March 26th

Shiny suspension wishbonesRather than ploughing into cutting and welding a mounting for the rear of the exhausts, I thought I'd make a start on the front suspension.

So, I inserted the bushes in two of the wishbones (I think I've got the top one the right way round, and bolted them in. That sounds far too easy. It's really rather difficult getting at the mounting bolts as the side panel/engine/horns/radiator are in the way. It's certainly going to be impossible to get a torque wrench at them, so I'm going to have to do it by feel. Luckily, I'm quite good at this by now.

There seem to be a collection of nuts and washers missing at the moment. Either I haven't found them yet or I never had them! Luckily I'm planning on going down to the Dax open day on Friday, so I could well get some stuff then if needed.

I filled in the SVA form today, and sent it off to Swansea. I also tried to contact the VRO in Peterborough to get the registration forms, but my old friend Terry Hill wasn't there today. Supposedly he'll be there tomorrow.

March 28th

I did manage to talk to Terry Hill today, and he remembered me from my Westfield registration. I think he gets bored with registering things like Fiestas and thinks the kit cars are an interesting diversion.

In the evening I had another look at the suspension, and realised that I should have pressed the balljoint into the lower wishbone before I had mounted the wishbone on the chassis. So, I took it off and after much struggling with a big vice I must have got the joint about 10% of the way in. It was clear that I wasn't going to be able to get it all the way in. Luckily, tomorrow is the day of the Dax open day. I was going to go anyway, but I'll take the wishbones down with me this time.

March 29th

Lower balljoint in wishbonesI did take the wishbones down to Dax today, and managed to talk them into pressing in the balljoints. It seems to me that it's pretty much impossible to do this without a press, and Dax really ought to just do it anyway, hence the new tip.

Finished left frontAfter that fitting the rest of the front left suspension was fairly simple, leaving it looking like this picture. The bar right at the front of the car, right at the top of the photo, is the SVA bar that Dax use to mount the lights on and effectively remove many of the problems that the front suspension would otherwise cause.

March 30th

Left front brakes and pads addedI needed to put the brakes onto the front left to finish that bit. The problem here was that the calipers from the old Sierra were looking a bit tired, so I decided to go any buy some exchange ones from Partco. These were much shinier, although a gold colour unlike the silver ones at the rear. One of these was added to the suspension, along with a new disc and some pads, in this case both EBC products with the pads being "greenstuff", one of the better reviewed products at the moment.

Now the right hand side's there too`After that, it as quite quick to get on with the right front, although I knew it was going to dramatically reduce the amount of room I had to work in. The idea was that it wasn't going to be too long before the car was on ground anyway, so that shouldn't be a problem.

March 31st

Support for rear of exhaustBefore I dropped the car on the ground, I wanted to finish off making some brackets for the rear of the exhaust. This was done by cutting two pieces of steel, one to go along the bottom of the seat, bolted through onto the supports on the inside of the car, and the other at an angle going up to the exhaust. I cut these out and tack welded them together on the car. I then welded them properly on the bench.

The brackets now fit nicely, but they're not yet on the car as they're being Hammerite'd first. When I do put them on the car, I'll trim the bolts on the exhaust rubber mountings too.

Lifting it down another block width...After that it was time to get the car down onto the ground. We did this as we did for the Westfield a long time ago. This was with the aid of a stack of building blocks. Essentially, we supported each end of the car on piles of these blocks, lifting it up with the aid of the hoist that I bought a long time ago. We then shuttled the hoist back and forth between the front and back of the car, lowering the car by one block each time. That didn't take that long as each block is about 200mm thick, so there were only four of them in a pile anyway.

Eventually it was down on the ground, and as seems to happen with these things the car seemed much smaller.

Skew-iff carWith that we could push the car out, with the intention of tidying up the garage. Unfortunately, I realised it was time to go and watch the Grand Prix so we pushed it back again.

The car was very difficult to push, probably a result of what looks like about 2" of toe-in on the front wheels. You can just about see it in this photo, along with a rather large excess of negative camber.

Move these about for the camber adjustmentI'll have to check the suspension setup. This will involve fiddling about with the shims that Dax use for camber adjustment.

So, having bought the engine in June 2000, and having got the kit for the car about 18 months ago, the thing is finally on its own wheels. I wonder how long it will take to finish it?

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