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Last page update was 02 Sep 2006

Fisher Fury Build Progress - October 2005

1st October

Received an update on my chassis from Martin and it should be ready next week.

4th October

My chassis is complete but needs preparing and powder coating and collection date is now towards the end of October. Time to do that final, final clear out of the garage.

The oil pressure sensor on the engine is more complicated than I thought. It is not a simple switch that connects the oil warning light to earth. I'm going to have to build a small circuit to get this function on the dash. To test this I'm going to need to put oil in the engine which means removing the sandwich plate for the oil temperature and pressure sensors.

8th October

More wiring and testing. More work on my comms system. I need a chassis to work on!

22nd October

Picked up my chassis today! The weather was on my side so I transported it on roof bars on my Mazda6 estate car, with the panels and other bits in the back. I tie-wrapped the chassis to the roof bars and rack for added security and to keep it in place while I strapped it down. My chosen colour looks fantastic. For some reason it looks much lighter in colour in all my pictures, than it actually looks in real life.

Martin had all my bits laid out on the workshop floor when I arrived, to go through the order and check items off. The chassis is a 2006 model and now includes pickups for a 6-point harness. There were a few bits that are not quite ready yet but, will be sent on when they are:

I noticed a few other things. The front uprights are going to be need powder coating along with the few other bits I already need to do (steering column brackets and paddles shift lever). The modified steering column extension can't be powder coated due to the in-built rubber bushes so I'm going to have to Hammerite this.

Martin helped me wrap up and load all the bits and I drove home without event. Just as well I wrapped the front of the chassis in plastic as there was quite a collection of dead insects stuck to it, despite it being late October. The upside of spending 40 minutes to strap the chassis to the car, is that it gets home without damage. The downside is that it takes almost as long to extract it from the car.

I stored it all safely away in the garage with the help of some guys doing my neighbours garden. Turns out one of them is building a Cobra replica and is currently welding up his own chassis. Brave man!

Where to start? The chassis is on trestles but I'm going to need assistance to turn it over, to fix the floor panels. The roll hoops look really good and are a separate bolt-on part. I've put them safely out of the way my loft space. Opening the wrapped parcel of panels was a little bit daunting. There seemed to be so many of them.

23nd October

Chassis Preparation

First job for today was to check over the chassis. Yesterday I spotted a few gaps in the powder coat near some of the joints and I also noticed that the inside of the square tube/bracket for the handbrake is not coated. I've got some nearly matching Hammerite to cover these bits. Turning it over might reveal some other stuff but I was very careful yesterday to make sure that it was not damaged in transit. I put tape over all the bits in contact with tie-wraps or roof straps and used an old rubber mouse mat around the bits in contact with the roof bars.

Floor Panels

With some help from my wife, I turned the chassis over to start on the floor panels. Fixing it in place is going to result in poor access to drill the holes for the other panels but pretty much everything else needs the car to be the right way up, so on it goes.

Fisher recommend a 50mm spacing but you can increase the floor strength by using a closer spacing. The supplied rivets are large flange ones. You can also use 'sealed' rivets for the floor but a cheaper alternative is to apply sealant before fixing rivets. Some people also apply Waxoyl inside the drilled holes. All the supplied panels are pre-cut and folded and if I'm really lucky I might get away without any trimming. You need to allow 30mm overhang on the outside chassis edge for the side pods to sit on. As supplied there is about 40mm but I've left them at that.

I clamped the floor panels in place as best I could. They didn't need trimming but they overlapped and underlapped the chassis rails by a few millimetres in places. With them best placed and clamped, I marked the centre of the chassis rails with a pencil. I then drilled two diagonally opposite holes to lock the panels in place with some spare 3mm drill bits. I then used a permanent marker to mark the drill holes at the right spacing. These were then centre punched. Drilling all those the 3mm holes seemed to take for ages and was quite hard work on the arms. With all the holes done, I removed the panels, deburred them and put them away for later.

24th October

Slight flaw in the plan. I discovered my rivet pack this morning and the supplied rivets are all 4.8mm. This means I need to enlarge all of yesterdays holes out to 5mm. Drilling a 3mm pilot hole was probably the best way to start though :-) Another slight flaw is that Fisher only supply 100 large flange rivets for the floor panels and I need nearly double that. I guess I've over engineered the floor in this respect but, I don't want it to fail! Paid a quick visit to Tolway Fixings but ended up having to buy a box of 250. Expect to see some spare rivets on eBay very soon. Enlarged all the holes and deburred them all again. Cleaned up the panels ready for fixing tomorrow.

Apparently a 3/16inch drill bit (4.76mm) gives a closer tolerance hole for the rivets so I'll try this on the other panels. My HiSpec brakes arrived in the post.

25th October

To fix the floor panels I ran a thin line of sealant/adhesive down the centre of each chassis rail and round each rivet hole. I then laid the panel on top and dipped each rivet before placing them in the holes. I put them all in place before I started fixing the rivets. This was seriously hard work! As I reached the end of the drivers panel (86 rivets) I was running out of energy.

Before attempting the passenger floor panel, I modified my rivet tool so I could get more leverage on it. I also added foam handles to help reduce the impact on my hands and wrists. I need to fix the rivets faster as the sealant starts to cure quite quickly.

Completed floor! The modified rivet gun (shown in the picture) made life so much easier with the second panel. Considering I've never fitted a rivet until this morning, I'm very happy with the result. The white sealant has just squeezed out from the rivets and panel edge and it reminds me of the glued chassis on my old Lotus Elise.

With the car still upside down, I used this opportunity to fill the exposed rivet heads with smooth Hammerite, to seal them completely.

Turned the chassis over and started to look at what other jobs could be done apart from more paneling. My arms need a rest from the rivet gun. Fitted the pedal box with the five bolts/nuts supplied. Also fitted the throttle pedal but I need to have a look at it. I'm not happy with the movement. It is stiff and moves around on the bolt.

26th October

Turned the chassis over with the help of my wife. The small bits of metal were created inside the chassis rails by drilling holes in it and I could hear these moving as we turned it. When I've drilled the holes for the outside panels, I'll spray some Waxoyl through the holes to capture this swarf and prevent corrosion inside the chassis. I spent a little bit of time looking at the other panels, trying to figure out the right location and orientation.

27th October

In sorting through the boxes of stuff collected it struck me that it might be easier to get some of it out of the way and put it on the car. I've got boxes and boxes of stuff against one wall of the garage. The other reason is that my arms and shoulders still ache from fitting the floor panels and my hands are still bruised from using the rivet gun.

Bonnet Frame

The bonnet frame went on very quickly easily. I really needed to get this off the floor before it got scratched.

Brake Cylinders & Bias Bar

These are a little puzzle in their own right. I'm not sure if my approach was right but it seemed to work. First thing to note is that the cylinders are different. I'm sure they are different sizes/ratios for front and back but I don't know which is which yet (they are marked 'Girling 75' and 'Girling 625'). Trial fitment showed that these are not quite the same (fixing bolt spacing is slightly different) and one would fit in the left hole but not in the right.

The spacing between the piston centres is 64mm, so I'm guessing that this is the gap required between the centre of the clevises on the bias bar, to get aligned forces on the push rods. I threaded the bar through the pedal and put the clevises on each end with a 64mm spacing. This would have been easier if I had removed the brake pedal! I then twisted the cylinders through their mounting holes to thread them onto the clevises, until they hit the bearing and then reversed them back one turn. I then bolted the cylinders in place and tightened all the lock nuts. As it is set up, the bias on the front and rear is about equal apart from that enforced by the differences in the front and rear cylinders (which should be right for my configuration of HiSpec's on the front and Sierra calipers on the rear). I'll worry about the locking mechanism for the bias bar (required for SVA) later. When I know which cylinder is which, I'll also look at setting it up properly.

Martin replied to my e-mail this evening and the .625 is the front and the .75 is the rear cylinder. The bar positioning should be fine so long as I get at least one track day in before SVA, to bed the brakes in.

Modified the mounting of the throttle pedal so that it has no lateral movement, yet moves freely.

Steering Column

Also looked started to fit the steering column. I was stumped as to how this collection of parts is meant to go together and where the plate is supposed to mount.

28th October

Passenger Footwell Panel

Time to get back to paneling ...

Clamped the passenger footwell panel in place and marked it up ready for drilling. I can't do noisy stuff past 8pm as my garage is underneath my son's bedroom :-(

29th October

I got an answer to my question about the steering column bits via the Sylva Chat List . [1] is the mounting plate and is bolted to the end of the drivers footwell. [2] is the rubber bush and is pushed through from the back of the car. [4] is the plastic/nylon outer bearing which sits within the rubber bush [2] with the rounded face facing towards the rear of the car. [3] is the inner bearing which goes through [4] from the rear of car.

Put this together before mounting it. Getting the outer bearing into the rubber housing is difficult and I resorted to a blunt tool and brute force to push it in. I can't see that part [5] adds any value, though something identical is already fitted to my column further up.

Having mounted the top part of the steering column, I temporarily put the steering wheel on to check the angles and that it turned smoothly.

Drilled two 3mm pilot holes for the passenger footwell panel in the top corners and used 3mm bits to keep it in place whilst I drilled the rest of the pilot holes. I thought I had loads of plastic spring clamps but, I don't seem to have enough. With all the holes done, I removed the panel and drilled out the holes using a 3/16" bit, then cleaned them up. My 4.8mm rivets would not go into the holes, so I had to drill them all out again with a 5mm drill bit. Cleaned up the chassis and panel and then applied sealant to the chassis. Clamped the panel in place and stuck rivets in all the holes. Fixing all the rivets was a relatively painless process this time, with so few to do. There are holes between the panel and the chassis at two joints which will need filling with silicon sealant.

Tip - In retrospect, I should have had this footwell panel powder coated to match the other interior panels.

30th October

Whilst the panels fitted so far have had a fairly clean finish, there are obviously marks on the aluminium from the cutting process and from storage and transportation. The floor is going to be covered, so this is not an issue. The passenger footwell is out of site. The other panels will be visible though and I'm now planning to have these powder coated in black to provide a cleaner and tidier finish. I've got to get a few bits powder coated soon so I'm going to also send the rear bulkhead panels and the tunnel rear side panels to see how they come out.

Rear Bulkhead Panels

These need modification to fit around all the chassis rails and trimming in places around the chassis joints. In fact the drivers rear panel needed lots of small adjustments made before I was happy. There is going to be a gap near the centre tunnel. This gets covered from behind by the fold of the tunnel panel but, I might have to tidy this up with some trim. DIY first rule applies - 'measure twice, cut once'. I'm sure that I'm going to need to make templates for some of the other panels too, especially the ones around the side impact protection pyramids.

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