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.