It won’t come as a surprise that I’ve been working on the RF84 this weekend. However it seemed like I didn’t achieve that much.
First thing to do was to fit the front rocker and shock units properly (they were only trial fitted previously.) That went relatively well, although using the right bolts meant that I had to clear the powder coating from the holes again. Much quicker this time.
The job list (yes I do it that way) then had “paint and refit the gear linkage” as the next job. I read that John Barnard invented the semi-sequential gearbox because he didn’t want to route the gear mechanism on the 639 in the late 80’s. I now share his low levels of enthusiasm for that part of the car. Its taken me an age to strip the gear lever mechanism, and repainting bits has been something of a trial. I’m there with the gear lever; its start again with the gear actuation rod (or whatever its called) as the paint finish isn’t great, and the rod is quite visible. Hopefully I’ll get it done this week.
I also stripped the pedal assembly ready for replating, and measured centre distances of all the front suspension components. These will all be off to Universal for plating and new bearings next week.
The other thing I discovered is that all it takes is an absence of something like a 1/4unf nyloc and pretty much everything stops. I really am a beginner at all this. And it all seems to take much longer than I expect, although I hope that progress will be a bit more rapid as the car goes together.
Something I’m less of a beginner with is CAD. The model of 837 is progressing well, with the rockers, shocks, front beam assembly and anti-roll bar now in place. The springs have been a bit of a trial to fit, and I might have to get some help at D3D Live on Thursday.
Having had a go at fitting the rockers last week, I decided the next thing to do would be to trial assemble all the internal suspension components at the front end. Trial assembly would allow me to check everything went together, sort out any issues, and then finally torque everything up properly.
The main lesson of the day was that the powder coating process makes everything a bit tiresome. Its also really quite impressive how a couple of holes that are too small for the bolts that go through them can slow up a whole days work. After I realised that I could get a drill at the troublesome holes, and that a knife is the best way to remove powder coating from an anti-roll bar, things moved on. In fact I managed to trial fit the entire front suspension set-up today, which was really pleasing. That included assembling the front shocks with the newly powder coated springs. These look really good and must be a significant improvement over the somewhat tired units on the car when I bought it.
The CAD model is lagging the real thing by some margin now. This could be put down, at least in part, to putting a few tubes into the space frame in the wrong place. A couple of evenings should see the model catch the real thing. In terms of developing an understanding of how the car works, and why its like it is, the rebuild and modelling process seem to be working really well.
The next move is to visit John Young’s shop in Witney (amazing place) to source as many new bolts and nylocs as I can. As soon as I’ve got them I’ll break the suspension down again and put it together properly. That will possibly be next Saturday, but preparing for my first event of the year at Curborough (the only Shenstone event I’m doing this year) may have to take priority. That assumes that the dodgy throttle pot can be fixed in time – what ever was wrong with a cable?
Last week I drove to GT in Newark to pick up the refurbished space frame. They’ve done a fantastic job. The dodgy repair has been done properly, some of the sections have been replaced and the whole thing powder coated. It, as the pictures show, looks brand new. (The garage needs a bit of a tidy; things got a bit out of hand whilst it was away..)
And today the re-plated and re-bearinged (is that a word?) suspension rockers arrived back from Universal. These look pretty much perfect too, so the aim of making the car look like it did as it was pushed out of the workshop in Norfolk in 1984 doesn’t look too unrealistic.
This evening I tried a trial fit of the rockers in the chassis, not as straightforwards as it might seem as the powder coating had somewhat reduced the size of the gap into which they fitted. An hour with a file and emery sorted this out and the parts went together.
The decision to draw the car as the rebuild progressed will make for more work, but ultimately will allow me to plan the rebuild better and have a more complete record of what happened. This is what the partially completed model of the space frame looks like.