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Re: Puma 1400 Rally Build

Posted: Tue Sep 22, 2015 11:07 pm
by johnny h
Sorry only just got round to posting an update….

The rally at Anglesey was a bit of a mixed bag. We always intended that it would just be an opportunity to put the Puma through its paces but then when it comes to it your competitive nature always takes over.

First hurdle was getting it through scrutineering. I was a bit nervous at noise test as we suspected that it would be on the limit of acceptable; however we got through so the next stage was the main scrutiny of the car by the MSA official. As we had been through scrutineering on rallies before we knew the drill but as the car had only just been built and had never been through scrutineering I was worried that he would pull us on a technicality and that would be the end of our rally and entrance fee; however it sailed through and he even commented that it was a great car to inspect. Job done!

The next hurdle was understanding the maps that we had been issued. The events we have done before had pace notes, but this event had maps with splits and merges which was a whole new ball game for us.

Johnny the co-driver soon got to grips with the maps and then it was off to the start of the first stage. We got our time card stamped then we were on the start line watching the red segments count down to the start. Adrenaline then started pumping as this was the first time we had used the car in anger – are the brakes safe? is the suspension put together correctly? are the seats bolted in right? are the harnesses fitted securely? Why all these thoughts come into your head at this time is a mystery!

The first stage was a blast and we soon started to gain confidence in the car, everything seemed to be working and it felt right. Before we knew it we were back on the start line for stage two. We started to get in a rhythm and gain confidence in each others roles….. Johnny delivering the notes, and me trusting in him to push the car.

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At the end of the second stage it all started to fall apart. Upon inspecting the tyres it was evident that the super soft tyre compound was not the right choice for the harsh circuit tarmac as they looked like they had melted, with the rubber scrubbed off the tyres and rolled up into plasticine sausages and laid across the tread. As we drove, the car rumbled like we were driving on cobbles.

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Then we noticed that the metal flange on the inside of the wheel arch had cut into the tread (see earlier posts above) and had made a bit of a mess of the tyre. With no decent spare tyres to switch to (on a tight budget) we took the quick decision to stiffen the suspension to its hardest setting and raise the suspension height to the max. The car looked more like we were on a forest stage than tarmac. Even one of the marshals commented on it.

This upset the handling and knocked our confidence as I was expecting the tyre to burst at anytime whilst cornering hard. However we pressed on and decided that we our aim now was to get through all the stages and finish the rally.

We had a few more dramas on the following four stages including; Johnny the co-driver being violently sick on the time keeper at the end of stage three (sorry mate if you are reading this, it was just too good not to put in!), the intercom packing in intermittently so I couldn’t hear the notes, the clutch starting to slip under load, the shift light going haywire and fuel starvation in some of the tight corners stopping the car dead then springing back into life.

Despite all of the above, we did get to the end finishing third out of four in our class which all in all was a good first outing. As there were only four starters in our class, only two awards were given out, so no silverware on this occasion but it was a great feeling finishing the rally in a car that we built ourselves.

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Now the car is back home, I’ve started to address the issues. I’m getting a welder to cut the metal flange in the wheel arch and weld it up to give me more clearance, I’m going to buy slightly stiffer springs (sorry Graeme / Andrew – its got to be done!) so I can get the ride height down, I’ve bought medium compound tyres for the front (when funds permit I’ll buy some for the rears too), I’ve bought a competition clutch which is to be fitted shortly and I’m going to trace the problem with the shift light and intercom. I suspect the last two will be down to poor connections somewhere.

Finally…. Johnny the co-driver will NOT be having bacon butties on the morning of the rally on future events! Water and anti-sickness tablets for him in future :grin:

Re: Puma 1400 Rally Build

Posted: Wed Sep 23, 2015 12:41 pm
by mrbushrat
Glad you managed to get to the end safely on your first event. At least they were all manageable issues that you had during the day. Noticed on one of your pictures that your exhaust clamps are with the nuts pointing down. I would have them facing the side slightly facing up if you can as the way thay are they could catch on something and do damage to the exhaust and other things. Love the way your car looks it's better than my wee shed lol.

Graeme

Re: Puma 1400 Rally Build

Posted: Wed Sep 23, 2015 1:51 pm
by Ziggy
Use a hot air gun and scrapper to remove the dead rubber from your soft tyres :twisted: Keep the soft tyres for when its cold or wet. 8-)

Re: Puma 1400 Rally Build

Posted: Thu Sep 24, 2015 10:22 pm
by johnny h
mrbushrat wrote:Glad you managed to get to the end safely on your first event. At least they were all manageable issues that you had during the day. Noticed on one of your pictures that your exhaust clamps are with the nuts pointing down. I would have them facing the side slightly facing up if you can as the way thay are they could catch on something and do damage to the exhaust and other things. Love the way your car looks it's better than my wee shed lol.

Graeme


Graeme , thanks for the observation, I'll sort that.

It doesn't matter how many stickers you put on a car it doesn't make it go any faster!

Re: Puma 1400 Rally Build

Posted: Thu Sep 24, 2015 10:26 pm
by johnny h
Ziggy wrote:Use a hot air gun and scrapper to remove the dead rubber from your soft tyres :twisted: Keep the soft tyres for when its cold or wet. 8-)


Thanks for the top tip. A lot has already cleared off the tyres driving down the motorway. I sold my main car and had to go to a stag doo in Wales so I took the Puma. Looked a bit of a knob turning up in a rally car but I had no other option 8-)

Re: Puma 1400 Rally Build

Posted: Sun Sep 27, 2015 8:40 pm
by Andrew Hebron
Well done for finishing, Johnny! Good to get the seat time in the car. We had a fuel starvation issue too - I'll be looking into getting a baffled tank. I'm not going to be offended in you getting different springs, honest! But I would like to understand why you are changing them? Was the handling poor? The Proflex guys I got my springs and settings off said the car would look high but that is how it should be. I wouldn't mess with it if the handling is good.

Re: Puma 1400 Rally Build

Posted: Mon Sep 28, 2015 6:16 pm
by corley
nice thread, just wanted to say the puma looks awesome!

Re: Puma 1400 Rally Build

Posted: Sun Oct 04, 2015 10:03 pm
by johnny h
Andrew Hebron wrote:Well done for finishing, Johnny! Good to get the seat time in the car. We had a fuel starvation issue too - I'll be looking into getting a baffled tank. I'm not going to be offended in you getting different springs, honest! But I would like to understand why you are changing them? Was the handling poor? The Proflex guys I got my springs and settings off said the car would look high but that is how it should be. I wouldn't mess with it if the handling is good.


Let me know if you make any progress with the starvation issue. I was planning on running with more fuel next time to see if it improves. But then you end up carrying more weight :-(

I've had the inner metal flanges cut out of the arches now and welded up so hopefully I can lower the car a bit more now, I'm also going to get some additional bump stops to prevent the tyres catching the lip at full compression. So I will see how that goes before ordering stiffer springs.

I've got a new helix competition clutch fitted and fresh gearbox oil, so hopefully the clutch won't slip now and I'll be able to select 3rd gear.

Just a few electrical niggles to find and repair - shift light and intercom fault.

Re: Puma 1400 Rally Build

Posted: Wed Oct 07, 2015 9:35 pm
by djd
Very interesting thread - thanks. Your car looks very smart & professionally prepared, I'm not surprised that the scrutineer was impressed!
I've recently joined Puma land & have rallied many different cars in the past including a Group A Volvo 240! Stage rallying is beyond my budget for now so I'm concentrating on Targa Rallies, having tried a few sprints & hillclimbs this year, I found that they aren't very good value for money. Our first event is Chelmsford MC Wethersfield Targa on the 22nd Nov.
Regards, Darrell.

Re: Puma 1400 Rally Build

Posted: Wed Oct 07, 2015 10:10 pm
by johnny h
Thanks, I've spent some hours on it learning as go. Just need to get some time on stage.

It's encouraging that there are a few puma rally cars on the go, we just need more to take the plunge.

I guess the 240 is rear wheel drive? I bet that was fun!

I've done a few sprints and hill climbs, enjoyed them at the time but as you say they are expensive when you consider the time on track per $.

What's a Targa rally?

Re: Puma 1400 Rally Build

Posted: Thu Oct 08, 2015 11:43 pm
by djd
Hi yes the Volvo was rear wheel drive - big old girl always trying to get away from us & succeeded several times. She saw us through an RAC Rally in 1984 though back in the days when it was possible for a clubman to take part- showing age now! Will dig out a photo if you're interested.

Anyway back to the present - Targa Rallies were introduced last year & they are basically the special tests part of an Endurance Rally without the road rally bit involving maps etc. Wethersfield for example gives around 16 tests of between 1& 2 miles for a £50 entry fee - the regs are out now if you visit Chelmsford MC website. The route is basically tulips involving passing through sets of cones, having stop/go boards, passage controls & boards all designed to keep the average speed low whilst having to really go for it to be competitive! Good test for car driver & navigator.

We went to spectate on another event, the Exmoor Targa, last weekend that had 4 runs up the Porlock Toll Road & sections in Crown Forestry land with an 8 miler at Croydon Hill near Minehead - all used in the Somerset Stages rally. Targas seem to be the RACMSA best kept secret! but they're incredibly good value & a load of fun. Think I'll start a thread after Wethersfield.

Cheers Darrell

Re: Puma 1400 Rally Build

Posted: Thu Oct 15, 2015 11:41 pm
by johnny h
Wow I bet that was an experience. I may well have been spectating the event you entered! Was it the Lombard then? I remember it running in kielder forrest, Chatsworth, Trentham gardens etc, but I don't know if I am mixing up some of the routes from different years. Yeah it would be great to see some pictures.

Targa rallies look like great fun and at a good price too! Are there any safety requirements?

Puma 1400 Rally Build

Posted: Thu Oct 13, 2016 12:34 pm
by Slyvr
Like you build mate! simmilar to mine. Looks smart, tastefully made :grin:

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Puma 1400 Rally Build

Posted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 8:32 pm
by johnny h
Picture from last Friday at the North West Stages Rally in Blackpool, waiting for the sun to go down to start the rally in the dark....

Was anyone else there??

We made it through the night stages on the Friday night and halfway through Saturday but unfortunately retired on stage 15 with suspension damage after hitting a big hole on a 90 bend :-(

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