November 25th

Looking down on the steering rackI think the next thing to do is to fit the steering column and pedals, which has a reputation of being difficult on the V8 Rush due to the width of the engine.

In order to see where I was going, I decided to fit the steering rack first so as to see what I was aiming at. (There's a lot of room for manoeuvre, or cock-ups.) This was fairly easily completed so with luck I'll try and get some of the column fitted tomorrow. There's a large hole to drill in the footwell though, and it's hard to see how to aim it correctly. I suspect I'm going to end up with a large hole and something to fill in the surplus hole, if you see what I mean.

One issue with the rack is where the horn is going to go. I'm trying to buy twin air-horns, like those on the Westfield, but as Europa have so far failed to deliver it I'm not entirely sure where it's going to fit, other than it's probably somewhere under the rack.

I have a suspicion that the lower steering column is going to foul the engine mounting. I seem to remember reading that the mounting may have to be relieved somewhat, with the aid of a grinder...

November 26th

Trying to work out where to drill a large holeI had a start on fitting the steering column. However, it's very difficult to work out where to cut the hole in the bulkhead panel. It;s now clear that this would have been better done before just about anything else was done.

However, after much lining up and measuring and trignonometry, I cut a hole, even though it seemed rather too close to the top chassis rail. (The picture here shows me using a long piece of threaded rod to work out where the angle on the column mounts "points" in the footwell.

Lower column mountHowever, it's clear that this hole is rather too high after all, something that's only really apparent with the column in situ.

For one thing, the lower column mount is not really over the chassis rails. Also, the column obscures one of the exhaust ports, which is clearly not a good idea. Finally, the lower column (the bit that goes from the ex-Sierra column to the rack itself) is way too long. Mind you, it has some very long splines on it so perhaps Dax intend you to cut it down.

This means that the hole needs to be moved down. There's no problem with this, I can easily fill in the gaping hole with some more aluminium, the problem is the flanges on the top column mounts will tend to pull the column back to the position it's in how when they are tightened. This will probably produce stiff steering and a lot of wear on the plastic lower column mounting. I could just bend the upper flanges with some brute force and ignorance but that seems a bit too much at the moment. I think I'm also going to have to sit in the car to see where the wheel itself ought to be.

Ho hum.

November 27th

Four big sucking thingsI was travelling back from Reading and the M25 was jammed solid (surprise!) and cut through Uxbridge to avoid the worst. On the way I realised that I could go into Real Steel to see about a carburettor. Unfortunately, they still don't have the Edelbrock manifolds in stock, but I came away anyway with an Edelbrock 500 carburettor and a round air filter to sit on top of it.

As discussed it is indeed just the Weber 500 (you can see the logo on the left of this photo) but it needs some sort of throttle linkage. I bought Real Steel's Holley linkage, as they say it can be modified and first glances show that this is probably correct.

Big round shiny thingThe air filter is a big shiny round thing. It's only 2" deep, as I don't want it to stick through the bonnet too much. However, Real Steel reckon that a 3" filter is worth up to 20bhp at the top end of a high performance engine...

November 29th

Nice, isn't it?So, it was back to the steering. I phoned Peter Walker at Dax today and asked him whether it:

  • was necessary to just bend the flanges on which the column is mounted and
  • if it was OK to chop something off the lower column shaft.

He said that just bending the flanges was probably the best way to do it, and yes it is intended that you cut something off the lower shaft. (Why doesn't it say so in the manual then?)

So, I selected a sodding great pair of Stilsons and heaved. The flanges moved a little, but in retrospect I shouldn't have bothered. (See later!) One other thing that Peter said was that it was a good idea to fit the steering wheel as it compresses the spring that inside the column, making it a bit shorter. So, I attached the attractive device seen here.

Rock 'n' rollAfter much fiddling around I was getting it rather closer to where it should be. However, I noticed that there is actually some play, presumably deliberate, in the mounting that's actually part of the column. That is, the column moves inside the alloy casting you can see in the photo here.

One other observation in this area is that it would be possible to mount the column on the other side of the flanges, meaning that it was about 2cm further away. This would explain why Peter said it was really a good idea to have the dashboard to hand to see where the wheel was going. As I have neither the dashboard nor the wheel I'm going to use this is less than useful at the moment!

I wouldn't be surprised if it would be better for me to try and mount the column higher than this, I'll need to try it for size.

Too close?All the same, I'm going to be able to sort this bit soon now I think. I'll have to bung up the now rather overlarge hole in the footwell panel but that should be OK.

A related issue is fitting the pedal box. I just placed it in position today, and it's clear that the clearance between the column and the brake pedal is very small, at least it is to ensure a decent gap between the brake and accelerator pedals. I think I'm going to have to climb into the car to check all this out. To be honest, I've been putting this off, as I'm still concerned about the amount of leg room, although I suppose now's the time to find out...

November 30th

Tom trying to look coolSo, I clambered inside the car, although this is Tom not me. As he is just about my height (about 6'3") it gives an idea of the room. I was a bit wary about the GRP floor but it seemed fine, actually very firm. I don't have a seat, so I packed a load of old blankets in there to try and be sitting in roughly the same place as if there was a seat. First impressions are fairly favourable. I need to sort out the steering wheel position but it should be OK. Actually, the steering wheel is if anything too high, which is rather a novelty for me.

After much faffing about it seems as though the clamp shown above actually provides quite a lot of movement, both of the in and out variety and the rake sort. This will probably be quite useful at some point.

Lower column mountingHaving sorted out a bit more where the column has to go, although I still need to try to work out where the dash will be, I got on with mounting the lower column support. I also made a plate to cover up the over-large hole in the footwell panel.

The mounting you can see here is, hopefully, in its final resting place. The aluminium is Würthed and rivetted into place so it shouldn't be coming loose. However, as the manual says, I'm probably going to have to grind some of the engine mounting away to clear the lower part of the column.

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