March 21st

Shiny new wheelsAt last! The wheels arrived today. They look really smart. However, I tried one of them on the car this evening and it rather accentuates the weedy appearance of the Sierra discs... It's taken ages to get these wheels but so far I'm very happy with them. What was nice was that they came with some wheel nuts, meaning that I don't have to go and find some...

One thing I've been concerned about for a while is the necessity for new studs in the hubs. The rear ones are fine, probably because the original XR4x4 had alloys wheels. However, on inspection the front hubs, which were from a cooking Sierra, need longer studs. I did have a couple of studs lying around and fitted one of them which will be fine. (It's actually a bit too long!) So, I need to find somewhere to buy some longer studs before fitting the front suspension. I seem to remember that William said that the local boy racer emporium stocks such things.

At least all this means I can finish off the brakes and so on at the rear.

March 22nd

Duff connection for windscreen washerI thought I'd get on with installing the rear brakes this evening. First of all though, I wanted to try and put the dash in finally (although it will have to come out later anyway) and check that everything worked. It went in alright, but after trying all the switches and things the windscreen washer didn't work. I tried to leave it for a while, but failed dismally. After a huge amount of hunting around I found that one of the connectors just by the column switch had failed, meaning the wiper only work spasmodically. Still, at least it was easy to replace.

Unfortunately, all that business took me about 3 hours...

Finished dashAfter that I could put it all back together again, this time with the column shroud and the levers and it all worked. Well, all of it that I can check anyway. I was also rather pleased with what it looked like!

Shiny new brakesSo, having finished that bit, I moved to the rear wheels and brakes. I fitted the brake disc and pads to the left rear (where the photo above was taken). I was struck by how easy it was. Normally when you're fiddling with brake pads on the road car it always involves a lot of grunting and shoving as everything sticks together like mad. This is positively hygienic in comparison.

I put the wheel back on and moved to the right rear. There was a bit of a snag here as I realised that the wheel studs are too short on the right. Then I remembered; when the initial dismantling of the rear hubs was done, I noticed one of the studs was bent. Consequently, I fitted some new studs, from the ones that I had around anyway.

All the same, that means I'll have to go and get some studs tomorrow. Unfortunately, I'm going to have to change the studs on the right with the hub on the car, which is a shame.

March 23rd

Recalcitrant lobro jointIt's been one of those one step forward, five back days... I went to Carnoisseur first thing, the boy racer emporium mentioned earlier. They did indeed have loads of studs and I bought a number of "long Ford" ones. I started fitting them to the rear right hub and decided that I really needed to take the hub off to do it properly. Unfortunately, this was easier said than done, as when trying to undo the bolts through the Lobro joints (which I had done up a year or so ago) my Torx key just shattered. After a trip to Mackay's to get another one I managed to undo four of the bolts, and then that one shattered too. Another trip to Mackay's and another key that didn't do anything.

This left me in rather a conundrum. I could bring out the big guns and use cold chisels and so on, but I didn't really want to bash the bolts up even more. So, I settled for putting it all back together, although I need to torque the bolts up again, and just use a big hammer on the studs.

This is all rather unsatisfactory, but will have to do for now.

Right hand rear tyreAnyway, with hub back together (although the hub nut also remains to be torqued up but I'm leaving that 'till it's on the ground) I could fairly easily put the disc and brakes on and bolt everything up again.

The rear tyres looks very odd on the car at the moment. They look as if there's a huge amount of toe-out, but I think that must be because of an optical illusion caused by the complete absence of the front suspension.

The last thing for the day was something I've meaning to do for a while, which is to reseat the "high-level" rear brake light. I wanted to "french" it into the rear panel a bit better. So, I cut out somme more GRP and made a couple of little brackets to hold it in position. Then I tightened it up.

As I sat back to look at it, it went "bang" and one of the mounting bolts pulled straight through the light and disappeared around the garage somewhere. In the process, of course, it wrecked the light. Bummer. As far as I can see there's no sensible solution other than just buying a new one.

 next page

in case you've got to this frame directly and can't get out, go here.