DuttonOwners

Dutton Kit Cars and their owners

Today I bought another Dutton. This one has a 3.1 litre Essex V6. It's MOT has lapsed and it has a number of issues, the biggest one being that it has had a front end shunt which has upset the suspension geometry, and the bonnet fit, and the steering. The last 6 inches of the main rail is crumpled, moving the ARB. Finding a good reference to work from to restore the geometry looks to be an interesting puzzle. In this picture you can see that the nearside wheel has a different camber to the offside. It was the nearside that was hit.

I will do some investigation over the weekend and post some pictures of the damage. It was dark by the time I got home, and I was worn out. The journey was 400 miles in total, all but a handful were motorway : M5, M42, A42, M1. The car was about 15 miles south of Sheffield.

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Comment by James Doulton on March 11, 2018 at 22:52

After family left at lunchtime, I was able top get a few hours in the garage to fiddle with the drivers side of the tub. Having already cut the tub in half, I cut the drivers side in half again. and then I cut the floor in half again so that I could bend the side. There were various other little bits of trimming with power tools but I have now got it pretty good and I can actually sit in the seat properly.

The seat was 14.5 inches wide before, now it is 15.5 - that is the size of that bit of wood in the photo. I have got 5mm packing pieces on the two sides (on the diff flange and on the trailing arms) and the sides of the seat are hard against those. It is never going to be comfortable but it will be okay.

The tub of black gel coat arrived yesterday, so I just need to rig up some way of holding the bits together in the right positions while I glass it and then I can start on making new seatbelt fixings and maybe a cage for the prop shaft.

Sitting in the car, I can now see that I'll have to modify the foot well too and also the pedals which need a bit more modification. There is nowhere for my left foot to go but I think I can leave it on the clutch pedal because that is pretty stiff. It would be good if I could make a little extra legroom and maybe move the master cylinder away from the exhaust port of no.3 cylinder.

Comment by James Doulton on March 3, 2018 at 22:14

After a weekend in Center Parcs last week, I finally got back to the Dutton today. I trimmed a few lumps off the tub where the GRP was very thick so that the tub would fit more snugly against the frame. Then I bit the bullet and finally cut the tub in half lengthways. This is so that I can work on getting the drivers side right (and wide enough for my broad hips) before worrying about marrying it to the passenger side.

This showed me that I have 25mm at the narrowest point between the diff flange and the tub. I wonder how much the axle moves when driving? I can work out the geometry of various arms but what about chassis flex and bushes? I'll aim for 5mm - if the worst comes to the worst, and it touches on occasion, then I will just have to rework it.

Comment by James Doulton on February 18, 2018 at 11:20

The metalwork at the back of the cockpit steals about 20mm from the overall length. It is a bit annoying but I don't think I'm going to cut about the chassis to change that.

Comment by James Doulton on February 18, 2018 at 11:18

The trailing arms are directly below the top chassis rail all the way along, so they don't steal any space, apart from needing a little clearance. I did wonder about changing them to an oval profile or maybe a D shape, just to give them more clearance for axle movement. I can definitely get another 15mm just be modifying the tub, but I could do with 25.

The worst part is that there is 40mm more space on the passenger side because of the axle being asymmetric, with the propshaft being offset to the driver's side. I could do with 20mm or so.

Comment by Dave Adams on February 18, 2018 at 9:49

i had often considered making the trailing arms longer.....but could not see the overall benifit from doing it... for one it makes the seating area much narrower and since that is where your looking to gain space it would be well worth your time shortening them again to gain the seat space.

Comment by Dave Adams on February 18, 2018 at 9:47

that is a little like the mods i do to my cars....it does stiffen the rear a lot. Yours however is wasteful of the interior space, if you look at my rear chassis mods you can pinch a fair bit more interior space and make the seat back slope back a little more to vastly improve driving comfort.

Comment by Steve Kerswell on February 18, 2018 at 9:18

Dropped it Daryl. Forgot the combination, cannot open it :-))

Comment by Daryl Heasman on February 17, 2018 at 22:07

I hear Mr Kerswell has opened his wallet and caused an earthquake down West

Comment by Steve Kerswell on February 17, 2018 at 20:03

That is a lot of metal work James, someone has thought of it for the V6 I'd say. Wire brush and paint coming up :-)

Comment by James Doulton on February 17, 2018 at 14:11

I've managed to get the tub out after cutting off the return on the top of the seat which went under the bodywork. This has revealed the chassis, which looks different from what I had expected - the trailing arms are longer than I expected and the side rail is not all one piece. There is a lot of heavy gauge tubing under the seats and up the back. This also pushes the tub forward a little, so the overlap with the footwell was about 2". I am still wondering whether to just fit checker plate of to modify the glassfibre tub. Maybe I'll start with the glassfibre first and if I mess that up then I'll go for checker plate.

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