle levers.
In the end i just couldn't get it to tick over by itself (probably as I was in a rush :rolleyes:).

What I did notice was that the end of my throttle cable retaining clip is missing.

I'll have to go back & check old photos to see if it was there before & has simply fallen off.
Or I might just order a replacement if it is not likely to re-surface quickly.

The main reason I was in a rush is I could sense the rain was coming.
And sure enough I was forced to abandon all work and cover the car for the day. :icon_sad:

This means a temporary dump of everything inside the porch.
( Can you tell my wife has taken the children to visit her sister? :icon_wink: )

I can then put everything away properly without it getting any wetter.

Next Steps:
Sunday will be a "get everything to do with the car" out of the house before Christmas activity.
I will just leave enough bits for one small job next weekend that I can do indoors (touch wood).

So until next time, take care, Paul. :)

tlrtone 15th December 2012 16:11

1 Attachment(s)
these are good for cleaning up edges for lights and any other holes you have to cut in fibreglass

Put them in a drill and away you go..

Attachment 763

Paul L 23rd December 2012 16:35

Christmas Tidy Up:
The good news is I cleared the house of car parts & tools ready for our final Christmas day preparations. :cool:
( Although I did tuck a few things away in a utility room cupboard for one small "indoor" job, see below. )

The bad news is while re-arranging the garden shed I discovered one of my resin containers is leaking. :icon_sad:
Thankfully everything is still in the sealed bag it was delivered in, so I'll sort that out after Christmas.

Welding Lessons - Delayed: :icon_sad:
Met my mate after work during the week for a quick Christmas drink & to exchange pressies for our children.
Unfortunately, he has a lot on his plate, so my first welding lesson needs to be put back until early January.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining, as he is till doing me a HUGE favour & it will be worth the wait.
I just need to cut one of my 3 metre lengths of box section tube into more "bite size" lengths to practise on.

Missing Throttle Cable Parts:
I went back through my photos and it looks like there was some sort of a clip holding this in place originally.
However, when I cross checked this with the Rimmer Bros. diagram this was the wrong part anyway. :rolleyes:
So I now need to order some new bits to bring this all back up to the correct spec. which I hope will stay in place!

Car Alarm:
I posted a question about car alarms here & got some great replies. :cool:
So another little bit of shopping required to sort that out too.

Last job planned, but I ran out of time...
I'd planned to make a template for my rear lights, reflectors & number plate before Christmas.
As this was a little job that I hoped to squeeze in which wouldn't make a mess of the house.
But I've spent hours today washing mud off the road, pavement, & driveway following the gas works. :icon_evil:
( We didn't want our guests on Christmas day getting mud over their nice clothes. )
That, together with all the traditional Christmas chores means I have to call time on the car for now.
I'm working half day tomorrow, then it is family time until at least the 27th of December.

But as I'd already prepared the following links in advance, here is what I want to do...

It all started out with my computer mock up based on possible dimensions (top row).

This had then became a full scale mock up with everything taped to the body work.

But it was clear I would need a way of evenly spacing everything out, both vertically & horizontally.
So I will lay everything out again on a template & then fine tune this initial rough spacing with a ruler.
I can then mark up all the centre holes for drilling on a single piece of paper / card.

So much for the best laid plans, and all that. But with a bit of luck, that will be my next job.

Until then, I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas & here's to more cars on the road in the New Year. :pray:

Ho! Ho! Ho! Paul. :)

TriTone - Thanks for the tip Tony, I've already learnt a lot from your build thread.

Paul L 27th December 2012 18:20

I've been a little bit slow getting back into things after Christmas.
So this is more of a "thinking" update, rather than a "doing" one. :rolleyes:

Front Indicators:
After cutting out the holes for my headlights, I started to think about my front indicators.
I'd bought some side repeaters for the job ages ago as there are no size limits.

This was based on Trevor Bennett's build, one of the first finished cars I saw.

I've since found this diagram which is a guide to the rules about visibility angles.

So I need to extend a 45 degree line back from the front edge of the bonnet's "nose".
This will then give me the furthest inside position on the body work that the indicator can go.

Unfortunately, the original Cordite demonstrator didn't have indicators fitted.

So when it finally stops raining long enough for me to work outside I will mock that up & see.
While I am at it, I will also try my rear indicator for size to see what that looks like too.

Here are a few Spyder examples & I love the fact there is such a variety of indicators used. :cool:

So as always, lots to think about.

Hopefully, I might actually get a few small jobs done in the next few days. :pray:

Cheers, Paul. :)

CarNoob 28th December 2012 08:52

thats one big scoop

Mister Towed 28th December 2012 09:04

Hi Paul, the viewing angle chart only applies to vehicles registered on or after 1st April 1986.

As even the youngest Spitfires rolled off the production line in 1980 and Vitesse and Herald production ceased almost a decade earlier it's safe to say that no Triumph based Sammio will need to comply with that diagram.

For our purposes Schedule 7 of The Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1989 have the following to say about the arrangement of indicators -

(b) A motor vehicle first used before 1st April 1986, a trailer manufactured before 1st October 1985, a pedal cycle, a horse-drawn vehicle and a vehicle drawn or propelled by hand:
Such that at least one (but not necessarily the same) indicator on each side is plainly visible to the rear in the case of a trailer and both to the front and rear in the case of any other vehicle.

Full details about lighting are available here -

It's worth trawling through and reading the small print as some of the regulations will affect some donors more than others. As an example, I can have a single rear brake light on my '68 based car, but you'd need a matched pair on the back of a Spitfire, Herald or Vitesse based car if the donor was built on or after 1st January 1971 (Schedule 12, part 1).

Happy reading! :eusa_doh:

Mister Towed 28th December 2012 10:18


Originally Posted by CarNoob (Post 38507)
thats one big scoop

Yes it is, although it doesn't look quite so big from normal viewing angles.

I had to make it that size to clear the thermostat housing in front of the rocker cover with the bonnet sitting where I wanted it. With the unmodified bonnet positioned to clear the top of the engine, the wheels looked completely wrong in the arches.

Before :(

After :)

A number of tolerances seem to have worked against me having a low profile bonnet - my engine seems to sit higher than most (wrong engine mounts?) and I fitted my body very low to try to get it to wrap under the off-side chassis rail, which it never quite did, meaning the back edge of the bonnet starts about an inch lower than it could've done.

The good thing about the Sammio design is that it can have various scoops, bulges etc added without ruining the looks (imho). After all, fifties race cars had scoops and bulges in the oddest places, just take a look at all the scoops and vents on this Lancia D24 -

Nice. :first:

Paul L 28th December 2012 10:31

Mister Towed - Thanks, that is another great answer. :cool:

So all I need to do now is mock up possible locations.

That is if it every stops raining long enough! :frusty:

Cheers, Paul. :)

Paul L 1st January 2013 14:23

Whilst I thought I might have some free time after Christmas to work on my car, I was mistaken.
My time disappeared due to a combination of family time, my wife's birthday and the rain. *
But mainly I have been feeling pretty rough & under the weather with no energy at all. :icon_sad:

* Not my imagination, 2012 now officially the wettest year on record in England. :icon_evil:

So just a little bit of tinkering around the edges to report...

Rear Lighting Layout - Take 2:
I'd already taken a measurement between the rear seams when the kit first arrived.
So I knew the biggest area I would have to work with would be around 101 cm.

But I noticed something else when I was double checking this distance the other day.
The body work actually rolls inwards quite a bit at the outer edges like so...

Don't ask me how I missed this before when taping the lights onto the body. :rolleyes:
I think I was checking the lenses from above to see that sat squarely on the body itself.
The fact that there were not square to each other seems to have missed me for some reason.

The good news is Mr T's research (see above) shows they don't need to be in a set position.
So I will carry on regardless and the indicators will simply follow the lines of the body "roll".
However, I will bring the lights & reflectors a bit closer together than in the previous mock up.
Thus reducing how far out the indicators will be & so reducing the angle they will sit at.

I also went back to my previous research and re-discovered this Sammio layout.
Clearly if this managed to get an MOT, then I will have no problems with my lights. :pray:

I simply used some brown paper to mark up some alternative "bunched up" layouts.
Note: The lights are supplied with a rubber edge that adds a few mm each side.
The thick blue lines represent the seams on the body work.

These photos show the following:
- 30mm between number plate & reflector, then remaining gaps at 20mm
- 20mm gaps throughout
- 20mm between number plate & reflector, then remaining gaps at 15mm
- 15mm gaps throughout

I'll have a think about which of these I think works best & then make a template for drilling holes.

Next Steps:
With a bit of luck I'll feel like going outside at the weekend if I get the chance.

Until then, "Happy New Year!", Paul. :)

Mister Towed 1st January 2013 16:30

Yep, the indicators just need to be visible from directly behind to comply with the vehicle lighting reg's for this age of car. I'll be taking a print out of the reg's with me to the MOT testing station come the day, just in case ;)

There's just one more thing though Paul (in a Columbo stylee) - it's probably best not to assume that the rear wing seams are equidistant from the centreline of the car. I wouldn't personally use them as a datum, I would find the true centreline and work my way outwards from there. Then do the final fitting up by eye, and if it looks right, go for it. :)

Good luck getting the look you want and I hope you have a great start to 2013.

Paul L 2nd January 2013 17:10

Mr T - Another good point about the centre line. :cool:

Funny how you can focus on the detail at one level & miss the bigger picture on another. :rolleyes:
In which case, I will mark the centre point of the bodywork & align the template's centre point with that.

Thanks, Paul. :)

Paul L 6th January 2013 10:47

In between taking down the Christmas decorations & other distractions, I've very little progress to report...

Front Indicators - Options:
I've previously posted photos of various front indicator options, so now it was time to mock up my own.
As the lens of my side repeater is not detachable, I needed a paper template to allow me to test locations.

After trying various options, this appears to be the best place for this 30mm diameter lens.
There is also just enough of a flat surface on the bonnet for the light to sit flush(ish).

I also test fitted my rear indicator lens (70mm diameter) for a quick comparison.
The increase in size meant the only flat surface it would fit flush against was lower down & pointing out.

Without wishing to sound too much like Goldilocks, I think one lens is too small & the other too big. :rolleyes:
So I've just ordered a set of these Classic Mini indicators which are a bit smaller than the rear lens above.
I'll decide whether to construct a flat surface on the bonnet to mount them facing forward when they arrive.
( As I think they would look better it they aligned vertically with the headlights. )

With a bit of luck, and in the best fairy tale tradition, I hope these will be "Just Right". :icon_wink:

I will now use these side repeaters as there were originally intended on the side of the body shell.

Next Steps:
If the perpetual misty rain outside ever stops... :frusty:
I hope to get one small job done today before we head out on a family trip.

Cheers, Paul. :)

mikmiglia 6th January 2013 10:53

get yourself a pringles tube,as its the right diameter. fibre glass the tube, once gone off cut a hole in your body the same diameter as tube, you can trim the tube inside the bodyand glass in . Once dried cut yourself a 12mm ply disc and glass in .Doing all of this will allow you to blend the raised tube into the bonnet with filler and shape up.

Paul L 6th January 2013 15:54

Mikmiglia - Thanks for the tip Mike, always happy to get your feedback. :cool:

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I've got to be quick as we've just dropped the children off with Granny.
So my wife and I have got a night off and are heading out for a meal shortly.

Thankfully I had prepared the words in advance, just needed to upload the photos...

Front Grille Opening:
Initially I was going to wait until my grille arrived before cutting this hole.
However, in the end I was looking for simple jobs that wouldn't take too much time, or effort.

I had already paid for a steel loop with two hinge brackets to be bonded into my bonnet as an optional extra.
But this created an optical illusion which made the steel ring look like it was within the area to be cut out?
After some quick measurements I quickly realised I was simply being a bit dim. :rolleyes:

Whilst this might looks like it is a flat surface on the inside, similar to the shape at the front ...

The hoop is on the inside the rim around the grille opening & the bonding material fills all the gaps. :doh:

But I'm happy the "measure twice & cut once" school of construction did its job to spot my error.

So out came my drill to make some pilot holes & my jig saw to cut out the fibre glass from opening.
It was quite an awkward angle to get the jig saw blade into, so I removed the bottom guide plate.
I just need to smooth off the inside edges which are a bit rough and ready in places.

Until next time, take care, Paul. :)

Paul L 12th January 2013 16:15

I'm keen to mock up as much of the build as possible before I start permanently fixing things into place.
So today's little job was ....

Seat Belt Mounting Options:
My donor came with brand new seat belts that I was keen to use if I could actually make them fit / work.
In my head I think of these as "3 point" seat belts, but they actually need four mounting points each.

I can re-use the original Spitfire mounting point next to the hand brake for the "Buckle" end.
I just need to drill a hole in the Cordite frame, which can wait until the frame is permanently bolted down.
Once I know these belts will work, I will remove the wiring currently in place for the warning light.
( A seat belt warning light is not a legal requirement & I've removed the associated wiring from the loom. )
This way, if these seat belts are not suitable, I can simply sell them on Ebay with the wires intact.

A mounting point for the "D Ring" was welded to my frame as an optional "extra" when I first ordered my kit.

However, my test fitting threw up a few issues, which are easier to explain looking from the side.
The mounting bracket is to the left of the horizontal box section below.
Whereas, the rear cockpit plywood panel will be to the right of the vertical box section frame rail.

So there would need to be a significant recess in the rear panel to allow this to work as it is.
But before I started to worry about that, I turned my attention to the remaining lower mounting points.

This is the bracket that was welded into place to do the job.

This has no retaining nut welded in place & was the wrong side of the frame to be of much use anyway.
So I'd already bought some of these (2 of each) to do the job instead.

These will allow me to put the "Floor Mount" bracket on the inside of the cockpit framework.

The "Retractor" would need to be mounted through the rear cockpit panel.
This would give the belt a straight run to the "D Ring" without any twists in it.
Obviously, there would need to be a new bracket welded to the frame work to support it.

So at this stage I think it might be possible to use these belts, but I have some reservations.
One big thing that was missing from this initial investigation was actually having a seat in place.
When I did fit the passenger floor pan & seat, there was very little room in the outside corner.

I was already considering "squaring" the inside edge of the cockpit like DaveCymru

But this photo also shows a very popular seat belt choice with a centre cockpit "feed".
I've also seen quite a few build with "static" 3 point belts and of course various racing harnesses.
So once again there is a bit of the proverbial beard scratching to do, before a final decision.
I will also revisit a few build threads as they make more sense when I reach that point in my own build.

I did discover something else significant while working with the seat belts, but I'll cover that in another post later on.

Until then, take care, Paul. :)

Mister Towed 12th January 2013 19:13

I wanted inertia reel seatbelts rather than racing harnesses and my original plan was to mount them in the standard position -

No matter what position I tried I couldn't work out a way of mounting them where they'd work and not risk being soaked in the wet or jammed by loose luggage behind the seats.

The curve of the cockpit corners makes it harder to fit them, and I didn't want to square the corners as I believe Dave C had problems with cracking in his. So, the simplest solution was to centre mount them and I think it adds to the quirkiness of the car.

Good luck and I hope you get them fitted where you want them.

Psycho pops 12th January 2013 20:29

If you want racing style but with inertia reel check out my thread I found full harnes fixed back to inertia single point.
Cheers pops

Paul L 13th January 2013 06:28

Mr T - Outstanding reply. :cool:
Your constant support is one of the main reasons I am still chipping away at this project.
You have proved that all obstacles can be over come in the end.
I know you have worked on your own car for a long time, but it will be worth it.
Seeing you on the road will be great inspiration for the rest of us still building.

Pops - Thanks for the tip, I found the photo of your belts...

But I couldn't see one of them fitted?
Does the top buckle just stay connected behind the seat.

Also found Mr T's great link about seat belts on your build too...

Got to love this forum, cheers, Paul. :)

Paul L 13th January 2013 06:34

Just wanted to follow up on yesterday's post, as it had a knock on impact on this...

Frame & Bodywork - Take 3
The body shell has been resting on the frame work for a while now, but it hasn't "settled" any lower.
So I still had some issues with the driver's side not lining up the way I would have liked it to.

The good news is that whilst testing the seat belts I discovered one of the reasons for this...

Yes, the seat belt mounting bracket was fouling the bodywork on the driver's side. :frusty:
This quickly settled any debate about whether, or not, I would try to use this bracket.
As out came the angle grinder, I then propped up the body & was quickly left with this.

I will remove the rest of the bracket when the body is off again properly.
While the angle grinder was out, I removed the lower seat belt bracket from the driver's side too.
As I've already trimmed the passenger floor pan to fit, the bracket on that side can wait.

I love the new Ribble approach of re-using the Spitfire body shell as it makes for an easier build.
However, that is no longer an option for me, so I will just make the most of what I have got.
So taking my frustrations out on the frame with an angle grinder was very therapeutic.
As there is no escaping the fact this frame work really is a [American Slang]POS[/Cussing]! :icon_evil:

When Andy re-launches the Ribble Navigator (son of Cordite) these issues will be fixed. :cool:

Anyway, small rant out of the system and back to where removing this bracket got me...

Instantly, I had a much better fit all round, the door cut out area was much better.

The side of the bodywork now just covered the lowest frame rail.



The body also came a lot closer to the pedal mounting plate (more on this later).

This just left the lower front corner on the driver's side as the remaining problem area.

I think I will be able to reclaim a couple of mm by removing the bracket on the left of this photo.

DonnySoutherner previously mentioned that this was surplus to requirements anyway.
It is to bolt the body shell to the frame, but it is next to the plate where the pedals are bolted on.
However, it does sit proud of the rest of the area which makes it the last point of contact.

I did have a go at getting the angle grinder in there without removing the body.
But there was just no room to play with & I just got a face full of sparks for my trouble! :rolleyes:

Joking aside, I was grateful for the fact I did have safety glasses on.

Got some domestic stuff to do now, but hope to have more to post later today, Paul. :)

Psycho pops 13th January 2013 10:36


Originally Posted by Paul L (Post 38932)
Mr T - Outstanding reply. :cool:

Pops - Thanks for the tip, I found the photo of your belts...

But I couldn't see one of them fitted?
Does the top buckle just stay connected behind the seat.

Got to love this forum, cheers, Paul. :)

Havent completed the fit out but can explain how it woks so far.
Inertia mounted on plates at the back of the framw, one in each corner, The drivers side one sits on top and roles within the rear of the hump.
The passengers side is underslung due to body clearance. This runs freely over the fuel tank and connects to the harness behind the rear panel of the cockpit with the two shoulder straps exiting where the body tub lips over the frame. This give me about 200mm of travel forward so can reach all the knobs etc.
tried other options such as anchoring behind the seats but the angles and lengths of belts just didnt work out.
When I am home in a couple of weeks I will post pictures which should explain a lot more clearly.


Paul L 13th January 2013 11:29

Just got time for another quick "copy & paste" update before heading out for a family pub lunch...

Brake Master Cylinder - More Thoughts:
You may recall, that unbeknown to me, the Cordite body was not designed for Spitfire 1500 brakes.

The more time I spend trying to work out how to keep these, the more of a pain it becomes.
All the brake pipes were refurbished by the previous owner.
The system was also tested to MOT standard (& passed) by my local garage.
So here is where my thought process has got me so far...

Option #1
Fit the master cylinder "as is" and adjust the frame, bulk head & bonnet to accommodate it.
Below is a rough sketch* of the impact of this approach on each of these areas.
( * Don't look too closely for anything resembling scale or true perspective. :icon_wink: )

As you can see, a shed load of work and the distinct possibility of it looking like a dog's dinner. :icon_sad:
So whilst this is a "don't fix want ain't broken" solution for the brakes, it is a no go for everything else.

Option #2
Replace the existing brake fluid reservoir with a "remote" one mounted to the adjacent bulk head.
I would also cut out slots in the fibre glass to mount the m/c directly to the frame plate below.
( As this would lower the unit a few mm and they all count. )
The existing brake fluid "out" lines would remain unchanged and stay fixed where they are.
But new brake lines would be needed from the remote reservoir to the fluid "in" points.
Although more research is needed as I'm struggling to find out if this is actually possible.
I know the Spitfire reservoir can be removed, but think it is basically a plastic "push in" fitting.
So I need to check if you can get a hose fitting to match that isn't the normal "screw in" type.
I think this approach would allow me to make a much smaller modification to the bulk head.
The recess should sit in between the existing frame rails, so they wouldn't need any work.
Obviously the whole point of the system is to reduce the height, so the bonnet would be OK too.

Option #3
Replace the tandem master cylinder with an upgraded "traditional" single feed set up.
The twist would be to fit a "3 way" joint to keep the rest of the dual pipe work as is.
So the single pipe out from the new master cylinder would only be a few inches to the new joint.

Option #4
Replace the m/c as in Option 3, but re-plumb the brake lines into a traditional line feed system.
Lots of pipe work required for this approach which is something I'm keen to avoid if possible.

I hope Option #2 will be possible, but realistically, Option #3 may be the most practical solution.

As always, happy to get feedback from those who know more about this than me.

Cheers, Paul. :)

Pops - Cheers Stuart, some photos would be a big help, thanks.

Mister Towed 13th January 2013 17:35

It'd be option 1 for me: Notching the frame isn't difficult, I had to modify mine to fit the instruments where I wanted them and recessing the bulkhead is also pretty straightforward; a fibreglass power bulge above the master cylinder wouldn't look out of place - a half sized American football would probably be about the right size to use as a former; and, above all, I'd want to be absolutely certain I had working brakes.

Oh, and I've even found a specialist company that sells purpose made 100mm formers to mould the power bulge from -

Mister Towed 13th January 2013 19:51

Good question Micha.

For our purposes the basics are:

Vehicle first used before 01/01/1965 - no belts required.

Vehicle first used between 01/01/1965 and 31/03/1981 - two point diagonal belts required for front seats.

Vehicles first used after 31/03/1981 - three point, lap and diagonal belts required for front seats.

The dates when you actually had to start wearing them are a little different, but, having limped away from a head-on crash on 1st April 1983, just four months after our law changed, I wouldn't want to be without one.

Paul L 14th January 2013 18:13

A Car For All Seasons...
This is what greeted me as I left for work this morning...

Still, at least the weather can't stop me shopping on line. :icon_wink:

Rimmer Bros - January Sale
I had built up a list of assorted small bits & pieces I needed and this seemed like a good time to order them.
- All the retaining bits for end of throttle cable (previous clip went missing & was the wrong part anyway).
- Choke cable (as there is some fraying on the outer surround on my donor's one).
- Olive for petrol tank "fuel out" pipe (as I need to turn this through 180 degree, given the tanks new location).
- Clips for fuel & brake lines (easier to get these now rather than source them separately).
- A couple of small enamel Union Jacks which I plan to fit either side of the car (final location TBC).

However, I also made one significant purchase at this time, which I will cover in more detail below…

Engine Cooling - Update:
When I was looking at alternative brake master cylinders, one seller also did extra wide Spitfire radiators.
I went to compare prices with another seller I'd previously seen on Ebay but found his stock was sold out.
So by delaying a final decision (see below) I was now facing paying more for a reconditioned unit. :icon_sad:

The good news is the Rimmer Bros sale put their new radiators under the price of the reconditioned one.
So I've now ordered this extra wide radiator which should simply "bolt straight in" to the Spitfire mountings.
Although I may need to get some longer hoses to connect it.

Overall Project Planning:
When I started building this car I was half expecting other builders to be blazing a trail for me to follow.
The reality is not many Cordites are on the go & its Navigator replacement will have significant differences.
With limited time, I am keen to avoid having to re-do work, or do extra work which could have been avoided.
However, there comes a time where waiting for a perfect answer is no longer worth it due to knock on delays.

I'd delayed ordering this radiator because I still don't know if there is enough clearance under the bonnet.
( The bonnet will only fit when the front chassis brackets are removed after the re-body inspection. )

But the latest update on the original AndyP57 demonstrator is that he has abandoned the flip up bonnet.
Instead, he has cut out an access panel in the top of the bonnet, which will now be quick released instead.
It doesn't look like there will be any scoops, or bulges, but I just don't know if he needed to lower his radiator.

The other thing to note from this photo is that Andy has also abandoned the idea of using the original doors.
They have now been bonded / fibre glassed shut, which was my own "doomsday" option if all else fails.
( Andy's plan is to provide a better door arrangement for both the Navigator & Pilot (ex-Spyder) designs. )

With snow now replacing the traditional rain outside, I know I will be making slow progress over the Winter.
The key for me will be to finish as much of my "mock up" work as possible & make final build decisions.
That way, if we do actually get a half decent Spring & Summer this year I will in a position to push on.
Although given how long everything seems to take, I will not make any rash promises about deadlines.

Seat Belt Mounting Options - Update:
The new seats that were supplied with my donor didn't actually come with any instructions.
Thankfully Rimmer Bros were kind enough to send me some which I found shortly after my test fitting. :rolleyes:
It looks like the "Retractor" and "Floor Mount" brackets could actually be bolted to the same mounting point.
So I will add that fact into the general beard scratching mix.

Until next time, take care, Paul. :)

Mr T - I wouldn't mind an American Football shaped bulge in the middle of my bonnet if required. :icon_wink:
It is the fact that it would need to be hanging half way off the edge of the bonnet that really worrys me.
And thanks for answering Micha's questions too.
micha - Welcome to my build thread.
I'm not worried about the V5Cs of the cars in the photos, the context was their front indicators, nothing else.
Legally my 1980 donor only needs a two point, diagonal, belt fitted, but I will be fitting something better.
If I can't get my own welding up to standard, I plan to get my mate to weld the seat belt mounting points.

davecymru 14th January 2013 19:59


Originally Posted by micha (Post 38958)
interesting that most pictured cars on page 9 are still running on triumph herlad V5cīs


Seeing as it's panto season, and seeing as my old car is one of the ones in question, i feel like wrapping up this conundrum for you. :

(assume panto voice)

"oh no they're not!"

If you're basing your statement on what is shown on one of the on-line sites (e.g. to check those reg numbers then i can prove 100% from personal experience that what is on the physical V5 and what Swansea hold can be different to what they show on their sites!

i.e. i know 100% that at least my old car and Trevors old car (48) both say Sammio Spyder on the V5's, yet on that checker mine still shows up as a Herald!
That's just one of the joys of classic and kit cars :)

Now back to our main feature.......

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