Well it has been a few months since my last update. Progress has been a bit slow mainly due to work commitments. One pleasant diversion was the Roger Albert Clark Rally. We (my co driver) and I ended up being management service crew for a French entered 124 Abarth. A long story but a great weekend, and fantastic seeing a spider out on the stages. It had a lot of attention and gave me a push to get working on mine.
The little progress made has been on the axle and front suspension.
The front suspension has been cleaned and strengthened where required. The front cross member was seam welded and plated. The inner wishbone mounts were strengthened. The engine mounts have been plated by adding 3mm plate on the underside and welding at both ends. A web was also welded in place to strengthen the mount. Hard Escort rubber mounts will be used. I had intended using Escort Group 4 mount design located on the chassis but time dictated a less time consuming approach. My original rally Spider was ok with the standard mounting with stronger rubbers but after a many seasons the plate on the cross member that the engine mount bolts to started to split, so I hope the strengthening will stop this.
Both upper and lower wishbones have been seam welded and plated where required. Steel strip has been welded around the ball joints mounting.
In the pictures you will see the suspension laid out on the floor. It shows the additional sump guard cross member, complete with spring skids that protect the inner wishbone mounts, and rose jointed tie rods that run from this cross member back to the lower wishbone. These are Abarth supplied parts from my original rally car. The tie rods add strength to the front wishbone/cross member, stopping any front rear movement of the wishbone, so reducing the stress on the inner lower wishbone mounts. This was then further developed into the Abarth modified lower wishbone and compression rod running rear to the chassis rail. Obviously the parts fitted to my car strengthen the suspension but do not improve the geometry, hence the later Abarth development.
The steering arms have been plated to add strength. The tie rod tubes now need strengthening, then the suspension can be fitted.
I have found a supplier of a clamp to allow conversion to drop link operation of the anti roll bar to wishbone mounting. I will look at this in more detail when the suspension is on.
The rear axle progress has been slow. All the strengthening has been done but the problem has been the brakes. I am fitting 256 diameter disc, as the works cars, but these were on the IRS rear end, not the live axle model. The problem is getting these discs and callipers into 13” wheels. Using Porsche 911 rear callipers, they just fit in. However, you then don’t have a mechanical handbrake. Trying to fit a mechanical hand brake has been problematic. Also it has to be approved by the MSA. I don’t think this is a problem, as I am using the Wilwood spot handbrake calliper. Only problem is making a bracket to hold it. Hopefully in a week or so this should be complete. At one stage I had designed a system to use the Porsche brakes and a modified original rear brake calliper as the hand brake. However after an hour or so with hardboard templates etc, I thought I had it cracked , but then realised the other side of the axle has the panhard rod mounting in the way so I had to start again.
As a note the original works cars with live rear axle used 3 pot calipers back and front. ( I think from a Fiat 2300) . The rear calipers were fitted at the top of the disc. They apear to have a seperate handbrake attachment on the caliper ( like the rear Dunlop Disc brakes of the 60's)
My original Rally Spider had front callipers fitted to the rerar of the car (and only a hydraulisc hand brake. ) This worked well with a balance bar and twin master cyclinders, but the brakes were a litle marginal and were always very hot.
The brakes will be mounted on a 10mm thick aluminium back plate fitted to the axle on the original calliper mount bracket, with additional mounting points. I will post photos when it is done.
The LSD has arrived from Russia via Germany. I have not had a good look at it yet but it looks well made. I will have a look inside before I fit it so I can get some measurements etc and look at the clutch settings.
Hopefully with all the suspension finished, progress will be a bit quicker.
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