On Saturday morning I decided to do the cutouts for the aerocatches on the front cover while it was still detached from the car. After cutting out a cardboard template it didn’t take long with the die grinder and files to have the holes sorted. My cunning plan was to fit the front cover first, then the sidepods followed last by the rear cover. The front cover is actually very straightforward, it’s a very good fit and when pushed back onto the hinge plates sits in exactly the right position with its rear face flush with the chassis rail along the dash. Once that’s bonded on I can use that to align the sidepods.
I took the plates off and drilled a few holes in them and stuck a few score marks in with a scribe then replaced them and loctited the two small nuts at each side. It was time to bring out the acrylic adhesive. This seems pretty unpleasant stuff and RS sent about 10 ages of dire health warnings with it. The little gun works really well and when I came to actually use the stuff it was actually a little more liquid than I was expecting. It’s in a twin cartridge and the gun uses clever little nozzles that mix the stuff as it comes out. After carefully applying the adhesive to the aluminium hinge plates I lifted the cover into place, checked the alignment then used some wood blocks to pack under it pushing the cover onto the hinge plates then went for a coffee while I waited for it to go off.
Most of the rest of my morning was spent sorting out the trailer. The brakes have been going a bit wonky – initially locking one of the wheels under braking last year which seemed to clear up after some adjustment but recently the handbrake hasn’t been working on one side. Last weekend I whipped the hub apart to find a pair of rusty shoes with no pad material in sight at all! A visit to Bank Farm Trailers in Swansea elicited much sucking of teeth and “they’ll be very expensive if you can find any at all”. They eventually reckoned £66 a pair which sounded ridiculous. Great. I rang Brian James and after 3 days they got back to me with a price – £89 per axle set, plus Vat and carriage. Phil reckoned the hubs are made by Avontrie and a bit of Googling for Avonride brake shoes and I found these at a much more reasonable £66 including VAT and carriage per axle set. So only £91 cheaper … Anyway, I ordered these and managed to get both wheels on one side of the trailer done. Only one wheel had decent shoes in, the other two both had shoes with detached lining material.
Before heading off to Stratford-upon-Avon for the 750 Motor Club dinner I lifted the front cover up and applied some PU sealant around the hinge plate to beef it up a bit.
Saturday evening was very pleasant in the company of most of my RGB mates, I also had chance to have a chat with Ian Baldwin about the remaining work. After a late and very large breakfast on Sunday I hotfooted it back to Wales to get on with the bodywork. Before fitting the sidepods I wanted to get the rear cover hinge plates in place, these fit in slots cut through the cover and bolt onto the ends of the aluminium frame. It seems I got my measurements for the slots right as they fitted very nicely.
The first pic here is of the bracket that supports the front of the nearside sidepod, the one below it showing the rear bracket. I gave them a clean with some acetone, then did the same to the surface on the sidepod and stuck a new nozzle on the little glue gun and applied the glue to the brackets and put the sidepod on. Once I was happy with the position of it I stuck a couple of weights on there and went off to do the brakes on the other side of the trailer. Yes, I know the wiring needs tidying up but until I know exactly where the sidepods and air ducts under them sit I can’t really get it clipped.
Once that had had a chance to go off I did the sidepod on the other side, here’s a pic of that held down with my improvised weights. In case you’re wondering the sidepods are a different colour because Brian didn’t laminate them himself, he’s subcontracted that out. Brian sprays the inside of his mould with white primer before laying up the GRP but the company who have done the sidepods have used a dark grey resin.
Once that had had time to set I applied some adhesive to the rear hinges – these aren’t so straightforward as I’ll need to create some blocks of wood that fit inside the rear cover and screw onto the hinge plates, the wood is bonded onto the GRP. Brian suggested applying a bead of the acrylic adhesive around each side of the hinge plate both above and below the GRP, the idea being that this should hold it in place so I can take the cover off again and sort out the wooden blocks. Brian had warned that the acrylic stuff’s pretty nasty but I hadn’t really noticed it before, however lying underneath the rear cover trying to make sure I squeezed some of the adhesive into the actual joint it was making my eyes water a bit! I got a nice bead into and along the joint on top and propped the plate in place with a block of wood while it went off. And that was pretty much the end of the weekend, early finish as work beckoned in the evening.