On Monday evening I made a bit more progress. The steering rack first – I replaced the threaded part on the end which took only a couple of minutes, remove split pin, unscrew end cap, fit new part with a bit of grease, screw end cap back on and refit split pin. Another job that had been on my to do list prior to the crash was to adjust the rack, it had a tiny bit of play in it. On the Titan rack you just undo 4 (imperial!) allen screws and turn a slightly eccentric cam then tighten the screws again. It took all of two minutes – if I’d known it was as easy as that I could have done it in situ before!
I then removed all the bolts from the pedal box and cleaned them up along with the steering column, steering UJ and its associated bolts and after a bit of degreasing they got a coat of the Trimagard paint. They got barbecued in the evening and on Tuesday morning I bolted the pedal assembly back together. The angle bracket that holds the gear shift cable outer on the upper steering column assembly had got bent which I think accounted for my sore right knee, so I stripped that down, straightened it and cleaned it and its bolts up then bolted it onto the chassis.
Tuesday evening saw the nice shiny steering column fitted. With the UJs fitted in phase with each other and all the bolts tightened up the steering had a nice smooth feel with no hint of play. I then just had to fit a couple of rivnuts to the new chassis rails to bolt on the aluminium angle that supports the upper column.
I then moved onto the brake pipes, refitting the short sections that cross the chassis front and rear. I could then fit some new double clips and make up a new rear brake line. On Wednesday morning I got the clutch line done. I also cleaned up the ARB and painted its bolts and stuck them in the oven.
Wednesday evening saw the ARB and the cockpit adjuster refitted. I then refitted the hydraulic fluid reservoir and connected the reservoir hoses onto the master cylinders. I figured it was now time to drop the car off the trestles it’s been sitting on as it’s too high for engine installation. So using the engine hoist to support the rear end I lowered it down onto a pair of timber spars resting on axle stands.
I nipped round to see Clive, the local fabricator I use and dropped off a few parts for him to fettle. I’d never got round to getting my fuel tank filler pip welded into the tank cover so I took that, also the exhaust manifold, one of the welds holding a small bridging piece between the 2 secondary pipes had let go. I also took the new laser cut front undertray parts and their respective drawings for Clive to fold them. I could do them myself but the bigger one needs all 4 edges folding and would be pretty tricky using my angle irons and hammer. Clive’s workshop is a few miles away near Ammandford but he lives in my village and he rang me on Thursday afternoon to say the parts were all done and I could pick them up from the house in the evening.
Quite a bit of ordering has gone on – some new bolts from Namrick, headlights from Russ at Furore who was kind enough to take pity on me and do me a deal, replacement front side/indicator lamps from Car Builder Solutions. I’ve also ordered a brake pressure transducer from Ebay and a bunch of fittings to graft it into the braking system. 4 new tyres arrived from George Polley last Friday.
It was now time for an engine so I got it cleaned up and hoisted that back into the engine bay and bolted it in. This was all actually pretty undramatic and pretty soon I had the engine secured and could get on with bolting the manifold back onto it. Once that was done I refitted the coolant hoses and the front engine stays. I’d also fettled the reverse gear – the new gear had become quite badly chewed up despite the modified engine mounts. We now think we know why – Ian had been talking to Andy Bates who reckoned it’s not due to engine movement within the mounts (indeed I’d had trouble comprehending how this could happen) but due to a combination of the gearbox output shaft flexing and the engine casing distorting under load. Yes, really. I gather Andy got his information from Powertec. So the answer is to weld up the output pinion on the reverse starter motor and grind the end off the shaft so that even when the gearbox output shaft migrates backwards it doesn’t impinge on the pinion.
Refitting the radiators was only a 10 minute job. I then refitted the fire extinguisher. For a while I’d had it in mind to delay racing till I’d IVA’d the car but with the IVA inspector being away and me also being away for a few days early in September it would effectively have meant missing both Oulton Park and Pembrey. Jen thought it made more sense to concentrate on getting the car back out racing and forget about IVA until the end of the season so I’ve gone with that. By now I could see a bit more of the garage floor as the piles of bits got gradually smaller.
I spoke to Rimstock late in the week to check on progress only to find that they’d cocked up and having initially raised the order then cancelled it, so no progress on my wheels. I politely expressed my disappointment and explained the situation and the chap I spoke to said he’d do what he could to get them sorted ASAP. I’ll call them on Tuesday to give them a little gee up.
On Saturday I nipped up to Hereford to collect bits from Brian. He hadn’t expected to be able to sort my front sub-frame until next week – as soon as he cut tubes out of the old one it sprang into fairly inappropriate shapes so a whole new one needed to be made and Bob at Concept Racing had a backlog after returning to work from his latest surgery. So I was a bit surprised when Brian came out of his workshop holding a shiny new freshly TIG welded sub-frame – apparently Bob had got it done on Friday afternoon. Brian had also been busy and sorted out my replacement aluminium parts – pullrods, steering rod, suspension mount and the diff carrier. He’d also laid up a pair of new sidepod floors. He already had a pair of sidepods there intended for his son Rob’s car but they’re outsourced anyway so not a problem for him to replace those. I’m feeling a bit guilty about the number of parts I’ve pilfered that were originally for Rob’s car!
Brian also had a look at my nearside drive shaft. When I’d removed it it felt as though the shaft was pulling out of the inner CV joint. I didn’t try pulling on it again as I didn’t want it to fall to bits. Brian pulled the boot off to find that the impact had broken the circlip that retains the shaft in the CV joint. He had a spare in one of his many drawers of bits so that wasn’t a big problem. I just need to clean it up and make sure I recover the fragment of circlip before greasing it up and reassembling it. The outer CV joint didn’t feel too good though and needs replacing, so I’ll get one ordered on Tuesday. Brian stuck the shaft in the lathe to check that was still straight which it fortunately was.
Very little got done on Sunday due to golf (yes, I made my comeback!) and work in the evening. I did manage to degrease the front and rear subframes and make a start painting them. I was working again on Bank holiday Monday morning but managed an hour or so in the garage beforehand and got the subframes completed. In the afternoon I got the wishbones and remaining suspension bolts painted. The wishbones just fitted in the oven so they were easy enough to cure but the subframes were a bit too big. I had a cunning plan involving using my heat gun to heat them up enough to cure the paint but it didn’t really get them hot enough. Curing it isn’t essential but increases its resilience. I have a feeling they might fit under the lid of my gas barbecue though …
So, it feels like I didn’t get all that much done over the weekend but I’ve got lots of parts that are now ready to bolt back onto the car and I fully expect progress to be fairly rapid now. The Jury’s out on whether the car will be ready in time to make it to Oulton Park on the 10th September, it’s not impossible but it’s going to need a huge effort. I’m quite good at huge efforts though