Wednesday, 31 March 2010

DHC report nr. 81; Suspension finished

Finished the last bits of the suspension this evening. Only thing left to do was remove the back axle's differential cover for an inspection of the gears inside.

As you can see nothing wrong inside. So the by now freshly coated back plate could be refitted. Together with the last item of the suspension, the rear anti roll bar.

And with the temperatures rising slowly but surely I can at last start on the interior. But before that I’ll be travelling half the country this Friday, to pick up the wheels and bring them away for the second stage of their refurbishment.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

DHC report nr. 80; Finishing touches front suspension

At last managed to not forget to take a pair of lock nuts (for the track rod ends) home with me yesterday. After a good clean of the nuts, I went over to the shed this morning to fit the track rod ends ... at last!
First thing to do was to make sure that the steering rack was in its centre position. On the original racks that is pretty easily done by removing the grease nipple (or plug), put a 3 mm drill in backwards in the hole and move the rack till the drill drops in the hole that’s machined in the rack for this purpose.
Sadly this (aftermarket) rack doesn’t have this provision, so I needed something else to get the rack centred. Easily sorted with AutoCad and a piece of thick paper in a printer.

With the rack centred, fitting the track rod ends proved to be fairly easy. Although it looks like the one on the right hand side has some damaged thread inside as the last few turns went pretty stiff. Put them on 15 turns each, before locking them. The exact alignment (toe) will be done when the car is back on its wheels.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

DHC report nr. 79; Brakes

Over the last week I fitted the half shafts to the back axle. Nothing really worth mentioning here, after greasing the bearings, they just slid back in without any problems. With the half shafts in place it was time to put all the brake parts back on the axle. To make life easier I had printed a few pictures I made at various stages during the dismantling of the back axle. Very useful to show how everything should go back in. Especially with the self adjusting brake mechanism ...

The circlip for the rear cylinders ...

And the various springs inside the drums ...

After which fitting the drums was a piece of cake.

The only thing to put up a real fight was the cross over pipe running between right and left hand cylinders. The thread of one of the end fittings just didn’t want to engage with the thread inside the cylinder. But after a very frustrating half hour it just slipped in. Don’t know why it changed its mind but I couldn’t care less. And with the rear brakes finished, I switched my attention to the front of the car the fitting of the front pads.

I have been using EBC Greenstuff for quite some years now, but I found they were lacking ultimate bite so I decided to go for some traditional Mintex M1144 pads. Hopefully will see how they behave in two months time!

Also fitted a new antenna. The one I fitted previously wouldn’t pass our MOT as it was sticking outside the contours of the car. So instead I fitted a normal telescopic one, doesn’t look to bad either.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

DHC report nr. 78; Steering rack and rear suspension

With spring in the air, the temperatures outside rising, and the deadline for completion of the DHC nearing, I spent some time in the shed over the past few days. First I wanted to fit a new steering rack. But before I wanted to fit it to the car I thought it a good idea to refit the gaiters, as they weren’t fitted properly. And while I was wrestling with the gaiters, Robbie came in to have a look at what I was doing. When he spotted the gaiters, he invited me to use one of his tools to tie them down with stainless bands. Looks much nicer than cable ties!

With the gaiters tied down nicely, fitting the rack to the sub frame was only a matter of minutes.

Wanted to fit the track rod ends next, only to find I forgot to prepare a pair of lock nuts. As the track rod ends are the only items left to do on the front suspension, I could only switch to the rear. Which meant fitting the back axle.
The axle itself was prepared over the past few weeks. The other parts of the rear suspension were (powder) coated and fitted with poly bushes a few years ago. So these only needed cleaning, easy but time consuming. Usually I reuse the old bolts while refitting suspension parts, but this time I managed to lay my hands on a box of high tensile (10.8) bolts with the correct diameter (7/16”) and length (3”), with matching nyloc nuts and sturdy 3mm thick washers. These can be difficult to find over here in our Metric part of the world.

When refitting the back axle I always start with fitting the upper links to the body, torque them down only so much that they remain in position.

After that I cleaned and (re)fitted the poly-bush spring seats and bump stops that came of the car when I dismantled her.

And fitted the lower links to the back axle and put the complete axle assembly on a simple wooden trolley, which I use to store spare axles. This makes it easier to manoeuvre the axle in place underneath the car. Usually I use a trolley jack for this, but the floor in the shed is a bit uneven, making it difficult to align the axle under the car single handed.

With the axle aligned properly under the car I encountered the only real problem so far. The lower links wouldn’t move into the chassis mounting points. But with perseverance, a little bit of swearing and some brute force (tricky with the car on axle stands) I eventually got the left hand lower link more or less in place. A collection of drifts got the alignment of the holes sorted, enabling the bolt to be fitted.

As could be expected the other side also put up a bit of a fight but had to surrender in the end. So with the lower links mounted to the car it was time to remove the trolley, to replace it with the trusty old trolley jack. Actually not that easy when you are working alone, but with some wooden blocks I got the trolley from underneath the axle and the jack in place. This then allowed me to move the axle about a bit, enabling me to align the upper links and slipping the bolts in place. With all axle mounting bolts in place it was time to fit the springs, connect the rear dampers and torque down all bolts.

Next stage will be fitting the half shafts and rear drums.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

DHC report nr. 77; Wheels ...

Back to work on the DHC. This evening I had a look at the different sets of wheels I have lying around, to see which I am going to use on the DHC. The various options;

The 7Jx15 Revolutions I used on the car;

Initial plan was to use these but the guy who did the bodywork was a bit to thorough. He straightened the rear wings inner lips, so on the right hand side the tyre will almost certainly touch the inner lip. And I only noticed it when the car was painted. I can have the ET changed, but a re-drill of the mounting holes will be necessary then. On the other hand I can use one of the original sets of TR7 wheels I have lying around. Like this very mint set of original TR7 alloys;

It only needs a new coating and a set of new tyres. Then there is a choice of two (slightly different) sets of steel wheels;

These will need coating and (thin) spacers at the front to clear the Ford/Até callipers. And they can be combined with these rather smart looking US market hub caps;

Or these early small black plastic ones for that 70's look;

Think I’ve got a plan ...

Sunday, 14 March 2010

7th Nacht van het Oosten

Yesterday evening saw the start of the driving season, with the by now traditionally Nacht van het Oosten. Initial plan was to take part with 5 teams from our region but sadly two had to pull out before the start of the event. So early Saturday afternoon saw three cars with the usual suspects on board heading North toward the start in Beckum (I again had Rene as my navigator).
Because the rally again is part of the CTH championship, Rutger had some map reading incorporated in the road book (with roadside signs and stamps which had to be collected on the signing-in sheet) and a regularity section. But as we came for the fun of it, we decided to ignore these. So after the traditional Chinese buffet we left just before half past six in the evening, as start number 47. First part of the route were Tulip diagrams without a distance. Sounds difficult but isn’t, especially if you have a SatNav which uses decent maps. And there was a regularity section early in the first section. Luckily the map reading etc. slowed most teams down so overtaking them wasn’t too difficult.

A typical part of the route from the first section;

By the time the road book switched to “normal” tulips we already had a fair number of teams behind us. Sadly at diagram number 3 (!!!) it went slightly wrong. Two identical roundabouts close together lost us well over 10 minutes. The fact that we weren’t the only ones was small consolation. At least it enabled me to have another go at overtaking a TR6, who’s driver thought he owned the road so didn’t have to move over to let faster cars pass him ...
But we were on our way again and the rest of the first section went pretty smoothly, with the car running very well. This couldn’t be said of Rob’s Escort. Just before entering the village of Lonneker we saw Rob’s Escort by the side of the road. First we thought the car was abandoned, but it wasn’t. Turned out that they had lost all lights safe the spotlights. But they had already localised the problem, so not much we could do, but carry on.
Not far from the halt we encountered the next problem on the road, well it was actually beside the road in a fairly deep ditch. Turned out to be an elderly driver (80) who got blinded by the lights of an oncoming car and drove of the road into the ditch. Luckily nobody got hurt. When we arrived at the halt we heard that Rob’s Escort again had developed a problem. Shortly after they sorted the lights, the clutch cable snapped. This was eventually cured with a throttle cable. But as they were still a long way from home, they thought it better to take it easy and head back to the hotel instead of finishing the route;

At the coffee stop we found out that there were only a few teams in front of us. As we hadn’t seen much cars in the last part of the first section I presume a few teams took some wrong turns at various places.

With the coffee finished we set off for the second section. In the first section René had made a few small mistakes, but by now he was well into his navigating. He didn’t make any mistakes in the second section. And rather quickly there were no more cars in front of us, we overtook one and the other one missed a left hand turn, giving us the chance to slip past him before he reversed enough to turn left (leaving the spot lights on certainly helped here...). This enabled us to settle down for a relaxing cruise to the finish. To liven it up a bit the car’s rear thought it a good idea to break out while accelerating on a narrow, and as it turned out rather slippery, bridge over the Alte Dinkel;

Luckily the bridge wasn’t as narrow as it looked and the oversteer could be neutralised with a bit of opposite lock. For the rest the second leg was just a nice quick drive through the country, and at exactly 22:30 we were back at the start/finish. As there was no one there yet, we phoned Rutger to tell him we arrived safely and were off to the hotel for some well deserved beers and a little well earned rest for the cars!

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Waking ‘t Kreng

Absolutely no progress to report on the DHC. This is mainly caused by the fact that I’ve been ill over the past week. But also because the coming weekend will see the start of the driving season with the Nacht van het Oosten, a 200 kilometre night rally.

Initially I wanted to check over ‘t Kreng last Saturday but I hadn’t completely recovered from a bit of pneumonia. And as it was still cold I thought it wise not to go outside to work on the car. Luckily the sun was shining brightly so inside the car it was quite nice, so instead of working on it I thought it would be a good idea to take her out for a little test drive.
As she’d been dormant outside under the carport for four months I was a little sceptical if she would start (last time she was out was for the Nachtrit early in November last year).
I needn’t have worried, after priming the carburettors she started on the first attempt. Idle was a bit rough but that was all. Out on the road she really behaved quite nicely once the flat spots on the tyres were driven out and everything was on working temperature.

As Robbie had completed work on his Escort, I went over to his workshop this evening to check the car. Was a pretty quick check, not much wrong. Only the pads of the rear brakes need renewing within the next couple of months. Also the underside of the car could do with a thorough clean, and it’s clear that 13 years of hard use are slowly taking their toll!

The only real problem were the brake lights, they did work a bit randomly until they quit altogether. Turned out that the brake light switch was starting to fall apart. As they have a tendency to pack up I always carry at least one spare with me. But I was too lazy to get it out of the boot. Instead I put a cable tie around the switch to keep it together, resulting in a pair of working brake lights.

The other thing that needed a bit of attention was the V-belt, which needed tightening up a little. This was caused by the fact that I renewed the alternator after the Nachtrit last year. And while driving home in the dark I could test the new 70A alternator. With spotlights and beams on it is still charging fully. That used to be slightly different with the original alternator!