2003

31 December 2003
No News is not good news
Nothing much happenning which is why I have not updated the site recently.
Will update in 2004.


22 October 2003
How I made the new bits fit
Calipers
- I shaves a bit off the caliper with a file.  The wheel still runs incredibly close so I will be fitting a 3mm spacer.  The clearance is now about 3-4mm.
Track - Even with the 3mm spacer the wheel did just fit in the arch.  However this makes the rear track 48mm wider than the front.  So I am adjusting the track by 5mm each side and increasing the front track by 10mm each side.  The difference will then be a more sensible 18mm.
Brake balance - Still to sort out. 
I have carefully measured the length I ned for the shafts and the CV's and an original shaft were sent of to GKN today.
Hopefully it will be back on the road in a few weeks.


12 October 2003
Loads of new bits
I managed to get the bigger hubs, discs, calipers CV's and shafts this weekend from Bill Gwynne Motorsport.  Ian Gwynne was really helpful and arranged forsomeone to be at the workshops specially on Saturday morning so I could collect them. 
The calipers don't fit in my wheels.  The track is increased by 15mm each side so I don't think the wheels will fit under the arches.  The discs are HUGE so I will have to get the front/rear balance sorted out.  The balance bar is already screwed almost fully to the front.
Oh the joy of it all.
Once I have determioned that the shafts are the same length as before, I will send the shaft assemblies to GKN to get the new shafts made.
At this rate I won't be able to afford to go rallying for 6 months, not just three as intended.


29 September 2003
Driveshafts
The driveshaft broke but it was the CV joint that broke first.  The CVJ cracked, expanded as the shaft turned it and siezed the joint.  The suspension moved, the joint was siezed so all the force went through the shaft and it snapped.
After a discussion with Martyn Spurrell at
Autosportif (Subaru preparation specialists) I have decided to fit the full Group N hubs and CV joints.  These are fitted to the post 1998 Type R Impreza (or someting like that, I am no Impreza expert) and are identified by having a 2 piston caliper.  These hubs have a bigger bearing and CV joint.  They also run bigger discs.  As I have plenty of brakes on the rear already I am hoping that my smaller discs and calipers will fit the new hubs.  Apparently the big brakes will fit the small hubs so I am fairly hopeful.  I already have a source for these parts.
All this expense and the time involved in getting
GKN to make some new shafts to fit the hubs means that I have had to pull my entry from the Bulldog Rally on 18 October.  In fact that will almost certainly be it for 2003.
Not a good year.

15 September 2003
Park Systems Furniture Rally
A weeks holiday in Scotland.
5 minutes 46 seconds of rallying.
One broken driveshaft and that was that.
I now need to get in touch with GKN ASAP to make some stronger shafts.  The current ones are not man enough for the 185bhp.
Never mind, went with 6 new tyres anf came back with 6 new tyres.
Great holiday!
Crap Rally!


21 August 2003
Bloody Gearbox
Another gearbox casing is cracked in exactly the same place as it was before the Mutiny.  It came out the car tonight and is back to Competition Parts UK again on Saturday.  Something is not right but what?  The  Bellhousing is flat, the bolts are always tourqued correctly, so what.....?
Next event -
The Park Systems Furniture Stages based in Newton Stewart, Scotland.  This is going to be combined with a weeks holiday so the car has to be ready earlier than usual.
the Diff Guard was completely ruined on the Swanse Bay.  It is a very bent piece of Dural.  Another job to do in the next 2 weeks.


12 August 2003
Rally Action Day

This Saturday the car will be at Castle Combe on the
Tavern Motor Club stand for the Rally Action Day
Come and say hello!


10 August 2003
A finish on Swansea Bay
After a rally full on incidents we finally avoided finishing last on this weekends Swansea Bay Rally.
Max tempreture inside car was 46.6 C.  Averege throughout day of about 42 C.
SS1 - Resolven 1 - 3 offs including one where we had to qwait 10 seconds for the dust to clear before we knew which way to go.  Also bent something in suspension but never found what itt was all day.
SS2 - Walters Arena - pucture.
SS3 - Rheloa - Fuel hose came off under bonnet.  Fixed in Stage but then stuck behind Evo with Suspension hanging off.  Could not get close to overtaking due to dust.  Lost 8 minutes.  Now last but 0.1 seconds.
SS4 - Rhondda - Fianlly a clean run and a really good time.  It all came together.
SS5 - Walters Arena - Straight on at 90 left.  Reversed into my own dust.  Risked moving even though zero visiblity and went down ditch.  Finall clawed my way out.
SS6 - Resolven 2 - Clean "quick but safe" run to finish event in 46th place - second last.


23 July 2003
Nearly all back together
Just waiting for good old GKN to send some metal clips for the CVJ boots that they sent nearly two weeks ago.  Their products are excellent but their delivery performance often leaves a lot to be desired.
The next event,
The Swansea Bay is only two weeks away but we have our own Tavern Motor Clubs   Fat Albert Stages Rally this weekend so that will has been taking most of mine and Denises time.
Should get the car back on the road next week in plenty of time for the Rally.

 
12 July 2003
More cracks in the Gearbox
Believe it or not I found a crack in tyhe gearbox extension housing last week.  the gearbox was again taken to Competition Parts UK where another housing ws found and fitted.
At least the problem was found before the next event,
The Swansea Bay Rally on 9 August.

23 June 2003
Here we go again
It seems that the car comes completely to bits between events these days.  the exhaust needs re mounting as the big rubber engine mounts holding the centre silencer up melted.  The silencer then melted the plasic rear skid.  The heat probably caused the CVJ boot to split which put us out of the Mutiny.
I need to weld under the fuel tank so that has to come out which means the seats have to come out as well.
Of course the gearbox has to have 5th gear fixed and I have some stronger CVJ boots.
So it's seats, battery, fuel tank, exhaust, gearbox, prop, driveshafts, diff.
Keeps me off the streets I suppose.

12 June 2003
Back on the road again
After a bit of serching I found the correct CV joint from Howard at HDC Subaru.  With that fitted to one of my spare drive shafts it is all back on the road again.  There seem to be no other problems with the car.  Next event - Swansea Bay in August.

2 June 2003
Mutiny Panic
20:00 On Wednesday night was when I discovered that the geerbox casing was cracked and leacking oil at an alarming rate.  If this could not be sorted out during the next 24 hours than we would be retiring from our third event this year.
I managed to arrange another casing and someone to rebuild it by 22:15 and after having to take the afternoon off on Thursday, I had the box back by 20:00.  A late night and a bit of finishing off on Friday morning and it ws time to get everything packed up and get off to Builth Wells for the Mutiny Rally.
This was great evemnt spoilt only by a brocken driveshaft on stage 9 of 12 and a non finish.
At least we got there this time despite some serious last minute problems.


27 May 2003
Mutiny this weekend
As usual there have been some last minute things to do on the car.  I have rebushed the steering rack and column over the last week or so.  It suddenly developed some play.  One day it was OK the next day it wasn't??
The new prop joint only just misses the diff guard.  That was lucky.
Really looking forward to this weekend it seems like months since we last did a rally.  Oh. yes, that's because it is months.


13 May 2003
Preparing for Mutiny
The new propshaft had to go back and have a new joint put in and rebalanced.  The joint was loose.
The new tracking gauge has been put to good use and I am quite happy that at last the car is better set up than it has ever been before.
Now there is little to do but bolt bits on before the Mutiny Rally in 18 days time.


5 May 2003
What's been happening?
It's a long time since I updated this site but that does not mean that nothing has been happening. 
I have done the following:
  - Converted the "split system exhaust to a more conventional single pipe in the hope that it may make a difference to the engine flat spot.
  - Made up a proper tracking device
(click here for diagram) that fits onto the car so I can do the tracking on all four wheels properly for the first time.
  - Fixed the strut tops mount that was damaged on the last rally.  The other side had been pushed up as well which explains why I had been adjusting up the rear spring platforms to increase the ground clearance.  It is back to where it started now and should not move again now it has an extra 3mm plate welded in.
  - Fitted a 2.5 litre "hand held"  Halon extinguisher into the car in addition to the compulsory AFFF system.  If the car catches fire  want to have an extinguisher readily available that is capeable of actually putting the fire out!
  - Had a new prop shaft made with huge UJ's.  This was because the car managed to bend the original joints now that the new 185bhp engine is fitted.
  - Fitted a bit of black plastic between the doors and the wheel arches to try and stop all tghe paint getting stone blasted every event.
  - Replaced the door squares due to stone damage.

The next event is the Mutiny Rally on 31 May .  Hopefully both Denise and I will both be fit and healthy at the same time so we can do the event.

11 April 2003
Support by Local Paper
Our local paper, the Wells Journal has put an article about the car in this weeks paper.  They have also said that they will do a report about each of our events this year.  The article can be found by clicking here.

29 March 2003
Astra Entry Withdrawn
I'm ill.
I have been signed off work for nearly two weeks now and do not know if I will be well enough to drive in two weeks time.  I probably will be but cannot be sure.  The last day to withdraw and get all but 100 refunded was today so it had to be done.

The car would have been all sorted.  A new propshaft is on it's way - it has huge joints!!  The shafts are back at GKN being looked at and all the other minor jobs have been done.
Ready to go but no rally to do.
That's two planned events cancelled this year due to injury or illness.
We even have a new tow/Management car, a 2.0 Legacy Estate to replace the aging Sierra Diesel which has now done 230,000 miles.  It's for sale - only 200.


25 February 2003
More damage
On inspection I have found that the newly rebuilt propshaft has a UJ gone.  There is at least a millimetre of play which does explain the vibration at 60mph during the event.  Also, I think that one of the GKN driveshaft CVJ's may have gone as well.  I suppose this is the price of more power.
The propshaft will be rebuilt with bigger joints and I can replace the CVJ.
More money.....

Entry accepted for the Astra Stages on 12 March.

22 February 2003
Telford Winter Rally Update
As we missed the awards presentation due to it finishing before the published start time, we did not realise until the results appeared on the Telford Motor Club website that we had won the "Best Mixed Crew Award".  Unfortunately the regs state that awards MUST be collected so Denise now has the job of phoning Telford to get the award sent to us.  I think we have a good case.

16 February 2003
Telford Winter Rally
4th class, 17th overall
A good result on event which was based in the Sweet Lamb complex plus a few miles of Hafren.  We were only a few seconds off coming 14th overall and only one second from coming 20th.
One rear strut tried to push it's way through the inner wing top mount after catching the rear wheel in a hole at about 70 mph, otherwise the car was unmarked and nothing was required to be done at any of the service halts.
The engine now pulls like a train and really feels like 180bhp providing that the revs are over 5000.  The flat spot between 4600 and 5000 is still there and really spoils what is now a really strong motor.

The car is fine, I just need to learn to drive the thing.

04 February 2003
Running Again
Despite having a stinking cold I braved the weather and rebuilt the diff and the the rear end. The crownwheel bolts are locktited and wired.   It all works again now and there is only a few jobs to do before the on 15 February.

30 January 2003
Diff Bolts
Collected the diff bolts today from my local BMW dealer.  All that trouble and they only cost 14.
It will all be back together this weekend..... At last.


28 January 2003
Bolts
I had to chase round BMW until I managed to get a number for BMW Motorsport in Germany where I spoke to a really useful man who luckily spoke good English.  He found the part numbers I needed and informed me that there were 1047 and 800 in stock of each bolt respecively.  I have now ordered these parts from my local dealer - the one that could not help me two weeks ago.  This is not great customer service.  Anyway I should have the bolts by Thursday.
Picked up the propshaft today.

25 January 2003
Rear End Rebuild
Well, both drive shafts were bent so GKN have rebuilt the assemblies using my 2 spare shafts.  I have no idea how they could have been bent without damaging any suspension parts. (see photo of rear suspension)
I am trying to obtain some new crownwheel bolts but they are not listed by BMW.
Also the prop has been rebuilt - more money.
The
Telford Winter Rally is only 3 weeks away.

14 January 2003
Crownwheel Bolts Loose
During a planned strip of the rear end (driveshafts and diff) I found that all 10 of the crownwheel bolts were only finger tight.  I am almost certain that I would have destroyed the diff had I competed on the Red Kite as planned.  Sourcing another BMW 325i Sport diff with a 5.28:1 ratio would have been as best expensive and at worst impossible.
As it happens there is absolutely no damage to any components.  I am now trying to source some new bolts (just in case).  I have also sent off the driveshaft assemblies to GKN for a checkover and rebuild.
Lucky.....


09 January 2003
Next Rally
We have just entered a another event.  Following our bad luck last weekend we both feel that we cannot wait until April for our next event, the Astra Stages.  We posted and entry yesterday for the Telford Winter Rally on 15 February 2003.  The event  is based in Sweet Lamb and Hafren and boasts 50 miles for 200.

04 January 2003
Red Kite - Entry withdrawn
Unfortunately, Denise (wife and co-driver) has badly sprained her ankle on Friday night.  We have been to the hospital this morning and luckily it is not broken but she cannot walk.  I tried a couple of other co-drivers I know but Simon Sparey (Jason Lepleys regular co-driver)  has not renewed his licence yet and Tim Babbage (Dave Harris regular co-driver) has his "in laws" visiting tomorrow.
So that's it.  Entry withdrawn
That's life I guess.
We have already phoned to get a set of regs for the
Telford Winter Rally on 15 February, based in Sweet Lamb and Hafren.

01 January 2003
Happy New Year
This year I am planning to register for the ANCRO National Championship.  The events are good, about 70 miles long and we should not be running as far down the field as we would doing BTRDA events.  We will do all of the gravel events except the Sunseeker.
Before all that...
I have just spent all day (well after I finally woke up) getting the car ready for the Red Kite Stages on Sunday.  I had not even properly cleaned it since the Cambrian.  The engine is still running OK and I can't wait to try it out on an event.