Preparation

Two main areas here: garage preparation and tool shopping. Both more interesting and motivating than I initially expected.

Garage prep. has meant clearing out, freshening up in general, and exploring flooring options. While the walls and ceiling were an easy decision (white emulsion), the floor is a bit more complex.

I started out planning to paint it, then discovered paint does not handle hot tyres or repeated heavy use and point loads like motorcycle or axle stands. Epoxy resin paint seemed to be the way to go for a while, but the quality and robustness of the finish seems to be variable. The results seem to be quite sensitive to the application process or particular conditions of the floor. Also there are some good paints and some not-so-good. All in all a bit of a minefield, but better results than just floor paint.

Finally, I’ve settled on tiles. I’m looking at a couple of companies from the UK to supply the tiles: Ecotile and Plasfloor made my shortlist. Both companies were kind enough to send samples, pictures below.

Tile samples

Samples: Ecotile at the top, Plasfloor at the bottom. The clever hidden locking system of the Ecotile tiles exposed on the upper right.

Both companies supply tiles in a number of colours. Ecotile provided dark grey (left), black and light grey (right) samples. Plasfloor, dark grey and red.

Tile thickness comparison

Thickness comparison: Ecotile on top, Plasfloor at the bottom. It looks like the Ecotile samples were cut with a jigsaw.

Ecotile also supply in a number of thicknesses and recommend 7mm thickness for garage floor use. The alternative Plasfloor tile is 4.7mm thick but claims to be harder wearing. Plasfloor wins the cost race: £15/sqm compared to £25/sqm for the Ecotile.

I’m still deciding.

Tool-wise, I’ve invested in new metric and imperial ratchet spanners, a decent jack, axle stands, a thread tapping set, a multimeter and a battery charger with trickle mode (partly to rescue a discharged battery, unsuccessfully, but also to trickle-charge the Caterham when it’s inactive in the worst of winter). Still to come are a nice tool cabinet and an engine hoist. I’ll either keep the hoist after the build for the inevitable onset of upgrades, or look to sell it on to someone. I don’t fancy hiring one, not really knowing how long I’ll need it for. And, my reasoning goes, by the time I pay for a weekend, I can have one for good for about 2.5 times the price. Much of the other stuff I’ll need like a torque wrench and sockets I already own.

I’m starting to run out of stuff to buy and I still have four months to go. I don’t think I can make the painting and tiling of the garage floor last that long.

2 thoughts on “Preparation

  1. Hi Rob, I too am looking to get my first caterham next year once my extension has been planned and budgeted for. Like you have my heart on the 360 but still agonising over the pack and spec choices.

    I visited them in Crawley and had a test drive and was smitten. Now I have hired a 270s and 270r sv on consecutive days in August to help me make up my mind on chassis choice, I’m 6’1″ and right on the border line between chassis I feel. Did you try both chassis before plumping for the SV?

    Look forward to seeing how you get on.

    Darren (south east of Engaland)

    • Hi Darren.

      I hired an SV to see what it was like, but only sat in an S3 to compare. It was a chilly April day and I had a couple of windproofing layers on, and I’d just got out of the SV. I felt the S3 was far too snug for me to be comfortable for a long period of time.

      That was enough for me to go for an SV, with the added attraction of slightly more boot space, slightly larger fuel tank, but without compromising the experience. As I’ll be mostly driving it on the road, these things matter more to me than the difference in weight or the adherence to the original design which is important to some.

      At 6’1″ (pretty much the same as me), have you considered the option of lowered floors for either chassis? A little extra headroom or protection from the windscreen, and a lower centre of gravity. It just might make the S3 work for you, or be a bonus in the SV.

      Enjoy choosing – please let me know what you pick.

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