Burton Technical Issues

This page attempts to document the build of a Burton sportscar and problems encountered. I've included entries for all issues that stopped me in my build. Some were simple, some took a while to resolve. By documenting them here, future builders may be able to save some thinking time.

0..Master Cylinder
2..Lowering Suspension
3..Priming and Painting
4..Grease Nipples
5..Front Driveshaft Nut Removal
6..Rear Drum Removal
7..Front Caliper Piston Removal
8..Front Hub Bearing

Master Cylinder
First problem I had was early on when dismantling my donor Dolly. How on earth does the master cylinder reservoir come off the master cylinder? Simple anser is to push it sideways with both thumbs and it should pop off.

I know nothing about speedometers - well I didn't until now. If you don't want to use the speedo from the donor car, you're going to have to find a suitable replacement. Unless you're really lucky, any replacement will need to be recalibrated to suit your gearbox output ratio and size of tyres. You may also have to get a cable made up to connect from your gearbox to the fitting on the back of the speedo.

I had a look at a Smiths speedo from a Triumph Herald - and the cable fitting is identical. These units have the advantage of having oil pressure warning, high beam, ignition and indicator lamps within the speedo. However, the speedo would have to be recalibrated to suit the Burton.

Another option is to use a citroen speedo from a suitable car. I managed to get a full set of GS instruments which should be a perfect fit. The GS tacho is designed for a 4-cylinder engine but can be easily modified for two cylinders.

Lowering Suspension
Burton (and Lomax) offer elongated suspension tie-rod adjusters. This allows the rear suspension to be dropped considerably, but with the result of upsetting the steering geometry of the front arms. By lowering the back of the car, the castor angle of the king pins are increased making the steering heavier when cornering at speed.

One solution is to cut the king-pin spigots off the front swinging arms and rotate them to restore the original castor angle, thus providing light steering. The CSC club magazine "Flat Out" covers this subject in some detail and it's relatively easy to do.

The result of rotating the spigots is that the wheelbase of the vehicle will be increased by approx 1 inch. This will require you to adjust the track rods to cope, winding the adjusters out towards their limit. ECAS sell new stainless adjusters which should help in this area (I don't know if they're longer or not!).

Priming and Painting

After talking to some people and getting advice from those that have gone before, I have chosen to use a chassis black enamel on the suspension arms rather than a Hammerite product. Apparently, Hammerite dries too brittle and can get easily chipped off by stones etc from the road, requiring constant touching up.

Chassis Black is a traditional automotive synthetic enamel and is petrol/diesel/grime resistant. I only managed to find a single supplier in the UK - Frosts.

The processes I'm using for for repainting the suspension components are:
1) Soak in white spirit and scrub to remove the old waxoyl
2) De-grease in Gunk and wash off in water
3) Wire brush to remove all old paint and rust.
4) Wipe with white spirit to remove paint/waxoil residue and leave to air dry
5) Paint with Hammerite Kurust and leave 24 hours
6) Paint with Hammerite Primer and leave 24 Hours
7) Paint 2 coats with either Hammerite (non road stressed areas) or Chassis Black Enamel

Grease Nipples

Due to the number of 'worn' components on the donor car, I've decided to fit some extra grease nipples on the Burton rolling chassis. The track-rod end covers can be drilled and tapped to accept a grease nipple. This will make greasing of the track-rod ends fairly simple and should form part of my routine maintenance.

Another application of an extra grease nipple is on the tie-rod adjusters to allow the knife edges to be easily lubricated. The replacement tie-rod adjusters from Burton can be drilled and tapped to deliver grease at exactly the place it's needed.

Front Driveshaft nut removal

How do you stop the front hub turning when trying to undo the driveshaft nut? Books talk about putting a steel bar between the studs on the hub, about getting an assistant to apply the brakes (assuming you've still got brakes at this point in the build), about using a GS wheel or cutting the centre out of a scrap wheel.

When dismantling, I didn't have any brakes nor any of the additional items needed above. My solution was simple. I simply laid a road wheel on a 3'x3' sheet of MDF, marked the positions of the bolt holes and drilled them through. I then used a jigsaw to cut a hole in the centre of my MDF 'wheel' and offered this up to the hub. It can be firmly attached with wheel nuts and the car lowered so that sufficient weight is on the bottom edge of the board to stop it and the hub rotating.

Rear drum removal

Have you undone the rear hub nut and can't get the rear brake drum off? Attach a road wheel with a captive hub-cap nut in its centre and then insert a 10mm bolt into the hole and screw in until it bears upon the stub axle. Keep turning it and the hub will slowly be pulled off. I didn't think that this would work - I thought that the 10mm bolt was either too weak or the captive nut would just turn. It wasn't and it didn't - it all worked a treat and very little effort is needed to extract the drum this way!

Front Caliper Piston Removal

So you're overhauling your disk brake calipers and have split the front caliper. How do you get the pistons out? Try to drain as much LHM from the caliper as possible, then put one finger over the 'interconnecting hole' and the plastic nozzle from a foot pump (airbed or car variety) over the inlet (or bleed) hole and pump. It'll take a couple of sharp pumps to get the piston moving, but it will soon pop out. Try to catch it in something suitable such as a clean rag.

Front Hub Bearing

I had need to remove and replace one of my front hub bearings. Not as easy task to complete without specialist tools. The easy way to do it to to drill the two peening points securing the bearing locking ring, then drill through the ring inside the cut-outs (don't worry about going too deep - you won't be able to drill into the bearing shell). Ensure that you don't damage the thread on the swivel. You should be able to knock the two halves of the ring out now. The wheel bearing should be easy enough to knock out of the hub with a soft drift.

A new ring nut can now be used with the new bearing. Bear in mind that wheel bearing kits only come with a single oil seal (the rear bearing only needs one). The front bearing needs two seals, so you'll have to order a second seperately.

The old bearing can be dismantled and the outer shell used to make a tool to tighten the new ring nut. The outer shell is very hard, and will be almost impossible to work in this state. I heated mine up with a blowtorch to cherry red and let it cool very slowly. It's then a simple job to cut it with an angle grinder to make a 'ring spanner' with two protrusions which fit snuggly into the new rign nut. Grind a couple of notches on the back of the shell, weld a handle through these and use this to install your new wheel bearing.