Build Part 2
Flexible Cooling Hose Pipe Connections
The cooling hoses are best fitted to the side rail cooling pipes prior to fitting the side panels as they are quite a tight fit and can be difficult, although not impossible, to fit afterwards.
Photograph Key:- NS Front ~ NS Rear ~ OHS Rear ~ OHS Front
In the good old days before the introduction of ECU's and other electronic devices, there were only a few wires for the kit car builder to connect ,in order to run his beloved engine. The majority of wiring in those days revolved around the cars lighting and dash instrumentation.
Now with the increasing use of modern engines the builder has the pleasure of entering the realm of the 'automotive electrician !' I have to confess to not being an automotive electrician in any way, shape or form, but like many people possess a basic understanding of both electrics and electronics. Therefore, I confess to having felt quite nervous about the task ahead, and if it hadn't been for Stuart's encouragement I may well have sought someone else to do it for me.
The electrical looms as removed from the 'donor' Focus car:-
Fuse Box loom and Dash Board loom including (the required) steering column section:-
The electrical looms bench prepared and ready for installation:-
Steering Column and Diagnostics plug
After studying, at some length, the 'MEV Build Manual - Wiring Section' in an attempt to both familiarize myself with all the components i.e. looms, relays, connectors, E-Dash etc. and to try and get my head around the overall schematic, of which quite honestly I failed to do. I decided to, as with any complex task, 'brake it down into smaller and more manageable elements'.
Having already purchased and installed the MEV loom, I decided to start at the front of the car and work backwards towards the rear in a logical manor, splitting the task up into three sections Forward, Middle and Rear.
Some of the wires exit at various stages along the split Nylon sleeving cable protection (SNSCP) and spotting an easily identifiable one “Fan” decided that this would be an easy place to start, fortunately when I had stripped my donor I had gone to the effort of completely removing all of the engine bay and internal dashboard looms including the master fuse box thus, although not essential, it meant that I had all the plugs for things like the Fan, Horn, Brake Fluid Reservoir etc. enabling me by there use to make the entire electrical installation look far more professional.
The addition looms also supplied ample quantity's of varying sizes and colours of cable, additional SNSCP and plenty of spare fuses.
After wiring in the easy Radiator Fan, Brake Fluid Reservoir and Horn my attention inevitability turned to the Steering Column area where I needed to mount the E-Dash Power Board. After manufacturing a simple alloy bracket and fixing the power board inside a plastic 'Maplin' project box (for safety from the elements) I viewed with apprehension the birds nest of wires coming from all different directions that required connection.
As with any puzzle the method of solution is often found in the process, so with this in mind I set about, much like I would do a jigsaw, separating the wires into smaller like minded bundles, pin-checking and marking up as I went along.
Example:- There are 10 wires coming from the Focus Indicator Stalk Switch Connector, 4 require connection to the E-Dash Control Board mounted on the dash, 3 go to the E-Dash Power Board mounted at the base of the steering column and 3 are not used at all.
After repeating this process with the remaining components/connectors including the MEV loom, I was left at the front with lots of small bundles of clearly marked wires. While still not fully understanding the overall picture, it was becoming clearer now.
It was at this point, when still not fully understanding the overall solution, but having gone as far as I could without taking the final and decisive act of cutting wires, (don't want to cut the wrong one!) that you find yourself faced with taking a LOF - 'leap of faith' into the unknown.
Starting with the simplest/smallest bundle I steadily worked through connecting the various wires, although the task is a little tedious especially when you find you need to unpick a previous terminal connection as you find there's more than one wire requiring connection to that particular terminal. The longer you work at it the brighter the light at the end of the tunnel becomes, until all of a sudden you step back as there's no more wires to connect.
Its quite common here that you find that the tails of the wires from the connectors, extracted from the Donor car sometimes in hast, are not long enough and it can be worthwhile to rectify this situation before you start connecting.
Another useful 'temporary' item here can be the use of a standard 'electrical screw connection block' allowing the builder to change his mind easily as he goes through the process.
It surprised me how much, my confidence grew following the Forward sections completion even though I had not tested to see if it was correct. The Forward section now done, I decided with my new found confidence to move directly to the Rear section, leaving the relatively simple middle section till last.
The Middle section – side repeaters and handbrake are straight forward . However it would be nice for MEV to modify their loom to include nearside repeater tails.
The Rear section is approached in the same manor as the front. Having first prepared the Engine/ECU loom on the bench and then fitting to the engine, the most suitable position for the mounting of the ECU and rear fuse/relays can be chosen. Again after mounting the components separate the wires into like minded bundles, pin-checking and marking up as you go along.
If like me you were lucky enough to have extracted your ECU Engine loom whole, including the fuel cut of switch and fuel pump/sender plug complete then this can be fed back up inside the MEV loom and through the rear bulk head to the tank. This inevitability makes the fuel pump power wire in the MEV loom redundant.
Lights / Indicators
Brake Fluid Reservoir
There are three wires on the fluid reservoir, (1) an earth, (2) a wire that runs forward to the dash warning light display and (3) a wire running rearwards to the handbrake lever switch. (It is an SVA requirement to have a warning light for both the brake fluid reservoir and the handbrake – and by combining the two allows you to demonstrate the light works in the case of the fluid reservoir by operating the handbrake during the SVA)
Brake Peddle Switch
You can if you wish utilise the donor focus brake peddle switch, mounted on a home made bracket, or as I have done, use a simple hydraulic switch located in the brake line.
E- Dash – Power Board
Mounting of the Power Board can be done using a simple fabricated alloy bracket. If additional protection is desired the board can be mounted inside a suitably sized plastic box.
E-Dash – Control Board
The Control Board is mounted either on the surface or on the back side of the Dash board.
The loom retained with the steering column will require stripping. The audio/wiper (if not fitting a screen) plugs and looms can be removed if not being used.
Fuel Pump/Tank Sender Connector
E-Dash Power Board - Forward Feed
Rear Fuse/Relay Box
Fuel Cut Off Switch
While this item is not essential and not covered in the MEV build manual at all, I have always found it good practice to fit when using an electric pump, the switch used coming from the donor car and having been removed from the Donor vehicle when extracting the ECU meant that it was already in my box of bits.
Dash Display – Temp/RPM/Speed
Rear Lights / Indicators
Once having completed the basic electrical installation it is wise to take a brake before returning to check over each and every connection and resist that inevitable temptation to connect the battery.
Having thoroughly rechecked everything it is now time to start to connect the battery step by step checking all the time for blown fuses or smoke !
Assuming that all other necessary checks and connections have been made i.e. cars out of gear, there's fuel in the fuel tank, the fuel pipes are tight etc. Then your ready – good luck and may all your efforts be rewarded by success.
Overall, the main body of the electrics took me approximately three days to complete excluding a few minor connections – i.e. exterior lights that are best wired up towards the end of the build. Again take your time and work through each task step by step and believe “there is light at the end of the tunnel”
First Engine Run
MEV - Stuart Mills has asked that I do not describe in detail the electrical circuit / connections of the Sonic's wiring and in particular the utilisation / modification of the Standard Ford Focus ECU and engine wiring loom, It is for that reason that I include no wiring diagrams or details on the how the loom and ECU are connected.
Apart from the MEV electrics kit and the electrics salvaged from the donor car, all I've had to purchase is two electrical project boxes – which I suppose are optional, one 40amp in line fuse, various ring terminals, Insulation tape and dependent on your preferred method of cable connection a large quantity of either bullet / spade terminals or crimp connectors, being old school, I personally prefer soldier and shrink sleeve.
Various ring terminals are required as there is no main earth cable in the loom, although there is a spare wire or two, items such as radiator fan, main head lights etc. will require at least 4mm chassis mounted earth cables.
Clutch Pipe (Engine Fitting)
The copper pipe run to the rear, I have connected to the engine using a standard front brake hose.
Gear Linkage Runs
Care needs to be taken to ensure that the cables run freely without fowling past the handbrake assembly and cable runs as well as not fowling the seatbelt pick-up points.
Handbrake Cable Runs
As per the above the hand brake cable runs are best done in conjunction with the gear linkage so as not to foul.
Fuel tank internals
The fuel tank internals need to be separated using one 6mm x 1mtr long threaded bar, lock nuts are recommended as its preferred this installation dose not come lose later on. The sender arm will require extending by approximately 2 ~ 3 inches in order to give a more representative reading of the tanks level. I was fortunate enough to have a small piece of brass tubing left over from my aircraft R/C modelling days which suited this purpose perfectly. The assembly can then be sealed in place using Hylomar Aircraft/Universal Blue gasket seal and a number of self tapping screws.
Rear Brake Callipers
Having finally sourced some rear callipers from a local breakers for £40. (strip yourself) I set about the task of refurbishing, Using the same method as per the hubs and upright they were cleaned, plastic coated, resealed and fitted with new pads and discs.