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GTM Libra History year 2000 to current date (sidewinderforge.co.uk)

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Welcome to our GTM Libra Build, on the road from 1st June 2000, Refurbished April - July 2011, further work done in 2017, in March 2018 the engine blew a cylinder head gasket & dumped its cooling fluid into the sump. Story on page 5. Latest update 14/01/2019.

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The "next" & "back" buttons allow you to visit each page in turn. "exit" returns to the main web page, "home" returns to this page.

Page   1 - Our origional Libra build info'
Page   2 - Fuel gauge, tank info' & Dash Wiring
Page   3 - LED lighting - Continued from page6
Page   4 - Cooling system/fuel tank/fuel gauge etc
Page   5 - Rover 1.8vvc engine/repair
Page   6 - LED lighting - update December 2018
Page   7 - Heater fan speed control
Page   8 - Fitting air horns
Page   9 - 1.8vvc engine plugs - wiring
Page 10 - Refurbishing suspension
Page 11 - Refurbishing suspension
Page 12 - Other tips - starting & engine mounts
Page 13 - Empty
Page 14 - Empty
Page 15 - Oil filter protection sleeve
Page 16 - PG1 Gearbox Bracket
Page 17 - Wheel arch liners
Page 18 - Tie bar failure, timing belt, engine mount
Page 19 - Exhaust layout
Page 20 - Cooling system filling

Tips for today -
We were asked for Libra windscreen info', it is from a pre 2000 Fiat Cinquecento.
Wheel hub studs are 12mm for Rover Metro & MGF hubs.

As the GTM Owners Club newsletter has a pointer towards this section of Simons website I will be reviewing the pages & updating where necessary.

My apologies if some parts don't make sense or if you want clarification of any point please contact us.
If anyone wants any Libra build info', pictures or guidance we will help if we can, especially as Peter at GTM  passed away, he was a valuable source of information. GTM was then sold to RDM at Coventry & it is  now owned by Westfield. Things have got more difficult  now as  GTM no longer exsists, especially obtaining  bespoke parts.
Just as a point of interest the Libra has parts from many cars:-
Rover Metro basic donor parts, steering rack (LHD), electrics wiring loom, in our case also seats & sun visors. MGF drive shafts, Rover K series 1.8vvc (Lotus Elise version), Vauxall Astra door handles, Landrover ball joints (in our case Rover75 & Mercedes suspension bushes), VW ball joints.

    We saw how the factory used a purpose built jig to hold the monocoque, we describe our version.
Simon did not want to spend "years" building the car so this is the story about the "build", written by me Barry.

    The first Spark for building one, was set off when Simon saw one on a BBC Top Gear program, he set about researching the Kit Car market trying to convince himself that he & I could build one. I kept saying to him, you buy it & we will build it, brave words, but the build is not beyond anyone with some practical ability. In 1999 Simon was 27, and was a metallurgist, working with stainless steel strip. I, Barry was about to retire after 43years as a Post Office/Royal Mail Engineer, on telephones, mechanised/electronic mail sorting, finally ending as an M&E supervisor for Royal Mail iT.
    One day I bought the June 1999 "Kit - Car" magazine which had a Red Libra on the front page, he was smitten.

Next thing I knew he had arranged to visit the GTM factory to see a Libra first hand. He sold his Saxo VTR to finance the project, therefore the Libra was to become his everyday covered transport (he had a Triumph Speed Triple M/C as well, now a Triumph Tiger). First a few facts - Start date was 21st October 1999, the day the Kit was collected from the factory, the wife & I arrived home from holiday with the caravan just after the boys arrived with a van load of Libra kit car parts, no wheels & no Donor kit. NOTE: stand the monocoque on some blocks when you take delivery, this part is quite heavy & it is usefull to be able to get a jack under it later.
    Be aware of the order of construction, we stored all the glass fibre parts at the rear of the garage, the building took place in the centre area leaving some space near the door, for when the donor parts would arrive. We built a small trolly, 16"(405mm) long by 15"(380mm) wide, to stand the engine on, & allow us to move it easily. The materials to hand dictated the dimensions. Additional pieces of wood were fixed to it to suit the engine being moved. The trolley has two fixed wheels about 6"(150mm) in diameter & two substantial castors with 3"(75mm) wheels to allow easy turning. The donor kit was deliverd to us on 4th December 1999.  See Photos A & B

    The SVA test, at Derby, was on 26th May 2000, first registration date was 1st June 2000. It took eight months ten days to build, or 16 man months, plus 20 man days as there were two of us most of the time (no we did not work 24hour days, & we did not keep a log of hours worked). Although the car is quite small when completed, a considerable amount of space is required  to store the various body parts, as these cannot be fitted until all the monocoque mounted items are in place. i.e front & rear suspension, engine frame, fuel tank & all the pipework/cables under the car. Our available space was approx' 8.5m x 2.5m.
    As stated earlier we decided to "simply" replicate the factory jig idea. Here are some details, there are four strong "jacking" points on the monocoque, one at each corner. We therefore erected four uprights (50 x 50mm) between the floor & roof of the garage adjacent to each corner. To these we attached four more half height uprights with a 50mm spacers plus a thick piece of cardboard. This was so that we could fit two cross members of 50 x 100mm, adjustable in height, using 10mm screwed rod pins so that we could adjust working height & clamp the cross members for stability. We also braced the uprights at floor level on each side so that we had clear access from the front & rear, for trolley jack operations. Eventually the body will be lowered onto the engine!!!
Photos 2,3,4 & 6  may help clarify the above.
    It was also obvious that cutting & drilling of the glass fibre "shells" would require a vacuum cleaner. As we were tight for space we did not want to have to keep dragging a vacuum cleaner back & forth. We had an Aqua vac to hand, which we put out of the way under a shelf at the back of the garage. We used it's large pipe to connect to a piece of plastic drain pipe over the centre line of the "work area" fixed to the garage roof. We reduced the pipe in size & fitted a tee piece above the centre of the front windscreen position, (the car was facing the back of the garage). The pipe was continued to an elbow just above the rear bulkhead. Some joints just used plastic tape for a seal. This gave us two positions where we could plug in, the smaller flexible pipe. We had a bung, which we held in place with an elastic lugage strap, to cover whichever outlet was not in use. This arrangement can just be seen in photos 6 & 8.

    THE MAIN THING YOU NEED TO BE AWARE OF, IS THAT AS YOU INCREASE THE WEIGHT AT THE BACK OF THE MONOCOQUE, THE FRONT  BECOMES VERY "LIGHT", ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU ADD THE ENGINE. Even at this stage it is still usefull to have the car (monocoque) up in the air for connecting pipes etc. Eventually it is also usefull to have some old standard Metro wheels to fit as a temporary measure, the ones we got had to be drilled out, then fit them the wrong way around. Photo 10 shows them, not very clearly, one fitted one removed.
    This  build was done using the 1.4 16v Mpi engine - later on in the story it is replaced by the 1.8 16v 145ps vvc engine (updated March 2018, the engine has proved to be a 145ps engine not 160ps) & we understand that the version we got was the one fitted in the early versions of the Lotus Elise, although we did not know this at the time, which is why we had trouble with the fitting of the clutch slave cylinder.

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Photo Gallery

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Photo 10

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