Sunday, January 11, 2009

Engine Valances - Blue Peter Style!

One of my winter projects is to make a set of engine valances. I want them because I think they might keep the engine a bit cleaner and also because I want to have something to attach an oil catch tank to!
First of all I started by ordering some material. I've got a few other projects in mind that are going to need some aluminium so I ordered a metre squared of 2mm aluminium from a supplier on Ebay.

Then I started thinking about the valances themselves. When I made my radiator valances I used the old cardboard ones as a template. This time I wasn't going to be so lucky! I've never had a set of engine valances on my car so I was going to have to start from scratch. I started off by looking at Paul Tegler's excellent website ( and decided to make some panels up in cardboard to see if they'd fit!

Fortunately the recent purchase of a couple of heaters meant we had a few cardboard boxes lying around that were perfect for this sort of thing! I started off by marking out the cardboard as per the instructions. I noticed a slight problem straight away. There is no length given for the distance between points A and B. It was only a minor part of the overall design so I left it - the beauty of cardboard is that things can always be adjusted to fit later!

Once I'd marked it all up I set about cutting it out using an X - Acto style knife. This is much easier than using scissors and leaves a much nicer edge. I took the template out to the car and offered it up.

Straight away it didn't look quite right. There was a 2 inch gap between the bulkhead and the valance and I couldn't work out what the hell the circular cut out in the bottom was for! I'm ashamed to say it was quite some time before I realised the (now) blindingly obvious and turned it the right way around! Thanks to Neil (neilnaz) on the CT forum for the picture he posted to show me how the valance mounts up - it helped me realise where I'd gone wrong.

I had presumed the longer bit would be at the back but that is not the case! With the panel the right way round it was obvious that the circular cut out was for the steering rack. The only thing that wasn't quite right was the front part where the template meets the radiator frame. The angle of the frame on mine seems to be a bit 'non standard'. Other than that though it fits great! I do need to sort out the top edge though. It's going to need some material removing to allow the air filters to fit!

Feeling flushed with success I set about building another template for the other side.

This was a much less brilliant fit! I don't know quite what the hell went wrong but basically it just looks ridiculous! I couldn't find any errors in my template so I guess it's just the plans. At least I tried it out on the cardboard first! It's quite possible that I've made a huge and very comical error so if anyone out there knows where I went wrong, please let me know!

Luckily the good template from the other side seems to fit perfectly on this side too so I think I'm probably going to just make two identical ones.


Craig Gingell said...

Hi Will,

Nice work. Any ideas why the valences are different on each side? I'm considering fitting these valences to my Herald in place of the horrid Herald ones. Do you have a photo of the valence bracket fixed to the bulkhead?



William Columbine said...

I'm pretty sure the valances are only different because the one on the air filter side of the engine needs to be a bit lower so as not to be in the way on the air filters.

The template I've made (the good one!) fits perfectly on both sides so I'm just going to make two identical ones and then cut out one of them to make some room for the air filters.

I'll post a picture of the bracket on the bulkhead (and some measurements if you like) on my next post - it's basically a peice of angle steel with two holes in it.

Dave Powell said...

Come on William, it's not that hard :)

You should check out my valances :)

Dave Powell said...

P.S Dellorto DHLA Choke Cable brackets make excellent valance holders for the bulkhead.