Tuesday 27 December 2016

Xmas Present

Just done a test run of my Xmas present:

It isn't just a hat though, I have plenty of those, this one is special in that it has Bluetooth headphones built in     Test run a huge success, very comfy and warm (although not heavy so I can probably continue to use it in Summer),  headphones had plenty of volume, even though the exhaust is now REALLY blowing and I listened to a whole episode of R4 Friday Night Comedy, on my round trip.
The only slight drawback is that if the mask covers my nose then my glasses immediately steam up.   So I have to pull it down slightly to expose my nose  (Most of us drive with glasses on since one chap had hid windscreen shatter, and it is safety glass rather than laminated so he was showered with glass).  But nose didn't get cold
Very successful

Monday 19 December 2016

Fitted Cargo Net

It's a bit cold to tinker at the moment, but just had a successful 15 mins with her.  I have had 2 'niggling' problems that I have been living with for some time:

1.  The carpet in the passenger footwell has to be loose so you can access the bolts holding the exhaust heat shield.   It is held in by velcro, but occasionally the wind coming into the side of the footwell gets behind the carpet and dislodges it.

2.  Now that plastic bags have been declared 'persona non grata' I've got in the habit of carrying one of the reusable shopping bags  (known as 'envirosacs' apparently)  around in the car, for ad-hoc visits to supermarkets.   The glove box has got a bit full so I normally just chuck it in the passenger footwell, but three times recently it has actually been 'sucked' out of the footwell and flew out of the car  (the aerodynamics of these cars is totally off-the-plot).    Cue a U-turn (once in total darkness) and a drive back to try and find it.

So I realised I could cure both problems by fitting one of these mini cargo nets to the side of the car.    Here is the result:

And with the envirosac in:   (And actually room for more, hat, gloves...)

Job done.  The carpet will never come loose and the bag will never get sucked out.

Tuesday 13 December 2016

Brake lights

Been a bit quiet recently but took her out 3 times last week.   Nice run down to see latest grand daughter on Sunday.    The engine loves this cool damp air, she ran like a sewing machine and once again I found I was having to force myself to slow down.   I really don't know why people SORN the cars over the winter, it is lovely.   Temperature stabilised at 86C, which I am quite happy with.  It could run hotter but anything above 80C is enough to boil off contaminates in the oil.

But on the way back, as it was getting dark, I noticed the brake lights weren't working again.  The warning glow behind the dash next to my right knee once again proved it's worth, as I would never have known otherwise.

This normally means the adjustment has vibrated out, but this time that didn't seem to be the problem.   Taking the switch out it all worked fine, but once I mounted it back it stopped working.   Wiggling the wires made it flicker so I put new spades on both wires.   Didn't help.   Eventually I figured out the contacts inside the switch had become intermittent.  You may recall the original switch had corroded and I had replaced it with one of a Mini that I got for 99p.   I guess 3 years is not bad for 99p.

So this time I decided to splash out and get one from a Land Rover Defender on the basis that might be heavier duty.  Cost the grand sum of £3.25

Fitted it and everything was fine.   The only problem was getting the adjustment right.   Up to now I have adjusted the whole mounting unit, but as this has to be mounted using self-tappers (If nuts/bolt used then it needs a second person to access the underside of the pedal box) these are not designed to be repeatedly taken in and out so have now worn.   So had to come up with an alternative solution.   Have always been happier working with wood than metal (Remember the wooden clutch cable adjuster with is working perfectly), probably because I did woodwork at school rather than metalwork.  
So I decided to use a wooden wedge, initially cutting it roughly to size and then using a Surform plane to gradually reduce the length until the switch was in exactly the right position.

Success, very solid fit and lights come on perfectly when pedal depressed.

Monday 28 November 2016

Day out after a long gap

After over a month sitting in the garage (another reason not to go on long holidays) and the weather was good, it was time to take her out.   I had the trickle charger on for all that time so she leapt into life and actually ran perfectly straight away, where she is often a bit 'lumpy' for the first minute or so.

Arranged to meet Andy (the chap with the other Superspec) for lunch at a pub in Rockingham.   Obviously a bit chilly, and although the engine loved the cold air it was breathing in, it refused to get up to a decent temperature so I didn't get the usual warm air flowing up from the footwell.   Time to reinstate the 'shutters' on the grid I think.    

Also the cold meant the tyre pressure was only 16psi and they wouldn't warm up either, so time to put another couple of psi in them.   Otherwise lovely journey and nice lunch.

While we were there we decided to go and have a look at the Rockingham Speedway Circuit.  I have driven past it often enough but never been in.   And as it was only 3 miles we decided to swap cars so we could compare them.  Interesting experiment.   Andy thought his steering was heavy and preferred mine but I found his steering very light but it refused to self-centre after going round corners, which was a bit off-putting. And his clutch was how mine used to be, i.e bite point near the floor and either 'on' or 'off',   So we discussed how to sort his out by tightening the cable a bit.  Otherwise they seemed pretty similar.

Rockingham is a very impressive setup and interestingly there was a sign saying "Site of the 2017 British Grand Prix".   First I have heard of that, I guess it can't be Formula One.

What was on was a 'Learn to Drift" school, with 4 cars sliding around a wet patch doing doughnuts and driving sideways.  I actually have a TravelZoo offer to do this for £69, so sorely tempted.  Anyone care to join me ?

Then a nice run back up the A1 to home.  Good day.

Saturday 22 October 2016

Built-in Battery Charger

I've noticed recently that the battery is losing charge very gradually.  I doubt it is the battery itself a it is relatively new, so I guess one of my 'modifications' is causing a leak.   As it happens I have been thinking of buying a 'smart' battery charger (One of those you can leave permanently connected and it will not overcharge the battery) for some time, particularly as I am about to leave her for 3 weeks.   And we know now that disconnecting the battery is not a good idea as you lose the idle settings in the ECU.

But I also wanted one where I wouldn't have to keep taking the bonnet off to clip the leads on.  So I bought one that had a detachable lead and plug/socket.  It then has 3 optional types of lead to connect to the battery, a normal one with crocodile clips, one with a cigarette lighter plug and one with just 2 bare wires.  The first and third came with the pack, the cigarette one was extra.   So I used the ones with 2 bare leads.

So I wired the lead into the passenger footwell (The 6-way plastic connector on bottom right is connected directly to the battery, and you can see the red lead going vertically up to an in-line fuse).   This area is becoming even more of a 'rats-nest', I really ought to tidy it up.  On the positive side I know what every wire does

And the other end of the lead comes out just by the passengers arm rest.   This shows it with the charger plugged in.  In day-to-day driving it is nicely hidden away.   So now it is a 20 second job just to plug/unplug the car.

What's the odds on me driving out with it connected one day

Tuesday 11 October 2016

Progress on Lambda Sensor

Time to look into my odd lambda sensor behaviour.  As far as I can see there are only 3 reasons for this:    ECU not programmed correctly (not much I can do about that),  lambda sensor heater relay (which should power the heater on engine start) not operating correctly or a dodgy lambda sensor.  

First thing to do was to give some visual indication of the heater status.   I decided to 'borrow' the headlight full beam warning light, which although fitted, hasn't been wired in yet.

Next I tried too reproduce the problem, this time by driving to the Post Office, sending off some build-DVDs to a new Superspec owner, then driving back.  and to add another factor I stopped for another couple of minutes in a layby.
 Here is the RPM display. So the profile was 7 mins to the Post Office, 2 mins with the engine off, 2 minutes driving, 2 mins with the engine off then 3 mins home.

And here was the lambda trace. So I guess the good news is that the problem was not a one-off but is reproducible, so that will make testing easier. 

We can see that while sitting at the Post Office the lambda sensor went to it's default 0.45V although the ECU still showed it's status as being on-line  (it's a bit odd but we can only assume that was a decision by the Rover programmers).    But when I started the engine at the 9 minute point, it didn't react enough to the exhaust gases and at the 10 min point the ECU have up and switched it out of the circuit.   Even on the next engine start at the 15 min point it still isn't really reacting properly.

I need to do another test run tomorrow, but this time switching the ignition off between sessions (I had to leave it on to keep the data flow going), to see if rebooting the ECU helps.

However, the really important thing is that for all 3 of the engine starts, the warning light illuminated so we can rule out the relay as the problem.   So I guess the next thing to do is try a replacement sensor.  

I have a couple of spare ones but unfortunately, last time I rebuilt the manifold/pipe join I stupidly positioned the sensor so there isn't enough clearance with the body to get it out without taking the exhaust pipe off.

So I'll leave that test until the next (inevitable) time when I have to remake the joint again.

Friday 30 September 2016

Odd Lambda Sensor Behaviour

Took her for a test run this morning.   Drove to the surgery (5 minutes), turned off engine but left the data logger running while I was inside (5 minutes), then drove back home (5 minutes).

This was the lambda trace:

You can see it behaved itself on the way there, but when I restarted the engine to come home the sensor was so slow in reacting that the eCU gave up and went open loop for the whole trip back.  I have seen this before but never reproduced it this cleanly.

I now need to figure out why it is doing that.


Useful couple of hours this morning.

1.   Wound clutch out a bit so the bite point is right in the middle of the travel.  Feels just right now.

2.   Following the odd rattle and vibration I have noticed at very slow speed, decided to check the engine and gearbox mounts.  Engine mounts were rock solid but the gearbox mount, whilst not exactly loose (it's a rubber mount), allowed 2 further revolutions of tightening up of the bolts, so did that.  Can't really tell if it has improved anything.

3.   Greased the rear suspension units to try and stop the squeaking I have had for 3 years.    Don't think it helped much.

4.   Rebuilt exhaust again (It started blowing again after 100 miles), using Plan D 
Cleaned it all off, pushed the pipe in as far as I could and added a few taps with a rubber mallet.    Then surround the joint with an exhaust 'bandage'. 
Then, this time, I split the stainless steel pipe into 2 halves;

And clamped them around the join to give added support and hold the bandage in place.  

 Let's see how that goes.     If this fails I will give up and just live with the exhaust blowing a bit.   

It's interesting that when it actually starts to blow the performance of the engine drops off a cliff, but after about 5 minutes, once the ECU has figured out what is going on and adjusts itself to cope, the performance returns and she runs perfectly well, just a bit noisy.

Sunday 25 September 2016

New Windscreen Washer Bottle

I had noticed the windscreen washer bottle was empty even though I had filled it up just before the MOT.   Took it off and found that no only was it leaking but the motor outlet had snapped off.

So it was onto E-Bay and a new £10 windscreen water bottle arrived today.  

Astonishingly, considering it was generic and I had purchased it purely based on the size, it not only had the same bulkhead slide connector but the electric plug was the same.  So 3 minutes later (much of which was spent going to the kitchen and back to get water) I have a new fully working washer system.

End of Season Bash

Just got back from the RHOCaR Club End-of-Season Weekend bash.   I really enjoyed the run there and back, all cross country no motorways, 60 miles each way, weather glorious and the car behaving nicely (Although on the way back I was wearing noise-cancelling headphones so the engine could have been tearing itself apart and I would be none the wiser).  The cooling was absolutely perfect with the fan just kicking in occasionally.  And passed 16,000 miles on the way home.  

And while I really don't like driving in a big formation, as everyone else goes too fast for me,  the charity run was also OK as we all got separated after 1 mile when we hit a very difficult junction to get out and join a main road and it took about 1-2 mins for each car to escape.  I had no chance of catching up with the chap in front so just pottered along and followed the satnav for 16 miles.   Funnily enough I was the first to arrive at the pub as everyone else got lost.   

I was  having a bit of clutch trouble (found it difficult to select 1st and reverse in the car park, so joined the return run right at the back and made no effort to keep up.  In fact clutch problem did not manifest again and although I never exceeded 60 I picked up the tail end of the procession with 1 mile to go.

The do itself is really a chance to chat to people and discuss cars and that was good,  Unfortunately the band in the evening was way to loud and not my type of music at all.  I did win at the Bingo, and my prize was a roll of insulating tape !!    Actually more useful than many of the other prizes  

Tent was fine and I slept reasonably well apart from being woken at 0400 by a rain storm and then 0600 by an aircraft from East Midlands (we were very close).    

I set up camp as far away from the band as I could, in between 2 dead caravans, to act as wind breaks.   And car buttoned up for the rain we knew was coming overnight (Tarpaulin covering engine inside bonnet as well based on past experience).

Did have a couple of interesting chats this morning.  I asked one chap to take her for a test run as recently I have noticed a vibration/rattle/clunk at low speeds.  he gave her a clean bill of health but was amazed at how stiff the clutch was.   Another one tried it and said the same.   I told them it was a Superspec design problem and told them to sit in another car to check it.   They both proclaimed his clutch much lighter than mine.  So I guess it's time to go in there and find out why it is stiff (pedal, cable or clutch).

Saturday 17 September 2016

Catch up Jobs

Good mornings work.

1.  Refitted the old rear light cluster.

2.  Rebuilt the exhaust join.   Still working on the principle that the vibration/torque from the engine is causing the joint to vibrate until it comes loose.    The basic exhaust is 54cm outside diameter so bought a short length of 56mm Stainless Steel that I can use to surround the joint and provide extra support to prevent it flexing.   

First attempt is here:

The 56mm pipe was just too tight to fit over the 54mm exhaust so I cut a groove in it so that it would slide on and then be compressed by the brackets to seal the unit.   Turns out I cut too big a gap, so even when tightly clamped there is still a 3mm gap, but I decided to try it anyway.  If (when) it fails again then I know next time to cut a much narrow gap, probably just 1mm.   Also I made it only long enough to cover the join.  Once mounted i can see I could probably make it 1" longer, so If I have to do it again my next attempt will be better.  Luckily I still have enough pipe left.

3.  Air locks in the cooling.   I had previously got enough out as I could in a static situation by opening the top of the radiator and filling it while squeezing all the pipes.  But this has it's limitations and the only real solution is to allow the engine (and therefore the water pump) to run with the top off the expansion bottle to allow air to work it's way around and be released through the open cap.   Unfortunately, because of the design of the system you immediately hit a Catch-22 situation.    Once you start the engine and it begins to warm up, the trapped air very quickly expands and pushes the level of the liquid in the expansion tank out of the open cap.


I had woken up this morning with a solution, which was to wrap a cloth around a funnel and force it into the bottle, thereby extending it's height.   That proved to be 95% OK, but an extra towel wrapped around it made it 100% successful.

As you can see, after starting the engine, within 2 minutes the water level had risen to half the depth of the funnel.   But then I starting squeezing the top and bottom cooling pipes and it was quite encouraging that a lot of bubbles came out.  In fact, after a bit I managed to expel enough air that the water level dropped down below the level of the funnel.   So I definitely got rid of some air, it remains to be seen if it helps at all.

Friday 16 September 2016

Greetham Car Show

Only found out about a week ago that there is a Classic Car Meet just 9 miles away at Greetham, 17:00 till dusk on last Thursday of every month.  Unfortunately it only runs from May-Sept so this was the last for this year.  But I will know about it next year.
Very professional set up considering it is only a small village, it was held at the Community Centre so there was a bar, lots of seating areas both inside and outside, and a mobile burger van.    And there was a huge field and as you entered you either went to the display area or the car park for 'normal' cars.   There were probably 200+ classic cars there of every size and shape.  In particular a large turn out of old Jaguars.

As we didn't leave until dusk, I was able to get people to check out the LED vs 'Normal' rear light clusters.  Unanimous decision that the LEDs were useless   I might try the 40 x LED clusters, but meanwhile I will revert back to the original cluster.

Then driving back the exhaust really started blowing so need to fix that joint again.   Then this morning, while putting the battery on charge I found that bottom cooling hose appeared to partially empty, so I still have an air lock in the cooling system somewhere.   Need to figure out how to remove that.  

And to add icing on the cake I realised the windscreen washer bottle was empty even though I had filled it last week.  Took it off and found a split, and also the motor feed outlet snapped off.   Luckily £10.20 on E-Bay gets me a replacement bottle, motor and all the fixing, arriving next week.

And here I was worrying that I had run out of things to do

Saturday 10 September 2016

Proper Thermostat Switch Fitted

It was time to play with the cooling system again    It's been very well behaved recently, with the exception of the adjustable fan switch, which had become intermittent and a bit unpredictable.    

You might recall I couldn't get the sensor actually into the water system so it was clamped to the stainless steel top pipe.   

The problem with that is that it takes time for the pipe to heat up to the same temperature as the water, hence the unpredictability.   It was no big deal, I just got into the habit of switching the fan on in 30 mph speed limits and if I was going to be maintaining 70 mph for any length of time.   

So I decided it was time to change it for a proper engineered solution.   I inserted an aluminium tube, with a tapping for a temperature switch, into the top hose.    

Not as simple as it sounds, took over an hour and involved washing up liquid, a hot gun paint stripper, my wife, 2 screwdrivers and a lot of swearing and shouting,   But very pleased with final result (although wiring needs tidying up).   

And I found out why the adjustable one had been intermittent when I checked the wiring at the fan and there was a break in the cable.    But I still prefer this solution. 

Wasn't able to do a road test as it was raining but ran her up in the garage with the diagnosis software running and the fan kicked in at 92 C  and stopped when she cooled to 88C, so that seems perfect.    Have to see how she behaves in the real world.

Thursday 1 September 2016

LED Rear Lights

Gave her a good wash yesterday and predictably the indicators immediately failed    I really thought I had fixed that, but apparently not.   No problem though, a couple of minutes with a heat gun (paint stripping) dried most of it and then they started working again on the way back from the gym once the engine heat had dried out the flasher unit.
Today followed a friends suggestion and replaced one of the rear clusters with an LED cluster (he struggled to see my indicator following me in bright sunshine)

Only did the nearside as a 'proof of concept.   First impressions not good.    Difficult to quantify it while just in the garage but the LEDs don't look half as bright as the originals.   And with the lights on the extra illumination of the brake light is minimal.  Having said that they were extremely cheap Chinese ones and the indicator has only 5 LEDs and the tail light 5 LEDs with an extra 2 for the brake light.   This compares with the 32 LEDs on my high-level brake light which works extremely well.   So maybe I need to find some with a lot more LEDs. 

I'll leave it on for now until someone can follow me in his car and test them properly, but I suspect I will finish up going back to the original bulbs, maybe polishing the reflectors a bit.

Wednesday 31 August 2016

Rear Number Plate Revisited

As promised, rebuilt the back number plate mounting so now it is as low as I can get it and even more of the 'tiger' is exposed.

Sunday 28 August 2016

Stamford Car Show

Took her to the Stamford Car Show today.   Managed to get 7 other hoods along as well.  And first outing of my new Club Banner. 
It seems it rained everywhere in Lincolnshire except in the middle of Stamford.  My reputation for laying on good weather for Robin Hood Lincolnshire events was even more enhanced   Although she got filthy on the way home with all the puddles.  

We were positioned between the Corvette Club and the Italian Replicas Club

Wednesday 17 August 2016

Reposiion Tyre Pressure Gauge and Voltmeter

Decided it was time to let the central power socket revert to being a phone charger.

so moved the Tyre Pressure Monitor to the top right of the dash and also put a voltmeter in just underneath it.

Sunday 14 August 2016

Third Brake Light

Having put the daylight running lights at the front, time to look at the back.   Most cars now have the high-level 'third' brake light so time to join them.   Love it !!

The wires go through the tube so they are hidden.  Thanks goodness for Ruth's crochet hook 

Later:   A friend pointed out that by mounting it on top of the roll bar I couldn't use the wet weather gear.

 Simple answer was to remount it underneath the roll bar.

Saturday 6 August 2016

Redesigned Rear Number Plate

A bit of cosmetic work this morning.

I love the 'Tiger' spare wheel cover, but the design of the rear number plate meant that the bottom half of it was obscured.

So I removed the luggage rack as I use it only a couple of times a year, and it was out with the grinder, drill and riveter and after an hour or so we now have this:

Much better.   I may look at dropping it a bit more but I ran out of time today.

Friday 5 August 2016

More on the Cooling System

Interesting experiment today.    Having fixed all of the cooling system so that she runs at just over 90C, with the fan kicking in at about 95C and stopping at 90C she is now a pleasure to drive and I don't have to keep checking the temperature gauge.   But the only 'niggle' was that she was taking quite a long time to warm up to temperature.   

Here is a screen shot from a couple of weeks ago and you can see it took almost 12 mins to get to 80C

 The general consensus was that this was caused by a rather odd design of the cooling system by  the designer.    He had taken a pipe that went to the heater in the original Rover design and taken it across the top of the engine. via a stainless steel pipe,  to the top of the radiator.   None of us could figure out why he did that except that it helped prevent air locks when you were filling the system via the expansion bottle.    The problem is that meant there was always a circulation through the radiator even when the thermostat was closed.

So now i am in the position where I don't need to refill the system (Last time I added any water was back in 2015) I decided to try removing the pipe and see what happened.    In good kit car fashion I just blocked the hose with a 'widget' made from 18mm dowel. 

And even I was surprised by the result.   Here is a screen shot from today's trip:
This time it was less than 5 minutes to reach 80C.  More than twice as fast as before.  A dramatic improvement, so from now the pipe stays off the car.
I shall probably carry the pipe and a screwdriver around for the next few trips just in case there are any unintended consequences, and I need to find a better solution than the dowels to block the pipes as they are not 100% watertight.   I guess a rubber plug would be better.   We'll see if the Club have any suggestions.

Later:   Now fitted some much nicer aluminium bungs

Thursday 4 August 2016

Hot Exhaust

One of the disadvantages of the external exhaust system is it makes getting out of the car a bit dangerous.  At least with the Superspec it is the passenger who gets burnt and not the driver (other Robin Hood models tend to have the exhaust on the other side,

But after the latest casualty I decided it was time to fit this.  Hopefully it will prevent any further problems.

Tuesday 2 August 2016


Feeling rather pleased with myself.   She just sailed through the MOT with no advisories.

Quite chuffed, as I have put a fair amount of effort this year in making sure everything was right.  Apparently the MOT chap was very impressed with my indicator notification system (high intensity LED and industrial strength buzzer), said it was the best he had seen on a kit car.

I was slightly worried about the noise level as the exhaust is a bit noisy, but apparently all he said was "sounds like a real sports car".

And the big test, of course, was the emissions check, where she has either failed or been marginal for the last few years.   Well it exceeded all my expectations.   CO2 was 0.018 (max allowed 0.2), HC was 23 (max allowed is 200)  and the lambda sensor was 0.999  (range allowed is 0.97-1.03, perfect is 1.0)  which is as close to perfection as I could ask.

Now that everything works properly I can go back to cosmetic tinkering , having eased off a bit after I had got her ready for the MOT.

Monday 18 July 2016

New Tyres All Round

As we approach MOT time I thought it was time to replace the tyres. In actual fact the front 2 were pretty marginal while the back 2 were OK.  But they must have been at least 15 years old so had gone very stiff and I decided to replace all 4 of them.   Also, although the car can still be moved one-handed (a good indicator the tracking is OK), both the front tyres were worn on the outside, so I think I might get the tracking professionally checked anyway.

It's very subjective but she did feel better on the way home, a bit less lively than before.  But it wasn't really a decent test as, contrary to my instructions to set them at 18psi, they had put them at 23psi.   So I need to do another test run at 18psi (19-20psi when warmed up) 

Also, they had a deal on where they would do a 28-point safety check for free, so I took advantage of that.   I do check her regularly but it never does any harm to have a second pair of eyes checking me.  I was very pleased when they came up with only 3 comments:

1.   The sump is leaking   (safety ?)  They had guessed why as they had quite a problem getting the car into one of the bays.

2.   One of the exhaust pipes was blocked   (safety?)  I explained about back pressure, not sure they were convinced.

3.   One of the rear brake pipes was touching the chassis.

So just the third one to have a look at.  The original builder can take a bow

They also advised a brake fluid replacement, which is fair enough, as the recommendation is to change it every 3 years.  Might get that done.  Could do it myself, but at £35 I might let them do it.


First time I have seen her up on the lift so took the opportunity to have a good nose around.   Interesting.

Thursday 16 June 2016

A Bit Over The Top ?

Like everyone these days I now have too many things to push into the cigarette socket.   

So bought this.  I now have a realtime display of Tyre Pressure, Tyre temperature, Battery voltage, Cabin Temperature and FOUR USB Charging Points.    Bit too easy to steal so will have to remove it when I park the car up.

Wednesday 15 June 2016

Indicators Again

Weather still not good enough to take her out so had to tinker.   Despite the industrial strength buzzer coupled to the indicators I still find I drive for miles with the indicator on if I am on a long journey and listening to a podcast on my headphones.  The basic problem is that the old-style warning lights just don't show up in bright sunlight.  

So as a temporary test I have added a strip of high power LEDs  that I had lying around.

I will also check out a single 'ultra bright' LED (£1.79 on E-Bay) and see if that works.  If the strip is better I'll get some nice green ones and do a better design, probably tucked up underneath the scuttle.      
Might even look at replacing ALL the warning lights with LEDs when I do the complete redesign of the dash (winter project).

Saturday 4 June 2016

Cooling System Complete

I think we can finally put the cooling system to bed.  Here is a plot of the trip up to GBS.

Once warmed up she sits beautifully in the low 90s for the whole trip.  The dip at the 20 min point is when I flicked on the fan at the Ancaster traffic lights and left it on right through the village and the dip at 42 mins was going round the Newark ring road when there was a fair amount of slow traffic so I put the fan on again.    And the peak at 50 minutes was when I pulled off the A1 through a village and didn't bother putting the fan on.   So I now have a perfectly predictable system. 
Job done !

GBS Open Day

Had a great run up to the Great British Sports Car factory.  

Went the back roads so it was an hour each way.    Lots of mates there and cars  there so had a happy 2 hours chatting, admiring cars, doing emergency repairs to one of the cars, drinking coffee and eating cake (lovely )   


This time I used the tyre sensors and pumped the tyres up to19psi.   During the trip I was interested to note that they fairly quickly warmed up and settled at 20 psi for the front and 22 psi for the back for the whole of the rest of the day.   It's very subjective, but I really did feel that the ride was a lot smoother and less shake, rattle and roll, but this was a different set of roads to my last trip so it may not be a valid comparison. 
However, it does show I have probably been driving around on under-inflated tyres for 3 years  because I believed the Halfords gauge.    
About half way there I flicked to the 'Tyre Temperature' display and found that the two front tyres and the offside rear had settled on 19C which is nice.  Unfortunately the rear nearside was 3C hotter than the others.  And this differential was maintained all the trip.   I was coming up with all sorts of reasons (rubbing brake, tight wheel bearing...) until one of the lads pointed out that the exhaust gases were coming out just in front of that wheel so the sensor was probably being warmed by that    I think I will file Tyre Temperature under 'things about the car I would rather not know).

Friday 3 June 2016

Tire Pressures

I Initially thought these were going to be fitted 'just because I could', but actually they might turn out to be very useful.

First you replace the dust caps on the wheels with these:

Then plug this into the power socket

And there you have a reading of the tyre pressures (and the tyre temperatures if you press the button on the side to switch displays).


Interestingly I had checked the pressures 2 days ago and they were all reading 20 psi on my normal gauge which is just a bit above the recommended pressure.  As you can see, this system thinks they are 16 psi on the left and 15 psi on the right.   So tomorrow I will to blow them up a bit until I get 18 psi all round and see if it makes a difference on my trip to the Great British Sportscars Open Day (free coffee and cake ).

Thursday 26 May 2016

Mileage Limit Exceeded

For the first 3 years of owning the car I had an Insurance Policy with a 3000 mile/year cap.  I thought that was more than enough.   Unfortunately not so.   This year, with 6 weeks to go to the end of the Policy, I had only 100 miles left.   Luckily a quick call to the Insurance Company and £30 on my Credit Card and I had another 1000 miles added.   Now to make the most of them.

Saturday 21 May 2016

Air Filter

When he was building her the original builder had the sense to bring the air filter forward into the nose cone instead of attaching it direct to the throttle body.   That meant she was getting nice clean air instead of the hot, dirty air from the back of the engine  (This engine was originally designed to be transverse, across the car, so in that case the air filter was already in front, in clean air).

This worked well, but all he had available at the time was an 80cm diameter tube and the throttle body diameter was 70cm.  So it has been 'scrunched' up to fit.   I had always intended to replace it and some 70cm tube arrived while I was away.  So fitted that this morning. 

I had also recently realised the air filter was the original one from 2008, whereas they are normally replaced every couple of years, so decided to treat her to a new one at the same time.   Bought a universal one to fit any tube between 65 - 80mm and fitted that 

So now she looks like this (nose cone hinged up):

Took her out for a quick run to make sure she was breathing OK.  Didn't expect to see much difference.  Boy was I wrong.  Absolutely amazing transformation.   She's always been fast, but I found it next to impossible to keep to the speed limit.   Just a slight pressure on the pedal and she leapt forward like a scalded cat and I was passing 70.   
Engine unbelievably crisp and growling beautifully, revving so much more freely than before.

Who would have guessed a new air filter would have made that much difference ?    Am now thinking that I should split the pipe in two and use half of the 80mm pipe at the front as the filter will still fit.   That would act as a ram air system and force more air into the engine.   A very cheap supercharger

Monday 9 May 2016

Windscreen Wipers again

At this blog post I described how I swapped the windscreen wipers over so I had an 8" blade on the drivers side and a 7" blade on the passenger side.  But it was still not ideal and I really needed a couple of 9" blades.   But that size blade with the correct mounting fit (7mm bayonet for those interested) were just not available anywhere.   Closest I could get was 10" blades, actually off a Bentley    But they were only £6 each so I bought a pair with the intention of chopping of 1/2" from each one.

Fitted the driver side one and had a pleasant surprise, it actually sweeps beautifully and just misses the top of the windscreen.  So no need to trim it.

But it turned out that I couldn't fit a new blade on the passenger side as it clashed with the driver one in the park position.   So I now have a 10" blade on the drivers side and a 7" blade on the passenger side.    

Which is fine.  Perfectly legal and I never carry a passenger in the rain anyway.

And I also have a spare wiper blade now:-)