Momentum is a lovely thing, and the mechanical build of Project 2002 is finally building up a head of steam! Recent developments at Evolution 2 Motorsport have been exciting - although they have brought their own challenges too.
For example, it became apparent the first time we lowered the M44 into the engine bay that it was an impossible task due to the proximity of the steering box. The only solution in this regard was to make a fairly radical change: we will replace the steering box with a rack and pinion – which will require some careful re-engineering and fabrication, but will be a better long-term solution.
As these kinds of issues developed we have been privileged to be able to call on our retail partner, Autobarn, and through one of their suppliers – in this case Grandmark – sourced a suitable steering rack, from a Citigolf as it turns out. Grandmark will also supply an E36-generation radiator, a cooling solution which requires relatively little modification to the front of the car.
We mentioned LuK – our clutch partner – last month, and based on advice from their technical manager, Cavin Hearne, we’ve had a rethink. We’ll now use the M44’s original dual-mass flywheel instead of a custom-made solid one, Cavin pointing out that the engine was designed to work with a dual-mass flywheel and changing that could cause all kinds of vibration issues not appropriate for a road car. It could potentially lead to component failures further down the road, with the forces traditionally absorbed by the flywheel simply being transferred elsewhere, including into the crankshaft or differential. A matched LuK flywheel/clutch assembly will unquestionably stand us in good stead as far as refinement and long-term reliability are concerned.
The other major development was the "signing" of Bilstein as a project partner - a deal brokered by Autobarn’s Terry Brand - and this will give us the very best shock absorbers in the world to go with our set of used H&R springs donated by car and motorsport lover extraordinaire, Dick Sorensen. With this hardware combination at each corner, we’re going to have a safe and very sporty car! By the time you read this, the engine crossmember will have been modified to accept the rack and pinion, powder-coated, and then rebuilt with new bushes, ball joints and tie rod ends prior to being re-installed to await the engine/clutch/gearbox assembly. If we’ve done our homework right, none of those items will need to be removed again for a very long time!