SuperSpec

SuperSpec

Sunday, 20 August 2017

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:  MOT and Annual Maintenance

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

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.  Redo exhaust  rear mounting 
2.  Replace Brake Fluid 
3.  Replace Exhaust Heat Shield

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.