Day 5: Engine Electrics, Steering, Front Lights

Day 5 overview

Today it was a little scrappy. I had a few moments where the assembly guide was unclear and I wasted time researching on BlatChat, and I had an attempt to install the radiator cowling only to realise it needed some “reshaping” of slots for ARB and actually there was a more efficient sequence, but more on that a little later.

Engine Electrics

The assembly guide is generally OK in this section and most of the engine loom to chassis loom wiring is straightforward, its just that Caterham has not updated the wiring colouring that describes the odd cable in the guide, and these kind of basic challenges make you question if you have connected things up correctly.

Having said that it is all really obvious and doesn’t take too long. The only part of the instructions I had to query online regarded the battery positive cable to starter motor. It took me a while to realise that its switched on the negative side, and that you connect this fat cable directly to the positive pin of the starter motor, and along with the 2 brown ring terminated cables from the car loom. And then the problem is that this terminal thread is fairly soft and also on my car chamfered at the end, so getting all 4 cables on (3 existing and the battery cable) + the spring washer was impossible. It simply wouldn’t catch on the thread. In the end I removed the washer and Caterham can decide what to do at the PBC with this.

And then there are the odd set of cables from the engine that aren’t used at all. In particular the following 4, which I will tape up using self-amalgamating tape and cable tie to the chassis at a later stage. The assembly guide tells us to connect the battery, but I don’t see the point at this stage, I can leave that until near the end of the build.


I then connected other items – the hydraulic clutch banjo bolt and the fuel line connector, which is a click on, and special tool to remove. I made sure I was happy with my loom wire routing before doing this.


I haven’t had my exhaust bits back from the polisher yet, but I have read in other blogs that you can finish the steering and then guide the primaries around the steering rod without too much hassle. Its not the end of the world if I have to remove it again at that stage, so I cracked on.

I have heard horror stories about problems with lower and upper bushes, but I found the whole assembly really easy once I used the correct lubricant. I played for a few minutes with Holts rubber lubricant, but in the end washing up liquid was the solution for the problem of inserting the steering rod through both bushes. The lower bush is already in place at the bulkhead end, and others have had problems with both insertion of the upper bush (use washing up liquid!) and guiding the steering rod through both upper and lower (washing up liquid!).

From start to finish this job took less than an hour, including final torquing of the steering rack fixings.

The only problem surfaced at the end, when I test fitted the steering wheel to find that the bolts to attach the wheel to the quick release boss were not the correct countersunk ones. Derek is sending some of the correct variety!

Front Lights

I was going to finish the day trying to work out how to fit the radiator cowling and SV brackets (slightly different instructions to a S3), but to my dismay the inner cowling slots were not shaped to take into account the position of the anti-roll bar. When I did a loose dry-run I also noted that once the ARB is fitted, access to the front upper suspension bolts is impossible without ARB removal again. The knock on effect of this is that it was time to fit the front headlamps, as these fit on a bracket that is attached to the front upper suspension mounts.

I had previously been shopping for a few extra bits and bobs to help with headlight fitting, namely heat shrink in two different sizes. this is because it has become widely know that another self-builder, Daniel French, devised a much neater way of both handling the wiring and fitting the headlamps. His instructions come with some great pictures, and in full colour/high definition, putting the Assembly guide to shame. To read these instructions just click here. As Daniel says, the first light takes a while and the second is completed so much faster as you get the hang of the process. Really good way to end Day 5, super happy with my progress at this stage.



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