I wasn’t able to collect the car last weekend as I was away for the weekend, although Andy had said it was more or less ready. When I spoke to him on Tuesday on this week he said it was back together as a rolling chassis although I’ll have plenty of work to do to get it sorted. Unfortunately he hadn’t done anything with the exhaust so we had a fairly lengthy conversation about that on the phone. The problem is that the headers have been made with fairly lazy bends so they extend a long way back within the sidepod not leaving much room for a big silencer. There have also been loads of issues with cats with at least 3 RGB cars having destroyed cats – it seems they don’t just disintegrate but they end up obstructing the exhaust which isn’t a good thing. The decision in the end was to try to squeeze a 7″ silencer in there and stick the cat on the back end of it to try to avoid the cat problem and Andy was confident of getting this sorted by the weekend.
We’d also discussed the bonnet – there’s also been an option on a second hand bonnet but firstly it’s already had some repairs done on it and secondly it’s heavier than my old one. So plan A is to patch up the old one with a new one from Fisher when I can get it.
On Tuesday I rang Brands Hatch to ask about their refund conditions on testing bookings and was told that up to the Thursday before they’ll give a full refund. After that there’s still the option of ‘selling’ sessions on to other competitors. Having never driven Brands before and being there in a car that’s just been rebuilt racing on Saturday without any testing simply isn’t an option so I booked the whole day on Friday 24th.
I also started ordering stuff to fix the car, first off being a load of resin and mat etc. from CFS. Of course all the suspension will need setting up again, both the basic geometry as well as the corner weights. A computer corner weight system at over £1,000 is out of the question and I was thinking of making a Mumford beam with some scaffolding pole or similar but Tim’s just posted in his blog that he’s got a Pace corner weight gauge from Demon Tweeks. I’d seen these before and wasn’t sure how well they work – they basically use a lever with a hydraulic cylinder and pressure gauge. Obviously calibrating them to give absolute weights is problematic but it would seem that they should offer accurate enough relative measurements to compare one side with the other, so I ordered one of those.
Yesterday I had a trip in the motorhome over to Suffolk to collect the Fury from AB Performance. I left at just after 5am and got there for 10 to find Andy finishing off fitting the new steering rack. He showed me the front section of chassis he and Steve had chopped off – although he’d described it over the phone it was difficult to visualise until it was in front of me. Although there were only a couple of bent tubes it was clear the damage to the front end had been substantial – as soon as he’d cut through one of the rails it had sprung about a centimetre apart demonstrating the amount of tension in the structure. So the whole front end of the chassis has been reconstructed but Andy’s made a few modifications – he’s replaced the thin pressed steel plates with heavier duty plate with some cross-bracing, increased the bracing of the lower suspension mounts (which often give way on race Furies), generally increased the gusseting around the front end joints, added in a horizontal strut between the bottom mounts and raised the steering rack as he reckons standard Furies have a lot of bump steer. I’ll get some pictures up later but I reckon once Steve’s had a bit more practice he could be quite good at this welding malarky! Only joking – the welding is clearly top notch. She also now sports a shiny new 7″ silencer.
The only flies in the ointment at the moment are the state of the bonnet, which clearly needs major reconstructive surgery, and the final bill! I knew it was going to be expensive and of course adding in a new exhaust and the fabrication work that’s gone into it compounds the issue. So, the flexible friend has taken a hell of a beating The bulk of the cost is labour with over 150 man hours, but there are a lot of new parts too – ball joints, a couple of suspension rose joints, new radiator and fan, steering rack, wheel, silencer and new cat (mine was starting to disintegrate!). A new chassis would have been a cheaper option but would have excluded me from the bulk of the season. I couldn’t do the work myself – I can do a bit of welding and would have been happy replacing a couple of sections of chassis tube but this work was well beyond my capabilities and I suppose the only other people I know of who could have done it were Fisher and I seriously doubt that would have been any cheaper. I’m confident in the quality of the work and it’s difficult to put a price on that – Andy has loads of experience with what happens to RGB Furies and assures me that not only is it straight but it’s significantly stronger than before.
OK, here are some pics:
This shot shows the new pressed steel plates. The originals were pretty flimsy while the replacements are 3mm steel. If you look at the bigger version you can just about make out the quality of the weld along the bottom edge. You can also see the tubular cross braces added in between the 2 plates. Also shiny new radiator.
Here’s a closer view of the cross bracing between the plates. I was never terribly happy with the originals, they looked pretty flimsy all along and didn’t seem to justify the amount of space they took up – they compromised the positioning of the dry sump tank.
This shot shows the front gusseting on the pressed plate, also nice welding along its bottom edge. Steering rack is also positioned higher than before to eliminate bump steer to which the Fury is apparently prone. Surely this alone will be worth 3 seconds a lap?
And before we get onto the grizzly images of the bodywork here’s the shiny new exhaust. Andy’s fitted the cat inside it at the rear end to reduce the heat it encounters. Although this does remove a length of perforated tube as with the previous silencer, this one is both wider in diameter and longer so we reckon the actual remaining length of perforated tube is the same as the original 6″ can. So it should be plenty quiet enough.
If you’re of a nervous disposition I wouldn’t read any further The following images show severely damaged body parts.
This is the worst bit and what will make this particularly tricky is that I don’t have the missing fragments. Tim helpfully told me after the event to always make sure you recover any bits of bodywork when you crash. Thanks Tim
I do have a cunning plan to reconstruct this part but it won’t be easy.
What happened when I hit Aaron’s car is that the bonnet basically bent across the middle and was badly tented up. So in addition to the obvious tear mid-wheel arch I’ll have to reinforce right across the middle of the bonnet and repair the gelcoat that’s al cracked.
Oh well, better get out there …