Copelander page 2

Time to evaluate the damage done on the first outing and a couple of others. The caliper/wheel clearance issue is a big problem. I cracked one rim twice.

As you can se the damage is pretty bad. There is a limit to how many times a rim can be welded.

The calipers show signs of damage as well. There isn't any way to increase the clearance without changing the wheels.The current tyres tend to sit on the surface in muddy conditions, instead of digging down to the harder base under the mud. A solution to both problems is to fit narrower dumper tyres. Of course no suitable wheels are available to fit the hubs so I had to make adapters. The trials car uses classic Beetle 15" steel wheels and 6.50/80R15 dumper tyres are only slightly bigger diameter than the current tyres. The obvious answer is to make the adapters fit Beetle wheels.

This is the end result. Rover Metro wheel studs are an ideal length. The spacers are very thick to compensate for the huge offset on the original wheels.

Hey presto - dumper tyres!. There is now a huge amount of clearance between the calipers and wheels.

A comparison of the two. The dumper tyres are larger diameter so I get nearly an extra inch of clearance. Traction in slippery conditions is also improved. As the tyres are much narrower, steering requires considerably less effort.

There is not much clearance now. At full compression and full lock the front tyres touch the chassis

As I plan to have independent control over the pressure in each air suspension unit I need a pressure tank. A stainless fire extinguisher proves to be an ideal candidate

I machined up a combined manifold and pressure release valve to replace the original operating handle and valve.

This is the control valve block. It allows me to independently increase or reduce the pressure in any air bag or couple air bags together to equalize the pressure. This works well when you have time to operate it. The problem is that most of the time things are happening too fast for me to be able to operate the valves at the right time. Electronic control is probably the next step.

I would like to enter this car in winch challenge events. Of course as the name implies you need a winch! In goes a 6000lb pull Superwinch that I picked up cheap. The original winch was far too small for the job. This one has pulled Range Rovers out several times (much to their owner's disgust).

I used plastic winch cable because it is much easier to handle and much lighter. It is of course much more expensive than steel as well! With plastic rope you can use a simple aluminium hawse instead of the roller type failrlead needed for wire rope. The loop of rope attached to the nudge bar makes a convenuient towing point.

The battery sits under the seat and according to the winch challenge rules a battery in that position must be in a sealed box. Out comes the plastic welding kit and a little while later, here is the result.

Here is the bracket to support the battery. It is bolted to the body with three bolts. I used three to reduce any distortion in the battery box as the body flexes.

There isn't a huge amount of room in there!

Add a lid and you have a watertight box. Cable entry points will be sealed with polyurethane sealant.

After these modifications I took it out on a few competitions. The dumper tyres definitely improve traction - a bit too well. On one event the gearbox went crunch and I lost front wheel drive.On to page 3 to see how I solved this latest problem...



Do you like what I am doing? Am I doing it all wrong? If you have any questions or suggestions, do let me know by posting a comment.

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