Lower radiator coolant lines

After a few months of procrastination and puzzling the lower radiator outlet is now finally connected to the engine. Huzah…

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Spot the difference

What 3 posts in less than 2 weeks!  Shock horror but I managed to slip away to the garage for another few hours this afternoon!

You may not be able to tell at first glance but the pictures below are very satisfying!


The pipes are hanging there without the heater and any blocks of wood propping them in place! 🙂 Woo Hoo!  What should have been a quick job with two holes to drill for the passenger side bracket turned into a bit of a pig as my drill bit that I use to do the pilot hole snapped in the hole and I couldn’t get it out.  The only way I found, in the end, was to blunt another three bits with brute force and drill the drill.  I now need to buy a few replacement bits but it makes me happy that the side pipes are now in place with all the gaps symmetrical on each side thanks to the rubber head of a rubber screwdriver for hand gap gauging.

The next job I thought I’d tackle was adding the hinges to the boot. It’s being lying in place for what’s most likely several years but I’ve never added the hinges.  With this new found gusto I’m on a mission to use up all the parts I’ve bought in the past before buying any more.  Hopefully this will mean that the garage naturally tidies itself in the process!  We’ll after re-introducing the second hoop, lots of measuring and marking and tying a string in place on the nose and waiting it using a lump of wood at the back all the centre lines  have been marked but there seems to be one minor issue…  …I’m not sure that I ever bought the rear hinges. Doh!  At the time my idea was to have a hidden hinge at the back but I’m not sure I have the skill to achieve this and Dax and DB don’t seem to sell a kit that I can buy that would achieve what I’m after so it’s back the traditional external hinges.  I’l leave things marked up for now and hope as the garage starts to tidy itself a bag of hinges will appear or I’ll confirm that I don’t have them and get some ordered.

Lastly, the oil cooler has been bolted in place.  Coated with some foam shock dampening tape on the bottom and with the aid of the centre line it’s been bolted to the Cobra’s fireglass nose.  I wasn’t sure that this would be acceptable but after looking at a few “in-progress” builds at the Dax garage a few weeks ago this is exactly how they have done it so it just leaves things to be plumbed in now to move the engine bay area forward.

Till next time…

Build Time : 220 Hours (possibly)


What a difference a few bolts make! The doors are on, plus one side pipe is mounted at the rear to the chassis (just not on the pics) and the other is ready for mounting.

The bolts of the door hinges are a pig to tighten because of the limited space within the door and because the studs are sooooo long meaning you spend more time in that limited space grating your knuckles for as long as possible. I chopped one set down to ease the pain but I could have taken another 10mm off the stud happily. In the end a 13m angular rachet spanner made the job more bareable.

Cutting a 3mm steel bar into small sections and sticking them around the door opening provided some simple consistent spacing to sit each door on and with a little bit of sanding for the drivers door both lined up with suprisingly little pain.

One top tip for those that buy their exhaust pipes from the good man that is Dave Brooks – your rear brackets, bobbins and bolts are packed inside one of the pipes! Mine fell out as I fitted the second side pipe and I’d shelled out money for the bits from Dax! Doh!!

Build time: Another six hours on…

Side Pipes

Both holes are now cut and opened out correctly in the body. The collectors have been on and off half a dozen times or so trying to get the clearance neat and equal all round, but the holes now seem to be correct.

There have been issues on both sides trying to get the collectors far enough onto the headers to allow them to run parallel to the car. After tightening up the header bolts, and pushing, shoving, swearing and employing the carpet and hammer trick I still couldn’t get them closer than comming out to corner just over 2 and a half inches from the body whereas I needed that gap to be about an inch. Looking for alternative suggestions I found a forum post that recommended just chopping a little off each header pipe’s end from the man that made them so after doing just that, they’ve gone on and now fit perfectly.

They need to have a self tapper put in place on each side, from the headers to the collectors to stop them dropping during use and I need to pick up a couple of powder coated brackets from Dax to allow me to tie the back of the exhaust to the chassis using two large rubber bobbins as vibration dampers.

Now onto the pipework for the engine and getting the thermostat in place and water-cooling all linked up…

Build time:???

Power Issues

My last two trips to the barn have been cut short with power issues. In sub zero, with no lights, power or heating I must admit I’ve bailed early.

Today it was a little warmer and whilst I had the use of a temporary extension it was enough to run a heater from for an hour. Rigging up the reversing light and a small LED battery powered unit gave me enough for a late but welcome hour in the shed cutting the exit for the driver’s side quad collector for the headers.

The hole is now cut and collector through. It needs to be opened up and tidied but the next step is to ease them on… …Or wrap them in a carpet and hammer with all my might as another tipped.

Catching up…

I’ve managed to spend possibly 12 hours on the lockup since the engine went gone in and whilst no great big steps have been completed a few key bits have been started including getting the header pipes in place (not finally fixed) and the exits through the body marked on one side and cut on the other. 

Another small thing but big relief is that it looks like the steering shaft cuts through from the bulkhead through the header pipes without fouling anything. I had thought that I may have had to move the bulkhead bearing further inwards which would have been a massive unnecessary faff but it all looks good at this point which is good. I’m sure it has time to go wrong too though.

Less faffing, more doing

The pedal box and brake servo have finally been fixed properly in place which involved being upside down for a good hour or so, dropping more nuts than I care to say and with my head stuck in fibreglass dust which is super itchy! After lots of taping for the head of the bolts on the engine bay side to try hold them in place (it really would be easier as a two-man job), trying to thread the nuts on upside down in the foot well with a sprinkling of cursing to help get things into place the job was done. All frustrating stuff but equally rewarding knowing that another bit is done.

The next jump forward was the final fitting of the gearbox to the engine. This had stood beside the car for sometime “looking” ready but there were two holes that needed bolts in place to get he bottom of the gravel shield fixed to the box.  The engine has a “special” oil sump which mean that there was no space to use the standard cap bolts so it had sat like this for a few months (12?) before I managed to cut some studs and set them in place using some good strength Loctite.  Another job needing expert skills in wriggling your fingers in small spaces to slip a nut into place as the box and the engine were mated whilst balancing the gravel shield in the right position.

With the gearbox mated properly to the engine, the side vent studs were glass’d in to the body to create a stronger bond for fitting of the side vents than the worth adhesive that I had used a few months earlier but had proven to be a little badly done, or just weak.

With much if the engine bay work completed and a new birthday present of a hoist level I trial lifted the engine on the scaffolding gantry (built about a year and a bit ago!)  That seemed all fairly simple and as it was working as planned I decided to have a go at getting the block in to place.  Surprisingly enough one of those jobs that I’d worried about my ability to do was fairly painless and after a couple of hours, or even possibly less, it was in! The gantry rolled well over the engine bay allowing the block to be manoeuvred a few mm at a time and lowered as needed. Jacking the back of the car up made a massive difference and allowed the gear box to float in through the bulkhead opening without any drama. A couple of bolts later it was all tied in place via the mountings and the gearbox mounted using the support plate. A massive feeling of progress, and a big empty space where the block used to sit!

The only thing I’ve gone backwards on a little is the timing needs to be redone for the engine – during the lift it became apparent that the distributor was going to get in the way of the lifting chains but being slightly over zealous I remove what I thought was the bolt attaching it to the engine, only to finally understand how those  things worked – there was a driven column that went into the engine which tee’d which spark plug was firing depending on the rotation of the arm within the distributor.  It was all mounted back in place pretty carefully to avoid any rotation but I suspect it should be double-checked to avoid any problems. If I’d only googled it first I could have saved myself this added job as removing the top cap was all that was needed.  I’ll add this to the things to be read up on before possibly asking a professional to do it!

Happy days!

Build Time:  Possibly 195 hours or so?

Brake pipes and heatsheilding

I’ve had a few more hours in the barn today as our big house build is complete and the decoration DIY nears completion. I’m hoping this becomes more frequent in the next few months but we’ll see.

I’ve been working on getting the brake pipes connected up back to the master cylinder and protected from the heat that the exhausts will give off.  First off has been getting the pipes unwound from their temporary coil (left that way 2 years or so ago!) and fixed to bulkhead and routed to the master servo. With a bit of trial and error working out how tight you had to go to get a rivnut in set correctly, rather than breaking the mandrel (not so tight) the pipes are now in place.

Not so pretty brake lines

Not so pretty brake lines

They’re not great by any means but at least they are fixed in place now.  Next up was how to hide the mess and shield them from the heat from the exhausts that will exit just under the servo and by the lines. There are some great examples on various other sites including wrapping them with thermal tape and a fantastically nicely made shield (here) with thermo-thing calculations to go with it!  I like the later option, but knowing I’m a complete ameture at this I reality checked myself and started hunting for some thermal sheeting which I can create a more simple shield from.  After much hunting around I found something called “Nimbus GII 2 Layer Heat Shield” material that seemed like it may do the job.  Being aluminum and made for the job of holding the heat back it seemed like it should be flexible enough to work with so I thought I’d give it a go.  One quick order with Merlin Motorsports for 2 300mm x 600mm sheets and I had the necessary bits.  With a an hour or so set aside for bodging a cardboard template and then another couple for scratching my head and cutting the sheets down to shape and size I think it may end up working, which is a nice surprise!

The two parts are all covered in masking tape at the moment to protect the paintwork and check the fitting, but it’s initially looking good.  More rivnuts have been sunk to allow the pipe shield to be attached to the engine bay / wheel arch wall and I need to find some nice looking brackets to help mount the the servo shield plus some rubber edging to finish the panels off.  Lastly, a few holes will be made in the leading edges of the shield to allow more air to flow over and out the exit vents to help with cooling but they should be ready for fitting very soon 🙂

Build time: Somewhere around 185 hours in the garage but too many on the Internet researching…