Author Topic: Daf 33; Suitable For Trialing?  (Read 2467 times)

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Offline Andy Hutchings

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Daf 33; Suitable For Trialing?
« on: April 15, 2020, 04:54:39 pm »
O.K., new boy here-first post! I joined last Christmas as I'd found loads of references to the M.C.C. in old editions of "Autocar" from the 1940s & 50s, bequeathed to me by my late Father. The Lands End course also ran through parts of the country where I grew up in north Devon, further raising my interest....

I'm also a classic car fan and own a Daf 33 (it was my first car when I was 17-not THE same one!) which I use on a regular basis, covering about 3-4,000 miles per annum & it would be this car I should like to consider trailing. Having carefully read the rulebook I consider my vehicle would fall into class 6, but I'd like to know if the Daf "Variomatic" transmission system would give it an unfair advantage. Any thoughts anyone?
I don't know that you've done to me, sir, but you've done me a power of good!

Offline Tim Kingham

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Re: Daf 33; Suitable For Trialing?
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2020, 06:04:36 pm »
Perhaps  class R would be a chance to get a flavor of it

Alastair Queen

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Re: Daf 33; Suitable For Trialing?
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2020, 06:38:31 pm »
Class O might also be suitable to learn the ropes?

There have been DAFs trialed before...

Belts requiring changing may have been one of the issues?

The 33, at 750cc. is perhaps a little underpowered?  Of course, it uses an engine remarkably similar to BMW flat twins[from their motorcycles]...[once it was shown how buying engine spares in DAF boxes saved a lot over buying the same spares in BMW boxes?]
If there is a similarity, what about trying out a 1000cc BMW engine? [tongue-in-cheek...but someone might try it?]

Offline Simon Woodall

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Re: Daf 33; Suitable For Trialing?
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2020, 09:52:45 am »
I agree with all that Alistair says.  (Which is unusual  :) )

Class O is definitely the place to start, although if you do step up to the big time, Class 3 would be the home for this machine, not 6.
There are two people in the club who have serious experience of these machines and maybe they can give you some advice (both used the more powerful 66).
I do remember that the belts take a hammering so they need to be "best quality".   You will also find that the variable transmission is not always your friend, there are times when it need to be discouraged from "changing up" so that the engine can rev a little.   I believe that somewhere in the wiring there is a little switch that makes the transmission hold on to bottom gear.

Offline Paul K

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Re: Daf 33; Suitable For Trialing?
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2020, 11:39:03 am »
For those unfamiliar with the Daf variomatic transmission, here’s what it looks like.

Offline Andy Hutchings

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Re: Daf 33; Suitable For Trialing?
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2020, 05:36:15 pm »
Many thanks for all your comments and suggestions-much to think about there. The comment about a Daf 33, with its 30 BHP engine might not be "up to the task" is interesting, since I understand that in the early 1960s a Daf Daffodil (the forerunner of the 33, and slightly less powerful) was, indeed, entered in a number of trials. In fact, I have a picture of this, taken (I think!) at the bottom of Simms Hill, presumably during a Lands End Trail. I'm not sure if it's possible to add pictures to the entries, but if it is, I'll attempt so to do.

As to the control of the Daf "Variomatic", the system does allow the driver to lock the transmission into the lowest ratio, particularly when descending steep hills. In effect, it's the same as the "L" option on a normal automatic transmission. The switch could equally be used to "lock down" (sorry, given the current travel restrictions) the transmission when ASCENDING a steep hill.

Many thanks for all your comments and thoughts-I'm enjoying reading about all of this stuff!   
I don't know that you've done to me, sir, but you've done me a power of good!

Offline Jason Potts

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Re: Daf 33; Suitable For Trialing?
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2020, 08:55:27 pm »
Andy, try and get as much ground clearance out of it as you can and just give it a bash in class 0. Forget comments about power. Some hills you'll clear, some you won't. The ones you don't will be down to lack of traction. You'll have loads of fun and you'll learn a lot about yourself and the car. After your first trial you'll have lots of modification ideas for next time trust me.

Take some tools, a cigarette plug compressor, tyre gauge and a head torch. Duck tape fixes a lot of things and so do cable ties.

You'll need a spill kit and a fire extinguisher.

Alastair Queen

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Re: Daf 33; Suitable For Trialing?
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2020, 11:46:46 am »
....and an active passenger!

Offline Paul K

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Re: Daf 33; Suitable For Trialing?
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2020, 12:07:03 pm »
…. and a reversing light.  Some of the old classics might not have one.  If there's no switch on the transmission, a switch on the instrument panel will do.

The fire extinguisher must conform to the regs.  There's two threads on this on the Forum at http://www.themotorcyclingclub.org.uk/forum/index.php?topic=374.msg2759#msg2759 and http://www.themotorcyclingclub.org.uk/forum/index.php?topic=101.msg524#msg524 .

As Jason says, don't worry about the power.   I'd also add; get rid of any unnecessary weight, don't carry stuff that you don't need; move as much stuff as you do need to carry over the rear wheels. 

If you're able, move the spare wheels and jack onto a cradle at the rear of the car (there's loads of examples on other trials cars).  However, don't exceed the maximum rear overhang permitted in the regulations, otherwise, the scrutineer might fail you.  Off the top of my head, I can't remember the overhand figure.

Alastair Queen

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Re: Daf 33; Suitable For Trialing?
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2020, 03:54:17 pm »
As Paul K says, the power of the engine isn't that important....What is important is that the power -to-weight [ratio] is looked at..Hence, if the engine is low on power, so the weight of the  car & what's in it should be looked at with a view to reducing everything that isn't necessary..
The important thing to remember with a trial is..to finish....regardless of what happens during the event.
So I would only carry those spares for items which will definitely stop the car moving. Might be an idea to tape a spare throttle cable to the existing one[if a cable is used?]...as an example?  Maybe get hold of a few spare wheel nuts as well? [One will usually get lost in the dark & the mud, if a puncture is sustained?

Some competitors have been known to have so many heavy spares in their boots, they could build  a new car on the spot!  Mind, i have been grateful in the past, for the loan of a working alternator at the start of an Edinburgh trial [what was the name of that cafe that stayed open all night? Famous for the quantity of grease in the fried breakfasts? ] from the boot of a Midget...

Think also about tyres?

Offline Andy Hutchings

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Re: Daf 33; Suitable For Trialing?
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2020, 04:43:55 pm »
Many thanks for all this-a surfeit of assistance! I already have a fire extinguisher and have today ordered a spill kit, which confirms with the MCC rules. Daf 33 cars had reversing lights as an optional extra, and I've obtained & fitted a set to my car, operated by engaging reverse and it lights 2 x 21 watt bulbs, built into the normal light clusters.

Tyres: Daf 33s were normally specified with Michelin ZX 135/80R13 tyres, although 145 was an option, usually being fitted to the Van version. My car currently sports four Firestone 135/80R13s, with a spare tyre of "unclear" provenance, having been manufactured in Bosnia Herzegovina.... I'm making inquiries from a specialist tyre dealer for a set of six 145/80R13 tyres, from a quality manufacturer, such as Continental or Firestone, but the current situation has slowed this. The spare two could be mounted on the boot, using a small chrome "boot rack" and I have a spare refurbished starter motor and a dynamo in my stock of spare parts, together with a huge number of other bits & pieces. I wouldn't want the car to be over-loaded, though!     
I don't know that you've done to me, sir, but you've done me a power of good!

Offline Dennis Greenslade

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Re: Daf 33; Suitable For Trialing?
« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2020, 11:57:33 am »
Good Morning Andy. I trialled a DAF for two years with some success. If you advise me with your e-mail address I will provide you with the history of events entered, preparation and driving techniques. Dennis Greenslade.

Offline AdrianTP

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Re: Daf 33; Suitable For Trialing?
« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2020, 08:44:21 pm »
Hi Andy - great to have you aboard!  My Dad was a DAF dealer and campaigned a 55 for a few MCC events in the 70's, while I enjoyed a 33 in my first local grass autotests...I still recall the sensation of the rear swing axle getting us up on tiptoes when 'hurtling' around cones!  Preparation-wise, I'd endorse so much of what Paul and Alistair have suggested about getting the car's weight down and taking a minimum amount of spare and regulation kit to compensate for the little engine.  At least the flat twin won't be too exposed underneath, but you may want to check for any vulnerable parts, cables etc and either fix them up out of the way of ruts and rocks, or make some small localised skid plates so you can confidently keep your foot down!  In the transmission, the Variomatic does bring the benefit of no cross-axle differential (I guess not a problem in Cl. O) to help your grip, and as you say you'll have the 'ahem...lock down' facility to keep the essential low ratio.  Its main snag is the centrifugal clutch, which Dad found engaged around 1500 rpm which was fine in normal road conditions but didn't allow urgent getaways on our hills.  Of course in manual cars we bring up the revs to above peak torque before engaging the clutch - Dad fitted spacers to the clutch springs to make it engage at higher revs...a bit of experimentation needed here for you.  Otherwise its a critical check over the body (particularly rust-prone suspension mounting points), exhaust, wipers etc and new belts of course.  If you get the opportunity before a long distance MCC trial, see if you can try out your car on a local clubbie single venue trial - A great chance to try out the car and different driving styles, what works and doesn't, and have fun while getting tips from friendly 'old hands'.

Offline Andy Hutchings

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Re: Daf 33; Suitable For Trialing?
« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2020, 09:23:22 am »
Dear Dennis,

Yes, I'd appreciate any information about Dafs trialling in the past. my email address is:

andyrooen5@aol.com

(I tried to send this as a P.M., but my answer to the second question wasn't accepted.....!)

I'm looking over the car and considering what areas need examination. I don't think I want to alter the spring settings in the clutch, as I do use the car as an "everyday" car, and this would possibly adversely affect its normal running. My 33 is a "mark 3" one and the final design sold. The clutch engagement process was at slightly different speeds, to comply with the post 1971 exhaust emission regulations. The clutch grips solidly at 2750 RPM, which is the point of maximum engine torque. I've changed belts on a Daf myself before, which is an awkward, rather than a complex process, and my car is now running on a new set of belts I fitted last year (about 3,000 miles) ago, as one of the earlier ones snapped, while I was on the M1.... interesting! When I removed the remains of the snapped one and the one still working I discovered they were Daf original ones-so almost 50 years old! The newer belts ordered via the Daf Owners Club are made of Kevlar (as used in bullet-proof vests....) and are stronger then the original steel braced ones.

Much to learn, do and consider-thank you all for your help and advice!     
I don't know that you've done to me, sir, but you've done me a power of good!

Offline Andy Hutchings

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Re: Daf 33; Suitable For Trialing?
« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2020, 01:34:42 pm »
I've done some more digging into some trialling matters raised by contributors to the Forum, and have come up with the following:

According to a "Motoring Which" report, the ground clearance for a FULLY LADEN Daf 33 is 5 1/4 inches, the lowest point being the exhaust pipe. This measurement is with the specified 135/80R13 tyres, so fitting 145 ones would raise the clearance to 5 & 2/3rds inch, although I don't imagine the car would be FULLY loaded, so I'm thinking I could use 6 inches as a rough figure for clearance.   

I've taken delivery of my spill kit and am working on the sump guard next. I've also fitted a new set of yellow halogen fog lamps. I'm aware of the requirement to have working  reversing lights, but may I ask if there are any other specific lighting requirements for trials cars?

This research and reading is a huge help during the lockdown!
I don't know that you've done to me, sir, but you've done me a power of good!