Day 2: Addendum!

Bosh, suspension….done…easy

I was quite disappointed that I didn’t finish off the suspension by the end of day 2. The main problem was that I didn’t trust that the top wishbone ball joint had seated properly, and access to the temporary locking nut was a challenge with the tools I had.

The two problems I was having was that it was a little challenging from an access perspective with the wing stay flange in the way (not the right socket), and I wasn’t sure when the top joint would snap into place regarding torque amount.

Blatchat to the rescue with the tightening issue – the top mount is on a taper under the rubber, and it just slips in and locks.

And Halfords to the rescue with a better (less deep) sockets that would allow me to fit the socket and get the torque wrench into the small triangular space at the back of the wing stay.

Embarrassingly, and a lesson I will remember (and probably fail again with) is that it’s all about having the correct tools. In total 1.5 hours of elapsed time, including trip to Halfords to complete the RHS assembly.

I popped into the garage at lunch time today and did the LHS assembly from start to finish in 18 minutes.

So that’s the true (Marcus adjusted for stupidity) Day 2 conclusion. Here are some pictures of progress.

It’s amazing how satisfying it is to see this progression. I know I’ve only just started, but I’m still giddy with enthusiasm.

Problem is that I’m away for a while now, and no more build time until the weekend of the 4th and 5th June….


Day 2: Front Suspension, uprights and exhaust polishing

Confession, time management…

Yet again I didn’t manage a full day. I am tracking time on the build, and I will give a complete breakdown of my efforts when completed.  I only managed about 5 hours, and therefore even though its my ‘real’ day 2, I’ve only put in 8 hours of effort to date. And quite a bit of that has been chatting to friends and family that pop around for a nosey, and cup of tea management and drinking. I’m happy with this though. Soon everyone will get bored of me locked in my garage and I can hopefully get some more robust build days under my belt.

Front Suspension

As you can see from the pictures I did the safe and careful thing and added multiple layers of masking tape around the suspension area, and stuck cardboard to the side skin further back. This was my first real step through of instructions beyond the simple steering rack bolts, and I was pleasantly surprised. Once I had identified the nuts and bolts from the inventory sheet within the build bag for front suspension it was simple.

Like everyone before me who has done the same, the 2nd side I built up was about 3 times quicker, its still fairly time consuming making sure that you have done everything properly first time around. Oh and its all a tight fit. Took a bit of manhandling to get the lower wishbones in place, and the upper wishbone bolts are fiddly and close to the bodywork, but all fairly easy stuff, no need for any Dremel attacks…

I have a SV model, so wide track suspension by default. If you take the assembly guide as gospel, then the aim would be to have 4 washers, then one spring washer and another at the front of the lower wishbone. I have read enough build diaries to feel confident that I should ignore that and put 2 spaces behind, and 2 in front, as per standard track suspension guidelines. So I did so.

The other thing I didn’t quite understand from the assembly guide was where to place a mysterious grommet on the headlight bracket. The instruction is to insert in hole, but there are 2 holes. One on the upright stem 2/3 rds up (which is oval), and one on the base which mates with the chassis bracket. I assumed the round hole, fitted 2 grommets, checked with Derek and its actually the oval stem holes where a grommet needs to be added. Apparently you slice one in half then stick them together around the edge of the hole, as 2 halves of the oval. Its and IVA thing, ’nuff said, I’ll do it later.


I tried and failed with this one, for lack of correct socket, although once I have the correct socket, I feel like it may still be a funky struggle. I ordered the upgraded brakes, so the uprights arrive as complete assemblies, callipers and pads added, which is cool.

This is where the assembly guide is OK, but the parts list sheet is not. In the bag marked “suspension” there are random bits and bobs. Likewise in the primary parts list bag, there are unidentified components.

So I had to guess my way to a spacer for the lower mounting part of the upright, and also for the Nyloc ‘cut down’ nuts, but it was pretty obvious really – these are the offending items:


I have to torque the lower mounting in the wishbone to 55Nm, but the stem, as you tighten, pushes my socket out and away from the nut. So I need to whizz to B&Q and buy some deeper sockets.

I have temporarily bolted the upper wishbone fitting to the upright, for stability and safety, but I might still need a friend or something to clamp the upright with to be able to apply 55Nm of force. I will try tomorrow after work if I get the chance.

But here are a few pictures of the hanging upright for your viewing pleasure:


Problem Areas

As I spend more time looking at the chassis, I see little problems that I need resolving. Two relate to scraped off and missing paint, either damaged in factory, or in transit to and from BookaTrack from me. These will need fixing, and I will talk to BaT first about it.

A few areas under the rear end, behind the fuel tank have been gouged away. Plus the top of the near side hood mounting point.

There is also a big dent in the underside of the fuel tank, its obviously been sat on something and not been handled quite carefully enough. Little items, but as I say, will need to be sorted at some point.

Exhaust polishing

The exhaust as it arrives is a bit in need of a proper polish. I don’t like polishing, to be honest I thought they would arrive in a slightly more beautiful state, but not to be.


The collector in particular is rough, really rough. So I phoned a local metal polisher (to me in Leicestershire) who specialises in this kind of thing. He actually mirror polished all of the Norton motorbikes in Spectre, the James Bond film.

I don’t need that kind of finish, so asked for a quote for Satin finish. I sent him the above photo, hence the tape measure out so he could work out a price. He quoted £120 which I thought was OK, and I will drop it off to him in the next week or two.

Day 2 Time Lapse


Day 1: Inventory, IVA, Steering Rack

Day 1, at a gentle, enjoyable pace…

So I woke up giddy with excitement this morning. The only problem was that it was at 10:30am seeing as I’d taken a sleeping pill the previous night to try and recover a little from jet lag – fairly extreme as I’d had a week in San Francisco with work and had just about fully transitioned over to West Coast time.

Box Shifting

So I only really got started after lunch, before then it was a loose inventory and shifting a few of the later build boxes out of the garage and into the house. And my good friend Craig came round to help, and he will be really great support as the build progresses. He has an engineering background and also a current Duratec R400, purchased just before the Caterham branding switch over to 420R, but essentially the same car.

Big Kids!

Give a man a large diameter hose and he is going to do something daft with it. We tried a few things, but this is the only video that is broadcast-able. Note that we are both well into our 40s, but it doesn’t stop us behaving like school kids!

Cavity Wax

I read up on Blatchat and other sources and decided that for my build I was going to only really worry about the “grot traps” on both sides of the engine bay lower chassis tubes along the edge of the side skins as the tubes disappear rearwards behind the foot wells. I know from my previous Caterham ownership that over a fairly long period of time grot and water can build up in these areas and cause some problems.

So I purchased a can of Dinitrol Cavity Wax 3125. I dropped the rear axles stands to let gravity do its work, covered the floor under the chassis with cardboard, and squirted gunk in the offending gaps.

I’m not planning on using any other underseal style protection, as its a fair weather, 3,000 mile a year garaged track vehicle. I will squirt ACF50 from time to time on chassis tubes and leave it at that. In my excitement of wanting to start doing something, I forgot to take a photo of me squirting anything anywhere. Instead enjoy a shot of my Cat-erham!


IVA Trim

Having watched many other build blogs online, most of which I have linked to on this page I knew that I should start with IVA trim around the front suspension and steering holes in the side panels.

I also knew that this would take a while, so settled in for the ride and warmed the tubing a little using an electric fan heater, which helped (slightly) with the awkward corners. I used the odd blob of super glue on the inner skin, but the trim generally stayed put.

The frontmost suspension hole was a really pain, and I had to take time to snip out triangles and chunks of trim on the rear face to get it to fit. This process took up most of the work today, but pleased with the outcome, and I don’t mind a fiddly close up job, its good for the soul 😉

Steering Rack

So then onto the steering rack. This was the exact opposite in terms of effort compared to the IVA trim. Literally 2 minutes after starting we had the rack loosely bolted to the chassis, and further IVA trim identified. At this point we were at 4:30pm, Craig was off home, and I walked into the kitchen to see my wife cracking open a can of beer, so I simply downed tools and joined her. I thought about going for a rummage around in boxes for the final bits of the steering assembly and to get prepped for front suspension build, but gave up for the day as I wanted to fiddle around with my stop motion animation recording and to start to get into the groove with this blog.

Day 1 Stop Motion Video

My main “recording of the build” effort for IVA purposes will be via an old GoPro, which I have secured to the top corner of my garage. I have set shots to be taken automatically every 60 seconds, and simply turned it off for tea breaks and lunch, but left it running when we were actually attempting to do anything vaguely build related. Today I recorded 173 frames, so 173 minutes of “stuff” happened, which is 3 hours. Told you, a lazy jeg lag recovery day…

Arrival Day

I received a call to say that my car was ready, and with no shortages (really?!), last week. The only problem was that I was due to be flying to the US with work and not back until Friday 20th May, so the plan was to deliver my kit on Friday afternoon.

Typical Friday traffic out of Heathrow and north was bad, so a 12 hour flight, and a 2 and a half hour drive got me home 10 minutes before arrival.

Enjoy the photos, I’m too tired to go through any kind of inventory this evening. The only thing I know for fact is that I have been sent 2 silencers, one that does not terminate with an end pipe, so I guess that’s an error and some poor soul is missing their silencer that attaches to their rear terminating track day “quieter” exhaust kit.

If Derek works on a Saturday, I may well introduce myself to him tomorrow about this.

So here are the very first photos of “arrival” home after birth.

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Notice the lovely Keith, ex-of the old Caterham Midlands franchise, now working at BookaTrack. It was nice to see him again, was always cheery and helpful on my visits to the old place.

The nice touch is that the keys and owners manual arrived in a nice box with a welcome letter from Graeme MacDonald. Very nicely done Caterham.

However, the build guide is a DIY job, so as I sit here typing this my printer is working overtime on the 219 page print. Tomorrow is going to be fun!

Garage Completion…

Since the last time I posted on my blog, I have been up to my eye balls with work, but slowly chipping away on the garage project. I fitted some cheap IKEA cupboards and work surface. Seeing as I’m very tall, I fitted this higher than normal, and then built a custom plinth out of MDF and faced it with aluminium kick plate.

All that was left was to finish off a little skirting around the plinth and I had this all completed by Saturday 14th May, just 6 days before the car arrived.

Here is a photo of the completed garage, although I cant seem to find a photo with the aluminium plinth, so this is a shot with MDF showing…