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.

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