Preparation tips ideas etc

Preparation tips-

NB –these notes are general guidance only –always refer to manufactures data
 If unsure about anything seek the advice of a professional motor engineer
The club forum is a vital source of guidance –don’t be afraid to ask!

All though cars may have current MOTs and have been recently tested prior to an event, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are fit and safe for a 2,000 mile non-stop drive,possibilly pushing the car to its design limits within the event –i.e. fully loaded with fuel, passengers and tools taking on twisty undulating roads with long stretches of higher speed dual carriage/motorway, these combinations will accelerate wear on components in good condition and find the weak links in any worn components. 

When these components are safety critical a massive mechanical failure could have serious safety implications for the passengers and other roads user.
One failure tends to lead to another as the original failure can put massive strain on another component without you being fully aware-so it’s important to understand the consequences of ignoring what might seem a trivial fault 

Don’t forget all our cars are at least knocking on the door of being 40 years old!

Safety critical systems/items-these items should be stripped down inspected at regular intervals – I would suggest in the months running up to a big event -
Suspension-strip, inspect-replace worn or failed components with proven quality items-don’t take it as read that if it” looks new” it’s “ok”-check

TOP TIPs- the more you take your car to bits and put it back together the more you will learn about it .This will build confidence in its, and your ability

Always use new nylocs where fitted when re-assembling

Replace spring washers as you go

Unsure how old a critical bolt is? Replace it

Trunions, trunion  bushes, pivot bolt-it is very important to understand how these items work and interact with each other,the trunion should rotate with the bolt the bolt must not rotate in the truinon this will cause very quick wear of the trunion –if in doubt study the exploded drawings in your manual or ask one of the old hands-“no question is a daft question”
Suspension uprights-there should be no rust or pitting at all on the section that screws into the trunion look for cracks and missing grease nipples/dust covers -do a Google search this will bring up lots of pictures of what they should /shouldn’t look like and what happens when they fail!
Ball joints – use quality components –ones that have an external grease nipple are a good bet- grease seals/boots should be intact and wire locked in position –check for “play” again ask if in doubt
Dampers- check for leaks, damage or cracks to mounting points bushes should be intact –i.e. not twisted, squashed, or breaking up –do not over tighten damper mounting points refer to the manual- check torque settings
Springs- is it the right way up?! Is it the same length as the one on the other side? Look for cracks, is it seated in spring platform correctly-should it have spring insulator type pad?
Struts-Top mounts check for cracks/play –check the spring as above

Links/drag struts etc- bushes should be intact –i.e. not twisted,  over squashed, or breaking up


Checks for play in hub bearing- refer to workshop manual for correct procedure-do not over tighten taper bearings!
If the car has been standing a while consider stripping and re-packing with high quality suitable grease-if bearing age is un-known consider replacing with the very best quality bearing you can afford-if in doubt ask the club
Check bearing carrier/hub recess where the bearing fits for signs of overheating, scoring, “spun” bearing tell tails etc–does the new bearing fit correctly?
Replace felt seals etc

Inspect drums/discs for excessive wear – minimum thickness will be listed in manual or if in doubt ask the club
Callipers/slave cylinders- inspect for fluid leaks-if the car has been standing even for only a few months check the pistons are free and there is no binding in operation
Check friction materials(pad and shoes) make sure they are clean and haven’t been contaminated with fluid check- there is a enough material thickness for the planned trip
Check tightness of calliper bolts- torque settings in manual
Manually adjust drum brakes-self adjusters generally don’t work!
Check flexible brake lines-do you know how old they are? look for cracks in the rubber walls
If you have replaced standard flexi pipes with braided lines have you used the correct washer between fitting and slave/calliper?
Master cylinder check reservoir is clean and cap fits correctly
Bleed system –is pedal firm?
How old is the fluid? –replace every two years
Servo –check condition of vacuum  pipework
Road test after maintenance- bed in new friction materials
Monitor fluid levels
Track rod ends- check for play, rubber covers intact?
Steering rack –check for excessive play in inner ball joints, and back lash between rack and pinion
Slide back rubber gaiters expose rack inspect, re-pack with grease replace gaiters if split etc
Linkage check for play in U/Js
Check for play in column –replace bushes as required
 –is wheel stiff to rotate with weight off the front wheels? Investigate –ask the club if in any doubt…could be a Trunion fault so important to understand how all these components interact with each other
Rack mounts- are they solid or rubber bushed? Check for cracks ,loose or deformed mounting rubbers – replace as required
Is the rack centralised?

How old are the tyres? Check for cracks in side walls bulging
Are they correct size for wheel? Do they foul the arch/body work?
Are the wheels original? Are the wheel studs/nuts suitable?
Fit the very best tires you can afford –go for an A or B wet rating
Get all four wheels balanced before a long trip

Fuel System
Replace all old rubber fuel lines with modern materials that are suitable with modern fuels-if in doubt ASK the club
Replace all fuel line hose clip connectors every couple of years
Consider fitting modern electric fuel pump-reproduction mechanical pumps can be of very poor quality-always fit a cut out switch to electrical pump
Service carbs-replace float gaskets, jet o rings etc –anything that can cause a fuel leak onto a hot component!


Now you’re are happy the car is safe- steers where you want it, doesn’t bounce off the road once over 50 mph and stops safely from motorway speeds you want to make sure it can do all the above over a long weekend and a couple of thousand miles without having to stop and bolt things back on it.

Cooling system
Check hoses + hose clips consider silicon hoses when replacing old rubber.
Radiator-when was it last back flushed? Don’t know ?back flush it! be prepared to do it a few times after several heat cool cycles if the car has been standing a long time –don’t forget to back flush the engine block and heater matrix
Is the engine up rated? Consider an up rated radiator
Replace the thermostat for a known good spare –test it in bowl of water measure the temperature it opens.
Water pump- has it sat a long time with old coolant in? If it has it will fail in the next few hundred miles! Carry a spare
Heater control valve test for leaks in all positions-replace if needed try and get a NOS unit or service kit-they can be little buggers!
Viscous fan? Check for play how old is it? consider replacing –they can come off and destroy the radiator- consider fixed blade for reliability or electric fan
Wire in switched direct feed to cooling fan to override faulty sensors/controllers- use cable and switch gear that can handle the current load of the fan –make sure the fuse rating is lower than that of the cable-if in doubt ask- this sort  of mod is common place in endurance rallying.

Engine -general
Oil leaks..Always get worse! Replace rocker cover gaskets, seals etc that are showing signs of leakage
Carry out a standard service at least a month  prior to event –you may well find more faults during the service
Check condition of engine mounts, make sure they haven’t “sagged” causing extra strain on gearbox mounts etc  – replace with the best quality units you can get –ask the club
Charging circuit
If you have fitted extra electrical ancillaries such has up rated headlights etc consider up rating alternator
Replace fan/alternator belt carry spare- use known good quality components
Gearbox, differential
Drive shafts, prop shafts
Replace fluids – use correct “GL” grade- check in manual or ask club
Inspect U/Js replace any that are suspect –use known good quality units.
Consider prop shaft balance post U/J replacement- gets rid of vibration which can work other items loose as well as your teeth.
Check operation of overdrive circuit- switches, connectors earths.
Check condition of gearbox mounts-replace any that have been soaked in oil for years …after you fix the oil leak…
Electrical -general
Replace any suspect wiring.
Waterproof prone/ignition critical connectors.
Wiper motors- strip clean grease, along with wiper boxes and cable hidden under the dash
Ignition circuit
Fit electronic ignition – modern points are rubbish.
Carry NOS points and condenser as spares
Replace plugs and suspect HT leads-carry spares
Fit NOS rotor arms/Dizzy caps
Check operation of dizzy –advance retard working? Timing jumping about? check with strobe
Replace suspect manifold/downpipe gaskets
Replace all rubber hangers – then loosely wire using heavy duty wire capable of “catching” the exhaust if the hanger snaps
Don’t be tempted to buy shiny looking after market twin pipe exhausts etc – the route for the original system will fit better and give you far better ground clearance –use a bespoke free flowing back box that will fit in the space provided –ask the club lots of places will make you a one off

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