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Mike Meakin's Build

Latest build/workshop situation of #188

Having returned to the Bunker, I managed to complete the electrics but not without frustrating difficulty. Anxious to get on with the body panels (I'd left the front side panels off, for ease of access to the front foot wells and underside of the dash), I fired up the motor - a bit daunting, as having digital, electronic ignition, there's no accurate means of setting the timing, statically . You need the engine running to be able to set the timing with a strobe - a real Chicken-and-Egg scene. However, fears were unfounded; the motor ran, the oil stayed inside, the gauges worked BUT, no charge from the alternator. Hours of careful checking revealed a lack of "exciter" voltage at the brushes, but a chance mention in Motobins' catalogue "helpful hints" not to forget to connect the negative heat-sink earth (one of the upper mounting bolts of the BMW diode board) saved the day. A short length of cable with soldered-on ring connectors was fitted - excitement in the alternator! The ignition light now goes out just above tickover and the voltmeter shows almost 14 volts.

MM01 MM02

I'm happy with the electrics - lots of self inflicted 'diversions' from normal 2CV practise, basically anything drawing any reasonable current is switched via a relay. Dashboard switches have only a 'trigger' function - particularly the ignition switch. The key operates only the steering column lock and supplies trigger current to an ignition relay ( I have had problems with 2CV ignition switches in the past!). The system also allows for the headlights to function only with the ignition key "on" (so impossible to park up with headlights left on). I've shortened the 2CV lighting switch stalk (it's solid, with a ground-off flat to locate the knob, which simply pulls off) to allow more room between it and the flare. I've also used a second lighting switch, with only that horn push wired as a headlamp-flash trigger, again, shortened to match the other. All of the wiring is in trunking underneath the front hoop from both sides, then runs along a central 'spine' in to the "Leccy Locker" - basically a repeat of the nearside glovebox - to join the removable 'circuit board'. Tailoring each cable to the correct length, then soldering on the appropriate terminal was very time consuming. The wiring is therefore completely out of sight, protected by lots of fuses and relays.

Wiring complete, the next area for attention is panelwork. both front side panels are on and the flare constructed. Most recent work has been to trim the bonnet panel to size and shape. A large sheet of white plastic was most useful as a template - resilient enough to "form" over the contours, but can be cut with scissors. Forming the cutaways for the lamp bars was the most taxing, but enabled exactly the right shape to be reached, then transferred to the bonnet panel. On my car, I chose to edge all my panels in extruded aluminium - another self-inflicted pain! Because of this, edges have to be faired round to allow the trim to be formed along them. The aluminium strip comes 'half hard' in 1.8m lengths and needs annealing before it will bend at all - single curves are fairly 'difficult', compound curves - especially with changes of direction (like round the lamp bars) are 'super-difficult'. That said, the trim is about the same cost as the plastic "Gripfast", but adds particular rigidity to panels - and, IMHO looks a better job.

MM03 MM04

The bonnet panel is now trimmed to size and edged, ready for final contour-shaping and fitting of dzus fasteners, before final flatting down with wet-and-dry. Next task is trimming the cockpit edge (again with aluminium) and fitting the stainless, marine handrail over the rear deck (raises the seat belt fulcrum point - SVA is critical of the marginal height as standard - and gives passengers something to grab hold of when climbing in, rather than the fragile flare!).

MM06 MM07

The light at the end of the tunnel still looks a long way away!

Mike Meakin January 2008

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