Thursday, 26 February 2009

DHC report nr. 11; Body back home

Picked up the body shell yesterday. After a closer inspection I have to admit that safe for the accident damage all structural bits are pretty sound, meaning I’ll bore you again with some piccies. First a few shots from the better bits at the rear of the car;

And a few pictures from the engine bay;

Next job was to put some temporary wheels under the car to make her a bit more mobile in the work shop she is going to this Saturday. Found some rather good condition original TR7 alloys with rather period tyres. But most importantly they hold their pressure very well;

They are actual so good that with some decent new tyres I even might use them on the DHC when she’s ready! But I won’t worry too much about that for the near future, first get the car ready. Which means a trip to the body repair guy this Saturday.
And received some positive news on the paint front this week. It looks like I have found someone who’s good enough and willing to prepare the body for painting (good quality craftsman are scarce these days).

Oh, and in between I did bleed the brakes on ‘t Kreng and even found some time for a short test drive, more on that later ...

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Suspension upgrade part 3

Last week I had a first go at installing the new front suspension for ‘t Kreng. As mentioned I couldn’t finish it due to the daylight running out. Also the brake hoses I had ordered were a bit too long. This was quickly rectified by C&C parts earlier this week, they shortened the hoses by 75mm. To aid clearance I have opted for some slightly angled banjo-ends;

Today, with a mild sun shining and the carnival about to start, I tackled the remaining work on the front suspension. Actually not that much that needed to be done really, right hand hub assembly, brake calliper and connect the shortened brake hoses. The part I was most worried about was getting the hub assembly on to the stub axle. On the other side I had used a hammer and a drift to tap the bearings in place. This time I used the leverage from the stub axle nut to press the bearings over the coating, which went much better. As a result the hub assembly and brake calliper were mounted rather quickly ...

After that it was time to check the ride height. With the lower spring seat at its lowest setting (with the springs just seated on full droop) the car sits a bit higher then with the old struts. Will first drive the car a bit to see how she handles with the new and much stiffer springs. To start with I have set the dampers at their softest setting.
Only thing keeping me from a test drive is bleeding the brakes. Sadly I found out to late that I have run out of brake fluid. And the shops will most certainly be shut till the end of the carnival period ...

While cleaning up everything I had a look at the front struts that came of the car. I noticed the right hand top mount looked a bit odd. On closer inspection it turned out to be rather bend!

With a straight rule the damage is even more clear;

Probably caused by the incident that happened during the reconnaissance for last year’s night rally, when I hit a bump in the road a little bit too hard (or fast). The impact clearly deformed the top mount quite a bit. Wonder what would have happened if I didn’t have a strut brace fitted?

Thursday, 19 February 2009

DHC report nr. 10; Ready for body repairs

I had to attend a meeting in Maastricht at one of our sewage treatment plants today. Which was great because, as a result of a site inspection taking less time than expected, and traffic conditions being rather light, I had 45 minutes to spare in between. As said sewage treatment plant is sited less than a mile from the company that is preparing the DHC’s body shell I stopped there to have a quick look at their progress. It turned out that they had just finished it yesterday. So far they stripped the paint and loads of other stuff from the shell and lightly shot blasted all suspect areas.

As they are a rather busy company they had it parked outside to access some other “work” when I arrived. Which was rather convenient to have a close inspection of the shell without being in the way! Sadly I won’t be able to pick the shell up until next Wednesday. So I will bore you all with a few pictures of the worst areas;

The joint between the bulkhead and RH front inner wing.

The joint between the bulkhead and LH front inner wing.

The fuel tank filler cap surround.

Front/lower part of the RH front wing.

Dent on top of the RH front wheel arch.

Dodgy repairs on the LH front wheel arch.

Dodgy repairs on the LH rear wheel arch.

Some small rust holes just above the LH rear valance.

Another (small) dent repair just above the RH rear valance.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Suspension upgrade part 2

After consulting my friendly MOT garage it turned out there are no rules concerning the fixation of the flexible brake hoses. As long as they aren’t overstretched, or rub against the tyres or other (moving) parts it will be OK. So I ordered a pair of new hoses from C&C parts (being my local brake-parts-supplier) yesterday. They were very quick indeed, as the hoses were ready for collection this morning. They certainly do look good!

So after finishing my Saturday shopping I spent the afternoon on the front suspension. First job to do was cleaning the wheel arches and suspension parts of last autumn’s road dirt and farm debris. After that I could start with putting the front struts under the car. But first I needed to enlarge the holes of the strut-brace mounting plate. As they sit (just a little bit) to close together they didn’t fit over the top mounts. I only had to remove a little bit of material on the inside to slide them over the top-mounts bolts, after which the struts could be mounted under the car;

As the studs in the top mount are a bit longish I thought it a good idea to gently lower the bonnet. A close inspection learned that the front bolts of the top mount only miss the bonnets louvers by a few millimetres!

With the struts in place it was time to clean the hubs, discs and callipers and put them back on, should be easy ... WRONG! Due to the struts coating all the bolt threads needed cleaning. And it looks like it is a pretty good coating as it took quite awhile to get them all clean. But the major setback was the fact that the stub axles are also coated. Of course the first thing you do is try if the hub assembly slides over. No it wouldn’t. So of with the hub and remove the coating. Sadly though when I removed the hub the inner bearing remained firmly in place. After a few attempts to get it off I tried the reverse, see if it could be tapped in place gently with a hammer and a drift. It could but it took me well over half an hour to get it where I wanted it (as I didn’t want to damage anything I only tapped rather gently). After that the disc and brake calliper followed within a few minutes;

I first wanted to remove the rust from the discs with some fine sand paper, but a closer inspection showed that it was only very slight surface rust. Last thing to do was fit the new flexible hose. Sadly the banjo-ends that connect to the callipers are much thinner than the original ones supplied with the brakes. This means I have to route them differently, making them 50-60 mm to long, thus touching the strut and/or the track-rod-ends. So I’ll have to visit C&C Parts again next week to have them shortened.

As the daylight was almost gone by now, I called it a day. Hopefully will find some time this week to finish the job on the other side.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Another suspension upgrade for ‘t Kreng

Having finished the first stage of the DHC’s restoration it was time to spend a bit of my spare time on the newly acquired suspension kit for ‘t Kreng. As yesterday was rather damp, grey and cold and I want to have the car at home under the carport for this kind of work, I had a go at removing the front struts this afternoon.
Those who have been following my ramblings on this blog will know that I did upgrade the suspension a few years ago. This meant that everything came off without a problem, resulting in two bare wheel arches and a boot full of suspension parts after only a few hours of work!

With everything removed I (of course) was very eager to trial fit the new set up and see how it all;

Well everything fits fine. The only thing that needs some slight adjustment are the mounting holes from the strut brace. But these always were a bit tight. Although the bolts for the camber plate aren’t quite accessible, I won’t enlarge the hole around the top bearing at this stage. I’ll just make sure that before mounting the struts the top bearing sits centred in the hole.

Biggest problem will probably be the routing of the flexible brake hose. The new struts don’t have a bracket to fixate the brake hose, which means I need a new (and longer) flexible hose. But before I start work on that I’ll first give my MOT garage a call. See what the MOT rules tell about the fixation of these hoses.

Oohh ... and of course a good clean of the inside of the wheel arches is also rather high on the to-do-list.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

DHC report nr. 9; Start of the 2nd stage

Loaded the bare body shell of the DHC onto the trailer today;

And brought it to a company called Giessen in Maastricht, to have the paint and the rust removed. With that the 2nd stage of the restoration has started. The work is out of my hands now for probably a few months. After Giessen is finished the shell will be repaired where necessary. Then back to Giessen to get the complete shell shot blasted and coated in an epoxy primer. When that is done it’s time for the tricky bit, preparing for, and the actual painting. Still looking for someone who can do that properly.

The shell did look a bit sad and abandoned, lying outside while they made room inside;

In the meantime I’ll busy myself with stage three, sorting all the bits, order new were necessary, coat parts where needed etc. And of course fit the new suspension under 't Kreng.