Post Build Check

I’d consciously gone into the PBC with an attitude of “95% is close enough, and I’ll let Caterham finish up” for some aspects of the build. The alternative would be to spend more build days/weekends tweaking the last few jobs when I wasn’t really sure what 100% looked like anyway in most cases, so there was no guarantee the result would be any different.

I’d also found myself getting a bit fatigued by the last few prep jobs – having to balance the build against other commitments – and I want to get the car out on the road so I could enjoy it.

Consequently, I was expecting a few items to be identified in the PBC, and Caterham duly obliged. I then had a polite email back-and-forth with Caterham South around items that were definitely on me, and what Caterham would address free of charge.

The results are in…

Items highlighted as IVA concerns (i.e. at my expense to fix):

“Engine wiring loom not correctly routed and not secured every 300mm. Includes routing coolant hoses correctly and horn wiring”

Not surprised about this one, but it was the largest job identified in terms of time to be billed. My main issue with this is that wiring is not covered anywhere in the manual. I pushed back and Caterham South said that it is covered in the IVA guide (one low-res photo), but relented after another (polite) email, and reduced the cost.

“Both front indicator wiring looms need to be secured to the front suspension”

Not sure I’d actually seen this anywhere in the IVA guide, but it was only a quick job, so I didn’t challenge it.

“Rotate radiator fan is it is fitted upside down as per the guide”

Hadn’t realised there was an up/down. There is a ‘technician tip’ in the manual though that the fan may have a flat section which should go at the top. Think I just missed this. Another quick job though.

“Academy oil breather pipes are too long and the overfill pipe is missing”

This is not covered in the manual. I had asked Derek about this, and thought I had followed the guidance I was given, so Caterham agreed to reduce this as well.

“Tail lamps loose”

Think I just didn’t tighten these sufficiently as I was concerned about putting too much pressure on the lamps and wheel arch bodywork. I figured they were better under-tightened than over-tightened. Another quick job, with the time reduced by Caterham as a goodwill gesture.

“‘A’ frame is not aligned correctly”

Not surprised by this one either. I had measured this repeatedly, but wasn’t sure I had enough washers fitted. Happy for Caterham to properly align this.

“Speed sensor needs to be secured to radius arm as per the guide”

It was secured, but apparently not satisfactorily. Quick fix though.

“Front brake callipers leaking (suspect copper washers not central on the caliper); “T” piece at rear leaking; Rear brake hoses twisted and leaking to include brake bleed”

Not at all surprised by this (I’d reported this in my feedback). Tightening and bleeding the brakes were the bane of my build towards the end. Again, happy for Caterham to resolve and set up properly.

“Handbrake cables need routing correctly as per the IVA guide”

I’d reported this one also as I wasn’t happy with the cable routing (running very close to the driveshafts).

“Both front cycle wings need the cable ties removed and fitting correctly”

This one was annoying, and the second longest job identified. I had deliberately not followed the manual here (choosing to use bighead clasps and cable ties), and it cost me a bit as Caterham insisted that the wings be properly fixed to the stays for the IVA. As I wanted them to organise the IVA, and I’d essentially ignored their instruction, there wasn’t much I could argue with. Unnecessary cost, this one.

“Wrong washers fitted on seat rails (too small)”

Poor guidance in the manual here, and I’d used the washers that were supplied with the seats, but a close look at the manual does show different washers.

Items that Caterham will fix free of charge:

“Part of PBC”

  • Mirrors loose
  • Steering rack needs to be centralised as the cycle wings are hitting the side skins
  • Headlamps need to be tightening and aligned
  • Pedal set up required
  • Throttle set up required
  • All spring adjustors need to be tightened
  • Exhaust loose
  • Various IVA trims required to be fitted for IVA purposes

“Incorrect size “P” clips used on throttle cable – needs to be secured every 300mm”

Caterham originally wanted to charge for this, but I’d fitted the p-clips supplied, so pushed back on this and Caterham agreed to rectify for free

“Not clear in guide/incorrect in guide, so FOC”

  • Bulkhead ground should have a washer fitted underneath the terminal
  • Fan brackets should have no washers fitted
  • Engine mounting washers are incorrect washer
  • Alternator positive lead needs to half a half nylock

Other items (FOC)

  • Replace the two bell-housing bolts that had stripped threads with longer bolts
  • Helicoil and replace the loose engine mount bolt
  • Check and repair the paintwork under the car


All in, not too bad – a bit more than I was expecting (maybe a B-?), but I’d assumed there would be some remediation and ended up with mostly FOC or quick jobs with the exception of the engine wiring and cycle wings. I could have taken the car back to remediate the concerns myself, but at this point, I’m happy to just let Caterham do it and get the car to 100% ready.

Interestingly, rubber piping for the rear fog/reversing lights wasn’t mentioned, so glad I didn’t mess around with that for too long.

Next Steps

Now I sit back, and wait. Caterham will do the remediation and the IVA. I can then get the car registered, and go pick it up.


Car back with Caterham

Brake Fluid Leak

The car is going back to Caterham today for the PBC, but before I packed it off, I had one last look at the brake union. With my wife back in the car pumping the pedal, I could finally see where the leak was. I wasn’t able to fix it, but I could at least tell Caterham.


Brake fluid visible between the nuts

Transporting the Car

Brendan arrived about 8:30, so after the compulsory cup of tea, I fitted the bonnet, doors, steering wheel and weather gear, and we pushed the car out onto the driveway.

This was the first time it’s been out of the garage, so I took some shots 🙂




We then manoeuvred the car out onto the road, did a quick 3-point turn and pushed/winched it up onto Brendan’s trailer.


Ready to go

Driving down to Caterham South took an hour or so. We unloaded the car and I took one of the engineers through the PBC notes. He did comment that it was a shorter list than most, so I’ll find out what that means when they do the PBC on Monday. I’ve either been a) reasonably competent, or b) reasonably ignorant.

The only thing that looks like it might be a problem are the stripped threads in the bell-housing. I’ll see what they come back with.

One interesting aside: we were talking about colour and he mentioned that it isn’t Kawasaki green as most people (including me up to this point) think it is, but it’s actually a Porsche paint code: Gelbgrün, used on the 911 GT3 RS etc. Caterham call it “Hyper Green” 🙂


Having dropped the car in, we grabbed a quick coffee and wandered round. They have a nice display with a 620R (same as my lego model), with the stripped-down chassis side-by-side. I always like seeing the engineering under the skin, and it now looks a lot more familiar than when I was last here.



Version 2

All that’s left now is to email Michaela the PBC list, and wait for the verdict next week.

That’s All Folks…

The car is going in for the PBC on Saturday, so I’ve done everything that I can with it.

Bleeding the Brakes

Another stab at bleeding the brakes tonight, and there was a little bit more air in the system, but not a great deal. I still wasn’t getting the firm pedal feel I was expecting though, and another check of all the connections revealed a likely cause – a small puddle of brake fluid under the back of the car.

It looks like the pipe connector where the main line splits out to each wheel is leaking. It’s only a very slow drip when the pedal is being pressed repeatedly, but that’s a problem. I had a go at tightening the connections, but it was an awkward angle, and I was worried about over-tightening them and making it worse. So, given it’s so close to PBC, I’m going to leave that to Caterham to sort.

Bit of a damp squib ending, but that is now all I can do on the car before it goes in for the checks. A colleague is helping me tow the car in on Saturday on a trailer for the PBC on Monday.

PBC Notes

The list of items I’ve compiled to raise with Caterham for the PBC through the build:

  • Engine not running smoothly/cold primary pipe
  • Bolts need their torque checked, especially those that were harder to reach or I didn’t have the correct tool:
    • Front damper upper bolts
    • Front brake hoses unions
    • Engine mounts
    • Gearbox mounts
    • Driveshaft nuts
  • 2 loose engine/bell housing bolts helicoil
  • 1 loose engine mount bolt
  • Paint damage under car from manufacturing/transportation
  • Handbrake cable routing
  • Rivnut loose LHS wheel arch
  • Nut covers (footwell, suspension etc.)
  • Brake fluid leak at rear
  • Rear brakes rubbing (likely related to item above)?
  • Gearbox oil level check

Not a huge list, but it will be interesting to see what Caterham find to add to it. I’m looking forward to getting it through the PBC and IVA now, and on the road. It’s been a long build!

And Finally…

Had another spare evening this week, so checked some of the other blogs, and identified a couple more things I could get done.

IVA Rubber Caps

I looked at some more of the blog posts, and identified other areas of the suspension and brake lines that looked like they needed covers. I’m not sure this is 100% correct, but it’s as close I can get it based on the information Caterham provide. I also siliconed the bolt covers to protruding nuts and bolt ends in the footwells.


More rubber IVA caps added to brake lines and suspension bolts

Fog and Reversing Light Trim

I was reminded in the blog that the fog and reversing light are supposed to have rubber trim applied, but this wasn’t mentioned in the IVA guide downloaded from Caterham, so I don’t know how critical it is. It is also generally considered another complete faff of a job.

To compound things, I didn’t have enough piping left to do both lights, so had a go at cutting and gluing it for one, but wasn’t happy with it, so I removed it again before the glue made it permanent. If the trim is required, I’ll ask Caterham to add it.


No trim

Dashboard stickers

The blog also mentioned stickers should be added to the buttons and switches not marked up (indicators, start, horn, main beams and main beam flash). I had ordered some stickers, but hadn’t applied them, so I cut these to size and stuck them on.


Oh, that’s what that does…

They actually look ok – I’ll see how they last or whether I peel them off once the car is through the IVA.

Paint Repair

A friend had given me a model paint brush during the week with a very narrow head so I added a tiny amount of paint into each of the marks on the front wing, and a small chip by the nose catch. I’ll have a look once it’s dried to see if it needs another small touch-up.

Rear Brake Union

I also had another look to see if I could track where the brake fluid was leaking, but as my wife was out tonight, this was a case of me pumping the pedal and then getting under the car to see what was wet. I tightened all the bolts as far as possible, but couldn’t eliminate it completely. I think it’s coming from where the main hose joins the union from above. I’ve left it up on axle stands tonight and will see if I can do another quick check tomorrow before we load it onto the trailer. If not, then it’s on the PBC list. They’ll need to sort the brake pressure anyway as the leak has left the pedal feel quite soft.


And that really is it now. Brendan is round at 8:30 tomorrow morning with the trailer, and then the car is off to Caterham for the PBC check on Monday. I’m aiming for a B+, so we’ll see what they say 🙂

At this point, I’m quite happy to let them finish any of the last bits they find, and tidy it up (and get it to start!). I’m ready to move this from being a project occupying the garage (where it’s been for the last 16 months!) to a road experience. Spring is coming, and I want to be out in the sunshine..!

The car is complete!

Another day off work today to finish the car. My plan was to install the cycle wings and repeaters, and then if I had time, adjust the handbrake and bleed the clutch.

Quite possibly for the first time this build, the plan held true..!

Cycle Wings and Side Repeaters

I started by re-attaching the LHS wing to the stay using cable ties, and then lining up the side repeater. The central pre-drilled hole needed widening to house the repeater, so I used a cone bit to widen it to fit.


Central hole enlarged

The next job was to route the repeater cable through the hole, and then inside the wing stay, exiting at a small hole partway down. I tried just inserting the cable and trying to lever the metal pin through the hole, but it was too small to get any purchase on the pin.

Plan B (after some thought) was to raid the shed for some twine, and secure it to the cable with some insulation tape. I could then pass both down inside the wing stay, fish the string out of the hole, and then pull the cable through. Rather incredibly, it worked like a charm!


Great British Engineering

With the cable fed through the hole, I shaped and glued a grommet into the wing stay hole, and cable tied the repeater cable along the upper arm, using a section of washer hose to protect it where it passes under the arm and inside the car.


Cable tied repeater cable


Repeater fitted. Think I’ll swap both orange covers for clear lenses at some point

The final step was to screw the repeater earth lead to the hole I’d drilled in the wing stay earlier in the build. The screws provided in the kit were too narrow, but a quick rummage in my tool box turned up two short screws that did the job nicely.

Whilst I was fitting the repeater, a man out walking his dog ventured up the driveway and asked me what the car was, saying it looked like an Austin 7 ( I think he meant Lotus 7 – it looks nothing like an Austin 7!). We got chatting about the build and cars in general, and he mentioned that his father used to engineer parts for the Ford F1 engines in the 60s/70s. Ended up chatting to him for about 45 minutes, with a lot of speculation about F1 as the season starts next weekend 🙂

Back to the build, and the second repeater went on quite quickly having worked out what was required.

Front Lights

With the repeaters installed, I could wire up the front lights. This wasn’t particularly difficult, it just required insulating and routing various cables (six each light) into a connector, and then plugging this into the wiring harness. Some more cable ties to secure all the wiring, and the wiring was complete. Caterham may well tidy this up at the PBC, but it looked reasonably good.

Then, deep breath, and press the switch (remembering just how much of a PITA it was wiring and fitting these things in the first place…).

And…. light!

Sidelights, headlights and main beams all working 🙂


Let there be light

The indicators were a bit less clear cut – the LHS indicator didn’t respond initially, although all the others were fine. I had no way of diagnosing the problem however, so this was going to have to be a PBC task.

[Editorial note: Re-checking later, it worked fine. Might be a loose connection, so I’ll keep an eye on it, but certainly working fine now.]

And with that, the car is complete! All parts fitted! Big moment 🙂


Car is complete (ok, minus the bonnet…)


Still got a couple of set-up jobs before the build is truly finished though. The first of these was to tighten the handbrake, which required taking the rear RHS wheel off, and climbing underneath to adjust by hand. Tightened it up to get a nice feel on the handbrake, but as there’s no brake fluid in the car, it doesn’t actually do a whole lot yet.

Bleeding the Clutch

The last job today was to bleed the clutch. I’d not done this before, and was a bit unsure what to do, but I’d looked at a couple of blogs, and it was actually very simple. The only difficult aspect was getting to the clutch nipple coming out of the bell housing, which was hidden under various hoses and cables – probably should have done this as soon as the engine was installed, but 20/20 hindsight etc. I managed to get my hand to it with some wriggling, and fitted a hose onto the nipple. I then used an 8mm spanner to loosen the nipple, and pumped the clutch a couple of times to push fluid through the hose. I then asked my wife to gently pump the pedal whilst I watched the hose to make sure there was no air in the fluid. I tightened  the nipple again, and the clutch feels nice and firm. A quick top-up of clutch fluid, remove the hose (draining into an old wine bottle) and the job was done.

The only job left now is to bleed the brakes tomorrow, and then it’s off for PBC next weekend 🙂

Blogging in the classroom

Last note today – my brother is a primary school teacher, and he texted me this morning asking for my blog to show his kids today. No idea why; I’m seeing him Sunday so I’ll find out, but apparently the kids loved it?


A teaching aid?

Bleeding the Brakes

With my wife helping on the brake pedal, we bled the brakes today following the step-by-step guide in the manual. It was easy but slow-going, with lots of air in the system. It requires someone pumping the pedal to build pressure whilst someone else locks/unlocks the nipple on each wheel in turn until the fluid is clear of bubbles each time.

Our limitation was the amount of brake fluid we had (1l, minus what was used to bleed the clutch). By the time we ran out, we had bled all four brakes, but the pedal was still quite soft. About 50% of the fluid was passed through the system into the waste repository (an old wine bottle), with the rest in the system. I’ll pick up another litre during the week, and go round again to get the pedal firmer.

On the bright side, no leaks and the handbrake now works 🙂

Wrapping up

I took a couple of days off work this week to finish the last few jobs and get the car ready to go for the PBC next weekend.

Engine [Still Not] Start[ing]

I wanted to try to get the engine running again today, but although it fired up and ran under throttle, it was still not running smoothly, and one of the primaries is staying cool, so I don’t think this is going to happen now ahead of the PBC. Caterham can sort the misfire issue.

Cycle wings

Back to the wings, then. I removed the temporary cable ties (fortunately not glued in place), and lifted the wings off to paint underneath. The LHS one came off easily, but the right required a bit of leverage, and when it did come off, the two rear clasps stayed attached to the wing stay rather than the wing. Not a huge problem, fortunately; I had bought two spare clasps, so I just glued these into position on the wings instead, and packaged the other two away for spares.

With the wings off, I wanted to apply some bitumen paint underneath for stone protection, but I was fighting the elements outside a bit. The wind had picked up considerably today, and I ended up trying to get the wings painted whilst stopping them blowing away. I got the paint on ok, but one of the wings did flip over, and has left some small paint damage. Annoying, but repairable – in hindsight, I should have left this a day and hoped the weather was better tomorrow, but I’m getting tight on time ahead of the PBC.

With the paint applied, I retreated back into the garage and left the wings to dry. Tomorrow’s job will be to remount them and fit the side repeaters.

IVA prep

I worked through the last few jobs in the IVA checklist, fitting some nut covers and fixing grommets to the door hinges with silicone (they can then be removed after the IVA). I didn’t seem to have the right size cover to fit the small nuts in the footwell, but Caterham can do this in the PBC.

Side repeaters

Finally, I applied some heat shrink to the side repeater wiring so they can be fitted tomorrow.

Two build days left, and I need to re-fit the wings and side repeaters, bleed the clutch and brakes, and adjust the handbrake. Should be fine (hopefully!).



Cycle wings

IVA submission and paperwork

Couple of updates from during the week: my agreed valuation submission was accepted, so the car insurance is now set (pending car registration), and my IVA test date has been scheduled for 29th March. The test was organised by Caterham as part of their “baby-sitting” service, which means I don’t have to worry about transporting it.

So, two weeks to go until the car goes back to Caterham for PBC, and then two more weeks until the IVA test after that. Even with the car registration, it’s looking like I should be on the road in Spring 🙂

Engine start saga continues…

I had added another 5l of fuel to the car this week to take the fuel gauge out of the red (it’s still less than a 1/4 full however), but I was working late each evening, so didn’t get a chance to try firing it up again. The first thing I tried to do today was to start it, but the battery was too flat to turn the engine over… this is getting a bit farcical now. Fortunately, I’d had the foresight to buy a CTEK battery charger (MXS 5.0), so I plugged that in and left it to charge back up – I’ll hopefully get time to try again this week.

Cycle Wings

This was a job I’d actually been putting off a bit due to the imprecise nature of positioning and gluing rather than bolting aligned parts together (not that this is particularly precise on a Caterham, either!). However, as the glue dispenser gun from Amazon arrived during the week, I committed to get this job done over the weekend.

I jacked the car up to remove the wheel to get some clearance around and underneath the wing stay, and did a dry run siting the wing. Accurately positioning the wing was quite difficult, however. It sits flush to the wing stay on one side, was quite close to the tyre edge at the other, whilst also being able to slide forwards/backwards, and partially rotate at the rear.

The construction guide also says to get the wing level before fixing by adjusting the wing stay, and I couldn’t get the wing in a position I was happy with initially – it was either not level or just too close to the tyre.

It was at this point, I realised what I had done – the car was jacked up, so I was trying to get a level wing when the car itself was tilted (groan). Wheel back on, car lowered, wing stay adjusted again, and I could get the wing to sit more or less evenly with reasonable clearance to the tyre.


Not a massively precise measurement given the curve of the wing, but good enough

Now I had to make sure the leading edge of the wing was in the correct place. The guide says 80mm from the wing stay to the front of the wing.


About right

With my son then holding it in position, I used a Sharpie to mark up the position of the bighead clasps so I could glue them and then realign the wing.

This job really was a case of measure, once, twice, three times to make sure the wing was sited correctly before making anything permanent, and then measuring another three times for certainty.

With the wing marked up, I applied the adhesive to the clasps, and then realigned the wing. Before the adhesive set, I was able to adjust the wings fairly easily, continually checking tyre clearance (running a screwdriver between the wing and the tyre), and that the wing was still 80mm from the stay. Once this looked right, I used masking tape to hold it in place whilst the adhesive hardened.


Wing in position

The IVA check for the wings is that they sit forward of the wheel (not the tyre) – hence the 80mm positioning, and a quick check once positioned looked pretty good.


Wing edge is forward of the wheel

The second wing followed the same process, but a bit more quickly as I knew what to adjust for this time (and didn’t jack the car up!).


Last of the bodywork done!

I’ll leave the tape on overnight, and hopefully when I check tomorrow, the wings will be well secured to the clasps. The plan then is to remove the wings again by cutting off the temporary cable ties (this is assuming errant adhesive hasn’t permanently attached the cable ties or the wing stay, which may well be the case). I’ll then add a bit more adhesive  underneath the clasps, and apply some bitumen paint for stone protection.

After that, the indicator wiring needs doing before the front lights can be connected, but the end is getting very, very close 🙂

Update: I took the tape off after work tonight, and the wings seem securely attached, which is good. I’ll have a closer look underneath later in the week to see if I can temporarily remove them again to paint, or I just have to paint them from underneath whilst they’re on the car – either will work.



Engine start

Had a response from Derek during the week saying I should just start the engine – the oil pressure doesn’t always show when just cranking the engine over.

Back from the US this weekend and a bit jet-lagged, so thought I’d give the engine another try rather than anything requiring more concentration.

I reconnected the fuel pump isolator, climbed in, checked it was not in gear, turned the key, disabled the immobiliser, took a deep breath, and pushed the button. The first attempt didn’t fire as the engine pulled the fuel in, but at the second attempt, it coughed into life. A bit of throttle to keep the revs up and the exhaust rumbled nicely, although not very smoothly.

I ran the engine for 30 seconds or so, before I lifted off the throttle, and the engine cut out. A second start lasted a bit less and required higher revs to stay running, and after that it wouldn’t fire again (I’d hoped to leave it running for a couple of minutes to watch the gauges). I checked the primary pipes, and three were warm to the touch, whilst one (the first one) was still cool, which meant it hadn’t fully fired up.

It may be that there’s not enough fuel in the car to properly start it. I’ve read that the Caterham fuel tank design means it can’t use all the fuel before needing re-filling, and the fuel gauge was showing well into the red (even with 15 litres of fuel), so I’ll fuel it up further this week, and try to give it a longer run.

On the bright side, the oil pressure gauge did jump up and level out at 4 bar, so that’s all working fine. Hopefully with a bit more fuel, everything else will run smoothly as well.

First fire up done, anyway!

Battery connected and IVA prep

With about a month to go before the PBC, I’d intended to crack through some of the remaining small jobs today, and go for a significant event – start the engine! (Spoiler: not yet).

Tidy-up jobs

First job today was nice and simple – just sticking on the 310R decal.


Finishing touch at the back

I then ran through a list of small jobs that I’d taken a note of as I was building that needed finishing at the end:

  • Torque rear A-frame bolt (now the car is on the ground)
  • Check torque of the front upright bolts (same as above)
  • Plug the 2 empty radius arm holes (I used two rubber stoppers in the kit)
  • Tighten the washer fluid hose connection (by warming the hose in hot water first)


I then connected the battery up to check the electrics and start the engine. The electrics all performed flawlessly – lights, horn, heater, and wipers all worked, and the immobiliser seems to function fine as well. I didn’t test the front lights yet as I haven’t fitted the cycle wings, however.



Engine [Not] Start[ed]…

This was to be a key moment. I headed out to the local garage for the last 5l of fuel I needed (I’d done two other 5l runs on the way home from work Thursday and Friday to put a total of 15l in the tank), and filled the car up.

Following the instructions in the manual I checked the oil level (ok),  disconnected the inertia switch, made sure the car was in neutral, started the ignition, and hit the big red button.

The engine cranked over (good sign), and I watched the oil pressure gauge. Once this climbed and steadied out, I was ok to start the engine.

But… It didn’t climb.

No oil pressure.

The gauge jumped momentarily up to the max value, and back to zero. Tried again, but the same result. Repeated another 5-6 times, got the same result each time, and then the battery started to fade.


No oil pressure

Hmmm… I don’t dare start the engine until I know there is oil pressure, so that is going to have to wait. The needle did jump briefly, so there is power to the gauge, but it’s not reading a result. Email to Derek for advice on next steps – unfortunately I’m away in the US next week for work too, so it’s going to have to wait until I get back.


With the main event cancelled (much to the disappointment of me and the kids), I went back to finishing up some smaller jobs. Now I’d tested and made sure the wiper mounts were in a neutral position, I fitted the wiper arms. These were spring-loaded, so just slotted on when the spring was compressed.


(Tiny, tiny) wipers fitted

IVA Prep

And back to IVA prep. I started working through the list of IVA Checklist jobs in the download from the Caterham site:

  • Fitting plastic covers on the front suspension and exhaust mount
  • Checking harness bolt protrusion through the chassis
  • Fitted rubber bonnet catch covers
  • Rubber piping on the end of the exhaust springs
  • Cover the rear light wiring with insulation tape at either end
  • Check the nose doesn’t foul the front anti-roll bar
  • Re-check the other IVA bits I’d done during the build and tick them off

Fuel Tank Earth Lead

One IVA step was to make sure the fuel tank earth lead was connected and visible. I’d not been able to find this before, so I had another look under the car and managed to find it hiding behind the chassis. The manual says to connect this to the bottom bolt connecting the rear RHS wheel arch, but the lead wasn’t long enough to reach. It would reach the one above, but that bolt had been difficult to access and tighten before.

I decided that I didn’t seem to have a lot of choice though, so I removed the bolt, and then spent the next 30-40 minutes trying to get the bolt through the earth lead connector, a washer, and the hole in the wheel arch – dropping each piece several times. On one occasion this required a small screwdriver to fish the parts out from where the fuel tank sits in the bracket, and then another screwdriver to fish the original screwdriver from the same space… The air was somewhat blue.

This is an extremely awkward job – I could just about fit one hand between the fuel tank and the body, contort it, and try and manipulate all the different pieces to be threaded in the right order. When I finally got the bits together and passed through the hole and a nut the other end, it was a great relief. Another bit of contortion to get the spanner on the bolt, and it was tightened up again – this time with the earth lead connected.

The interesting thing now is that the IVA test says the lead has to be connected and visible, which it is, but not obviously. I’ll see if this survives the PBC.

So – all in, another few steps closer, but no engine start today which was disappointing. I’ll see what Derek responds with, and go from there.

Paperwork update

Some progress whilst I was in the US. I needed to get a valuation of the car for insurance (seems odd for a new build, but there you go), and got some help getting this organised through the FB forums. I also had an email from the DVSA that my IVA application had been approved, pending payment, so another step closer in that process.

Paperwork and, “Oh. Of course”.


Took the step to get the car insured today. I hadn’t worried too much during the build, but now the car is almost complete and on the ground, I decided to get it done. It needs to be covered to take on a trailer to Caterham for the PBC next month anyway.

I scanned the Caterham FB recommendations as well as Low Flying magazine, and rang round a few companies. I was amazed at the variation in estimates though: from £200 up to £650. Adrian Flux were the worst – the guy I spoke to seemed to have no idea what a Caterham was (“Is it diesel, sir?”, “How many doors?”) and would only offer me a policy with a high excess and that included 3rd party cover for other cars which I don’t need.

Lloyd and Whyte were knowledgable but pricey, but I was most impressed with Footman James who knew the car, and could offer a suitable policy at a sensible price. Settled on an agreed value policy (£33k), 3,000 miles per annum, EU cover, legal protection, drive-to-work cover (always a grey area with social, domestic and pleasure), and breakdown cover (it’s a Caterham) for £261 and a £200 excess. Not bad for a first year’s quote, and they came highly recommended in the FB forum. Hope I’ll never have to test it, but it’s good to know.

Rear numberplate light

I was scanning the couple of blogs I’ve been reading through the build for wrap-up steps last night, and the 420R SV Build diary blog ( referenced the same problem with the rear numberplate light I had. Only he noticed there was a brass insert to be removed before installing the bullet connector…

30 seconds on the car tonight – brass insert removed, and the bullet connector fits neatly.

One fewer item on the PBC list.


Obvious when you know how

Getting DVSA’d

Had a response today from the DVSA that my IVA application had basically been detained at Her Majesty’s pleasure… It was rejected because the form that was supplied partially completed by Caterham with the car had been superseded by a later version, and they are only accepting the latest version.

Wouldn’t have minded but the data in both forms is identical.

Anyway, the new version has been completed and all the forms resubmitted, but that is 10 days lost in the process to get on the road 😦 Bet they’re all really sunny, too.


Wheel arches

A couple of colleagues from work had offered to help me get the car down off the axle stands today (thanks Brendan and Tom!). Before they arrived I fitted the LHS wheel arch which went on a bit easier than the RHS had yesterday. I did have an issue with one of the bolts cross-threading though, and then seeming to rotate the captive nut rather than undo, so that one got left loose – all probably have to Dremel it off at some point. It would require the interior panel taken out to get to the nut, and there are plenty of other bolts holding the wing on, so I don’t think it’s a big issue.


LHS wheel arch fitted

Lowering the car

Brendan and Tom arrived whilst I was finishing this up, and (with the help of the borrowed mammoth jack for a final time), we were able to lower the car step-by-step on the axle stands, alternating between using the jack to take the weight of the engine whilst lowering the front, and 3 of us manually taking the weight and lowering the car at the rear whilst my wife zipped in and out lowering axle stands.

With the car on the ground, it’s surprising how much smaller it looks, but it’s great to finally have it down on its wheels.


On its wheels for the first time

Nose cone

I attached the nose cone next which required fitting it into place and then tightening four clips to secure it. The lower LHS one took some persuasion to get in the right position (eventually going on after loosening the upper one to give a bit more flex), but it locked in place. Between the rear wheel arches, the nose cone, and being on the ground, the car has taken a massive leap forward this weekend in looking ready.


Gratuitous “7” shot…

Rear lights

As only one of the wheel arches had been pre-drilled, the first step was to create a template from the RHS arch for where the holes should be on the LHS. This could then be flipped so the holes could be marked and drilled to be in the same position both sides.

Don’t worry Caterham, I’ve got this one for you…


Hole position template (wiring and screw)


Flipped over. I marked the drill holes with a sharpie…


…and drilled using a 30mm cone drill…


…leaving evenly positioned holes

The lights then installed quite simply – they just require four self-tapping screws, which push through the wheel arch to hold the light in place. I drilled small pilot holes (checking orientation with a spirit level) to help the screws pass through the bodywork.

The wiring is connected up through a hole in the chassis, sealed with a rubber grommet (supplied with the light) and cable-tied to keep it well clear of the wheel.


Rear lights fitted


Back is pretty much complete

And finally…

…as it’s so much easier to get in and out of on the ground, time for another test sitting!