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therealpinto GRM+ Memberand Reader
2/18/20 2:50 a.m.

Thanks for reading!

I was a bit worried that I really saw no obvious places where the oil would escape in such amounts to explain the severe gunkiness of the entire drive train. Most of the gaskets are rubber strips, all pretty well contained and none seemed really damaged.

The one thing we spotted on assembly was a PCV hose behind the exhaust manifold that was split. That would at least account for some of the oil fumes I guess. Let's hope the rest is reasonably leak free now.


therealpinto GRM+ Memberand Reader
3/4/20 12:54 a.m.

A quick update then.

Engine and gearbox are back in the car, it really went smoothly with no real struggles. A new radiator fan, and just the normal time consuming things like finding all connectors and pigtails.

One worrying thing last week was a clear pool of oil under the front of the engine. It seemed like the front seal was leaking even before the engine was started up. It seals against the crank pulley and I had noticed a wear ridge on it but thought it would be OK. Guess not. So the same block that donated the chain guide earlier, also contributed with a crank pulley. Not in perfect condition but at least better.

Last night it was finally time to start it back up.

It took some cranking to get it going and it was hideously tappety. Like really bad... I know that these engines are known for acting like this so I just checked that we indeed had oil and then just let it run for a while. A rather long while - but eventually it quieted down and now seems quite happy. The blue smoke is gone!

I did find a root cause of oil leaks though - the oil pressure sender leaks badly. It is actually available for less than 10 dollars in the local parts store so no big deal. Glad I saw it now though...but swapping it with the engine on the stand would have been easier ;-)


therealpinto GRM+ Memberand Reader
3/16/20 8:12 a.m.

New oil pressure switch fitted and finally the engine seems pretty much dry on the outside.

The weekend was dedicated to getting "all" the welding in the floor finalised. The raised floor above the transfer box is welded and seam sealed, the rust along the left hand side sill is fixed.

This also meant we had the entire rear axle and transfer box out of the car again, and refitted. A small shift lever for the high/lo gearchange has been fabricated and the parking brake cable is sort of in place. It felt really good to be able to "permanently" fix stuff to the car.

The last thing we did Sunday, was to remove the old front struts and trial fit the air bagged struts. They are for a MkI Focus and "almost" fit the strut tops...but they are really, really short.

The Sierra has a very simple top mount, basically just a rubber bush in the strut top hole, and it is just mushroomed between some large dished washers.

I will try using BMW e36 top mounts instead. My guestimation is that they can be bolted to the strut towers in a way that they actually raise the suspension a bit. Currently, full droop is about where we probably want the driving ride height to be. It would be nice to be able to raise the car for speed bumps etc. so careful placement of strut tops could be a nice solution there.


therealpinto GRM+ Memberand Reader
3/21/20 9:41 a.m.

Picture evidence of the short struts on the car:

I have now tried BMW top mounts, made adapters for them and they do raise the car a lot - maybe too much? We will have to get it down on the ground to see.

The adapters are made using Capri/Escort pcd so I could always go that route if need be. 

We also started to plan for where to fit all the stuff inside the car. Images of that is posted by Kajsa herself at the Instagram she has made for the build -  slow.n.loud_gt




therealpinto GRM+ Memberand Reader
3/31/20 4:10 a.m.

While waiting for material to build the interior, we started looking at the rear bumper and the tow bar.

The combat kit rear bumper is not really meant for a tow bar.

The good thing is that the tow bar itself wants to exit in the vent slot in the bumper. The bad thing is that there is a support in the middle...

We tried cutting the support just enough to pass the tow bar itself through, and it sort of worked. But the support is not in the middle! With the tow bar as a reference it looked really strange so we decided to remove it completely. If needed, we will make bolted supports from alloy tube.

This also escalated into fixing the sides of the bumper. A previous owner has cut and extended the sides (or cut, shortened and then re-extended). Why is anyones guess (could have been fitted to an estate Sierra at some time). But the work was very sloppy.

Now I hate bodywork but I am almost done. I have to admit, several times I felt I should just have bought a new rear bumper...but we hang in there. Let's re-use as much as we can...

In parallell, three sheets of MDF has been aquired to fill the interior, and to build the subwoofer enclosure. Will be fun, I hope!


therealpinto GRM+ Memberand Reader
4/7/20 6:18 a.m.

So after I turned quite some body filler into dust, I moved on to turning MDF sheets into dust instead.

The rear seat and cargo space needs to be blocked and what better way, than a  - hopefully - nice subwoofer?

The same enabling friend who donated the car itself, also donated a very nice 12" subwoofer, some Rockford Fosgate Power T1. The RF site says that it likes a 49,55 liter ported enclosure so I designed one. More accurately, I used an online tool to design somethinng like 3-4 iterations before we settled on one.

Then I found another magical tool. https://www.cutlistoptimizer.com/

This thing is great for laying out multiple shapes you want to cut from sheets. It really helps plan the cuts.

With the boombox designed and the rest roughly sketched out I cut up sheets and then we built most of the box.

Then a shelf to land it on, instead of the rear seat. And some other panels...

Over the last couple of days we have also made another "wall" that goes in front of this, across the width of the car, and a top shelf to cover the area back towards the rear seat back. The side pieces were templated (is that a word? by Kajsa and seem to fit quite nice.

Now we have to figure out the trunk area as well and then put the car down on the scales again. Last night I did a short stint, just getting a power wire from the battery area back to the trunk. Fiddly to hide it under the floor mat but it worked out pretty well.

And...we also have a deadline for the project. Or a tentative deadline, or, milestone perhaps. Friday May 22nd the registration inspection is booked, 7 am in the morning to Kajsas not-so-much-delight. But that is when it should be ready for inspection, to formally become a tractor.


therealpinto GRM+ Memberand Reader
4/16/20 3:04 a.m.

I may have gone a bit overboard with making the enclosures in the boot. But it has been somewhat fun to try and shape things in MDF and make good use of offcuts and pieces. 

A couple of days ago we had the basic structure all roughed out.

There are some more things to fit but this was enough to connect up the sound system and test it.

The amp on the rear subwoofer (a gift from a friend) seems to be bad, it goes directly into protection mode. We rigged my old amp that I bought for my first car (actually my mums car) back in 1993 :-) instead.

Both subs now move quite some air, so that is OK.

So I decided to put the car on the scales again. Now we are at 55% rear, with no fuel, and no driver. The calculations go on but it was sort of clear that we need to loose weight from the front end. The battery is already in the trunk.

Last night I removed other things:

- air cleaner and resonator (3,5 kg)

- washer bottle (1,5 kg without liquid)

- hood insulation (0,5-1 kg)

I think we could skip one cooling fan, that's another kg. I checked the grille, and compared to the Cosworth grille we have planned to use, I think we have another 0,5 kg there. I have to weigh the front bumpers, see which one is lighter and see if they can be stripped of weight as well. I might be able to use a plastic horn, and there is some wiring for the block heater that could be removed too.

The whole ABS loom was also attacked, and it is almost free. Annoyingly, it seems to plug into the main loom to 98%, but I may have to cut a couple of wires. No big deal.

The target is to loose 15 kg in total from the front end. A ligher hood seems to be the way... I am trying to negotiate a price and delivery time for a light GRP hood, or I will try to cut the bracing from a steel one. Maybe the one we have, since it is full of dimples.

I will go through the engine bay again. I suppose there are some brackets that could be removed, maybe the lifting eyes on the engine too. I'll se how the welds for the battery tray looks - if they seem easy enough to get at I might cut that out as well.

The reason for lightening the front end, is to reduce the amount of extra weight we need to put in the back. We can't exceed the 1060 kg axle load and we are too close :-(



AngryCorvair GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/16/20 7:51 a.m.

since this vehicle is limited to a very low speed, maybe backdate the front brakes to a solid rotor and matching caliper (many small Ford and Mazda products over the years had solid rear discs) which will be much lighter and have a lighter caliper as well?  Or would that fail the inspection process?

thinking back on it, BMW E12 (1976-ish) 5 Series had solid front rotors.

therealpinto GRM+ Memberand Reader
4/16/20 10:24 a.m.

Yeah, I could surely fit smaller brakes up front, nobody would notice.

Solid discs were not really sold in Sweden on Sierras and I can't find someone that actually stocks those (although they were available in other markets). Going back to the smaller 240 mm vented discs would be possible, but I would need to get a set of non-seized calipers (or do a rebuild on the ones I have). 

Solid Escort discs are available, and pretty much interchange. Calipers, not as much though... I think I will start by checking the weight of the smaller 240 mm discs. 



therealpinto GRM+ Memberand Reader
4/20/20 3:53 a.m.

So the last weekend (most of it) was spent trying to get this weight thing closer to "finished".

I did a real round in the engine bay, removing every bracket and thing that I deemed "non necessary".  The ABS loom was cut loos and all that stuff placed on the scales.

That's 8 kg less.

I think we struck a deal on a fibreglass bonnet/hood, the seller weighed it at 7 kg and the stock steel one is supposed to be 15 kg so let's hope that is correct.

I took the time to fill up the gas tank and weighed it all again, this time with some random stuff doubling as ballast  I got to 58,7% rear bias. Closer...

So, I started building a very stout holder for the spare wheel. And thinking about where to get more steel to weigh the car down. Saturday night I had a hard time sleeping since my mind kept mulling over this. I woke up Sunday morning, thinking that I needed to sit down with the excel sheet again. In my sleep, I had come to the conclusion that old flywheels would fit the bill as weights. But when I looked for my stash of surplus ones, it seems I had them weighed in last year...

Then it struck me. I had never made any calculations on how much concrete (in volume) I would need. The last calculations said that somewhere around 88-95 kg of ballast would work, if I would use a big fire extinguisher permanently mounted. And then I looked at spare wheel well...hmm...

If we change the plan of having the spare standing next to the battery, how much would we need to fill the spare wheel well? Calculating on and off, it seemed it could work, even keeping the battery in place down there.

For good measure, I added some scrap metal too.

Guess those small discs will not go on the front end again...

I had the car on the scales as I mixed and poured, trying to get at the target weight. But...I forgot to check how much the suspension compressed. So by accident I added something like 102 kg. Now, I'm not sure if the weight reduces a bit as it dries... But in this case, I think more is better than less. I can always omit some planned weight (the fire extinguisher for example) if need be.

In the meantime, we have also designed the control panel for the air suspension;

My printer is very much 2D so we'll have to make this the old fashioned way.


therealpinto GRM+ Memberand Reader
5/4/20 6:08 a.m.

The hours are stacking up, I am happy that I don't count them. If this thing should have a name, "feature glide" may well be it.

With the plans for the boot set in firm concrete (haha) we have worked on building all the enclosure stuff finalized.

Design of the front cargo net done. It is a Citroën C5 estate net and like magic, the top mounts bolt into the rear curve handles with just one extra hole drilled. Width is perfect!

The rear net has not yet stuck to digital film but it's also "done". It mounts to the rear seatbelt mounts.

Planning of the air suspension system stuff revisited...and the electric diagram drawn, re-drawn, and corrected...

With "all" major stuff built, finally, time for some finishing touches. Paint!

As the new subwoofer box is supposed to live inside the rear sear enclosure, it's one of the first things to get in. 

The carpeting seams are not 100%, this is the first time we actually do this but hey, it won't be seen anyway. The carpet is mostly for it to be nice for future use and reduce any vibration sounds.

The panels around it are being worked on so the next thing to get ready is the air suspension central. We have it pretty much mocked up, with the carpet fitted, and...

...the RGD LED lights! Looks pretty good, methinks.

I screwed up with the acrylic sheet to cover it so that will have to be redone. The electrics are being done so quite soon I hope this thing is done and can be fitted "for good".

T-19 days...


therealpinto GRM+ Memberand Reader
5/24/20 1:49 p.m.

Yea, it's May 24th and didn't I say something about the 22nd?

I did, but the inspection guy wanted to change that date. I suggested June 1st since Kajsa is off from school that day. So an extra week...and a weekend. Right now, it feels like we needed that.

Doing the final touches in the boot took ages but I do think it turned out pretty much OK.

The garage is too short to get it all on camera!

With all the trim in place, the lid wouldn't shut so I had to shave some off the subwoofer and carefully tap the lid itself...

The net is also in.

We did a new test drive to set the speed again, and it worked OK. Some vibration on takeoff, probably because I skipped a front mount on the transfer box. It felt like the front of the 'box rises a bit and then you get some vibration and noise. I made a simple brace today but will probably add another to keep it all under control.

I spent numerous hours on making the speed sensor and the speed regulator itself reasonably tamper proof.

The sensor is behind a welded shield...and the wiring runs in a braided hose. The nuts on the hose are pinned so they can't be undone. Let's hope it passes the inspection.

With a week to go there is still enough to do, in case you thought otherwise...



therealpinto GRM+ Memberand Reader
6/1/20 9:10 a.m.

The day is here but let's not take things out of order.

Yes, the last week has meant a good few hours in the garage. The panels for the rear seat needed to be fitted and carpeted, something I was looking forward to, and also a bit scared of. I got a good deal on the carpet but it was not really a soft carpet made for upholstery. It fought me some but in the end...I think it looks decent.

The floor mats were fixed afterwards, and it turned out OK.

Attacking the glassfibre hood (bonnet) was another deal. I wanted to use the hinges if possible, so I carefully measured the placement of some aluminium angle to bolt to the hinges, and glassed them on. Well, something was off and the hood would buckle at the center, the hinges were tough to open... It took some quite forceful bending of the hinges themselves but then it sort of fits good, for being just a glassfibre skin.

Next up was getting the exhaust sorted. Some earlier owner removed the rear resonator for a "sporty sound" and we replaced the center muffler with a transfer box. OTOH, some earlier owner also fitted an extra catalytic converter. But still it was too loud. The old center muffler was convinced to fit at the rear and then a nice tip was added.

After that, it was only the small things left to do. Fit the tow bar, interior panels...you know. The things that take much longer than you thought...

That's where the weekend went. Fitting new door locks that almost fit (but don't work!). Testing window winders and realising they are broken. But still...before dinner, on Sunday, it was ready for loading on the trailer...

It should fit the trailer since it has the same rear suspension as the Capri. Well...the Capri is tight, this is too...maybe 10 mm of extra room on the sides. I need a new trailer!

So this morning, we drove off to get the registration inspection done. Because of Covid19 restrictions, we had to wait outside for most of the time - until we were called in to get some feedback. A couple of bolts that need tightening (I forgot or they needed to settle?). Then some explanation on the gear ratios. But all in all, it looked OK. 60,8 % weight on the rear axle, the speed limiter works... essentially it passed.

Almost - we need to get more data on max allowed weights so it's possible to carry a passenger. And then apparently it also need a normal inspection (MOT/yearly inspection). Good thing is, they can check the loose bolts so we don't need a new registration appointment. 

All in all, a great success. The things I was a bit worried about (weight distribution, the solutions for disabling rear seat and trunk) were all OK with no discussions. So nice...!


therealpinto GRM+ Memberand Reader
6/11/20 6:59 a.m.

I am happy to report, that from yesterday at about 2.50 PM, the thing is fully road legal.

Today we had the first driving lesson in the small slot of the day available, since tonight is "prom night" - not really but kind of, it's the day when she finishes what we call elementary school but probably translates to Junior High in the US. They have a dinner for the class tonight so she has declared she needs to focus on getting ready. 

But we managed half an hour of mastering the clutch and stick, probably to much delight by the trucker who had his lunch stop at the gravel parking lot we used. She did great though, only two or maybe three stalls.

Coming back I noticed a fuel leak...but it seems to be from me overfilling the tank severely for the weigh-in I did. Now it is warm outside, the gas expands and since it is literally filled all the way up the fill tube it just goes out. Easy fix.

I have plan to get some larger rear air springs in, these are too soft and it sits too low. We are also working on securing a paint booth, and, as it seems, someone to shoot the paint too. Nice.


Patrick (Forum Supporter)
Patrick (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/11/20 7:10 a.m.

This whole journey has been awesome 

artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
6/11/20 7:54 a.m.

In reply to therealpinto :

Congratulations! Sounds like all the hard work was worth it, I can only imagine how excited your daughter must be!

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/11/20 2:33 p.m.

what a project!  you are a lucky Dad, and she's a lucky girl.

therealpinto GRM+ Memberand Reader
6/16/20 5:49 a.m.

Thanks all!

The stuff to get the bigger air bags in have arrived, they just need some final fettling before a trial fit. I also got the door locks and leccy windows fixed so now it mostly "works".


therealpinto GRM+ Memberand Reader
6/18/20 1:54 p.m.

I had a customer make me some really nice mounting bosses for the air bags.



Not "cheap" but fits perfectly, and was delivered quickly.

With the new air bags the rear suspension works as it should. The old ones really were too small to lift the now rather heavy thing.

Work on the last body parts have started but we try to get some driver training done too...

Let's say she's doing pretty good, improving, but still has some way to go before the clutch-throttle-brake-shift dance is natural :-)


therealpinto GRM+ Memberand Reader
7/2/20 3:22 p.m.

Have you ever been in the situation where you work pretty hard to solve an issue, or a problem, and when the solution is done, something else happens that means your carefully executed solution is suddenly superfluous?

I have, several times, and now, again. Our beloved Transport agency in Sweden makes all the rules. In the beginning of June, they advertised a public hearing for a change in the A-traktor rules. A rarely seen, super quick change - only a week to come in with comments and the law would come into effect almost immediately.

What's it about? The rule of maximum 10 km/h in lowest gear at 2/3 of engine max speed. Why? The agency has beed flooded with petitions to get an exception for the rule when you use an automatic gearbox with a torque converter. All people who ask for the exception get it approved, meaning the rule is not really necessary (and the officals have other things to do...).

This is, of course, great for all builders since it simplifies the build and makes it a better "car". Still limited to 30 km/h but no need to arrange a low gear. Too bad I worked really hard to find the perfect solution!

Not all is lost. This one is quite easy to convert back (propshaft, one mount for the support bearing, parking brake cable mounts), and there seems to be no need for a new registration when the extra gearbox is removed.

That will wait though since we are now in the process of removing our finger prints. Also known as prepping for paint...

Today I splurted the sanding filler onto the plastic parts, in Dexter style.


therealpinto GRM+ Memberand Reader
7/12/20 9:48 a.m.

I am for sure no painter, and no bodywork man. The sanding filler was sanded down, and many spots were filled and worked over again. But we always knew we would have to stop somewhere, so we did. I think I spent 3 months (or more?) working on the Capri body back in 2013-2014, there was no time for that.

One Saturday morning, the car was once again loaded on the trailer and we headed to the paint shop.

A professional painter in a professional environment...but he can only do so much with the base we provided. Still he worked his guts out over the entire weekend to produce a passeable result. I had to stop him from overworking all parts of the car. The result is good considering what we had done, but of course it is not show quality. That was never the intention. It looks good from a small distance, it is all one colour and mostly smooth and shiny.

Refitting all the parts is exciting!

And then, one week after the paint shop endurance...

Someone is quite happy! :-D


Patrick (Forum Supporter)
Patrick (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/12/20 9:52 a.m.

That's awesome, and you can just undo the limiters and weight when she's ready

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/12/20 12:34 p.m.

That is so cool! 

ShawneeCreek (Forum Supporter)
ShawneeCreek (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
7/12/20 12:42 p.m.

Wow. That turned out great. Nicely done!

therealpinto GRM+ Memberand Reader
7/13/20 1:02 a.m.

Thanks guys!

Looking back at the rather sorry thing we rescued from the woods...yeah, it feels like we have given this thing a second chance in life :-)


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