It might be the sensible way to preserve your car, but I hate taking them off the road for winter! It may sound like the talk of a bufty with a pampered trailer-queen, but in the past I’ve carried on using old cars through the winter and have witnessed the horrors that UK road salt creates! A rotten shell usually! It’s even worse up here, with the vast quantities of salt the Scottish councils lather every possible inch of Tarmac with every year! Any chance we could all just use winter tyres and teach drivers how to deal with the slippy stuff? Rather than cover the roads in car-killing condiments!
Well the Cossie might have been sitting parked up in a huff at not being used, but I’ve at least been gathering parts for its 2017 return. Handling is the main agenda this year, and at the end of 2016 I had collected my modified rear beam from MC Fabrications. It’s an awesome bit of kit, with loads of adjustment and expertly fabricated new pick up points. The next part was to take it to my local trusted powder-coaters, Custom Coatings in Mossend. I only requested a simple grey finish to keep things rust free, but as usual Adie went above and beyond the call of duty and finished the beam in a stunning metallic grey which looks way to good to hide under the car!
The rear beam’s main use isn’t about looking pretty though, it’s all about sorting the typically dreadful Sierra geometry. The trailing arm setup on all Cosworths is incredibly simple and quite crude to be honest. When the suspension is compressed extra camber and toe are automatically dialled into the equation. In the simplest OE applications this can work without too many dramas – as the car will typically be cornering when the compression occurs, and the increased camber will help align the tyre tread with the road. Also the compressed corner will toe in, and this will increase stability too.
However, the problems come when you add stiffened and lowered suspension, or even if the suspension is compressed when not cornering. When lowered the geometry is effectively in a perpetual state of compression, so added excess camber reduces the tyre’s contact patch with the road, and both rear wheels are constantly toeing in!
The toe has the effect of making the car very stable at the rear, but there is the trade-off of when traction does eventually break, it does so extremely suddenly! Dangerously-so in fact. My experience of drifting cars with a non-adjusting live axle such as a Capri, and more complex self-adjusting rear ends such as my E36 BMW clearly highlight just how serious an issue this is in a Sierra. And especially a Sierra which is intended for some occasional drift use!
The new MC Fabrication beam not only allows the camber and toe to be adjusted, it also has the ‘6 degree’ modification which will address some of the geometry issues too. Basically, this mod means the suspension geometry will not change as much as it would on a standard beam when under compression. The aim here is to get the wheels pointing in the right direction, and then minimise any deviation from that whilst in use – and the MC Fabrication beam looks like the right bit of kit for the job!
Bruce Holder Design