Category Archives: Rallying Activities

All about the build of my Saxo Rally car, and hopefully event reports once I get it running!

more developments

so with work to the front of the car finished for the time being, it was time to turn my attention to the rear, and the wonderful Citroen rear torsion bar beam.

Now, the car had been sat in Neil’s garage for four years, so we knew it wasn’t going to be easy. The brake unions were jammed solid, so I cut the brake lines, I was originally hoping to keep the standard lines, but this forced my hand. re-plumb or braided lines to come, but they could wait!

I had the rear of the car on axle stands, so placed a Saxo jack under each end of the rear beam, undid the four fixing bolts, and let the beam down to the ground. It was ready to go home for surgery! (It wasn’t that easy, but I won’t bore you with all the details!)

Slowly does it

and it’s off!

Now anybody who knows about French Torsion beams will know they are a sod to dismantle, and this was no different! We ended up letting the torsion bars soak in WD-40 for over a week, with litte difference. I borrowed a slide hammer, which broke, and then tried the socket, washer and bolt ‘puller’ method, that stripped the bolt threads (luckily the torsion bar threads were ok.) Then after being told to ‘batter the hell out of the bars’ felt this was the only way to make progress.

Soaking in releasing agent

So Dad & I got the burner out, we threaded a bolt all the way in the torsion bar to clout, heated the trailing arm up, rested the whole beam on the kerb outside the house, and proceeded to hammer like never before … and it eventually came away in to two pieces! We repeated this process with every bit where the torsion bar was lodged solid and it eventually all came apart … with the help of the lump hammer!

The whole beam was stripped of paint and rust, re-painted, and with new bushes, spacers and seals bought from my local Citroen dealership, the beam was put back together.

Beam painted

Whilst the beam was off the car I decided to clean all the surface rust off from underneath, clean it up, remove the spare wheel cage (the spare wheel will be relocated inside the car,) remove the extra exhaust hanger and remove all te ABS gubbins. I also wanted to give underneath a good painting and decided on POR-15 chassis black from Frost, two coats of base coat and one coat of top coat, this stuff dries seriously hard! so hard that the paint brush was useless inbetween each coat and I went through six! brushes doing the boot floor and rear beam.

boot floor done!

and with the painting done, it was time to put the beam back on the car, new poly bushes put in at this point.

the petrol tank patiently waits it’s turn for re-fitting

Whilst the petrol tank was off the car, you need to move it to ease removal of the beam, I removed all the probably stagnant fuel and gave it a swill out.

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stage 2

Sorry for the delay in updating this …

Saxo safe in the garage

So with the Saxo in the garage, it was time to start work getting it ready to be used and abused. I wanted to go over everything to make sure it was ok, replaced where needed, and tarted up if it looked scruffy.

As the car was ‘nose out’ in the garage it made sense to start with the front suspension, which after some drilling, drilling and a little more drilling, was soon off.

Suspension Leg off

Then to take them home, strip down, paint and swap the springs to standard VTS versions.

Strut at home partially dismantled

I also took the Anti-Roll bar off the front whilst I was on, again, the plan was to clean up, paint and replace the mount bushes.

Anti-Roll bar painted with Red Oxide Paint

Once all the planed cleaning and painting was done, it was time to rebuild the struts with standard height VTS springs, I wanted to return the car to standard height so I could a) have a reference point for all suspension changes, and b) make sure the car was lowered evenly and correctly in the first place. It was also a good excuse to dismantle all the suspension components, front and back.

Painted and rebuilt Strut

and back on the car

I also replace the drop links and tie rods when putting the struts back on the car.

I left the driveshafts out at this point to make it easier when it was time for the engine to come out, and then it was time to turn the car round …

and so it begins …

So for a long time I’ve wanted a project car, either to be built for a purpose, or for a bit of a laugh but with a finished project I could drive. The thing was, I didn’t want to pay much, and I didn’t want a wreck. A post was seen on Facebook by an old forum buddy of Saxo Sports Club, Neil Wood, who had a Saxo VTS in his garage that he was thinking of scrapping, all he wanted for it was the scrap value £150!

I went over to look at it, and it was stuck in the garage, it turns out Neil had bought the car 4 years prior to me purchasing it from him as a project car too, but when he got it home, the gearbox let go, so it got put in the garage till he had time to sort it out. Four years later, the brakes had seized on, the battery was flat, and so were the tyres, there was no way we could push the car out. A quick look round, under the bonnet and in the boot, and I’d decided that it fitted the bill perfectly, and that threw up a few further issues.

We live on a sloped drive, so parking a car on there was a no no, our garage was full of bikes, tools and other associated ‘garage clutter’ so that was ruled out. Hmm. A friend from work mentioned that the local council offered empty garages for a nominal fee per fortnight, so I gave them a call, they had a garage local, excellent!

Problem two, the car had no tax, MOT or insurance, I didn’t have a trailer, and didn’t have a clue how I was going to get the car home … After asking around, it looked like I was going to have to hire a car transport trailer from a local hire company, when Garry at work heard about the dilemma and said a friend of his had a couple of car trailers he lent out, so I gave John of www.vindicator.co.uk a bell and he said we could borrow the trailer for the day, and he had some ratchet straps to fix the car to the trailer. Result!

A bit of discussion between dad and Neil, and we had arranged a mutually agreed date for collection of the Saxo. We picked the trailer up on a Saturday morning, drove to Stafford, and met up with Neil. Now, the Saxo remember is stuck in the garage, and the three of us couldn’t push it out, thankfully, Dad was able to pull it out using his car, and with a puff of dust the brake pads released their grip of the brake disks and the Saxo saw daylight for over 4 years! Now, we thought it would be a simple case of push the now free running car on to the trailer, strap it down, and make our way home … nope, the tyres were still flat making it difficult to push, I’d pre-thought this and had my foot pump in the car, so we put some air in the tyres, and tried again to push the Saxo on to the trailer, we got it half way up on the ramp (I say we, I was sat in the car steering (being the lightest) whilst Neil and Dad pushed like mad) no joy, so we rolled it back as far as possible, and tried again, a little further on the trailer, but not quite there.

Then Dad, in a moment of genius said he could pull the car on to the trailer with his car, we dropped the jockey wheel, choked the wheels and put a jack under the back end to stop the trailer tipping up, and … bingo! the Saxo was on the trailer, but I couldn’t get out! The Saxo had stopped on the trailer with the doors perfectly placed to hit the mud guard of the trailer, so I had to climb out the boot! We strapped the car down, swapped papers with money, and the Saxo was mine, and so we left with a pretty clean example of an S reg Saxo VTS bound for Kidderminster.

We got the car home, and gave it a quick wash before dropping it up to my newly acquired garage.

Outside home after a quick wash

from the other side

Then all that was left was to get the car off the trailer, which we struggled with initially, then drop the trailer back to John, in all, this took us all day!

More to follow …