Ever since I had my car weighed, I've been on a bit of a mission to 'add lightness' wherever I can. After-all every gramme saved is a little more performance, and considering I'm not going to the gym right now, I need all the help I can get!
Having replaced the interior earlier this year with a full set of carbon panels, and my carbon'itis' well and truly settled in, the things that have been on my hit list are:-
- 12v socket holder
- Knee Trim Panels
- Fuel Pipe Cover
- Pedal Box Cover
Now I know I could just remove these parts, but I want to keep as much of my car as it is, but replace things with lighter versions, so after some considerable "no's" or stupidly high quotes, I found a company online (Ultimate Carbon) who seemed 'delighted' to take on the job.
The chap there, Bryn gave me a ring, we discussed the detail and the only real issue was I had to 'donate' my parts to the cause... I managed to overcome that problem within about two minutes of putting the phone down to him, as the parts were swiftly bubble-wrapped up, packaged and ready for the courier to collect!
|My donation to the cause - parts bubble-wrapped, and packaged ready for collection|
A couple of months later this photo arrived - my 'own' carbon parts, finished in matte lacquer and looking very smart indeed.
|My very own carbon parts - finished in matte lacquer and looking very smart|
12v Socket Holder / Fuse Cover - and manufacturing
Starting with the most awkward part to manufacture first, the 12v socket holder. Here is the mould in various stages.
Pictured below is the carbon mould and laid up component inside a pink bag which is a bagging film used to seal everything. The white material inside the bag is a breather cloth wrapped around the carbon component and resin which helps the air to be sucked out during at the vacuuming stage.
The bag with the component inside is autoclaved for three and a half hours at around six bar / 90psi at 130c to cure and bond everything together.
|Caterham 12v socket holder mould in it's pink bag as it came out of the autoclave|
|New carbon 12v socket after autoclaving, prior to halar release film removal.|
|Fresh out of the autoclave - my new Caterham Carbon 12v Socket / Fuse cover. Just needs trimming and lacquering!|
12v Socket Holder / Fuse Cover - weights
The original Caterham 12v socket holder / Fuse cover weighed in at 288g
|Original metal Caterham 12v socket holder / Fuse cover weighed in at 288g|
|Bespoke carbon Caterham 12v socket holder / fuse cover weighs 130g|
|Bespoke manufactured Carbon Caterham 12v socket holder and fuse cover|
Onto the knee trim panels - I guess the easiest (and cheapest weight saving method) with these is to simply remove them completely, but I find there's quite a lot going on in terms of wires in this area, so prefer to keep the knee trim panels fitted.
The two original metal knee trim panels were put on the scales and weighed in at 270g
|The two original metal knee trim panels were put on the scales and weighed in at 270g|
|Both carbon knee trim panels weighed in at 116g - less than the weight of one of the original metal versions!|
|Carbon knee trim panels fitted, showing excellent weave and great match to carbon interior panels|
The fuel pipe cover in the boot is again one of those parts I think you can just do without, but I like the neat and tidy look of the boot with the fuel pipe cover in place, so decided this part should also get the 'carbon' treatment!
Pictured below is the original Caterham fuel pipe cover removed from the car (just two screws hold it in place) and it weighed in at 154g
|Original Caterham metal fuel pipe cover weighs 154g|
|Bespoke Carbon Caterham fuel pipe cover weighs 86g|
|Caterham Carbon fuel pipe cover fitted in boot|
Pedal Box Cover
I think this was the part that set this whole project off in the first place... The pedal box cover... For some reason whenever I removed the bonnet it always seemed as though the pedal box cover should've been made out of carbon - well now mine is!
The original metal pedal box cover comes off really easily - just remove the eight or nine bolts and it'll lift pretty much straight out. The original Caterham pedal box cover weighed in at 310g.
|The original Caterham pedal box cover weighed in at 310g|
|Bespoke matte lacquered carbon Caterham pedal box cover on the scales weighs just 108g|
|Caterham Carbon Pedal Box Cover only 108g!|
Before I 'donated my parts' for such a good cause, I popped them all onto the scales to see how much they weighed. Surprisingly it was over a kilo, weighing in at 1.028kg
|Metal interior parts weighed in at a combined 1.028kg|
|Bespoke carbon parts total weight is 438g - which is a saving of 590g|
Having considered arranging a 'group buy' - which on the face of it seemed like a good idea... I just don't have the time to arrange this and answer the questions and so on related to it, so have decided it best to link to the ultimate carbon website where you can make your own enquiries directly should you wish to purchase any of these parts:- http://www.ultimatecarbon.co.uk/
Overall I'm very impressed with the fit and finish of the items, the weight saving is a bonus and I'd certainly recommend having them finished in the matte lacquer as it looks really smart, and compliments the .