Wednesday, 11 May 2022

Present Status

New Visitors :

If you are interested in the full story I suggest you read this post from July 2013 first for the back story : The Beginning of my Journey and then work through the rest of the Archive on the panel to the right.

Current Visitors :    Latest Post:  Kit Car Shows

Tasks Completed
1.    Initial Cosmetic Fixes
2.    Clutch Cable replaced
3.    Front Ride Height increased
4.    Sump Guard fitted
5.    Wheel Alignment checked
6.    Steering Bushes replaced
7.    The Boot (Trunk) redesigned
8.    Battery Isolation Switch fitted
9.    Brake Light Switch replaced
10.  Auxiliary Electrical Panel fitted
11.  Engine/Chassis Earth Strap fitted
12.  Fuel Filler Pipe replaced
13.  Exhaust Pipe fixed

14.  Replace Front Number Plate after crash
15.  Repair the Offside Front Wing after crash
16.  Fit Tension Spring to Clutch
17.  Fit new Front Wing
18.  Fit a new Thermostat and Cooling Fan Switch
19.  Grease Propshaft CV Joints
20.  New Rear View Mirror fitted 
21.  Steering Rack checked 
22.  Oil leak in Sump reduced
23.  A Better Rear View Mirror Fitted  
24.  Additional Flasher Light and Bigger Buzzer fitted 
25.  Elastic Band added to Fuel Filler cap to make a better seal 
26.  Rear Exhaust Mounting changed to a Rubber Mounting 
27.  Wind Deflectors Fitted
28.  New, Longer, Mud Flap fitted  (Second attempt)
29.  Exhaust Heat Shield Renovated   
30.  Doors made Folding for Storage behind Seats
31.  Reversing Lights Fixed
32.  Handbrake Guard Fitted   
33.  Reversing Sensors Fitted
34.  Reversing Switch Power feed changed to Ignition Live  
35.  Matching Nearside Front Wing and Mudflap fitted 
36.  Fog lights mounted direct to car body
37.  Handbrake adjusted  
38.  Fitted Aluminium Treadplates to Footwell Floors
39.  Catalytic Converter replaced  
40.  Petrol Smell identified and pipe replaced
41.  A Ram-Air Cooling System fitted to Starter Motor
42.  Tested the Exhaust with one outlet blocked
43.  New Luggage Rack Fitted  
44.  Fitted a new Grill
45.  Fitted a new Thermostat Gasket
46.  Fitted a new Serpentine Belt
47.  Replace Bushes on Bottom of Rear Shock Absorbers.  
48.  Raise Rear Ride Height 
49.  Engine Cover Fitted
50.  Fit Daylight Running Lights
51.  Rewired Front Indicators  
52.  Fitted Brake Light Monitor
53.  Fitted LED Voltmeter and USB Charging Point  
54.  New Battery Fitted
55.  Redesigned Heat Shield Mounting
56.  Fitted more Running Lights 
57.  Built ECU Diagnostic Interface Cable
58.  Painted Rear Drums
59.  Fitted Handbrake Warning Light
60.  Fitted Longer Wind Deflectors
70.  Fitted new Exhaust System and Lambda Sensor  
71.  Fitted Flexible Joint in Exhaust System
72.  Fitted Seat Belt Extension to Driver Seat
73.  Changed the Idle Speed from 1000 rpm to 850 rpm 
74.  Replaced Coolant Temperature Sensor 
75.  Partially blocked off Intake Grid    
76.  Fitted a Grid Guard
77.  Fitted Bonnet Louvers
78.  Fitted New Larger Wiper Blade (10")
79.  Fitted New Air Filter
80.  Fitted Tyre Pressure Gauges  
81.  Fitted New Tyres all round
82.  Removed Top Coolant Pipe
83.  Redesigned Rear Number Plate 
84.  Fitted Third (High-Level) Brake Light
85.  Fitted LED Rear Light Cluster to test
86.  Fitted Proper Thermostatic Fan Switch 
87.  Replacement Windscreen Washer Bottle fitted  
88.  Built-In Battery Charger fitted
89.  Cargo Net fitted to Passenger Footwell  
90.  New Spark Plugs fitted
91.  Fitted Power Steering Reservoir  
92.  Redesigned Dashboard 
         Phase 1 - Warning Lights and 12V Supply
         Phase 2 - Provide Access to Electrical Panel with New Cover
         Phase 3 - Fit matching Driver side Cover
         Phase 4 - Fit matching covers to Transmission Cover
         Phase 5 - Fit improved Warning Light Panel
         Phase 6 - Fit matching Centre Panel  
93.   Revised the Interior to match the Dashboard
94.   Fitted combined Oil Pressure Switch/sensor and new Switch  
95.   Added a Leg Pad
96.   Rewired Lambda Sensor  
97.   Fitted Reversing Assist Camera
98.   Fitted New Exhaust Shield  
99.   Fitted Replacement Speedo Cable
100. Fitted new Radiator
101. Repaired Nose Cone  
102. Fitted a New Nose Cone
103. Fitted a new Sump and Sump Guard  
104. Replaced cheap Oil Pressure Gauge with a Mechanical One
105. New Gear Change Knob  
106. New Sump Guard fitted
107. Carried out a Corner Weighting - Perfect 50% each way.
108. Fitted a Diagnostic Port

Tasks In Progress
Electrical System

     Phase 1 -  Identify Relays     (Partially completed)

Status: Just need to track down the ECU Relay.  I can hear it clicking behind dash and instrument cluster.

     Phase 2 -  Identify Fuses       (Partially completed)

Status: Just need to identify 3 fuses

     Phase 3 -  Identify Services   (Partially completed) 
     Phase 4 -  Fit Battery Isolation Switch   (Complete)
     Phase 5 -  Fit Auxiliary Panel                 (Complete)
     Phase 6 -  Wire in Camera and SatNav   (Complete)

Tasks Still Outstanding 

1.  Redesign Cooling System
2.  Get Speedometer working

Tuesday, 10 May 2022

Kit Car Shows

 I haven't put in a post for some time as she is running perfectly and hasn't required any fettling.    The lambda sensor suddenly started working again.

But I have still been busy, I took her to the regular 'Cakes & Coffee' meeting laid on by Great British Sportcars (GBS).   I also took her on the Stilton Cheese Run, for the 7th year and finally down to Stoneleigh for the Annual UK Kitcar Show.   The mileage is piling up and I have now passed 26,500 miles.

Good times.

Tuesday, 22 March 2022

Lambda Sensor (Again)


During the GBS trip I decided to do an instrumented run to check the lambda sensor.   I noticed straight away she didn't go into closed loop so after a few miles, while at some traffic lights, I stopped the engine, counted to 10 and restarted her (good thing we don't suffer from the hot starts any more).   She quickly went into closed loop and stayed there for the rest of the trip there.  

Here's the trace. 
As we can see she was scruffy as old boots until the restart and then absolutely fine.  

On the way back the same thing happened, except this time the first attempt at restarting didn't help.  It was a second, later, attempt, again at some traffic lights, that made the difference.,

So what can we deduce from that ?   Although the sensor could be going soft, my first thought is that the heater is not working properly.  As we know my wiring is not the best in the world 😁 I guess while I have the soldering iron out I can redo all the lambda heater joints.   I'll see how that goes.    But there's no mad rush as I don't need it working till the emissions test in August.

Monday, 21 March 2022

Cooling OK ?


During the trip to GBS I had a chance to check the cooling


And there was good news.    Here we have her on the way there.  She sat at 85C for the first 2/3rds of the trip.  The blip was when I hit a traffic hold up at the junction of the A17 and A1.  It wasn't enough to trigger the fan and as you can see it rapidly came back to normal when I hit the open road.

And here she is on the way back.  Again a solid 85C.   Although this is a bit deceptive.   At the point where the intake temperature blips I had pulled into Grantham to get some fuel.  As an experiment I switched on the fan as I was in the 30mph zone and that was the result.  

When I got back there was no water in the overflow bottle and the water level was unchanged (and I was bit concerned to find I had forgotten to bolt the nosecone in, it was simply held in position by the bonnet resting on it).  So that is a relief, it means I don't have a leak or a blown head gasket (doesn't mean I shouldn't check it before every trip though😁).   I'm still not convinced that the seal between the pressure cap and the expansion bottle isn't a bit dodgy.  I added an extra rubber seal yesterday to see if that helped.  It may have done.   I also might start getting into the habit of switching the fan on if I can see an obvious trouble spot coming up, or traffic lights or a 30mph speed limit.   It is obvious now that once she gets too hot she starts dumping water and that makes her get even hotter.   Better to prevent her getting hot in the first place.    Or maybe revert back to a 92C fan thermostatic switch from the present 95C one ?

A couple of minor glitches, the carpet on the passenger side won't stay up any more, needs redesigning (not what you would call critical 😁), I think the clutch cable needs adjusting a bit, had a couple of occasions when I couldn't get into second, and someone pointed out that my offside DRLs weren't lighting up.   I have been thinking I would rewire them properly anyway so the soldering iron comes out tomorrow.

Saturday, 19 March 2022

GBS Coffee & Cake

 Every few months Great British Sports Cars (GBS)  host a kit car meet at their factory.  GBS took over the Robin Hood fircoolm when it folded and still support the cars so I often attend the meets.   The weather today was fantastic, and I needed to check the cooling system so I decided to go. 

What a cracking drive, 75 miles in total.  Weather fantastic although cross wind on the A1 a bit rough (Only did 7 miles on the A1 though).   Also the sun is now high enough so I don't get blinded on the way back South (which is a good thing as my sunscreen blew off yesterday and was destroyed by the car behind 😁).

Never seen it so busy, there were a huge number of cars, the forecourt was full and cars were parked both sides of the approach roads for 100 yards.    Predominately Zeros, but lots of other kit cars of all shapes and sizes.  Free coffee and the best selection of cakes and biscuits I have seen for some time. 

I must admit that much as I love the Superspec I have a sneaking regard for the Ariel Atom:

Perhaps I could imitate it by taking all the side panels off 😁




I had to park on the road.   Turned out to be a good thing as I could leave when I wanted as most people on the forecourt where stuck there for the duration.   She was probably the oldest car there, all the others looked brand new in showroom condition, she still attracted a few people though so I was kept busy 

Friday, 18 March 2022


After the MOT failed with 2 of the front suspension bushes we decided to replace all the rest.   While she was in I asked the mechanic to fit some new shock absorbers I had been given, fit a new speedo cable I had found on EBay, and fit a new rear exhaust mounting that had sheared on the way to deliver the car.

 So picked her up today and we had about a 60% success rate 😁 Front end now completely re-bushed but he said there was no point in doing the tracking until I had driven a few miles to let the suspension settle.   But he did say that one of the wishbones was a bit loose with the old bushes so that may have contributed.   On the drive back she still pulls to the left a bit but nowhere near as bad as before.   He recommended a garage he uses to get all his car tracking checked, so I might do that in a few weeks.   He hadn't fitted the shock absorbers, initially he was worried that springs were a different colour (green rather than blue) which means the strength was different but then on close examination the bottom mounting was slightly wider than the existing ones so wouldn't fit.  

He also hadn't managed to fit the new speedo cable.   Again, at first it looked identical and I had checked that the instrument end as that looked different.  Turned out it was the correct version and fitted perfectly and the original one was the wrong fitting so it could only be pushed in half way.    That explained why it kept coming out.  What we didn't realise was the gearbox end, while looking identical and supposedly for an MT75, was very slightly thicker so when It was pushed in there wasn't enough clearance to fit the circlip.   So he just fitted a blanking plate to the hole, something I have been thinking of doing.   I'm in 2 minds now, I have lived without the speedo for almost 3 years now without any problem.   Or I could go to a firm that build cables and get a bespoke one made up with the gearbox end of the old one and the instrument end of the new one.    But that would be quite expensive.    We'll see.

Finally he had put a temporary solution on the exhaust mount. Unfortunately he has done such a good job I think it might be another case of a short-term fix becoming a long-term solution 😁

Wednesday, 16 March 2022

Coolant Problems (again)

Weather was good so it was a good time to have a picnic, so we went to Burghley House on Tuesday.   

Nice day but on the way back I happened to notice the temperature gauge firmly in the red.    Pulled of the road and shut her down.   It sounded like a kettle boiling in the engine.  Sure enough, when I took the bonnet off the system was boiling like mad and coolant was pouring out of the overflow.   After the original problems I have always carried a 2 ltr bottle of water in the passenger footwell.   My only concern was how long I had to wait before I could take off the pressure cap.   I was a bit surprised when I felt the cap and it wasn't hot.   So I risked taking it off, and after a few seconds of releasing the pressure it came off.    So put the 2 ltrs in and started again.   It seemed to be OK but 6 miles from home it shot up into the red again.   Luckily I had stopped in a small village and a friendly house owner filled my bottle up for me and that was enough to get me home.   So I have kept up my record of never arriving home on the back of a rescue truck 😁

So filled her up, using the top of the radiator outlet to make sure I got rid of all the air.   Drove her today, 11 miles each way and the needle didn't even get to the 'N'.    Once she has cooled off I will check the water level and make sure I don't have a new leak.   I hadn't checked the water level for months, so I think it just gradually gone down until it was suddenly below the water pump and the sensor and then it just shot up to the red as the circulation stopped.   That would explain why the pressure cap was cold and also the engine definitely did not feel it was excessively hot.

Friday, 22 October 2021

New Battery

 Although I tend to put the battery on a trickle charger a day before a trip, I found that starting was becoming very sluggish.   And the voltmeter was showing that during cranking the voltage was dropping dramatically.   It's over 4 years since I had a new battery do decided it was time to get a new one.

First problem I had is that the connections I use are designed to fit a square terminal rather than the more usual post terminal.   Also the battery tray is a bit smaller than the usual, so a standard 243mm length battery will not fit.  I cannot go above 210mm.

The result was that I could not find a suitable replacement.  On the other hand Europarts had a battery of the required size, but with post terminals.  Also they had a 'winter discount' that reduced the cost from £99 down to £53.   

A quick search on Amazon showed these, perfect adapters.

Once I relaised they were different sizes they fitted perfectly.

Job done.

Thursday, 23 September 2021

Lambda Sensor again

 While I was celebrating the MOT pass I was hit with lambda problems again.   As regular readers will know, a failure of the sensor is almost unnoticeable as the car performs normally.   But purely by coincidence I decided to do an instrumented run.   The log immediately showed the problem, in that the lambda sensor voltage was firmly fixed at 435mV and the whole journey was in open loop.

Although I had rewired the system a few months ago I really didn't like my solution so thought it was time to rip it all out and start again.  So the first step was to rewire the heater from where it left the loom.  Before plugging in the sensor I checked that the voltage output was zero until you started the engine then it jumped to 13.5V as the alternator kicked in.

Next I replaced the signal wires with 2 separate screened cables, one for the signal and one for the earth.  Probably overkill, but I happened to have  some single-core screened cable I could use,

So all plugged in I started the engine and plugged in MEMSScan to monitor the lambda voltage.  Unfortunately it stayed at 435mV, although after 3 mins or so it gradually crept up to 450mV, so something was obviously still wrong.

Not sure why I did it but I retested the  heater wires unplugged and found they were still showing 13.5V,  but when I plugged in the sensor the voltage dropped to 0.11V.   So offload it was OK, but under load it was failing.   Next step was to swap the sensor for my spare, but that didn't help and the same happened.

I needed to get her on the road so as a short-term measure (although I am the first to admit my short-term fixes have a tendency to become long-term)  I provided a new feed to the heater using a dedicated earth and an ignition switched 12V.   The downside to that is that the heater is activated immediately you turn on the ignition rather than waiting till the engine is running.   I just have to make sure she doesn't sit with the ignition on for very long.

MEMSScan appeared to show that now everything was working.   So took out for a long run and here was the log file:

 Happy days 😁

So I still don't know why the voltage dropped dramatically when the sensor load was added, I need to investigate that further.

I also now know that the sensor will NOT work unless the heater is on, even when the engine has warmed up to temperature.




Wednesday, 8 September 2021

Tracking Check

 Spent this morning playing with my latest toy 😁   She has always suffered a bit from the front unevenly wearing unevenly on the outside.  I replaced the tyres 4 years ago at around the 12,000 mile mark, and it looks like I need to replace them again at 24,000 miles, particularly as one of them was an advisory on the last MOT.   I always assumed it was a tracking alignment error and a few weeks ago I had them checked by my local garage who confirmed it was out and realigned them.

I'm wasn't convinced he did it correctly as she still had a tendency to pull to the left so I treated myself to a check gadget.

Great fun, quite fiddly to set up but eventually managed it.  Practice makes perfect.    Here was the result:

So a slight toe-out but nothing to worry about.   Also it was only a practice run, it shouldn't be on carpet and car needs positioning better so I need to do it properly. 

However, it did make me think a bit about the tyre wear and I am not now convinced I was correct about the tracking, particularly as the wear only really started when I bought her.    So googling it and one of the main reasons is worn out springs causing the camber to change and angling the wheel vertically so the outer edge takes more of the load.   I now realise that compressing the springs to raise the ride height has the same effect of changing the camber by moving out the top of the tyre.   So maybe that is reason?

I still need to buy some tyres and my local tyre depot does free alignment checks (or £35 to adjust it) so I think I will do that.   However, I know that adjusting the camber is not a trivial job, as you have to break the top ball joint and rotate the joint, so I guess they would charge a lot more for that.    Have to ask them.   On the other hand, buying two new tyres every 5 yrs/12,000 miles is not a big deal.

I could also cure it by dropping the ride height, but faced with a trade between replacing the cars or trashing the sump I think the tyres win 😁