This page is a collection of things I’ve learnt about any techniques and components to build the car.
Caphead – a bolt, but with a circular head instead of hexagonal. Instead of using a spanner, you use allen key to tighten up.
Chamfered – this is when an edge is smoothed out to a slope. Usually this applies to washers where you will see that one side of the washer doesn´t have an edge to it
Copperslip – This is basically grease mixed with powdered copper. Normal grease will melt at high temperatures, whereas this is heat resistant. You apply to bolt thread. Will also make nuts/bolts easier to undo for maintenance etc and provides some protection from weather
Crossthread – if you try to force a nut onto a bolt and the threads don´t align properly you can cut a nut thread. This is very prone to happening when a nut meets a bolt at an off angle. This compromises the nut/bolt and needs to be avoided. Best solution is to use your fingers to do the first few turns on any nuts/bolts before using tools to tighten once you are sure thread correctly aligned.
Econoseal – these are the plastic adapters that wires go into. Protects against water.
HSS Drill bit – HSS stands for ¨High Speed Steel¨ and typically refers to drill bits that are suitable for drilling through metal (as opposed to wood or masonry)
IVA – Individual Vehicle Assessment – this is the government test for new cars, similar to an MOT but a bit more in depth. You need to pass this for the car to get licence plates and be road legal. You can ‘present’ the car yourself and lots of builders do, however I can’t stand bureaucracy, so I got the dealer I bought this car from to present it for me.
Loctite/Threadloc – This is like glue for nuts and bolts. If you apply some loctite to the thread of the bolt and then tighten it will ‘set’ similar to glue. This means if you need to torque up a bolt with threadlock, make sure you torque it immediately, don’t come back to torque later.
Nyloc nut – this is a nut with a nylon insert which is a bit like using threadlock. When you tighten up the bolt, it will bite into the nylon. You shouldn’t reuse these or tighten/untighten unnecessarily. Blue insert tends to be metric, white insert tends to be imperial. Not used with spring washers
PBC – Post build check – once you’ve finished building you get the car checked over by the dealer you bought from, or Caterham themselves, before sending for IVA. The main point of PBC is to check the car is safe and to fix any mistakes in your build.
Plain washer – used to adjust spacing, to spread load from a nut/bolt on a softer surface, and/or to help make a rough surface smoother for nut/bolt. Large diameter/thin plain washer is used to spread load onto very thin material.
Spring/Split washer – this is a washer with a split in it, looks like a cross between a spring and a washer (hence the name(s)). Idea is that it should prevent a nut coming undone, because it digs into the nut so if there is any vibration, the washer will help stop it undoing the nut. Usually this will be next to a bolt or nut, then there will be a plain washer – ie a spring washer shouldn’t be coming into contact with the car body. Generally not to be used with Nyloc nuts, as with nyloc the nylon insert provides the resistance
Torque – this is doing up nuts to a certain N.m (Newton Meter) measurement. If you need to torque something use a torque wrench which you can set to a certain value and it will then click as you reach that level of ‘tightness’. When torquing up, ensure bolt is the correct length, if you use a bolt that is too long it may strip the thread on the bolt. Once you have torqued a bolt, mark the head with a spot of paint/torque pen. Also stop when you hear the first click on your torque wrench to avoid overtightening.
Trickle Charging – this is when you leave a special battery charger hooked up to your car battery for days/weeks/months while the car is not being used so that the battery doesn’t run flat in that time.
Not that I’m one for the boring stuff, but will do simple stuff. Use eye protection. If drilling or working with volatile chemicals use a face mask. When applying glue, grease and any other chemicals will use disposable latex gloves. Use work gloves wherever possible. If working with sharps use slash proof gloves.
Other rules :
- Don’t apply any tape to painted surfaces of the car for significant period of time
- Protect bodywork with cardboard/ bubble wrap and don’t be lazy about it
- Caterhams are constantly changing. That´s why the manual is often out of date.
- Check bolts fit before attaching relevant part. Holes may need to be filed slightly or drilled out.
- Be prepared to use force from time to time. Rubber mallet is very useful.
- Some powder coating will get damaged. You can go over it with Hammerite black paint
- Don´t expect everything to align. My car was frequently out by 1-2mm and it was incredibly frustrating.
- It will go together eventually, patience is key to making it work. Try to enjoy it, even when you want to put a sledgehammer through the windshield!
- Everything is hardest to do first time, with components with eg left and right, the second time is much easier
- You will make plenty of mistakes, try not to let them distract you and if necessary take a break after messing something up to avoid making it worse!
- It is easier to scratch and damage the body paintwork than you think – overprotect and think every action through before you do it to make sure you are not scraping against something.
- Don´t throw anything out. If you think you don´t need a nut/bolt/washer etc, I keep it in a freezer bag
- Purchased a load of small plastic boxes to put the fixing packs into (eg Pack A, Pack B etc). I then stack these on work bench and lot easier to grab what I need.