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310R in Atlanta


jimmylukeii
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After a long wait ($&#! COVID and supply chain issues), I now have my 310R SV kit as of Thursday.  Thanks to Josh with Rocky Mountain Caterham for his great help so far.

 

I have limited mechanical skills, so this build may be a good push for those on the fence to assemble their own (assuming all goes relatively well).

 

I have made good progress so far between kids' basketball games and piano recitals.  Built a unique looking stand per the advice of Josh's father (Ross Robbins, thank you), wishbones (upper wishbone washers were as frustrating as advertised), dampers, and steering rack are in. 

 

Next up are wingstays, front brakes, and front lights. 

 

Hope to accomplish all of those this week before a 1 week break for Radford driving school in Arizona with friends/clients!

 

I look forward to any advice, critical eyes, and help you can offer.

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Jimmy,  Great looking Caterham.  Good luck!   I would offer two thoughts to consider.   Take your time and enjoy the process, it is so much fun and it is not a race.  Also, the stands seem a bit high.  For safety I would consider lowering them and perhaps connect the stands together (front to back) for more stability, especially if you are moving it around a bit.    Anyway, just my thoughts.  Good luck!! 

 

Tim 

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7 hours ago, KnifeySpoony said:

Agree about the stands- do you have a jack that goes that high? If not, how will you lower it back down after it's too heavy to pick up....?

I was worried about that as well, getting it off and on to the ground once assembled will require a herculean effort . I have mine completely apart at the moment and i have it sitting on some heavy duty jack stands about 18-24" off the floor and able to do all the break down and reassembly comfortably from a rolling stool. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

I have completely neglected this build thread.  Between coaching my boys' flag football teams, working at my day job, and the rest of life's responsibilities, I have fallen behind!

 

I will catch up on the posts to follow.

 

@UglyFast - thanks!  I initially went with black all around, but I had a very close call in my Cobra replica because (I think) it sat so low.  I figured green would give me a little more visibility to others.  We'll see!

 

 

 

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Overall thoughts so far:

 

  - The best blog I have found is www.310buildcom.  It is a 310 (check) and relatively recent (check).  Some items in that blog are now out of date, but it still has great visuals and descriptions.

 

  - Josh Robbins with Rocky Mountain Caterham is a fantastic resource.  Between his quickly answering silly questions and assisting with missing parts, the build would have gone much less smoothly.

 

  - Caterham's instruction manuals (both the Ikea and written form) leave a lot to be desired.  They have provided about 85% of what I need.  That figure sounds like a lot, but (in my opinion) is very lacking given the kit's price tag.  How hard can it be to have detailed manual with regular updates on Caterham's website?

 

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Posted (edited)

First big build category: uprights and lights.

 

Once i figured out how to put upward pressure/load on the suspension, the uprights went in without too much trouble.  But I did take my time given that I have no clue (call it 8 hours).  I need to go back and swap out the brake line washers for the ones that various blogs recommend (copper ones if I recall correctly).

 

Lights were relatively easy thanks to Daniel French's blog: http://www.caterhamr500.co.uk/2014/02/build-day-four-headlight-and-indicator.html?m=1.

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Edited by jimmylukeii
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Second big build category: shoulder harnesses, rollover bar, handbrake, and heater.

 

Shoulder harness and rollover bar came at the advice of several blogs.  The suggestion is to install the shoulder harnesses before the rollover bar and the rollover bar before the rear dampers.  This is where the manual puts you in the wrong order if followed page by page. 

 

The shoulder harness came with cardboard washers.  I installed them and then read suggestions that the cardboard washers are not needed.  Too late now, and I would not imagine it matters much either way.

 

The rollover bar took a little persuasion by my new best friend: the BFH (big f***ing hammer).  But my youngest was able to help with a few of the bolts.

 

Handbrake was more difficult.  Access is very tight, and I got frustrated.  But it eventually went in and is ready for the differential installation.

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Third big build category: rear end.

 

This is where things first went south!  The de dion prep was easy, but that did not last long.  I did not have a brake line bender, but a large socket did the trick fine.  It seems odd to me that some of the brake fittings do not screw in all the way (too tall), but I confirmed with several blogs that this is just the way it is.  Still seems odd.

 

I took this time to apply several coats of varnish to the wood trunk floor.

 

LSD was a bear.  I think this requires a second set of strong hands and arms.  I sat for hours on several nights trying to get everything to line up.  One of the pics below is my unsuccessful attempt at propping up the LSD so I could insert the bolts.  Finally, my buddy came over late one night and, with the help of the BFH, we made it work.  LSD is solidly in and has no play, despite my build's having a few fewer washers than I have seen on other blogs.

 

When installing the diff, don't forget to route the brake lines beforehand!

 

Looking back, I am very glad to have put the chassis on the sawhorses.  It gave much more room than I would have had otherwise, and I needed it!  After all of the above and installing the wheels/tires, I got it down with help from 2 friends - this thing is super light!

 

Lots of copper grease in the pics - since been tidied up.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Fourth big build category: more rear end and drivetrain part 1.

 

The rest of the rear end was thankfully more cooperative.  Radius arms, rear brake hose connection, brake assembly, and rear drive shaft were not terribly difficult despite the large number of small pieces.  As with the entire build, I took my time, dry fitted everything, and then installed.

 

One item for the group: my passenger side rear brake assembly is extremely tight on the rotor.  As if brakes were lightly applied.  I disassembled everything and re-torqued to make sure that everything was by the book (including torque settings).  I also bought a brake piston push back kit and tried to push the piston back as far as it would go.  Maybe having fluid in the lines will resolve things?

 

Any clue on this? 

Edited by jimmylukeii
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Fifth big build category: bulk of the drivetrain.

 

In retrospect, this part of the build was the most fun and rewarding.  In the moment, it seemed like a massive undertaking.  My general advice to other newbies: it sounds like a broken record, but visualize and plan what you are going to do and then take your time.  It will fit!

 

The biggest issue was removal of the starter motor for the bell housing / transmission mating.  There is one bolt that seems impossible to remove.  You'll know which one.  I finally removed it after buying several socket extensions and taking a LOT of time.  Of course, reinstalling the starter motor took about 5 minutes!

 

I sprayed waterproofing in the bottom parts of the interior body and other crevices.  I read that these can trap water and cause premature rust.  I intend to (essentially) daily drive the car, so I figured this would not hurt.

 

You will see below that I had lots of "help."  Really, just one friend to help manhandle the engine/transmission.

 

More specific advice largely echoes the blogs:

 

  - buy or rent a load leveler to go along with the engine lift

  - keep the plastic on the transmission (thin, easy to remove, and protective of transmission tunnel walls)

  - keep a very steep angle until the transmission is just in the tunnel, then level it out and keep the transmission high

  - I thankfully did not have any issues with lining up engine mounts or rubbers, but be sure to keep them loose at first to give yourself room to mate them to the engine block

  - I did not remove anything from the engine block except the tensioner and belt; I did not like the idea of re-installing the starter, alternator, or anything else in the cramped engine bay

  - take lots of pictures before disassembling anything: it is much easier to reassemble

 

 

 

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Sixth big build category: plumbing part 1.

 

This was a dead end.  Caterham shipped duplicates of some and then missed others.  In keeping with his help all along, Josh Robbins with Rocky Mountain Caterham is shipping me the missing pipes.  Should arrive this week.

 

Apparently, the plumbing in the Ikea manual is out dated.  Again, how does this happen without an official update from Caterham? 

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Seventh big build category: interior.

 

This part has been fun.  I ordered full carpets and have installed carpets on the tunnel, below the seats, and behind the seats.  Carpet tape instead of spray adhesive was a good call (per advice of Josh Robbins with Rocky Mountain Caterham).  

 

Tunnel top fits as you would expect.  Same with the gear shifter.

 

I expected the knee plates to be hard.  But they were not bad at all.  I punched holes in the rubber, inserted the knee plates with a little firm pushing and bending, drilled as indicated in the manual (the holes on the knee plates don't line up at all as delivered), and screwed/riveted per the Ikea manual.  I may have gotten lucky.

 

The 12v lighter attaches to a wire in the passenger side, but there is still a stray wire that does not seem to attach to anything.  I'll add it to my list of questions for Josh.  There seem to be several of these orphaned wires.

 

The one trick is for those with lowered floors and an adjustable driver's seat.  You must bend the L shaped adjuster down before installation.  Otherwise, the cross member will not allow you to move the seat backwards and forwards.

 

Another question for the group: are the S3 tillets the same size as the SV tillets?  I ask because mine seem very tight and the packaging label identifies them as S3.

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  • 2 weeks later...
4 hours ago, Austin David said:

Wait, your knee plates fit?  How much bending did you do?  Are they tucked under the dash, or hanging out?

Count me as lucky.  Zero bending, really.  They fit right under the dash.

 

I did not try to line up the holes on the knee plates to the holes in the interior.  I marked rubber with a punch, then punched out the holes, then installed the knee plates and drilled through them using the interior holes and punched out rubber as a guide.  

 

I'm impressed with your knowledge by the way. It's quite daunting to see how you are fixing little issues here and there.

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11 minutes ago, jimmylukeii said:

Count me as lucky.  Zero bending, really.  They fit right under the dash.

 

I did not try to line up the holes on the knee plates to the holes in the interior.  I marked rubber with a punch, then punched out the holes, then installed the knee plates and drilled through them using the interior holes and punched out rubber as a guide.  

 

I'm impressed with your knowledge by the way. It's quite daunting to see how you are fixing little issues here and there.

Ahhh.…. That sounds like mine.  They FIT as long as you're not too picky about the holes lining up.  I haven't drilled mine out yet.

 

Honestly I think our experience is similar.  I spent several days with the diff trying to see how to get it in there.  Good times.

 

By now I'm mostly waiting on the DMV.

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