First Pedal In

Jake the Peg

Here’s the first pedal in, with the box fully bolted down. This is the modified OBP pedal box I made a while ago. OBP were great about what I’d done, especially after I emailed them and jokingly asked if my warranty was still valid.

After I’d bolted everything down, it then dawned on me that I didn’t have clearance to get the clutch-pedal pivot bolt in, so it all had to come out.

I also greased the bolt shank as well (copper grease) just for good measure. The bolt half way up the pedal is for the clevis, so care needs to be taken not to over-tighten or else the pedal won’t move as smoothly as it should do. I’ll get the rest of the pedals in this weekend. Speaking of clevises, the clutch master cylinder is a 0.72 bore, which is

It’s a great feeling to take parts I modified a while ago, and be bolting them into the car for good. Having them fit is even better. The only mistake I made is not allowing for the extra 0.75mm either part has for powder-coating. However, whilst snug, it fits.

Best tool ever

So, I was watching An MG is Born and I saw them using an air chisel to separate a panel from the surrounding framework where it is either spot or stitch welded.

When I’ve done this in the past on the footwell, it’s been a nightmare of screwdrivers, hammers, buzz-saws and angle-grinders. This time around, it was way easier. The passenger footwell still needed to be cut out (the large bits) but the separation around the welds was way less painful. Just choose the right bit and get in there with the chisel. Best of all, it was only £12.99 from screwfix.


It’s also perfect for amateur dentistry.

Using my scissor lift to its near maximum potential

So, I suppose there’s a rule here.

This is a picture of my car chassis, 5ft up in the air to put the new pedal-box at a sensible welding height. I’ve never had it this high, but it makes a difference.

What you see are a pair of hydraulic pallet-lifters bought from ebay for under £100 each. They’re stable as buggery (or rum, sodomy and the lash) and each is rated to 350KG. Bearing in mind the fully laden car with me in it tips the scales at under 700kg, all is groovy.

Normally, I have one of the scissor lifts much nearer the front but without the engine in, it balances quite nicely where it is.

Narrowing my OBP Pedal box – or “is my warranty OK?”

So, as expected, my lovely OBP Pedal Box doesn’t fit the admittedly narrow fury footwell. There’s nothing wrong with this per-se. It’s a lovely made piece of equipment and I knew when ordering that it wouldn’t fit. This previous post shows the modifications I’ve needed to make in the footwell to prepare the shape to accommodate the OBP box, but after careful consideration, I decided there wasn’t enough room to make it all fit with any degree of clearance so decided to slit it like a cheap whore and make it thinner.

So, what you can see here is the pedal box in the 360 degree vice, scored and cross-hatched ready for cutting. I’ve been sure to leave enough room for the brake and clutch cylinders to have plenty of clearance, and the slit also takes into account the cross-bracing gusset. The only place it should be narrowed is between brake and clutch, not between brake cylinders – the clevises need to be straight when they go onto the cylinders. Moreso, it wouldn’t really be feasible narrow it here, what with the pedal wanting to be in the way.

Also worth note is the fact that I bought a 360 degree vice for the clean half of my garage. This means I can mount and mark and weld things without having to take them over to the dirty grinding cutting side of the garage. What you may be able to see on the right there is the corner cut off and grinded ready for welding.

It’s not all that clear in this photo, but I’ve got the whole thing cut now (0.8mm slitting disk for maximum accuracy). The steel used the the pedal box is only 1.2 or 1.5mm thick (hard to tell with the powder coat) so the disk went through it like a e.coli in an OAP home. I was pleased with the results though – the fact that it’s difficult to see the gap in this photo is because I’ve got very clean mating edges – essential when tig welding something so thin. One cock-up and you blow straight through.

This is what the extracted section looks like. There are a couple of stitches on each edge of the gusset that need removing. Up close, you can see where the stitches have penetrated the back plate (a good thing) and this meant I had easy guidelines to mark and cut against. The gusset came out quite unscathed, but in hindsight I wish I hadn’t ground it quite so thin at the base to remove the stitching – it made it very thin to weld. I would have rather left a little metal around it and used that as filler. Live and learn.

Next is lots and lots of spots at about 1″ distance. They’re done at 40A and with very little filler. Bearing in mind I am seam-welding this, and the metal is so thin it would just warp away from me (in the vertical plane) if I attempted to weld in a seam. Patience now means a better result later. At this point I was also glad I have so many different welding clamps.


When it came to completing the seam welds I stitched an inch and let it cool completely first. I also drilled mounting holes in it and bolted it down to my big heavy 1cm thick welding plate. Even then I ended up with a very small amount of warping, but so little that it pulls flat when bolted down. I initially kicked off at 40A but found that to be too hot when putting the seam in and had to back off to 35A. That gave me a great weld, full penetration and very little filler needed on the 1mm dia rod.

Here’s the end result. I’ve ground the seams flat (little effort) because I want to get the ‘not been touched or modified’ look when I get it back from the powder-coaters. You can’t see the gusset in this shot. I did struggle a little with this blowing through (where i’d ground it a little thin). I compensated by going up to a thicker filler rod and chucking a lot of metal in (it ended up looking like tidy mig). Then I got my pointy ended tungsten carbide burr and dug around in there like a demented dentist until it was all nice and smooth again. As long as the powder coat goes on reasonably thick, no-one will be any the wiser. The strength is all there though.

Following is the final result. Note the greater amount of room on left now – plenty of space to rework the foot well. I feel fairly chuffed with this result.

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.