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GTM LIBRA UPGRADE PROJECT OVERVIEW
This car has been bought to us by a customer for some significant upgrades. These include removing the 1.4 carburettor engine and replacing it with a 1.8 VVC Injection engine, upgrading the brakes, replacing the currently fitted Metro dashboard with the more traditional GTM seperate instruments, changing the steering column from Metro to Rover 100, fitting a stereo system, a complete re-trim of the interior, and a few other sundry items!

You can follow the progress of this project here .....

MARCH 2008
The car was delivered to us in late February so in March we got cracking on it. We opted to start with the interior and wiring modifications, partly because we can't test the new engine without this work being done and partly because the interior trimming is being done outside so we needed to get the panels stripped and sent to the trim shop ASAP.

Old Dashboard Removed
Old Wiring Harness Removed
Although it might seem like overkill, the easiest way to upgrade to the Rover 100 steering column is to remove the old Metro wiring harness and replace it with a Rover 100 wiring harness and fusebox so we stripped out the old harness and fusebox in its entirety. Once the new harness goes in all the 100 stuff will plug straight into it and save a multitude of cutting and shutting.

Interior Trim Panels Removed
New Dash Trial Fitted
We 'dry' fitted the replacement dash top and instrument binnacle in order to drill all the necessary holes prior to trimming and paint. The binnacle has some nasty marks in the gel-coat which won't polish out so we're going to paint match it to get a perfect finish.

Part of the upgrade involves the fitting of a Toad alarm and immobiliser system which will be spliced in to the new 100 loom rather than just added with bullet connectors. In readiness for this we have fitted central locking motors to the doors which will be actuated directly by the Toad system. Unfortunately the motors originally supplied to us proved to be rather noisy and a bit unreliable so we changed them for a rather more robust pair from Maplins before returning the car to our customer.

Central Locking Motors Fitted
Once all the old wiring was stripped out we fitted a Rover 100 fusebox and wiring harness. This was actually quite a straightforward job, although there were a few mods required as the horn wiring is slightly different and we had to add a circuit for the fuel pump (the original car was a carburettor engine so there was no wiring in place). We also added a circuit to control the cooling fan via the VVC ECU.

As the central locking and immobiliser functions will be controlled by the Toad system there was no point fitting a 5AS as our customer would have ended up with two keyfobs so we replaced the 5AS with one of our Mems Code Generators to provide a run signal to the ECU, fitted under the dash to keep it out of harms way.

New Fusebox and Loom Fitted
MEMS Code Generator Fitted
We have also fitted the Rover 100 steering column and switchgear. We removed the ignition barrel from the old Metro column and fitted it back to the new one so that our customer could retain the original key, which after all still fits the doors and boot.

New Instruments and Switchgear
New Steering Wheel
Once the binnacle was painted we could fit the new instruments and complete the under-dash wiring. Because the new steering column no longer houses the hazard warning switch, and the new instrument binnacle no longer houses the rear fog light switch or heater blower control, we fitted Savage Motorsport switches in the recess previously occupied by the choke cable, which will no longer be required once the VVC engine is fitted.

New Leather Interior Trim
New Leather Interior Trim
Part of the upgrade included stripping out the interior panels which were previously trimmed in grey vinyl and re-trimming them in black leather. We now have the trim panels back from the trim shop so these have been re-fitted to the car, along with the rear speakers and new aluminium door handles. The door handles were surprisingly tricky to fit as in their standard from they just catch the leather on the front of the door card. We had to space them out and put a very slight bend in them to preserve the leather, but they do look the part.

Interior Nearly Finished
Rover 200 Brake Upgrade
The original car was fitted with standard Rover Metro solid disk brakes which won't really be up to the job with a 1.8 VVC in the back so we have fitted our Rover 200 vented brake upgrade to the car. This upgrade has a bigger disk circumference and a larger piston diameter as well. Whilst playing with the front end of the car we have also fitted one of Team GTM's front anti-rollbar kits.

Old Engine Removed
New Engine Stripped For Rebuild
With all the other jobs either completed or well on schedule we turned our attention to the VVC engine upgrade. Although we knew the engine we were fitting was a good engine, we still opted to strip it down, inspect it, and rebuild it with new gaskets, water pump, thermostat and timing belts. All of these items are known weakspots on the k-series engines and its a lot easier to change them on the build frame than it is in the car. In this case we're particularly glad we did it because on inspection we found two completely worn out camshaft roll-pins, which we have now replaced with new items.

APRIL 2008
In April we finished the engine rebuild and installed it in the car, along with a replacement fuel tank as the old tank had no provision for an injection fuel pump. With all the fuel and water plumbing done the engine fired up first time and ran very sweetly. We ran it up to temperature to check the fan circuit wiring and as soon as we were happy that all was well we set about completing the interior modifications and returning the car to our customer.

New Engine Installed
Completed Interior
To be continued ..........

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