Do you own or know the whereabouts of a piece of UK Drag Racing History or just want info on a particular machine.

Moderators: timetravel, ukdrn

 #36836  by MisteR Tee
 Wed Jul 23, 2014 3:52 pm
Well, not a lot to report, took the spindles down to RDR HQ at the weekend for Dave's wedding anniversary bash & had a play with them before the festivities. Quickly found that they ain't gonna be an easy fit! Seems the existing spindles, as well as having the spindle part re-machined to accept smaller wheels, also had different bronze bushes fitted to the king pin bosses with a smaller ID, because the king pins are a smaller id diameter as well as being held in place by grub screws & not conventional cotter pins!!! I did manage to mock them up to see what the wheels look like, but I've had to take them away again for yet more machining work but hopefully, apart from cutting off the redundant steering arm & brake backplate flanges, that should be it.

Here I have finally managed to remove the existing spindles (pesky hidden grub screws!!) & temporarily fitted the "new" spindles. Thankfully everything alse lines up, drag link & steering arm.
Here are the wheels temporarily fitted, thankfully the steering arms hadn't been modified so the original ones still fit fine, as does the steering link from the box.
This is one of the offending "old" spindles, showing the back plate flanges have been removed, the spindle shaft machined straight & shortened & re-threaded. You can also see (or not) that there is no cotter pin fitment, the king pins being held in place by two grub screws from the back, one of which was almost invisble!! However, I can re-use the shiny hub nuts, so that's a bonus!!
Once I get them back from the machine shop, I'll tidy them up as required & maybe have them powder-coated & then, as they say, we're good to go!!

Next job is to find some decent tyres to fit but I may have a solution to that little conundrum. Then it's back off with the rear wheels & hubs (including the shiny new calipers that Dave kindly fitted) so we can modify things there to take the Wolfies, then it's back on 4 wheels finally & on to the next few jobs!!

Some of you may have seen that sadly, we're not going to Hockenheim for the NitrOlympiX now, as the altered's drive shaft that broke at Dragstagia cannot be made & shipped over in time. However, it now looks to be a busy old year next year as Dave has now been appointed crew chief for Bob Glassup's new Capri Fuel Funny car!
 #37093  by MisteR Tee
 Sat Sep 13, 2014 1:30 pm
Spent another day down at RDR HQ, ostensibly to remove the blown engine from Dave's altered that blew quite comprehensively at the Euro Finals last weekend.

Having done that we moved on to fitting the new front spindles & wheels to Spirit & quickly discovered that it wasn't going to be that easy. I'd had some new bronze bushes made to match the gap between the original spindles' top & bottom bosses, which worked. However, when we tightened up the grub screws in the back of the axle boss to retain the king pins, they dragged the king pins down so much they tightened onto the top spindle boss & caused the steering to be extremely stiff.

Once we'd discovered what was causing this, we then measured the old & new spindles & found that the new ones were thicker by 0.7mm! After a bit of discussion, Dave chucked them in his milling machine & milled the tops down until they stopped causing the problem. Ok, onto fitting the steering arm & cross link which was when we found that the steering arm holes on the spindles had a slight taper to them & were much larger than the cross link bolts. Closer investigation revealed that the old ones had another bush pressed in to suit the bolts. They wouldn't drift out so we cut the arms up to remove them, re-drilled the holes in the arms straight & pressed the bushes in! Finally after all this we got the new wire wheels fitted!! I still have a couple of things to sort out, such as locating some 1/4"unf grub screws without heads or maybe button heads, as the existing ones with cap heads act like steering stops, but far too early! Also want to replace the grease nipples with the same size grub screws, only shorter to plug the grease holes. That & some stainless split pins for the hub nuts & the front is done!!!

These are not very good phone pics, as I'd forgotten to take my camera with me.
2014-09-12 17.05.07.jpg
2014-09-12 17.04.55.jpg
2014-09-12 17.04.46.jpg
Next step is to fit the Wolfrace wheels which also won't be straightforward, as we have to remove everything from the axle ends, fit new, shortened, proper wheel studs (the existing ones are plain bolts in some weird coarse thread!), bolt on the adaptors with machined locknuts (so they sit below the surface of the spacer/adaptors) & then fit the wheels, after Dave has machined some wheel washers to fit the open ended nuts I have to the Wolfrace taper seat angle (30°). It helps sometimes to know a bit about wheel nuts!!

Then we can start on the other mods, like moving the rear edge of the upper cowl so I can get in & out easier & generally fettle the car ready for racing!! Which, now the engine in the altered has blown & with Dave's new committment as crew/builder for the new Nostalgia Funny Car, could be sooner rather than later!! :-)
 #37353  by MisteR Tee
 Mon Oct 27, 2014 10:15 pm
Ok, finally managed to get down to RDR HQ again today & after helping him to get the TFX Nostalgia F/C motor out of his Cherokee & onto an engine stand, ready to be built up, we started on the rear wheels.

The first hurdle to overcome was getting the fully floating hubs off the axle ends, being custom made they were deeper than the more normal Sherpa/Westminster ones so the hub nuts were deep inside & rather on the large side!! After a bit of judicious drifting with a small chisel, we managed to get them off & removed the brake discs & hammered out (!) the old wheel studs. These studs were actually not proper wheel studs but cap head screws with a very coarse thread, so I was glad to see them go!!
I had brought a couple of different types of wheel studs with me & we selected what looked like the easiest ones to fit & then set about milling a flat on one side of the head so they'd fit against the raised centre of the hub. I measured how much length we needed, taking into consideration the thickness of the hub flange, the half-shaft flange & the adaptors we're using & found that the studs didn't really need shortening (or so we thought!). We had to drill out the holes in the hubs to accept the shoulders of the studs & also countersunk the holes in the shafts to fit over the slightly protruding ends of the shoulders & also the spacer/adaptors.
We then pressed the new studs into the hubs & test fitted a shaft (which was when we discovered they needed the countersinking) & an adaptor, which was also when we discovered that the tips of the studs were ever so slightly proud of the face of the adaptors when fully tightened down!! By carefully grinding the tips of the studs on the bench grinder, we got them all sitting below the face when tight, so on to the next phase!!

All went well with re-fitting the hubs until we tried to tighten one of the hub nuts & found it wouldn't! When we tried to remove it & the hub we slightly damaged the threads on both the axle case & the nut. However, after a lot of careful filing with a set of needle files & a lot of patience, we managed to get it to tighten up snug again. After bolting the brake calipers back on & bleeding the brakes, re-inserting the half shafts (twice, as I got them mixed up!!) & then the adaptors, It was time to finally fit the wheels the car deserved!! :)

This gave me the opportunity to take a pic of the refurbished calipers I had done by Bigg Red, which I didn't do when I originally had them fitted by Dave prior to Dragstalgia, but sadly never actually got there. :(
So finally, after a bit of grief & a lot of headscratching & ingenious fiddles, we got the wheels fitted & they do indeed fit it! There is ample room inside between the inner walls of the tyres & the chassis rails & side panels, they're skinny enough to look period & to cap it all (sic), the centre caps from the Appliances fit perfectly in them (as I didn't have any Wolfrace caps!). Oh, almost forgot, in an effort to be seen to be doing things correctly for racing, I had Dave drill out some special Wolfrace washers to fit some medium length open-ended sleeve nuts because there are no equivalent ones available in the correct Wolfrace fitment (helps to be a dealer in these things, I guess!!) :D
All in all a very succesful day, only marred by one of the front tyres bursting unexpectedly after we had jacked up the back!! As they were very old tyres that came with the new wire front wheels, I wasn't too bothered as I'd brought down a pair of new ribbed tyres to replace them. But I do need a new inner tube now as that was what failed & ripped a hole in the sidewall of the tyre!!! I need to get this done asap as Dave wants to get the car up in the transporter to make room for his next project!!
 #38079  by MisteR Tee
 Sun Jun 28, 2015 9:26 pm
Well, that was a long time since the last update but due to various other issues & my Model T hot rod requiring attention, I hadn't been intending to do too much to the dragster. However, priorities change & with Dragstalgia looming once again, I decided to concentrate on getting it ready.

So the last time we worked on it, we'd fitted the new wheels so I contined with this & fitted the new front tyres so they're all done now. Next on the agenda was modifying the steering column supports to give me more legroom to get in & out. This was accomplished by simply cutting off the first one (nearest me!) & making a new shorter looped one & welded it to the remaining one. (see pics) We also raised the column angle slightly & remade the brace that carries the mag switch & fuel shutoff lever to match. Now there's plenty of room for me to get in & out & a bonus was being able to re-angle the gear lever over towards the centre, so it didn't press into the back of my right knee!! Doing this meant I had to re-shape the gear linkage rod as well but this also enabled me to give more clearance to the loud pedal as well!!

This is how it was before, two straight cross bars supporting the column.
Here is the new support during fabrication.
& here's the re-positioned gear lever, you can see that it's almost at the limit of the socket mount!
Dave managed to spill some paint over it after this which tidies it all up. However, this all meant the the upper cowl needed modification as well, which would affect the "signwriting", as we had to effectively cut the openeing down further. As the name was self-adhesive diffraction tape type words, I managed to use a hot air gun to remove it & the cut out the opening by around 2" & reshape it to fit the screen back on. It's now with Neil Melliard awaiting his expert touch to re-apply the name!

In situ.
All this took place earlier this month & now this week just gone I was back at RDR HQ for another thrash!
I earlier taken one of the fuel pipes off & bought a few new fittings & barided fuel hose, so that was fitted, after a monumental battle to get at all the connections on the fuel pump!! I also removed the sump after draining the oil with a view to replacing the sump gaskets as I suspected they were leaking previously. However the new gaskets I'd bought turned out to be the wrong ones but I've now managed to get the correct ones (Sprite 1275) from Moss Europe. Whilst we had the sump off we checked the bottom end & discovered that it looked superb! All the visible bits were in excellent condition, the mains caps are 4-bolted & braced & the rods smoothed & polished to a mirror finish! The same can't be said of the pickup filter but that will have to wait for another day!

Close up of a well built bottom...end!!!
2015-06-26 16.20.02.jpg
We also re-bled the brakes & re-packed the parachute, noting that the cord was getting past it useful life & not finding the threading cord either, but we got it done anyway. All that remained was a particular bug-bear of mine...the exhausts! Dave wasn't too convinced about cutting them down, however after a lot pf measuring & marking, we took them off one by one & cut them down in his bandsaw & even he has to admit they look so much better, what do you think? Of course, this means the breather mask will definitely be needed when I tip the can!!

So just the sump to refit & refill it with oil & fit the new oil filter & possibly adjust the clutch (as it was beginning to drag under WOT) & we're good to go, as they say. Hopefully be down again this week to do those last jobs & fiere it up again to check it all still works & there are no nasty fuel leaks & then we're off to North Weald at the weekend for a practice before my baptism of fire at Dragstalgia the following weekend. Wish me luck!
 #38081  by timetravel
 Mon Jun 29, 2015 7:16 am
Thanks for the update Maurice... looking forward to seeing this at Dragstalgia... :D
 #38082  by ukdrn
 Thu Jul 02, 2015 2:49 pm
Thanks Maurice.
I'm really looking forward to seeing the car.
 #38177  by MisteR Tee
 Mon Aug 24, 2015 3:26 pm
Well, as you will have seen I hope, I made it to Dragstalgia & managed 4-5 runs over the course of the weekend. Apart from a couple of issues, one with the car & one with the driver(!), it was a successful debut/return to the track for this little FED.

During the weekend we discovered an issue with the transmission & selecting 3rd gear, which made it feel like it was trying to slow down rather than go faster!! So much so that the last run I made on Sunday morning was using 1st & 2nd gears only & resulted in my best top speed of 95.64 mph, the quickest time was on Saturday at 13.77 secs.

The second issue is down to practice & experience, plus without a tach I can't tell what revs I'm launching at so I need a whole lot more to avoid the bogging off the line, plus I MUST NOT LIFT OFF when changing gears!! Its an auto ya numpty!!!

Still considering we did very little to it in terms of maintenance apart from changing the engine oil & filter & checking it over, it wasn't too bad. So the next job is to remove the trans & investigate the problem, which hopefully is nothing more than lack of use. I spoke to Simon's dad at Dragstalgia & learnt that they'd had the trans rebuilt just before they sold the car & therefore it had never been run since then. We're hoping it just needs a bit of a spring clean inside & freeing off any stuck valves & servoes. All the mods & additions we made seem to work fine & the car handled very well, certainly a lot better than at North Weald!

For those that didn't get to see it, here's a couple of Jon's pics showing the new artwork by Neil Melliard of ProSign & a truly brilliant shot of me launching hard with the front wheels up, cheers Jon!!
wheels up.jpg
I have a few other projects that need my attention now, so that's it for this year but hopefully with the trans sorted we'll be out next year at a few more meets. The Spirit lives on!!!
 #38181  by LostinFrance
 Sat Aug 29, 2015 2:59 pm
Well done Maurice, with third gear you would have gone a lot faster.

The inside of the box is highly modified, only one valve in there. I suspect the valve needs adjusting or one of the copper pipes may has become detached, you will see what I mean when you strip it. Give me a shout if you need any help.

 #38182  by MisteR Tee
 Tue Sep 01, 2015 6:17 pm
Cheers Mike, we're getting there slowly. I should be going down to Dave's workshop soon to take the trans out, so we'll see what we find (assuming we know what we're looking at!).

One question I have for you though, how did you tell when to change gear without a rev counter?
 #38183  by LostinFrance
 Wed Sep 02, 2015 3:59 pm
Bearing in mind I never actually drove the car, too fat.
Not very professional, but, change when it feels right..
Here's a video of the car running, sorry about the quality, but you can hear the gear changes: ...
Held a bit too long 1st to 2nd, I think.
Also, the slider clutch locks up about 10 feet out and throws the front wheels in the air.
Not the slider you have in the car now :)
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