After acquiring my kit in September 1999, by June 2000 the car was almost ready for SVA. There were a few problems during the build, the worst being the day I set fire to the wiring loom destroying most of the dashboard wiring. The car wasn't that cheap to build having finally cost around £6500 in total, however it does feature virtually all new components including the complete brake system, reconditioned suspension and twin Dellorto 45's. The engine was also a rebuilt unit from Tiger.
But anyway I had all of the problems supposedly licked and took the car to Tiger to have it MOT'd, it came back from the MOT with a list of things to put right and a £100 bill to repair the rear brakes as Paul Dudley wasn't prepared to let me drive home with them!
And so to SVA, as a precaution I took my dad in the Carlton Estate as a chase car in case anything went wrong, this turned out to be a good thing. The car had a dodgy electric fuel pump, after running for about 45 minutes the pump will stop usually in the most inconvenient place; the cure was to hit the pump with a large hammer!!
We finally arrived at the test centre about an hour late due to the above problem and met Mr. Fouracres. The test got off to a good start with the heater producing as much air flow as a knats fart. Also when I got out of the car the seat back came with me. However despite these obvious fail points we continued with the test and finally I came home with a whole page of faults to repair.
The faults included the following major problems and their solutions: -
Nylocs without enough thread showing through.
This was one of the simplest to fix - all I needed to do was replace the bolts with longer ones so that the Nyloc could pass further along the thread.
The seat backs fell out when I got out of the car
Well what can I say apart from some better screws were used for the retest.
Indicators too far in.
This is a common fault for the SVA with a Tiger. The problem arises because the back wheelarches are wider than the front. If the front indicators are the legal dimension from the outer edge of the front bodywork then when measured against the back bodywork it won't be spaced enough. The solution is to fit a pair of extension tubes.
Fuel tank not secured.
The fuel tank could move - only a little but enough to earn a cross on the critera. Unfortuately the back bodywork is not easy to remove (read virtually impossible) on a built car and so the only solution was to make up some "top hat" shaped brackets to fit instead
Rear fog lamp not vertical
Added a spacer in to make it vertical again.
The wheel studs weren't far enough through the wheel nuts
Well this is where I admit to a piece of subterfuge. The standard wheel nuts bolt on far enough for security, however the alloy bolts are longer and hence you can't see the bolt thread through the nut. The correct solution would have been to dismantle the hubs buy longer wheel studs and replace them all. However this sounded like too much work especially in a single garage. So I phoned a friendly wheel supplier and bought some closed head wheel nuts (they look like bolts), fit directly and pass SVA without any problems.
On the way back the fuel pump gave out half way across the Knights Hill roundabout outside Kings Lynn, at this point we called the RAC and sent the car home on the back of a trailer.
Most of the problems were easily solved if a little annoying to fix and the car went back for its retest on Friday the 4th August. Again I persuaded my dad to act as chase driver and again the fuel pump stopped at random, including at a set of traffic lights on the Norwich ring road. We arrived at the test centre and after twenty minutes were simply told to go and pay at the desk and collect the certificate. It was so easy I couldn't believe it.
After meeting up with a fellow cat owner we started out on the way home, this was when the fun started. After inadvertently overfilling the fuel tank on the way to the test I got some paper towels dried off the back of the car and chucked the towels in the passenger footwell to promptly forget about them. On the way back I was tempted by a stretch of straightish road and floored it, the paper towels were caught by a gust of wind and were blown into my face temporarily blinding me.
Shaking my head to remove the towels I took a small diversion, heading onto a grass verge at about 55mph after a couple of hundred yards I got the car back onto the road (BTW the amount of grip between damp grass and tyres is zero) the only damage being a radiator fan acting as a lawnmower and a smashed rear foglamp.
I stopped at Tiger on the way back and rather sheepishly ordered another fog lamp.
Anyway here are some tips to help with SVA.
- Make sure the heater works - I ended up plumbing it with pond pump piping, as it is very flexible and is fairly rigid.
- Alloy wheels will pass - however fit dome headed wheel bolts to prevent them failing on that point.
- You will need the indicator extensions - use a bit of soft plastic drill a centre hole and tap an M8 thread in each end once SVA has been passed remove it as it looks awful.
- To get the fog lamp straight a couple of blocks of wood and half a reel of insulation tape make a good cheap bracket extension - as long as you don't smash it on an excursion.
- Fuel tank brackets - make sure the fuel tank cannot move a millimetre; I ended up making two top hat profile brackets for each and securing them around the chassis members.