Building of Triking WDP 202S

WDP 202S On the road at last
My introduction to three wheeled sports cars came in 1970 when I bought a dilapidated Berkeley T60 three wheeler and rebuilt it for use in London during my time at University. The reason for the Berkeley was I couldn’t afford a Morgan! Having retired from gainful employment in 2001 I needed a project to entertain myself through the winter months and my thoughts again turned to a Morgan three wheeler. Unfortunately I soon discovered that I still couldn’t afford one! A couple of years passed and one day surfing the web I came across the Triking. Discovering that Tony Divey was located in Marlingford, not far from my house in Sheringham Norfolk, I decided to make a visit to see the Triking in production. Having seen the cars in Tony’s workshop it only took a few moments to decide that I must build one!

I placed my order with Tony in October 2003 for what was probably to be one of the last Triking kits as Tony then only seemed to be selling completed cars. I was told that there would probably be about a 9 month delay before my chassis was available. However a chassis (No 137) unexpectedly became available in early 2004 and so I arranged to collect it, and the majority of other parts, in early March 2004. This was to be the first of many visits to Marlingford over the next year to collect other bits and pieces and to pick Tony’s and Alan’s brains for information on how to put the bits together!

Meanwhile in November 2003 I started the search for a donor Moto Guzzi and my first ever visit to Ebay came up with a 1978 850T3 which turned out to have not been used for the past 10 years and had only 30,000 miles on the clock. The bike was advertised as running (without any blue smoke), but not road worthy so I made a successful bid and had it delivered in December. There then followed the use of many cans of WD40 as I stripped down the bike to salvage the parts needed for the Triking.

Remains of the donor Bike Retrieved at last!

Needless to say that a number of studs and capheads snapped resulting in the need to drill out and insert helicoils in the barrels and crankcase where the exhausts and alternator cover were fitted. I decided against stripping down the engine and gearbox and take the risk of building it into the chassis hoping that all would be well when it was eventually fired up!

The initial build took place in a small shed at the bottom of the garden (which is on a steep slope). Having lugged all the parts in to the shed I was quickly hit with the thought “what have I done, I’ve bitten off more that I can chew here!” As no instructions came with the kit of parts I decided to take a step by step logical approach to the build and start with the installation of the wiring loom and any other parts, brake pipes, petrol pipe etc., that ran through the tunnel under the car. Breaking down the assembly into small chunks certainly helped to overcome the “oh my God what have I let myself in for” syndrome!

Trial fitting of components

The chassis came with the front suspension and steering assembled which made life a little easier and once set up on trestles it was easy to work on. The next task was to make the dashboard and fit it out with all the various instruments and switches, warning lamps etc. Following 15 coats of varnish the dash was completed and glued, along with the glove box, to the chassis. Next the swinging arm and rear shock absorbers were attached as was the rear wheel and brake assembly. This brought the first problem as the hand-brake cable turned out to be wrong length. It transpired that my chassis was different as the hand-brake lever was mounted in a different position due to the gear lever also being in a different location to the standard car. Problem was solved by the manufacture locally of a new cable. Next came the fitting of the pedals, petrol pump and filter, front wheels etc. to make a rolling chassis. This was necessary as I needed to move the car up to the top of the garden as where it was being assembled was about to be sold for the build of a new house! Much effort required to pull and push the car to the top of the garden so that it could be installed in the next assembly area (inside a modified school bike shelter attached to the rear of my garage).

Ready to haul away. The completed body work.

It was now time to start on the body work. The body came as three major pieces: the main body, boot lid and bonnet. All the parts needed cleaning up around the edges with the major effort required around the inside of the cockpit area.

Many hours were spent cutting, filing, sanding and filling to get the correct shape and finish. Retaining nuts were bonded into the boot lid and the forward main body to accommodate special bolts to enable the boot and bonnet to be secured without any external catches. Cut-outs were made for the de-mister system required by the MSVA (more of which later) and home made vents bonded under the windscreen to direct the warm air. An enormous amount of time was taken fitting and adjusting the windscreen wiper system to make sure it didn’t tie itself in knots when operated! To date they have been used once!

Fitting the engine and gearbox proved to be surprisingly simple. The most difficult part was lining up the splines of the gearbox output shaft with the UJ and the prop-shaft whilst balancing the engine and gearbox on a trolley jack. This was the only time when a second and third pair of hands were needed in the build!

Levering the engine into place It fits!

The engine is held in place by two threaded bars and some spacers. The only modification needed was to re-shape part of the driver’s footwell to allow clearance for the clutch lever arm. The diode/rectifier and voltage regulator were bolted to the glovebox with rubber washers and all the electrics connected. The gear linkage was fitted along with the fuel regulator, exhaust pipes and silencers. The carburettors and throttle cables were fitted as was the fuel tank so that I might try and start the engine before I went much further. Much to my surprise the engine fired immediately and ran very well! Unfortunately it failed to stop when I turned the ignition off!! Much head scratching and poring over the Moto Guzzi manual until I discovered that I had missed off a wire to the rectifier unit. I included this in the wiring loom and lo and behold I could not only start the engine but I could also stop it!

Body work finally bonded onto chassis.

After the euphoria it was now time to try and fit the body onto the chassis. Off came the exhaust pipes, silencers and anything else that might get in the way. Much time was spent aligning the body to the chassis by springing the body over the chassis and fitting it along the bottom rails. The task was made more difficult as I needed to make sure that the rear bulkhead behind the seat back also fitted well against the body and the chassis. Difficult to do with only one pair of hands. However the time came when, having obtained the best possible fit, the body needed to be fixed to the chassis. This was done by coating all the mating area of the rails and body with special glue supplied by Tony and springing the body on. This is just possible single handed but much use was made of g clamps, bungy cords, gaffer tape etc. to hold the lot in place whilst the glue cured.

Return from the spray shop

Once the body was firmly attached it was time to fit all the many other pieces of the car that are required before it is able to set foot on the road. The fuel tank filler pipe had to be shortened and re-aligned to make it compatible with the hole in the boot lid. The front brake callipers were fitted and the brakes bled. The mudguards were bonded to their stays and fitted. It was now time to say goodbye to the car as it disappeared to the local paint shop for spraying. It emerged in its full glory and was delivered back to me for its final completion.

The next job was to fit the trim inside the car. This proved rather baffling until I realised that two of the components had been incorrectly glued together by Tony’s suppliers! Another trip to Norfolk and the Trimmers and I was able to fit the trim easily with the application of evostick. The tunnel was padded out with wooden spacers to ensure that the inside of the cockpit was symmetrical and the tunnel cover fitted, again with much evostick. Carpet was cut and fixed into the foot wells and the side panels fitted. I decided to make the seating more comfortable by raising the front edge of the seat swab some 6 inches by making a wedge under the seat. The seats were then bolted onto the floor pan of the car. The seat back just drops into the car behind the swabs but does “give” when leaning against it with only the driver in the car. I solved this problem by bolting a bar across the wheel arch so as to support the seat back.

Fitting the windscreens was rather fiddly. The glass is supported by two side pieces and a central support as well as the body work. Trying to keep everything aligned whilst bonding the glass in place was rather frustrating. However with lots of small g clamps and gaffer tape this was accomplished. The windscreen was finished off by bonding pieces of shaped aluminium along the bottom of the screens and down the centre.

First road test

All that remained was to re-fit the exhaust pipes, silencers, mudguards, front and rear lights and all the other ancillary equipment and check if everything worked. The car was taken to the local secondary school, after hours, (where I just happen to be a Governor!) for its initial test run.

Much to everyone’s amazement the car started and actually moved when first gear was selected! I spent some time driving around the car park and foot paths gradually gathering speed and testing out the brakes and gear change. The brakes eventually worked once I got used to not having a servo and having to push very hard. The gear change proved a bit problematical as I could change up o.k. but it was difficult to change down. On inspection this was caused by the gear change mechanism hitting the body work and not allowing the full movement. A file taken to the glass fibre sorted this out. All things considered a good initial test. I was now ready for the dreaded MSVA.

I had spent a lot of time on the Internet researching peoples’ experiences of the MSVA. As a result I had devised the de-mister system (2 12volt hair dryers mounted in a box under the bonnet and connected to the vents via home made hoses and ducts). Why a de-mister is required for an open top car still defeats me! I thought that I had covered all the requirements so I set off to my nearest SVA centre at Southampton. The law allows us to build a car and then drive it legally to the test centre as its first outing!!! I decided that using a trailer was a far less risky way to proceed. I spent 6 hours at the SVA centre. It turned out that this was the first 3 wheeled car they had tested. Also their ramps were not equipped to cope with three wheeled vehicles and the resulting bodge of using a plank to support the rear wheel on the ramp meant that the underneath of the car could not be properly inspected. The inspection failed the car on four points: Front offside brake not sufficiently effective; Seat belt shoulder points were too low; Windscreen was stamped with the incorrect BSI number; Front of the car had numerous sharp edges.

I spent much time pondering how to overcome the failure areas. However some were easier than others to fix. The problem with the brakes was most probably due to the discs and pads not being worn in as the car had not been driven any distance. I resolved this by driving it around the car park with my foot on the brakes before the re-test.

The seat belt anchorage problem was more difficult and resulted in the manufacture of a triangulated post system attached to the existing mounting point and the top of the rear suspension. I faxed the solution to the SVA tester for his agreement before manufacture to make sure that my solution would suffice.

The windscreen problem resulted in having to remove the screens and having new ones made from the correct glass and stamped accordingly. Removing the screens proved to be very difficult; I had obviously made a good job of the bonding the first time around.

The sharp edges presented by the front of the car, including the discs, were the source of quite a challenge to overcome. The tester used a 10cm diameter ball on a stick. This he used to try and touch any part of the frontal area of the car. Anywhere that the ball touched that had a radius of less than 2½ mm was deemed to be sharp and needed to be covered. My solution was threefold: firstly to cover all exposed nuts and bolt heads with plastic dome caps; secondly to fabricate a “Bullbar” from 15mm tube to attach to the front of the car such that the 10cm dia. ball could not pass through to the sharp edges; thirdly I fabricated shields for the brakes and discs from a combination of plastic flower pots and saucers suitably painted and attached to the brake calliper bolts!

I booked the re-test within the permitted 6 months and after just 10 minutes I received my MSVA certificate. All that was now required was to register the car at my local DVLA office. Having researched thoroughly the problem of registering a kit car, and not wanting a “Q” plate, I arrived at the DVLA office suitably prepared. This turned out to be a wise move as no one in the office had registered such a vehicle before! In order to obtain an age related registration number I needed to prove the age of the donor vehicle (copy of the original log book), show that I had used three parts of the donor vehicle (engine, gearbox, drivebox), provide a “newness certificate” (from Tony), provide a 16 digit chassis number (made one up) and produce the MSVA certificate. Having done all this I was duly rewarded with an age related registration number, hence WDP 202S.

I have driven the car for more than two years now and apart from a few teething problems it has gone very well. The main snags have been:

  1. Rumbling from the rear end due to the UJ rubbing against the housing. This was caused by me not fastening the grub screws that located the drive shaft to the three bearings resulting in the shaft moving backwards and concertinaing the UJ!
  2. Cracking of the rear tubular support to the top wishbones where it joins the main chassis. This has happened on both sides of the car and was caused by the number of pot holes in the roads around Farnham. I solved the problem (to date) by welding a strengthening support across the joint and reducing the tension in the shock absorbers to the minimum setting.
  3. Floppy front mudguards. The front mudguards were a close fit to the tyres and over the bumpy Farnham roads they wobbled about which resulted in the tyres rubbing against the stays. I fixed this problem by doubling up the stays and fixing the extra front one to the brake calliper mounting bolts and the rear one to the other side of the standard mounting plate. The result is very rigid mudguards.

One problem still to be solved is the indicator unit occasionally refuses to flash the lamps such that the indicators just stay on. I can make them flash again by blipping the throttle but I do need to find a longer lasting solution!

Worth all the hassle!
 
 
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