The Build - July
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Continued to bleed the clutch hydraulics. As soon as the pedal got too firm to push by hand, I got into the cockpit and pushed it with my foot. Instead of activating the clutch, the slave cylinder pushed itself off the bellhousing with a sad grinding of torn threads. Double bugger! I knew the bolts hadn't the best grip in the bellhousing but still ...

mirror.jpg (17244 bytes)Luckily, friend Wayne turned up at that point and saved my frustration by fastening the cylinder back on, by drilling through the blind holes and using longer through-bolts. Thanks Wayne! Meanwhile, I assembled more of the front left-hand suspension and fitted the windscreen and mirrors.

Together we bled the clutch and brakes until the fluid ran clear. Unable to resist, we fired the engine up and tried to put it into gear using the clutch. Reluctant at first, it got a bit easier (i.e. less grinding noises from reverse) as we tried a few times. Seems to be getting there. Another bleedin' session will be on the cards when any air has had time to settle.

Ordered some tyres from Elite Tyres. Mail-order is much cheaper! They'll be here Monday. Needless to say, I haven't got any wheels to put them on. SVA postponement is inevitable. Feeling a bit miffed with Dax / Image - they've only had my order (and my money) for three and a half months :-(

Made a small ali bracket to hold the radiator top hose off the fan belt. During the previous hot run, the hose had drooped a bit and the fan belt ate a small piece of it. I'm really getting to be a dab hand at whistling up ali brackets!


Fitted and wired the rear fog lamp. Fitted the side indicator repeaters.

Wayne fitted the handbrake cable and the cycle wing supports. I fitted the front bumper bar side/indicator lamps and the headlamps. Glued some carpet to the driver's footwell sides.

Received the tyres (Bridgestone S-02 Pole Positions).

With only 2 weeks to go until SVA and no wheels, I decided I had to postpone. I rang the Vehicle Inspectorate and re-scheduled for the next available slot, on Friday 13th (!) August. Of course, Sod's Law came into play and the wheels were delivered to work only ten minutes later! I called the VI back to try to reinstate my original date, but they had already given it away to someone requesting a cancellation :-( 13th August it is, unless I pull the same trick and get a cancellation. We'll see ...

With the help of Chris and his large Volvo (again), we got the tyres mounted on the wheels at TC Tyres in Cambridge. That evening, I removed the nose-cone (to get access to the sturdy, graspable bits), replaced the dashboard (which had been removed for carpeting activities) and tidied the crap out from under the car. People started turning up. Chris and John put the front wheel studs (longer than the original Cortina ones) through the front hubs and bolted all four wheels on.

lifting.jpg (25611 bytes)The engine hoist held the rear end up, chained around the roll bar, while we removed the rear trestle. With 6 blokes heaving on the front end, one girl on trestle-removal and another on camera duty, we lowered the front end to the ground, followed by craning the back end down. It sat on its own wheels for the first time! Initial impression? It's tiny! After months of having it at chest height, it's strange when it stands no higher than my belt buckle.

rollouta.jpg (31991 bytes)We pushed it backwards out of the garage. I adjusted the pre-load on the clutch pedal to get a better bite and reversed it a yard or two. Not being familiar with the clutch 'feel', I let it in a fraction too quickly. Result: instant wheelspin and all onlookers diving for cover :-) drive.jpg (15699 bytes)We replaced the nose cone and bonnet and went for a short test drive along the cul-de-sac. The suspension is set at its highest and hardest, the front wheels have wild toe-in, we were grit-blasted by the front tyres, the brakes were spongy but the grin never left my face. beer.jpg (15675 bytes)A celebratory beer all round followed, during which the Dax was christened 'Jadzia' with some bottled lager over its (her) nose cone. Well, if you watch Trek, there's only one choice ... ;-)


Even in the 50 yards available, a mild prod of the throttle had the back tyres spinning. Acceleration can only be described as brutal! However, the thunder from the exhausts must have angered the rain gods who promptly sent a thunderstorm for us, so the activities were curtailed and I drove Jadzia back into the garage.

Thanks to John, Jessica, Dave, Belinda, Chris, Wayne and Jim (a local 7's lister) for their efforts this momentous evening.


Not a lot of progress lately, due to my old MG (plus sister) coming back to visit. It's MOT time again and I spent a few days underneath the MG to make it pass.

With the help of Marc, I measured the hub to ground distance and we measured that 6 revolutions of the road wheels equals 7.6 turns of the speedo cable. This information is needed to get the speedo recalibrated. Bled the front brakes again.

Received my water temperature sensor back from Dax and an adaptor from Think Automotive. Although not a perfect fit, I worked them together, with some red gobbo until they were good and tight. Sent the speedo off to Speedy Cables for recalibration. ETA 2 weeks.

Measured the ride height, which had been set at maximum for the lift-down. The front was already in range but I had to soften the rear right off to get it (almost) down to its maximum height. Hopefully it'll settle a bit with use. The front wheels have negative camber and the rears have positive.


The new water temperature sender from Dax is duff! when I dangled it in boiling water, it had a resistance waaay too high. It would have the gauge reading 'cold' when it was, in fact, boiling over and melting down! Asked Dax to send me another.

cpttool.jpg (17303 bytes)Glued on the backrest carpet and all the footwell carpets. The thickness of the chassis side is now filled with nice pink and blue foam. Fitted the gearlever gaiter, trim ring and knob.

consbrkt.jpg (21220 bytes)Bolted the dashboard in and made an ali bracket to hold its the rear edge of the centre console immobile. The dash bolts are such a bugger to get in that Sod's Law dictates that they'll have to come out again soon for something unforeseen.

Did a test run up the road and promptly ran out of fuel not many yards from home. I was about to push it back when a gang of local kids came round the corner on their bikes. "Cor Mister, how fast does it go?" quoth the lead urchin. "Give me a push home and I'll tell you" spake embarrassed owner. Still, with half-a-dozen of Cambridge's finest all pushing fit to bust a gut, we got home in record time. It seemed churlish to complain that they started pushing so soon that the Dax ran over my foot. Thank goodness it's a light car and didn't hurt (much). Said urchins had to have a sit in the Dax (and the MR2) as a reward and then thankfully vanished to terrorise some innocent wildlife somewhere, no doubt.

Had another go at the fuel sender. Shortened and bent its operating arm so that it should read 'empty' with (freshly fetched) 5 litres of fuel in and 'full' when full. Cut a full-size hole in the bonnet for the air filter and trimmed its edge with some black plastic push-on edging stuff. Fitted the air filter and connected its breather hose to the right-hand rocker cover. Friend Chris arrived and helped measure then set the front tracking and camber. Chris fitted the steering column cowl, which resisted by cunningly fouling on the (now trimmed) dashboard. Some bolts, superglue and swearing will be required to make it fit.

There was a small coolant leak from under the thermostat housing. We removed this and cleaned and re-made the all the joints. All seemed well, even when the engine ran and pressurised the system. Later however, the abominable leak was back. It seems to be coming from the top hose / thermostat housing joint. I've tightened the jubilee clip as far as it will go, but still: drip, drip, drip ...

The speedo arrived back from Speedy Cables and was inserted into the dashboard. It sits at a funny angle 'cos I can't easily get to its rear to tighten the securing clips.


It's the thermostat housing that's leaking :-( The modified weld done by Dax has a pin-hole in it! I removed it and sent it back to Dax for re-welding.

Received a new water temperature sender from Dax, which has exactly the same resistance in boiling water as the previous one. Maybe the gauge is faulty?

frwing.jpg (26814 bytes)Torqued up all the front suspension bolts now that the weight is on the wheels and the front alignment has been done. Mr. A. Grinder helped me carve the front wing support brackets until they cleared the bottom balljoint nuts more easily. Spray painted those parts of the brackets with satin black paint and fitted them.I gently bent the brackets' arms to just clear the inner sidewall of the tyres and sit as close to the tread as possible - about 1 inch. The front wings were stuck onto the brackets, using lots of BD and overnight clamps. Once dry, lots more BD was gunged liberally over and around the brackets under the wings, followed by a thick coat of paint-on underseal. Well, when I say 'underseal' I actually mean 'felt roof repair paint'. It's black, rubbery, waterproof and a hell of a lot cheaper than automotive underseal! This should stop small stones thrown up by the tyres from star-crazing the gel-coat of the wings. The square edges of the front wings had edge-piping clipped on to render them SVA-friendly.

Trimmed and fitted the stainless steel kick-plates to the cockpit sides. The rear join with the side-panel and rear tub was made neater with a strip of edging trim stretched over the joint. Glued on the right-hand shoulder panel carpet.

I measured the rear wheel camber and toe, using a combination of spirit level, string-lines and trigonometry (oh, and hope). The rear wheels were toed-out, positive camber and pointing to the right a tad. With Wayne's help, I removed all four rear wishbones and added / subtracted shims from the inner joints, according to the build manual instructions, to set the wheels bolt upright, with zero toe and parallel with the front wheels. Now that the rear wheels are in the right place, the rear wings can go on and will be concentric.

Received the re-welded thermostat housing from Dax, together with another water temperature sender (#3), which reads the same as the first two did. It's not the sender then ...

Glued edge-trim to the rear wings' inside edges and 'undersealed' them, ready to be fitted. I found out with the front wings that it's quite hard to paint the underside whilst they're in position without getting thick black gloop in your hair.


Fitted the re-welded thermostat housing and water temperature sender #2 and refilled the cooling system with antifreeze and water. Removed the oil pressure relief valve and spring and fitted a new high-pressure spring. Luckily, only a few spoonsful of oil came out whilst I was doing this.

Trial fitted the rear wings, using clamps to hold them in position. It's immediately apparent that I can't get the gaps between wing and tyre even all round. The gap at the front is much smaller than the gap at the back. Glued on the final piece of carpet (left-hand shoulder panel) to cheer myself up.

I ran the engine again, until hot. Still no reading on the temperature gauge. The oil pressure seems healthier than it was though, at 20 PSI idling and up to 50 PSI when revved to 3000 rpm. Set the dynamic timing to 6 degrees BTDC using my Xenon strobe gun. Measured the CO emissions using a borrowed exhaust gas analyser. 1.6% CO seems very low (the SVA limit is 3.5% for a 1986 engine). Can this be right? I'll do it again before SVA to be sure.

Two weeks to SVA!

Go on to August's progress.