Wednesday, 11 April 2018

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:  Exhaust Pipe

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 

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 


Exhaust Pipe

Been a very quiet time lately with the appalling weather, although I have managed a few short test runs.   Over the last few days I have been 'fixing' the exhaust.   A nightmare, and yet another example of 'if it ain't broke don't fix it'.
You will recall that something (and I still have no idea what it was) had caused the whole exhaust to move backwards by about an inch, putting a huge strain on the rubber bobbin at the back and obviously opening up one of joints so she was blowing.   I assumed it would be a simple job, just whip off the exhaust, bend the rear mount back to vertical and then put it all back on again.
So first took the exhaust off.    

I could see the rear mount had twisted, as you can see from this picture with a long bolt put in.

So I put a 2 foot piece of copper pipe over the bolt and with a huge effort managed to get it back roughly vertical.  (And writing off the copper tube in the process :-))

Then the problems started.   I couldn't see any problems with any of the joints, but the mounting on the exhaust was now 1" behind the bobbin.   So I decided the best thing to do was to break the exhaust down into it's 3 component parts (The short length that holds the lambda sensor, the flexible joint and the cat/silencer) and redo all the joints.

Sounds easy, but I couldn't get the flexible joint back onto the other 2 parts anywhere close to where they had been.   Best I could manage was about an inch even hammering as hard as I could.    So that meant the whole system was now some 3" too long.   

So I treated myself to an exhaust expander (only £8 off E-Bay).   
This is a very good tool for flaring pipes that have slots cut in them, but is of marginal use in standard exhaust pipes.   But using it I managed to open up one end of the flexible pipe so it would go all the way onto the cat/silencer.   But whatever I tried I could not get the other end to go all the way onto the lambda sensor 'T' piece.  So I had to resort to using the angle grinder to cut about 1/2" off the pipe.  
So all reassembled and back on the car yesterday.  Started her up and she sounded better, but only time will tell.   Luckily I still have my MOT exhaust in the attic, so if necessary I can switch to that.

So today I started putting the heat shields back on.  The front one went on OK, and the back one was still attached to the silencer, but with all the changes, the middle one would not go back on and kept hitting the rear one.   So I had to redrill 3 of the 4 mounting bolts to move it forward.   Luckily 2 of the old holes are underneath the car and cannot be seen and the one on the side of the car is hidden by the shield.

But what a pain that was, a 20 Min job that eventually took hours.

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Brake Lights

Just had a very interesting day.    On my last run I noticed the brake lights had stopped working again.   So I checked the circuit and the switch and found everything was OK.   There was 12V on one of the switch terminals and the other terminal connected to the lights.  

But when I bridged the switch nothing happened.   But, when I put a direct 12V to the lights terminal as a test. everything lit up.
So it seems that although there is a 12V supply on one switch terminal when measured with a meter, once you close the switch and put the load of the lights on the circuit there isn't enough current flow to illuminate the lights.    So I can only assume that there is some resistance in the live wire circuit.

Now, a 'real' mechanic would have spent hours tracing the circuit back to try and find the problem.    I spent 10 mins wiring in an alternative 'jump' supply from the ignition-live circuit to the switch.  I even included an in-line fuse.

Brakes lights now working again ! 

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Solved battery problem

Very good session today, spoilt only by having to spend a maximum of 30 mins in the garage each time before coming in to thaw out.   Only outstanding problem was the battery draining overnight, so the first thing I did last Thursday was to get it tested at Halfords.  Passed with flying colours.   So there was obviously a current drain somewhere.   

When I took the battery out the tray was rusty and soaking wet, and the wiring was resting in it.  But when I wiped it the rust all came away and it cleaned up quite nicely.   I thought the water had come from the last time I filled her up, but when I looked closely I have a small leak in the washer bottle, so that wasn't helping.   I initially thought that was the reason for the current drain, but it turned out to be a red herring.    But glad I found it.

I'm the first to admit my wiring is 'ad-hoc' and really needs sorting out so I thought that might be the problem.   So I stripped all the diagnostic wiring out.
No, another red herring.
So then it was time to check the circuit.   By undoing the mounting of the isolation switch I was able to isolate the battery then bypass the switch by putting a multimeter across the terminals.   And Bingo, there was a 160ma drain.    That doesn't seem much, but in theory it should be zero, so needed investigating.

Now, I thought the only things that are live all the time are the 12V charging socket, which shouldn't take any current, the lights, the horn and the Voltmeter I had fitted, which should take zero current.   But then I realised that because the horn, the voltmeter and the oil pressure gauge are on the same panel, I had also wired the oil pressure gauge to be permanently live as well and I had no idea what the current drain on that was.    So I unplugged that and the drain dropped to 60ma, so that was a help.  Then just to check I unplugged the voltmeter and the current drain dropped to zero.   So my voltmeter does take a current drain of 60ma (cheap off E-Bay from China so shouldn't really be surprised).   
So both rewired to become active only with the ignition.

I then wondered if that was why my previous battery had started losing charge.   Luckily I hadn't taken it to the tip so for the time being I have put that back in to see if it holds charge.   I'll know tomorrow afternoon.

So everything replaced, with a cloth underneath the washer bottle as a temporary measure.   And the wiring tied up.   And extra insulation added to the positive terminal of the battery just to make sure.

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Repaired Bonnet

Picked up the bonnet today.   It wasn't cheap, but they have done a very good job on it (2 man hrs work apparently).   They have shaped it correctly so it sits square and all 4 catches lock very positively.   They have knocked out the dents but were unable to get a perfect finish, so I have an area about 10" x 6" that is 'dimpled'.   His advice if I was worried about it (which I'm not) was to put two 9" strips of 'sticky backed plastic' either side of the bonnet as 'go faster stripes', either carbon fibre lookalike or blue to match the rest of the car.  That would hide the damaged area.  These would be on the bend of the bonnet, leaving the central part with the louvers untouched.  I'll take that under advisement.

And I have also riveted in a replacement louvre as the previous one was destroyed.


So that just leaves the nose cone, but I am going to wait for the weather to warm up before I tackle that, as it is perfectly serviceable as it stands.

And I now need to figure out why the battery is suddenly draining overnight.  I recall knocking off the protective sleeve on the positive terminal while I was playing around shaping the bonnet so I could have shorted it and trashed the battery. (There is only a few mm clearance between the terminal and the bonnet).  Or I might have damaged some of the wiring that runs down the sill.   So I am charging the battery up off the car and will get it tested on Thursday and if it has failed catastrophically I'll get a new one.   If not I need to trace the residual leak.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

First Run in 2 months

Woke up this morning, looked out of the window and realised this is one of those winter days why I don't SORN the car.   So emergency repairs was the order of the day.    

First I just sprayed blue paint over the cracks to disguise the damage.   You may remember that originally the nose cone was mounted on the two steel supports at the front of the car, but I had replaced that with hinges so I didn't have to remove the grill to take off the nose cone.   

Those supports were so badly distorted after the crash they could not be used for a direct mount, so I went down a different route.   I mounted a wooden batten (Much prefer wood to metal) and then mounted a single bolt on another piece of wood that acts as a locating 'peg' for the bottom the the nose cone.

So drilled a hole in the middle of the bottom of the nose cone and put it on the car.  Perfect fit, rock solid and looks perfect if you don't get too close   And I can remove the nose cone just by unbolting the bolts at the back and lifting it off the locating bolt.

Next I tried to reshape the bonnet.    Just about managed to get it to a state where it will sit on the car and engage the latches, but it isn't pretty.  But at least I can drive her to a body shop and see what they think.    

So with everything buttoned up she was ready to go.

Note the rectangular hole in the bonnet where there used be a louvred vent.   That was totally destroyed in the crash so I drilled the remains out and I have a replacement on order from E-Bay arriving next week.

Originally I was going to do an instrumented run but the battery on my netBook was flat, so I had to rely on 'feel'.   So then, with fingers crossed, I started out, conscious of the fact that she hadn't moved in two months.    Battery was down to 11.8V but she still started (just) .  I had originally intended to do a short test trip but she was going so well, and I was enjoying myself so much that I finished up doing 30 miles.  I kept to country roads but according to the speedo on my iPhone I got up to 70mph at one point.  I played safe by doing it in a clover leaf pattern based around the house to give me an opportunity to bale out if anything was wrong.  I did 7 miles to the A1 and back, 11 miles to Bourne and back then 12 miles around my test route to Grantham and back.

The result was:

1.   The front right indicator isn't working  (easy fix)

2,   One of the 4 bonnet latched came undone but there was no danger of the bonnet flying off.

3.    Once she had warmed up the temperature remained rock solid.

A perfect temperature.   This was a big surprise as all I had done was top up the system when I fitted the new radiator and I expected to have to play around 2-3 times to get rid of air locks and get it working properly.    But not only was it perfect, but when I checked the water level a couple of hours later I had not lost any  So really chuffed with that.

So off to the recommended body shop next week and get quotes for straightening the bonnet and doing a proper job on the nose cone breaks.

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Nose Cone Repair (2)

Today I finished off the fibreglass repair on the nose cone.    I had plenty of glass and resin so put double the amount needed on the main cracks.   It doesn't look pretty but boy is it strong.   Total cost £9.99.

And I reinforced the top mounting holes so they are now really solid:

And here she is mounted back on the car.

Very pleased, as I now realise that of the five cracks, the main 2, where the whole nose cone was broken right through, are underneath.   And once the number plate is mounted they are impossible to see unless you lie on the floor.    That means I can practice on those two before I tackle the other three.   You can see one of the others in this picture, on the left side of the nose cone, about 12" long

There is also small one about 3" long on the top right of the nose-cone.  As you can see, about half of it will be covered by the bonnet so that should be easy.    I could even cover it with a sticker  
The final crack is on the other side and is shown here. Again, not very visible unless you know it is there.     So I am fairly confident I can have an acceptable solution just by filling the cracks, sanding them down, priming and then spray painting the affected areas.   I don't need to repaint the whole cone.   Luckily I still have primer and eclipse blue spray cans from my repair of the rear wing.

So that will just leave the bonnet to be straightened and she will be good to go. 

Fuel Leak

Another nice day today so made the most of it.    First I took her outside and ran the engine up to temperature to check if there were any coolant leaks under pressure.   Initially it looked OK, but then I saw a very small drip.  Confusingly it was nowhere near any of the cooling pipes, and a quick taste test showed it was petrol.  It turned out to be a leak where the fuel line goes into the pressure regulator.

Amazingly the jubilee clip was actually loose and took about 6 turns to tighten up.    I have absolutely no idea how long that leak has been there, but it could have been months as I very rarely run the engine with the bonnet off.    

So a very useful exercise. and when I checked later when the engine had cooled down the coolant was at the same level in the expansion tank.    Good news.    I will still need to do some more runs to confirm it, before I go on the 100 mile+ Stilton Cheese run in April, but there is plenty of time.

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Nose Cone Repair (1)

And now the first phase of the nose cone repair.   Having decided I would need to 'wrap' the spare yellow one I realised that it would make more sense to try and repair the old blue one and then wrap that one.  

And having learned my lesson on my first attempt at fibreglass repair that you do NOT lay fibreglass on the outside as you will never get a decent finish, I needed to lay lots of fibreglass on the inside of the nose cone to provide structural strength, before using filler on the outside which can be sanded down to get a decent finish.    What is nice about working on the inside of the cone is that it doesn't matter what it looks like as it will never be seen.   So did the first few cracks, initially concentrating on the ones where the nose cone was actually broken.  Here are some photos of the result so far.

So the nose cone is now structurally sound.  But there are still a couple of places where I need to add some more fibreglass, and I want to reinforce the mounting holes where the bolts were pulled through, and as I have plenty of resin and fibreglass I will add quite a bit more fibreglass to over-engineer it

So once that is all done it will be time to sand down the top surface and use filler to finish it off.    Not sure how it will finish up, but if it is reasonable I may try painting it and see what it looks like.    I can always wrap it if it looks scruffy.

New Drip Tray

At long last the temperature in the garage won't give me hypothermia so was able to get a session in.   Now the new radiator is plumbed in I topped up the cooling system and there is no static leak.   I need to check with the engine running to see if there is a leak under pressure, so If it ever stops raining and I can get the car outside I will do that.

You might recall I initially had a drip tray under the car, but it was trashed when I drove over it.  After that I just left a towel underneath and chucked it away every few months.   Not ideal, so decided it was time for a new tray.

 It's very deep-sided, so I chopped down the leading edge so I can slide it under the sump (Still leaving enough to prevent overflow).   And screwed a handle to the back end to make sliding it in and out much easier.   
And to make sure I don't run over it, another laminated reminder sign is added.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

New Radiator fitted

Have now installed a new radiator.   Picked one up from Rimmer Bros sale, just £80 including P&P.   Unfortunately it needed the hole for the thermostatic switch blocked up, which was another £20, but still a bargain.

Friday, 24 November 2017


Bad day today.   Although I did say I needed something to go wrong so I could work on her.  :-)
You probably remember when I leaned in and started the car when she was in reverse and she ran back and bashed into my daughter-in-laws car.    Well I just did it again, only this time she was in a forward gear.  I had just finished replacing the instrument panel and wanted to see if all the electrics worked, including the rev counter.   So I waggled the gear lever to make sure she was in neutral and started the engine.   She wasn't in neutral so she started and shot forward 6 feet and crashed into the work bench.   And just to really make my day, I had propped the bonnet up against the work bench and she crashed into that :-(  And then I saw water gushing out of the bottom as well.............

So the damage is:
A 'flattened' bonnet

A totally wrecked nose cone:

and a badly damaged radiator (both left and right at the bottom).  The bottom hose is supposed to come out horizontally but it has been pushed vertically, breaking the joint.

And you can see the bottom mounting brackets for the nosecone have folded back (They should be horizontal)

So far I've found a replacement radiator at a car place on the way to Lincoln for £85 (It's off a  Rover SD1), so will probably get that.  
I will try gently bending the bonnet back in shape but may finish up taking it to a proper body shop, or even get a new one if Great British Sportcars have one in stock.


I have a spare nose cone in the spare bedroom, but it is yellow.  So do I completely change over to yellow to match it, go multi-colour or spray paint it blue ?

The good news is that, apart from the radiator, it is all cosmetic.    But she will be off the road for a few weeks I guess.

P.S.   I pulled a muscle in my back as well :-)

Thursday, 23 November 2017

New Speedo Pinion

I've changed the speedo gear wheel to a 24-tooth one and now the speedo does not work.   More work required.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Battery Dead

Back from a great month-long holiday (Touring the West Coast of the USA, Cayman Islands, Bahamas & then Washington DC) and settled back in.   
So got to the car and she was dead.  And I mean totally dead, 0V showing on the voltmeter and nothing showing on a meter across the terminals of the battery. and it would not register on a charger.   I knew the battery was on it's way out, but I have never seen one fail that comprehensively.   Luckily (or forward planning ?) I had bought a new battery some weeks ago so out came the old one and in went the new one.   All the lights came on and she started up instantly, even though she had been sat for a month. 

I suspect I broke the battery myself by leaving it on a trickle charger when not in use over the last few months (not while we were away though as I wanted to see how the battery was looking).   It was supposed to be a 'smart' charger, but I only ever saw it pushing it out 14V so I suspect it was continually overcharging the battery.  It was a cheap one from Lidl, so I think I will just use it as a normal charger now and just charge the battery when it needs it.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Speedo Working again

Having got a replacement cable from another Superspec owner I decided the only way to connect it to the gearbox was to put the car on a lift to give proper access.   So it was round to my friendly mechanic and put her on his lift.  Even then it was a bit of a struggle.   But now it works.

 As expected, it is over reading drastically, almost 25% when I compare it with my GPS speedo.
The reason for this is that the gearboxes were destined for the Ford Granada so were fitted with a 22-tooth speedo drive.  It appears we actually need a 26-tooth drive (although some people tell me that 25 teeth is the most that Ford produced) to get the correct speed and these are practically unobtainable.  

Just have to keep looking.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

More Spare Parts

Drove to York and back today with a friend who also has a Superspec and picked up some spare parts for our cars that we bought off a chap who is changing the engine in his Superspec for a Mercedes V8 (Wow!!) .  

Here was the back of the Volvo when we got back :-)

Basically we picked up:
A complete Rover engine with only 2000 miles on it
Adaptor Plate   (Unobtainable now)
Input Manifold
Throttle Body
Injector Rail

Starter Motor
Exhaust Manifold 
Catalytic Converter and Silencer   
Complete Engine Wiring Loom    
Coolant bottle 
The 3 Engine Mounts   
Fuel Tank
Quick Shift Gear Mechanism
Water Pump
Power Steering Pump
Coolant Hose

(Originally we intended to have the differential and drive shafts as well, but it turned out they were off a disc brake version rather than our drum brake versions, so would not fit)

(And on the way I picked my replacement speedo cable from Mansfield)

I dread to think what these parts would normally have cost, and so many of them would be unobtainable anyway.  The chap was going to put them on E-Bay and had originally estimated the total cost at well over £800.  In the event he let us have it all for £500 (£250 each).   Very pleased.

Just have to find somewhere to store it all. :-)

Monday, 4 September 2017

New Exhaust Shield

The original heat shield was beginning to look a bit scruffy, and it was a bit of a misnomer as it wrapped tightly round the silencer so was actually at the same temperature.   So time for a change.

Here is the new heat shield fitted, and also an extra guard over the catalytic converter, as that was now exposed. 
Apart from looking very good, it also has all those holes and about 1" clearance from the silencer so the air flow keeps it relatively cool.   Hopefully no more burnt legs.

Saturday, 2 September 2017


When I replaced the tyres a year ago the primary reason was their age (13 yrs+), although I had noticed that the outside edge of the front nearside tyre had quite a lot more wear than the rest of the tyres.   This time my mechanic pointed out a similar, almost imperceptible, wear pattern on the new tyres, but this time on the outside edge of the front offside tyre.

Neither of us could come up with a decent explanation.   It can't be tracking as you would get the same wear pattern on both front tyres, and it can't be the inflation as you would then get the same wear on both sides of the tyres.   I had wondered about camber, but that doesn't explain why it happened on the nearside tyre for the last set and the offside tyre for this set.   I guess it's just a warped chassis  (Robin Hood built the chassis without a jig, so it's not surprising)

Solution is pretty simple.  Each year, just after the MOT I will swap tyres.   So today I swapped the two front wheels.   Next year I will shift the rear wheels to the front and year after that swap the front wheels again.   Looking at the wear I think I can do at least 4 times before the wear becomes noticeable.   So they should be good for 16 years.

Cooling again

Back home from holiday so first day since the MOT I have had a chance to check her out.  The pleasure of getting through the MOT was tempered a  bit by the fact she overheated again on the way back home.   So first thing to do was check that.   
Soon found out why she overheated, she took 4 ltrs of water/antifreeze to fill up :-) My overflow bottle was also full of water.   So I emptied that back into the expansion bottle and then took her on a 20 mile run out to see what happened.   She behaved herself but the temperature profile didn't seem to be 100% right.   Back home I checked and the overflow bottle had some water in again.   Now she shouldn't be overflowing at those temperatures so the first suspect has to be the pressure cap on the expansion bottle.   So compliments of Amazon overnight, got a new cap this morning and fitted it.   Now need to see how she goes on the next trip. 

Sunday, 20 August 2017

MOT and Preventive Maintenance

It's that time of year again.   But I had checked everything I could find so I wasn't too surprised when she passed with noo advisories.

And while my trusted mechanic had here I asked him change the timing belt, as although the engine has done only 18,000 miles, she is over 20 years old now.   And while he had the car I asked him to flush and replace the brake fluid as that probably hasn't been done since she was built.   So with the usual oil & filter change and gearbox and diff level checks she is good to go for another year.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Cooling System again

Had a minor scare over the weekend.  The good old cooling system again 

I hadn't put any water in for a couple of months but had noticed that my overflow bottle to the expansion bottle had an inch or so in it.   So that meant the pressure was exceeding 20psi and pushing the water out.   And I had noticed the fan was coming on a bit more than normal, but I had put that down to the hot weather. That's normally indicative of an air lock (trapped wind :-))  So I broke the golden rule of 'if it ain't broke don't fix it', I decided to try running the engine up to temperature with the cap off the expansion bottle so it would circulate better and not be under pressure.   To stop it pouring out I wrapped a cloth around a funnel and stuck that in the top of the expansion bottle. Started the engine, and as expected the water level rose and then sat about 1/3rd of the way up the funnel.   Once she was up to temperature I squeezed all the hoses, and some air was expelled. 
But then a most odd thing happened.  The level in the funnel suddenly rose all the way to top.  I rushed around the car to stop the engine, but then it suddenly dropped all the way down to inside the bottle.   But then a few seconds later if rushed up again, so quickly that it actually spilt a little bit before I shut the engine down.  At this point I just added a little bit to bring the level in the expansion bottle up to it's normal level (about 3/4" below the top), put the cap back on and put her to bed.

Then my daughter's partner suggested we take her for a quick run to test if my lifting the back end had cured the exhaust mounting grounding.  So we drove to the Colsterworth roundabout (3.5 miles, 5 mins) and I flew her around that, forcing the passenger side down and success, no grounding.  But as we drove back I noticed the temperature gauge was on the 'A' of NORMAL and climbing, and the fan was on.  Now. normally she takes 20 mins to get to temperature so this was obviously worrying.   In fact the temperature carried on climbing and was just entering the red as we got back home.   What was a bit confusing was that when the fan comes on I normally feel a steady stream of warm air coming up through the footwell.   This time I could only just feel a bit of warmth. 
We took the bonnet off and I expected the engine to be red hot, but oddly, I could rest my hand on it and it was not that hot.  And the top metal pipe was also not very hot.  But what had happened was that the overflow bottle was now full of boiling water.  (A an aside there was also water dripping down at the front of the car which was very scary until I realised it was actually coming off the overflow bottle and running down between the chassis tube and the body before finding a hole.)

So on the face of it it was simple problem in that the expansion bottle cap was not properly seated, so the water boiled over and was dumped into the overflow bottle, lowering the level and thereby heating the engine.  So I decanted the water back into the expansion bottle, made sure the cap was properly seated and repeated the run.  This time the temperature was under control although the fan was on permanently so it obviously wasn't perfect.

Thought about it overnight and hypothesised that the odd behaviour of the water when I was running with the cap on could have been caused by a long-standing air lock suddenly being released from deep within the engine and moving to the top of the engine.   And because the cap was not seated properly the level dropped so much that the temperature sensor was now in free air so went up into the red even though the engine itself was actually not that hot.    So I removed the top pipe from the radiator and added some water.  She took TWO LITRES  !!    So put everything back together.    Drove her 12 miles (20 mins) this morning and she appeared to be perfect.  But obviously I need a much longer journey to give her a proper test.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Alternator Problem

Interesting problem yesterday.  It was such a nice day I thought I would pop out for a drive.    Got in the car, turned on the ignition and noticed the alternator light didn't come on.   Started the engine and the voltmeter stayed fixed at 12V.    So obviously alternator was not working.   Found the problem very quickly, the warning light/exciter wire had snapped at the crimped joint at the alternator   So built a new crimped joint and soldered the wire onto the existing one and everything worked as it should.

But from a philosophical point it was a bit poor.  If I hadn't fitted the voltmeter and hadn't noticed the alternator light not working (easy to do in bright sunlight) then I would happily have driven off just on the battery.  I assume everything would have ground to a halt after a few miles as the battery drained.   The problem is that the alternator warning light assumes the wire is connected so it can sense when the alternator stops producing it's 14V and drops to 0V.   So if the wire had snapped while driving I would be none the wiser.

It also proves that the alternator I have is not self-exciting and the warning light circuit is essential.  Not surprising I guess based on it's age.

Monday, 24 July 2017

New Dashcam

My dashcam was showing it's age (and remember if cost only £14 a couple of years ago).  It's always annoyed me that it didn't overwrite when the SD card was full, it just stopped working.  Also the picture was always poor and now it is looking way over exposed.    So time for a new one and this time I went upmarket and paid £20

It's a nice camera and it works correctly by overwriting old files when it is full.   I put it in the same place on the windscreen and although the picture was OK, it showed every mark on the windscreen and the sun's reflection was very obvious.   

So I decided to experiment with placing it in front of the windscreen instead.

I'm not sure if the mount is good enough to withstand a 60mph wind, so we shall have to wait and see.   Also the only way I could mount it there was upside down, so I have to rotate the video to watch it. 

Reversing Camera

Since I have had the car I have hated reversing her as when strapped in I just cannot turn round far enough to get a decent view.  And the mirrors are no good for short distances.   The present warning system I have works well enough, but you cannot beat a proper view So time for technology to come to the rescue.

I've had a reversing warning system on the shelf for a long time, £20 on E-Bay as I recall.  So first I mounted the camera at the back:

Then a screen on the scuttle:

Which folds down when not in use.  All wired in to the reverse switch so it only comes into use when the ignition is on and reverse gear is selected.  

It works perfectly and I LOVE IT !!

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Rear Ride Height

Although my long term plan is still to replace the piece of angle iron from the rear exhaust mount, at the last kit car show I compared my rear ride height with another Superspec and found his was a good 1" higher.   So today I lifted mine up another inch.  Served it's purpose in that I can now go over the sleeping policemen in the next village without grounding.

Have to see how it has affected the overall ride and handling now. 

Later:  Drove fast round a roundabout with a passenger in and it was fine.   So the exhaust mounting change not so important now.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Lanbda Sensor Wiring Repair

Rewired the lambda sensor wires after that had melted on exhaust. Used the rest of the screened cable and as an extra precaution used some earthed braided pipe to cover from the loom to the screened cable.

Then took her to the garage and back. I knew immediately that the sensor was working as she shot off like a scalded cat. Had to work hard to stay below 60 mph. 

Next thing I noticed was the temperature gauge started working. So it appeared to need rewiring after all even if it hadn't melted on the exhaust. 

Finally, she behaved perfectly after the fuel stop, which historically is when the lambda sensor stopped working. 

A quick check of the data stream showed: 

The data from 0-1.4 mins was when I ran the engine in the garage to check the wiring. Start up time was less than a minute. 1.4 mins - 8.0 mins was the journey to the garage. The start up time was 1 min and she was good from then on. At the garage the start up time was only 30 secs and then she was on song again. I can see there was four sluggish areas for a few seconds on the way back but they were not noticeable in the car and certainly nothing like the drop outs I was getting before. Interestingly they were almost exactly a minute apart. How do we explain that ? 

Later:  Figured it out.  They all coincided with me lifting my foot off the throttle.  Turns out then when you do that the ECU stops the fuel completely so the engine slows down quickly.  The lambda sensor senses a very lean mixture and drops to 0V.  So it is working as it should.

 Time to take a few days off I think. The fittings for the new heat shield come early next week so that is the next project.