Engine Bay

The Master Cylinder…

…has it’s adaptors in! Hurah!

After many hours swearing at the impossibility of getting the Dax adaptors into the cylinder, the job is finally done.

In the end I had to take the adaptors sharp lip back by 1mm, rounding it in the process. Altered version on the left…

The plugs we’re taken back with a file, emery paper and a drill. All very professional…

The plugs still didn’t want to go in but with some brake fluid and some gently applied heat to get the rubbers softer they finally wriggled in. I think it was the heat gun that finally did the trick followed by much wiggling. Using a vice didn’t really do much except try to squash the rubber bungs futher back in the cylinder.

The plugs are now set in place nice and flush…



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 ūüôā

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

Two large lumps

I feel like I’ve started making some achievements.¬† After fiddling around with the radiator and trying to get it to fit in the “standard” manner I’ve given up and position it on a slight lean so it fits nicely under the front body work and just above the lower air scoop of the body.¬† Positioning it vertically resulted in it hitting the body work which Andy at Dax told me to leave a 10mm gap on.¬† Sticking on a slight angle sorts this nicely.¬† I do have two holes that need to be blanked off though that I originally drilled for the “correct” positioning of the lower bracket!


It’s a heavy lump of metal that starts to make the nose of the Cobra look how it should!


Next, after¬†getting to grips with scaffolding and scaffolding castors I’ve ran a small test of my make shift gantry¬†and lifted the second large lump of metal into place – mating the gearbox with the engine.¬† It’s all been relatively straight forward.¬† It’s not tightened up yet but¬†all resting on some lumps of wood (not those under the sump)¬†and the original engine frame.¬† Next time I’m down the garage I’ll get everything tightened up properly and see if the gantry will take the weight of the engine and the gearbox… … …eek!

Build time: 174 hours

More small jobs and onto the fuel tank…

Side vents are now in place thanks to some bonded in studs. This should now allow the brake servo and master cylinder to be fitted, in turn allowing the pedal box to be finally fixed.

I’ve started looking at fitting the fuel tank. The templates ready so I can set the placement holes once the bracketing position is located behind the most rear chassis tubular bar. One thing I need to check is that the cornering that has a steel bar bonded into it seems to be too wide for the rear of the boot which may cause complications. Will check this closer next week…


All in

All five panels are now bonded in…


A bit of finishing trim is required on the drivers side foot well and I’m considering using a few airstream style rivets for extra strength but the body is now ready to meet the chassis for final fitting ūüôā

Build time: 92 hours


The panels are back from the painter and ready to go in. I expect the lining is going be a bit of a Marmite thing and people are going to love it or hate it. I also know that I’ll have to be super careful about possible scratches but I’m over the moon with the colour. Next steps get them all bonded in…

One of the footwell panels…¬† ūüôā



It’s not normally the first thing that rolls off the tongue but it was from the the painter who’s going to sort my engine bay panels.

I’ve been try to sort out some powder coating but one shop recommended 2 pac polyurethane to avoid any possible warping due to the heat of the powder coating process. I popped up to see the guys on Friday but found the shop all locked up at 2pm which after a half hour drive was pretty frustrating. Next time I’ll learn to call ahead.

A friend then recommended another more local place so I popped round today on the off chance and lo and behold they were in and working (on a Saturday too!). I mentioned what I was after, colouring and all, and it’ll now be done next week. Result – except for now being down in his book as “Mad Paul”

It could be the first big mistake of the build but here we go for an electric orange set of engine bay panels.. it’s nowhere near authentic, but then again the car isn’t so let’s hope the gamble pays off and I keep my bottle….

Hours so far: 78

Pedal box fitting

What an absolute pig of a job. Trying to get into the foot well, line things up and get the necessary holes and slots cut. Difficult due to the angles but doubley so when doing it single handedly without anyone holding the gubbins
in the engine bay.


I thought I’d cut everything in the right place but low and behold once it was all reassembled most things were a few mm out.

Some of they guys that have gone before me have always said to cut holes bigger than are necessary as the brackets cover every thing but I’d tried to be precise. 8 hours later, I’ve finally taken that advise especially for the bracket that comes through roof of the foot well although it’s worth saying that the cut isn’t quite perpendicular to the front edge. I found this out the hard way and now the top bracket doesn’t quite cover part of the cut. It should be small enough to end up hidden but it’s an added frustration on this particular job.

Hours so far: 72