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Archive for September, 2009

When I was researching which Formula Ford to buy, one of the most important considerations was availability of replacement parts.  After all, I’m new enough to road racing that I expect that occasional off-track excursions–no matter how much I try to avoid them–are going to lead to some damage here and there.  I wanted to avoid a car that would require custom-made replacement parts, and all of the time and expense that go with them.

What I found was that replacement parts are readily available for Swift, Van Diemen, and Crossle chassis.  I may be leaving some others out, but at least for those three makes there is no shortage of suppliers who are still selling new suspension parts, body panels, drivetrain bits, etc., etc.  (I’m not counting newer makes like Piper and Citation, which are still in production but were out of my price range.)  So I felt comfortable with the Swift DB-1 that I ended up buying, thinking that anything that broke or wore out could be replaced.

It turns out that there is at least one part that might as well be unobtainium.  On the DB-1, the oil tank also serves as the bellhousing and a stressed part of the chassis that connects the engine to the gearbox, not to mention housing the rear spring/damper assemblies.  It’s a cast aluminum part of significant size–I’ll post some pictures when I get the chance–and nobody seems to make them anymore.  I also haven’t seen one classified ad selling a used one in two years.

This is a problem because when I took my car apart, I discovered that the bottom of the casting, right under where the coilovers mount, was damaged at some point.  It looks like a previous owner of the car tried to repair the damage, bolting a small metal plate to the inside of the casting to strengthen it.  The repair was sloppy, and probably didn’t do much good either.  Now I’m going to have to get it fixed as I’m rebuilding the car… I hope that the information that I have from posts on ApexSpeed, which said that both Fast Forward Racing Components and Protech are experts at fixing these castings, is true!

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