Saturday 29 August 2015

New Grille

As a consolation present for the damaged rear wing I treated her to a new grill.  Here is the before and after.

 Looks lovely.

My Second crash

Crash Number Two this morning. Totally my fault again of course, but as I wasn't actually in the car so I was never in any danger

She was sitting in the garage and my daughter-in-law's Citroen was parked outside.    I had put her in reverse to demonstrate the rear sensors to my son, had a chat about the new exhaust pipe then I leaned in to start the car to demonstrate the nice new idle and......... 

She went smartly backwards straight into the
Citroen.   But here is the incredible bit.  Because of the angles involved the bottom of the rear wing hit the rear wheel of the car and actually pushed the Citroen about 3 feet sideways.  When we separated them the ONLY damage to the Citroen was a bit of blue GRP stain on the wheel, which we wiped off.  The bodywork was untouched.    On the Tiger there was some damage, the reversing light cover was cracked, the rear light unit plastic cover was snapped in two and knocked off and there was a lot of scuffing on the edge of the wing. 

But amazingly, that was it.   All the lights still operated perfectly, I fixed the plastic light unit with superglue (as you can see there is a bit missing in the middle which we can't find, so will probably replace it next year for the MOT) and I already have a spare reversing light cover I can fit. so I just need to get the sandpaper, primer and paint out to tidy up the wing.  I still have a complete new body set up in the attic but I don't think it's time for that yet.  

If you had told me the GRP rear wing was strong enough to push a Citroen 3 feet sideways without breaking I would never have believed it.   And how the wing completely missed the bodywork and just hit the wheel is a miracle.   Mind you, if they had been on concrete and not gravel it might have been a different story.

So pride hurt, my daughter-in-law is never going to let me forget it   And the Tiger gets another war wound so she looks even more 'lived in'.  But good lesson learned so I won't do that again.  

Thursday 27 August 2015

New Luggage Rack

One of the members of the Club has just sold his car and was clearing out the garage so I decided to have his luggage rack.

Very clever design.   Two tubes are mounted underneath attached to the chassis using exhaust pipe clamps.   And then the luggage rack slides into them and is held by 2 knurled nuts.

 Now when I go camping I might be able to see out of the back.


Tuesday 25 August 2015

This must be magic ?

Ever since I have had the car it has been marginal on the emissions test and this year, even with a completely new exhaust system it only just scraped through.   At the same time I have always felt that something wasn't working properly.   Although she idled OK there was a bit of hunting.   When I pulled away she occasionally hiccupped, when I put my foot down there was sometimes a bit of hesitation before the revs picked up, and she would regularly have a small uncommanded surge for no apparent reason (lamda sensor switching mixtures?).  Finally, there was lots of popping and banging on the overrun.

But up till now I have lived with that, as with a non-programmable ECU and the fuel injection I didn't think anything could be done or adjusted.  I just assumed some of the sensors were a bit iffy.

But while I was asking for help on the Robin Hood forum regarding my catalytic converter Nigel Evans (n.r.evans) told me of a trick a mechanic had recommended to him when he was trying to pass the emissions test, which I don't recall reading on the forum before, and that was to block off one of the 2 exhaust outlets.   So, willing to try anything I shoved the remains of an old tea towel up the exhaust.

 What an amazing transformation.  She now idles perfectly, and there is no hesitation during acceleration.  The power (apparently more than before) comes on smoothly when I put my foot down, and there are no more unexplained surges.   She is now working as you would expect.   There is also no more popping and banging on the overrun (which is a pity as I quite liked it :))

So what is the explanation for this dramatic improvement?   Nigel's mechanic reckons that when the system was designed there was no attempt made to match all the exhaust components, they were just picked because they fitted together in the right space available.  In particular he thinks the lamda sensor needs some back pressure before it will work correctly and with the exhaust as designed there just wasn't enough.  Blocking one of the outlets is just enough to provide the necessary back pressure to make the sensor work.    Obviously I can't prove it but it seems very logical?

I haven't had a chance to check if it has improved the emissions yet but based on Nigel's experience I am very confident.   Meanwhile I am enjoying a much improved performance.   I just need to find a more professional way of blocking it than an old tea towel. :)

Poor Hot Start Solved ?

Ever since I have had the car I have dreaded stalling, as trying to start a hot engine has been very difficult.  As discussed at the post here, there have been various suggestions put forward.  I thought that the extra earth strap would help, but unfortunately it soon became apparent that it wasn't the answer.

Another suggestion made was on a radio show, and that was that the starter motor was getting hot and the resistance in the windings was going up, hence the poor cranking.   I could see the logic of that as the starter motor is hidden behind the engine with no air flow over it.   So I decided I would experiment with adding a pipe to provide some ram air cooling to see if that would help.

 Here is the initial try, taking air from just in front of the engine and funneling it vertically down onto the starter.

At first try it seemed to work.   After a long drive and with the engine nicely warmed up she cranked over a full speed when I tried a restart.   Only time will tell. 

Update:   4 x Hot Starts today, all cranked over at full speed.  Looking good.

Thursday 20 August 2015

Cooling System (6)

During the recent work being carried out I asked my mechanic to take a look at the cooling system.   He reproduced all the problems I have seen, but apart from a small weep at the thermostat, which needs a new gasket, he could not find the leak.  

Unfortunately that means it is probably a head gasket problem.   It's not going into the oil, which is good, but the fact that the system pressurises before the engine warms up probably means there is a leak into one of the cylinders.   We haven't managed to do the gas test (to see if there is any exhaust gas in the water) so we can't be 100% certain yet.

It would cost at least £800 to do the head, so as the engine appears to be running OK, I think I will just keep topping her up and living with it.

Wednesday 19 August 2015

Passed the MOT

Once the catalytic converter had been replaced, we put her in for the MOT.  Unfortunately she failed, but only on the steering lower Universal Joint.   

This had an interesting history.  The previous owner warned me that she had previously failed on the same joint, but after he had tightened it up she had passed.   Last year, she was again loose but my mechanic managed to get her tight enough to pass.   This year the actual joint was worn so no amount of tightening would give us a pass.

Luckily I had bought a spare one last year so I thought we good to go.
Unfortunately it soon became apparent that this one (and the one already on the car) were from a Land Rover instead of an Escort and were slightly too big to grip the splines on the shaft properly.  Hence the need for the drastic over tightening.   But the mechanic tackled it with some big tools and managed to make it fit

Apart from that, and an advisory on one of the rubber bushes on the rear shock absorber she passed with flying colours.


Petrol Smell Solved

When I gave the car to my mechanic for the MOT I asked him to check out the petrol smell, as the car had been sitting for over a month when he came to pick it up.   I had decided that the problem was that the pipe was absorbing petrol, which then evaporated off when the engine was warmed up. 
Turns out I was totally wrong.  What was actually happening was that as the pipes dried out the joints were opening slightly, causing an actual leak.   When the pipes got wet again the joints swelled up and sealed the gap.

The big problem was that there was no insert in the plastic pipe so that when the Jubilee clip was tightened it compressed the plastic pipe and after time the joint would leak.   

Haven't had a chance to test it yet, but he is confident that the replacement pipe will cure it.

Yet another example of a poor design decision on the car, 

Exhaust woes

I knew there was a problem with the exhaust system before I gave the car to my friendly mechanic for him to get it through the MOT.  It had been rattling quite badly, obviously from inside, and the engine was not running properly.   As you can see from this post I had changed the rear mount from solid to a rubber mount.  It now looked as though the extra vibration had loosened off the baffles.

When he took it apart it turned out to be the catalytic converter that had disintegrated and parts of it had gone into the silencer and that was causing the rattle.  The good news was that once the bits were removed the silencer was fine. We knew this was a non-standard cat so both of us went on-line to try and source a new one.   And we both lucked in.  He found one at his local supplier and astonishingly, I was offered a complete exhaust system by another member of the RHOCar club.  I just had to pick it up.

So, having previously bought a manifold I now have a complete spare exhaust system.    I think it might be time to redesign the system by adding a flexible joint between the manifold and the exhaust system and mount the can at both ends, thereby isolating it from the engine vibration.