Final assembly and fettling

It’s been a busy month. I got the engine back in but couldn’t get nuts on the motor mount bolts, so had to cut those off, pull them out and replace in the conventional manner, up from the bottom, thus ending my experiment in doing this operation more efficiently.

I salved my wounded pride by tackling the side scripts. I am happy to report they fit well and look shiny!


I’ve re-made the oil lines coming from the pump cover to the remote filter several more times and I’m still not satisfied. The new nylon braided hoses seem to fit and flex OK, but now, when I tighten the fittings that last turn or two, the couplers stop swiveling and so the line twists. The short one is twisted enough now that it must restrict flow (hard to really tell just by feeling). Fixing this kind of thing is the essence of fettling. So I’ll be into that again.


It’s really frustrating.

But progress was made on all other fronts.

I pulled the shifter and e-brake handle again and lowered the handle to make it just a half inch closer to “correct.” I added another hold down clamp to the front of the handle mechanism for good measure. Now it’s really solid and sits about as low in the chassis as it would on an original car.

Before (this was pretty good):

After (this is fuckin’ pukka):


Subtle, I know. But it feels different and it gives the driver’s right leg just a skosh more room.

And I gang-pressed my wife into service to hard-bleed the brakes and clutch. As she kicked the pedals I noticed just the slightest bit of flex on the steel bulkhead they’re attached to. It was only like an eighth or maybe 3/16th of an inch, but you could see it, and I didn’t like it. So I made an adjustable brace tying the top of that plate to the back of the beam.

To fit over the lower beam we have this piece of heavy tubing left over from the frame extension process, cut in half and welded to some half-inch tubing, welded to a nut with a long bolt going through. I drilled another nut out and slid it up the shaft and welded it in place to give your wrench something to turn, since the bolt head is to be obscured in a piece of C-channel bolted to the bulkhead:

To keep the brace centered in my C-channel I welded on a piece of discarded sway bar bushing (this is from my 2002 Nissan truck; the end link broke but I saved the washer piece thinking it might come in handy?)

Painted it all up and mounted it in there with some 1/4-20 screws and nuts with lock washers.

Installed and tightened it up (by loosening the brace bolt about 2 turns)

And wired the brace bolt to one of the mounting bolts to keep it from turning back in.

The little reinforcement brace took seven hours to fabricate and install. When I was done I tried to push the pedal cages up from the back edge, and they would not budge. You could jack the car up with these now.

This sort of thing. Of course I left the clutch slave bleeder screw slightly loose so when I went for clutch later there was no one home. Fettling.

So the reassembly process is like this: Test something->swear loudly cuz it’s fucked up for some reason->investigate and discover reason->disassemble and fix reason->also do something else to make it better->reassemble and photograph->revel in how this sucker looks->test something…

To calm down during this process, I’ve spent a fair amount of time just looking at this car and comparing it to pictures of real-deal Spyders.

The exhaust system is back on, The rearmost subframe assembly is back in. Coils mounted, starter in, elaborate, Spyderesque breather mounted, wires attached.  Here’s what that looks like:

Compared to 550-0054:

Here’s a shot of the interior as loosely re-assembled.

Here’s 550-0060 from the same angle:

My car:

550-0018 from the same angle:

My car:                                                        Diagram from 550 owner’s manual

Getting oh-so close.



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