Project EXI

The building of a Marlin 5EXi kit car, using a Seat Leon 1.8T 20v Donor

Tue May 29 13:53:57 BST 2012

Wheel arches....update

Now the fiberglassng has gone off, and early testing shows the wheel arches not to be a problem anymore, I have filled and sanded the wheel arches into a fairly pleasing shape. It makes the rear end of the car look more beefed up than the arches before.

Mixed up some GelCoat and generously applied to both sides. Once cured, I mixed up another batch of GelCoat and applied again, to give a good thick layer of gelcoat. That can be sanded, and polished failry easily.

Started the sanding of the gelcoat, this process is going take along time. Once cured the gelcoat remains a little sticky, this cloggs up sand paper very quickly. Once this has been removed, the gelcoat is tough barrier to sand. I have about 80% of the gelcoat sanded now, just a few small difficult to sand areas left to go, and one area to patch as the fiberglass is visable through the coating.

Posted by Steve | Permanent link | File under: bodywork

Wed May 23 11:56:05 BST 2012

Modified wheel arches

Now the larger 17" rims can fit and be fully compressed, it was time to add smoe fiberglass back to the rear wheel arches.
Using the 17" wheels as a template (Fully jacked up with spring removed) I used some cardboard box to make a template, it took a few attempts to get the shape. Covered the cardboard in sellotape, must be branded sellotape and not a copy. There is a particular chemical in branded sellotape, that fiberglass resin wont stick to.
Cut out some fiberglass cloth, mxed the resin and applied it to the template. About 2 or 3 layers thick, and the outside fiberglass job was complete

Removed the rear clam shell from the car, laid it on the ground upside down, and then put 2 layers of fiberglass onto the inside.
The clearence for a fully compressed 15" rim should now be about 1" and a 16" rim should be about 1/2". Plenty given that any suspension that hits the bum stop isnt setup correctly.

At the same time I also added two new rear springs. 8" long and 450lbs spring rate instead of the Marlin supplied 7.5" long and 300lbs spring rate.
These seem to suit the rear weights of my 5EXI much better, and allow greater control on the ride hide, and reduce the osicllating bounce I was getting previously. The 300lbs springs had were fully pre-loaded, and had no room for movement.

I took the car on a test drive, and still have a small problem with the front headlights. When the front left wheel is under load, and steering lock applied, such as at a roundabout. The tyre is catching the back of the headlight mount. With both the new headlights (that went through IVA) and the orignal angel eyes. That were fitted throughout the build. Watch this space as I work on a solution!!!

Posted by Steve | Permanent link | File under: bodywork

Wed May 16 11:21:57 BST 2012

The cutting continues


I have now cut away both sides of the rear wheel arches, leaving some large semi circular shaped holes in the rear bodywork.
The oversized 17" rim and tyre from the donor now fits and can the suspension fully compressed so it sits on the bump stop. I will remove some more material around its edge in due course, so that I could fit this sized tyre if I ever wanted to, there is not much chance I will want to, as it does look huge on the car. (Never say never)
I have started the cutting out on the left handside, need to remove some more material from front edge, as its fouling the wheel arch rim.
Off to collet some fiber glassing materials tonight afer work from a local fiberglasser.
chopped strand
resin & hardner
gel coat & catalyst
Once the prep work on the current wheel arches and holes is complete, I can fiberglass, fill then re-gel coat the new extensions.

Posted by Steve | Permanent link | File under: bodywork

Mon May 14 10:08:16 BST 2012

Ooopss. Wheel Arch problem


I managed to take the car out again over the weekend. Its longest single trip to date. About 30miles all in all. There are some problems that need addressing!!!
Perhaps the biggest problem is the rear tyres fouling the rear wheel arches. Under load (e.g a roundabout) the shocks compress and the tyre fouls the arch. Allow this to happen long enough and smoke comes of the tyres, and cuts the wheel. This is seriously bad.!! So on sunday I set about lookig into what can be done to fix this.
I started by jacking the car up and putting it on axle stands. I removed both rear springs, and used a trolley jack so I can raise and lower the rear wheels to simulate compression. One the bumb stop it is apprent that rear wheel arches are way too low, sanding away from the inside of the wheel arch, to cater for full travel on the wheel, the wheel needs alot more travel.
I have had to cut a hole in the top side of the rear wheel arch, to accomodate the wheel. As I am having to re-do the rear wheel arches, it makes sense this time to allow a larger diameter wheel to fit in the space. I will use the orignal 17" seat leon rims and tyres, as a template. I may decide to fit 16" rims at a later date, but using my current 15" rims in the space of a 17" rim will give a good inch or so clearence in all directions.
Its a shame that I didnt think of this before, but a simple oversight, I should of removed the springs from the rear, put the rears into full compression, and then formed the wheel arches.
See the photos in the build diary for some of the photos, of the problem and the solution.

I have also seen that the 300lb rear spring is fully compressed. The shock is fully wound up, this is indicating to me that the rear spring rate is too low. the current spring is 2.25" ID, 7.5" long and 300lbs rate. I have bought some 2.25"ID 8" long 450lbs springs to try as a replacement. The maximum length spring that can be fitted is 9", so 8" would be about right. 7.5" long springs are kind of an odd size.
The big difference in spring rate is probably down, the heavy rear end. I have a 6 speed gearbox, which would add alot more weight. I am guessing that previous Marlins, say 1.6 Rover engine and 5 speed box, may be fine with 300lb spring. for £50 delivered, I can experiment with spring rates to find the optimum setting for my particular car. The 300lb springs on the front seem firm, but doing a good job.

Posted by Steve | Permanent link | File under: bodywork

Sat May 5 17:12:44 BST 2012

Adding the passenger footrest

Now the first drive is done, I can concentrate on making the car work properly. First thing is to make it a bit more easier for a passenger. Last time I sat in a Marlin, moving at speed, I was a passenger and one thing I noticed that under braking the only thing keeping you in your seat was the seat belts, there was nothing for you too push back in your seat by using your feet. So it was obvious that passenger foot rest was needed.

I bought one from Car builder solutions sometime ago, but didnt fit in case I got into problems with an IVA, so all that was needed are two short lengths of aluminium flat bar, bolted to the footrest, which is then in turn bolted through the rubber floor matting to the chassis floor pan. Large penny washers spread the load, this should be fine, given the floor pan is securly rivetted to the chassis. Penny washers used above the floot matting also help with spreading the load.
Will keep an eye on things as time goes on, but the job looks a good one to me.

Ordered a pack of 380R bulbs from Ebay. £3.90 for 10 including shippig, given they seem difficult to find in shops a few spares on the shelve will be handy.

Posted by Steve | Permanent link

Sat May 5 12:45:22 BST 2012

First drive

Just got back from my first road legal drive :-)
All I can say is WOW, this car accelerates like nothing I have ever driven before. I pulled out onto the Basingstoke Ring Road, floored it and got pushed firmly back into my seat. I had to work through the gear box very quickly, next thing smoke is billowing out the back of the car !!! Fortunatly I knew straight away that the exhaust wrap recently placed to protect the fibreglass was bedding in, and burning off its oils. Phewww

Did a few laps of basingstokes ring road before heading back home with a grin across my face.
There are a few shakedown problems that need to be corrected.
Nearside stop/tail bulb fell out, and smashed. A new red 380R bulb needed.
Rear wheels hitting the underside off extended rear wheel arches. Need to remove some fiber glass from the underside, and/or reduce depth of wheel spacer to bring rear wheels, nearer the chassis

Posted by Steve | Permanent link

Sat May 5 08:31:24 BST 2012

Number plate fixings

Before I can take the car out onto the road, I have to fix the number plates to the chassis.
Staring with the rear 9"x7" square number plate, this was fairly straight forward. I reduced the size of the aluminium plate I made for this purpose down to slight smaller than the number plater, drilled 2 holes through the number plate, secured with colour caps and bolts and self adhesive sticky pads. Secured it all to the chassis.

The front was just as easy, this time I removed the aluminium panel and used the right angle brackets directly onto the front number plate. I may go back and decide to fit the aluminium panel again later.

Posted by Steve | Permanent link | File under: iva_and_registration

Thu May 3 13:45:21 BST 2012

Registered !!

The car has just been registered :). Once I get the number plates made, and put on the car, I can go for the first drive!!!

The reg is WA12 *** (Im not giving all the number out on the net)

Posted by Steve | Permanent link | File under: iva_and_registration

Wed May 2 08:42:45 BST 2012

The car is back home

But some fortune Marlin were able to bring the car back to me this week. Thanks guys. Now the IVA is out of the way, the car needs registering, hopefully that process will happen today, then I get some number plates made up and go for a drive.

Even thou it is now road worthy the list of tasks still to do doesnt stop growing. There is alot of body work refining left to do.

The custom hub-centric hubs that were custom made by a neighbour were a fraction too tight, and over time one become stuck in the wheel. They also didnt allow for self centering of the wheel on the hub. So these have been modified, 0.5mm removed from the inside, and 0.5 mm removed from the outside the wheels now fit over the hubs smoothly without binding, so I hope this fixes the self centering of the wheel.

Posted by Steve | Permanent link | File under: iva_and_registration

Fri Apr 27 16:15:43 BST 2012

IVA Passed !!!

After the headlight fell out on the 1st re-test the car went in for its 2nd re-test today. And thankfully this time it passed. Getting the the IVA has not been as plain sailing as it might of been. I was expecting it to fail the first time, but not the second. Oh well. Its a tough old test to get through.

Now that it has passed just have to get it registered with the DVLA. Get some number plates made up and hopefully, by the May ban holiday weekend, it should be on the road, and the sun will come out

Posted by Steve | Permanent link | File under: iva_and_registration
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