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K11 Rally Car Build Diary

Mr_Wendel

Ex. Club Member
I thought I would start a new thread to document the build of my new gravel specification K11. If nothing else it will give me something to look back on to remind myself that progress, albeit slow, is being made on the car over the coming months.

Ask any time served car club anorak who has toiled away for months or years and invested all of his spare time and money, plus a bit more and then some credit cards, and they will say never build a car. Just buy one complete and go from there. It’s cheaper.

So with the mantra of ‘don’t build a car, don’t build a car’ ringing around my head I walked one hundred yards up the hill from my house to buy a car. To build into a rally car.

I have deliberately not set myself a deadline for this project. This is partly due to the fact I am very lazy and easily distracted, partly due to the cost of it and partly because I plan to disappear to the Alps in December ’09 to go snowboarding for six months.

Despite building a car previously, my mechanical skills are not great but I can be quite artistic at times so at least the car will end up looking pretty.

The rough plan at the moment is as follows:

1. Weld in roll cage, decent seats, belts, cut offs and fire extinguishers. I’m older and wiser now and it takes longer to heal.

2. Keep the engine and transmission fairly standard. I will fit a diff and a cam but that’s about it.

3. Get some decent dampers on it.

4. Spend some time making it look pretty by fitting carbon fibre door and quarter cards, braided hoses and wiring, flocked dash, upright hydraulic handbrake etc.

The very definite plan at the moment is as follows:

1. Do not make it wide-track. Do not make it wide-track. (This will be printed out and put on the garage wall).

I have a wish list of parts and I have a realistic list of parts so hopefully I will end up with a happy medium. I also have a ‘To Do’ list as long as my lanky arms and legs put together. I will try and keep this diary up to date, because I’m a bit geeky like that, and upload a few pictures along the way to illustrate progress, or the lack of it.

Having worked for a World Rally Team for nearly five years I have picked up a few tips about car preparation which I hope to employ on this build. These mainly involve using the right fasteners and materials to make the car strong, aesthetically pleasing and most importantly, easy to work on when I break it.

I also have some good contacts for parts, which I hope to be able to utilise to keep the costs to a minimum. The aim is to build the car for less than the cost of a front cross member for a Ford Focus World Rally Car. That will be £4,500.
 
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Mr_Wendel

Ex. Club Member
Here she is!

Admittedly, it is very gay but according to my girlfriend, every car needs a name. She took it upon herself to give the rally car a name and happily she chose one that sounds like a lap dancer. ‘Crystal’ is quite a racy name but my 1.0 L Nissan Micra is not looking too racy at the moment.

I purchased the car from a distressed owner. He had recently lost his job (it wasn’t me that sacked him, I got someone else to do that) and needed some beer tokens. As the old saying goes; ‘It’s an ill wind that blows nobody no good’.

I couldn’t really say no to the deal. £320 and a couple of crates of Stella Artois got me a rust and dent free, sunroof free, Nissan Micra in plain white. Rather fortuitously, the interior had already been removed and disposed of and it came with a load of bits too.

I got:

Crystal
A used OMP dished steering wheel
A brand new OMP dished steering wheel
An OMP steering wheel boss kit
An NME exhaust system
An adjustable front strut brace
A new standard airbox
A pair of alloy side mount seat sub-frames
A chip shop racer induction kit
A set of ignition leads
A spare throttle pot
A set of bonnet and boot pins already fitted
A carbon fibre co-drivers foot rest
A blinging alloy gear knob

I have a Peltor intercom and an OK / SOS board from the previous rally car so I am accumulating bits at a great rate of knots. In order to make space in the garage, I sold a pair of old seats, a set of harnesses and some old Cibie’s that I found and that has resulted in me turning a profit!


Costs so far:

- £100


Running total:

- £100
 

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Craig

Unofficial Member (Gold)
Club Member
The key is to have lots of small goals to tick off and keep it simple - where are you going to be competing it?
 

SuperUno

Buy & Sell Member
Sounds like us, we are about to head off into a Micra rally car build......

Collected a load of parts from Matt Humphris in Oxford who is very helpful and very very knowledgeable.... so well worth a phone call.

I should really start a thread for Murial (the name for our Rally Micra), named after the granny who owned the car for most of its life.

Good luck with it all.
 
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Mr_Wendel

Ex. Club Member
Better to be born lucky than rich...

Having got the car delivered from North Wales, at the expense of my previous employer, I have now had chance to have a good poke around it and write a jobs list. A list which is growing rapidly!

There is a bit of tin-worm on the car. It definitely needs a pair of sills and a new bonnet as both are rusty. And the front cross-member is rotten but this was due to be strengthened anyway as the sump guard will be mounted to it. Luckily I continue to be quite spawny when it comes to acquiring new parts.

Items I have added to my haul recently are:

OMP six point bolt in roll cage - £50
Set of Bilstein dampers with gravel springs - £300
Gravel spec’ alloy sump guard, with reinforcing ribs and mounting bar - £100
Electric 4 litre plumbed in fire extinguisher kit - £20
Pair of new sills - £10
Super S front bumper - £0
A sheet of nice thin carbon fibre - £0
A sheet of kaylan mud flap material - £0
Some bumper mesh - £

Ebay Finds
New Alloy mud flap brackets
New Momo steering wheel boss - £3.20!
Three alloy mountain bike bottles and cages to use as spare fluid bottles
Seat belt cutting tool
A tool roll
Air horns
Warning triangle
Smaller washer bottle to mount inside the car
Some grip tape and duel lock
Silver tape
About three hundred CD’s I never knew I wanted

Most of the large items have come from friends but the rest are solely down to browsing Ebay upon my return from the pub. Never a good mix but I appear to have been quite restrained and focussed!

I have made a start on the grim task of removing the sound deadening and unwanted brackets from inside the car. I have only removed three-quarters of the sound deadening from the interior but I now have a bag full of the material and it weighs about 4kg! I will probably scrape off the worst of the under seal beneath the car but under the arches looks solid enough so it will just be painted over.

Having removed the rear bumper, I also took off the rear bumper bar. I had intended to trim it down to lighten it but I think I will now make a couple of small brackets instead. This will mean I can mount the rear bumper using four easily accessible allen head bolts and some anchor nuts. It will make life far easier when it comes to washing the car following an event and for fitting a spare bumper when I have knocked one off.


Next jobs to tackle:

Finish scraping off the under seal and sound deadening
Finish removing unwanted brackets
Fit new sills
Repair and strengthen front cross-member
Seam weld body shell
Seal holes in body shell
Cut a million circles out of the roll of silver tape to cover the holes in the body shell
 

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Mr_Wendel

Ex. Club Member
The key is to have lots of small goals to tick off and keep it simple - where are you going to be competing it?

You're right. I have broken the list down into categories, with smaller jobs within them. Doesn't look so daunting that way.

I intend to do some BTRDA rallies, which are gravel events and held all over the UK, as they have a very well supported rallies for 1400cc cars. And you get to run first on the road before they get too ripped up by the tractors and 240 bhp Mk2 Escort's.

There are also a few other events on my to do list; like one on Epynt, Isle of Man, Ireland, maybe an event in Sweden or Finland if I win the lottery.

Sounds like us, we are about to head off into a Micra rally car build......

Collected a load of parts from Matt Humphris in Oxford who is very helpful and very very knowledgeable.... so well worth a phone call.

I should really start a thread for Murial (the name for our Rally Micra), named after the granny who owned the car for most of its life.

Good luck with it all.

I second that. Matt has been a font of knowledge so far and has provided lots of info. I am sure I will be buying lots of shiny bits from him as the build progresses.

I used to co-drive in an F1000 car that was called 'Mavis'.

Good to see a few rally people on here. Should be useful for exchanging ideas. Be good to try and get out on an event together sometime. But knowing that rally cars spend more time in bits than as a whole, that is probably unlikely!
 

Antony

Ex. Club Member
im assuming you have removed the chassis brace to fit buckets seats lower down in the car? if so im assuming also you are fitting a roll cage to add the strength back in again?
 
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Mr_Wendel

Ex. Club Member
im assuming you have removed the chassis brace to fit buckets seats lower down in the car? if so im assuming also you are fitting a roll cage to add the strength back in again?

Yeah. I will be welding seat rails which along with seam welding will probably be stronger than the flimsy brace that I removed. Co-driver will be sat right back by the B-pillar and on the floor to get the weight as far back and as low down as possible. My seat position will be similar as I am 6' 7"!!

I don't think the event scrutineer would be too happy if I pitched up at scrutiny without a roll cage! I managed to aqquire an OMP cage for £50, delivered too!
 
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Mr_Wendel

Ex. Club Member
I recently moved back to the Midlands, from North Wales, when I left the rally team. It was a little town called Ruthin. Great roads, no traffic, good pubs, surrounded by hills and countryside and about five minutes from the 'Evo Triangle'. I miss it.
 
OMP six point bolt in roll cage - £50

Thats a bargain (Y)

Always great to see other peoples builds. I compete in F1000 so i take it mavis as being Jamie Edwards' old car? Good luck with the build and i will be looking forward to the progress reports :p

I recently moved back to the Midlands, from North Wales, when I left the rally team. It was a little town called Ruthin. Great roads, no traffic, good pubs, surrounded by hills and countryside and about five minutes from the 'Evo Triangle'. I miss it.

Small world in from Wrexham!
 
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Mr_Wendel

Ex. Club Member
Thats a bargain (Y)

Always great to see other peoples builds. I compete in F1000 so i take it mavis as being Jamie Edwards' old car? Good luck with the build and i will be looking forward to the progress reports :p



Small world in from Wrexham!

Indeed it is. I have a job interview in Wrexham next Tuesday!

We had some good times in Mavis. Especially over Trawsfynydd! She nearly didn't come back from there a few times!

I did consider F1000, great entries and great craic and close competition but they aren't really the rallies I want to do and I would regret not giving myself another 277cc's!
 
I couldn’t really say no to the deal. £320 and a couple of crates of Stella Artois got me a rust and dent free, sunroof free, Nissan Micra in plain white. Rather fortuitously, the interior had already been removed and disposed of and it came with a load of bits too.

I got:

Crystal
A used OMP dished steering wheel
A brand new OMP dished steering wheel
An OMP steering wheel boss kit
An NME exhaust system
An adjustable front strut brace
A new standard airbox
A pair of alloy side mount seat sub-frames
A chip shop racer induction kit
A set of ignition leads
A spare throttle pot
A set of bonnet and boot pins already fitted
A carbon fibre co-drivers foot rest
A blinging alloy gear knob


Just read this, you got all of this for £320 !! Some people get all the luck !! :wow: Great find!
 
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Mr_Wendel

Ex. Club Member
Made a bit more progress in the last week or so. Lack of time (applying for jobs and going to interviews all over the country) and lack of money (no job) means that the bigger jobs may have to wait a while.

Frank came over last week and gave me a masterclass in ripping a Micra apart. Despite numerous rusty bolts, the engine and gearbox were both out within an hour or so. And he kindly took them both away with him as they would only have been cluttering up my garage.

Unfortunately I can now see the extent of the rot on the front cross-member, so that is another job for the list.

I also dropped the fuel tank out so now the car is essentially a rolling shell, so that I can still shuffle it in and out of the garage.
 

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Mr_Wendel

Ex. Club Member
I also made a start on the dashboard. I have chopped it down to the bare minimum. I was going to mould a carbon fibre version of it but it doesn't weigh a great deal now so I will smooth it all off, fit it around the roll cage and then it will be sent for flocking. This is about the sixth design change, but as I have started fibreglassing it together, it is pretty permanent. I just need to crack on with the fibreglass centre console and switch panel which I am going to attempt to make from scratch.
 

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Mr_Wendel

Ex. Club Member
I have also managed to remove the remainder of the sound deadening and the seam sealer from the interior. A messy, smelly, time consuming job but one that is well worth it. There are a few more brackets still to remove and a bit of seam sealer in some awkward corners but the majority is now done. I ended up with a bag of material that weighed about 5kg.
 

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Mr_Wendel

Ex. Club Member
I decided to assemble the roll cage and test fit it, mainly so that it looked like I was making a bit of progress!

The cage had no instructions but is only is about six parts so it shouldn't be as difficult to put together as I made it. As you can see, the dog was absolutely no help.

There are three bars, two equal length and one about an inch longer than those. You'd think the two equal length ones would be the door bars. Not so. That meant a big gap between the main hoop and roof bar. An hour, much head scratching and a couple of cups of tea later and I had it all figured out, marked up and ready to wrestle into the car. The dog just sat there with a look of contempt on it's face, wondering what all the swearing and banging had been about.
 

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Mr_Wendel

Ex. Club Member
Everyone says OMP bolt in cages are a #### to fit and it is definitely a two person job to get a cage into a car. I just about managed it on my own, despite getting a bit tangled up at times. After much wrestling and jiggling, I finally got it to sit somewhere near where I want it to. It fits quite snuggly against the 'shell. The main hoop is quite far back, almost behind the B pillars, which is good as I am 6 foot 7 so I need my seat low down and far back. Now I can see the size and shape of the steel boxes that will need to be fabricated for the cage feet to sit on. There is a bit of trimming still to do to get the dashboard to fit properly. But you can get an idea.
 

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Mr_Wendel

Ex. Club Member
Squarepants is right, I have taken the matrix and blower units out of the car. The dash will be smoothed off and then flocked. I want it to look a little like the one in an 05 Focus WRC ya see. A heated windscreen will take car of de-misting issues and a marine blower fan and some ducting from the top of the transmission tunnel will circulate a bit of air up the screen and around the cabin. Simples.
 
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Mr_Wendel

Ex. Club Member
Apologies for not updating the blog. It been partly due to the car just being sat in the garage looking sorry for itself, partly due to job hunting, partly due to then getting a job and not having much time on my hands and partly due to partying. Stag weekends, road trips, Glastonbury etc.

I promise to pull my finger out this month and get some metal welded into it and start to make some progress.

My Super S road car is looking like a likely donor car but I need to save a couple of quid for a replacement for that before I can strip the parts off it.
 
i know how you feel im currently building a micra for f1000 tarmac glad to see were going down the same road with sound deadening etc takes weight off my mind have you done the underneath off the car if not have fun thats even worse then the inside :p all takes time which unfortunetly when you take on a project for some reason everything gets busy good blog !!!!
 
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