Sunday, October 21, 2007

A Sunday drive

Well progress is fast now ! After the success of the wiring, and engine test last weekend I am getting more confident.

Sarah went through a lesson in bleeding brakes (and hydraulic clutch), and here are the results. This is the first tentative drive out of the garage:

and after that, and some small adjustments (including fuel !) it was onto the open road. As you can hear there is some clutch slip going on. Initially I put this down to the clutch (still the original from the donor), but further investigation revealed some adjustment of the slave cylinder is required. Brakes also need some more bleeding, but it is getting there:

Hopefully more updates soon - the next week is going to be spent fine tuning the clutch, and re bleeding brakes. Next weekend I hope to get it over 20mph !

One British motoring victory this weekend then !

Monday, October 15, 2007

Racers, start your engines … and deafen the neighbours

Real progress is at last being made. This weekend I finished the installation of the wiring loom, refilled the gearbox oil, and gave the engine an oil change.

This put me in the exciting position of being able to test the wiring, and ultimately fire up the engine. Sarah was on hand as the able assistant to turn the key, turn on and off switches, and of course moral support.

For now a temporary speedo and fuel guage are wired up, with relevant warning lights. Once I know this all works fine I will test up the other spare gauges I have, and decide which go into the car.

Most circuits were tested prior to the engine test, and aside from a loose connection on the headlight circuit, and a fault on the indicators all seemed fine. As you can see the foliage is making work a little difficult, I can't wait to move as a double garage is waiting!

So time to get brave, and turn the key:

The trusty Volkswagen Flat 4 did the business (ever seen Woody Allen Sleeper??) and on the 4th turn of the key we had ignition. The accelerator cable is still to be fitted up at the pedal box, and the brakes need commisioning, so a drive wasn't possible, but we could at last hear the engine, and give it a bit of a work out !

With a new exhaust fitted, (which will probably need modifying to suit the bumper) there was a lot of paint to be burnt off the inside surfaces. The haze of black smoke soon filled the garage, and the car had to be wheeled outside. You can still see some of the smoke in the air in the below video !

Finally, all I have to say is thank you to Sarah for braving the smoke, and noise, to help in the tests, and sorry to the neighbours for the Sunday afternoon entertainment !

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

and this week I am an electrician !

Hi all,

Been a while since I posted any progress as house move has taken priority (well packing the garage to be precise).

Anyhow chain collapsed, another 4 weeks minimum living out of boxes so thought I would get back to Nena !

So this week I am turning my hand to electrics (needed the smallest amount of tools that are packed). So in the wiring loom goes !

I am using the donor beetle's( wiring loom as a template but making up new wires as I go. So far I have run wires to the switches, steering column and front loom (lights etc).

It isn't looking that neat at the moment but I am going to pull through the slack to switches/lamps etc at the end and cable tie it all in place.

I now remember why I hate wiring, but after three evenings (around 2 hours a night) it is starting to come together. More detail shots when it looks neater

All the best, Jim

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

I've been plumbing !

With the prospect of having to push the car to her new home soon (it is only 0.4 miles away) I felt brakes would be helpful !

Up until this Saturday none of the short runs of copper line had been fitted, and the flexible lines to the callipers were still to be fitted also.

So I spent an achy Saturday under each corner fitting the pipes, sealing all joints and running pipes to the reservoir. I didn't complete the job as inevitably the last fitting cross threaded, and my flaring tool had broken ! Still, I have found a local company who will make me up the final line cheap, and hope therefore to be able to commission the brakes and hydraulic clutch soon.

The pedal box and pipework look really neat, and I have managed to keep everything in the bulkhead neat and tidy.

Hopefully the combination of an adjustable front/rear brake balance, full discs all round and braided (expensive) flexible lines should mean Nena stops sharply and safely - I will let you know !
Now back to the packing, Jim

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

All bets are off

For those following this blog you will know that tomorrow (01/08/07) was the deadline for completion of Nena the NOVA.

Well all bets are off, and this is why:

Yep, we are moving ! Just need to complete on the sale of two houses, move all furniture into the new one, and move two engines, one unfinished car and a pile of parts. No problem.
So the new date for Nena's completion is 29th March 2008 (the date of the Volksworld VW Show). As always I have a contingency date in mind - 13th April 2008 (the date of the Detling Kit Car Show).
More updates soon, I think! I have already moved a car load of stuff from the garage into another garage (thanks Gran) and it still looks no better.
Anyone got a flatbed trailer I can borrow ?

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Light up, light up

Another week, another set of holes to cut. Also another set of back lights - this is the third set I have bought now, but I am at last happy ! The scary part was getting the holes in the right place - measure twice and cut once as they say! With this bumper having never been cut or fitted I didn't want to get it wrong.

Well, I am really pleased with the outcome - these units are much more modern looking, and with the chrome bezels catch the light really well.

I just need to choose the right number plate light now, and can then complete the cutting.

And yes, I know a new number plate is required, black and silver plates will be ordered this week.

I also got the mounting holes for the bumper sorted today - it is only clamped in place in these pictures, so at least I know it can be bolted up well, once it is painted.

I aim to get the engine in this week as well, as I may be needing to move the car to a new workshop soon (more of that soon), so need to get it mobile.

More soon, and yes I know August 1st is even nearer !


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

More bodywork testing, and more changes

Yes I know - August 1st is fast approaching !

Anyway, putting aside the impending deadline I have changed my plans for the rear end. I got a chance to purchase an unused Mk4 rear bumper, so after a long drive to Lancashire and back (in an evening) I am the proud owner of the bumper seen below !
The bumper is just clamped in place here, and you can see it lines up well with little work - once bolted up with a joining trim in place it should look good.
The white paper discs are templates for the lights I had aimed to fit, but I have decided they are a little to large, so am going for some 2.5cm smaller in diameter ! That will be the third set of lights I have bought then !
I now need to mark up and drill mounting holes, adjust the exhaust to line up with the holes and choose a number plate light. It is getting there, honest ........................... Jim

Sunday, July 08, 2007

More bodywork testing

Yes that's right, more time has been spent test fitting panels, and then taking them back off again! The side pods haven't been on the car since I bought it, and I have to admit I didn't pay much attention to how they fitted when I removed them.

So, with the sun shining I decided to graze my knuckles, and test fit them.

Much to my surprise they went on well, and the original mounting holes are in good order - I just need extra long arms to get my hands on either side of the mounting lips !

Starting to come together, and looking more like a car at last, more soon, Jim

Friday, July 06, 2007

I have been doing stuff - honest !

Yes I know it's been a while. But that doesn't mean I haven't been busy. The real focus now is to complete panel by panel any repairs needed, whilst also ensuring I have cut any holes I need before the paint is laid down.

In addition to that I want to get the car drivable before it gets painted - don't want much do I !?
Most of the chassis is finished but it just needs connecting together ! The steering is a good example of this. The column had been shortened, custom support bars welded up, a new steering damper and box fitted to the axle, and a VW Beetle 1303 universal joint welded onto the shortened column. However, this had never been permanently fitted together.
Well as you can see from the photo below it is now, and boy does it make it easier moving the car in and out of the garage! I wish I had done it sooner. I am really pleeased with how solid it feels, it just shows it is wortth spending time on these areas.

So, having already test fitted the bonnet hinges and locks, and the engine lid the rear louvres were next. This involved sourcing the right style hinges for the top end (as unobtrusive as possible) and bonnet retaining pins for the bottom end. As you can see I got there, with Sarah's help it has to be said - she spotted a crack through the louvres which could have caused them to split in two if not supported correctly, and also stopped me drilling in the wrong place ! Now the louvres can be added to the finished pile.

Look -

Nena is starting to come together,

More soon, Jim

Friday, June 08, 2007

Back together again

Well its been a long time coming, but at last the body is back on the chassis.

This time around I am happy with the alignment, and have protected the fibreglass mounting lip by using some steel plates to bolt through onto the chassis.

I am really pleased to get the shell and chassis reunited, particularly with the fuel tank and engine now fitted - it starts to look like a car !

Once the body was mounted it was a good opportunity to fit the canopy and test seating positions again. This time I was working out mirror positions, and side window vents - there is lots to still do, but I feel it is getting there.

I have decided to get the shell resprayed professionally, so over the next few weeks my aim is to fit everything together, and ensure it all works - then strip down and hand over to the paint shop (with a few quid!) and cross my fingers I have chosen the right colour (more of that soon).

Next job is to fit the steering column supports and lock the steering together, then the pedal box, then the wiring loom. It never ends !

More soon, Jim

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Lights, sander, action

Well I have nearly made my mind up that Nena is off to the paint shop. With that in mind I need to get all the holes cut on the shell for lights etc and test fit panels.

I have had a couple of estimates for the paint and prep, and as those who have been through similar projects will know, it is not a cheap job. It is estimated that it will take 4 man days to sand and prep all the panels, or I can get them all down to gelcoat myself and save a few quid! The red respray Nena had some time ago doesn't seem to be great quality so the professionals opinion is to remove it all.

So before the rain started this weekend I got out my sander and boxes of parts and started cutting holes !

The bonnet and engine lid have been sanded using a dual action orbital sander, I just need to do the fiddly curves by hand. The engine lid lock and hinges are test fitted, and at the front the headlight/indicator units (1980's metro) are in, the bonnet hinges and locks test fitted.
Next I need to prep and test fit the side panels, and decide which of my rear panels to use. I then need to make up a rear light panel and cut a few more holes !
Ideally I would like to test fit everything to the car prior to paint, so, knowing the local paint shop has a long waiting list I need to be brave, book it in, and get on with it.
I hate to say it but the August 1st 2007 aim is looking doubtful ! You never know though, more soon (if it stops raining), Jim

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Now that's a makeover !

After much head scratching I have gone with the simpler engine option (for the moment). I had a stock 1600 lying about in the garage from donor car 2 (Your donor card please) which was turning over when I cut up the car ! The other spare engine I have is a Type 3 unit which has been modified to run with an external cooler and breather box. It is apparently 1800 plus and is set up to run on twin Kadrons. I know less about this type of engine so have decided to make setting this up a winter project ! Other NOVA owners at Stoneleigh 2007 assure me the engine is good - it seems to have changed hands through at least 3 NOVAs !

How's this for a before and after ! Here is the lump stripped of all ancillaries and mounted up onto the gearbox:

and here it is with everything back in place, a liberal degreasing, tinwear painted, new alternator conversion kit fitted, and a lick of paint here and there:

I'm not a big fan of too much chrome - more often than not the chrome tinwear and bolt on goodies are a poorer quality, and don't last. I have gone for new stock rocker covers and clips from VW Heritage, all original tinwear has been stripped and painted in a hammer finish and all tinwear bolts replaced with stainless steel. The alternator kit was a bit of a bi**h to fit, with the old fan seized to the dynamo, and the new fan and bolts/lock nuts/washers all being a slightly off fit. Also if you go for a similar conversion be aware the right hand moving parts of the carb do foul the larger alternator body and need bending slightly. In this case the fuel pump didn't foul, but I know it can depending on type. I felt the alternator was a worthwhile addition as the roof pump will suck up some volts ! As you can see stock pulleys have been used - they are solid and rarely warp, and for now a stock carb remains. I hope this engine will do me a while until I have the funds and time to put something hotter in !!

Right, that's the chassis virtually done, just need to fill up the hydraulic circuits and bolt in the pedal box. I now need to decide whether I bolt up the shell (again) and fit a wiring loom and test everything, or send the body off for paint. More on that decision soon - Jim

Monday, May 07, 2007

The car is the star - the NOVA gets recognition

It was mentioned in the last post (Stoneleigh - NOVAs a plenty) but I feel Mike and Elaine's acheivement from Club NOVA is worth a separate mention.

They got their car on the Complete Kit Car stand, and it looked a million dollars.

One day Nena, one day !
All the best, Jim

Stoneleigh 2007 - NOVAs a plenty

Another great show, well worth the drive from the sunny south ! We made it up to Stoneleigh in less than two hours and spent a great day with the folks from Club NOVA seeing even more NOVAs and shopping for those elusive parts.

Here are a few shots from the day - if anyone from Club NOVA wants more of the photos drop me an e-mail and I can sort out a CD.

Well done in particular to Mike and Elaine for getting their NOVA in the main hall. Good work Paul on the Club banners, and everyone who contributed, and Harry - top gizmo !

All the best, Jim

I've given the chassis a tickle !

After a succesful session of painting the other weekend I realised that I need to get the chassis finished, and clear some of the stock pile of parts cluttering up the house. So, the hydraulic lines have been fitted to the brakes and hydraulic clutch, the repainted red brake callipers offered up.

I have also chosen which of the engines lying around the workshop are going in the car for now and started cleaning that up, including stripping down all of the tinwear, and repainting it. I have had experience of using aftermarket tinware, so whenever possible I re-use the german tinwear. It is worth doing as it is much thicker steel, and fits better. I have gone for a hammered paint finish as it hides the odd blemish and is typically hard wearing.

I have also finished painting up the fuel tank in bright red (the main accent colour is red), got hold of stainless tinwear fittings for the engine reassembly and spent time talking to the guys at Club NOVA working out roof options, and unfortunately realised my hinges are beyond repair - that' another one for the shopping list !
The chassis is not far away now, I hope to have the engine rebuilt and fully fitted inside the next week or so, e-bay has supplied the new manifold I needed for the carb. Once the chassis is done I will focus on the body and paint. I would like to get the main shell in paint before I fit it to the chassis, and run the wiring loom.
Have been spurred on by seeing more NOVAs at the Stoneleigh kit car show - photos will follow, more progress soon, Jim

Monday, April 30, 2007

The bugs, dust, pollen and litter

is all landing on my fresh paint ! But I don't care ! The sun is shining, I have the day off work, and Nena is all one colour again.

After weeks of sanding and finding reactions and blemishes I decided I had to get the car in primer. These shots are just after a blast of Bar Coat, which fingers crossed has so far done its job and all previous reactions have disappeared.

The finish isn't great, a little too dry in parts, and very dusty in others, but for my first spraying effort in around 13 years I'm happy.

So, leave it a few hours and blast on some primer - please don't rain !
More very soon, I hope, Jim

Sunday, April 29, 2007

What happened next ?

So what have I been doing since Detling then you wonder ? Its hard to answer that question quickly, as I have been tackling lots of little jobs, and moving between the chassis and bodywork.

Harry and Paul from Club NOVA came down the following weekend to have a look at Nena and offer advice.
The body is back off and at last the shell is solid again with all major holes underneath fibreglassed up, and sealed.

and I have even test fitted the bonnet and hinges. On the chassis I have started fitting the pedal box, bolted in the hydraulic clutch slave and painted the brake callipers. I have also started making the copper brake lines. The fuel tank has also been treated to a lick of red paint and new shock absorbers fitted all round.

The aim is to buy up all final parts I need at Stoneleigh Kit Car Show and then get the chassis completed inside the next few weeks. The body has a few areas that keep reacting, so when the weather allows a coat of bar coat will be blown over the whole shell.
Once the chassis is finished and the body in bar coat I will mount it back up and test fit an engine and wiring loom. I have two engines which I am working with at the moment, hopefully to give me one usable one ! An alternator conversion kit has also been sourced to help with charging.
Lots to do, but a few more jobs off the list - keep watching !!!!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

A useful distraction

Another sunny weekend, another great chance to get ahead on the NOVA, another lazy weekend, with no work done !

However there was a reason for this - the Detling Kit Car Show ! Here I got to meet other NOVA owners, and at last sat in a finished NOVA - the news is good - I fit !!

Thanks to Mike & Elaine for letting me sit in their lovely finished NOVA, and also Harry and Paul for answering many simple questions.

A good bit of time was spent taking pictures of the fiddly bits, and working out how it all goes together. I also managed to get round the stands and buy some goodies - mainly electrical, at good prices.

This has definitely spurred me on to get finished, as I want to enjoy one of these shows with my car on display.

The seating test did also make me realise I wanted some seats with more adjustment, so a quick e-bay search sourced a pair of MX5 seats with runners, in my area for a bargain price - it is all coming together ! More soon, Jim

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Steering test

Just to prove it all works here is a quick video showing the steering working. Sorry about the poor video quality, but hopefully you get the idea !

Steer today, steer tomorrow

My car has a steering wheel, briefly ! Have got the dashboard/steering support frames back from the metal fabricator and they work a treat. I found the steering the most annoying part of my buggy build so am determined to get it right with this project. I don't want any flex or movement on the column so have had two frames made up in 25mm steel box section. These run along under the dash pods and support the shortened steering column in two places.

They will ultimately bolt to the floor, the side fibreglass panels, the centre tunnel and the bulkhead.

As you can see they are pretty sturdy, and once bolted up should hold everything together well.

I also hope to be clever and run some of the wiring inside them to the steering column and switches - well that's the theory !

The dash slips over them and between the front brackets and the bulkhead, which also helps secure this, and once fitted the dash pods cover the cut outs on the dash.

Whilst it will never be seen, I will know the job is done properly. I have a stack of new stainless nuts and bolts to lock it all together, and have a new universal joint section for the steering column, designed for the 1303 beetle. This couples up to the new steering box, and the shortened original column.
This is another part of the jigsaw worked out and ready for final fit. Tomorrow the body comes off the pan again to allow for final repairs and paint on the shell. With the chassis exposed again I will be plumbing in the twin circuit brakes, pedal box and hydraulic clutch. I really feel it is getting there now as there are not many unknowns left. The sunshine and light evenings is a big help too! Off to the Detling Kit Car show next Saturday to get some detail pictures of Novas and maybe a few brake parts. More soon, Jim