Monday, 19 March 2012


There are times when very little seems to change on this project in spite of completing many minor tasks, cleaning, re-conditioning, painting components and making up batches of parts ready for eventual assembly.  Then, one day it all happens, it all starts to come together and makes all that effort worthwhile.  From starting work on fitting the front and rear suspension, it took very little time to have it looking almost like a rolling chassis.

Rear Axle installed.  using a hoist makes this a relatively easy job.
Note plates and spring hanger brackets added for Telescopic shocks.

Rod in place of Shock absorber sets distance at 15 and 5/8 inches
 for setting torsion bars.  Will need to be replaced with something
 more substantial before they are fully wound up.
From past experience, my preferred method for re-assembly, is to do lots of fettling, cleaning of threads and easing of bits as required, so that things generally go together easily, without the need for even mild force. Fasteners that are easily accessible are not fully tightened or torqued up and all accessible tab washers are left open. I don't therefore need to worry about what I forgot to tighten up as the answer is actually everything.  Only when I'm happy that it definitely won't need to come apart again do I systematically tighten and re-check every fastener, knock over tab washers and fit split pins.

Whilst most of the work was fairly straightforward I did hit a couple of problems. 

Fitting the front disc brake conversion turned out to be an interesting challenge and an excellent opportunity to re-assess my IQ.
I can't think of any reasonable or satisfactory explanation for the selection of parts in the kit supplied.  Perhaps the culprit had a hard night out followed by a hung over wander around the stores randomly picking any likely looking components.  To be fair, the callipers, pads and discs as the basis of the kit were correct but the remaining parts, whilst definitely brake related had little to do with a 120 front disc brake conversion.  Odd numbers of the correct fasteners with surplus pipes, brackets, nuts and bolts just added to the confusion.  The lack of documentation / parts list also didn't help. Some overnight bits from the supplier and a trip to my local nut and bolt warehouse soon got the job back on track.

Disc brake conversion looks good but only after some head scratching
Another small anomaly, only partly resolved relates to the inside bottom part of the front suspension upright and its proximity to the outer end of the lower rear wishbone lever.  With the suspension fully unloaded, (shock absorber at max length) the two parts actually foul well before full lock is achieved.  Whilst highly unlikely to ever create a problem (think rally circuit with huge bump followed by sharp corner and knackered shock absorber) it did seem odd.  I made some good drawings, took plenty of photos and dismantled / assembled one side at a time so am pretty confident its all correctly assembled with Castor and Camber shims in the right (pre-adjustment) places.  I eventually find the time to jack up my 140 to make a comparison, and find its identical.  Who knows, perhaps its a safety feature!

Suspension geometry allows fouling before full lock, when
shock absorber is fully extended
The cost of a set of OEM (Timken I think) front wheel bearings came as a bit if a surprise at over £200.00 whilst a "pattern" set cost just £52.00.  My rear axle had all new Timken bearings fitted after axle specialist Paul proclaimed "I wouldn't fit some of the re-pro bearings I've seen to a pram".  In a quandary I research the subject a little further and even consider re-fitting the existing items which look reasonably OK.  I am eventually assured by a very well respected supplier with an excellent reputation not worth loosing, that their replacement bearings are made in Japan and are of super high quality, so I buy a set.  They do feel smoother and are almost silent (spinning up a wheel) compared to the old items.

New and old bearing.  Blown up 10 mega pixel picture shows up
difference.  What would Ron Dennis think?
Wheel re-finisher and Powder coating specialist Max of Romax in Stockton yet again went the extra mile and sourced the correct shade of white for my wheels.  After stripping off the manufacturers (MWS) new paint they were treated to a superb and perfect finish then shod with a set Michelin Pilote X tyres.  Whilst the total outlay was considerable, I think the end result makes it worthwhile.

Michelin Pilote X Radial looks just right

From bare to rolling chassis seemed to happen very quickly
Note engine block and associated parts in the background of the above picture. I still have a few loose ends to sort on the chassis, but this week should see the start of the the bottom half motor build.