Tuesday, 13 March 2012

SHOCKingly DIFFerent

A much-needed weekend away has meant that nothing has moved-on as such. However, worthy of note is  the arrival of some very important parts - all from Procomp Motorsport.

The shocks are manufactured by Protech Shocks who are based on the same road as our Melksham site.  However, Procomp take the basic unit and then 'play with the valving' and add a different spec of oil before dyno testing them and matching the settings on the adjustment knobs.  Hence, the extra detail and TLC is worth paying for.  Or rather it would be if the shocks weren't a bit cheaper than from Protech.  Strange but true.

Here's one front and one rear shock.  
They are made to measure and are 1.9" dia with spherical bearings at each end.  Okay, so they aren't triple-adjustable remote reservoir Penske units or anything but if they are good enough for last year's champ...

The other item that I collected was the "Pig's Head."  
 This snouty-nosed piece is actually my rebuilt diff unit complete with Quaife ATB limited slip differential.
Ivan has been building these things since the Mark II Escort was still available in Ford showrooms.  He's also got all the necessary kit.  Hence, it could hardly have been in better hands.  He explained this evening that he can usually tell you all about the life of the CWP based on the wear marks.  However, he said that it had been so long since he'd done the job that he couldn't remember.  Admittedly, I should have picked this up months ago, so I shall just have to cope without the story.  In any case, he did say that most 3.54 CWPs tend to be in fairly decent condition as they are of little use to the rally boys.  

More parts are imminent, most notably my front calipers.  I'm sure that I said in a previous post that I'd make sacrifices in this area to help keep costs down.  I haven't.  I did however get a small discount.

Oh, one final thing - if you check-out my list of other blogs to the side of this 'ere screen, its worth noting that I've added two new ones recently.  The first additional scribbler is Al Boulton, bookies favourite to win the Championship this coming season. The second is fellow countryman and all-round good egg Wyn Edwards'. Wyn changes his mind about competition cars almost as regularly as me.  Anyway, his Lotus 26R is set to be a beauty.  Can anyone remember what we used to do in tea breaks 'bb?'*


* before blogging

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Body, Chassis & Bits.

Ok, so what's happened?  Progress has been made in a few important areas.

By far the most visible addition, as my last preview-post rather suggested, is the bodywork.  This was collected from Autotune (Rishton) last weekend.  I'm really pleased with it.  Cosmetically its not quite where I'd want it if this was going to be my road-going pride and joy but it is generally very nicely made and is pretty light - I can happily walk around with the front clamshell in my hands.
The picture within the last post was of course me playing with ideas on stripes.  The retro colour scheme evident (brown and orange!) is very likely to stay.  However, 'stickers' and livery are some way off yet.
I'm hoping to trial-fit the bodywork in the next few weeks so I can see if the chassis needs any further mods to help secure it.  Which leads me nicely to the chassis related updates...

The chassis has been back to Track Developments for some more work - I just don't have the time to do everything that I'd originally hoped to do so Dave at TD has thankfully filled a large portion of the resource gap.  The engine mounts are now complete.  
The front-upper mount is pictured above.  These obviously bolt to the bushes that were welded into the chassis tubes some time ago.
Likewise, this is the rear upper mount.  Also, note the Dzus-ready tabs for the undertray.
Finally, here's the lower mounts. Phew.

Dave has also fabricated and welded in the mounts for the rear backstays.  The backstays need to be removable and hence are fitted with high-strength rod-ends with a 5/8" shank.
We've designed the brackets so that they in theory follow the load path (hopefully never tested.)  The photo also shows that I need to clean a couple of my welds before the thing gets painted.
The bushes are welded in place for the bearing to sit between.  I'm quite pleased with these really.  Dave has also very kindly done his best to sort out my horrible weld on the pedal box.
In the foreground is a tube which is nominally used to support the steering column and dashboard. Because I'm sitting lower and further back in the car, it doesn't suit my needs.  So, I took a brave pill and cut it off!  The photo below shows the tubes closed back up - admittedly they are rather more 'organic' looking than I would have liked.  Anyway, I really do now need to formulate a plan to support the dash, steering column and the paddle-shift mechanism.  Hmmm.
I have now mounted the radiator.  The standard position on a car-engined Gemini is quite close to the engine.  I was originally planning to mount it right in the nose but I started to think about the inefficiencies and weight of very long hose runs between motor and radiator.  I'd also heard a rumour that the R1 pump can struggle a little in these conditions and I really do not want to be incurring the extra cost and weight of a Davies Craig pump.  Hence, the radiator is more or less where Autotune intended - I did explore this with them a little bit when I was with them collecting the bodywork.  It works on a tuned X-flow motor, which I know from experience can also get pretty hot, so I'm going with it.  We'll know more at the first shakedown. The radiator is supported at the top with two little fabricated stand-offs containing rubber well nuts.  I've then had to fabricate a third new support on the bottom and the fourth mount is essentially one of the chassis tubes; rubber mounts at each contact-point.
The radiator itself is a posh aluminium unit from Serck.  This was a carry-over from a previous project and is also second hand.  I thought it prudent at this stage to get it checked out.  Fortunately there is a radiator specialist virtually opposite our Head Office site so I wandered across and dropped it off with them.  A call a day later - "It leaks." Sh*t!  However it can be repaired so I'm now £72 lighter but do have a radiator that I know will happily sit at 20psi for 3 hours.
Next step was the oil cooler.  This was always going in the nose so lower mounts simply consist of steel angle welded in place and drilled to take anti-vibration mounts (not yet evident.)  The upper mounts are TBC - I want to take some advice on what is necessary/prudent.

Some parts are back and looking lovely.  The Cortina uprights have been powdercoated AND painted; the main body is powdercoated but a miscommunication between myself and the powdercoater meant that the hub/disc facing portion was left unprotected.  Looking at the evidence of corrosion (a small amount of pitting) from the past I thought it was a good idea to mask-off and give the untreated portion a couple of coats of matt black Agripaint.  
This minor issue aside, I'm delighted with the powdercoating job.  The work was carried out by fellow Bristol Kit Car Club member Steve at Turners Powder Coating Services in Seend.  
The job that he has done on the axle in particular is excpetional as it was looking pretty rough (and oily - sorry Steve!) when I dropped it off.
There are also a couple of parts that are undoubtedly looking nice and shiny that I haven't yet collected - my built-up diff and specially-valved dampers are waiting to be collected from Matt & Ivan - I'm flying into Birmingham next Sunday after a couple of days 'en Espana' so will hopefully collect them on my way home.  I should probably have that conversation with Kate.