September 24th

The diff in the chassisThe suggested Dax build order says to do the rear suspension next, so I set about it with a vengeance. The diff I have is the smaller one (there are 7" and 7 1/2" diffs) and needed fitting with some spacers to pad it out to fit the chassis. Before mounting the diff I pressed some bushes into the chassis, with the help of a large G cramp and some liquid soap. After that the diff fitted fairly easily, at least with the aid of some large levers to make it sit in the right place.

I then filled the diff with oil, to make sure that I didn't forget later on.

However, I then discovered that I couldn't fit the A-frame that locates the De Dion tube as the ball joint that locates this (which is mounted just in front of the diff) couldn't be installed with the diff in position. I thought I had checked this in advance, but I obviously didn't do it properly...

A frame in position, without the diffSo, I took the diff out again and installed the ball joint with the aid of a large hammer and attached the A frame to the joint. It's actually quite tricky to thread the A frame into the chassis in the correct position.

I'm not used to De Dion systems and it seems a rather odd contrivance to have at the back of a car, I'm also slightly bemused about the corner of the passenger compartment that seems to be taken up with the frame tubes.

Now the diff and a-frame...So, I put the diff back in again. I'm getting better at this now.

The next step is to put the De Dion tube in position. I positioned this in about the right place and realised that I hadn't put the bushes in the ends of the A frame that locate it on the tube. You can see the places that the bushes go in the photo here.

Unfortunately, after much fiddling it became apparent the I wasn't going to be able to press the bushes in without taking the frame out again. What's more, I'm not convinced that my puny vice is going to be up to the job in any case.

So, I need to take the diff out again, followed by the A frame. The problem is, the one tool I don't have is a ball joint separator which I need to get the frame off the joint that articulates it to the chassis.

So, that was definitely the point to retire hurt and go and watch the Grand Prix, on ITV 2 today of all things.

September 25th

After perusing the Premier Wiring catalogue, I phoned them and ordered:

  • A wiring loom. The problem with this is that the loom does not include the connectors that go onto the Sierra steering column, according to the chap at PW they aren't available any more. However, it should be possible to get them from a scrappie. I seem to remember that the chap I bought the column off asked if I wanted the connectors as well....
  • Some rear lights. They have some lights in their catalogue that look like what I want. Apparently they are fitted on the military version of the Land Rover Defender, which is why the Defender I looked at didn't look anything like it. It they aren't what I want they will take them back.
  • Some chrome headlights. The headlights on Duncan's car are very nice, but I've decided I would like them to be chrome all over.
  • A cheap washer bottle which I will need later on.

September 29th

A couple of smelly rocker coversA couple of people suggested I try pulling the bush in with a large bolt. I tried it but failed, as because I have to use a socket to push it, it is all too easy to push it in skew-iff. I'll have to get a ball-joint separator.

One of the cam7ers, Alex, has got access to a bead blasting machine. Hence, I am planning on going up there tomorrow to drop off the rockers. The Rover V8 rocker covers are aluminium and It'll be interesting to see what they look like when they return. I have seen some really shiny ones, but anything would be better than these apologies.

September 30th

Releasing the A-frame balljointI bought a ball joint separator and undid the A-frame balljoint. It came off with quite a bang. I discovered that I could take the A frame off with the diff in position, which was a relief.

So, I set about getting the bushes in.

Eventually I succeeded, not without trying a bunch of approaches. The final solution, as had been suggested to me by a couple of people (thanks chaps!) was to use a large bolt to pull the bush and its mounting together. The difficult bit with this was making up some bits of gadgetry that would do the pulling. I did this with some old lumps of steel and drilling various holes.

Inserted A frame bushNeedless to say, after figuring out how to do it, the second bush went in easily. I could them mount the A frame back on the car.

The next thing was to mount the De Dion tube. I had sawn a bit of the back of the diff a few days ago, to allow clearance from the tube, so it should just bolt in.

De Dion tube on its A-frameThis time things went to plan and the De Dion tube is now mounted.

I then turned to the rear hubs to mount on the tube so that I could mount the driveshafts. I had previously left the hubs without the bearings in, so I set about them. I then realised that I needed some grease of a sort that I don't have to pack the bearings, so I'll have to leave it till tomorrow.

Cleaner rocker coversAs mentioned, Alex got some parts bead blasted. The rocker covers have come out quite nice, but rather dull. I am wondered whether it is better to try and get them shiny, which is bound to be non-permanent, or get them powder coated. Alex has managed to clean up a lot of other engine parts. They came up so nice that I'm going to have to sort out a collection for him to have a go at. The most obvious bits at the moment are the engine mountings and various little brackets that hold bits of the engine together.

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