Saturday, 31 December 2011


A little more progress was made yesterday - not as much as I'd have liked but there you go.

The reinforced back-end which is necessitated by the MSA requirement to have roll-bar back-stays is now almost fully welded.  I say almost as there are some weld-runs that I need to do once the chassis has been inverted.
The strips of white tape are reminders that there are welds that need finishing once upside-down.  This chassis mod took me ages.  Cutting the angles on the horizontal(ish) tubes proved a little problematic.  Some of my welding was then utter dog-sh*t so I ended up grinding it back and having another go.  
I will not be welding the roll-cage and may even leave the engine mounts to someone better than I!  Ah yes, the engine mounts.  What was going to be square is now round. I realised that I had some nice water-cut brackets left over from the aborted se7en project that would do the job quite nicely.  I was also worried that the tube that's been lying around various garages for almost two years might be fubared but it's minty-clean inside so we'll run with it.
As, usual, ignore the improvised spacers on the overly-long bolt.  I am going to see if I can get the original bolts on a lathe to get the thread cut to length to reuse them.  We'll see.
The last 45mins of the 'garage-time' yesterday was spent looking at the possibilities for fitting a reverse.  I have no real idea what I'm going to do yet - not good!

Happy New Year by the way.


Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Poly go me

I'd love to report that there has been lots of progress on the chassis.  However, when your success rate of cutting tubes with awkward and opposed angles is about 1-in-5, it does tend to slow you down.  At least I'm not making my own chassis from scratch!

Some items have arrived, notably the plates to mount the main roll hoop, a pillow block bearing that isn't suitable for the intended job and a set of four poly bushes, crush tubes and housings.  
The vast majority of the suspension joints on the car are to be rose jointed; the front can be seen here.  In fact the only exceptions are the axle-end joints on the trailing arms.  My thinking is that the 5-link live axle set-up will probably benefit from an element of 'compliance' (read 'squish.')  As such the bushes I've gone for are at the lower-middle end of the hardness scale at Shore A = 80.  My experience is that anything harder than this defeats the object and doesn't really do the job that I want it to do.  My experience is also that these, whatever the hardness rating, need to be very carefully matched to the accepting clevis so I think I'll be calling on Dave at Track Developments and his lathe to get them right.

Anyway, I'm sure that this will be my last post this side of Christmas so may I take this opportunity to wish you Nadolig Llawen


Saturday, 10 December 2011

If you didn't know me better...

... you might think that progress was being made.

I KNOW> some sort of tangible progress.  What ever next?

Where to start?  Well, I have an engine.  As I explained last time, the budget is tight.  As such, I'd set myself a target of obtaining a running 5VY R1 engine for £1500. There didn't appear to be much around.  Andy Bates said that he had one coming in but that would have blown the budget.  Malc at Yorkshire Engines didn't have one but he did have a later 4C8 engine.  I asked him what he thought of the reliability on the 4C8 as numerous have exploded when fitted to cars.  He explained that cooling is key and you also need to retain the EXUP gubbins - but he said that he runs one himself without bother.  This got me thinking, and prompted me to look again at eBay.  Amazingly there was a 4C8 package, still in the frame with everything needed to run it and it was at £600-and-something with 20-odd hours to go.  Long story short, after several messages to the vendor I decided that it was worth a punt.  One free EZSnipe later and it's mine for £842.  Shazzam!

The only downsides were that it was in Wigan and that it needs a couple of new covers.  Anyway, last Saturday I borrowed a van and picked it up.  It was great to be able to see the motor running before loading up.  The service history was a rare treat too, as was the V5 and the fact that the guy selling, Steve, was one of the nicest blokes you could wish to deal with.  Here's the heart of the beast in Steve's garage::
While I'm very pleased with my purchase, it could spell trouble.  As I mentioned above, the 4C8 doesn't have a great reputation as a reliable unit.  Of the RGB-bunch, Austen described me as "brave," Al Boulton urged me to rethink and I wouldn't be surprised if dragon-tamer and series sponsor Bates thinks I'm a prat.  Anyway, it's 4C8-devotee Paul Rickers' fault.  When I told him that I was fitting a 5VY, he just said "No Mate.  You want a 4C8 - I've got it sorted."  Here's hoping!

On Thursday evening I started to get the engine into a state where I could remove it from the frame.  In essence all I had time to do was to remove the airbox and to start freeing-up the loom - wow, there's a lot of loom!

I waded-in again this morning and within a couple of hours had the radiator off, the damaged exhaust (cut) off and the wiring out of the way so that the frame could be lifted over the top.
Like I said, it's a lot of wiring!  Once it was all removed, it was time to introduce it to its new home.

With the engine loosely in place, I could start thinking about fabricating the engine mounts.  There is still lots to do, but the most substantial addition is a new longitudinal tube which will support the upper mounts.  This isn't welded in place yet but, its fairly self explanatory.
Also cut and awaiting welding is the tube at the bottom of the tunnel which will bridge the gap between the two footwells, hopefully adding some stiffness to the whole front-middle of the chassis.
Finally for today, I spent some time removing the angle section at the rear which was designed to support, if memory serves, a mini-van fuel tank.  The angle is to be replaced by 18g square section and complimented by another tube connecting the left rear to the right rear.  The aim is to make the structure strong enough to provide mounting points for the mandatory rear roll cage supports.

There's still work to be done, as can be seen in the pic above,  More flap-discs required!

In other news, Procomp Motorsport are busy rebuilding my diff with its new Quaife ATB as well as checking and altering the camber and toe on the built-up axle.  Also, I really need to get the bodywork ordered.  Rather charmingly, Autotune have asked me to post a completed order form.

Oh, one final thing - the provisional race calendar is out which has rather spurred me on.  Time to renew my license!