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

DJ Sports Cars

Getting the Donor.

First order of the day was to obtain a victim willing to be carved up for my evil purposes.  Autotrader and eBay were suitably abused.  One thing I discovered was that there were an awfully large number of people loved up with their 20 year old motor.  Pristine examples were fetching £650 to £1000 or above and I'd initially budgeted £350.  Most of these were bulk standard models but that had been very well looked after.  After a despondent week of missing out, I came across two models on eBay.  One of these was a grey 2.0l DOHC that had been gutted, roll cage added and shoved round the Nurburgring in 10 minutes.  As you can imagine this was being watched like a hawk and went for around the £700 mark. 

I still had a few days left on item number two and decided that my paltry budget needed to be increased.  On top of that the second car had all round disks, a 2.0l pinto which I knew I could flog, and was immaculate inside and out.  See for yourself.

Die Sierra Die

The good thing about this one was it was an automatic.  No one was paying a lot of attention.  I emailed the guy and he had a £500 reserve set and as I was on my way out the day the auction finished got the SMS alerts setup then got drunk.  At 8pm after a day of clay pigeon shooting, and large amounts of booze (not at the same time), I got it at bang on £500.  To make it a little better, I had received via email a voucher from eBay giving me 10% off.

The following day I drove over to Bishops Stortford to collect it with the aid of my step father Paul.  The Pinto was immaculate.  No smoke, misfires or anything. Picked it up and got back to the M11 where the gear box died on me.  The very nice man from the AA dragged me back home.

Putting the Donor back on eBay.

Before you panic there was nothing wrong with it, I just wanted to recoup some of my money.  Shoved it back on as breaking for spares and it instantly drummed up interest.  A week later I had an assortment of people flocking to it to rip off the bit they wanted.  Vultures the lot of them, but not a bad one amongst them.  Jimmy took the engine to shove in a 1960's Ford Anglia, Dave came twice and spent the best part of £200, some guy took the rear sub-frame and another the bonnet.  On average they all drove about 60 miles to get here and between them they paid for £400 of the donors initial cost.

After I had got rid of the hulk, poor old girl, it was onto the donor parts I required.

Preparing the Donor Parts.

This is where the fun really starts.  After the vultures had been and gone, I was left for some rather sorry looking bits and pieces.  So lets do them one at a time.  First the differential.  This was easiest taken off with the entire sub-frame and rear hubs all in one piece.  I made sure I 'd released the hub nuts first as this would have been virtually impossible afterwards.

As you can see from the photos, it is a 7" version and is a 3.62:1 ratio.  This was confirmed when removing the inspection hatch the ratio had been written on the main gear.  When it was taken out it was obvious that all three seals suffered leaks (in particular the input flange) but as I had already decided I wanted to replace anything rubber on the parts, I had a seal kit ready and waiting which I had bought from eBay for under £10.  Opened the drain plug and left it to drip out over night.  When I woke up the following morning the loo which adjoins the garage stank.  Transmission oil really is utterly repulsive and seems to permeate breeze block! 

The first problem I had was getting the input flange nut off.  It looked like it had been on since the day it came off the production line and was an absolute sod to get loose.  After many doses of WD40 I I had to resort to wedging it firmly then standing on one output flange whilst simultaneously using a long breaker bar to ease it off.  For anyone reading this, leave the diff on the donor and loosen it off before you remove the wheels! 

I removed the input flange with the aid of a three legged puller which was a doddle to do and when off revealed that all the rubber had lost its edge and perished in places so at least all the effort was worth it.  Getting the old seal off proved a bit tricky as well.  I resorted to using my fold up workbench to grip the casing and then used a seal puller (see below).  This basically cut through the seal rather than budging it an inch but loosened it sufficiently to allow me to tap one side down where the cut was and then yank the other up bit by bit.  Much swearing later the bugger came out.

To get to the output seals I needed to remove the inspection hatch and remove the two output flanges.  On opening the cover, I very nearly threw up.  By God this stuff stinks.  Looking inside, the diff looked in really good condition.  Following the Haynes manual (or Haynes book of lies as my youngest brother James calls it) I had to remove the two circlips.  These have a single hole in the middle so you can pull them straight out but finding a tool strong enough to do so was tricky.  I didn't have anything capable of doing it so again to eBay and I found a set of heavy duty hooks.  These turned up a few days later and proved just the job.  These seals were fairly stubborn as well but once out the new ones went in a pretty easily. 

Inside the Diff

This is a really blurry photo and I have to learn how to use the macro setting but you can just make out the copper of the circlip in the centre.  With all three removed it gave me a chance to wirebrush them all before putting them back together and resealing the case (with liquid gasket) before cleaning and painting.  Oh and I also took off the 16mm from the rear diff mounting (part of the inspection hatch) before I went to the next stage to give the clearence required for the De Dion tube.   Painting is dull so here's a couple of pictures of before and after undercoating.  You can see one of the finished item in the car later.

Before..... .....After

Next, front Hubs or uprights if you're from the annoying side of the Atlantic.  Having removed these from the donor a first inspection suggested they were in good condition.  As with the diff they looked looked like they had hardly been touched since day one and the bearings were also a bit notchy (if that's a word).  Removing the ABS sensor from the side of the hub revealed a hole that went to what looks like a notched part of the bearings, so some form of induction loop.  You don't need to know that but I have an engineering degree and it's quite interesting!  OK, probably only to me.   Anyhow, the holes obviously needed a cap, so I posted a query on the Dax Sporting Club Forums.  One guy, Rally Raider, had a solution but it was Circuit King who suggested that I obtain new ones from Rally Design.  After some umming and ahhing, I ventured down the new hub route reckoning that the cost of the hub overhaul and bearings plus time required plus bloody hard job made it cost effective.  New ones were purchased and the old ones flogged on eBay making it even more wise a decision.  Here's a picture of the old crappy ones and the new ones that I coated with Hammerite.

Yucky Hubspretty ones

Moving swiftly on to the rear hubs now.  These are fairly straight forward to do.  To get the old bearings, seals and races out I broke the plastic cage that held the bearing rollers themselves allowing me to remove them.  Then with my afore mentioned seal puller and a drift and hammer gently worked out the seals followed by each of the races obviously taking great care not to damage the inner wall of the housing.  For those following this for a bit of assistance keep one of the old races as you'll need it later.  So lots of cleaning, two coats of Hammerite, then new bearing kits in the back of the freezer ready for the day I stick them on the chassis.

 Stripped and ready for a clean

Now we move to the drive shafts.  Apart from probably the brake components these were the most grubby and a bit of a sod to get off.  Each CV joint is bolted to the flange or stub axle with 6 Torx bolts.  Despite thoroughly cleaning and soaking in WD40 the little sods weren't too interested in moving.  With about a third of them, the splines inside the head rounded off.  Fortunately, these were all the bolts through the CV joints attached to the stub axles so getting them off the diff was straight forward.

AxlesStub Axles

Removing the outer ones involved cutting a slot in the head about two thirds of the way down the cap head then using an impact driver to force the little bugger to turn.  With a couple of blood blisters to mark my progress I contacted Ford and they were still able to supply replacements.  They were 96 pence each so I decided to replace all 24.  Whilst waiting for stock, I also sourced new CV boot from my local motoring factor.  After three attempts I had a set of four that all matched.

Stripping the axles down was dead easy but very dirty with all the grease.  Popped off the outer circlips and then gently ease the CV joints off before removing as much of the old grease as possible.  It was then a case of wire brushing everything, painting and repacking with grease before putting them all back together ready for bolting into the chassis making sure I had the stub axles on the right sides. 

Next: Collecting the Chassis