Monday 29th - Engine Grinding - Jason's Engine

With a slight break for Xmas, we got back on with the job when Brent was called upon to perform some surgery on the new engine block. Brent kindly came over with his angle grinder and removed the material necessary to allow the starter motor to fit. He even worked in the snow fall we had!
At the same time, I took the opportunity to get under the car and to fit the new propshaft to the diff flange with some new blue bolts and to torque them up with Jason's new torque wrench.
After Brent left we moved the old engines to the front of the spare garage and retreated into a closed garage for warmth. Their wasn't any though. For the second time, I fitted the spigot bearing sleeve and the bearing in the end of the crank. Next we fitted the new lightweight flywheel and hit the next problem.
The old clutch cover bolts are M7, the new flywheel and clutch are designed for M8's. Now, when Jason ordered a new flywheel and complete new clutch assembly in one order, you'd have thought they'd ask if you needed the different bolts, wouldn't you... but no, they didn't. A few checks around and no one seems to stock what we need, so we are currently waiting to see if AHC in Camberly can get them in before the new year so we can get on with things. If they can't then we will have to wait until after the 5th January and for Caterham to open. This is a shame as their isn't a lot holding us back from dropping the new engine in now.

Sunday 21st - Engine Building @ The Vatican - Jason's Engine

Following on from the problem of having a 1.6 engine instead of the 1.8, Dave came up trumps with a 1.8VVC bottom end and an Elise 135 head. This would in theory give a bit more performance from Jason's K04 kit. To collect the engine, first we had to get in the way of Dave whilst he built it, so it was off to Milton Keynes again.
We arrived at around 11am and generally got in the way whilst Dave fitted the various parts that we had brought with us (Sump, Cams, Seals, Shiny Cam Cover, etc). We finished around 5pm and had a complete engine ready to go, the cams are timed correctly, and all that is left is to grind the block for the starter motor and fit the remaining bits.

Sunday 14th - Propshaft Swap - Jason's Engine

A last minute posting got a loan of the big 41mm socket needed to undo the half shafts on a De-Dion. Thanks very much Mark (aka F355GTS on Blatchat).
As it turned out we didn't actually use it as when I arrived Jason had found a procedure that seemed to do away with the need to remove the half shafts to drop the diff. After some umming and arrring I decided that it seemed possible so we'd give that a go and hopefully save ourselves some work.
First of all though we checked the new engines stroke with a 5mm rod I had dropped down No.1 cylinder. Alas it confirmed that, with ~79mm, it was indeed a 1.6 - it was official. Doh.
So, before depression set in, we got stuck into the propshaft. A rough guide to what we did is as follows (with some allowances added in for starting half way and out prop was already unbolted remember):-

  - Loosen wheel nuts
- Jack rear and secure with axle stands ensuring a working clearance around the diff and DD tube.
- Unbolt the A-frame at the front where it fixed to chassis.
- Unbolt damper to DD tube bolts
- Lift DD tube up and 'hook' it over the chassis rail running in front of the fual tank
- Unbolt the lower diff bolts and catch the shims that fall out - make a note of the number/type
- Unbolt the upper 11" diff bolt and position a jack under the diff before withdrawing.
- Lower diff down until it comes to rest on the chassis/A-frame
- Snip cable ties and lower DD tube back down.
- Feed the propshaft out over the top of the diff and work it out around the handbrake cable

- Refitting is the opposite of above. The diff shims are a right pain in the.....

This did take us a while. Partly I think it was because it was mostly all new to me, partly it was pretty cramped under the car, but mostly because the diff is oh soo heavy that moving it around to line up bolts is near impossible for a lightweight racing snake like myself (must look at increasing my personal power to weight).
It was a good job to get done, and another one where no real problems slowed us down, just the fiddly stuff.

Saturday 13th - Tarts Cam Cover - Jason's Engine

As an EU2 engine is required to mate to the loom and ECU, etc, in Jason's 1996 car the current cam cover was going to be retained as it is one of the differences from the newer EU3. As such I saw an opportunity to make it look a bit more non-standard (read boring) by removing the paint from the top of the cast ali fins and polishing the bare ali.
I started off cleaning both the cover and the plug insert in a bowl of warm water (see pic 1 for result) and set to work on the plug cover first. I used a couple of files before settling on a round course file to remove material quickly. The Caterham Supersport logo and the end fins were actually recessed below the outer two fins which meant a lot of filing before all the paint was removed. Then a less aggressive file was used to remove the deep scratches, followed by a fine needle file. Lastly I worked from 240 grit, through 400 to 1500 grit wet & dry, used wet, which I wrapped around a scrap bit of wood to give a flat sanding block. I then wrapped some cloth around the wood and used some metal polish to give it a nice shine.
The cam cover came next and it was at this point that it dawned on me that I could use my orbital sander to get rid of the paint layer. This was much easier, although thankfully, all the detailing was at the same level this time. The orbital removed all the paint and left a much better surface so I could go straight to the wet & dry stage as before.
I'm pretty pleased with the end result, although it is perhaps a bit too polished (yes folks - I said that!). Possibly better would be to dull down the polishing on the cover so that it has a brushed look. On the other hand - it is Jason's car, so let's face it, it won't take long to dull down! (I'll have to buy him some polish for Xmas).

Thursday 11th - New Engine Dressing - Jason's Engine

Jason was off looking after a sick family so I took the opportunity of going over earlier than usual and getting more done. As a result I was able to start at 6pm, hoping it wouldn't be another 1pm finish. Jason would join me when he could.
The first job I tackled was one I had not been looking forward to. Fitting the spigot bearing sleeve into the end of the crank, followed by the bearing itself. I'd posted for some advice and decided after a few minutes of inspection that the crank definitely needed easing out slightly, so out came the Demel-a-like and a small tube sanding disc removed some material. I then used a flat steel bar I have and used this to deliver a square blow with the hammer (sandwich the plate between hammer and sleeve). Once the sleeve was level with the end of the crank I used a suitable socket to tap it in the last few millimeters. I had put a light coating of threat-lock on the sleeve beforehand, so it won't be moving anytime soon. The bearing was then a straightforward matter of again taping it into place, but with a much larger surface area to hit, this is much easier.
Next was to remove the lower inlet studs as these would be replaced with some cap head bolts due to clearance on the TB's. These were thread-locked in place, but with the aid of two M8 nuts locked together they would undo.
I then lifted the cam cover off his old engine as I had offered to clean this up and make it look all 'tarty' worthy of his new whizzy engine.
Jason joined me and we decided to tackle the sumps. We lifted the old engine up onto the workmate and then tried to catch all the spilling oil. The Caterham sump came off easily as did the foam baffle and plate and the pick-up pipe. We lifted the de-sumped engine onto a clearer space and moved the new engine in it's place. The standard sump and pick-up pipe were removed and fitted to the old engine so that it could stand and be moved easily. The Caterham sump was then cleaned out and fitted. It was slightly worrying that we found some small stones, bigger than sand, in the bottom of the sump when we removed it - we couldn't think how it got there!
That was the end of the evening really, apart from that whilst the engine was up on the workmate, Jason spotted the engine number and commentated on noting it down before we ground it off to enable the starter motor to fit. He commentated on the fact that it started 16K4... and we wondered if that meant it was actually a 1.6 and not a 1.8. Unfortunately Jason's investigations later that night revealed that it was indeed a 1.6.

Sunday 7th - Throttle Body modifications - Jason's Engine

Whilst at Dave's he pointed out that the bodies needed a bit of fettling to provide clearance for the throttle cable and also the 'spout' fitting (which connects to the heater tank). As I have more spare time than Jason, I suggested taking these parts home and doing these when I had chance, so they'd be ready to be fitted rather than being another job using up the valuable 'Jason's Garage Time' that we got.
First was to fit the throttle cable bolt. This required the hole in the linkage enlarging to 6mm. The bolt then had to be drilled to take the cable, such that it would be clamped between two washers & nuts. This was straightforward, but I have decided that all my drills are way past their best - a useful Christmas present idea though.
I then filed away part of the web next to the head of the above bolt to give a bit more clearance and then again filed away quite a lot of material where the spout will be fitted. I have decided to get a bit more information on fitting the spout as I have read it needs to be taped and also that it can be self-taped in place. Seeing as it isn't my expensive throttle body, I'll wait until I am sure before going any further with that one!
I trial fitted the backplate of the airbox, and the trumpets, etc. I have thread locked the trumpet studs into one of the TB's, I'm leaving the others until the spout is fitted as they'll get in the way.
I had read a post about a bolt falling out of the backplate, resulting in the captive nut working loose and then falling into the engine, destroying a piston and damaging the DVA head. I didn't want this to happen, so although I'll be thread-locking the airbox bolts in place, I have added a few large dollops on silicone to hold the captive bolts in place. I could see that this had already been done, but I have tripled the amount, so no way will they fall off.
Note: See here for an update regarding the airbox.

Saturday 6th - Collecting Shiny Parts - Jason's Engine

I accompanied Jason on a large round trip which started off with collecting the gearbox from Brain Hill at BGH. It was great to see his workshop, and a real set back in time to old school engineering. How he manages to find anything is a mystery to me as every available wall surface has a rack against it and every spare square inch of floor accommodates a box of gears, a casing, tail section, or some other bit I didn't even recognize.
In timed honored tradition, we were running late and we didn't leave BGH until around 25mins to 11. We both thought that Caterham Parts closed at 11am so although we'd try to make it (I was to meet a buyer for my JPE screen) we didn't think we'd make it before they closed. We arrived at the motorway at 10 to 11 and I called them to see if their was any chance of them staying open until we arrived - Jason was spending a load of wonga with them afterall. From this call I learnt that they were open until half past, so we just made it. I sold my JPE screen and Jason got the propshaft, clutch, lightweight flywheel, cam belt, various fixings, bearings, etc.
North to Milton Keynes and we collected another box of goodies from Dave Andrews. This comprised of the throttle bodies, airbox, cams, verniers, Emerald ECU and fixing kits. Dave talked us through a few things and bent the throttle linkage for us before we set off home. The challenge of finding the lowest mpg figure on the trip computer whilst negotiating a roundabout was postponed while the gearbox and two heavy boxes were in the car. I then took the TB's and the airbox home with me to do a few little jobs on them as I'd have the time. A phone call from Mandy as I was about to leave to say our heating had packed up dampened my spirits somewhat, but I soon found that this was due to the her pushing a box against the power switch at the back of the cupboard - I shall get to play with TB's tomorrow after all.

Thursday 4th - Propshaft Agro - Jason's Engine

Jason had the good news that his gearbox was ready and he could collect it on Saturday. He also had some bad news that his propshaft was causing damage to the metal bearing inside the gearbox tail. Getting the information 2nd hand and not really knowing the internals of a type 9 gearbox meant that I didn't really know what damage to look for on the prop. I couldn't see anything obvious, but we thought it would be a good idea if we removed the propshaft and took it along when we collect the new box for inspection. We jacked the rear up, I wriggled underneath armed with a wrench and socket and with Jason applying and releasing the handbrake, removed the 4 bolts that hold the propshaft to the diff. It was, however, this point that I realised that the propshaft won't actually come out with the diff in place. I rather stupidly didn't check this out before starting the job. On my car, a live axle, it is easy to undo the bolts, slide the prop forward, drop the rear and slide it out the lower tunnel chassis rails.
We gave up and went inside to search the web for hope that it could indeed be done. We didn't find any, so as I type this I'm really looking forward to dropping the diff to remove the prop. We did take a picture and Jason did a good large print which we showed to Brian at BGH. His opinion was that there looked like a bit of pick-up from the bearing and that it wasn't worth taking the risk with that prop again. We got a new one when we were at Caterham after seeing him.

Wednesday 3th - Old Engine Strip - Jason's Engine

Today we had the intention of removing the Caterham sump, ready to be fitted to the new 1.8 engine. Unfortunately (or should that now be of course?) things didn't go to plan and we didn't quite get that far. The first job we decided to tackle was to remove the new engines MGF flywheel which Jason is going to replace with a new lightweight Caterham version. This was straightforward, but the amount of threadlock used meant the bolts were flipping tight all the way. I stuck a socket on the pulley bolt to hold the engine still and Jason did all the hard work of removing the six retaining bolts.
Once this was done we moved over to the old engine and looked at which parts needed to be retained. Before we got on with the important items, out of interest we decide to have a look at the state of the clutch. I think this has been on Jason's car for some 40k miles now and it looked like it. These was very little material left. Once the clutch cover was removed it was possible to inspect the spigot bearing, and compare to the new engine. One of us spotted that they looked different diameters, so we used a digi-vernier to find out that they were. Oh no, I thought, I'm sure Caterham only have one bearing for all the cars... what has Jason bought here! Fortunately a posting on Blatchat revealed that this is known and in fact Caterham supply a small, 0.75mm thick, sleeve which allows the standard bearing to be fitted to a 1.8 crank. It was good that we checked this as we were able to then add this to the list of parts needed. A later post gave some idea of how to fit said sleeve, but that's a way off in the future yet.
We moved on to the alternator bracket, which would be needed on the new engine. All of the bolts came out with no problem... all except one, of course. This decided to round off and no spanners or sockets would stay fitted. I used a hacksaw to make a slot and tried a screwdriver with spanner on the shank... no way! I know, what about an impact driver... Jason had one, like all his tools, perfectly preserved in it's box, looking unused! We tried a few hits, but the engine was sliding along the floor.. It needed to be laid down so the hit was down onto it. This then meant that we had to remove the inlet paraphernalia and other bits on the inlet side to avoid damaging them. This was done and with a nice fresh supply of engine oil leaking out to slow us down, we eventually got the engine laid over on its side. A few more harder wallops and still the bolt wouldn't budge. We started to contemplate just leaving it and buying a new bracket, but I was aware that even without the alternator bracket problem, Jason's Caterham bill was escalating skywards. We next tried to drill down the head of the bolt, such that it would come off and we'd be able to just leave a stud in the useless block. Again we were defeated as the bolt was too hard. In a fit of anger I tried the impact driver again, and Jason surprising said that it had moved. Indeed it had and one more hit had it unscrewing by hand. Job done and only the bolt to add to the list.
This meant we were running too late to go any further and we decided to clear up the oil, now also mixed with coolant, and call it night. "You're a night" we said. At around 11.30pm and I made my way home ready for bed.

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