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Fitting the Rear lights

The car is really starting to take shape at present with lots of exterior touches providing that definitive look of a 7. Following the recently completed installation of the rear wings, I proceeded to add the rear light cluster which I'll cover in this blog article.

The first comment which is worth making is that the rear lights supplied are both identical having the light sequence from the left to right being the same. Since the indicator should be positioned outboard on either side, you need to correct one of the lights. The incorrect light needs to be rotated 180 degrees against the rubber backing so that the indicator is moved outboard, doing this will give you an appropriate set of lights.

Build Blog Caterham 7 Rear Light with coloured lens
Caterham 7 Rear Light with coloured lens

Each light is secured to the glass fibre wing using self-tapping screws, we'll discuss more on those later. In order to gain access to the self-tapping screw holes within the lights, you must first remove the outer retaining screws from the light lens, there's one screw on either side.

Caterham 7 Rear light lens removal
Caterham 7 Rear light lens removal

Once removed, you'll spot the holes where the self-tapping screws pass through to hold the light on the wing.

Caterham 7 Rear light with lens removed
Caterham 7 Rear light with lens removed

Each of my wings were pre-drilled with two holes, a large central hole for the wiring loom at the rear of the light to pass through and then one of the lower retaining holes for the self-tappers. Even though the self-tapper was predrilled it did need to be enlarged, I believe I used a 3.5mm drill bit in the end, but please check this.

Pre-drilled holes in rear wing
Pre-drilled holes in rear wing

Given the pre-drilled holes provided the location of the lights the only real challenge was ensuring the lights were level. To ensure the lights were level I concluded I needed to check each light by measuring with a spirit level across the light when placed on the wing, but I also needed to check the wing was level, which meant checking the car was level.

To check the car I first removed some soft padding foam I'd been using between the jack stands and chassis, the padding was used to reduce marring against the powder coat, but of course, it might offset the balance of the car. I then tested the level of the car at various points using a large spirit level all gave similar readings, a slight offset, which I figured was probably due to inaccuracies in the jack stands or even floor. In the end, I opted to measure against the top of the roll bar, it seemed as good as anywhere. To correct the offset I position a trolley jack under the brake disc of the lower side and gently raised the rear until a level was reached.

Now the car was level I could proceed with the lights. The first step was to enlarge the predrilled lower self-tapping holes, as mentioned I used 3.5mm Next I carefully placed each light into position and gently secured with the self-tapper, but left the lights loose. Using another small spirit level on top of each light I obtained a suitable level posture and then drilled pilot holes for the remaining 3 securing holes in each light using a 2mm drill bit. I drilled through the holes in the light and straight into the wing. It was impossible to try and mark the locations due to the thickness of the lights and rubber mounting blocks behind. Once I had the pilot holes I carefully rotated the lights and enlarged the holes to suit the self-tappers.

The lights were then secured with the self-tappers. Eeek securing the lights with the self-tappers was frankly horrible. The noise of the screw gripping into the wing material was awful, and it felt wrong. I have since purchased some 4mm x 50mm A4 stainless steel dome head bolts to replace the self-tappers, as I just don't like the solution. For the time being the lights are secured on the wing.

Caterham 7 Rear light mounting, lower two self-tappers in place
Caterham 7 Rear light mounting, lower two self-tappers in place

The assembly guide instructions stated to connect each light to the loom through the hole in the body panel immediately next to the light and seal the body hole using the grommet attached to the light's lead. I followed this on both lights although have to say the cable length is pretty short considering the connector plug is immediately behind the grommet, within the body. It leaves the cabling within the wing a little tight for my liking. It is also important to note for the IVA all wiring must be covered, so you might need some electrical tape around the very ends of each cable.

Caterham 7 Rear lights installed on both sides  build blog
Caterham 7 Rear lights installed on both sides

The assembly guide also suggests retaining the cable within the wing using a cradle clip against one of the lower self-tappers. I've yet to do this as I'm still in two minds, I might opt to use the bolts I've purchased and a small p-clip. Either way whatever solution I use I'll follow up with another blog.

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