It took 8 working days for the DVLA to process my new car registration application, and I got news of this remotely when my wife called, as I was away in the US with work. She photographed the V5 certificate, and I was then able to process my number plate on retention online, which was a 2 minute job.
I then phoned REIS and informed them that I was ready to upgrade my insurance from “Build Insurance” to normal fully comprehensive and I was good to go.
I just had to wait until I travelled back home for that elusive “first drive’!
Paint and Super Glue Remover
I learnt an important lesson before I went away though. When I was removing the rubber trim from the front wings and side skins around the front suspension a few chunk of IVA trim did not come away easily. This is where the super glue had run around from the inside of the side skin to the outside.
I bought some super glue remover and applied this to the rubber and glue chunks, but unfortunately, when I rubbed it off a few hours later (the packet said overnight), the paint came away too, so I was left with a few areas of bare aluminium.
I trailered it back to BookaTrack for their paint guy to fix, and that’s where I left my car whilst I was away. It cost me £280 to fix, plus £2.99 for the glue (and paint!) remover. I won’t be doing that again in a hurry…
So I came off the red-eye from Atlanta into Heathrow last Friday (16th Sept) and the moment I got home I took a taxi up to BaT to collect. Greg had cleaned it and put it in the showroom, so I had a little bit of the “experience “of picking up a brand new car, which was kind of cool.
These are the photos I took of that moment:
And then all that was left was to get strapped in and drive home. At rush hour on Friday evening, this was not exactly the best time to experience a great drive, and I spent most of the 15 mile journey stuck in traffic.
Once tucked away at home in the garage my next opportunity was Sunday morning, with a few hours free. Saturday was a write off because my wife was away and I was home alone with my children, but I did sneak into the garage and replace the running in oil with the Millers 5W/50 that was supplied with the kit.
I had previously planned how to do this, and also posted on BlatChat to see what others were doing, as this would be my first experience with a dry sump set up.
This turned out to be a great plan, as this thread highlights. Essentially I listed what I thought I would do, and then others in the know provided suggestions, the best of which from ScottR400D (or Lee in real life) was to buy a Pela pump and extract the oil up and out of the tank. This would avoid having to undo and redo soft aluminium connections.
I bought this item from Amazon, which is the best price I could find at the time, essentially a re-badged Sealey/Pela 6.5 Litre extractor.
I had slightly overfilled the car the first time around, and I knew that there was 8 litres to extract, around 6 in the tank and 2 in the sump.
This was my process and it worked beautifully, with zero fuss:
- Jack car up and onto axle stands
- Bonnet and Nose cone off
- Start engine and leave idling for 5 or 6 minutes to warm up and thin the oil
- Insert Pela probe into the oil tank and twist slightly around the baffles (easy) to ensure that the end of the tube sits right at the bottom of the tank.
- Pump two or three times and go away and make a cup of tea.
- Here is a video of some of this process:
- Return to find 6 litres of oil in the Pela cylinder.
- Pour into a portable oil drainer for disposal – I used this one
- Drop the car off its rear axle stands only, and remove the finger filter on the LHS rear sump – looks like a black plastic “egg shape”, and once the bolt is removed and it’s prised off, it looks like the picture below. The remaining 2 litres of oil came out and I left the car to drip for an hour. I was really pleased that I’d got rid of pretty much all of the oil possible.
- Clean out this filter with WD40 or petrol rinse. I found a few little pieces of metal and some black rubber. This is apparently normal the first time around, and the filter is doing its job. This is what I managed to harvest:
- Remove the oil filter using an oil filter wrench. I’d lent my best one to a friend, and really struggled with the chain type, as the factory had over-tightened the filter. It should only be on hand tight.
- Drain remaining oil from filter and replace with a new one. The part number is UFI 23.118.00 and I got mine, yet again, from Amazon here
- Replace the finger filter.
- Jack the rear of the car up again to get in level.
- I poured 5 litres straight into the oil tank, and 1 litre into the top of the engine.
- I then disconnected the Crank Position Sensor (front RHS of engine block) and the Inertia Switch. This is to stop a spark, and to stop the fuel pump operating. It’s a 1 minute job.
- I then turned over the engine on the starter motor, and recorded (after 5 seconds) about 3 bar of pressure.
- I reconnected the crank sensor and inertia switch, and fired the car up properly, with the oil tank cap off so I could peer down and watch for the flow of oil back into the tank.
- I stopped the engine twice to re-top up the oil tank over the course of around 2 minutes running.
- I finished by using 7.5 litres of oil via this method, and the oil level sits cold just below the top baffle in the oil tank.
- This may be still slightly over filled, but only a max attack track day will tell me this for sure, and if it is, then I will end up with some oil in the overflow tank, which is fine.
First (fun!) drive
Sunday 18th September was that seminar moment when I realised that I’ve actually assembled a decent car. It pulls like a train, and is so much faster than my old K Series. This feeling is mainly because of the torque. It’s a pretty flat line across the rev range, and the K series was nothing like this.
It does sacrifice some passionate screaming goose-bump kind of rev happy feeling for outright performance. But oh my, how it pulls.
It feels a little loose at the back end, and I think this is mainly because I’m arriving at “known bends” much faster. It’s also partially to do with the fact that it still sits a little high at the rear, and my previous amazingly well set up (for my liking) car had the rear ARB removed. I really got to grips with a soft rear and roll, as this telegraphed what the car was doing better for me. Currently it feels stiffer and flatter, and therefore a less progressive break away.
But it’s not that challenging to drive, and it’s definitely OK as is for my first track day at Hethel (Lotus test track) on Sun 9th October. I will do that event, pile on some miles, and then take it back to BaT for flat floor set up.
I went out with Paul in his Jag F Type and my new car is very quick. We blatted locally for about an hour, then stopped for a pub lunch to let the drive settle in. Plus I had to pick up the kids from one of their social activities, so didn’t have any more time to play.
This photo is of us parked up at The Greyhound in Burton-on-the-Wolds, in Leicestershire, about 3 miles from home. Its a fab pub, with a big car park, great food, real ale and a pleasant beer garden, highly recommended!
I can’t wait to get out again soon, hopefully this coming weekend if the weather holds up. By which time I will have fitted my aero screen and half doors that I received from Thundersport (Oxted Trimming) a few weeks back. They supply Caterham, but it’s much cheaper direct, and they have more options. I went for the technical carbon effect look, to match the tunnel top and boot cover, and with arm rests built in.
I have promised that I will stop spending money on my Caterham for the foreseeable future. Troy @ Northampton Motorsport will see me next year for some ECU and Throttle Body upgrades though…probably…. 😉