More updates, on babysitting duty tonight so good opportunity to sort through photos and get myself caught up. It's been a hectic few days, sorting out jobs on the Lotus in the odd 30min slots so progress a bit scatter gun but some pretty nice milestones have been ticked off and suddenly everything is coming together.
Still no progress on the AC pipe, but that can wait till last now as it can be the last thing I do before the clam goes back on really.
With the radiator shroud off the car, I could build up my stack of new radiators and plan out the modifications to the shroud before fitting it all together and dropping it back on the car as a complete unit.
The Pro Alloy kit comes with some brackets which are specifically intended for coexisting an AC condenser with a radiator and a charge cooler pre-rad. The only instructions that came say "these are unique on each side, so get them the right way around", with no guidance as to what "the right way round" actually is
The AC condenser also came with some brackets which were riveted on. It looked like these needed removing so that my charge cooler bracket could replace it, but I wasn't 100%. Luckily where instructions/documentation is lacking - support from Pro Alloy is fantastic, answers to emails within an hour or so confirmed that the AC condenser rivets needed drilling out and the brackets binning.
Once this hurdle was cleared, it was just a case of stacking the rads and figuring out how it all went together. Seemed pretty straight forward but no obvious clues still as to what the "right way" was. I figured I had a 50:50 chance so just cracked on.
The new twin pull fan setup came on a laser cut bracket which bolted to the top:
Next up I had to chop the connectors off the old fans and solder them onto the new setup. The polarity here will influence the direction of the fans, I did a test run with a battery and joining blue to blue and black to black blows the fans in the correct direction, but apparently the polarity and colour coding on the "car side" can be a bit random... some people report putting it all back together and finding their fans blowing wrong, so need to make a note to test this before clam goes on!!
The next step was to figure out where new holes needed cutting into the radiator shroud to get the extra hoses through. Made up a quick template using the original rad hose and AC hose outlets as a reference:
...which led to:
Unfortunately it was not destined to remain this tidy. I later went onto find that fitting the rads back into the shroud required a fair bit of angle and pivoting so the holes ended up enlarged by quite a bit. It would have been quicker and cleaner to just cut out a massive void to take all outlets, it's not like this shroud needs any real strength.
Fitting back into the shroud made me realise what was finally meant about putting the brackets on "the right way round" and guess what, I'd got it wrong. The summary is that the back of the radiator needed some bolt holes clear for fitting to the shroud, and they were occupied by a stud on the "wrong" bracket, so had to dismantle it all and swap them round.
The OEM rad is covered in foam strips to stop air from escaping round the sides of the radiator. I ripped those off and copied onto the new rads, and used some extra sponge to fills some gaps.
It's pretty airtight round the radiators now, better than the stock arrangement - every little helps but I'm not entirely convinced my adhesive will survive the heat/airflow stresses so it might all just fall off and rattle around behind my grill... we'll see.
Here we have a bit of a milestone, rads and shroud fitted back to the car!
I spent a bit of time reminding myself where all the wiring had to route to supply the driving lights, horn, light clusters, etc. The oil coolers aren't back on yet as they could do with a bit of tarting up.
Easily the most daunting part of the charge cooler install is running the coolant hoses down the sill. A few posts ago I posted the following diagram which had to options for routing:
I decided to go green because:
a- It's the most direct route, requires less hose and "gentler" bends.
b- It's the only route I could find first hand experience/advice on... so I know for sure it's possible.
The first thing to do was hack a hole through the side impact foam at the back. Luckily removing the sidepod provides great access:
You can see the foam in question, forming the "floor" of the sidepod.
I started hacking away at the front edge of it with an array of screwdrivers and chisels, and it didn't actually take too long at all.
The main issue is I didn't manage to recover hardly any of the dislodged foam... so it's down in the sill somewhere, but I imagine it'll work it's way out eventually through the "red route" of the diagram.... or stay there forever, who cares.
Once I proved to myself that two lengths of hose could make their way down into the sill (very tight), I started thinking about the strategy for pushing/pulling the hose through. I could either go from the front of the car and try to fish the hoses up through the hole in the foam, or push the hoses through from the rear and figure out how I get them out of the front later. I went for the latter.
Using some wire-fishing-pole things that electricians use to feed cables behind walls etc, I poked some string through to the front of the car, tied it to a length of hose and then got pushing/pulling. As it turned out, the string was pretty much useless and I did pretty much all of it by pushing. Eventually it popped through into the access hole in the cockpit. (no picture of this, but here's the end of my fishing rod for reference)
The second hose was a bit harder, as obviously the channel was now more congested but it really didn't take long. The biggest issue with this job was injuries to my hands... the inside of the sill is like a meat grinder with unfinished edges, bits of rivet, clips and potentially maybe even a rodent of some kind just taking chunks out of me any time I went in there.
The wifi endoscope I got at Christmas has really earned its place during this work, really impressed with it and wish I'd bought one sooner!
With both hoses 'available' in the car interior, I felt quite relieved - as this was pretty much the hard part done! The next/final part will be to drill holes in the front of the sill, fit the grommets and then try and poke the hoses up through them. The positioning of the holes needs to be well thought out, as I've got oil cooler lines and AC pipes back there and I need to both avoid damaging them, and find a route that I can use.
Couple of other bits of tidying up involved the brackets holding on the driving lamps, they really rusted away on my old Elise so required a bit more of a refurb but these were sound, so I gave them a quick coat of hammerite spray and will XCP them up once dry:
I noticed one of my lenses has a stone chip too, so might replace that before the clam goes on.
Next steps are:
- Get the hoses out of the sill and connected to the pre-rad
- Reconnect main rad once new jubilee's arrive
- Top header tank up and bleed out all the air. After disconnecting the HVAC, rad and a bunch of hoses I think I've lost more coolant that I first realised so might take some time
Once that's done, I can turn my attention to the rear of the car. Intercooler needs to come off (minutes of effort) and the chargecooler fitting with header tank. Before it goes on I'm going to lift my cam cover and check for wear on my intake cam lobes. This wear was a bit of a thing on some 2ZZ engines, no confirmed root cause but I later found (after selling it) that my old Elise suffered quite badly from this and it was the same 2006 vintage.
Oh, and finally between all this we bought a new daily:
Focus ST-3 Estate, baby is getting heavier and the car seat was getting more and more awkward in the back of the 3dr Civic. It's got a fantastic spec, gadgets everywhere (but the Ford SYNC satnav is awful). Nice to have a bit of torque back in the daily fleet too, after the Type R and Clio182 it was becoming a bit exhausting
182 is now also up for sale, hint hint.