Here’s a list of the tools and other items that I found useful for my build, above and beyond the kit that Caterham recommend. All of this stuff I have bought and used successfully, so you know you aren’t wasting your time investing in it. Some of it you may be best waiting until you actually need it – Amazon next day delivery is your friend.
Note that these links take you to the Amazon UK website. If you click on them and subsequently buy the tool, I get a small kickback at no extra cost to you.
I bought this when I discovered my rear brake caliper pistons were protruding and I could not shift them. After spending several hours with model grips and long nose piers trying the screw the caliper pistons back into position, this lovely bit of simple engineering sorted me out in no time. It is most definitely a recommended buy, but only if you need it when you are assembling the calipers – some builders never have the problem this solves, the lucky people.
Absolutely invaluable in tracing electrical issues and confirming circuits are good. I used mine to help when I struggled with a duff oil pressure meter. In a matter of minutes I’d confirmed it was the dial and not the loom, pressure sensor or bad earth. Also helpful in checking continuity for the headlamp wiring once the struggle of getting the damn things in place was done. I’ve also used it to check my battery was charging well when the engine was running. Very handy piece of kit.
Taps and Dies
Taps and dies are useful for clearing out swarf and paint in threads in the chassis. This kit also contains a handy thread comb to assess the pitch of the thread you are cleaning so as to match it up with the right tap. One of my best purchases, I used it several times through the build. It doesn’t cover all threads on the car – I still needed to buy an additional M14 x 1.5mm tap to clear out the threads for the gearbox mount when fitting the engine.
Contains a flexible tube, a clip to keep it in place on the nipple, and most importantly a one-way valve to make bleeding, well … bleeding easy. The kit claims it makes it a one-man job, but I think you’ll still need help, at least for the first bleed. It certainly helped me a lot. Careful with the pipe though, it’s a tight fit over the bleed nipples and I managed to split mine part way through the bleed process.
3M Dual Lock Tape
Dual Lock tape is like ultra-strength Velcro, but instead of hooks and loops, both sides of the tape have mushroom-shaped pegs which interlock when pressed together. Three small square patches front and rear have worked perfectly on my plates for over 1,600 miles at the time of writing. I’ve now switched to a front stick-on vinyl plate for cosmetic reasons, and found the removal of the tape on the nosecone simple with a little bit of heat from a heat gun. No damage to paintwork on removal, and no ugly drill holes. The rear plate is still held fast with this wonderful stuff. I also use a square of this to hold my external GPS module in place when tracking the car.
Centre Punch Set
Handy for accurately marking locations to drill in metalwork. Doors (for hinges), bodywork (for poppers) both benefit from a swift tap from one of these to locate the drill, saving risk to paintwork and sanity. It doesn’t feel natural to be thumping your bodywork with one of these but it makes sure your drill won’t wander about once you bring it close to that cherished paintwork.
Cheap and cheerful, I used these when fitting the adjustable platform to my car. Essential to open out the circlip sitting in a slot around the damper and then re-fit to a different groove in the damper body. It’s one of those tools that make an otherwise difficult job simple, painless and fast.
Motorcycle Spring Compressors
Invaluable when compressing the front springs, not much use for the larger rears. I used these when fitting the adjustable platforms to my suspension. They come with replacement plastic teeth to protect the powdercoat on the springs too. The rear springs are too long, or the compressors too short to be effective in this case.
OBD2 Reader for Engine Diagnostics
Once you are up and running, find out what your ECU is thinking with one of these cheap OBD2 readers. It’s slow update speed makes it unsuitable for real-time monitoring of stats but really helpful in diagnosing error codes or simply watching what’s happening when the engine is running, validating what your dials are telling you. Download the free Torque application to your smartphone, plug the reader into the port, usually cable-tied to the steering column, pair the phone with the reader via bluetooth. Your stats will appear in the app. Don’t forget to start the engine.