I want to start this post by saying I think that this is no longer an essential step during the build. It seems Caterham and their parts suppliers have made improvements to the uprights supplied.

I inspected the uprights, because my previous experience and collective experiences from the Lotus 7 Club forum, were that the front upright wheel bearings have been supplied with little in the way of grease, resulting in premature wheel bearing wear / breakdowns. My 360R build uprights had nowhere near as much grease than the bearings this build has.

The second reason for doing this was the brake callipers’ bolts, which initially caused me concern with my 360R built. The amount of thread loc holding the calipers’ bolts made removing the bolts very difficult, and coupled with the uncertainty over what bolt was used to hold the calipers meant that removing them was a sweaty-palm moment. The reason for doing it was simple, you need to remove the calipers to check the wheel bearing grease level, and the current upgraded brake caliper design means you now need to remove the calipers to change the pads when the time comes.

As for the tools needed, the caliper bolts are the main problem, to which I have finally found a solution that works without damaging the bolts. You need a E12 Torx socket, but importantly, it must have a deep enough dish. I used a Blue-Point BLPTE3812, which cost £2.50 +vat from my local Snapon rep (or you can find them online). My Halfords E12 isn’t a good fit, so be aware that not all E12 sockets are the same.

First remove the caliper bolts with the E12 Torx socket and a 3/8 breaker bar, keeping the socket securely on the bolt and work the bolt out turn by turn. At no point did the bolt loosen up because of the amount of thread loc. If your socket doesn’t quite fit, you run the danger of damaging the head on the bolt because of the amount to torque needed to remove this bolt. If you damage the head you may end up having to drill the bolt out.

Next remove the split pin holding the main hub nut. Start with a small pry bar and then a pair of pliers to make the split pin as straight as possible, and pull the split pin through the hole. If you are lucky, it can be pulled through with a pair of pliers, if your less lucky, you may need to persuade it a little with a pin punch and a hammer (I used a dead blow hammer).

The hub castellated nut is finger tight, the split pin holds the nut in place. Once removed, you can pull the disc off the axle.

Factory wheel bearing grease

As you can see, my wheel bearings have what I would consider sufficient grease, I decided to add some more because it was all apart.

Before refitting, I cleaned the caliper threads with a M10 x 1.5 tap (preferably a bottoming or plug tap) to remove the remaining thread loc.

Refitting is a simple process, just make sure the bearing seal is seated properly, slide the disc back onto the axle. Refit the spacer and the castellated nut.

I use the following process:

  • Tighten the hub nut to 11Nm to preload the bearing
  • Fit the wheel (with the centre cap removed, using two wheel nuts hand tight)
  • Back the hub nut off 1/4 turn
  • Then tighten the hub nut by hand until there is no play when rocking the wheel with your hands at 12 and 6
  • Turn the wheel and retest
  • Once there is no play remove the wheel and refit the split pin, to the nearest hole. Always insert the split pin from front to back or top to bottom.

Separate / spread the pin to lock the hub nut into position. This should be checked and maybe adjusted again after 200 miles.

New Caterham bolts or cap heads

Finally, I refitted the brake caliper using new M10 x 70 12.9 grade cap head bolts, with a small amount of thread loc, torqued to the settings from the old manual of 54Nm.

Tools Used

  • BluePoint 3/8 E12 Torx socket
  • 3/8 Breaker bar
  • Small pry bar
  • Pencil to mark 12 o’clock on the 33 mm socket
  • Pin punches
  • Pliers
  • Dead blow hammer
  • 3/8 Tap adapter
  • M10 x 1.5 plug tap
  • 33mm 1/2 socket
  • 1/2 to 3/8 adapter
  • 1/2 19mm socket
  • Small 1/2 extension
  • 1/4 to 3/8 adapter
  • 1/4 8mm hex socket
  • 3/8 Torque wrench
  • 1/2 Ratchet
  • 3/8 Ratchet
  • 1/4 Ratchet
  • 243 Loctite thread loc