Saturday, 29 September 2012

Over the last few days I have replaced the front wheel bearings after confirming the best way to do it via the Register and CT forum, a quick 52 mile round trip dropping Shannon back at Uni confirmed that some more noise has gone!

Alan Chatterton dropped an auto box off to me yesterday at work from Mike Weaver for Steve burrows, he picked it up last night from my house, gets complicated just before the RBRR.

Last night I checked the tappets, first time for ages. Couple of tight exhaust ones so something to keep an eye on and four loose ones so a bit more noise has gone.

Finished off by applying the RBRR logo on the tailgate. Looks well!

Monday, 24 September 2012

No more the 'startled hedgehog' and RBRR prep

Last Friday saw the usual suspects back at Blyton for another trackday. When we were here last April FRanK gave a good showing, with excellent brakes and 'Sweeney' handling. Less flattering was my mate Al's description that FRanK looked like a startled hedgehog. Since our last visit some Superflex trailling arm bushes and some very good rear subframe bushes have been installed, along with some 205/400lb Chris Witor front springs. The pic below is from April.

The pic below was last Friday and marginally less speed, but I think it shows less lean. Certainly for the short time the track dried on Friday and on the road the transformation has been dramatic. The front strut inserts are probably not up to the standards of the springs now but as 99% of my driving is on the road, this is not a major concern at the moment. So the startled hedgehog has gone.

Mum and Dad were up from Thursday night to enable Dad to go to Gaydon on Sunday for the RBRR driver's meet. After a trip to town on Saturday we had a couple of hours spare in the afternoon to prep HOE a little more. So a little bling was added in the form of Driver names and country of origin transfers on the rear side windows.

The Driver's meeting at Gaydon was done in convoy with Steve Burrows in his wedgewood 2000. The weather was dull but dry. Steve was having some problems with his auto transmission on the way down and decided to turn back at about halfway. We would pick up his driver's pack and some t-shirts for him.
The weather once there was awful and has stayed that way since, so today with a charity dress down day in aid of Children with Cancer  at my work, I had HOE outside the main entrance without the big charity stickers.  The rain eased at bout lunchtime so I decided to get 'stuckin'.I dried areas on the doors, polished them and prepped with some soapy water.  Three of the stickers went on fine, the first had torn as I was smoothing it down. I just wanted the car to look the part as I have now started to 'bully' people for sponsorship.  Hopefully Tim Bancroft will have some spare stickers at The Plough as mine seem to have lifted a bit with the intense rain we have had today. The car does look the part with them on though.

Let's hope the weather has rained itself out by the 5th October.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

The pi is ready

Once home from work yesterday I got changed and started the last bits of prep work on the pi before next Friday's trackday. First on the list was changing the large (baked bean can) subframe bushes. Just like on HOE they were very weak, but they were most likely the originals as they were Avon not repros.
I had a very good used set in stock so I cleaned and painted them before install.
The last job left on the list was changing the trailing arm bushes. 
After swapping the arms on HOE I had cleaned up the ones I took off, installed new Superflex bushes and left them in the garage in readiness for changing them over on FRanK. So after changing the subframe bushes I took off the back wheels and removed the rear drums and driveshafts leaving what you see in the picture below.


I then went indoors to clean up and have some tea. The rest could wait until today.
One thing worth mentioning is that I installed the Stag rear brakes less than 18months ago, I didn't have any new Nylocs for the  6 a side hub retaining studs, so (as they looked in good condition and were very tight) I re-used them. All 12 of them were literally finger tight. I have done a few miles since then and a trackday, but I was quite shocked how all of them had loosened off. I now have and will use on re-assembly, new Nylocs. You should too.
Today I swapped the arms over, it all went well until I was installing the halfshaft on the second side. I rested the brake backplate on the studs of the arm and reached over for the halfshaft when the backplate fell off the studs to the floor, breaking the metal brake pipe flush with the male connector at the back of the wheel cylinder. I thought it was all going so well.
Molegrips on the flexi stopped the fluid leak, realising that the brakepipe was very long and could be rebent to give some spare changed my mood a bit and I located the flaring tool and new fittings in the garage. Taking the brakepipe off and using the vice for help, I reformed the Kunifer and flared the fresh end. Usually I use copper pipe with my flaring tool, Kunifer takes a lot more effort, the vice was employed again to assist with this. The remade pipe was put back on and tightened and Amanda assisted with the bleeding of the cylinder. Once back on the ground and driven back and forth to reset the back suspension I tightened the trailing arm bolts. The picture below shows the new arm installed on the driver's side before the passenger side (marathon) was started.

So that is Frank ready for the trackday, the original rubber bushes in the trailing arms were very soft and mushy. The new Suprflex bushes, along with the changed subframe bushes and progressive front springs should make quite a bit of difference on the road and a lot of difference at Blyton. Also without realising Team 55 has a viable plan B car for the RBRR, should anything happen to HOE in the next few weeks.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

RBRR and trackday prep

The following things have been done over a few evenings during the past week.
First job on HOE, our chosen steed for this year's RBRR, was to change the large (baked bean can) subframe bushes at the rear. This also gave me a good excuse to try out my new high lift, long reach trolley jack, which I have been tripping over for the last few months in the garage. It was worth the expense.

I was lucky enough to source some NOS Avon Metalastik bushes to replace the repro items I had installed about three years ago. They had a little storage surface rust on the outer steel casing which I treated. This is how they looked after painting and curing in the boiler house at work.

The tell tale wiggle or twitch at the rear which can signify a weakness in the bushes had returned. An MOT advisory on the nearside one had prompted some action, they never usually look too bad from the bottom which you see with the car on the ramp. The picture below shows the top as installed, that you can't see when looking at them under the car. The central sleeve has clearly parted company from the rubber of the bush..........NOS, or poly is the only way when replacing these bushes!

Replacement is done by raising the car for access, supporting the subframe, undo the cental bolt and withdraw it, loosen the other end of the anti-vibe strap and push it to one side, undo the two fixing bolts and it's out.

The nearside rear hub has in the past had an advisory and I was sure had a noisy bearing. A spare shaft in stock felt OK apart from the inevitable knackered UJ. Fantastic, my favourite job in the world! Changed that and the shaft was ready to install.

Iffy handbrake on oneside I think was down to worn self adjusting mechanisms, the footbrake was perfect. Luckily I had some NOS shoes with new adjuster mechanisms on the shelf, so as the drum was already off on oneside to change the halfshaft, it seemed like the best time to do them.

Some play had been detected in the top of one front strut, these were rebuilt by a PO just before we bought the estate. So fearing the worst I had a good look. Turned out to be the strut top nut had not been tightened properly, which was easily sorted.
So just the front wheel bearings to replace and the car to roadtest to see if the 'new' halfshaft has a quiet bearing. Fingers crossed.
The end of next week sees me at Blyton Park for another trackday. The pi seemed fast enough on the straights but very wallowy cornering. My mates in spitfires could have cornered faster, but weren't able to pass me on the straights or outbrake me. With this in mind I had sourced some 205/400 Chris Witor springs. The front struts had been overhauled by me last year so removing the old springs and installing these was relatively fuss free. Look at the difference in free length between the original and progressives.

Two hours later and they were changed and I had been fed too. Lucky I had the front wheels off, the pads in the Stag front brakes were a little low, not ideal for a trackday.

The difference between the worn pads and NOS astbestos laden Ferodos is easy to see. Discs are perfect still so the pads I took out must have been old stock as well, they have always left lots of dust on the front wheels.

So I now need to do the front wheel bearings on HOE and slacken the much improved handbrake, check the fluids in 'box and axle and grease the prop UJs and we should be ready. I also have something to put in the windows but more of that in the future.