So, nothing to report on the van. I’ve still not cut and welded the bumper on the other side to suit. But the new garage door has gone in on the old garage, so once my nephew takes the Astra rally car, the van can go in its new home.
I fitted a buzzer to the reverse light circuit on the Cortina so I know if it’s on.
Here’s a photo of the reverse light on so you can here it working.
And that’s it for the Cortina. I’ve not even had the chance to drive it for the last month or so either.
I have done some work on the Escort. I added this.
The Escort has not been used in competition for a year and a half as Jones Junior (the elder) started racing the MGZR when he turned 14. I did race the MG once but I was breaking it so stopped so he could have his fun. So I’ve not really raced in a year and a half either. My plan this year was that he could do the Motorkhanas in the MG and I’d do some autotests in the Escort but C-19 threw those plans out the window.
Then as things started to get back to normal Bristol MC advertised a Sprint at Pembrey Circuit. My brother was doing it in his Chevette and my nephew in his MX5. I spoke to one of the organisers to check if my car was eligible. The Escort is built as a road rally car so does not need to be MSUK log booked. It has a cage bucket seats, harnesses etc but they are either not in date or compliant. The lady said that it was fine so I entered.
After building the Astra for my nephew I’ve decided to get the Escort log booked next year for stage rallies. I needed to get overalls, helmet, gloves so I thought if I do the sprint and bought those this year I’d spread the cost (man maths).
The timing strut was the only modification I had to do to the car, but the day before sprint (last Saturday) I noticed a bit of play in the steering. Whilst shaking the steering wheel It looked as though the mount for the rack on the crossmember was flexing and rack was moving up and down. I decide to run some welds over and around the mount but whilst removing the rack I noticed the joint to the steering column was loose. A few welds and tighten of everything and it all looked good. A quick blast up the road and all was fine. I put the door numbers on and loaded the car onto the trailer ready for an early start the next day.
Now, I’ve done loads of Motorsport events over the years but I’ve not driven the Escort fast on a circuit since about 2008 at Llandow. I’d bee a bit worried about doing this event for a while and this had me awake at 3am unable to sleep, so I got up at 5am and watched videos of people racing around the circuit on YouTube.
Anyway, by 7:30 I was at the track and unloaded the car. I took some photos of the car as it might be the last time it was in one piece.
If you’ve ever wondered what I look like, here’s picture of me😁
I’d been praying for dry weather as I hate driving in the wet. Sideways at high speed doesn’t appeal to me. It was wet 😩.
Practice:- The sprint was to be 1.75 laps of the circuit. Off the line and as soon as the car started building up speed there was a loud droning noise and vibration. It didn’t feel like it was through the steering wheel, more through the seat. I thought perhaps it was the propshaft. I carried on to finish the run, but I couldn’t enjoy or push the car or think about racing lines as I thought the prop was going to come off and catapult the car over the nearest hedge. Once back in the pits we checked everything over. All seamed fine except the gearbox Had been banging the tunnel and I did notice whilst sorting the rack the day before the engine mounts had sagged andthe sump was touching the guard. I let my mind believe that was the issue as to forget about being catapulted.
Run1:- Still wet. A bit sideways around the hairpin and some slower corners (don’t mind that) a bit sideways on the start of the long sweeping left handed (still ok). Car still vibrating. I was easing off on the faster corners still as I still don’t like the wet and I’m on R888r’s which and great in the wet. Finished with no issues but not that quick. My nephew beat me by 2 seconds in a standard 1.6 Mazda with all the rally gear on it.
Run2:- Dry. Much quicker, more confident and a lot more fun. Still lifting on the faster corners but 10 seconds quicker. I was now 2 seconds quicker than my nephew.
Run3:- Still dry. Keeping it flat on the faster corners except Honda Curve as I still wasn’t that brave. Still vibrating, quicker and even more fun. I was 1 second quicker again.
And that was it . The day and my first experience in a sprint was over. I thoroughly enjoyed, the car held together of sorts and I didn’t crash.
What position did you come a hear you shout. Well I actually came first in the road rally class. YAY. But I was the only person in it. BOO. But there were some comparable Escorts in the other Classes and I beat those so didn’t do to bad.
Just catching up on your antics Jonsey, the reversing light and buzzer are a great idea.
That's a good photo of you - it's a little tricky to see your smiling face though!
Shame about the vibration hopefully it's an easy fix, but a win is a win regardless of how many competitors!
Cheers jim. As it happens I had a week off work so thought it take a look at it. I normally only drive the car on poorly kept country roads and don’t normally notice any drone / vibration as it’s a pretty rough ride anyway. First thing I did was remove the sump guard as I’d noticed the engine mounts had sagged over the last however many years. I took it for a drive down a dual carriageway which has been resurfaced within the last year or so and is pretty smooth. The drone had gone but the vibration was still there from 50 mph up to, well upto how fast I went😁. The vibration wasn’t through the steering wheel, but through the seat. I thought the cheapest check would be to get the balance of the prop checked.
I took it off and dropped it off at BAR Prop in Neath. I explained the issue. I went up the next day and the prop was indeed out of balance. The front joint was also a little loose so it was reshimmed with different size circlips. 2 new weights had been welded on, they removed a and replaced a grease nipple I snapped the day before and they also painted it black. All for £45 which isn’t bad.
So I picked it up the next day and refitted it to the Escort. Jones Junior (the younger) and I jumped in and headed for the test track (dual carriageway). Up to 50mph all was good, in fact it was good all the way up to the speed I went 😁. Problem solved for £45 and removing a few bolts. New engine mounts have been ordered to sort the existing saggy ones.
So I’ve done buggerall on my cars. But this is at my house today. It’s my brother’s Gilbern Genie (I don’t know if it’s a mk1,2,3 or even how many marks there are). My brother bought it about 8 years ago from Market Bosworth. There was a guy who had quite a collection of Gilberns there and he sold this one. I think he might have been getting rid of all of them. Any way we drove from West Wales to Bosworth to pick it up in my brothers Land Rover. The water pump failed on the way so the AA took us the rest of the way and we replaced the pump there and then drove home. It was a long day in a cranky old Landy.
Once home my brother joined the owners club and they sent him all the history they had on the car, which was nice. Included in the info was some photos of the car from a forsale add when a previous owner had sold it through the club. The photos were actually taken in a Welsh seaside village called Burry Port. Not only is the village only about 13 miles from where me and my brother now live, it’s actually the village we were brought up in. In fact my mother and my younger brother still live in the village. The car had been owned by the manager of a company called Powell’s that made barrel moving equipment etc. We probably saw it as kids and never took any notice of it.
Anyway it’s had a load of work done since then. My brother has his own car restoration business and specialises in all things Gilbern so all work has been done in house. All the rot was cut out of the chassis, it’s been converted to coilovers on the front. It’s got a Mercedes 190 2.3 Cosworth engine on carbs, disks all round, a bespoke roll cage (not fully fitted yet) and a Scimitar 4ha rear axle with jag LSD. The seats are a pair of Lotus Europa items but are to be replaced. It’s now going to be a stage rally car, but it has been put together pretty much untested to be used for his daughters wedding yesterday. It at mine as I picked it up on the trailer from the venue.
I have been meaning to change the rear calipers on the Escort for some time. I currently run mk1 Fiesta front calipers on the rear with the original cable / rod mechanism welded to it. The main handbrake actuation is hydraulic with the cable giving “some” effort if the hydraulics were to fail. I’d like some proper calipers with cables to get more breaking out of it if the brakes do fail. The only issue I have is the car is a rally car. I want to keep the hydraulic action as I need to be able to lock the rear wheels with the handbrake at speed, with sticky tires. There are lots kits out there to do this based on Sierra calipers, but they only have a 42mm piston. The calipers I run are 48mm pistons. The Sierra caliper is great on a road car, but the piston is too small. Everyone I know who has tried them on a rally car says they do not lock the brakes consistently when used in anger.
This is no good as you need the car to do what you expect it to do every time or your just loosing time when it doesn’t work.
I was going to fit Mk7 Transit rear calipers but they are huge. They will go on but will need a fair bit of work and a change of disc. They are so heavy they have their own gravity. I asked a question in the Technical section on the forum about which rear caliper has large pistons and Citroen BX calipers were suggested. As the handbrake is on the front of the BX you get a nice compact caliper, 50mm piston and being half aluminium they are pretty light. What’s more @good Scrap from the forum even had a pair that he kindly donated to the cause 👍. I don’t know if they’ll work but it’s worth a try as there is no major outlay if they end up in the scrap.
Here is a BX caliper next to a mk1 fiesta disk that I use.
The first problem is the carrier bracket is currently welded to the axle for the fiesta calipers. It is now in the way and need cutting off. But I don’t want to cut the bracket off quite yet as I don’t know if the idea will work.
I placed the caliper over the disc in front of the axle to try. The pad has full purchase on the disc.
And the wheel fits over with bags of clearance.
That’s 2 big ticks so far.
Using my “eyecrometer”, with the caliper on the disc the sliders were roughly lining up with the end of the axle where the half shaft plates bolt on. This means that I can make a mounting bracket out of steel to bolt from the caliper to the halfshaft flange. I thought I’d make a template out of 12mm ply to test the theory.
First I used the mounting plate of an old halfshaft to get the bolt pattern for the end of the axle. I then mounted it on to the axle, put the disc back on and the drew around that to get me to the above photo. With the caliper mounted on the disc, looking through the caliper slide holes I could see the inner diameter of the disc face intersected them right through the middle. I scribed that onto the board and from there I marked the slider holes.
That got me here.
At first the holes did not line up with the sliders. They are 82mm centres and somehow I marked them at 78mm. I filed the holes out for now.
I’m now at the point where I need to cut off the old caliper brackets to see how far off I am. If I just cut them off in a straight line I can at least just weld them back on if it all goes Pete Tong. That’s a job for next time.
I used Chrysler 180 calipers with a cortina handbrake cable adjusted to fit on my 105e Anglia using an escort rear axle.
You can buy a cable for an Escort converted to discs but it’s about £40 delivered. I think I can adapt it to use on the BX calipers. I think it’s just a mk3 escort cable with an extra bolt on but that attaches to the handbrake. I’ll also need to make a cable holder for the other side of the tunnel. But I’ll fit up the calipers before I go down the cable route.