Updated: Oct 17, 2021
This Christmas I was lucky enough to receive numerous gifts related to each Caterham Seven. The first of which was a replacement carbon fibre battery isolator switch cover for the Caterham Seven 620R. I couldn't resist a quick blog about the product and install.
In terms of quality, I have no real complaints. The carbon weave is consistent across the component and looks excellent. My only one negative would be that my piece had a few imperfections in the lacquer, but you had to look real hard!
The part is also surprisingly flexible. The arc length, or distance between the two mounting bolt holes can change with very little compression, which is very easy to do. It's not an issue, just a characteristic I wasn't expecting. You always expect carbon fibre to be completely rigid.
Installation is very simple, well it is if you're replacing the standard item, as I was on the Caterham 620R.
Remove both bolts from the current cover and reuse with the new carbon unit, it's that simple. From experience I know how challenging it can be to line up the bolts up through the windscreen frame, body skin and into the captive nuts behind. There's always that fear of cross-threading as you struggle to pick up the threads in the captive nuts. For this reason I removed one bolt at a time, and immediately reinstalled the bolt with the new carbon cover. This minimised any movement of the windscreen frame as one bolt was always installed holding it in place.
For obvious reasons I was very cautious when applying torque to the bolts, as I suspect it would be very easy to crush the carbon. I'll need to monitor the bolts to ensure they don't slacken off, however given the lateral load from the windscreen I doubt that will happen. Additionally I noticed it was easy to cause the carbon to flex during tightening. This caused the arc to deform slightly as the lefthand side rotated inwards, and the right outwards. Any deflection on the lefthand side reduced the clearance between the isolator key in the armed position and the cover, and as a result interference occurred. The solution was to tightly hold the carbon at the bolt/mounting point during torquing. This prevented rotation of the carbon and locked the cover in place without distortion.
Lastly it wouldn't be a post about an upgrade without a discussion on weight. Yes, my 2021 weight loss diet has already started. :-)
The original Caterham Cars switch cover weighs 147 grams, not massively heavy, the replacement carbon cover weighs only 17 grams, thats just two Quality Street and a saving of 130 grams. It all adds up!.
Thanks for reading, check back soon for more illuminating upgrades...... JAL style again!