December 1998

The two steel collars arrived from TAS this morning. They're a tad loose on the AVO damper pistons, as the OD of the damper is 18.8mm, and not 19.0mm, so there's 0.2mm play. They fit perfectly in to the spherical bearings though, so I'm going to run them anyway. Bought a vernier caliper, so the next time I'll be able to measure things myself. So the next step is to assemble the front suspension, and offer it up in to the strut tops. Then I've got to decide where the original struts need cutting to enable me to weld the new tops in place. I'll put some photos on the site in the next few days. Spent a few hours 'tarting' the web site up. New logo, and a few other subtle changes.
Wow! Santa brought me a digital camera. A Fujifilm DX-8, which gives 640x480 pixels (350,000 picture elements) and 16.7 million colours, 64 zone spot metering, automatic flash, 4 frames per second, and live video output! No more waiting for films to be developed. The pictures download directly to my PC via a serial cable. Check out the Fujifilm website.
TAS phoned. The collars for the front top mounts are finished and are now in the post.
TAS say the top mount is for use with Bilstein shock absorbers, which have a larger piston diameter. The AVO shock is for use with standard Fiesta top mounts, and has a 20mm piston with a 19mm O.D. step which is where the standard top mount locates. The TAS unit has a 20mm I.D. which is why it slips straight over the AVO piston. TAS are going to manufacture two collars, with 19mm I.D. and 20mm O.D. so I can use their top mounts with the AVO shockers. This will give only a 0.5mm wall thickness, so I donít know if they'll work, but the only way is to try it and see. They're going to manufacture them from Stainless Steel, presumably for more strength.
Updated diagram as a PowerPoint file. (30Kb) Updated diagram as a JPEG file. (55Kb)
Delivery will be in a few days, cost is a few pounds. I'd have been better off with Bilsteins, but they're a) prohibitively expensive and b) a bit difficult to obtain for the Mk1 Fiesta.
Tried assembling the AVO shockers with the TAS top mounts, but there seems to be something missing. The top mount slides down on to the shocker, but it doesn't seem to fasten together properly, as if theres an adapter missing. The following diagram shows how it all goes together. Itís a bit difficult to describe. The top mount slides down on to the damper piston, but the nut that fastens the top mount in place doesn't have anything to lock against. I'll call AVO and TAS tomorrow to see if there are any more bits that they've forgotten to send.
Diagram as a PowerPoint file. (30Kb) Diagram as a JPEG file. (40Kb)
Removed the engine and gearbox from the car. If I'm going to weld the new turrets on then I need some extra room to work in the engine bay. The new turrets are massive. Much larger diameter than the original ones. They're going to be a sod to fit.
Phoned TAS (UK) for fitting instructions. I'm supposed to cut the old turrets off, and weld the new ones in place. They donít have any written instructions, or drawings. In fact, I'm the first person to ask for instructions!
Wow! The Prodrive visit was something else. I've seen Richard Burns and Juha Kankunnens cars being assembled from scratch. And there were two 'safari' spec cars, waiting for their next outing. Subaru has no sponsor as yet for the '99 season. Subaru say that they want to retain the blue colour, because people now associate with Subaru rally cars. However, some sponsors wont go to Subaru, because they want the car painting to their own color scheme. (ie Texaco would want black with orange writing) Found plenty of things to inspire me, and I took 30 photos, some of which I'll put on the web site next week. Front strut tops arrived. Theres two 'turrets' included, which look a bit on the large side. No instructions either, so I'm going to phone TAS (UK) for guidance tomorrow.
Cancelled the order with Rally Design. Instead, I ordered the top mounts from Demon Tweeks. They're made by TAS (UK) Ltd. The catalogue shows a * next to the part number, and the description "Supplied with additional parts. i.e. turrets etc". Sounds very interesting, and I'll let you know what the additional parts were. Did you know that if you're a member of the BTRDA (British Trial and Rally Drivers Association) you're entitled to a 10% discount at DT? Worth joining the BTRDA I'd say. My dads a member, so I used his card and saved about £20 today.
Had a clearout of all the junk in the garage, and stowed a load of spares in the roof. Did some more painting of the front suspension parts.
I found out today that I'm going to Prodrive (Richard Burns' 555 Subaru and the Honda British Touring Cars) on Thursday evening for a trip round their factory. They're located down the road at Banbury, and itís a wonderful opportunity to see how the pro's do it. Cameras are allowed. Watch this space for the photo's.
The new driveshafts and CV's have arrived. I wont be able to see if they're the right length, until I rebuild the front suspension. And as I'm still waiting for the top mountsÖ
Called Rally Design again. Still no news on the delivery date.
Collected new front hubs from the local Ford dealers.
Called Rally Design to chase up my top mounts. Apparently the firm that manufactures them is 'busy' at the moment. Obviously not 'busy' making my top mounts. "You should have them before the end of December" they say. If I'd have known that I would have placed the order else where. Two months lead time!