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18. It looks like a car!

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Well a bit anyway!

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To go back a bit, I have spent a very worried time.  First off, I was all ready to set the static timing with my new 123 ignition unit; I was then concerned that when we replaced the flywheel, it should have been lined up in such a way that the timing hole would be at 8 deg BTDC.   Turns out, according to Callum Beveridge at citroenspecialsclub.org that there is only one way.  “Oh yes” says Ed,  “I remember now. There was a lug that locates the flywheel in a unique position” .  Armed with that we tried to start the engine using Easystart squirted straight into the carb.  No response (except sparks at the plugs) – probably just as well, there was still no oil in the engine or gearbox!

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High tech ignition system!

Next issue of concern was, and has always been, working out the RHD holes on the LHD tub.   Callum again was incredibly helpful with photos of his build and patient conversation resulting in my understanding of how the pedals should go.

LHD Tub

Starting point is the hole for the steering column; everything works back from there. The pedal assembly of course is not handed and simply is moved relative to the steering column.

With Roy and I setting the tub on the chassis, removing it, setting it on again, removing it, circumcising the rear legs of the chassis (15mm chamfered off) to fit under the shell, fitting it back on again, and lining up the screw holes, we were able to locate the hole for the steering.

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Drilling was straightforward, even if done by an alien(!),  and the gaiter previously ordered, fitted perfectly!   We now understand how the pedal assembly fits (clutch and brake pedals either side of the column) and we have drilled a new hole for the brake master cylinder.      Although Burton suggest the cutting and welding of the accelerator pedal to shorten it, the right hand side gives an opportunity to just bend it and take the cable out higher up on the bulkhead.

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Examination of the handbrake lever proved that it was too short, but a quick read of the manual reassures me that somewhere in the collection of Burton bits is an extended central section lever!

Roy and I spent some time looking at the front of the car, and I was convinced that the engine seemed off centre, which made lining up the tub apparently more difficult, but we now think it may have been an optical illusion. First off the heat exchangers are not at the same angle to the notional horizontal centre line; then we realised that the gear lever is not central to the gear box and sits on an offset top plate. All goes to confuse the eye (and my brain)

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Other things are going to be in the way of too much more activity for the next week or so; it will be “mothballed” from the weekend until we get down to seriously getting the engine to work AFTER I have filled it with oil.  I have new air and fuel filters coming and I already have a maintenance kit for the carb, so work obviously there to do.  We need to finish off the holes in the tub and fit the pedals and connect the brake system up to check there are no leaks.  Roy has to design the dashboard and I have to chase up the new seats with their head restraints all from Cobra Seats.

Back in a while….

 

17. Now for the really difficult bit….

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Not a lot of reporting here for a while; but quite a lot of progress……  Somewhat less organised work schedule, but with the help of Roy and Ed it has moved forward.

from this:                                         to this:

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First off, the rolling chassis is really a rolling chassis! The engine is virtually complete down to the refurbished cowlings and very close to being started since the Dyane acquisition.  Looking at my notes, lots of boring stuff has been done and ticked off, including:

  • painting of heat exchangers and other bits
  • brake pads fitted – boy do you need the knack to get them in properly, but done
  • drive shaft gaiters greased and tied – using plastic ties because I can’t work out the metal fixings that came with the gaiters,  to tie them off
  • exhaust crossbox, into heat exchangers, onto new Burton exhaust – all connected
  • new 123 ignition unit in place and cowling and fixings all back on
  • starter and solenoid checked and turns the flywheel

and then the removal of the “tub” from the crate and moving of bits around the two garages to accommodate the body and the chassis side by side.  Removal of the Cobra seats from their packaging, ready for installation; burrowing inside the Burton boxes to see what they have and haven’t sent me, and what is needed to move onto the next stage…..

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….which has been filling me with dread.  The conversion of the LHD tub to RHD.

Reading the Burton manual on how to start with the tub and prepare it for the chassis has been interesting.  I have read and reread the section, and only after extensive web work and looking at other peoples photos have I been able to get an idea as to how it should all go together.  Not a criticism of Burton’s manual, more a lack of understanding on my part; senior moments creeping in…   There are lots of pre drilled holes none of which seem to follow any symmetry.

As I say, much reading up on the web and direct emails with the Citroen Specials Club – thank you Callum for all your help – and I am beginning to slightly relax a little about what comes next.  I confess that I seriously considered converting the chassis to LHD rather than changing the body.  Part of the problem I now realise,  is that I have a tub predrilled for LHD.  This means that my additional holes are going to reduce the fibreglass by a very substantial amount!  So I have to be confident that any weakness does not affect the structural integrity of the whole car; because it has a separate chassis I think it will be fine, but I am also investigating putting an extra panel across the holes.   We will have quite a lot of work measuring, drilling and fitting the various components.

Lots to do before we can properly put the the body on the chassis!  I am still looking at the new lockable steering column, which is now articulated (but I can’t find the UJ to go in the middle) and trying to puzzle out how that fits.  I also have to seriously service the brake master cylinder before reconnecting it to the, shortly to be adapted, pedal set.

Next problem to have given me angst has been the potential difficulty of having the car tested and registered.  It would seem that the earlier system of turning up at the DVLA office with the new car and a request for a Radically Altered Vehicle registration which would leave the car essentially untested except as to a normal MOT, is no longer available.  All cars need to have a Basic IVA test which means it also needs to conform to present regulations.  I am coming to the conclusion that I may have to have Q plates for registration as I may not be able to demonstrate fully enough the provenance of the donor car.  Although I have a photo of the original Citroen ID panel, I do not have the original; nor do I have any logbook which the DVSA are hanging onto pending their inspection!   I hope that this blog will provide sufficient evidence of the detail of the rebuild.

I think the Burton will generally be fine, except….. it will need head restraints.  I hope I have now solved that problem by having Cobra Seats  alter them to take a removable head rest.  Cobra say it should be possible and so I might be making a trip up to Telford in the near future!

That’s it for now.  We are about to have a new addition to the family in the form of Millie, a Coton de Tulear puppy and I have a feeling that will be taking up some of my time. Until I can train her to give me the relevant spanners when I want them, I may be a bit limited in the next few months progress, we shall see.

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