So, back on with breaking down the RF84. The next logical job was to tackle was the radiator/petrol tank central core, and removal of the oil system.
The first surprise was that the oil system wasn’t completely empty. So when I removed the oil filter everything near by got covered in oil. Beyond that removing the, tank, filter and its associated piping was pretty simple. Clear up simple, but extensive.
The design of the RF84 echo’s that of the Swift of the time. The radiator is positioned behind the driver and petrol tank, with air being ducted from the side of the car. This efficient approach, I guess, would pay dividends somewhere like Silverstone or Brand’s GP, where the car would run at high speeds for a large part of the lap. This aero advantage will be slight, or non-existent, in a hillclimber.
After the ally ducting had been removed there was then the puzzle of removing the rad and tank. The tank was retained by a large rubber strap which had perished, essentially killing any compliance. As I cut it I was imagining a series of calls in which I was told each time that they were no longer possible to obtain. I also got thinking about a fuel cell – a tank the size the RF84 has certainly isn’t needed when a weekend’s total mileage doesn’t exceed 5 or 6. Price and packaging constraints – the original tank is shaped to optimise the airflow to the radiator – may put an end to those thoughts.
After the oil episode it shouldn’t have come as any surprise that the cooling system was still full of coolant. At least the ensuing flood helped to clear up the remains of the oil.
With the retaining strap gone getting the two major components out of the space frame initially proved tricky. Basically the key to the puzzle was removing the fuel line (which involved a torch and long screwdriver to remove the jubilee clip), as when that was free, the tank could be removed, followed by the rad.
I’ve also finalised the list of mods for the Panda for next season. This is topped by the seat and harness which have already been purchased, and includes a new exhaust, oil temp sensor and gauge, new steering wheel, and almost certainly a Columbo and Bariani cam.