Dutton Kit Cars and their owners

Hi all,

Actually managed to wangle a few spare hours to work on the Dutton yesterday. Which, given present commitments, is a minor miracle in itself. So, you may recall from previous blog posts that I've got a pile of fancy bits to fit, stuff to fix, things to modify/improve, etc.

So, I decided to have a decent loo at my front suspension which has always been a bit of a bugbear of mine. The car is phenomenally understeery, even taking the locking diff into account. I've got adjustable bottom arms which need bottom shock mounts welding on before I can fit, however, looking at the front struts it appears I've got the cheapo motorcycle shocks. I've always suspected my car is way too high at the front, and it needs to come down a fail old bit. Anyone know if you can change the springs on these crappy old struts? If not, it doesn't make sense to fab up brackets for the new arms to suit these if I'm going to have to go down the coilover route. So, this job was successfully f**ked off for now.

Next, I pulled off the dash and steering wheel for a look at what's under there for fitting the Corsa PAS column. Oh, wait, sorry, I skipped a stage. I was trimming all the old Corsa switchgear off and managed to completely butcher the top bearing in the process. So, that's that fooked. I guess this column will only get to serve as a dummy for test fitting! Anyway, removing the dash revealed not-as-bad-as-feared wiring, but a complete abortion of an arrangement holding the steering column into the car. As per the photo, there's a bit of angle iron bolted loosely through the tub running vertically. Then, loosely "bolted" to this, a horizontal piece hung from a broken part of the tub, from which the column hangs. Horrendous. Needless to say, this is all coming out.

Current plan is to run a bit of tube across the car behind the dash. This will pick up two backing plates to sit behind where the screen bolts onto. This should hopefully cure the tub flexing that's cracking my windscreens. This will be bracketed down to the chassis. Hopefully I can position this so it's not a total nightmare to hang the rear steering column mounts from. Will see if I can retain the collapsibility of the column with this arrangement. Not had a look at the front column mounts yet but suffice to say they look fairly poxy. Might need another cross-tube.

Bloody thing will weight a tonne by the time I'm finished.

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Comment by Dave Adams on November 12, 2016 at 15:21

thing is adjustable TCA's were developed by the Rally boys......as you know they are always building their cars on a budget and to the cheapest possible standard......me i am always hearing that some rally car or some such has broken its suspension driving normally down the road......er nope i never have. to be honest its rare even in thrashed to bits rally cars doing leaps and bounds everywhere......

do as you like it wont be worse than a dreamers car cos it will be real.

Comment by Paul Sheridan on November 12, 2016 at 8:58

We are all Lads at heart (apart from Daryl), otherwise we wouldn't be blasting around the country in open topped sports cars!!!  

Comment by Steve Kerswell on November 12, 2016 at 8:53

lad? lad? I wish :-))

Comment by Roy Kemp on November 12, 2016 at 8:32

Thanks Steve, you're a good lad. Appreciate the support!

Comment by Steve Kerswell on November 12, 2016 at 8:16

Just flashed a grinder across the Sierra TCA, which are Capri arms, and they are cast steel, so assuming all are the same, you can mig them with steel wire.

Comment by Steve Kerswell on November 12, 2016 at 7:48

Cast steel: bit of pre heat, attack it with mig. Cast Iron: get welder who knows about using dissimilar metals. Stick weld with dissimilar rods, or braze it with the old oxy acetylene and sif bronze. Mig will crack it, Very distinctive PING !on cooling. I would think it was cast steel, good welder will know, quick flash on a grinder will inform him.

Comment by Roy Kemp on November 12, 2016 at 7:47

I would assume so - they're just stock Escort arms modified with the adjuster.

Comment by Adrian Southgate on November 11, 2016 at 22:05

Mr Kerswell is our expert in sticking metal to metal. Are your TCA's cast ?

Comment by Roy Kemp on November 11, 2016 at 20:43

Hi again folks. Just so I can give my welding guy a heads up, what's the best way to go about sticking brackets on? MIG or TIG? Any heat treatment required? Is there any advice in the builders manual about welding brackets to the cast arms?

Comment by Roy Kemp on November 8, 2016 at 16:47

Hi again BV - my car is (currently) used only for Autotesting. So low speed but fairly hard abuse. I decided to go with the adjustable TCAs as I've seen the car (while my co-owner drives it) suffering from the front wheel "tucking" i.e. positive cambering under load on full or near-full lock. This is the main source of my understeer woes. Regards your message below, you suggest to ditch the adjustable TCAs and set the camber. Can you suggest how to do this without adjustable arms?

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