Sunday 25 May 2014

Rear View Mirror

When I first bought the car it had a very solid rear view mirror stuck to the top of the windscreen. Once I had got used to the fact that a car that looked as though it was 100yds back was actually 10 yds behind me, it was fine. Unfortunately one day it disappeared. I have no idea what happened, I never found it. 

So I went through a few stick on ones, but the windscreen vibrates quite a lot and they all fell off.  I eventually used super glue and managed to get one to stick but the vibration meant that the image was very blurred.  I could tell if someone was behind me but not what it was.

I checked to see what other owners had done and most of them used mirrors mounted on the scuttle, so I have gone that way.  Nice mirror, very stable and although the view is not so good (the folded hood gets in the way) it is a great improvement.

Note in the top left corner I have fitted a GoPro camera. The first attempt at a video is here

Friday 23 May 2014

Cooling System (5) - Really finished

After all the work I had done on the Cooling System (See previous posts), I was 95% satisfied.   The only minor point was that she was running a bit hotter than I would have liked (Needle below the red but on the 'a' of 'Normal'.

After a chat about it with another owner (Kerry) he pointed out that because of the basic design of the front that a high percentage of the air coming through the grille was going around the radiator rather than through it.

His suggested solution was to 'block' of the back of the nosecone to force the air through the radiator.    No sooner said than done.

This blocks off 90% of the open area and should dramatically increase the air flow through the radiator.  Made from plywood and held together and secured with Meccano !!   (I knew that old set would come in useful sometime)

A quick 6 mile run showed that she does run appreciably cooler, with the needle between the 'r' and 'm' of 'Normal' now and fairly close to the ideal 12 o.clock position.  I need to do a long run on a really hot day to really confirm it has improved the system but I am quietly confident.   It certainly can't do any harm.

Wednesday 21 May 2014

Dashboard Project - Phase Five

Added the next improvement to the dashboard.

Before it looked like this:
At the top we had 4 warning lights: Indicators, Oil Pressure, Alternator Warning and Cooling Fan, and the hazard lights all mounted independently.

So I have combined them into a single removable panel and added two further warning lights : Full Beam and Handbrake Warning/Low brake fluid (Not wired in yet) and a clock.

Looks very smart.

Monday 19 May 2014

Pre-MOT Check

Although the MOT is over a month away I decided it would be sensible to get her checked out. Took her in to a local chap who is a Classic Car mechanic and offers pre-MOT checks.  Very encouraging, with only one real problem. This was what he told me:

1.  Indicators inoperable
This was a bit of a surprise as they had been working when I delivered the car to him.   Very quickly found the cause though, when I took the Flasher Unit out it was dripping with water.  It had been raining when I delivered the car and it then sat in rain for a few hours.  Obviously there is a leak in the scuttle just above the flasher relay.  Sod's law.   I tried drying it out on the radiator but that didn't help, but then half way round the run I did this afternoon (separate e-mail) they suddenly started working again, so obviously it just needed to dry out. I have put it inside a plastic bag for now although it is unlikely to happen again.

  2.  Front brake flexi hoses catch the suspension
He is right, they do sort of hang there and foul the suspension on full lock.  I decided a couple of cable ties to secure them out of the way of the suspension would solve it.

3.  Front off-side wheel arch loose
This is my rubber mounted idea with the replacement cycle wing.  He said it wouldn't be a failure but just to be on the safe side have replaced the rubber mount with a steel mount for the purposes of the MOT.

 4.  Rear shock absorbers damp- clean off & monitor
I knew this would happen as I had been underneath and they both appear to be leaking a bit.  But he says they are fine at the moment and something to just bear in mind.  I have a long term plan to replace all the shock absorbers anyway with some decent ones.

5.  Play in off-side and near-side rear swinging arm bushes
This is the biggie.  He showed me how the bushes are worn and the trailing arms are twisting independently.  At the moment they are marginal and he said if only one side was like that it would just be an advisory.  But with both worn he wasn't confident it would pass.  So we discussed it and agreed it made sense to replace them as they would need doing before the next MOT anyway.

6.  Wipers marking the windscreen
Fixed by a bit of judicious bending

7.  Exhaust blowing- this needs sorting before an emissions test can be carried out.
She started blowing again a few days ago so I needed to fix it.  It was my fault anyway as when I fixed the original blow I didn't surround the join with a decent bit of steel to support it.   So because it is only mounted at the engine and the back the whole thing flexes and vibrates and has disturbed my fix.   So tried to make a stronger mount this time but I think it needs a piece of steel to be machined.   So it was the same short-term fix as 6 months ago, but this time using a slightly stronger can (mushy peas as it happens).

He has ordered a set of bushes for the rear suspension, so I just need to drop the car off with him next month.  And he has promised I can watch/help so I can better understand how the car is put together.

Very pleased there were no show stoppers.

Sunday 18 May 2014

Second Lincolnshire Meeting

After the success of the inaugural meeting it was time for another one.  Although I had floated the idea of an evening at a pub in April, most people were busy and a few said they after a full day at work they just didn't fancy a long drive to a pub where they couldn't drink anyway.  So the general consensus was that the family Sunday lunch was the way to go.

The only member who hadn't been able to attend the first meeting lived near Lincoln so I decided to use a pub very near him called the Woodcocks.

Once again a huge success, particularly with the weather as I again picked the hottest day of the year so far.  Very nice pub, very efficient, good food and a lovely setup.  We managed 25 people, including 10 cars that we managed to line up together in the car park.  As usual, the centre of attraction :-)

Great day out.   For me it was a 90 mile round journey, but I did it all on country back roads apart from an unavoidable short stretch on a couple of A roads.   Car behaved impeccably.

Saturday 17 May 2014

Too good a day to miss

With a few days to go it was obvious that Saturday 17th May was going to be absolutely glorious, hottest day so far and perfectly clear.  So the Leicester 'chapter' of the Robin Hood Club decided on a last minute run out and invited all along.  The start point was only 45 mins from me so I couldn't resist.   Joined up with 5 other cars for a 90 min run through the back roads of Leicester and Rutland, with the occasional rest stop.  

Great fun, although it was about 5-10 mph outside my comfort zone and the front and back ends got very 'lively' on more than occasion.  Also got airborne over one bridge and felt the sump guard 'kiss' the ground on touchdown.

And finishing up at a pub of course.

Came back on a shortcut which was simply a single line on the satnav.  Got slightly concerned when I had to cross a cattle grid, but luckily road remained tarmaced and with enough room for one car with the occasional passing place.

Memorable day.

Tuesday 6 May 2014

Raising Rear Ride Height

Having raised the front ride height about 1" to stop the sump grounding I felt that I ought to balance it out by raising the rear about the same.  But having recently done a fair number of miles on the motorway system at speeds up to 70mph the handling seemed fine, so I have decided that this task is unnecessary and will be removed from the list.

Cooling System (4) - Finished ?

Over the last week I have covered almost 200 miles and I was really pleased to see that the engine comes up to temperature very quickly, albeit slightly higher than I wanted (The needle sits on the 'A' of 'Normal' on the gauge) then stays there throughout the trips.  Fairly extended waits at traffic lights have no effect and it was only 2 occasions, in traffic queues, that the temperature started to rise.  On both occasions my new adjustable thermostat kicked in, started the fan, and the temperature quickly dropped back to normal.

So I am happy now that the previous expansion bottle cap was either weak or had failed and the new stronger one is better.  And that the other problems were all caused by air locks in the system, which have now bubbled out.

One other thought is that we have previously been over filling the system, which has caused the excess water to overflow from the expansion bottle.  Only time will tell.

So for now I think we have it fixed.  

Monday 5 May 2014

Stoneleigh Kit Car Show

The Stoneleigh Kit Car Show marks the beginning of the season, when most people have put their cars back on the road after the winter (Not in my case of course).  So this year I attended for the first time.   It was huge, and I reckon there must have been well over 1000 cars on display, as well as 4 exhibition halls full of manufacturers stands and spare part and tool stalls.

Here are some shots of the Robin Hood stand where we had over 100 cars.
Including me

I also decided to stay overnight to take full advantage of the Show.  So for the first time in nearly 45 years I spent the night under canvas.
 Turned out to be surprisingly comfortable and I enjoyed it.

I particularly liked this car.  A very rare example of the 'gold' Superspec, limited edition model.

Looking forward to next year already