Sunday, March 7, 2010

3 weeks to the Desert Challenge

Since the demise of Carwise, I’ve been doing more of the work on the race car myself. This weekend I pulled out the radiator and fan-box assembly, replaced the fans with the 16” units, re-sealed the fan-box to the radiator and refitted it. The top hose was also replaced with one that gives a better routing as well. It would have been nice to do some real ‘hot-weather’ testing of the new system, but the weather didn’t co-operate. At 23c it was hardly a test, but I took it out for a blat anyway.

Anyway I did some other jobs that needed doing – replaced the temporary exhaust hanger with something more robust, fitted new mudflaps, and repaired the plastic rear bumper. I then decided to remove the front wheel arch liners which had come loose, with a view to replacing them.

Unfortunately this revealed some extensive damage to the inner wings. The inner wing includes a welded section running across the top of the arch, diagonally braced to a vertical member behind the arch. Where the vertical and horizontal members meet is ‘the weakest link’, and repeated hard landings cause the horizontal member to bend, ripping the inner wing and breaking the weld to the diagonal brace. This is a common problem in rally Patrols, and one theory is that the front body mounts may be too soft (and/or too short), allowing the front end of the bodyshell to flex downwards relative to the passenger compartment. We had the same problem on the old T2 Patrol, exacerbated there by the weight of the battery which hangs off the inner wing. (Since the new Patrol has the battery relocated to the back, at least this is not contributing to the problem.)

So it’s booked into A2B Garage later this week for some reconstructive surgery and reinforcement. Let’s see what solution they can come up with.

With only 3 weeks left to the ADDC I could have done without this...