November 1st

Extended support for cageI took the engine up to Andy Bates' place today and left it with him. He's going to strip it and report back on what needs to be done, if anything. He makes a big song and dance about how I will get the full aftersales service which means him fettling things in the paddock if necessary. From what I've seen he isn't just making noises here so I'm quite hopeful about things.

In the evening I started hacking away at the left hand side impact protection. As I'm taking it off I wanted to put back in a bit more support for the front leg of the cage, as well as providing a bit more room to fit in three bolts there. There's actually a lump of 3mm thick steel there and a new piece of chassis tubing. Tomorrow I'll cut off the whole support turret, as well as arranging some way of supporting the back end of the silencer.

I really need to get the diff off to a local company to have the ATB fitted too. That'll be good as I can at least put the diff and prop back in the car which will mean I will feel as if it's starting to go back together.

November 2nd

Side panel back onJust a short while in the garage this evening. I cut out the side impact protection, saving just over a kilogram in the process. The I put the side panel back on so it looks like the photo here. I'll need to get some hammerite to spray around the place though.

I bought an air riveter a while ago; best tool I've bought for ages. Don't know why I haven't had one for years. It made putting this side panel back on a piece of cake compared to the manual approach.

November 9th

I've not had very much time for the car over the last few days, so this is a bit of catching up really.

First of all, I took the diff up to A1 gearboxes in St. Neots for them to fit the ATB. Unfortuntely a few days later the chap there, Wayne, phoned me to tell me that he'd taken the diff apart and discovered that the bearings in the casing didn't fit the ATB housing. He had phoned Quaife and they said that a few Freelander diffs have a different size and this was the reason. Hence, the ATB needs to go back to Quaife for them to fit the different bearings and then it'll come back to me and then I can take it to St Neot's and so on. Oh well, at least I'm not in a huge rush.

To cap it all I packaged up the ATB today to send it off to Quaife and the booked parcel collection service (Parcel2Go) didn't turn up as promised. Not impressed by that to be honest and I probably won't use them again.

As discussed I sent back the poly bushes to Demon Tweeks and they credited my credit card today. I'm definitely going to either put the metalastic bushes back or use some rosejoints. I'm very taken to do the latter, to be honest, as they seem like real engineering. Expensive though, even using cheap as chips joints. I was contemplating actually making my own wishbones but it would be a significant faff. Might be useful experience though.

On the upside, Andy Bates phoned me today and told me that he'd had my engine in bits and it seemed almost perfect on the inside. The only exceptions were one of the clutch plates which had broken up to some extent. He reckons he's seen this before and it's a consequence of dropped clutch starts. The good thing is that apparently the rest of the clutch plates looked almost unworn. I guess my mechnical sensitivity is working well for me here. So, as soon as I've got a moment I'll go up to Bury and get the engine back.

I've at last a price for the bits to make a custom roll-cage out of. The price is pretty good actually and as soon as I've had a chance to measure up what size it really needs to be I'll be ordering the bits.

The whole rebuild is actually a bit slow at the moment, but that's OK as there's quite a lot of time. I'm actually considering doing some sort of house-keeping things like repainting the floor in the garage. I'd love it to get back to what it looked like last time I redid it. Problem is, I'd have to paint around the stands that the car's on. What's more, I'd have to take a lot of the stuff that's on the floor off it.

November 17th

Rebuilt engineWell, after looking at it I decided that it really be a better idea to wait until the car was back in one piece before re-painting the floor. Sounds like a sort of spring cleaning job really.

I got the engine back from Andy Bates. it came back on this snazzy little cradle complete with a spec sheet telling what the valve clearances were, which weight class of conrod was in use and so on. Quite impressive really. That bit of cardboard you can just about see on the other side of the engine is a big notice telling me that there's no oil in the engine.

Small damage to selector drumAndy did discover a couple of minor issues in the engine. First of all the gear selector drum had a very small bit of damage on it, as in the photo. This could wear so he replaced it for me.

Broken clutch plateSlightly more alarming was this clutch plate which had just come to pieces. Andy says that this sometimes happens to this particular plate (it's the most inward one on the engine) and he just replaced it with a new one. he left the rest alone as they're still close to unworn apparently.

A fake cage...So, the engine's now just sitting on the floor. I spoke to Quaife yesterday and apparently the ATB is on the way back to me at the moment. I was kind of hoping that it would arrive today so that I could take it up to St Neots again.

I've also been trying to work out how big the roll cage should be. Consequently, I've been experimenting with fake cages. In fact, I think I'll need to do this properly to convince myself that the new cage is going to be the right size. Hence, I'll probably go and find a load of cheap plastic pipe or something.

November 23rd

A roll cage modelAnother lot of not much to talk about really, but I thought I'd better write an update before various enthusiastic readers started nagging me.

To be honest, it's been too flipping cold to go in the garage much lately. However, I have been spending a lot of time thinking and planning, in particular about suspension and the roll cage.

I've come to some sort of conclusion about about the roll cage size. I spent a while building a CAD model of the cage which is what the bizarre thing on the left is. Even wierder, if you click on the picture you'll get the proper drawings of the cage.

Fake cage gets betterI realise this looks much the same as the existing one but quite a lot of the basic measurements are different. There's also a couple of critical bends, like the one in the right hand side diagonal which is designed to clear my shoulder rather better than the current cage. The photo here shows the side tube (well, it shows a big of an old TV aerial tank taped in the right position) However, I still don't feel that I can just get this cage made so I'm going to get the various bends made and assemble/tack it together in the garage making sure that it really fits me properly.

There is a big decision about the material to make it out of. The Blue Book defines the properties of the material to some extent but it still all seems a bit confusing. For example, I know that suppliers such as Caged will make a cage out of two different materials: normal CDS tubing or T45 tubing. The latter is quoted as being lighter as, due to the much higher yield strength of the material they can use thinner walled tube. (I guess that as far as weight is concerned then one carbon steel is pretty much the same as any other carbon steel.) However, the BB specifically quotes the wall thickness of the tubing to be used so it's hard to see how those issues are compatible. (Unless, of course, some cages are not really BB compatible and the scrutineers never notice.

Even assuming the same material as the existing cage, the CAD software reckons that I'm saving a few kilos on all this which is good. This is the first time I've done anything even remotely serious with some 3D CAD software. They really are stunning things and I can quite see why such things, and CAD/CAM, have revolutionised many aspects of mechanical engineering. I used this product which is available for free use, although it's apparently missing a number of more sophisticated features. It's also got quite a few bugs but in general seems to work well.

I've checked with Fishers and although they're happy to supply the tubing they can't supply T45 tubing. Fair enough as I guess they're not experts in the such things. So, before I just buy the bits from them I'll have a quick look around elsewhere. There is in particular a local chap who seems to provide the right sort of services.

I've got the diff back with the ATB installed, at last. I'll bolt this into the chassis this weekend as a way of making me think that I'm making some progress.

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