Friday, 23 June 2017

By the skin of my teeth

... But a PASS 

So,  last night I tightened up the handbrake and used a cable tie and pipe to hold the brake cable away from the rear wishbone.

This morning,  I went to a local garage to do a brake test - handbrake came up at 26% efficient (needs to be 18%) and brakes seemed OK but they don't do the test the same as IVA,  so I couldn't be sure. They also wouldn't let me just run on the rollers for a while to try bed the pads in - they were worried about damaging their stuff. So,  I had to hope it would work out...

Journey from Hell again to get to West London - if my car can survive doing 30 miles in an hour and 40 minutes,  it can survive anything! Poor thing has had a baptism of fire for its first 150 miles of its life.

I would highly recommend going for your test on a Friday - my tester was demob-happy and it really helped. He glanced at the brake line fixes and gaiter clearances - no problem. Up on the ramp,  he was very impressed with the way I had done the fix for the rear brake line and he was also very impressed with my build overall - he gave me a few horror stories of other kit cars he had had to test. He was strangely pleased to see I had put yellow paint marks on my bolts as well.... all this helped immensely with the next stage.

The brake test didn't seem to go much better than last time - I could see the figures he was writing down and they seemed similar to last time but he seemed happy. However,  the handbrake didn't come up to scratch - better but still too low,  he said,  despite my earlier MOT test at the garage. He then asked if I wanted to do any adjustment - I didn't really know what to do as I had adjusted it to the limit I could the night before but he obviously wanted me to pass,  so I simply tightened the handbrake as far as I could - so far,  in fact,  that I couldn't move the car by hand with the handbrake off. But he redid the test,  pronounced it a pass and then also very kindly allowed the 2mm of travel as enough of a reserve (I didn't even realise that was a requirement - it hadn't been mentioned in my first test). He went off to do the paperwork and I loosened the handbrake back to 'normal'.

So,  a pass but I feel a tad lucky - if I had caught the tester on a bad day,  it may have been another fail.

Took a slightly better route home and felt great - you can't be too shy in a kit car,  loads of people stare at you,  other drivers strike up conversations as you're sitting in traffic, no-one hoots at you when you do something illegal (I twice had to do a dodgy turn) and people wave you out all the time.

So, the main task is done - build a functioning,  road-legal car. The next steps are:

Bonnet louvres to help keep the engine cool.
Roof (canvas).

I could also do with calming the idle - it's at about 1050 rpm at the moment - could do with being 950.

In true awards ceremony style,  I'd like to thank some people for getting me to this stage:

1. Simon from GBS (well,  not any more) - I am the top poster on the GBS owners forum because I asked so many questions and Simon answered them all - his help was essential. No chance I would have finished without him.

2. Bob Tucker from the RHOCAR forum for welding my VIN plate on.

3. Colin from the same forum for loan of his brake pipe flaring tool and Jon for loan of the engine crane.

4. Several other builders blogs but mostly Richard Lincoln's - much clearer than my rambling.

It has been a great 2 years and I've thoroughly enjoyed the build,  in fact a little sad it's mostly over. But this should be a great summer!

Did I mention I passed? :-)


  1. Woohoo go Neil!!! Deathtrap hits the streets! I'm excited to risk life n limb, when you get doors, roof, Windows, stereo, ac, furry dice. Can you build me one?

  2. 😊 Thanks bro - I'll put some better pictures up when I get the screen on - it will look better then.