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Day 6

Unpacking the cases that came with the chassis, the first thing to be pulled out were the pedals, so this seemed to be a logical place to start! It probably would have made more sense at this stage to complete the alloy panelling by putting in the floor double skin but by this time I had had enough of cutting, marking drilling etc, so figured the motivation would stay at top level if I put some more interesting bits onto the chassis!

After laying a sheet over the floortray to protect it from scratches from dropped tools etc, the master cylinders (both brakes and clutch) were bolted into position first, which was a straight forward job. I then went about in attaching the pedals. This initially seemed straight forward, however it soon became clear that the clearances for the pivot bolts were very tight once one set were put in, and it was difficult to put in the next bolt with the previous but in the way. At this point we felt that it would be a good time to decide which positions the pedals should be in. After some research on the internet, we decided that as a good start point we would have each of the pedals positioned in the central mounting hole, and adjustment could be made at a later date if we felt it necessary. I fitted the accelerator pedal first, then the brake and finally the clutch, feeding in the bolts from the left hand side when looked at from the driving position.

The brake balance bar proved to be tricky to fit, and for now it was just fitted roughly with the intention of adjusting it perfectly at a later date, as I was feeling impatient and thought this may take a while! It may be more difficult adjusting it under the dash once everything is in place, but at least when the seats are in the pedal positions can also be adjusted at the same time to make driving as comfortable and easy as possible.

The remainder of the nuts and bolts on the pedals were fitted and they were attached to the cylinders. At this point we did not yet connect the throttle cable, since we did not yet have any spare alloy material for attaching the throttle cable to, as recommended by the instruction manual.

The brake hoses were assembled (remembering to put in the copper washers!!) and attached to the master cylinders, and routed round the chassis. The rear brake hose was routed up the nearside of the car. The clutch cable was not yet attached.

To make us feel like we were making progress, I decided to next fit the steering, suspension arms and the uprights. Being faced with two colours (and materials) of bushes for the suspension arms, a quick call to the factory confirmed which positions they went in. The harder compound black bushes went in the bottom suspension arms on the rear of the car, and the red ones were used elsewhere. A blob of silicone grease aided sliding the bushes into the arms, which were pressed in using a block of hardwood.

It took a few minutes to sort through the numerous washers that were available to connect the uprights to the suspension arms, however it soon became clear where the larger diameter and thicker washers went. The ride height adjustment bars were used at this point to help everything stay in line which made fitting the uprights much easier. The male portion of the rear toe links needed slight cutting down so that they would fit without giving a huge amount of toe out! Approx 5mm was trimmed off the threaded portion using a hacksaw and cleaning up the thread carefully with a fine file.

The front uprights had the steering arms put on and torqued up before they were attached to the front uprights. The front uprights were straight forward enough to fit; the joints to the suspension arms were just screwed in about half an inch at this stage since these would need adjusting later during the geometry setup to adjust the camber angle. The nuts were tightened up slightly so that any slack in the system was removed. Note, in the photos, the suspension coilover units were loosely put into place at this stage to get an idea of the final ‘look’ and where brake hoses etc were to be routed.

The steering rack fitment is crucial in order to achieve the best handling for the car. Whilst the fixing holes are already present in the chassis, there is an element of movement that is available whilst fitting the rack so its important to make sure its symmetrical. The rack was fitted ‘roughly’ at first, with the clamp blocks just being ‘nipped up’ in order to hold the rack in place. We then measured the position of the rack in accordance with the instructions provided by Ultima. Funnily enough, even though the rack had just been roughly positioned in the clamps by eye, all the measurements suggested that it was fitted exactly in place! This fortuitous event saved a lot of time adjusting the rack position, which we are informed can become a bit of a nightmare if you are unlucky. We torqued up the mounting bolts and remeasured the dimensions to double check that it had not moved whilst the bolts had been torqued up.

The joints attaching the rack to the chassis were screwed roughly into position once again (like the joints to the suspension arms) just to make sure everything ‘attached’ ok, and these would be done exactly during the geometry setup. This required the brake discs to be on which first required them to be ordered so a phone call to the factory was in order!!

In the meantime, the hole for the steering column was drilled into the front bulkhead using a 30mm holesaw. We expressed some concern and gave a fair bit of thought to the amount of water ingress/draft etc that would be encountered with such a large hole for the steering column to fit through, however a call to the helpful guys at the factory suggested that it is not a problem at all in this area. We decided that if it did become a problem we could fashion a grommet at a later date.

The steering column went together simply, however even with lubrication using washing up liquid, pressing the rubber bush into the steering column support proved to be extremely difficult. There seemed to be no easy way to achieve this so unfortunately brute force and ignorance was used to press the push into place. However when the steering column was fully assembled the movement was smooth with no ‘stiction’ being present. The hole position itself was ‘guestimated’ using a straight edge going from the UJ joint on the top of the steering column to the one on the rack, this gave us the approximate left-right position, and the up-down position was estimated by eye. This proved to be almost spot on, so much so that a hole barely bigger than the column itself was required. In hindsight a smaller hole would have been drilled first and opened up accordingly, however since we were using a holesaw it was felt that neatly opening up the hole may be difficult to achieve with a grinder or file.

The 13mm nyloc nuts on the steering column UJ’s were tightened up, all but the one for the upper column, since this would have to be removed for fitting the cockpit bodywork later.

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Just Doors UK sponsoring MacG Racing
PTR Exhausts
Braid Wheels
AWS Racewear sponsoring MacG Racing
Quantum Racing Suspension sponsors MacG Racing
Albins Performance Transmissions sponsors MacG Racing
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