After all the toing and froing of the leaking gearbox dilemma, I think it's sorted! No leaks (yet) on my garage flooring, so it's happy days once again... So... I decided to take the Caterham to work on Friday to enjoy the weather before the heavens opened for a miserable bank holiday weekend's worth of rain!
The car was all good and running well. Not the longest of journeys, but good to get out again, as it has been a while... I think nearly two months! At the end of the day and time to leave, I had a few things still to finish off, at which point my business partner came up and said he'd crashed into my car whilst reversing out of his space - I thought he was joking as he's the type to muck around like that...
Anyway, it wasn't a joke and yes, the car had some damage! I didn't freak out (which was surprising) as it looked worse than it was... Lee (my business partner) was very apologetic as you'd expect etc etc, and I assessed the damage. I'd say it looked more like a 'slow clip' of the wing than serious damage and it appeared that the rivnuts had been pulled from the skin behind the wing, with only the exhaust mount being a little bent. I taped the car up with some low tack tape, and drove it cautiously home.
|Caterham with taped wing after a minor incident with an X5!|
I had some karting in Llandow to attend to over the weekend, so it wasn't until this morning that I could fix the car.
So onto my guide for replacing a wing and refitting rivnuts
I've put this guide together for my car (an R500 Duratec) please read the full guide before you start, and note there may be variances between the vehicle you are working on and this guide.
As a number of people had advised me in the past, Caterhams are quite susceptible to losing their rear wings... On track days, hitting cones and business partners reversing into them in their X5's! Some people have suggested using plastic screws to hold the wing in place, which means the plastic screw snaps cleaning removing the wing from the rivnuts - which is great for racing, but not so practical on the road as you could do more damage to the paint on the wing (when it hits the tarmac) than the wing just pulling the rivnut away from the skin of the car. So I've decided to stick with the metal screws.
Firstly, get yourself a large coffee and a bacon sarnie - a great way to fuel yourself for a couple of hours in the garage!
|BLT and Costa before the rivnut refitting|
|Wing pulled away from the body, wing piping lose and askew exhaust.|
What you need to do to get started is get the wheel off. So using one of the rear jacking points (I put the jack on the cross section underneath the fuel tank), jack the car up sufficiently to remove the wheel. Put an axle stand in place if you need to, but I trust my jack as it has a locking mechanism.
Then remove the rubber grommet (left of the picture below) and you should be able to pull the light connector block through the hole and separate the two connectors. Then using an 8mm spanner loosen all ten fixings for the wing - start at the bottom and finish at the top, so the wing doesn't fall away from the car unexpectedly and cause further damage.
|Remove all ten wing fixings, from top to bottom and remember to disconnect rear light wiring.|
|Wing removed, five rivnuts pulled through body skin.|
|Underside of wing intact, testament to the strength of carbon fibre over GRP wings|
|Very slight crack in leading edge of wing|
|My bodywork repair contraption|
The skin of the body is very soft, so using my 'hammering contraption' I very lightly tapped the protruding body skin back to it's original state.
|Rivnut holes tapped back to their original state|
|Threaded rivnut insertion tool and 5mm aluminium rivnuts|
Having never used a threaded rivnut insertion tool before, I had to read the instructions! It's really easy to use once you get the hang of it. Open the handle, put the correct sized mandrel and collar into place, and screw the rivnut onto the end.
|Threaded rivnut insert tool with 5mm aluminium rivnut ready to go|
|The first rivnut goes in|
|Leading five rivnuts replaced|
|Wing replaced, rubber piping in place, and rear light reconnected.|
I also had to remove the exhaust, slightly bend the exhaust bobbin mount back, and then refit the exhaust to finish the job, but the wing is now secure and looking like new again.
|Rivnuts refitted, wing securely fastened, with exhaust re-alligned too - job done!|