View Full Version : New owner and already problems

03-05-2014, 10:35 PM
I thought I'd take my 5exi to Stoneleigh, calling in to Donington on the way, to watch the historic racing. First problem, reverse, 1st and 3rd gears are difficult to select. I suspect the cables need adjusting but where do I start?
Second, I have switches on the dash and don't know what they are for. I think one may be to switch off the shield of invisibility which seems to come on from time to time, or it could be that some drivers are just too stupid to look before they pull out. The third problem, which has resulted in a return trip to my house on the back of a recovery truck is a snapped track rod, or to be more accurate, the bracket on the upright has snapped where the track rod end fits. It's obviously been cracked for some time, judging by the rust. Are these uprights easily obtainable. I've only had the car 2 days and haven't contacted Marlin to ask them yet.

04-05-2014, 08:43 AM
That is frightening. Even from a "layman's" point of view the design seems poor.

Paul H

04-05-2014, 09:28 AM
Hi Paul. I'm not sure that it's a design fault. I have no way of knowing what has caused the fracture, at the moment I don't know if the upright is from a "donor" vehicle or a Marlin part. I'm going to Stoneleigh tomorrow, I hope to pick some brains there.

04-05-2014, 09:36 PM
Hi Stan,

Shame you couldn't make it today - we had 3 cars on the stand....looked good!

The snapped steering arm is poor. Looking at the rust you are correct that it has been cracked for a good while. My car has the earlier mk1 suspension and uprights and is a different arrangement. Yours looks like the later Mk 2 suspension / hubs (judging by the dark grey colour)....Marlin will be the simplest source for a new one. Alternatively try Dave Gallop at Track Developments (he will be at Stoneleigh on his stand tomorrow) - he may suggest a stiffer / stronger alternative.

Good Luck


Alan c
05-05-2014, 01:24 PM
If it was a Toyota 4 million cars would be recalled and few million $ off their share price. Not sure if Marlin are still producing these kits and what responsibility they have for alerts or recalls (this looks like a kit part as unlikely a mainstream car would have this design but you never know). It may have been a rogue piece of steel or could be a high stress points and more failures will be seen later (with lethal consequenses). In this world of litigation someone could have recourse to Marlin and say they were aware of the fault (if Marlin have members who read this forum) and did nothing.

Just a thought

Alan c
05-05-2014, 02:23 PM
Also it looks like the fracture is close to a weld for a boss of some sort - which would suggest that the "heat effected zone" near the weld caused some hardening of the steel during heating and cooling making it more brittle. This could cause a brittle fracture. Possibly even the fracture propergating from a stress raiser caused by an undercut from the weld itself, so this may also be a sellective fault.

05-05-2014, 08:10 PM
Hi Stan,

Give Terry and e-mail at Marlin explaining the above with pictures and this will help them initially, they may request that the upright is sent to them so they can have a good look at it. I have these same uprights on my race car and the factory race cars, 3 of them, all have the same uprights, along with a high number of other road cars so hopefully it is a one off. If you get stuck though give Dave Gallop @ Track Developments a ring or e-mail, if you haven't already seen him at Stoneliegh, and he will be able to assist you.


06-05-2014, 06:45 AM
Hi Jono, thanks for the advice, I will be replacing both uprights. I'll talk to Terry at Marlin and Dave at track developments to see what they suggest. My car is booked for a sprint event at Blyton on 17th so I haven't much time to get the parts and put it together. It's not the start I was hoping for but hopefully I can put this behind me and look forward to using the car the way it should be used. I'm not new to Kit car ownership, I've had Grinnall Scorpions for 9 years, so I realise the unique problems associated with it. My difficulty is that I haven't had time to learn about the car and support before things went wrong. Climbing the steep learning curve now.

Alan c
06-05-2014, 09:27 AM
Dont know if it helps but from the limited photo the crack looks to be a fatigue crack (there is rust on broken face so it must have been failing for a while until there was a final failure). If you can get access to some die penetrant and somebody who can use it you can test for the crack being present even if not visible to the naked eye (most serious machine shops will have it). If there is no sign of a initial crack it should be OK for a while - no guarantees.

06-05-2014, 08:24 PM
Is it possible the suspension was operating through a greater range than the movement in the ball joint thus causing the track rod to lever against the arm causing a fatigue point on the arm.

02-06-2014, 09:25 PM
Have you fixed it Stan?

02-06-2014, 10:47 PM
Hi Ben, It is at Marlin now for investigation and repair. The office is closed until 6 June so I won't know what they have found until then. It has been a disappointing start but, hopefully, once it's resolved I can look forward to getting some track tuition before taking it to a couple of events. I'm scheduled to do a tour of Europe in my Grinnall Scorpion in August but it is suffering from gear shift problems so I may end up doing it in the 5exi. We usually finish the trip with a visit to the Nürburgring so that would be an interesting trial.

13-06-2014, 10:10 AM
A quick update. I have spoken to Terry and Kevin at Marlin. The front suspension/steering has been stripped down. there is a damaged wishbone which might lead to suspicion that it has had a collision at some time. The reaction of Steve, the dealer who sold me the car, to his information was "interesting" "I doubt it has been in a collision more likely questionable build quality, but they would no own up to that. Anyway keep me advised" Wrong on so may levels.
All damaged and suspect parts are being replaced with the latest racing spec items, Steering geometries re-aligned and the car will have a thorough check before I pick it up on 1July. I am looking forward to visiting the Marlin workshop and meeting Terry and Kevin, and then the 400 miles or so drive back to Whitley Bay.

02-07-2014, 04:26 PM
Update. I picked the car up yesterday. Had an interesting Morning with Terry and Kevin as they showed me round the works. I saw the new Avatar and a prototype of a sequential gear change. Both well engineered. Kevin was very thorough explaining what had been done to rectify the fault and to show me how the car had been set up for my requirements. Well, he must have made a good job of it because I drove 435 mile home, mixture of boring motorways and delightful scenic roads topped by the drive over Hartside Pass. I arrived home with a smile on my face and only a few aches in my bones.
Now to get some track time booked.

02-07-2014, 04:32 PM
Did anyone explain why the steering arm failed??

03-07-2014, 04:36 PM
Hi Ben, No-one could give definitive answer, there is damage to the bottom wishbone, taking the 2 things together you could conclude that the steering at that side has had some sort of collision. I'm guessing a sideways blow or even a hard trip into gravel trap with full lock. But it is conjecture. It does not appear to be metal fatigue. The new upright has a slightly different layout, the reinforcing gusset runs down the centre of the arm.
No-one else has had a similar failure, even after some pretty heavy crashes.