26. Onwards….

Just to list the latest problems, solutions, and consequences as a result of driving the car under its own steam.

Accelerator pedal.  Outer cable has now been shortened to allow for the pedal to drop to the correct and usable height on the pedal assembly, with fine adjustment now available at the carb end.  A consequence of the reworked pedal and its location in a RHD tub is that the pedal has a tendency to lift up too high and needs fancy footwork to drop back to a correct level.  Maybe some retaining spring might solve that – to be considered later.

Clutch cable. Still needs adjustment as the biting point is too low – as demonstrated  to me, when the car was driven.

Seats.  After fitting the triangulated frame into the car to provide runners for the seats and support for the seat belts, we fitted the drivers seat in, slid it back to a comfortable (?) position – and there it stuck, immovable.  Some swearing, frame out and seat dislodged on the runners to provide access to the bolts and it was obvious that the lever to adjust the seat was fouling on a cross rail; phone calls to Cobra Seats produced some spacers which raise the front of the seat sufficiently to allow the lever to work properly.  Reassembly of the frame – most of the clips through which the body is screwed to the chassis, popped out and distributed themselves on the floor.   Much hard work in getting them and the frame bolted back.

Steering column.  I had speed read the manual again and just remembered the single line that read “Put the top part of the column through the dashboard from the outside”.   Ah! I had previously inserted it from the inside.  Seat frame out again, body separated from the chassis to allow it to move backwards and release the steering column.  Refit the frame and body to the chassis!  Attempt to insert column and realise that the steering lock welded to the steering column cannot go through the hole in the dash from the outside!   Head scratching and a telephone call to Sander at Burton obtained the answer “put it in from behind the dashboard”.   Streams of tears as I realised the body would have to come off again.  Ed says “Lets try to force it in by relying on the flexibility of the dash board”.  Back into the footwell I go upside down, undo the universal joint and in pulling it down realise that the inner rod of the column, not only turns but also goes up and down.  Problem solved!  No need to remove body again; quick tap on the end of the column returns the inner rod to fit back into the UJ, and Uncle Robert returns to the family!  I assume that there is a ball race in the column that, either deliberately or not, provides the longitudinal flexibility!

Space in cockpit.  Having put the seat in and with the steering wheel back on I manoeuvre myself into a driving position.  Tight!  Awkward with the pedal arrangement and I may need (despite being nearly 6 foot) to bring the pedals back by using the adjustment on the assembly; we will see.   Other problems to present themselves before being sent away for being insolent – how does one get into the car with the hood up; how does one put the hood up from within the car?  To be solved at a later date!

Associated with this problem of space – a  removable steering wheel would be a great asset.  It is an option that Burton offer but they say it is not suitable for the UK test.  I think it would be a great advantage and might also do away with the need for a steering lock which would allow the correct steering column assembly.  The internet is full of comment about this topic but none of it particularly helpful.  Certainly, the removal or disconnection of an airbag to facilitate the mounting of a new steering wheel makes it illegal – although obviously a 1980 Dyane didn’t have that as original equipment. An email to Mota Lita, the suppliers of the Burton steering wheel,  has not helped, and so I am waiting on a reply from the DVSA for the definitive response.

Brake line connections to the master cylinder next, and to see whether the original is working properly.  I will then be able to drive out of the garage and not have to rely on the handbrake to stop!

Oil leak noticed from the nearside pot where the pushrods go through to the block. Needs more investigation – I knew I should have stripped and rebuilt the engine before installation onto the body – another “we will see”…

Oh, and Father Christmas?  I appeared at Janes RDA group and handed out the presents – the look on the kids faces was fantastic  🙂


Merry Christmas to all my readers  and a happy New Year.   See you next year.


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