Sunday, 22 June 2008

New front anti-roll bar

I bought an uprated ARB for ‘t Kreng earlier this year but didn’t find time to fit it. This was mainly due to the fact that the DHC was used for Le Carrera and as such, that car was at home and ‘t Kreng was temporarily put in storage so I didn’t have the opportunity to work on the car.
Last Friday I brought ‘t Kreng back home to get her ready for next month’s MOT. Before starting on its service I had a go at installing the uprated ARB. But before removing the original ARB I first took some measurements, to help me with adjusting the suspension afterwards (the anti- roll bar also acts as tie rods and thus influences the castor angle of the uprights).

The new ARB is (again) from Down Under (Selbys/Whiteline # WHIBLF91). With a diameter of 24 mm, compared to 19 mm for the original one, it's quite a lot thicker and stiffer (actual roll stiffness increased by 155 %). Luckily it came with new polyurethane bushes to go inside the mounting saddles. The original clamps had to be widened a bit as did the dished washers that hold the end bushes.

Putting the new ARB under the car turned out to be rather straight forward. I used two trolley jacks for this, one under each strut so the car's weight is supported completely on the struts, thus maximizing the distance between the mounting holes for the ARB. As a result the ARB slipped easily into the holes of the track control arms.
Actually it went in so easily that I should have been warned at this stage! Even mounting the ARB to the front sub frame turned out to be pretty straightforward, also thanks to a ratchet strap and a spray-paint can.

The problems started when I checked the castor measurements. With the original ARB the measurements I took were 288mm on both sides. But I couldn’t get it under 310 mm, as a result of which the wheels were sitting far too much to the front of the wheel arches.
After some measurement comparisons between the old and the new ARB I found out that the “track-rod ends” on the new one were approximately 10mm shorter then on the original ARB.
So off with the ARB this morning to put some spacers between ARB and TCA. This brought the “measurement” down to 295mm, being 7mm more than the original set up. As a result the castor angle has gone up slightly to approximately 3,5°, still well within the given tolerances.

Only have to see how the car is handling now. In theory a heavier front ARB lessens oversteer, due to the fact that a front ARB increases rear end grip. Hope to get some time this week to see how she behaves now.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

MOT time for the DHC

Had the DHC in for its annual MOT today. As it just finished Le Carrera I thought it a good idea to check the brakes before going, but they were all quite OK. Needed only a good clean and some copper grease in some strategic places.

Didn’t have time to tune the carburettors before having it MOT’ed though ... So it failed on emission (CO 7.25%). Also the VIN number wasn’t clear enough and needs to be renewed. To sum it up, it passed without a comment on the rapport. The joys of a friendly garage who just adjusted the carburettors and advised me to make an appointment with the RDW (Rijks Dienst voor het Wegverkeer, the Dutch equivalent to the DVLA) to have a new VIN number put somewhere in the car. Two mechanics could read the complete number (each managed to read half of it, which makes for a complete number).

Next on the to-do-list is to get ‘t Kreng ready for its MOT in a month’s time ...

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Le Carrera Caledonia 2008

As in the previous two years I again entered for this great driving event. As ‘t Kreng sounded not very reassuring, when I got her out of hibernation after the winter months, I choose to take the DHC instead this time. But when I took ‘t Kreng out for a spin, before swapping places with the DHC in the shed, she took revenge on my decision. She sounded, behaved and performed quite impeccably. But I took the DHC nevertheless.
I again took the night-time ferry from Ijmuiden to Newcastle to meet up with my navigator for the event (Martin Randle) and the other CT crews taking part. The meeting point, as usual, was the Old Stone Trough in Kelbrook.

I came of the ferry on Friday morning, so I had all day to play a bit around in the Pennines and the Yorkshire Dales. The fun started just before the ford in Stanhope, were a rather large lorry turned onto the B6278 just in front of me. My first thoughts were rather unprintable, but it turned out that my worries were unfounded. As the lorry was empty and the driver surely knew the road very well, I made rather good progress reaching my chosen lunch halt in Richmond well before noon.

After lunch I did my own version of the Dales Bramble, touring some of the very fine roads to be found in the Dales. Although the weather could have been slightly better it remained dry all day, making for some rather nice pictures.

After a few hours of fun I arrived at the Old Stone Trough in Kelbrook were most of the CT entrants for LCC would meet up.

The P&P P&S and BarBQ
As a few pictures say so much more then my ramblings;

Le Carrera
As we had to leave quite early, to reach the start in Gretna in time, we had to do so without breakfast. Together with rather nasty weather on our way up north meant that our spirits could have been better when we arrived at the start in Gretna. But luckily McJim was in favour with the Scottish weather Gods, the sun came out and the weather remained rather nice for the rest of the weekend.

As for LCC itself. The driving again was so much fun, that I forgot to stop to take some more pictures on the route. And as usually there were some rather strange folk around at the start;



Man at work.

And again a nice variety of cars taking part.

There were a few memorable encounters that did stick out during the event;

The wildlife of Scotland
Judging by the amount off road kill scattered all over the roads it looks as if there is still plenty of wildlife left in Scotland.

Safe for a few thousand insects, that found an early end on the front of the car, I managed not to hit any other of god’s creatures. I only managed to clip a tail feather from a pheasant sitting on the side of a road (in mid corner and it’s tail sticking into the road of course ...) And then there was this (rather stupid) sheep sleeping in the apex of a rather tight and fast left hand corner. I think I still got some of its woolly fur on the car now, but the sheep survived the encounter with no further harm!

The "Ossie" coach driver
On the road along the northern shore of Loch Tay we encountered a rather large coach from the (former East) German town of Dresden. It soon became clear that the driver didn’t know what his rear view mirrors were for, as he refused point blank to pull over and let the cars queuing up behind him pass. Even when he had to stop to let oncoming traffic through he immediately pulled into the middle of the road again.
In the end I did manage to squeeze past him at the lights for the (narrow) bridge over the river Tay in Kenmore. This also being the point where the Ossie driver at last found some use for his mirrors. While I overtook him, when the light changed to green, he saw me coming and tried to push me into the nearby wall. But even that he couldn’t do properly. Shame I didn’t have a Dutch flag on the antenna of the car.
Have to admit that I now have a vivid idea why West Germans tend not to like the Ossies that much.

The quad
A few miles after leaving the coach behind we turned onto the A826 in Aberfeldy. But this time it was me being chased over Glen Cochill and Sma’ Glen. Not by a car or a motorbike, but by a quad! Despite me not hanging around, it managed to more or less keep up with me. And when it overtook us when we had to turn left into a minor country lane, we could clearly see that it was standing on off-road tyres! The chap surely knew the road but must be slightly mad nevertheless!

All in all it again was a top event which was over far to soon. Needless to say that the socializing in the evenings was good fun too. And on Monday again in glorious weather we made the long haul back from Aviemore to Barnoldswick.

After dropping off Martin at his home, I returned to the OST in Kelbrook, were I stayed for a few more days to do some hiking in the Dales. And all to soon this holiday was over and I was again on the ferry with the English coastline disappearing on the horizon;

To be replaced the following morning by the lovely Dutch sky line;

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Tarting up for Le Carrera

As the DHC will be the car of choice for this year’s Le Carrera Caledonia I started servicing it today. After an oil + filter change, checking all fluid levels and lubricating the door hinges and the carburettor linkage it was time for more cosmetic work ...

Some 15 years ago I won a fancy wooden Nardi steering wheel, with matching gear knob, in a competition from a mayor Dutch car magazine. Even then they couldn’t supply a boss for a TR7, so I opted for one for my then daily drive, a Mini Cooper. But as I thought it didn’t look quite right in the Mini, I trial fitted it in my 1st TR7 and it was a perfect fit. Some five years later when I laid up the TR7 I removed the wheel and knob and stored them in the attic. There they lingered till today.

This wheel has a slightly smaller diameter and also a thicker rim, giving a better feel than the original item. Should be ideal for a blast through the North of England and Scotland.