March 1999

Nearly finished cutting the long tube for the passenger side door bars. Its hard work, just using an angle grinder, and hacksaw and a file. But it is the cheapest way of doing it.
Removed passenger door, and started cutting the roll-cage tubing for the passenger side door bars.
Finished welding the drivers side door bars, and primed them with grey zinc paint, ready for spraying. Cut out the tubes for the passenger side, which I may start on tomorrow night.
Fixed the server. Upgraded the BIOS to 5.68 and its OK now, phew. Went to the Ford Fair at Donington. There sure were some sad muppets there. What is it that makes people 'show' their cars? Highly polished engines, and mirrors on the floor so you can see how clean the underside of the car is! Look, its an Escort Cosworth for Gods sake. Join a motorclub, enter an event and thrash the bollocks out of it! Thats what it was designed for. Dont worship it. If you're going to invest £20+K in a car, get some use out of it. What a waste.
OK, rant over. Saw a Fiesta Mk1 Rally car with a N/A Cosworth lump in it. Bet that goes well. Picture is in the gallery. Bought some assorted zinc plated washers. Couldn't find anything else worth buying.
Welded two of the door bars in place. Quite difficult, especially welding underneath the bars. In the April 99 Performance Ford magazine, theres the most awesome V8 4.3 Litre Mk3 rear wheel drive Fiesta! Respect. I bet that thing flies.. Wonder what that does a standing 1/4 mile in? There's a Ford Fair at Donington on Sunday, which I may go to.

However, I have a bit of a crisis at work, which I need to sort out first. I'd installed a SCSI card in my Alpha this afternoon, to interface to a Raid Array 3000, with an additional 54 GB of disks. But now the server BSOD's at bootup. Methinks its a Bios upgrade required, so Sunday could either be a ten minute fix, or a complete re-install of NT. Hopefully the ten minute fix route works, so I can go to the fair, and also do some more welding to finish off the door bars. See the picture gallery for some new digital pictures of the work.
Cut out the last piece of tubing for the drivers side. Received a copy of the Ford Rally Sport "How to build a Group 2 Fiesta" manual today. Makes for interesting reading, though the technology featured ie brakes, suspension etc are nearly 20 years old, so some of the 'tweaks' aren't that relevant today. The disk-braked rear axle section has given me a few ideas... 15.03.99
Cut out another length of tubing for the door bars on the drivers side. Thats the long diagonal, and one of the short diags done. One more short diag to go, and that'll be the drivers side complete, ready for welding.
No work as such on the car today. Took the battery charger back to Halfords though and swapped it for another one that doesn't work! The reason it doesn't work is as follows: Its an intelligent charger. Therefore, it monitors the terminal voltage across the battery, and decides if the crocodile clips are on the wrong way round etc. So, if the battery is flat, ie there are less than a few Volts across the battery terminals, then the charger cant detect that a battery has been connected, and it decides not to do anything. So how can it be called a battery charger, if it wont charge a flat battery? I've got around the problem by quickly connecting my 20 year old charger across the battery, and then I swapped the leads over after 60 seconds, and the new charger started to work! The idea is that the new charger keeps the battery topped up, as its got some circuitry that monitors the battery voltage, and trickle charges the battery as and when it needs it. As I'm not going to be running an alternator, I need the battery at optimum charge between engine starts.
I'm going to try cutting some more roll-cage tubing out today, and I'll see if I can cut out the radii manually with my trusty angle grinder, so I can get the tubes to butt together for welding. I'm going to weld the door bars in, as there aren't any brackets available for me to use to bolt them in with. And welded door bars are going to be stronger anyway. Have you seen the new web site? Its only F1 and WRC at present, no mention of the Mondeo(Contour) touring cars. I refitted the front suspension, with the 300lb springs. It's going to drive like a go kart with those springs on. Cut out a length of tubing, and cut/filed the slots in the ends so I can weld it to the roll car as a door bar. I've got five more pieces of pipe to cut on Sunday, and I'll then weld the door bars in place. I'm making X shaped door bars. Bought a battery charger from Halfords, so I can recharge Beccy's lead-acid battery and try turning the engine over to make sure I get oil pressure. Only problem is that the charger doesn't work. I'll exchange it on Sunday for a new one. Apparently there's a Fiesta Mk2 in this months Performance Ford with 17's on it. So it can be done....
Spoke to Aldon today re:carburation. Its either £850 for the twin 45/50's route, with ignition module or (and this is what I really want to do) £1275+VAT for the fuel injection route. (Normal price is £1580+VAT) I only need to plumb in a second fuel line, and get a fuel tank constructed with a built in filter and swirl pot, with 12mm connectors. The fuel injection system gives more power throughout the rev range, (185 BHP with FI on a standard engine!) and makes the car more drivable at low revs. This is very important, as you get a lot of hairpin bends on hill climbs, and these are usually 1st gear corners, so the last thing you want is the engine coughing and spluttering at low revs.
Last night I welded the replacement strut top barrels in place. This morning the new springs have arrived. Tonight I've painted the new barrels in a fetching Zinc grey.
Last night I raised the top mounts by 1" both sides, and refitted the front suspension. The car is now sitting an inch lower, with 120mm ground clearance between the chassis rails and the floor, and 100mm (4") ground clearance between the engine cradle and the floor. And the camber seems to have evened out across both front wheels, it's approx 2.5 to 3 degrees -ve each side. I need to order some longer and stiffer springs, as the adjustable spring platform is near the top of its adjustment. I'll get some 2.25" x 8" x 250 and 300 lb springs ordered. (They are 2.25" x 7" x 200 lb at the moment)
I'm toying with the idea of fitting 17's at the moment. With 205/40R17's, the wheel diameter is only 2" larger, which means that I'll have to raise the car another 1" to give me 2" clearance between the top of the wheel and the inside of the front wheel arches. I'll see if I can find a piece of cardboard in the garage, and I'll cut out a circle in a piece of card with a 596mm diameter, which is roughly the size of a 17" wheel with a 205/40 tyre, and I'll see what the clearance is like front and rear. The diagram shows what the clearance is like at present with 13's and the theoretical clearance with a 17". Download my tyre size calculator (Requires MSVBVM50.DLL)

Took a trip over to the AVO stockists at Wellingboro. After a brief chat, they agreed to swap the shocks for a brand new pair. Top marks to Chassis Dynamics. They we're very sympathetic, and will definitely get my business in the future. On the way back home, I dropped in to a hardware store in town, and bought an M12x1.25mm tap, for £7.10. When I got back, I ran the tap through both the sleeve nuts, which I wasn't surprised, took some effort. Now both threads have been re-tapped, you can spin the nuts on to the stems on the shocks, which is how they were supposed to fit in the first place. Months after purchasing the top mounts and struts, I have finally sorted it all out. How come Trans Auto Sport (an engineering company) can't cut an M12 thread? (on two seperate pairs of nuts)

Whats that saying? "If a jobs worth doing....".
Fitted the new shocks to the car. I've used the new short drive shaft for the first time, and it fits! Its exactly the right length. Top marks to Reco-Prop. Thanks guys.

With the wheels fitted, and the weight of the car resting on the front suspension, the -ve camber on the near-side is about 3 degrees, and 2 degrees on the off-side. Hmm, could be the uneven garage floor. I doubt it though, as its pretty flat. I'll take some more measurements of the front geometry before committing to moving the strut tops. 3 degrees looks brilliant though. The strut tops may need raising too, as I'm on maximum adjustment on the shocks, and theres sod all piston travel left with the ride height I've now got.

I quite fancy 205/50R17's on the car, as these are 51mm taller than the 185/60R13's, and it looks as though I've got sufficient clearance! That'll look good, with the tops of the tyres up inside the wheel arches...
After a tip off (thanks Paul) I've traced the Panique Attack body kits. They're available from Pro-Sport in Nottingham and they want £299.99 for the complete kit, in white gel coat, with a 2 week lead time. Tempting...
The shocks have arrived this morning. Looks like they had difficulty fitting the sleeve nuts, as the tops of the strut pistons are chewed where they've had to grip them with pliers, and I cant undo the nuts by hand, as they are still very tight. Shame, as I thought that the whole purpose of sending them back was to get them sorted. One of the spring cups is also damaged, because they were loose in the boxes. I've booked Monday off as a holiday, and I'm going to take them back myself to get this matter resolved.
Called Safety Devices today. I want to know what alternatives are available for mounting the door bars on the roll cage, as the saddle brackets I've used on the rear bar only allow 90 degree joints. By the way, you cant buy saddle brackets from SD anymore, as they've stopped selling them because people have been copying their design. Good job I bought some spares last year. SD recommend using a sleeve joint for the door bars, but this will look untidy. Spoke to AVO. They're going to order a M12x1.25 tap, as the tolerance of the nuts supplied by TAS is a lot tighter than the thread on the AVO stem. "You will have the shocks back before the weekend". I do hope so.