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GBS Zero Pinto to Duratec conversion


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Bit slow this week with work being busy and waiting on parts.

2 bits have turn up.  The first I the blanks for the old injection holes.  Nicely machined aluminium blanks that tap in and are secured with a bit of red loctite.  



They fit in a particular way which is why one side has the black tick.

Next item to arrive was the new oil filter.  This new filter is tiny.  It is only 50mm deep which will fit nicely in the 70mm gap I have.

I stole the idea from Caterham but tracking down the correct item was not easy!  It turned out the item is a FRAM filter.  The part number is PH2874 and the cheapest place I found selling the was Burton Power.  



Next job will be sorting the coolant hoses. The parts should arrive in the next few days so a bit more progress can be made.

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So, thanks to a useless parts supplier, progress has been slow the last 2 weeks.

Finally got the parts from a different supplier to allow me to get the coolant system fixed.


I went with a mix of silicone hoses and aluminium pipes.  Obviously went for black silicone for the OEM look.  The aluminium pipes i bought from a local supplier.  Good bunch of blokes and have a whole rack of off cuts that can be bought cheap.

Once the pipe was cut to length it all went together quickly.  It is only a coolant system and I considered not beading the end of the pipes but the last thing I would want is an annoying coolant leak, so going to do it the proper way.

I still need more of the 32mm pipe to finish it off but the oil cooler is done and it looks very bling!


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Next job this week was to fit the fuel pump and housing that Richy made for me.  I finally found a good reason for having a tiny fuel tank.  It means you can take it out of the car.


This made working on the tank so much easier drilling the 100mm hole for the pump.  I hole sawed a 32mm hole and then jigsawed out the larger hole.  I then fitted rivnuts for the plate to mount too


I then cut out a gasket from a piece of cork


 and dry fitted it all together.


What an awesome job Richy did.  

Whilst on the tank i made a new gasket for the fuel sender.

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The sender will be fitted in a slightly different position as the float was never on the right place and gave odd readings on full and empty.

Next jobs will be to fit the tank back in and then fit the fuel regulator/ filter.  Once this is located i can then run the fuel lines to the throttle bodies.  The wiring for the fuel pump will be left to when i do the ECU and other wiring bits

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The last few weeks have been slow progress but managed to make some progress.  

All of the coolant hoses are fitted.  The ends just need beading and a few brackets making but nothing major.

The new brake lines are all in.  Decided to go braided ptfe, for a bit of bling and ease of install.  This was one line to the front and then split at a T-piece to each of the front calipers.  The rear did the same and the clutch was just a single line too.

The fuel system was easy too as the duratec is a dead-head system.  The fuel pipe is out of the pump and into the VW fuel filter/ regulator.  I fitted the regulator close to the tank as this kept the return pipe short.  This now means I have everything in place except the ECU and wiring.  The ECU is on order and the job for this weekend will be figuring this all out!


The last few weeks have been a lot of head scratching with the new wiring.  I have to create a new set of circuits to make the new ECU & fuel pump work.  This involved 2 new 4 way fuse boxes and 2 new relays.  The fuses are for the new fuel pump, Coil pack, 2 sets of injector banks the ECU feed and the wideband feed.  The relays were a main relay for the ECU and the fuel pump relay.  I decided to have 2 4 way boxed so that i had a few spare ways if needed in the future.

This was all reasonably easy and wired in without issue.

The next step was to mount the ECU, which I did in the passenger side on the little shelf just in front of the relays.  This reasonably accessible but still nicely tucked away in a dry space.

I then set about figuring out what of the 35 wires were needed and which were not.  This then through up a second issue that the information provided by Trigger Wheels did not match what was in my hands!!  Luckily the wires are all labeled along their length as to what they are, but I decided to double check everything and ensure the wiring was sound in the plug.

This was all correct and with a few amendments identified what was what.  Jump ahead a few days and with Stuarts help (the Duck) he sent me a different microsquirt booklet and this was exactly the same as my ECU was wired. 

I decided to bundle the wires i would not be using and keep them tucked up out of the way.  I felt this was safer  just in case I ever need them in the future.  A bit like I did with the original wiring, I wired in the wipers and heater, knowing I would never have any of them, but they are their just in case.

I then set about wiring all the new bits together.  A nice touch from Trigger Wheels was although I only ordered the short loom, they supplied the longer 8 feet look.  This meant that every wire was long enough to reach its final destination.

With that all wired to locations i left the wires just laying loose on the car and engine, just in case anything needed to be moved or changed.  All the wires fed through the firewall with a bulkhead fitting what clamps around the wires are you tighten it up giving a seal to the outside.

The day then came that I had run out of excuses but to power it up.  Knowing nothing about ECU’s (or building cars in general!) Stuart (the Duck) popped over with his laptop to do the initial configurations.  Only a few small issues cropped up initially, but we finally hit a big snag.  The Throttle Positioning Sensor (TPS) was not reading correctly.  It had a wandering signal and would not calibrate.  We set this to one side and decided we were in a position to see if it would turn and start!  Awesome, the starter motor sprung into life, but no engine movement??  This then took about 10 seconds for me to remember that I had forgotten to fit the clutch and flywheel, doh!

We called it a night as it was already knocking on midnight on a school day and Stu had a good 45 minute drive home on top.

This left me 2 tasks to sort before trying another start.  1, check why the Throttle Position Sensor (TPS) was being weird and fit the clutch and flywheel.

I tackled the TPS first as this was going to be the easiest.  I tested the output readings in ohms to see if the sensor looked like is would be right.  As zero throttle i was getting 1.07 kohms, at ⅔ throttle i was getting 2.51 kohms and then at Wide Open Throttle is was getting 1.26 kohms.  This is not correct according to the Kawasaki manual, it should be a linear reading from closed to WOT.  I spoke to DanST who supplied the kit and he suggested this might be FUBAR, but to send it back, they would test it and replace if needed.  

In the meantime i got about separating the engine and gearbox so i could fit the clutch and flywheel.  The `lazy’ plan was to leave the gearbox in the car, pull the engine back enough on the engine crane so i could fit the clutch and flywheel and then pop it all back together.  This plan started to unravel as i tried to tighten up the flywheel bolts to 112nm.  With the engine swinging in the air it was not possible to stop the flywheel from spinning as I used a torque wrench.  The more I tried by more dangerous it started to feel.

Plan B, I dropped the engine onto the floor and then removed the gearbox, realigned the clutch and torqued the bolts.  I then popped the engine and box back together and called it a night.

The following afternoon, before our monthly RHOCaR club meet (27.3.2019) i had a spare 2.5 hours so though, let's get the engine and box back in the car.  Managed it in just over 1.5 hours and then reconnected all the ancillaries and wiring.  This is not prepared and ready for the first start.  This wasn't going to be today due to the club meet.

I also received a call from DanST to say that the TPS is broken and he was sending out a replacement.  This should be with me by 29.3.2019

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I had a quiet afternoon, so though I would see about a first start.  Stuart was on the Google hangout (it's what the kids use), so was able to talk and see the car through the laptop camera, but also was able to see the laptop screen to talk me through the final setup.  The last bits we needed to do was to configure the crank sensor, so unplugged the coil and injectors and hit the `GO’ button.  It spun and the engine turned and the laptop read the crank pulley for the missing tooth it needed.  What a relief, that the engine turned, that auxiliary belt worked and the laptop was then configured, minus the Throttle Position Sensor.  We connected the sense and 5v wires together to show the throttle as wide open and then manually configures the ECU to have a bottom and top reading.

The moment had come to see if it would start.  Stuart had loaded a very rough map based on a pinto to get it started with everything in terms of timing and fueling on the safe side.  I connected up the coil and injectors.  Stu hit the record video button his end for my laptop camera and I hit the `GO’ button.  It turned about 4 times and then a massive backfire!  Big enough to blow the throttle bodies off the inlet manifold.  They were just pushed on and not secured in any way, so was probably a bit more dramatic than it actually was.

Pushed the throttle bodies back on, swapped the HT leads 180 degrees and when again.  After about 3 turns it burst into life.  Made me jump and made a hell of a racket with only the manifold attached and no silencer, but she is alive!  I did a little garage dance to celebrate (imagine Chunk from the Goonies!).

I only let it run for about 10-15 seconds as it has not coolant in the system, but it proves is works and the oil pressure light went out, so one very happy boy.

The final step before final assembly is to figure out the alternator wiring.  I have from the original Premier Loom the warning light and the 12v feed, but the alternator connector has 3 pins.  According to the Brise website, this is for a sense wire.  I wired it as per the Brise diagrams, but i am not getting anything from the alternator.  The warning light is not coming on and I ran the engine again and it is not getting a charge.  I tested the bulb to rule out the obvious stuff, but the bulb is working fine.  I have put a post out to see if anyone knows how these should be wired as it is starting to feel like the home stretch is in sight.

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Good progress has been made this week.  Firstly the alternator has been sorted.  The original Fiesta St150 alternator is controlled via a PCM (Power Control Module).  This makes it impossible to use the original alternator in standard format.  With the help of my local alternator man we looked at 2 options.  Replace the internals of the Fiesta alternator with a regulator that will work on a kit car or fit an external regulator to achieve the same.  The second option is to fit a totally new alternator that fits the same bolt pattern, fits the space and keeps the belt run in line.  After a couple of days work, both options are possible.  The external regulator was the only option to keep the original alternator, so I opted for a new alternator.

Got this home and bolted up and fired up the engine.  Ignition light came on, went out when the engine started and showed a 14.4v output at the battery.  Very happy boy.

This meant that I am now onto the strip down, clean and final rebuild.  Dropped the engine and box out again (hopefully, for the final time) and made a start on the final works.

I started with the new panels.  The footwell end panel was the most complicated as it needed to fit around the new pedal box, master cylinders and steering column.  I had to do it in 2 parts but i think the end result turned out well.  (Please ignore the white protective wrap)


This will get riveted into place once the cleaning and painting has been completed.

I then moved onto the tunnel panels.  At the foot end I kept the panel on the outside of the chassis railed to give an extra 30mm of foot width.

As this came towards the tunnel i then brought this inside the car.  The plan will be to have the main panels removable. These will be held in with rivnuts and button head bolts. This will make accessing the tunnel for installing and removing the gearbox much easier and will also give me easy access to the propshaft bolts.

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The final bit of work was to remove the other engine cross brace tube.  This will stop the thermostat housing and dip stick making contact with the cross bar.  The new rail needs welding but i have just copied exactly how Westfield do their chassis.


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This weekend has been mainly painting!  Is it wrong that i like the smell a little too much?

Before the painting I welded in the engine cross brace.  This was just as awkward as the other side as the top and side is ok, but the inside, vertical and underneath is a pain.

Whilst waiting for the etch primer to dry on the chassis i made a start on the gearbox and starter motor.  I washed down the gearbox with some degreaser and then wire wheeled the whole gearbox and starter motor.  I then used some silver paint to brighten it up and it turned out OK.  The pictures make it look better than in the flesh, but when it is stuck in transmission tunnel it will do.

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Whilst these were drying i moved onto the engine.  Same process of degreasing and then wire wheeling.  The dremel has earned its place this weekend, but the tiny little metal splinters that throw off the tools are not fun.  They fling everywhere and stick in your clothes and skin!  Remember your PPE kids!

This all sounds very quick and easy, but the starter motor took about an hour to clean, prep and paint.  The gearbox took about 2 hours to do and the engine too about 2 hours just to clean and prep.

Painting then took about 2 hours as I did it with a brush.  This was easier than spraying as masking would have taken much too long and intricate.

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Again, the finish is not perfect, but it will do as after a few road trips it will be dirty in no time.

By this time the etch primer had dried, so I moved onto spraying the chassis modifications.  My main concern was getting a colour match to the satin black powdercoat.  The local paint shop who supplied the paint said it would be a very close match and they were not wrong.  It was an exact match.  I had already used some of the can on the battery tray that i made, to house the battery in the nose of the car.  As a result i ran out of paint and have a few dry spots, that will need a second coat, but the results so far look good.

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Next up, will be to finish off the painting on the chassis and then I can start putting it all together for, hopefully, the final time.

One thing I noticed was that i am going to have to make an adapter plate for the coil pack.  The mounting holes for the new Audi coil pack has different to the Fiesta ones.  A piece of aluminium plate should sort this.  If i get a bit thick enough i can recess the original bolts and tap holes for the new coil pack mounting bolts.

The big question at this stage is, will the car be finished and ready for Stoneleigh?  I only have 3 weekends left.  One is the Easter bank holiday, so should give me some time to work on the car.  The following weekend i am away and will not get any time on the car and the following weekend is Stoneleigh!  My confidence is not high on getting it complete, but we will have to wait and see.

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So the Bank holiday awaits, which means i will get 2-3 solid days run at getting the car rebuilt.  As a bit of a head start i got one of the little fabrication jobs out the way.  I made an adapter for the coil pack.  This would allow the Audi coil pack to sit in place of the original Fiesta version.

I chunk of aluminum and drill bit and a tap and we have an adapter plate!  The plate will need `shaping’ once i confirm 100% how it will fit on the engine and scuttle area.  The east i will do is take of the sharp corners.

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19-4-2019 (Good Friday)

Only managed a few hours on the car today.  The main jobs were to get the engine and box back together and then to get them into the car, hopefully for the last time.  The second job was to get the pedal box back in and make the short pipes what goes from the master cylinders to the bulkhead fittings on the footwell end panel.

The pedal box was easy enough to bolt back in place and fitting up the master cylinders all slotted together easily.  The pipe work went easy enough and the end result looked pretty good.

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This all went to plan but doing it on your own is never easy.  Finally gave in got my lovely wife to help, which allowed the engine and box to just drop in.


The engine looks lost in the engine bay!

It will get a bit busier when the battery is back in and the plumbing goes in, but that's a job for Bank Holiday Monday.

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Today was bolting on the engine ancillaries and sorting out the plumbing.

These all bolted back on without issue, all the clearances and the belt run is all back in position.  This took a few hours to do but was quite satisfying as it starts to make the car look more complete.


One issue I found was when i went to bolt the throttle bodies on the gasket supplied was incorrect.  I messaged Dan from DanST, at 7pm on a Sunday night expecting a message back Monday and within a few minutes he messaged back.  He confirmed that the gasket i had was for a CVH.  An hour later I had an email with confirmation the correct gasket had been ordered and was being posted out royal mail recorded.  The service that Dan offers is amazing.  All issues have been sorted immediately without question.  This is how a company should be run.  Dan said it was not worth sending back the CVH gasket, so this will be coming with me to Stoneleigh to find a new home.


The New gaskets arrived a few days later ready to bolt up.

I then moved onto the plumbing.  After mocking it up all wrong, i started getting all the new pipework runs in.

I managed to find a diagram of a duratec that is up and running and working.


I managed to reuse some of my old fittings.  I got the pipe run from the water manifold to the radiator top in 32mm.  I reused the old fiesta top hose as it was just the right S shape to connect from the aluminium tube that runs underneath the throttle bodies.

The bypass hose was the original hose as this fits nicely under the throttle bodies and close to the engine block. Then ran the 32mm hose from the thermostat housing to the radiator bottom.  The hose ran down and then parallel to the steering rack.  Again, I used the original fiesta hose as it fitted the shape I needed.

I am using the original fiesta oil cooler, so ran the 16mm hose from the thermostat to the oil cooler.  At this stage i didn't have the parts needed to finish off the plumbing.  I ordered up some new bends to run from the oil cooler to the expansion tank.  I ordered a new expansion tank, which has 3 outlets.  2x 8mm and 16mm.  This will bolt to the bulkhead.  One of the 8mm outlets will connect to the expansion tank.  The other will run from the other 8mm outlet to the outlet on the top off the radiator.  I have also bought a non pressurised radiator cap now i have the expansion tank.

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Once all the new parts arrive i can get the plumbing finished and test for leaks!  I have all new spring clips so hoping this all holds tight.  As a bit of bling i ordered the 8mm hoses in clear and will be running orange coolant fluid.  Saw this on a car recently that was running pink fluid and i thought it looked cool.  Worst case it looks rubbish and i change it all back to black!


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This week has been sorting more issues!  First part that went to plan was the coolant hoses all arrived and fitted up with the expansion tank.  The expansion tank is yet to be fully fitted to the bulkhead as that needs `sorting’  it's got more holes than swiss cheese.

Other and a few hose clamps the plumbing is done, so I moved onto the fluid reservoirs for the brakes and clutch.  They came with a bracket that fitted all 3 in a line, that would be perfect if fitted to the bulkhead.  This was the first issue.  When fitted it means that the hoses that run down to the cylinders would foul on the steering column.


The only real option was to move the reservoirs but where?  I started playing with ideas and decided that separating the brakes from the clutch was the best idea.  

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I used the supplied bracket and cut on of the mounts off.  These then just got riveted to the chassis rails just below the surface.  The plan will be, when I make the new panel for the scuttle shelf, that i can fit the panel flush and cut holes for the reservoirs.  I will make this panel removable so I can access the steering column, pipework and pedal box below.  The rest of the panel will be permanently fixed.

The next step was to fit the new propshaft.  Dave Mac made and supplied the new item, which is a great bit of kit.  When I measured the length i didn't take account of how I was going to fit the prop.  The diff end is sierra, so is just 4 bolts but the nose slides into the MX5 gearbox.  What i did not account for was that handbrake brackets are in the way.  This meant I didn't have enough space to slide the prop back, insert the nose and drop down to bolt up to the diff.  The only solution was to either drop the diff out, which means all the suspension and rear driveline out, or to pull the engine and box out about 3 inches.  I went for option 2 of moving the engine and gearbox and it all went back together with the prop in place after about 3 hours!

The next job was then to replace the reverse plunger that fixes to the passenger side of the gearbox.  I removed it whilst fitting the gearbox as i didn't want to damage it banging it on chassis railed etc.

After huffing and puffing for about an hour, I could not get it to fit!

I decided to take out the passenger seat and remove the passenger side tunnel panel so allow better access as i could not see what was causing the issue.

It turned out that the bulbous end sticks out enough to hit the vertical chassis rail.  After a lot of head scratching I came to the conclusion that the chassis rail needs to move.

As the rail was moved on the drivers side already, i just matched that on the passenger side.


Rail moved and ready for painting


All painted and the reverse plunger installed.

Just need to replace the panel and we are good to go.

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Not much visible progress this week.

I drilled out the old bulkhead as the original one had more holes than swiss cheese.


I will be remaking the panel, with a lot less holes.  It will have a small cut out for the steering shaft, but this will not be visible as there will be a cover panel for that.

The bulkhead shelf panel was remade too along with the pedal/ steering shaft cover.

These panels along with the new bulkhead panel will all get wrapped in carbon effect vinyl for a bit of bling when you open the bonnet.

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I then moved onto tidying up the wiring and routing.  Not much to see, but still loads to sort!  Once it's routed it will get wrapped in conduit.


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Not much progress this week due to work and other hobbies.

Managed to get the battery tray and pedal cover wrapped.  Turned out OK.  A few air bubbles in the wrap, so will leave it a few days and then pop them with a pin.


This week I will be remaking the bulkhead panel and wrapping this.


1st June 2019

Not been much progress in the last few as i had run out of a very important garage tool!  My bucket of motivation.  Luckily the club had a track day at curborough, which has given me a motivation top up.

Mostly spent time making the bulkhead and remaking the pedal box cover.  The bulkhead i just took a template from the old one and then trimmed to fit.  Easy enough and fitted nicely.  Managed to wrap it in the carbon vinyl.  I was starting to think it would look a bit too much but it isn't too bad and if I get bored I can pull it off and go for a different colour.


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The issue then came when I tried the pedal box cover.  It was all the wrong shape and size, so had to start again.

Version 2 worked much better and the fluid reservoirs fit up nicely.  I just need to wrap it to match and then fit using some rivnuts.

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I did some more work on the wiring but nothing to show.  This was just wrapping the loom and running wires to the desired locations.  Some of the wires will not be long enough, so will be extended and some need terminating.   This will just be a case of slow and steady!

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Got a spare bit of time today, so decided to wrap the pedal box cover, bolt on the fluid reservoirs and mock up the expansion tank placement.

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Turned out ok and have ordered some M6 rivnuts so i can bolt it down, but keep it removable for future access.  The chassis rail top will get some new trim.  I also ordered some cable tie bases so I can secure the braided hoses out of the way of the pedals.  Once this is done it will complete the braking system for now!  I have a set of mondeo brake calipers to upgrade the fronts.  I figure with the bit of extra power, the extra stopping power would not hurt.  This upgrade is on the reserve list of upgrades, so may end up being next winters project!

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Not been much progress over the last few weeks due to work commitments.

I did a to do list to get me to the finish, which looks like this:


This weekend I managed to get a few items ticked off.  The Spartan Wideband is in with just the sensor to be fitted into a bung in the exhaust.

I installed the little LED into the dash that flashes to confirm the state of the wideband, so i can monitor too cold, too hot or normal.  


I then started on the fiddly wiring jobs.  This was fitting the new steering wheel along with the 2 new buttons.  The old steering wheel was very small 255mm d shape wheel.  This was great until you are moving at speed as it made the steering a little twitchy and when parking, the steering is so heavy it needed changing!  I swapped to the 285mm version, which still feels good in my hands, so hope this fixes the little issues.  I also took the opportunity to add 2 new buttons.  The right hand switch is a momentary switch for the launch control and the left hand switch is for the map switch.  This will be potentially a `sports’ button, or might just be pops, bangs and flames button!



I then moved onto switching out the speedo.The reason for the swap was the original was a cable driven type and the new set up will not allow this to work.  The new unit also comes with lots of features that the old one didn’t.  The features include a trip counter, 0-60 and max speed.  Nothing i really need but nice to have.  The wiring is easy enough, as most of the wiring was already in the car so was just a case of reterminating the connectors.  I also added the speed sensor wiring too, which means all I need to do is fit a bracket and mount the sensor to read off the diff bolts.

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I started tidying up the under dash wiring, so a few cable ties and that should be finished.  I made a start on the fluid reservoir level wiring.  The first 2 went according to plan, but the 3rd is faulty and not working, grrr!!

The overall plan will be to add connectors very close to the lids as they will need to be disconnected to unscrew them.  I thought I had the connectors to make this work, but I was wrong!  I have ordered new items, so will get this finished once the parts turn up.

Next up was wiring in the fuel cut off switch, which was easy enough as it was only 2 wires that cut the fuel pump feed and the cam and crank sensors got wired in.  Again no real dramas, just cut the shielded cable to length and fitted the terminals.

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Had a few hours over the evenings, so thought I would focus on ticking off the speed sensor.

Needed to make a bracket to mount the sensor close enough to the diff bolts but rigid enough as the sensor needs to be within 2mm!

I tried to make the bracket out of some 3mm steel, but i couldn't bend it in the metal brake and smashing it in the vice did not give a good enough bend.

Next up was some 2mm aluminium.  This was thin enough to bend in the brake but strong enough to not flex.


I then fixed the bracket to the tunnel floor panel that is welded to the chassis from the factory.  I used M8 bolts and clamped it down tight.  Didn't want any vibration causing the sensor to make contact with the diff bolts.

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The next step was to fit the sensor so it is 2mm from the bolt faces.  Trying to find something that was 2mm thick to use as a spacer lead me to using a 2p.  It was pretty close to 2mm think!

The sensor just has 2, 13mm nuts, so adjusted to fit.  The net result is a sensor that i about 2mm from the bolt heads and rocksteady.

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Just the cable to tidy up and that will be job done.  Another item off the list.

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