Carpets, carpets, carpets.

After the excitement of the first start, it was back to the build, and a move into a new phase. All the big mechanical stuff is done now, but there are still lots of jobs to do.

Top of the list is the interior. In particular, the carpets. Most of these are stuck down using contact adhesive. It’s messy, smelly stuff, so a couple of tips on it’s use are pertinent:

  • It’ll go where you don’t want it to as it sprays in a sporadic and sometimes unpredictable manner. Don’t sweat it though, a wipe with WD40 will remove it before it dries.
  • Beware the fumes. Only spray in a really well ventilated space, and be cautious about working inside the car. The footwell in particular is tricky to work in. I left the garage door open while I was spraying it.

As per the manual, the bulkhead carpet is the first to be fitted, and the first part of that is the vinyl strip which wraps around the chassis cross-member. This has four threaded holes in it for harnesses, and as I will be fitting harnesses later, I decided I would cut the holes in the vinyl before gluing. This all seemed a bit hard to be starting off with, so I elected to fit the boot carpet first. This would also reduce the number of loose pieces of carpet considerably.

Boot carpet laid out.

Boot carpet laid out.

I stuck the smaller pieces in first, which go in between the chassis bracing at the front of the boot. Easy enough. I then fitted the side carpets, but struggled to get them down past the honeycomb boot floor, there just wasn’t enough gap between the bodywork and the floor. I elected to lift the floor and stick the corner sections before replacing the floor again.

The piece of carpet that goes around the fuel filler pipework needs to be cut (see top right in image above). I simply sliced it vertically from the circular hole to the lower edge so it would slip around the pipes.

The boot floor carpet isn’t glued down. I spent about 10 minutes fiddling with the cover for the fuel filler pipes before I realised it sits under the carpet and is screwed to the honeycomb floor. The boot carpet needs trimming to fit once this is in place.

Boot carpets in place.

Boot carpets in place.

On to the bulkhead carpet and that vinyl strip. My approach to fixing the carpet in place temporarily while I identified where I needed to cut the holes was heavy on the masking tape. Once I had the carpet held in place, it was obvious the vinyl was too wide – it wrapped all the way around the bar and then some. So, off came the excess and I stuck more masking tape on the underside near where the holes were going to end up. I then ran a pencil around the top of the holes, shoved the masking tape down onto the pencil marks and bingo! I knew just where to cut.

I used some hole punches from eBay to cut the holes – Martin from the CTG suggested this as a neat solution and it worked a treat. After getting the vinyl stuck to the bar in the right place, I folded the carpet up over the roll-over bar and coated the bulkhead and the underside of the carpet with the stick mess from the can. After letting it set for 30 seconds, I brought the two together rapidly getting the pieces under the inertia reel belts in place, then working from the centre out, ensuring there were no wrinkles in the carpet. I only glued down about 5 cm past the transmission tunnel. There is no point sticking it all down.

We aren’t done yet. Transmission tunnel carpets next, requiring the fixings for the seatbelts to be removed. These carpets are handed an pretty accurately cut, so it was a cinch to get them fitted.  The hardest bit was just being in the footwell with the fumes.

Floor carpets next. These didn’t fit – way too wide. I’m not sure what they are cut for (as I have the S5 chassis) but I took about 2 cm off the width to get them to fit. The footwells have rubber mats – they almost fit well. I decided not to popper them like the guide indicates. I don’t think they will move about, and I don’t want any more holes in the floor than I have to have. Time, and IVA, will tell.

Last, and what felt like a bit of a finishing touch, the tunnel top. Once I had riveted the rear tunnel plate in place, two things became obvious. There are no wires to connect per the guide (surprise!) and I’m going to hate riveting the interior panels by hand. Hate it. I’m looking for a better solution already. The fitting of the top was a bit of an anti-climax. It just pushes on, guiding the handbrake and gear lever as you go. I’ve got a ripple in the arm rest piece towards the bulkhead which I hope will sort itself out, but I don’t see it as worthy of a discussion with Caterham – I think it will settle in.

I still have carpet pieces to fit for the knee panels but they can wait for another day. I’m all carpeted out.

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