Thursday 27 February 2014

Fit Tension Spring to Clutch

Ever since I have had the car there has been a rattle in the clutch area when in neutral or under load.  This is a known design fault of the home-made thrust bearing, but there is was also a rattle from the clutch fork itself (The part the cable pulls onto to release the clutch).  A bit of research showed that the original fit of the clutch and MT75 gearbox to the Ford Escort/Sierra actually came with a tensioning spring between the clutch fork and the bell housing so it would not rattle.   This had not been fitted to the car so it seemed logical to fit one.
This is what it looks like on a diagram.  I already have the copper water pipe installed to make the clutch adjustment correct, so now I have just added a spring to hold the clutch under tension.  It's a very weak spring so there is no risk of burning out the clutch.

 And here is the spring wired into position.

It remains to be seen if this reduces the rattle.

Monday 17 February 2014

Repair Offside Front Wing

The only damage I sustained in the crash was a cracked offside front wing.
Basically there were three cracks, although none of the material was missing.  But there were lots of sharp edges, so it would be a definite MOT failure.  The sensible thing to do was get a new wing, but I decided to have a practice and add GRP repair to my skill set.

So the first step was to put fibreglass over the 3 cracked areas to reinforce the breaks.

 Then another larger piece of fibreglass over the whole area to minimise the edges.  Then lots of sanding down.  


The advice from the Internet was that you cannot directly paint GRP or it just peels off.  
So I masked off the area and applied some Acid Etch Primer.  As you can see, this was generally OK but it highlighted a dent on the top and a ragged front edge. 

So it required more sanding and some filler for the dent.

I used filler to cover the imperfections and once more resorted to the sander and then primed it again.

Have now spent hours trying to get this right and decided it is never going to work.  I'm very happy with the actual repair from a structural point of view, and I am now quite keen to start producing some new fibreglass items, starting with a new steering wheel column cover that will be covered in vinyl.  But the hours I have spent sanding still hasn't produced the perfect finish I hoped for.

Having discussed it with other owners I think I would have been better applying the fibreglass inside the wing to provide the structural strength and then use filler on the top to produce a smooth finish.  Anyway,  probably time to give up and buy a new wing.   

It's been an interesting exercise, glad I went through it and lots of lessons learned.

Sunday 16 February 2014

A Blast from the Past

Robin Hood Engineering, the manufacturer of my Superspec, was a small engineering Company founded in 1984 and dealt in various kit cars.   In 2006, it was sold off, eventually finishing up being absorbed into Great British Sports Cars (GBSC).

However, it turns out the original owner had a lot of spare parts for many of the cars he had designed, including the Superspec, in storage at his house.  He has now started to put them up for sale on E-Bay.   This was a unique opportunity for me to obtain some one-off spare parts that would never be available again.   He happened to live quite close so I went to visit him and had a most interesting conversation over a cup of coffee.  He told me lots of useful details about the car and specifications for some of the parts I might need.  It was invaluable being able to talk to the actual designer of the car and I enjoyed it immensely.  I also picked up the following:

A full set of the GRP and plastic body panels.  (The rest of the body is normal stainless steel sheet)

A stainless steel exhaust manifold and 4 into 1 exhaust pipe.

and a new Universal Joint for the bottom of the steering column (mine has a bit of play in it so it might need replacing at the next MOT) 

These were the major items I needed but I can see me getting lots more from him.

Monday 10 February 2014

Buying Spare Parts

I am very aware that the car is actually quite old.  Although it was bought in 2005, the engine dates back 1995-8 and the majority of the parts came from the Ford Sierra and Ford Escort of a similar period, and these are becoming rarer and rarer, even in breakers yards.

So I have a permanent Browser Page open on E-Bay with a filter of 'kit car' to see what comes up.   And if I see something unique at a reasonable (cheap!) price I will bid on it.

So far I have bought a spare Engine Control Unit (ECU)


A spare set of Column Switches

A set of Reversing Lights (£3.20!!)

And a pair of Bonnet Catches


More to come !!

Tuesday 4 February 2014

New Responsibility

As I said in the introduction, I very quickly joined the Robin Hood Owners Club ( and found it invaluable for advice and parts.   The Club is broken down by County and each County has an Area Secretary who acts as a coordinator and organises regular meetings/run outs for the members in the area.  It turns out that the post for Lincolnshire has been vacant for some years, so I decided it was time to give something back to the Club, so I have volunteered to be the Area Secretary.

There is going to be a problem as Lincolnshire is a huge county and we have members all over it.  I think I will try and organise 'roving' meetings, North, Centre & South, so all members can at least make some of the meetings.   Let's see how it goes.  Watch this space.

Meanwhile I get a nice new profile entry :-)