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Learning how to build Lotus Seven replicas...together!
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PostPosted: June 7, 2014, 3:12 pm 
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Joined: June 12, 2012, 8:40 pm
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Location: York,Pa
Sunday, March 30th

I gave up yesterday after finding all of the leaks. I ground the corner welds with a die grinder. It was too big to really get down in but I thought it might be enough. The next leak test had five corners leaking. I gave up again

Monday, March 31st

Too disgusted to work on the tank.

Tuesday, April 1st

I started grinding each corner with the die grinder. When the grinder couldn’t get close enough I switched to the dremel. This is slow going. Once the corner is properly shaped, any low spot is rewelded. Then more die grinder and dremel work. This will take forever.
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Thursday, April 10th
I was down to three leaks last weekend, testing tonight left me with just one leak. I am so sick of this tank. I hope that I can get the last leak fixed then paint and install the tank.

Sunday, April27th

Finally, the tank is leak free, fully assembled and ready to go in the car. I was tired when I painted it so it’s not really a good job and no picture but it is DONE.
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Tuesday, April 29th

I finished the installation today. I tried to start the car only to have the headlights come on as soon as I hooked up the battery. This is new. It must have something to do with my unwrapping sections of the wiring harness to add the tank sender wires. I had to wire the headlights differently from the Mazda manual as I am using the old style headlights. I have heavy gauge wire running to the headlights from relays that I added. The modified Miata wiring harness took two months to strip and get right. This will not be fun to fix.

Tomorrow - Electrical fix

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PostPosted: June 8, 2014, 10:14 am 
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Joined: June 12, 2012, 8:40 pm
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Location: York,Pa
Thurday, May 1st

I traced the problem to the high beam relay. When I pulled the relay out and checked to see if there was current going to the low side, there wasn’t any. That was good since the switch was off. I plugged the relay back in and everything was fine. I hate electrical stuff. My Locost sits next to my Mini so maybe Joseph Lucas was playing tricks during the night.

The inspection guy looked at the pictures that I sent and said that they all look good except that I need to have the boot covered. I had planned to make a tonneau for it but not right now.

Friday, May 9th

Tonneau is a no-go. My wife’s heavy duty sewing machine will not handle the material that I bought. On to the backup plan, a hard cover. I will use the same hardboard that I made the interior panels from then cover them with marine vinyl from Jo-Anne Fabrics. I’ll make the trunk box from the same hardboard and cover it in the carpet that I used on the floor. I’ll screw the cover parts into the trunk box to make it one piece when installed. Not as nice as the tonneau but should be OK.

Sunday, May 11th

I wanted everything to be done by Monday morning so I could arrange for the rollback but the box is taking longer than I can work. I’ll finish it Monday night and get the rollback for Tuesday.

Monday, May 12th

The weather forecast for this week is rain starting early this evening and on and off all week. They will keep my car inside so once I have it there things will be fine. I decided to call for the truck this morning even though the trunk box wasn’t done. The cover is in place so it is inspectable. The service manager, Dave, looked over the car and my document package. He said the car looks good and that the people in Harrisburg will be happy with how organized all of my receipts and forms are. He thinks I’ll get through the system all right. I hope so, PennDOT is not known for being easy to deal with.
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Oh, and that comment about Joseph Lucas two weeks ago was nearly right. As we loaded my car onto the rollback the driver spotted a coolant leak that wasn’t there the last time I drove the car. My Mini has a small coolant leak that I have never found. I have replaced the hoses, radiator, pump and thermostat and it still has a leak that comes from nowhere in particular. The locost is leaking from the lower radiator hose clamp so that will be an easy fix. Still it was uncalled for and I’m sure the Mini had something to do with it.

Here is the bad Mini. Looks too cute to be a bad influence doesn’t it?
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Thursday, May 15th
Got a call from Dave telling me the car was done. A big storm was in the forecast so I had to scramble to get the rollback lined up and drive 40 minutes to the dealer. Everyone was very complimentary of my build and Dave said that my document package was the best he had seen. He said he gets people with a shoebox full of receipts. I had scanned all of mine, made up sections, made a spreadsheet and put it all in a report folder from work. The rollback pulled into my driveway 10 minutes before the sky opened up.

The total for part 1 of the title adventure is $474. It was $142 each way for the rollback and $190 for the inspection.

Thursday, May 16th

I drove back across the Suzy Q to Elizabethtown to see the notary. In PA the notary is the intermediary between the citizen and PennDOT. The one I’m going to has experience with the Specially Constructed Vehicle category so I stand a better chance of getting through the process with him. He caught a mistake that the inspector made on the form and sent me back to get it corrected. He then took apart my book and threw out about a quarter of it. I’m OK with that as long as my paperwork goes through first time. I picked him because he is supposed to know how it goes. Including drive time I spent almost 4 hours getting the paperwork submitted, that and another $457 in taxes and fees.

Monday, May 19th

I called Hagerty and talked to a person. She was actually pretty helpful and was not surprised that I had built my own car. She emailed me forms to complete along with a quote for $228 for one year of coverage. After reading the forms I think I can knock off $50 for the roadside assistance which is a duplicate of the AAA that I already have. I can’t send the forms in until the state sends me the new VIN number but at least I’m ready to go when the VIN arrives.

Tomorrow - Waiting

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PostPosted: June 8, 2014, 11:32 am 
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I drove both of my Specially Constructed cars to the inspection stations for both the pre-inspection (for VIN) and the final safety inspection. It was legal as far as I could tell from the regulations.

However, I did have Hagerty coverage for both of those trips. I won't drive without insurance on public roads for even 10' due to liability concerns. I convinced them to insure the cars with the "VIN-pending" both times.


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PostPosted: June 8, 2014, 12:42 pm 
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Having insurance on an unregistered vehicle doesn't allow it's operation on a public road in most States, but some may make allowances.

I've taken salvage vehicles to be inspected with a tow dolly here in GA. The inspectors put a hand on the hood of those they suspected as having driven to the station. If it was warm, they let folks sit there all day until it was their turn, then sent them away.

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PostPosted: June 8, 2014, 7:05 pm 
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Location: York,Pa
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I drove both of my Specially Constructed cars to the inspection stations for both the pre-inspection (for VIN) and the final safety inspection.


I wasn't brave enough to take a relatively untested car for a 50 mile round trip.

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PostPosted: June 9, 2014, 8:52 am 
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Location: York,Pa
Friday, May 30th

The package arrived with the legal stuff. I went straight to the garage to pop rivet my VIN plate in place. Unlike other states it is a do-it-yourself operation. Once I have insurance I’ll have to get the car reinspected to prove I have the VIN place in place and an insurance card. I also bolted on the license plate, filed the title in the Lotus file and put the registration in my wallet.

The VIN plate has to go high on the passenger side of the firewall.
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Saturday, May 31st

We had family over and everyone from my 83 year old dad down to my 8 year old granddaughter wanted a ride. The car sits too low in the rear with two people on board so I’ll need to raise it an inch.
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Sunday, June 1st

I had a quote from Hagerty that I got by calling. They sent me an email with lots of forms to fill out. I went on line instead and found that I could complete them there by using the quote number. It took about an hour to do it since I had to upload photos and a scanned copy of my Allstate insurance on my other cars. It reminded me of doing TurboTax.

Monday, June 2nd

A guy from Hagerty called and asked a few questions which dropped the cost down to $167 a year then he told me that I’d get an email in a few minutes with the insurance card. I went into the garage to start raising the rear suspension an inch but got very little done. I’d run through my energy for the day so I gave up.

Tuesday, June 3rd

I worked in the garage for half an hour before going to work (that place that pays me). The upper bolt on the coilover can’t be removed with the fender in place so not only do I have to take off the coilover but I have to loosen the fender too.
After work I managed to get both coilovers off and raised the spring. I put it all back together. Its now ready for a trip to the shop for inspection and alignment.

Wednesday, June 4th

The forecast is for rain today and tomorrow so I got an appointment for Friday. This is the last hurdle to being totally street legal.

Tomorrow - Final Inspection

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PostPosted: June 10, 2014, 8:41 am 
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Joined: June 12, 2012, 8:40 pm
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Location: York,Pa
Friday, June 6th

Finally, at long last today is inspection sticker day. The car has to be inspected again to verify the VIN number is in place and that I have insurance. I'm also going to get an alignment since I did the alignment using an alignment Sharpie (not a hide-a-Sharpie), a plumb bob and a tape measure.
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I had set all 4 wheels at 1 degree negative camber and 1/16" toe in. I nailed the toe in and was between 0.6 and 0.8 on the camber. The only thing that I had them adjust was the caster which was 0 on the left wheel and 4 on the right. The alignment guy really liked the Kinetic upper control arms as it was a snap to get the caster and camber changed.

I drove from the inspection shop to work, parking in the first visitor spot by the front door. It didn't take long to draw a crowd.

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Tuesday, June 10th (Today)

I drove around the neighborhood Saturday, getting up to 40 mph for a few seconds. Its going to take a while to get up the confidence in the car. I'm hearing all kinds of noises that turn out to be nothing. It has rained on and since then and is forcast to do that the rest of the week, so no more trips to work. I'm lost without my project car for the first time in over 5 years, its time to start the next one.

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