igus low-friction tribo tape improves endurance race reliability

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What is classed as ‘the most extraordinary journey possible in a motor car’ will kick start next year when more than 100 vehicles, in Vintageant and Classic categories, will attempt the 6th Peking to Paris Motor Challenge. Starting from the Great Wall of China near Beijing on 12th June 2016 and just over a month later ending in Paris, the intrepid drivers will cross the finish line in Place Vendome on 17th July.

igus low-friction tribo tape improves endurance race reliabilityFor the second time ever, a 1960s Morgan Plus 4 will be competing in the motor challenge. In preparation for the race, Mulberry Fabrications, a Warwickshire-based company that has over 30 years’ experience in modifying and rebuilding sports and racing cars, has been tasked with overhauling the classic car to the expectation that it can complete the event without any mechanical failure.

Mulberry has extensive experience in Morgan race modifications. The steel chassis of the Plus 4 four-seater was substantially redesigned and reinforced using modern high-strength steel and aircraft-grade materials. Under race conditions, both the rear springs and front suspension are usually heavily greased or lubricated, which in very dusty, sandy and dirty conditions can lead to premature failure. A rear leaf spring defect, which left the car stranded in the Gobi desert for 4 days in the previous race, was of particular concern.

Simon Hall, Director, Mulberry Fabrications, says: “I had already planned on using the igus J3 bearings to replace the conventional bushings on the front springs, which would negate lubrication and solve the potential critical failure points. However, when I was provided with a sample of the self-adhesive iglidur tribo-tape, the back leaf springs seemed an obvious application.”

Previously PTFE strips had been sandwiched between the leaf springs to replace the grease, but tended to extrude out under continued loading. The tribo-tape is made of iglidur A160 material, which is characterised by having low friction values, high wear resistance and being self-lubricating. Being light in weight and easy to cut, this tape also offers considerable noise reduction in the leaf springs, something that the two drivers will appreciate while travelling along the 10,000km of mostly dirt track roads.

A brand new set of Morgan leaf springs were bought by Mulberry and dismantled. The individual leaves were carefully de-burred and polished on the sliding surfaces, and then the tribo-tape was cut out and bonded to each leaf and then it was reassembled.

Simon adds: “Initial testing indicates a noticeable reduction in friction thanks to the tribo-tape which should result in a softer ride and eliminate the potential failure mechanism of accelerated wear due to contamination. Equipped with igus technology, we’re confident the 1960s Morgan Plus 4 will outshine the competition by overcoming some of the world’s toughest driving conditions and cross the finishing line to complete the greatest motoring adventure ever.”

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