Sunday, 25 March 2007

A new heart for the DHC

Slow but steady progress over the last few weeks. Succeeded to get the dashboard back in the car at last. Hopefully everything is connected properly.

Over the past week I have been mainly busy with the preparations for the engine swap. Removed prop shaft, exhaust etc. and disconnected everything from the donor car. So that the engine was sitting loose in the engine bay. Only connection still in place was the gearbox mounting.

Yesterday the engine was pulled out of the "old" DHC. As the engine hasn't been used since 1998, I decided to put new oil seals in. So after the engine came out of the car the gearbox was removed together with the clutch and flywheel. As the engine has only covered 50.000 km since I rebuilt it in the early 90's, the clutch cover and plate were still in good condition (as expected). Only the plate was stuck to the cover. But nothing a gentle well aimed blow with a hammer could get unstuck;

After new seals, lots of degreasing, lunch and more degreasing the gearbox could be put back on the engine. And after that the lot could be put in the car, which is what we did. There was only one (slight) problem. As the floor of the shed isn't very smooth the engine hoist was very difficult to move. But moving the car underneath the hoist wasn't an option as the rear has to be jacked up as high as possible to get the engine + gearbox in. But in the end it turned out that we had worried to much. With the help off a trolley jack under the gearbox the engine slid into the bay without problem;

And to finish the engine transplant, I busied myself today with connecting up everything. Hopefully the car will be ready for the road in a weeks time;

Thursday, 22 March 2007

Nacht van het Oosten (march 17, 2007)

For the fourth time Rutger Kwant (from Club Triumph Holland) organized this night-time touring rallye. This time we would again take part with four cars, Roger's GT6, Rob V's mk1 Escort, Rob's TR7V8 and 't Kreng. They rallied at my home from where we set off at about 13.00 h. Initial plan was to drive straight to the hotel to check in, meet up with the 7 CT teams from England and then move on to the start. So far for the plan ... Just north off Arnhem Roger's GT6 decided to get rid off it's coolant in a hurry. As my car was in front on the hard shoulder, Roger had to bear the humiliation of being towed off behind a TR7;

As we were rather close to the start we decided to tow the car there. Until a few miles further on, I looked in my rear-view-mirror just in time to see the GT6 coasting to a halt on the hard shoulder, the tow rope had snapped. He was eventually picked up by Rob and towed to the start in Epse behind the V8, the first team was out. Shortly after James contacted Roger to say that all was not well with his Spitfire, the dynamo had gone, and there wasn't a spare one, car number two out off the rallye.
After we had checked in at the hotel and I came back from a fuel station one very worried navigator was waiting for me. He had just got a phone call that his wife was seriously ill and shouldn't be left alone over the night. So only thing I could do was drive him to the nearest railway station and put him on a train home, leaving me without a navigator. First I thought to join the other two CT crews at the bar but Tim persuaded me to join him and Jason as a second navigator in the Grey Thing. It was jolly good fun in the back off the car, only thing missing was a small fridge with some drinks! And all went well ... until the accelerator cable decided to pack up just before the halfway stop!

This cost us (well actually Tim with a little help from Jason) an hour and a half to repair so we decided to drive the last few miles to the midway halt, get some coffee and head straight for the finish and the bar at the hotel. This was probably the very best bit off the whole weekend. The only thing I'll tell about it is that there was a local song-contest and the bar closed several times during the night ...

Thursday, 8 March 2007

Looming problems (or slow progress on the DHC)

When I bought this car, the plan was to swap the U/S spec engine and wiring loom with those from my first ever car. Initial plan was to do the swap in the Carnaval holiday. But due to several small but rather annoying set backs mainly with the wiring I will be pleased if the new engine is in by the end off this month.
While dismantling the car everything went fine. The problems really started while removing the Continental spec loom from the donor car. Whilst removing it I found out that the wiper switch was broken. No problem I thought, I have several 2nd hand and new ones lying around. Only problem was that the broken switch had a female connector while all other switches I have, have male connectors. So I had the choice, changing the connector on one off the switches or the loom. I settled for the third option, a short adaptor cable with two male connectors;

Getting the loom back in was the easiest part. I tied a bit of rope to the old loom before I pulled it out off the front wing. Getting it back in was simply a matter off pulling on the rope gently. Of course something had to go wrong. Ìn this case the thread on one off the earth points behind the headlamps turned out to be gone. Off course I only found that out when I had replaced the headlamp units, which limits access to the earth point from below;

Then came the ignition switch. On UK and Euro spec cars they have 4 connecting wires. The U/S switch has 7! This meant removing the lock (always nice undoing break-bolts) and changing the switches. Nothing special but rather time consuming. Especially if you planned to do something else instead!

Next problem was the heater unit. The flap guiding the air to the screen wasn't working properly. It turned out that some mounting brackets at the front off the heater had never never installed (see picture below). As a result the flap was to low, touching the dashboard bracket and thus opening only very slightly. Some home made brackets solved this.

To end it all one off the two connectors from the rear loom on the U/S spec cars has one extra connection. Again I thought no problem, take a spare connector block and put five off the six wires in matching the colours with the connector from the main loom. Sadly though U/S spec cars have some different wire colours. And the wiring diagram wasn't clear on this one or clearly wrong. Using my multimeter I eventually found out which cable went were ... hopefully!

But at least the dash can go back in now, or there is light at the end of the tunnel;

Thursday, 1 March 2007

Braking 't Kreng (part 2)

Due to 't Kreng being used more or less as a daily driver between 1999 and 2003 not much was done to the car save the minimal off servicing. But since the summer off 2003 it is relieved off the "daily" duties. At that time the car was on Michelin SX-GT tyres, but as these were getting rather old, and thus to hard for my liking, it was time to try something completely different. After not to many thoughts I ordered a set off Yokohama A032R tyres in the rather sticky S(uper)S(oft) compound. These tyres really improved the grip and handling off the car, but they also highlighted the fact that the car could very well do with some beefier brakes up front. Not that the Ford based brakes as provided by S&S Preparations are bad, they are just not enough for the cars potential.

First thoughts were for a conversion using Porsche 928S4 (Brembo) calipers with ø305mm vented BMW discs. As a friend has those on his TR7V8, that seemed the easiest swap, as I wouldn't have to start from scratch. But it turned out that spare parts and pads for these calipers were rather expensive, so I started looking for a similar set up from one off the many brake manufacturers on the market today.
As the car is regularly used on rather dirty country lanes and the odd gravel track, the calipers had to be fully dust sealed. This ruled out Willwood and some other companies. In the end I went for a setup from HiSpec Motorsport which I ordered through Revington TR.

The set consists of HiSpec Monster4 calipers (what's in name ...) and vented discs ø300 x 28 mm with alloy bells. I have to admit that Neil Revington took his time to work out the kit but the end result more than made up for the long wait! They are everything what they should be, impressive stopping power. Interesting detail, the pads used in these calipers are also used on the Aston Martin DB7 range and the TVR Cerbera!

On top the new pads, bottom the Ford based pads (RS2000).

The calliper disc combination.

Calliper and disc fitted to the car.

A snug fit!