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 Post subject: Reliant Fox A80CJR
PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2020 4:22 pm 
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Location: Glenrothes, Fife
Car Models: 95, 99, 900, 9000, 93, Sonett
Okay, first off it isn't a Saab, but it's certainly been a labour of love. We were foolish enough to take on a long abandoned Reliant Fox back in March 2019. According to the previous owner, he had rescued it from a hedge/field about six months previously, where it had lived for the best part of 20 years. The interior was horribly mouldy, the mechanical condition was completely unknown, and he left it parked in his yard until a slate blew off his roof, and smashed the windscreen. The car then sat for a further couple of months through a Scottish winter with no windscreen... so for some mad reason, we thought this sounded like a good project.

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As delivered on the tow truck - looking a little sorry for itself.

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Starting to clear away the smashed screen.

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Engine bay looked horrendous, but a quick check of all the fluids, fresh battery, cleaned and gapped the points, and it fired into life & sounded good. Lots of smoke from standing for so long, but I was shocked. Didn't idle as the carb was obviously silted up, but was able to select all the gears, and even the brakes worked. Incredible.

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Came with a load of spares, including a complete engine in kit form, a gearbox, propshaft, dashboard, etc.

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Load bay once cleaned out isn't huge - because this is unusual in having four seats from the factory.

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 Post subject: Re: Reliant Fox A80CJR
PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2020 4:28 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2011 11:46 am
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Location: suffolk
Car Models: 1993 9000 2.0 cse
there s one round here mint nick and polished up nicely beige
he had reversed right up to the river bank and was fishing out the back
i said i hope your hand brakes good mate
i like it i offered to buy it if he was selling

i like weird things me
kittens the prices are mental i paid 90 quid for one once long ago 6ft 3 in a kitten hehe

shes got some patina on yours eh
what the weight there allowed to carry it cant be alot can it

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 Post subject: Re: Reliant Fox A80CJR
PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2020 4:44 pm 
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Location: Glenrothes, Fife
Car Models: 95, 99, 900, 9000, 93, Sonett
scanditurbo wrote:
what the weight there allowed to carry it cant be alot can it

Apparently they are rated and geared to carry 380kg, on top of the kerb weight of 640kg. Ours is unusual as it's a full four seater, a rare factory option, so the actual load space is quite small.

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 Post subject: Re: Reliant Fox A80CJR
PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2020 5:11 pm 
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Location: Glenrothes, Fife
Car Models: 95, 99, 900, 9000, 93, Sonett
Into the garage and the strip down begins.
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Decided to tackle the engine bay first, get that all cleaned, serviced, and sorted out. At least then I'd know if the engine needed to come out or not.
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Rocker gear looked a bit gungey, but not too bad. Clearances weren't too far off the book either.
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Water pump, when it eventually came out, was the usual rusted mess. Add to that the silting that these 850s are famous for, and it was well stuck in there.
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Heated well to burn all the old oil and residue off the inside, the rocker cover cleaned up surprisingly well.
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Several coats of Rustoleum red oxide primer. This is great stuff, miles better than Hammerite or similar brand names.
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Several coats of Rustoleum red topcoat. This stuff is designed for harsh environments and high temperatures, so hopefully it will be okay.
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Back in situ. It's amazing how one cleaned and painted item brightens up the whole engine bay, everything else is still knackered.
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Replacing the steering rack bushes. Starting to get a general idea of the condition of the underside, I've been avoiding it.
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Old vs new polyurethane. They were a swine to fit, because there is zero compression with them, and the clamps were tight & space limited.
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Carburettor was stripped, cleaned, and rebuilt with a kit from Burlen fuel systems.
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 Post subject: Re: Reliant Fox A80CJR
PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2020 5:46 pm 
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Location: Glenrothes, Fife
Car Models: 95, 99, 900, 9000, 93, Sonett
Finally took a brave pill and had a look at the nearside front. When we inspected it in the seller's yard, all I could see was a brown rusty mess covered in dried grass and weeds, and thought "ah sure it's only dirt and surface rust..." Nope.
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Lots of heat, lots of penetrating oil, a set of impact sockets, an angle grinder, and lots of thin cutting discs later, I managed to get it all apart. The upper wishbone legs were perforated and paper thin, the lower wishbone actually bent sideways as I tried to get the bottom balljoint fixings undone. Replacement wishbones aren't available new, only second hand in various conditions, so I'd already decided to construct my own.
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Using a £150 plasma cutter bought off eBay, some 3mm box section, and some wooden jigs made from the patterns of the old wishbones, I was able to cut out rough shapes to match the profile of the old wishbones.
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Upper wishbones were in dreadful condition also. For these I needed to retain the balljoint seat, and weld new legs to that. In hindsight I should have sourced or fabricated mounts for alternative upper balljoints, as the original units are impossible to find. However, ours appear to be in good condition, no play and rotate freely. New rubber covers and they were suitable for further use.
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New coilovers sourced from the Reliant Kitten Register, as originals are no longer available.
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With the addition of new brake components, new rack gaiter, new track rod end, new stainless fixings, the front nearside now looks like this.
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 Post subject: Re: Reliant Fox A80CJR
PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2020 6:10 pm 
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Location: Glenrothes, Fife
Car Models: 95, 99, 900, 9000, 93, Sonett
As the Fox is a fibreglass body mounted on a mild steel chassis, there is a box section rollover hoop that forms the upper seatbelt mounting points, and bolts to the chassis via a hefty mounting plate. Unfortunately, the bottom six inches of ours was missing both sides, completely rusted away. The standard repair kit is a box section piece slid up the inside of the remaining rollover hoop, and then bolted through - I preferred something more structural, so cut access holes in the fibreglass B pillars, and welded replacement repair sections in instead. Butt welded and plug welded to ensure strength.
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The seats had to come out to do this work. All the floor mountings had to ground off from below, as all were seized & corroded lumps of rust. The seat runners were seized and horrible. Lots of heat, lots of time, lots of penetrating oil, eventually they freed off and cleaned up nicely. Some localised welded repairs were required around the mounting slots, where the metal had become thin and distorted.
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 Post subject: Re: Reliant Fox A80CJR
PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2020 7:59 pm 
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Location: Aberdeen,UK
Car Models: 96 V4, 99, C900, C900 Vert
Impressive :shock:
Looking forward to seeing this one finished 8)

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 Post subject: Re: Reliant Fox A80CJR
PostPosted: Wed Feb 05, 2020 7:42 am 
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Doing a good job there Dave..

Jim's getting idea's....

8)

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 Post subject: Re: Reliant Fox A80CJR
PostPosted: Wed Feb 05, 2020 11:38 am 
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Location: suffolk
Car Models: 1993 9000 2.0 cse
looks a bit like one of these https://www.carandclassic.co.uk/car/C942871

i had one of these back in 1995 if you like welding look for one :D
mine was well rotten i sold it
then it was fully restored then photod for a magazine at where i worked
the new street brasserie in chelmsford near the uni campus
so enoying seeing it look minty sparkle and not for sale
everyone thought it was a fiat so i put fiat badges on it just to confuse people even more added some abarth stickers

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 Post subject: Re: Reliant Fox A80CJR
PostPosted: Wed Feb 05, 2020 12:45 pm 
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Location: Glenrothes, Fife
Car Models: 95, 99, 900, 9000, 93, Sonett
scanditurbo wrote:
looks a bit like one of these https://www.carandclassic.co.uk/car/C942871

Ah yes, the Inni Mini hatchbacks, great little cars from what I know of them. Probably what the Mini should have became in the mid 1970s. But yes, like most vehicles of that era, they could rot for fun, and with thin Italian (Russian?) steel, they rotted that much faster.

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 Post subject: Re: Reliant Fox A80CJR
PostPosted: Wed Feb 05, 2020 1:07 pm 
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Location: Aberdeen,UK
Car Models: 96 V4, 99, C900, C900 Vert
Car 55 wrote:
Doing a good job there Dave..

Jim's getting idea's....

8)


Nae chance Mike, those welds are way beyond my capabilities.

We may see this one at Glamis in July :haynes: :corn:

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 Post subject: Re: Reliant Fox A80CJR
PostPosted: Wed Feb 05, 2020 3:29 pm 
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Location: Glenrothes, Fife
Car Models: 95, 99, 900, 9000, 93, Sonett
Stig wrote:
Nae chance Mike, those welds are way beyond my capabilities.

We may see this one at Glamis in July

We will bring this if you'll bring your 96... :corn: 8)

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 Post subject: Re: Reliant Fox A80CJR
PostPosted: Wed Feb 05, 2020 9:14 pm 
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Location: Aberdeen,UK
Car Models: 96 V4, 99, C900, C900 Vert
Nae chance of that happening :cry:
Progress is very slow :bag:

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 Post subject: Re: Reliant Fox A80CJR
PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2020 7:22 am 
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Doive wrote:
Stig wrote:
Nae chance Mike, those welds are way beyond my capabilities.

We may see this one at Glamis in July

We will bring this if you'll bring your 96... :corn: 8)


Oh come on Jim, that's a challenge.. yours is simple jobs..
Finger oot..

:corn:

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 Post subject: Re: Reliant Fox A80CJR
PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2020 3:56 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 30, 2007 9:14 pm
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Location: ZZ9 plural Z alpha
Car Models: 2008 93 aero, noob'd
don't be looking at this months ppc with the bike engine kitten

you might get ideas :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Reliant Fox A80CJR
PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2020 9:05 pm 
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Posts: 105
Location: Aberdeenshire
Car Models: 1982 99GL
Some great work there Dave!


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 Post subject: Re: Reliant Fox A80CJR
PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2020 11:53 pm 
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Looks like there is some work to do!

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 Post subject: Re: Reliant Fox A80CJR
PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2020 11:13 am 
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Location: Glenrothes, Fife
Car Models: 95, 99, 900, 9000, 93, Sonett
With the front corner in bits, it was time to move on to the rear. The whole back end was generally in terrible condition, but again with lots of heat, penetrating fluid, and a breaker bar, it all came undone. For a small car there's a lot of tension in those leaf springs!
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The shackle bushes were all horribly seized and perished. The rubber bushes were drilled with holes all around, filled with Plusgas and burned out with a blowtorch. The metal shells wouldn't budge, so a segment was slowly and carefully cut out using a metal bladed jigsaw, then bent in on themselves using a chisel. A long slow process to avoid damaging the leaf spring.
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New bushes were sourced for the leafs from Superflex. Not cheap but superb quality. One thing I did find with these rear leaf bushes, though. Superflex list all the kits as for a Reliant Kitten, as they are essentially the same car. However, the Fox being the utility model, has a stronger rear leaf spring, and so the mounting bolt is 1/2", whereas the Kitten is 3/8". The stainless sleeve supplied is for the Kitten and so too small, so had to be carefully drilled out in a pillar drill.
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The restored & painted leaves were then reassembled using a special high impact anti-friction tape, to ensure the leaves moved freely across each other and did not squeak. In the old days leaves might have been greased and wrapped, but given the Fox was relatively cheap car, it's leaves were just left as metal on metal. New leaf sets are available, but ours seemed in serviceable condition with good springing.
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Rear axle was overhauled with all new seals and bearings. Half shafts were cleaned up - the car had been standing so long that some of the oil had solidified on the shafts in big lumps.
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Refitting the leaf spring to the car was not one of the most fun jobs I've ever done. You need to install the front mounting first, then apply upward pressure to the midpoint of the spring, then try and pull the rear end down into the shackle mount to extend the spring length. This is somewhat hazardous, as a slipped spring could smash your face in or crush your hand. In the end I had the spring end ratchet strapped to a car outside and under considerable tension, a trolley jack under the midpoint, and my biggest pry bar levering the mount into position, with the other hand trying to get a 1/2" bolt into a blind hole... I was glad when it was done!
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Rear brake backing plates all made up... nice easy job to do on a quiet evening.
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 Post subject: Re: Reliant Fox A80CJR
PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2020 11:33 am 
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Location: Glenrothes, Fife
Car Models: 95, 99, 900, 9000, 93, Sonett
Incredibly the brake master cylinder still held pressure after all the years, and the brakes still worked. Nonetheless, a full stripdown was required. The first piston came out easily enough with gentle persuasion, but the second piston was well seized in the bore. Heating the cylinder to cherry red, Plusgas down the bore and into the ports, and violent hammering with a dead blow mallet eventually brought it out. The rubber seals themselves were still in excellent condition.
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There was some very light pitting on the cylinder bore, which I thought could be taken out with a honing tool. Of course, my honing tool turned out to be ever so slightly too large for the bore, which is typical. So resorted to a piece of 1200 grit paper wrapped around a large screwdriver, lots of time and care. There is a company who can sleeve cylinders with a stainless liner, so all would not be lost if it didn't hold pressure. New cylinders are impossible to find, and around £150 when the do come up...
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One rebuild kit, a coat of paint, and a thoroughly scrubbed reservoir later, it's looking fit for service. But will it hold pressure?
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Back on the car, and with new kunifer brake pipes made up. It's hard stuff to work, because once bent it work hardens, and so it's difficult to form and reform, you kind of need to get it right first time. Better and stronger than copper, it won't go brittle and shear as copper tends to do.
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Given that everything in the system is brand new, I decided to give Dot 5 silicone fluid a go - it has a long service life, high boiling point, and won't eat paintwork. Drum brakes are prone to fade and heat build up, causing fluid in wheel cylinders to boil and the pedal to sink to the floor. Hopefully this will prevent that problem. Pleased to say that once bled, the cylinder did hold pressure, and once adjusted up the pedal is reasonable - Dot 5 is prone to a softer pedal apparently because of it's physical properites, but the brakes bite well and the pedal firms up.

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 Post subject: Re: Reliant Fox A80CJR
PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2020 3:18 pm 
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Location: Glenrothes, Fife
Car Models: 95, 99, 900, 9000, 93, Sonett
The original wheels that came with the car were horribly corroded, tyres perished, and no hope of holding air. Our local tyre place stripped the knackered tyres off the rims, had a quick look at their condition, and suggested the rims were beyond repair. Reliant sourced these wheels from the Bedford HA van, and so replacements in any condition are very hard to find. PCD is 4 x 4" so standard fitment for any number of 1970s Vauxhalls and BL cars, but I wanted to retain the original wheels if possible. So wire brushed the rims with a knotted wheel, then dipped them in a heated Deox-C bath for a week to chemically remove the rust, then knotted wheeled them again. This brought them back to bare clean metal. Several were badly pitted, and one was holed through the inner rim, so these were repaired by welding in new metal to the pitted & holed areas.
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They then received two coats of red oxide primer to hopefully rustproof the rims.
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The downstairs bathroom was turned into a nice warm painting booth! The rears and inside of the rims received two coats of chassis black paint, while the faces were painted in a metallic silver.
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Once painted and cured, we sourced some cheap winter tyres - Torque TQ022. Despite their sub-£30 price per tyre, they seem to have a good reputation, and came mid table in winter tyre test reviews. 12" tyres are very limited in availability anyway, so a mid placed winter tyre for year round use is probably better than a very cheap summer tyre. Took the wheels back down to the same guy who condemned them - he couldn't believe they were the same rims. Happily they hold air without tubes, and look good on the car.
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