Following my thread in “competition cars” section (viewtopic.php?f=14&t=2538#p14007
I have now got the shell back from the welders. As usual with these things, it did not all go to plan, and there is still some work to do.
As it is being used as a stage rally car, and not a track or show car, the project has to meet certain criteria. The application the car is being used for ( forest stage rally) , the MSA historic Rally rules and my wallet impose limitations on what will be done to the car.
I have found this web site fascinating and extremely informative. I certainly have taken inspiration from all of the content and really admire everything presented here. Also I must mention the threads from Miro and Simon on their car preparation. Fantastic discussions, informative views and logical conclusions. I must also pick up on a comment from Miro that highlights the whole ethos of this site. Discussions are made and logic and theories are discussed. From this information and deliberations decisions are made for the application in hand. We can all decide from the information provided what is the ultimate solution, but in the real world, time and usually money come into the equation. The benefit of this web site is that all options are discussed, the goals are understood and then the solutions are arrived at knowing all of the limitations that could be involved.
Anyway, back to the car.
The shot blasting of the shell did not take place for a number of reasons. The solution was to remove under seal /paint etc where required. The welding chappie rebuilds Rover P6 cars so he knows a thing or two about “hidden rot” . He gave it a good inspection and overall it was not too bad. The front engine bay was seam welded, the chassis rails strengthened, front turrets were plated and supported. The main part of the interior was seam welded. The passenger floor was repaired/replaced, and the rear “foot wells” on the floor were removed. ( These actually wore through on my old rally spider due to rough stages.). Rear lower arm mounting points were plated.
The boxes to locate the extended top links were installed, and the hole left by the fuel tank removal was plated. The Sparco Cage was also welded in position. It still requires the door bars, but they will go in after I have chosen the seats.
Some repairs were completed on the body (filling in fuel filler flap and US side indicators) but this will be completed at the next visit when the remaining seam welding will be done and the shell painted.
The car is being made as light as possible. The doors from the USA shell weigh in at 25kg each! The doors from my original spider may be fitted. The hardtop, bonnet and boot are fiberglass from Morenhout. ( I don’t have the time , patience or more importantly the skill of Simon to make my own.- Respect to simon!) . Aluminium will be used as much as possible for brackets etc.
The next stage will be for me to carry out some “first fit” of items ( fuel lines, brake pipes, electrics etc. ) Quickly said but not so quickly achieved, but at least I am cheaper than the garage. I have a number of harnesses that I will disassemble to make part of the new electrical harness. The rest will be new. ( No joining of wires or anything like that.)
I have finally decided to go to right hand drive. There are a few reasons for this. The main thing is brakes. I want to fit a brake balance system. Having right hand drive makes it easier (and it is within the rules). I can fit a balance system onto the back of the servo. ( Is a 131 servo bigger than a 124? will it bolt straight in?). I ran a balance system, hydraulic hand brake and twin remote servos on my last Spider and the ST. Nightmare to bleed!
The one thing that I have noticed is the problem with bulkhead flexing. You will see in the picture how the bulkhead on this road going left hand drive shell has split. Obviously the conversion to RH drive will mean a plated bulkhead to give more strength.
I am going for an aluminium radiator (for weight and efficiency). The fuel tank is also going to be alloy (foam filled) Those should be on order in the next week or so.
The gearbox will probably be a 131 unit. To get the fit right, I put a bare block in the engine bay and test fitted the box. I could easily see where the big hammer was needed to “ease” out the transmission tunnel. The 2 131 boxes I have do not have any remote linkage. Until I get the seats installed, I am not sure if this will be ok without the remote.( I suspect not). You will see from the photos that the car is on a “spit”. You would not believe how easy this makes things. I had the gearbox in and out 4 times, the trans tunnel cut and hammered into shape and the mountings measured for the gearbox mount and measured up the prop shaft in under 1 hour- on my own. If you have a major build, it is well worth constructing one.
I have started looking at the brakes etc. Apart from brake balance, I am fitting 257mm dia discs all round (vented front) with Porshce 911 calipers. I just need to work out how to get the rear calipers on plus the original calipers for the mechanical hand brake.(rules are rules!)
I am assembling the suspension components. The front will be to original works spec ( early) complete with sump guard cross member, single slipper skid springs under the wishbones and front tension rods. The wishbones will be strengthened and plated. 125 front hubs will be used. The front suspension bushes are new- but rubber not polyflex.
The rear will be standard 5 link. Lengthened upper links. rose joints, harder bushes, etc where required. An early 124 r anti roll bar will be fitted. (20mm dia to start with. If I do more tarmac events I may consider upgrading this.) My original rally Spider had Aeon rubber bump stops fitted. ( 2 on the axle and also to protect the diff nose.) I am still looking at other alternatives. I remember this set up gave very good control after “jumps”. Slightly softer suspension that gave a nice progression to full bump making the car very controllable.
I have read the post by Urbancamo with great interest, especially regarding LSD’s. I will look more into this, as while there may be a method of putting an Ford English diff and LSD into the Fiat casing (as the Lada rally guys did) , and the parts are easily available (from a rally prep business in my local town) I need to understand the full implications. It is always good to remember that the strongest part of a chain is the weakest link.
I will try and post some more pictures as I progress. Certainly there will be more questions.