Vrooooooom!Darby's DAX Build
LWB V8 Powered DAX Rush
(Started December 2008)

DJ Sports Cars

Chassis Visit

The excitement was so much that on Saturday 23rd November I decided to pop over to DJ to see my chassis being built.  With my 5 year old son Jack in tow, I did the 40 minute drive over to Harlow.  As is usual on a Saturday, Simon was the only one in but quite happy to allow me to pop into the workshop to see the chassis' progress and snap away with the camera.

On the Jig On the Jig (Side) On the Jid (Rear) Grp bits and Pieces Jacks Favourite Car

Apart from the "Why is that lady holding her bum?" (see photo 1) and steering Jack away from the other choice artwork it was a great visit.  My building juices were in full flow and there is something about the smell of the workshop that takes me back to the metal work room at school. Fan-Bloody-Tastic!

Chassis Collection

The hour is nigh.  This new passion I have discovered can be poured into the collection of GRP and metal and chrome.  Or so I thought!  I had strategically taken a fortnight off work so I could a) visit my brother in Barcelona and b) return for the collection on 1st December.

Regrettably and through no fault of Dax, I was informed by email that the chassis wouldn't be ready until the Thursday.  The chassis fabricator (who's name escapes me) had succumbed to the dreaded flu virus that was doing the rounds.  Much swearing later and reorganising the van hire Thursday 4th arrived.  After the van finally arrived 4 hours late and with my step dad recruited for the day we did the journey.

An hour later (vans are soooo slow) and with me grinning like some sort of retard, we arrived at the factory with the steering column in hand I wandered into the showroom.

Outside and ready to go. Ouch, I've paid

What a handsome chap!  After the bill had been paid, Simon (Johns not me) guided me into the factory to sort out which was mine.  Any more grinning and I'd have ended up with a flip top head.

That lot.... ....into here.... ...like this.

As you can see from the above I had quite a few odds and sods to get into the van. The first three build packs to be exact.  I'd got the box van to be absolutely certain that the LWB chassis would fit.  I didn't fancy getting a LWB transit and finding I couldn't get the chassis in.  This meant I had too much space if anything but with Paul's assistance we got all the kit carefully in with help from old duvets and sheets and a few ratchet straps to stop it all sliding about.  Funnily enough, I was a lot slower on the way back.

By the time we got back to mine it was dark and cold, yet we soldiered on.  All the GRP went straight inside to keep it scratch free and then up into the spare room which now smells like an extension of the factory.  The chassis went into the garage right way up initially so I could have the obligatory 'Me in my chassis' photo.  By this time my mother had also turned up to have a good nose so she had a go too.  Shortly after this Paul and I enlisted the help of my neighbour to turn it over ready for the following days build start.

Muvver et moi Ready to go

So here we go, the build really starts.  Be prepared to be amazed by my total incompetence!

Floor and Foot Well Panels

With the chassis upside down and securely on it's axle stands I was ready to begin.  As I'm building the long wheel based version the floor pans come in two parts.  The front half of the pan is aluminium sheet as with the standard model for short people but for us taller folk, the rear half is a separate GRP panel that also gives a little more head room.  What isn't mentioned in the build manual is that the front edge of the GRP overlaps the aluminium sheet where they meet at the chassis cross member (I had to ring Dax to check).  

With everything clamped in place, I started by measuring and marking all the chassis members in relation to the panels. Using the corners as reference points I marked and then punched at 2 1/2" intervals ready for drilling the 3/8" holes for the large head rivets.  I'd also purchased a load of Cleco Skin Pins (like these below) before the build started.

Pliers...Duh! Pins

These things are great.  I got 50 of the two sizes I'll be using and a set of pliers for £40 off of that there eBay.  They act exactly like a rivet, pulling the material together and negating the need of clamps that just get in your way.  I drilled the 6 corner points first and inserted a pin in each.  With these in, drilling the rest was fairly easy until I ended up with the following result.

Passenger side drilled I like grinders!

The second photo shows where I have roughened up the bonding areas.  From having read many of the other build sites a lot of people had used some form of Dremel hand tool.  When I was speaking to Andy at Dax on collection day he said that when they were doing it themselves that they used angle grinders, so taking a deep breath I got the grinding disk out and put it into action.  This was a breeze and only took about 5 minutes per side.  I found the best way to do it was a firm hand on the grinder, an angle of attack of about 20 degrees and moving the grinder up and down the length of the relevant tube doing about 20cm at a time before resetting myself and doing the next stretch.

Anyway, with that all done it was a case of running a good bead of Wurth, carefully laying the panels in place so as not to drag the adhesive and fill all the holes with a big head rivet.  By the time I'd used the hand riveter to do all 55 (ish) I was suffering massively from riveters claw. So after a big break I sorted out the drivers side in the same way.  Floor pans done.  In total about 4 hours work.  Add on another 90 minutes and the two triangular infill pieces were on as well.  All I had to do now was enlist a couple of neighbours and despite their protestations about bad backs, we rolled the chassis over for the next step.

The rest of December was mainly all about the interior footwell panels.  (I did fit the differential  and A-frame in when I got sick of panelling). One thing I'll say now is that the panels can be a real bugger if you fix them in as it is described in the manual.  If I was doing it again, I'd have marked and drilled them one at a time and then removed them to keep drill access available.  The front of the footwells are very narrow and unless you have either an angled drill or a very short one you will struggle. 

The killers were the long aluminium side panels (which I actually fitted in January).  Around about 70 rivets per side and by the end every tendon in my hand was bitching!  These though I did after the GRP corner panels had been fitted.  James my youngest brother was back from Barcelona for Christmas and he was desperate to get his hands dirty so I let him do them.  Having looked through a lot of the build sites I think I have been very lucky in terms of the fit of all the panels.  Apart from a little bit of trimming here and there to fit round welds, I've had no problems at all.  I'm also of the opinion that if you go in realising you are going to have to do this and expect to have bits that aren't quite right you'll not be overly concerned if you have to trim and fill.  Bare in mind these are all hand made so none will be the same.  I've also left the large rear GRP panel out for now as it improves access when doing the diff and rear brake circuit etc.

So, below is a series of photos.  I apologise if I'm not being particularly descriptive, but I've made the school boy error of not updating this site as I go along.  It's a bit like leaving your homework until the night before so this is something I'll address once I've caught up!  However, if you've got any questions, email me and I'll respond as soon as I can.

Drivers inner panel

Next page - January 2009