to make some things fit, you have to commit

There are some things in life that require commitment, whether it’s getting married, having a prince-albert or modifying your transmission tunnel to take a pedal box that is too big. Then it gets complex when fitting a bell-housing that has an uncomfortable lug that digs in like an unwelcome hard-on in the back whilst on the tube (or jail for that matter).

I would like to point out that I’m in the ‘fitting the pedal box’ place, not in the prodded place.

So, my lovely bell-housing (with the Mazda rather than classic-Ford bolt pattern) has a lug that sticks into the side of the drivers footwell, canting the engine over at a silly angle. It’s not there on the standard type-5 gearbox; this is the first engine Ford have done where the bolt pattern isn’t the same for their 4-cylinder engines. So, fixing this isn’t so tough – cut a hole.

Also, my lovely OBP pedal box is too big for my footwell, and that needs fixing as well. As you can see on the right, and can infer from bugger-lugs above, there are two points of note: Firstly the drivers side footwell is very narrow, and secondly the lug pushes the engine over.

So, in order to make things fit, I have a cunning plan.

  1. put the bits in as well as possible
  2. cut an access hatch
  3. make some small holes to be sure the notches, etc for the bellhousing all fit neatly
  4. patch over
  5. realise this isn’t going to work with this many variables, and abandon 3 and 4
  6. cut out the entire footwell apart from the frame
  7. start fitting the parts
  8. again realise there’s not enough room.
  9. look to cut out from the other side of the footwell so it all fits
  10. measure the new panels and get them laser cut
  11. hammer
  12. weld

So, where am I now?

Well, I’ve cut the access hatch. This mattered for several reasons. Firstly, adjusting and working on the pedal box from the front is difficult on just a bare chassis, and very awkward when the car is built. I’ve had to lie on my back on the seat with my head in the footwell before to operate on it. It’s a good job I’m not claustrophobic. Even in that position you can’t work there in a sustained manner for long – your arms ache. I’ll make up a new top-plate that overlaps the lips and weld in some captive nuts. From that I’ll bolt through from the underneath with socked-headed dome screws – nice rounded edges. I will need to be a very good seal to ensure the fire-barrier is maintained between my lovely feet and the engine bay.

I’ve also cut the side and back panel out, leaving a lip where I can. I don’t know if I want to keep the lip to weld against, but at least I have the option. I can always grind it away later. You can now see how the box has moved back, but there’s a struggle with the engine being so close. I do have a couple of options – I can trim a little off the corners of the pedal box and I can remove a little from the side panel on the right. It just depends on what works best.

So, moving along a little bit. I’ve taken a notch out of the side of the base plate in the pedal box, and a major cut out of the side of the footwell. I could go a little further and remove a little more, but the problem is then that the pedal starts to foul the side of the remaining side of the footwell. I don’t mind this – the ally pedal is massive so trimming the top corner off won’t hurt.

Next, we get to see that we’re almost there – when you look at the next two, you can see the intrusion of the bellhousing (simply not there on the old pinto housing) and how close the pedal box ends up against it. Furthermore, look at the left and you can see that I’ve also taken off a corner diagonal to allow the pedal box to slot into the triangular hole (above)


As stated above, this is photo 2, in which you can see how close the box nudges the bellhousing. It’s tight and I can’t chop the enclosure on the left – there’s bracing in there for the hydraulic clutch pedal. This position it’s at so far involves some nudging to get the engine canted over to allow the box to slot home. Needless to say, this isn’t a situation I can continue to work with.

And ta-daaa – here is the box in it’s new home. It’s not remotely ready to go in yet, but at least the fit is getting near. I’m not convinced it’s perfect and I’m probably going to narrow the whole box mounting plates. If you look above (+1) to the gnats chuff photo, you can see there’s best part of an inch between the clutch and brake pedal. I’m going to take it to bits and remove that inch. It’ll mean tig-welding it all back together in a seam, grinding it smooth and sending the whole lot back off the powder-coaters again, but the results will be worth it. I want at least 5mm clearance between bulk-heads and tunnels, not 1-2mm at the moment.

Welding in a t-shirt

So, when you’re up to 75A there’s a chance things can go wrong unless you follow my safety rules set out below:

  • gloves – check
  • gauntlets – check
  • proper mask – check
  • poking a hot rod through your t-shirt and into your chest – check
  • smell of cooked flesh – check

ebay and evil taps

So, a while back, I decided to sell a kitchen tap (unused) on ebay. This is neither here nor there. The important thing is I was bored and didn’t think I would get anyone to buy something as mundane as a tap.

In order to get past this lethargy, and because I was bored, I listed the tap as evil, and wrote a fitting description. It’s worth reading to the best bit, which is the Q&A session at the end – I did get asked some really stupid stuff but 346 impressions:

The Listing

I have had a change of plans in my kitchen and so have a full mixer-tap fitting kit to go on sale. It starts at a pound and has no reserve.

It’s brand-new and includes every last part you need to fit it to your sink. I have found in the past that taps are a great way of putting water into things, and this one will not dissapoint. It mixes, and it stops the water coming out when you’re sick of it.

It has quite a heft and is chrome plated is wipe clean (on the outside) – ideal for a sparkly kitchen, or for clubbing someone/thing and wiping the blood and or fur off easily. Taps: the gift that keeps on giving.

Mother’s day is coming up I can’t think of a greater way of expressing your love than the gift of a tap – for a mother it’s the equivalent of giving a bloke a can of WD40. Who could say no to a gift like that, or if you’re Norman Bates – it’s the plumbing/diy equivalent of a good sharp spade.

Shipping: It’ll go Royal Mail (God Save The Queen) first class, and if the postage is any more than £5 then I’ll cover the difference – your tap based costs are capped in this turbulent financial market.

Payment – oh, pay me any old how, but paypal is preferred. I don’t mind cash or cheque, but you will need to allow time for the cheque to clear. It depends on how desperate you are to start your new journey into tap and pipe based ownership.

The Questions

Q: Could this tap (or faucet as it might be known by some) be used to simply fill a sink or bowl or even a bucket with water of a predetermined temperature and not for any evil purposes or is it destined only for darker purposes ? yours, Pete. 29-Feb-12
A: Dear Praffen Great question. With a suitable mounting position and adequate feed of water, this tap will send the water in a pre-determined direction until you are sick of it and you can turn it off. HOWEVER, when it talks to me at night, it does express a preference to be mounted at the top of an altar in the middle of a huge, moist jungle. This is merely positioning and I’m sure if you were to mount it to a sink, keep a pot plant nearby and occasionally allow the water to run through it hot, you will simulate the rain-forest and appease the tap, lest it take you over and night and become your new god. It is also worth bearing in mind that most taps like to retire to the kitchen sink of a discerning person such as your self after a hard life of evil deeds, and the most they will do in their life is flow water in a menacing fashion rather than command you to go through the isolated car-parks at night, clubbing doggers.

Q: If I used this tap to make a ritual sacrifice to Sebek, would it still please him? It would be convenient for me as it would wipe clean easily, but don’t want to offend the great crocodile god. 29-Feb-12
A: Dear Benzine Yes, this tap is suitable for all your needs to appease the old gods, and my research leads me to recommend the tap for sacrificial purposes. Indeed, if one is sacrificing under the influence of experience enhancing chemicals, and my tap-sales FAQ does state that in this case the tap will come to resemble a crocodile, which glows. This also means you can show your enhanced knowledge of the fickle needs of the formalities and ceremony required, and appease Ra at the same time. In this way, you get to curry even more favour with both Sebek and Ra. Truly a humble chrome mixer tap (that some could see as neutral in it’s position in the eternal battle between good and evil) can be turned to the most spectacular evil deeds. However, one shouldn’t ignore the universal appeal of a tap – many of the old Norse gods would have been grateful for the use of a good, solid hefty tap when off on the rampage [source needed]. I hope this helps you in your decision, considering there are indeed many gods you can appease by owning this tap, with it’s easy maintenance, wipe free chrome surface.

Q: I’m building an evil hideout, lair if you will. The water supply to said den will likely be evil. Will this tap be compatible with evil water? I’d expect the supply pressure to be enough to inflate a small animal to bursting point. A squirrel for example. 26-Feb-12
A: Hi Jeff. This tap is a supremely compatible tap, and is capable of working with both good and evil water, and deeds thereof. Its also compatible with soft and hard water and even anti-coagulant if in suitable liquid form. The tap is rated to 0.5 bar which is 7.25 psi. I would think 7 psi will do plenty of damage to a squirrel (good choice) but I think that if you’re targeting squirrels, you need to look at things in the evil round. For instance, introducing the tap to the squirrel will make it’s eyes cross, whereas introducing water of of your evil choice will make its eyes bulge. I hope this answers your questions and good look with your enterprises. Happy Squirrel Popping.

Q: How strong is the tap at -20C and below? I don’t want it to become brittle in deep cold, I’d like to take it seal clubbing. 26-Feb-12
A: Hi Schnorberts. This is a very good question and one that often comes up in tap related sales. There are several factors that influence the shattering of mild steel as it approaches the Ductile Brittle Transition Temperature (DBTT), and the standard test for this is the Charpy impact test, typically providing a hard impact at 40J (for mild steel) to test the shatter temperature. For most varieties of steel you stand the risk of shattering below -20C and I would only become really concerned if you were approaching temperatures nearer -100C. However, the Charpy impact test does not translate to your particular circumstances, in as much as a seal skull is relatively soft compared to the impact point for the test. I am further assuming you will be clubbing baby seals (who wouldn’t?) and their skulls will be softer still. Furthermore, the skull is wrapped in fat, skin and fur which will further soften the blow compared to the impact test. If you can provide me literature that gives standard units of hardness for seal skulls, then I will recalculate for you. In summary, I think you will be fine.

Q: I have the same tap fitted in my kitchen but it drips and I ahve been told it requires a new tap washer. Would you be willing to split yours and sell just the washer? 26-Feb-12
A: Hi Predator2000 Sorry, but splitting the bundle would reduce the potential for evil, so it must stand as a full lot.

weld your own gated sump action

So, I’m a good way through the sump build and I thought I’d share a few thoughts on the way.

Having a heavy bolt-to jig helps. Mine’s made of 10mm thick mild steel. The sump is bolted to it at every bolt point to prevent warping and to act as a reasonable heat-sink.I’ve also repeatedly offered it to the block, front cover and ally bellhousing to ensure accurate fits.


For some important steps, I used the engine in situ as a jig and actually tacked in place on the block. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at just how well everything mates up.



The steel around the bottom of the flap-gates is very thin and prone to warping. This can be helped with a flat-bill welding clamp before you start. It’s a good tool for the job but means positioning all the parts and the job at the same time can be tricky.


Part of the quality of this sump is that it mounts to the front plate as well as the base of the block. However, this means (in my case) that I need to tap stainless steel. Normal taps don’t cut it, so buying a specific, decent stainless tap has helped, as well as good cutting-oil. I don’t need shed-loads of this, so I’ve bought it in spray form rather than liquid. You need cutting oil rather than (say) WD40 because the cutting oil can still lubricate the tool even at the extremes of pressure when cutting stainless, whereas a normal oil blend would break down. It’s funny stuff – like a very light oil but it seems to hang around the job when normal oils would have wiped clean or evaporated. I use acetone to clear it all away before welding. It acts as a solvent as well as evaporating away nice and quickly. It helps to buy it in industrial quantities rather than at the chemists. Also, I like the smell. Oy Vey – always with the complex hydrocarbons.

Here it is, with the gates hanging down and bent into place. I’ve bent this one with a set of clamps and some pressure, but it wasn’t as accurate as I would have wanted. I’ve moved on and now am using a proper parts former. It requires some lining up by eye, but the result is pin sharp and accurate.

dry build of the engine

So, the build is progressing nicely – I’ve got the sump most of the way there, and learned a reasonable amount of stuff as I go. I’m now at the point where serious chassis surgery is on the cards to get the engine mounted further back and at the right ride height. I can’t do any of these things until I have a dry-build of the engine.

By dry-build, I mean assembling it without gaskets, fluids, or inconvenient cranks.

I originally started with this mucky oily disgusting mess as I stripped the block down. The more astute among you will notice the cat-litter on the floor soaking up the oil dripping out of the engine.



Now I’m at this stage, with the polished rocker and front cover in place, as well as my totally orgasmic Jenvey throttle bodies. They’re DCOE format (original Webber layout I think) and on an SBDev manifold. Go on, click the link to see them in their full glory. You know you want to.





What? You didn’t click? All that red tubular delight and you didn’t click? Alright – here’s another view side on, showing the lovely and compact bellhousing which will hold the new hydraulic clutch.

Again, you can see the side of the block somewhat lets down the finish I have on other parts, so that’ll need scrubbing back and sealing at some point.