Dutton Kit Cars and their owners

Happy New Year! And some updates...

First up guys, a big thanks for the guidance and well-natured abuse that I've received from you all over the last year. I hope 2017 brings you all good health and good fortune.

Right, back to business...

** Updates 07/01/17! **

As you've probably seen from the photos, the Phaeton's coming to the end of it's winter modifications. Still a bit to do though:

  • Chassis brace incorporating windscreen, steering column and wiper motor mounts is finished, painted and installed. There's also a couple of small attached brackets which the dashboard mounts to. A very neat solution that I would love to take the credit for, but can't. 
  • The Corsa C PAS steering column is now fitted, and wired up. Unfortunately, it's not currently working. I don't think I'm giving it the necessary 55Hz square-wave (engine running) signal to let it initialise. Took a punt on the tacho signal being sufficient, but I think it's not suitable after all. Crappy little generic box of tricks on order which will do for now. This is now working, and boy is it effective. However, I thought I was dealing with a faulty column as it wouldn't play ball at first. However, I did have the torque sensor off to repair the wiring previously, and it turns out I'd refitted it wrong. As soon as I sorted it out, the column sprang into life.
  • The 2.4-turn quick-rack that we got free with the car because the previous owner thought it was knackered has been stripped and found to be tip-top, other than the grease was all dried and waxy, and there was a lot of general crap in there. It's been cleaned out and will be re-greased, reassembled and fitted. Turns out this did need a tiny bit of machining, and had been put together badly. All now hunky dory and lockwired. Think it's actually 2.5 turns but still a bloody fast rack.
  • The adjustable arms are fitted, and the front struts re-bushed with poly. However, the top wishbone bushes are not playing ball, the bolts are seized in the crush tubes. We'll need to cut these out to replace, and there's not much play in them, so this can wait. We've also found that we cannot physically reduce the castor angle by moving the ARB mounting position backwards, as it starts to bend the front struts. We'll need to modify the front strut top mounts and ARB mountings to suit each other. We'll probably leave this for now, and will knock up some temporary double-width brackets to use the wide bushes for now, with the intention of easily moving them when things get finalised. Or maybe just do compression struts, who knows. We've got everything bolted back down and finalised. Got 1.5 degrees of negative camber and 5 degrees of castor both sides. We'll see how this feels when we drive it. My gut feeling is that replacing all the old worn bushes with poly/rose joints has pulled everything back into line and reduced the castor a fair bit.
  • The front and rear brake circuits have been split, with the footbrake doing the fronts and the hydraulic handbrake doing the rears. This was done by blanking off one manifold port with a 3/8" bleed nipple, and adding a reservoir to the handbrake cylinder. Both circuits have been bled but I've got a sticky caliper. Easy fix. The handbrake lever also seems to move a long way before having any effect - there's probably a ratchet mechanism in the rear hubs that needs wound up. Turns out the shoe adjuster on the drivers side had sheared a stud and was loose inside the hub. This damaged both shoes and the backplate, but all was able to be repaired. Everything now fixed, including stick caliper.
  • Clutch cable and bulkhead transit has been reworked. I think the old cable was a Mk1 Escort part, and way too long. It had to bend up after coming through the bulkhead, and then make two bends in the other direction to accommodate its own length and miss the oil filter. The new part is off a Mk2 Escort and is much shorter, but it did require a new bulkhead transit plate making up as it has a longer stem. Pedal is now much lighter. 
  • At the last event the gear linkage came apart with the car stuck in 2nd. There is a small roll pin which connects the linkage mechanism to the selector shaft. This has made a break for freedom. We'll replace it and use the H-pattern shift for now, but my fab guy has mocked up a two-speed linkage with a forwards/backwards pattern. This is to say, move the lever forward to use 2nd (best gear) and move it back to select reverse. This involves some mechanical trickery as the linkage translates he fore-and-aft movement to the forward-across-backwards action that you'd normally use to get from 2nd to reverse and back on the MT75 box. The test piece is very impressive, he'll now build one properly with bronze guides etc to install in the car. The real "WRC-level" autotest guys use specially-built two-speed gearboxes, but I asked for him to reproduce this with a linkage that could be swapped out with the stock one, while leaving the box alone. This isn't quite ready but we're running with the original linkage modified with the piece that will eventually evolve into the fancy mechanism. Just to test that it works freely across the gate. 

And I think that just about covers it for now - first event is a week today, can't wait. 

Event tomorrow - still need to finalise wiring, reattach windscreen, change wheels, etc.

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Comment by Roy Kemp on January 1, 2017 at 18:15

When I look into my family lineage and discover I'm actually an Englishman... :p

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