Sunday 29 June 2014

Front jacking point.

Whilst I was jacking the car up it was immediately apparent the front jacking point was shot. So, I booked another day off work and set about having a look at it.

The second photo is after I took an angle grinder too it and used the pry bar to see what it was like inside. As you can see it was pretty rotten. The jacking mount was all rotten, and so was some of the sill panel behind it. Luckily the floor pan wasnt too bad.

Annoyingly to get to that bit of the car properly I had to take off the wing, wheel arch and side skirt.

Getting the side skirt off I can see that all the mounting clips are knackered and rotten too, so they will need replacing. Luckily they are still available.

With all the bits off I got stuck in. The front inner wheel arch was really solid, so i ground that back to bare metal and welded the new jacking point too it. I had already cut all the old one out and ground back to good metal.

Once the new jacking point was welded on I then had to start to reconstruct the side sills out of new metal. Progress went better than I thought and with the help of a hammer I managed to mould the new metal into the same shape as the bit I cut out. I welded it on both sides and made sure it was all onto good metal. I then seam sealed it all and will paint it in chasis black after.

So it will end up looking a bit like this bumper mount I did earlier...

Heres a snap of the work area, Formula 1 spotless clean workshops have nothing on me!

And my air nibbler proved invaluable today in cutting out the new metal into the shapes I wanted! Just like opening a can of corned beef!

There was only one small hole in the foot well which I patched up, and whilst I was at it I welded in a reinforcement plate for me to bolt the roll cage too.

Besides the front jacking point I managed to find time to fit some new plugs - NGK BR8EIX Iridium ones, to replace the old ones. I also fitted new silicone 8mm leads, and a new 90 degree dizzy cap. That should free up a little room for the pipe to go from the carb top to the front mounted intercooler.

Speaking of which Ive removed the old small side mount intercooler and brackets which have freed up a nice bit of space on that side. I need to move the radiator over into that area a bit too to allow room for the LH intercooler pipe to go between the alternator & radiator.

Its going to be tight up front as I will have a big double capacity radiator, a big front mount intercooler, plus an oil cooler, which all have to get air on somehow. Also I need to ensure the air filter gets enough air onto it.

Thats it for now. I think im up to 14 or 15 hours work on the car. Hopefully this front corner is about 50% finished now. Cant wait to get the hub/brakes all back on. then I can move to the back end and see what thats like.

Saturday 21 June 2014

New engine mounts fitted.

So, I decided to book the whole day off work on Friday, hoping to be able to get a good few hours in on the Renault 5, but unfortunately most of it was spent waiting around for someone to pick up a motorbike id sold them, which meant I wasnt able to get into the garage until about 2pm. Still, I managed 3 hours on the car.

Unfortunately most of them were spent trying to replace the rear engine mount. Id bought a set of 3 heavy duty mounts from CGB. The passengers side front was an easy swap, and upon taking the old one off you can see in the photo, the mount had already sheered in 2, so it was a good job i was replacing it. Here we have 2 of the old mounts and one shiny new one.

The rear wasnt so easy. There are 3 bolts holding the mounts on. 2 attach to the chasis, the other to the engine/gearbox. The drivers side bolt was hard to get to, in the end the only way was from under the car and up under the exhaust tunnel, using a 16mm socket on a rachett. Slowly slowly was the way forward here. Once that was undone, you can get the other bolt and the nut holding it to the engine from inside the engine bay. Access would have been easier by removing the L shaped downpipe but i didnt do that yet.

Once undone, a jack under the gearbox will lift the engine up enough to get the mount out.

Replacing them is the tricky bit as the bolts are strange ones with half the thread cut out on the ends - presumably to help clear the threads as you tighten them up. What I did was screw them back in from under the car using some 3 in  1 oil on the threads to help clear the threads on the nuts up (nuts are welded to the chasis on the underside). Once I did that, I manually screwed in the drivers side (the hardest one) first from the top, making sure it wasnt cross threading as these are notoriously easy to cross thread. Once that one was done, it took some jiggling/brute force and raising/lowering of the jack to get the passengers side holes lined up for the next bolt. Once that was in, it was a simple job of torquing everything up to the recommended amount. I also stuck some loctite on the bolts to help them stay tight.

Top is the passengers side front mount and bottom is the hard to get to rear mount.

I just need to replace the drivers side front one next, but will do that once I turn the car around to get to the other side of it.

Whilst I was at it, I removed the front shock. This is a SPAX gas adjustable one which hasnt done many miles on the car, fitted with Jamex lowered springs. It just needs a good clean up and it should look like new. Ive just checked the top mounts and cleaned/painted them up.

I will keep it off the car until ive done the welding & finished with stuff under the passenger wheel arch to give me better access.

The only other job ive done this week is to tidy up the battery compartment. Luckily the battery tray was solid although a bit rusty. So a good wirebrush up, acid etch primer & some satin black industrial spray paint and it looks much better. I topped it off with a new heavy duty VARTA battery. The wiring under the bonnet looks worse than I remember, someone has taken a live feed from the battery & fed it around to the alternator. It looks like it might be something to do with the perc fan - so when I ditch that and replace the alternator/fan/rad I will look to see if i can clean the wiring up.

I had to remove the stock intercooler to get to the engine mount, and will be removing/ditching the stock rad/oil cooling system to replace them with new better ones. Im now starting to think about there the intercooler pipes will go. Ive a double capacity "stock" style intercooler I can use, or a front mount one. Im steering towards the front mount as that will free up some engine bay space and allow more cold air onto the air filter. The normal route people seem to take it to feed the intercooler pipe from the top of the car, straight forward and over the top of the alternator. It looks like i may have to move the radiator to the left slightly, or alter the front bodywork of the car slightly to allow clearance for the pipe. Ive also seen problems where people have had the pipes arching on the alternator with sparks, so i need to bare that in mind.

Quick photo here of the filthy and worn out engine bay. It hasnt seem an oily rag in about 10 years...

Be nice when its finished.

Finally, as im off out for the day, a couple of photos of my other toys in the garage which im having to work around...

Wednesday 18 June 2014

Polly bushes fitted to passenger side.

Had a bit of spare time this morning before work so refitted the wishbone & also fitted polly bushes to this side of the anti roll bar. The roll bar bushes went on a treat. Initially I sat there wondering how an earth I was going to fit them as the polly bushes were like concrete and couldnt flex. I then dropped them in a cup of boiling water for about 5 minutes and they turned into putty. Really easy to slip over the roll bar and into place. I didnt even have to clamp the metal clamp around them in order to get the bolts back in - just squeezed them by hand and hey presto the bolt slipped straight in. Awesome. According to the Haynes manual you need to tighten once car has wheel on and back on the ground, so will do that then.

Fitting the new wishbone was a bit harder. The new bushes are slightly bigger than the mounting brackets on the chassis, so some liberal hammering with a lump hammer persuaded it to slide into place, unfortunately my wife who was still asleep upstairs wasn't happy with the 7am banging (ooer missus), but there you go!

The only hitch I had was that the new wishbone bolts i bought from CGB dont fit. The longer one which also bolts the little chassis brace to the car doesnt have enough thread on it, so ive had to resort to using the old bolts. I`ll use plenty of loctite and they should be fine.

Whilst under the arch I tried to loosen off the brake line union nut again - its been soaking in penetrating oil for days now. And with the help of a pair of mole grips on the brake hose side, it loosened up nicely. Plenty more oil on it and its working free fine. Which is good news. Means I can stick the new braided hose on an get ready to put the calliper back on.

Looking at the front jacking point, its totally rotted away, so the side skirts will have to come off on this side to weld a new one (ordered a pair already, should be here next few days - £65 from Renault for the pair). It looks in order to get the side skirt off you need to remove the front arch. Thats held on by 4 small 10mm nut/bolts. 2 of which happily will undo, 2 of which are seized. Not wanting to brake them off or damage the plastic arch im not entirely sure how to proceed. Ive a spare arch and skirt somewhere in the garden so will have a look and see if i can see how they fit to the car.

Whilst the skirt is off i will have to see what other welding that side needs. I wouldnt be surprised if the sills need a bit of work as the car was left parked up against the side of my house for a year or so, and that meant that side of the car never really got the sun or dried out. I didnt realise that at the time, so lesson learnt there.

Just re-joined the RTOC, I was one of the early members back in 1995ish. Amazing how things have progressed since then. Back then it was just a monthly magazine and long phone calls with other members talking about tips & mods. Now its all online, website etc... which is awesome as its so easy to find information and ideas now. I think i`ll be posting on there lots. I even still have the original owners club sticker on the back window of the car. Seems to have held up better than the car really as it still looks brand new!!

Wednesday 11 June 2014

Fitting polly bushes in the wishbones & getting hub off.

The first few orders of my bits are now arriving, so I thought id make a start. I figured id start with one of the front corners and strip of the hub/wishbone. Ive some polly bushes to fit in the wishbone, and whilst im at it may as well fit new track rod ends to the steering arms, ball joints and wheel bearings. I dont think theres anything wrong with the old ones but with tie rods / ball joints only costing £5 each and bearings coming in at about £12.50 its a no brainer.

Ive had the hubs off Renault 5`s in the past, so didnt expect it to be much hassle, but with the car having sat for a while, this is what it looked like with the wheel off..

As you can see, pretty grotty & rusty. First problem I had was the wheel hub nut. God knows what socket I used last time but i couldnt find the right one anywhere, so out to the shop to buy a 30mm deep impact socket. Normally I just use a breaker bar and a length of scaffolding pipe, but that wouldnt shift it. So out comes the impact wrench and the nut comes off easily enough.

Once the nut is off, I found the 2 bolts which hold the wishbone to the chasis came undone really easily. Probably cos they were covered in grease and muck which stopped them rusting. The bolt nearest to the front of the car actually has a small brace bit attaching to the inner wing which had a 13mm bolt to undo too, this revealed there was a 2nd nut on the wishbone bolt behind it.

The track rod end nut came undone easily and i didnt even have to break the taper on it to free it from the hub, as all the banging about on the hub soon made it drop.

The lower ball joint bolt was a bit of a pain, so in the end I managed to push the drive shaft out of the hub, and after disconnecting the 2 top bolts holding the hub to the shock I managed to pull the hub down which gave me better access to the ball joint bolt. A chisel hammered a bit into the gap where the bolt grips to the ball joint helped and the bolt soon came out. A ball joint splitter on the ball joint let that pop out too.

The main 2 bolts holding the calipers to the hubs really would not undo at all. And so as im going to fit new brake hoses I ended up just cutting through the old one. This now meant the hub/caliper/brake disc assembly could all come off the car. Once off the car, the caliper bolts came undone with a bit of persuasion and some penetrating oil.

The wishbone now came straight off the car, leaving the anti roll bar which just pushes into the wishbone.

Heres the bits.

The ball joint has 2 bolts holding it to the wishbone, one of them came undone, the other sheered off. The outer anti-roll bar bush is held in by a small bracket and 1 nut/bolt. 13mm if i remember rightly.

Now to get the old wishbone bushes out. I tried pressing and hitting, no luck, in the end I burnt one out with a blow torch..

Unfortunately the blow torch ran out of gas before I could do the other one. On the plus side though, id just had a nice BBQ for lunch, so i dumped the wishbone in the coals and left it for 5 mins. The old bush just melted straight out.

Once the rubber bits are out you can see a metal sleeve is pushed into the wishbone in which the stock bushes go. This needed to be pressed out. I use just a normal vice, and a 5ft bit of scaffolding on the vice handle to give me extra leverage. A 22mm impact socket matched the size of the bush perfectly and a bigger one helped sandwich it in like this..

You can see the bush pressed out here next to my sockets.

Once all out, I gave the wishbone a good wirebrush and clean up using a wire brush attachment on a drill and by hand. A few coats of etch primer, then a few coats of some industrial satin black paint to finish off.

I then pushed the new polly bushes in using the vice. They slipped in easy enough with a bit of vice pressure and a wiggle of the wishbone. I then put a spot of oil on the metal guide tubes and pressed them in too. All nice & easy.

Finished off with fitting the outer anti roll polly bush too, but i think I may have to clamp it up after fitting to the car as I dont see the anti roll bar easily sliding into the bush.

The finished wishbone looks like this...

New ball joints have arrived today, so the next step will be fitting them to the wishbones and then cleaning up under the wheel arch. It doesnt look too bad, but just needs a good clean up & probably a repaint of the chasis there...

It looks like you get good access to the clutch cable here as well so I may take the opportunity to start to fit the new uprated cable ive got. I also need to workout best way to remove the anti roll bar so I can fit the inner bushes. Its looking like that might be quite fiddly and working under the car, but we shall see.

Here`s a pic of some of the bits which arrived this week, mainly engine stuff like high capacity intercooler & radiator, an external oil cooler, hoses, service items like oil filter, fuel filter, plus a high flow fuel pump..

Should keep me busy for a while yet!!!

Sunday 8 June 2014

Preparing the car for track days.....

I think it was about 2003 when I took the car off the road and at some point a few years later I thought id start stripping it out and getting it ready for track days.

So, I basically went through the inside of the car and anything which didnt make the car go quicker I ripped out and chucked in the skip. So, all the rear seats, front seats, plastic door trims, carpets, stereo, speakers, everything.

I already had a front OMP strut brace, but I then made up a rear one out of some scaffolding pole. It really tightened up the back end of the car. A full 6 point bolt in roll cage then went in, and the stock front seats were replaced by a pair of cobra lightweight buckets, with harnesses.

A push button engine start was something id always wanted, so I fitted one of them too.

I really should have weighed all the stuff I chucked out, as it would be interesting to know how much weight savings I made. I remember working out once that the car had twice the power to weight ratio than a Lotus Elise, so any more weight saving is even better!

Heres how it looked half way through the process.

And then I moved house, and so after starting it up, driving it onto a trailer, trailering it to the new house, its stayed in the corner of the garage ever since.

One thing moving the car told me was that the fuel pump is on its way out. I had to use an old motorcycle fuel pump with a pipe going into a can of petrol & plugged into the side of the carb to get it moving. Still, it drove/stopped fine!

Once upon a time I bought a Renault 5 GT Turbo.....

The story begins way back in about 1995. At the time I had an 1972 Austin Mini which id had for about 3 years whilst I was at college/University. It was an old banger which I bought for the grand sum of £20, and as you can imagine it needed a bit of work. Still, having no money I bought a Haynes manual and so the start of my tinkering began. I learnt everything about car mechanics from that old car and ended up rebuilding it in my parents driveway. I remember pulling into the drive one Friday night after work and to my mums horror promptly started stripping the car down in order to get the engine out as the clutch needed replacing. She reminded me id needed the car for work on Monday, so no pressure! Still, clutch was done, head decoked, engine repainted and all back in the car by Sunday lunchtime in time for work the next day.

That little mini ended up turning into a rally replica, complete with full 6 point roll cage, buckets, harnesses, a dash with more gauges & switches than you could shake a stick at, massive wide alloys which were nearly wider than they were tall (10" alloys back in them days) and various other bits like cooper S disc brakes, cooper drums at the back, LCB exhaust, bigger carb etc etc etc.

It soon got to the stage where I wanted more power and the limit with the A Series engine seemed to be about 100bhp, any more and things would start to get very expensive. So, I decided it would be cheaper & easier to move onto a hot hatch.

At the time, the main hot hatches were the Golf GTi, the Metro Turbo, Peugeot 205 GTi, Fiat Uno Turbo, XR3i / RS Turbo Escort and the Renault 5 GT Turbo. I went for the GT Turbo for 3 reasons, firstly it was quicker than all of the others. Secondly, around my area they were very very rare. And thirdly, they were incredibly easy to modify and get more power cheaply. You could in fact increase the boost from the standard 8psi upto whatever you fancied by poking a hole in one pipe under the bonnet. Okay, so any more than about 12psi and you`d be blowing the intercoolers plastic end caps off, and risking running too weak on the carb.

So, I sold my mini off and went out and bought a black 1988 GT Turbo Phase 2. I learnt how to tune it up and soon had it running around the 150bhp mark (Stock car has about 120bhp). I then decided that I really wanted a blue one and more power, and rather than respray a really nice black one, I went out and bought a shed off an red 1987 Phase 2 GT Turbo and started work.

Unfortunately enthusiasm outweighed the desire for photos so I didnt get many. One of the earliest photos is after the car came back fresh from the bodyshop, nicely repainted in Peugeot Miami Blue.

You can see here, its got the stock suspension/ride height and even the original 13" wheels/tyres.

Looking quite nice! The only mod I had the bodyshop do was to remove the door locks, as the GT Turbo had central locking as standard. The actual central locking used some sort of infa-red system, which also meant I could code it to my remote control wrist watch and lock/unlock the doors by pressing a button on my watch!

So, then the mods started. One of the first things I did was to drop the suspension. On a GT Turbo its pretty easy. They use normal spring/shocks up front and the back has shocks and a torsion bar system the same as what you find on a lot of Renaults / Peugeots. I lowered the back until the rear arch was level with the top of the back alloy and dropped the front using jamex springs.

That was fine for a few years, but eventually I swapped the old standard shocks out for a set of adjustable SPAX.

Engine wise, I strapped the intercooler to re-enforce it, then fitted a GT Tuning stage 1 kit which effectively gave you an in car adjustable boost control, a bigger 135 carb jet (I think the original is 120), I fitted a pipercross air filter, a Ford Escort Cosworth dump valve (£16 from Ford at the time as an off the shelf stock part), I free-flowed the intercooler (they have a flap inside which only activates the intercooler once the air temp has reached a certain level), a lower temp radiator sensor to ensure the fan kicked in early, a new copper cored radiator and I removed the thermostat completely as I wasnt bothered about the car warming up quickly, I just wanted cool coolant flowing around quickly.

The in car boost let you go from a stock 8psi upto about 20psi which is really the max the stock turbo can handle. Baring in mind at this point the car was running the original turbo and had done 80,000 miles.

The first problem I had was that the car had just had a brand new clutch fitted before I bought it, but at anything more than about 14psi the new clutch started to slip. So, I fitted an uprated Group A clutch which was rated at about 250bhp if I remember rightly. That solved the problem at the expense of a very heavy clutch pedal and snapping clutch cables roughly once a year.

Next problem was the previous owner had over tightened one of the spark plugs thus damaging the threads, so occasionally the spark plug would blow clean out of the head if I was running anything more than stock boost. This became annoying after a while and no amount of superglue or JB Weld would stop it. Only solution was to have a helicoil fitted in that plug socket. Only downer with that is that a helicoil was a couple of quid, but on a turbo car they recommend you remove the head as any debris left from fitting would get blown through the turbo as soon as you start it. So, I then figured, well if im going to have to remove the head, i may as well get the head, carb, manifold all gas flowed and ported out at the same time.

I did some research and called up Portformance (Warrington based) who at that time had just done the head on another GT Turbo from the owners club and whilst it hadnt been rolling road tested to see what power, they measured 17% more flow through the head on their bench testing machine. I think I was the 2nd GT Turbo they did. I sent all the bits off in a big box and a few weeks later they arrived back.

Fitting it all back to the car was fun as there were hundreds of boost pipes, wires, coolant pipes, but luckily I videoed the engine bay before & after so I had a reference. I also needed to workout what carb settings to use, so a quick call to GT Tuning and they suggested a 160 main jet. In order to get one, you just get a 1.6mm drill bit and drill out your old jet. Easy! After all fitting I popped down my local garage and got them to measure the emissions to make sure they werent running too rich and they were spot on.

Performance on the road was literally amazing. The bigger turbo lag you normally get when running higher boost were compensated for by the extra instant power the gas flowing / porting out did. It felt like I had 160bhp when running standard boost. Portformance estimated maybe 200->220bhp at 20/21psi.

The proof was in the pudding and on the road the car was pretty unbeatable. Ferrari`s, TVR`s, Lotus, Sierra Cosworths, Fiesta & Escort RS Turbos would be blown away as they didnt have enough power to catch me or pass me.

Other bits I fitted were uprated discs & pads. If i remember rightly I used Kevlar pads which wore discs out quicker than the pads. A GT Tuning quick shifter went inside the car and a boost gauge so I could more accurately see what boost I was running. A full Scorpian big bore stainless exhaust was only £170 at Demon Tweaks so that finished the car off. I kept the car looking pretty much stock visually except for the lowered suspension. Until eventually after getting through several sets of the 195 x 13inch tyres I managed to buy an entire set of TSW 15" wheels with tyres 2nd hand for less money than replacing my worn out stock tyres.

I kept it in that form for a while, until one wet day I was using the amazing torque to spin the wheels up in 4th when the car overboosted abit and blew the standard turbo. Still, it had a good life! So I replaced the stock T2 with a T25 which was designed to handle the higher boost more reliably, although it did increase off-boost turbo lag a bit. At that point I swapped out the Cosworth dump valve for a Group A one.

All in all it was a cracking car, although the mpg went down from 36mpg from the stock car on my 40 mile commute down to 20mpg in the later days. Also, the car was a pig in traffic, the heavy clutch, the cooling fan on to keep the temps down and no air con!

So off the road it went, and into my garage...... with the idea that id just turn it into a fun track car.