Fortunately for me due to the amount of Public Holidays we had this year in April, we were able to spend a week working on my car, due to this we made very good progress and is now in the position to start with the body work preparations. As I said previously, this was the one task I did not look forward to, but at this stage I’m more than willing to get back to the car and start with sanding and prepping. I had two goals for the week, one being to complete the roll cage, second being the rear fenders.
Work started on the roll cage, 3 components had to be done; Harness mounting pipe with retainers, front shock tower supports and mounting plates. First order of business was the front shock tower supports. We started with making the pipe and mounting bracket as we realised very early that we will have no space to weld around the pipe, the same with the inside, the reason why we opted to use a mounting bracket on the inside, this allowed us a longer and stronger weld than only half a pipe. These parts were aligned and welded together as one complete unit before welding the shock tower reinforcement plate to the tower while keeping the inner mounting bracket in place, while I was busy cleaning up things around and below the shock tower my father continued with the inner welding. After all this fun and games, I will need to repaint my nicely painted inner fenders, luckily a small price to pay for the added rigidity.
We continued with the harness mounting piece, we opted for this option as we did not have enough space between the seats and the cross reinforcing the main roll bar. I went thru a few different options and decided on the current option. I thought ahead and had harness retainers cut to be welded on the pipe before welding it in place, an very clever idea I saw a while back on rally cars. These retainers was marked and welded in their correct position behind the seats and the pipe welded to the cage and afterwards reinforced with small pipes between it and the cross to make the whole thing much stronger. I opted to have two mounting plates welded to the middle part of the cage, this allow me positions to mount a communication device and cameras.
Rear Fenders, this was something I just wanted to get this behind me in order to get the car as low as possible and have some travel, but seeing as this was the first time doing something like this new there will be enough surprises to waste a lot of time. First we positioned the car in order to get it at desired ride height, after a lot of inspection we marked the first cut, not knowing what to expect we started cutting, right from the start we knew there is a lot of body filler used on the rear side of the car, suggesting the car went thru a few knocks in its days and have the scares to prove it. Once both sides was completed, we were shocked at the ease it would require to join the inner and outer panels again, seeing that we wanted to get the car as low as possible but still try to avoid welding in strips to join the panels. After inspecting the fenders further we marked the fenders again and did another few cuts more and finished it all off. The end result being a car that is level at +- 100mm clearance between ground and front cross member with +-65mm downwards clearance between the rear wheels and fender. The body filler around the fenders was removed in order for welding, the car being a 1972 model and living at the coast have a few bad panels with rust, so welding was quite tricky, Gas was used for welding and brazing and the Tig welder on the better metal.
Since we know had clearance we started with rear coil overs. Originally designed for a Mazda RX7 allot of work had to be done to make them fit this particular car. M16 Rod ends and pillow ball bearings bought, the bearings alone costing R1200, then we had retainers machined for the pillow balls and I had to come up with some sort of top spring retainers. I used some Nylon and machined a set of retainers, these end up looking so good, I will use them to get the car done, before just going out and making aluminium units. The biggest reason for using these bearings was the fact that I didn’t want to induce any form of movement stress on the shock shafts, due to the mounting position being inwards and slightly to the rear, the other factor being the shock adjusters position on the top. After careful positioning we tacked the shock mounts in position, installed the shocks and inspected the setup for any problems before taking the pipe out on which they mount to do the final welding. The end result looks great and only after testing I’ll really know if it will work or not, but nothing suggest any problems, at least we have done the mounting in such a way that the ride height can be adjusted upwards and even more downwards, pre load set on the springs and I can raise the car 25mm by moving one bolt per side for use with street tyres.
During my time at the car I found the time to start with my modifications on the pedal box, as it has a little play on the pedals that I did not enjoy, the best solution I could came up with was to drill the holes in the pedals and body to 14mm and make my own one piece solid shaft to restrict sideways movement, as the original setup used to separate shafts. I also had time to play around with my mock up 260mm rotor on the 4pot Nissan Calliper in 13″ wheels, it seems that the calliper will clear, but to be on the safe side I need to cut a mock up rotor bell in order to fasten the components better to make 100% sure before ordering the rotors.
Some parts arrived from Rally Design in the UK finally arrived after some fun and games at customs. Well at least we have them know and can start to fit them, on my list I had: 3 x Brake Reservoirs, 3 Brake Reservoir Drop pipes, Lockable Aerocatches, M10 Clevis pins, Non return valves, Jazz Remote filler and some very special grommets, these install in a 20mm hole, then you can run anything thru them between 8mm to 16mm by just cutting them shorter. At last my first set of wheels arrived that I will be using for racing, a set of 13″ x 8j RMD MiniLite blanks, I will need to have them drilled to 4/100 pcd, as these rims are made for Rally Design to be used on Ford Escorts you can only get them in 4/108pcd or blank. The finish on the rims are quite good, the only downside is that they are a little heavier than expected, but then again I was comparing them to a set of 13″ x 8j Compomotive Wheels that my brother bought a few weeks ago. Know I’m just waiting on my 2nd set of 13′ x 8j wheels to arrive, not as pretty as these, but they will do the job perfectly.
On the next visit the preparation will start on the body to get things in order for painting. At least I have the power of a Orbital Air Sander by my side to help with sanding. At least if we run into bad weather over weekends we have some mechanical work to keep us busy.
More Pictures – 26 April 2011 – Roll Cage Finished – Rear Fenders – Rear Shocks
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