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Many hands — and more room — make light work of those tricky jobs. Like making up a custom exhaust system on Mike’s Mk1 Fiesta turbo.


Sometimes you need to know what your limits are in a tight single garage… When I was eyeing up what was involved in making the exhaust under the Mk1 Fiesta turbo and engineering the custom driveshafts needed for the six-speed gearbox, I felt I could really do with a ramp and access to some decent tools. My friends once again stepped in and Zak at Power Engineering offered his time on a Saturday and access to a ramp, if I could get the car over to him. A quick call to Gary at GB Motors to organise the transportation of the Fiesta in the morning and we were set to crack on with all the fiddly jobs on the underside of the car. 

Before Gary arrived with the truck, I had already pushed the car outside and rinsed the three years’ worth of dust off the roof — from where it has been laid up for so long, it looked more like a barn-find than a project car. On Gary’s arrival we winched it up on the bed of the truck and strapped it down in seconds. En route I proudly followed behind, admiring the car as it bounced down the road on the back of the truck. It was really good to see the car clean and out of its garage glistening in the sun for a change. 

When we arrived at Power Engineering we quickly set about getting the car inside the workshop and up on the ramp to assess what needed to be done in the one-day timeframe. Zak nominated himself to tackle the exhaust elements, which consisted of designing pie-cut bends that connect onto the downpipe and snaked around the gearbox cradle missing the sump while swerving around the turbo oil returns. This pipe mates onto a small silencer that now sits within the tunnel (where the old gearlever mechanism once lived). Off the silencer it then merges into the side-exit boom tube I had already fabricated a few months back. 

Zak managed to tack it all in place including four folded stainless brackets, utilising cotton reel-style mounts that bolt up into the underside of the car. We even drilled and welded in the two lambda bosses ready for my ECU and AFR gauge to take readings from the exhaust gasses.

Custom shafts

While Zak was working his magic on the exhaust I set about disassembling the box of spare driveshafts I have accumulated over the years. I need to utilise the Focus ST170 inner splines and the outer CVs from the Fiesta. Luckily we have already completed a six-speed conversion in our late friend, Stevo’s rat Mk1 Fiesta, so we had two driveshaft measurements to work from. I had to remember to add 25 mm onto these sizes as I have widened the front track of the car by an inch either side. With all the CVs removed, I carefully cut the Fiesta and Focus ST shafts down and tack-welded the two parts together giving us dummy shafts to dry build up with the CVs mounted back on (with no boots or grease this time). These were slotted back in the car while it was on the ramp. This allowed us to check the length and the amount of float in the dry lobe joints when turning the steering and running the suspension up and down its travel. 

Happy with the lengths, we made a note of the final sizes and knocked the welds off to hand them over to our top engineering guy, Carlo at AR Valli & Sons. Carlo set about machining down the ends of the driveshafts slightly to slot into a super tight interference-fit sleeve that had previously been turned for me. These had to be heated up in order for it to slide over either end of the shafts. Zak then TiG welded around the sleeves making them one piece. I appreciate these might not be the strongest driveshafts out there, but they will get me up and running until I can afford some custom-made one-piece items at a later date. Plus I am interested to see how much abuse these ones can actually take before they do fail. Assuming they fail at all!

mk1 fiesta turbo

Finishing up

The day soon came to and end. Zak and I did make a start on the rear brake lines, but the rest I will have to tackled on another day. Gary returned and we loaded the car back up on the truck to return it to my dusty garage. I really appreciated all the help and access to the ramp. It would have taken me weeks on my own to achieve what we managed in just one day between us. It’s true what they say —  you need the right tools for the job; I just wish I could fit a two-poster ramp in my garage. 

mk1 fiesta turbo

See more on Mike’s Mk1 Fiesta turbo in the December 2019 issue

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