Finally took the plunge and got the new Dremel out to cut out the holes for the lights. And as this was my first outing with the Dremel it was traumatic to say the least.
I tackled the headlights first because these were the biggest holes to cut out. My rationale being any error on my part would be easier to hide.
The first thing was to measure up where to cut the holes. The 170 mm diameter for the headlights had been scribed, but taking heed from other builders experiences with factory markings, I too took the path of righteousness and re-verified where the centre should be. To do this I called on my dormant "O" level geometry skills and made a circular template. Then I had to work out where the exact centre of the circle would be... So far so good...!!!
Am happy with this
The outer edge of the body, where the rim sits, was a bugger to determine as it rounded away from the eye, so the edge was not easy to define. Also, the rubber gasket was flopping around like a wet-wellie-in-a-thunderstorm, and any attempt of accurate positioning by sticking it on with masking tape was pointless. The 170 mm circular template cured this by firming and rounding things up. I also found the template of the gasket was helpful too. Taped the rubber gasket to the inner template and lined it up as best I could with my Mk1 eyeball... Looking good
Couldn't resist putting the outer rim on just to see what it looked like..... Not bad!
No drama yet so it was time for the real thing
I put a piece of masking tape over the factory centre mark and punched my own centre point through the template. This to allow me to "spot-the-difference." Which was less than a couple of mm.
Time to drill... But first I verified the diameter of the cut by practising on a piece of wood.
The holes cut quite easily and I was very impressed with the 'Dremel Circle Cutter' attachment. But I was not impressed with the 'Spiral Cutting Bit' as it worked its way out of the chuck more than a couple of times. I tried different rpm's but the same thing happened. So, in the end, I settled on 20,000 rpm [my original setting] and checked every 4-5 inches or so to ensure the bit wasn't drifting out.
Thirty minutes later there was GRP dust everywhere and two big holes in the front of my car... What have I done!!!
After clean-up I surveyed my handiwork, and I was as content as a newly qualified dentist having just [successfully] performed my first root canal... I had the mask, I had the goggles, I had a hight pitched drill, so I looked the part too... Maybe not.
Continuing... I offered the light bowl to the hole. Verified the adjuster hole markings and drilled them out and inserted the bowl... A very nice fit!
As the bowl was now flush with the body I could accurately mark where the self-tapping fixing screw holes needed to be. Five minutes later, five holes drilled and the bowl was securely fixed in... I might replace the self-tappers with bolts at a later stage, but for the moment they are quite secure so there's no point.
Tried fitting the rim but I couldn't get it to go back enough. This was down to the fact that the headlight adjusters were fully extended. They needed to be further back, therefore drawing the headlight more into the bowl. Initially, they were set about 1½ cm away from the bowl, so a quick adjustment with a screwdriver to just over 1 cm and the rim slipped over nicely to where it was supposed to.
Rim in place but then I had an issue with the retaining hole alignment, it was off by a couple of mm's, but a quick post on the ClubGD Facebook page and got it sorted.
Front light holes all cut-out, lights in and then, as if by divine intervention, the car got christened by a heavy shower; and I was quite pleased with the shine and the beading of the wax on the GRP.
Starting to look like a car now.
Can't do any more adjustments until I get the chassis, wheels and some power.
Sidelights & Indicators
Now for the six smaller lights i.e. 4x indicators and 2x brake lights. These were a different challenge as the centre-points had been drilled [for the four rear lights] but the circumferences not scribed; and on the front of the car, there were no markings whatsoever, just shiny gelcoat. And as these lights were smaller than the headlights I just taped the rubber gasket directly onto the body, "cross-haired" the centre and marked up where I had to cut.
Again, so far so good so it was Dremel time...
Drilled the holes to the specified diameter and... Problem. The light fitting would not go into the hole, so I whittled away with a circular file until it did. However, once in, it didn't sit flat against the body, it sort of wobbled back and forth like a see-saw. This was because the flat chrome light housing was not perfectly flat around the centre where the bulb holder was crimped in place. I checked the others and they were all similarly a little distorted. And with this, I concluded that the manufacturing process, where the bulb holder and female 'gnd' terminal had been crimped in place was the caused of the distortion. File time again and I enlarge the hole by a couple of mm to allow for the distortion. Problem solved... Not happy but progressing nicely.
Repeated the process for the second light, and as I was just about the cut the notch for the female [grd] lug, I had a niggly bad feeling about something... So I stopped and had a think. And it turned out that the lug on second light was in a slightly different position to the one on the first light. i.e. it was off centre by about 5-10 degrees.
Checked the other lights and they were all different. So, not wishing to bend the crimped in sockets to a standard position for fear of loosening them, I notched each hole individually for each light..... I know they are not expensive lights but I had expected manufacturing consistency.
Before the final fitting of each light, I cut a couple of notches in the rubber gasket to enable the brass retaining bolts to sit better against the body. Again, I could have just tightened up, but I didn't want to unnecessarily stress the light fitting by drawing the lighting unit to the body. A well worth piece of adjusting and well worth the effort. All the lights are now flush fitting and centred correctly.
Side Repeater Lights
Verified the position and marked and drilled the 20 mm hole. No drama here and a very neat job.
Fog & Reverse Lights
Fitting the fog and reverse lamps was interesting. I wanted the lens screws to be horizontal to match the brake and indicator ones, so some drilling of new holes was the order of business... I also replaced the 'welded-in' bolts (in the light housing) for regular bolts. These were quite easy to remove as they are just spot welded onto the thin metal plate.
I attached the light housing and the metal offset 'as one' to the body, using longer bolts (45 mm.) I also made a couple of angled spacers to support the top bolt thereby keeping everything straight and to prevent any slipping or loosening of the fitting though vibration or temperature variation. Without these, the whole unit would be prone to coming loose as the fixing surface is underslung and smooth and very contoured. The under-hang and shiny surface does not make for a firm-fixing medium.
I placed the lights 21 cm from the centre-line of the boot; and 2 cm down from the lip. Also, I had to do a little bit of filing on one of the offsets as it didn't contour nicely to the body.
IVA is quite specific about the placement of these lights as they have to be at least 250 mm high and the fog lamp cannot be closer than 40 mm to the brake light. Attached the lighting units using some rubber ‘U' beading to protect the bodywork; and I have to admit they look quite neat.
Rear reflectors are a requirement for IVA but I decided not to drill the bodywork and interfere with the gelcoat; primarily because I couldn’t decide where to put them. So a mounted them on a couple of aluminium brackets (painted black); and they were secured using the brake lights as a pressure-fixing point… And I have to admit they look quite neat there.