altezzaclub

How Not To Build A Rally Car

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I ran into one of The Girl's boyfriends while up in Armidale earlier this year who said he had an RA40 rally car. I said to bring the crew & stay with me for the Orange Rally on Sept 15th as I'm at home by myself usually. We unloaded the car and the first thing we tackled was the driver's seat position.. Too far back, too leaning back and too low, typical bloody race-car driving style. I chopped up some 1/2" water pipe I had lying round and lifted the back of the seat 50mm, then said I'd come up to his place and sort it out at the end of Uni term.

 

I managed a couple of photos in the Orange rally, and the car did sit low.

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Edited by altezzaclub

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So I drove the 600km to pick up The Girl from UNE a week early (11th Oct) and stripped the whole car into bits.. what a mess!

 

From the back forwards..

 

Someone was putting the battery in the boot and drilled clean into the fuel tank under the boot floor. That had a couple of rubber plugs in and was so low the rocks were denting it through its under-guard. Fuel surge had been a constant problem all year with the pump not sucking hard enough

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I planned an in-boot tank to solve all that, and put a surge tank below it in the wheel-well. The only way I can make sense of my ideas is to draw them on the back of an envelope then make a model, so I did that...

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The rear shocks had moved around so much they had widened each hole where they came through the boot. The shocks were completely the wrong sort, Monroe GT Gas that had 5Kg gas pressure and sucked the car down onto the road at every bump, so completely the opposite to what we needed. The rear wheel arch ride height was 650mm on the passenger's and 625 on the driver's side.

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The chassis cross rails were smashed flat under the seats, and a hole had been smashed through the floor under the driver's seat. The gearbox crossmember had been smashed shut instead of an inverted "U" shape. The fuel lines were still under the car and amazingly they were intact. The rear brake line ran under the floor to the diff, from the diff into the car then forwards to the handbrake, then back to the diff, so the brake line ran down the car three times! The brakes were soft and the pedal went so far down so they needed pumping to stop.

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Inside, the hood lining was still in the car and the cage was 75mm below the roof, so even lying back in the seat his helmet touched the cage. Having lifted the seat for the Orange rally he was jamming his head up between the top side cage rail and a diagonal. It still had a heater in (disconnected) and the fan didn't work, and all the wiring with its 20-odd warning lights was in there.

 

I could see the ground through the rust around the steering column once I took the cover off. While the brakes had too much travel, the accelerator had a 100mm high pedal stop that left it with about 20mm between idle and full throttle.

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Under the bonnet was a disaster- I took a wheel off and noticed the horizontal bolt attaching the LCA to the crossmember was not horizontal at all, it sloped forwards. The sump guard had been mounted onto two towers welded down off the back of the crossmember, but the pathetic KYB shocks with 10Kg gas pressure were the same as the rears and sucked the car down onto the ground. As it hit everything with the sump guard the force drove the mounts upwards and they tilted the cross-member by crushing the chassis where the cross-member bolted on.

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Edited by altezzaclub

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The mudguards didn't fit properly and the bonnet wouldn't close without rubbing along them, and having stripped the guard off I found the upper chassis was bent from a road accident years ago, and the strut tower moved back.

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The wheel arches sat at 660 and 630, on Kings springs, so the drivers side of the car was lower front & rear. The castor rods had worn the round hole in their front mounts into large ovals.

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With the cross-member rooted the motor came out, only to find the sump had been grooved right across by rubbing on the cross-member and we were lucky it wasn't split through. The motor wouldn't earth properly, and the exhaust manifold leaked.

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The car never idled, it stuck around 1500rpm and the throttle return springs were stretched so tight one broke, and they were so big it took a lot of grunt to move the throttle through its tiny travel of about 40mm, like a light switch! The fuel and the throttle cables both traveled around the carbs then back into a connection, so there was a lot of excess wire and lines everywhere.

 

Taking the carbs off found an obvious problem.

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The brake pads were cooked, but looked burned hard and chipped rather than very worn.

 

So at the end of the week I left him with a car in a thousand bits and a long list.. New suspension arms, new shocks, raise ride height, repair chassis, weld over rust, new crossmember, fix carbs, make cross-strut bar, new seat mounts, new rear brake lines, new rear slave cylinders, move lines into car, new fuel tank, battery sorted, remake throttle cable setup & move pedals to suit new seat position... and on it went!

 

 

We had until Nov 23rd to finish it before the next rally!

Edited by altezzaclub

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