Wednesday 20 December 2017

New Radiator fitted

Have now installed a new radiator.   Picked one up from Rimmer Bros sale, just £80 including P&P.   Unfortunately it needed the hole for the thermostatic switch blocked up, which was another £20, but still a bargain.

Friday 24 November 2017


Bad day today.   Although I did say I needed something to go wrong so I could work on her.  :-)
You probably remember when I leaned in and started the car when she was in reverse and she ran back and bashed into my daughter-in-laws car.    Well I just did it again, only this time she was in a forward gear.  I had just finished replacing the instrument panel and wanted to see if all the electrics worked, including the rev counter.   So I waggled the gear lever to make sure she was in neutral and started the engine.   She wasn't in neutral so she started and shot forward 6 feet and crashed into the work bench.   And just to really make my day, I had propped the bonnet up against the work bench and she crashed into that :-(  And then I saw water gushing out of the bottom as well.............

So the damage is:
A 'flattened' bonnet

A totally wrecked nose cone:

and a badly damaged radiator (both left and right at the bottom).  The bottom hose is supposed to come out horizontally but it has been pushed vertically, breaking the joint.

And you can see the bottom mounting brackets for the nosecone have folded back (They should be horizontal)

So far I've found a replacement radiator at a car place on the way to Lincoln for £85 (It's off a  Rover SD1), so will probably get that.  
I will try gently bending the bonnet back in shape but may finish up taking it to a proper body shop, or even get a new one if Great British Sportcars have one in stock.


I have a spare nose cone in the spare bedroom, but it is yellow.  So do I completely change over to yellow to match it, go multi-colour or spray paint it blue ?

The good news is that, apart from the radiator, it is all cosmetic.    But she will be off the road for a few weeks I guess.

P.S.   I pulled a muscle in my back as well :-)

Thursday 23 November 2017

New Speedo Pinion

I've changed the speedo gear wheel to a 24-tooth one and now the speedo does not work.   More work required.

Thursday 16 November 2017

Battery Dead

Back from a great month-long holiday (Touring the West Coast of the USA, Cayman Islands, Bahamas & then Washington DC) and settled back in.   
So got to the car and she was dead.  And I mean totally dead, 0V showing on the voltmeter and nothing showing on a meter across the terminals of the battery. and it would not register on a charger.   I knew the battery was on it's way out, but I have never seen one fail that comprehensively.   Luckily (or forward planning ?) I had bought a new battery some weeks ago so out came the old one and in went the new one.   All the lights came on and she started up instantly, even though she had been sat for a month. 

I suspect I broke the battery myself by leaving it on a trickle charger when not in use over the last few months (not while we were away though as I wanted to see how the battery was looking).   It was supposed to be a 'smart' charger, but I only ever saw it pushing it out 14V so I suspect it was continually overcharging the battery.  It was a cheap one from Lidl, so I think I will just use it as a normal charger now and just charge the battery when it needs it.

Monday 9 October 2017

Speedo Working again

Having got a replacement cable from another Superspec owner I decided the only way to connect it to the gearbox was to put the car on a lift to give proper access.   So it was round to my friendly mechanic and put her on his lift.  Even then it was a bit of a struggle.   But now it works.

 As expected, it is over reading drastically, almost 25% when I compare it with my GPS speedo.
The reason for this is that the gearboxes were destined for the Ford Granada so were fitted with a 22-tooth speedo drive.  It appears we actually need a 26-tooth drive (although some people tell me that 25 teeth is the most that Ford produced) to get the correct speed and these are practically unobtainable.  

Just have to keep looking.

Tuesday 12 September 2017

More Spare Parts

Drove to York and back today with a friend who also has a Superspec and picked up some spare parts for our cars that we bought off a chap who is changing the engine in his Superspec for a Mercedes V8 (Wow!!) .  

Here was the back of the Volvo when we got back :-)

Basically we picked up:
A complete Rover engine with only 2000 miles on it
Adaptor Plate   (Unobtainable now)
Input Manifold
Throttle Body
Injector Rail

Starter Motor
Exhaust Manifold 
Catalytic Converter and Silencer   
Complete Engine Wiring Loom    
Coolant bottle 
The 3 Engine Mounts   
Fuel Tank
Quick Shift Gear Mechanism
Water Pump
Power Steering Pump
Coolant Hose

(Originally we intended to have the differential and drive shafts as well, but it turned out they were off a disc brake version rather than our drum brake versions, so would not fit)

(And on the way I picked my replacement speedo cable from Mansfield)

I dread to think what these parts would normally have cost, and so many of them would be unobtainable anyway.  The chap was going to put them on E-Bay and had originally estimated the total cost at well over £800.  In the event he let us have it all for £500 (£250 each).   Very pleased.

Just have to find somewhere to store it all. :-)

Monday 4 September 2017

New Exhaust Shield

The original heat shield was beginning to look a bit scruffy, and it was a bit of a misnomer as it wrapped tightly round the silencer so was actually at the same temperature.   So time for a change.

Here is the new heat shield fitted, and also an extra guard over the catalytic converter, as that was now exposed. 
Apart from looking very good, it also has all those holes and about 1" clearance from the silencer so the air flow keeps it relatively cool.   Hopefully no more burnt legs.

Saturday 2 September 2017


When I replaced the tyres a year ago the primary reason was their age (13 yrs+), although I had noticed that the outside edge of the front nearside tyre had quite a lot more wear than the rest of the tyres.   This time my mechanic pointed out a similar, almost imperceptible, wear pattern on the new tyres, but this time on the outside edge of the front offside tyre.

Neither of us could come up with a decent explanation.   It can't be tracking as you would get the same wear pattern on both front tyres, and it can't be the inflation as you would then get the same wear on both sides of the tyres.   I had wondered about camber, but that doesn't explain why it happened on the nearside tyre for the last set and the offside tyre for this set.   I guess it's just a warped chassis  (Robin Hood built the chassis without a jig, so it's not surprising)

Solution is pretty simple.  Each year, just after the MOT I will swap tyres.   So today I swapped the two front wheels.   Next year I will shift the rear wheels to the front and year after that swap the front wheels again.   Looking at the wear I think I can do at least 4 times before the wear becomes noticeable.   So they should be good for 16 years.

Cooling again

Back home from holiday so first day since the MOT I have had a chance to check her out.  The pleasure of getting through the MOT was tempered a  bit by the fact she overheated again on the way back home.   So first thing to do was check that.   
Soon found out why she overheated, she took 4 ltrs of water/antifreeze to fill up :-) My overflow bottle was also full of water.   So I emptied that back into the expansion bottle and then took her on a 20 mile run out to see what happened.   She behaved herself but the temperature profile didn't seem to be 100% right.   Back home I checked and the overflow bottle had some water in again.   Now she shouldn't be overflowing at those temperatures so the first suspect has to be the pressure cap on the expansion bottle.   So compliments of Amazon overnight, got a new cap this morning and fitted it.   Now need to see how she goes on the next trip. 

Sunday 20 August 2017

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.

Monday 24 July 2017

New Dashcam

My dashcam was showing it's age (and remember if cost only £14 a couple of years ago).  It's always annoyed me that it didn't overwrite when the SD card was full, it just stopped working.  Also the picture was always poor and now it is looking way over exposed.    So time for a new one and this time I went upmarket and paid £20

It's a nice camera and it works correctly by overwriting old files when it is full.   I put it in the same place on the windscreen and although the picture was OK, it showed every mark on the windscreen and the sun's reflection was very obvious.   

So I decided to experiment with placing it in front of the windscreen instead.

I'm not sure if the mount is good enough to withstand a 60mph wind, so we shall have to wait and see.   Also the only way I could mount it there was upside down, so I have to rotate the video to watch it. 

Reversing Camera

Since I have had the car I have hated reversing her as when strapped in I just cannot turn round far enough to get a decent view.  And the mirrors are no good for short distances.   The present warning system I have works well enough, but you cannot beat a proper view So time for technology to come to the rescue.

I've had a reversing warning system on the shelf for a long time, £20 on E-Bay as I recall.  So first I mounted the camera at the back:

Then a screen on the scuttle:

Which folds down when not in use.  All wired in to the reverse switch so it only comes into use when the ignition is on and reverse gear is selected.  

It works perfectly and I LOVE IT !!

Sunday 23 July 2017

Rear Ride Height

Although my long term plan is still to replace the piece of angle iron from the rear exhaust mount, at the last kit car show I compared my rear ride height with another Superspec and found his was a good 1" higher.   So today I lifted mine up another inch.  Served it's purpose in that I can now go over the sleeping policemen in the next village without grounding.

Have to see how it has affected the overall ride and handling now. 

Later:  Drove fast round a roundabout with a passenger in and it was fine.   So the exhaust mounting change not so important now.

Thursday 13 July 2017

Lanbda Sensor Wiring Repair

Rewired the lambda sensor wires after that had melted on exhaust. Used the rest of the screened cable and as an extra precaution used some earthed braided pipe to cover from the loom to the screened cable.

Then took her to the garage and back. I knew immediately that the sensor was working as she shot off like a scalded cat. Had to work hard to stay below 60 mph. 

Next thing I noticed was the temperature gauge started working. So it appeared to need rewiring after all even if it hadn't melted on the exhaust. 

Finally, she behaved perfectly after the fuel stop, which historically is when the lambda sensor stopped working. 

A quick check of the data stream showed: 

The data from 0-1.4 mins was when I ran the engine in the garage to check the wiring. Start up time was less than a minute. 1.4 mins - 8.0 mins was the journey to the garage. The start up time was 1 min and she was good from then on. At the garage the start up time was only 30 secs and then she was on song again. I can see there was four sluggish areas for a few seconds on the way back but they were not noticeable in the car and certainly nothing like the drop outs I was getting before. Interestingly they were almost exactly a minute apart. How do we explain that ? 

Later:  Figured it out.  They all coincided with me lifting my foot off the throttle.  Turns out then when you do that the ECU stops the fuel completely so the engine slows down quickly.  The lambda sensor senses a very lean mixture and drops to 0V.  So it is working as it should.

 Time to take a few days off I think. The fittings for the new heat shield come early next week so that is the next project.

Lambda Senor Rewire

For a long time now it has been intermittent and I had the same symptoms with 3 different sensors so the next suspect was the wiring.    So I stripped it all out and it wasn't good.    

From where the 4 wires (2 x heater, earth and signal) exited the loom near the alternator they had just been bundled together with insulating tape, all red, and sent down to the sensor.   What should happen is the signal wire and it's earth should be screened cable to avoid interference from the alternator and ignition.  So out it all came, carefully labelled

I reused the 2 heater wires and made proper plug connections at the end so I can swap Lambda Sensors just by plugging and unplugging.   Then I used some 2-core screened cable to go from just by the loom down to the sensor, again using proper plugs.
Started the engine (She has been on axle stands for 3 days), plugged in the laptop and watched.   And no-one was more surprised than me when everything started working properly.   So dropped her off the stands and took her out for a run.    She went beautifully all the way to Colsterworth and back, very crisp and responsive, so I was very confident.  However, when I checked the data I found this:

She she was working fine until the 9 min point then there was a catastrophic failure.    But the reason I hadn't noticed was that the ECU had seen there was a problem and switched me into Limp Home mode.    So that was disappointing,

But at this stage I suddenly realised there was a nasty burning smell from somewhere and when I took the bonnet off the reason was obvious.   Smoke was pouring off the exhaust.   And this was the cause.

Although I had carefully routed the wires away from the exhaust pipe on initial assembly, when I had finished underneath there was a lot of wire hanging down so I had pushed it upwards to secure with a cable tie.    That must have pushed the signal wire against the exhaust pipe.   Luckily I bought 2M of cable and used only half of it, so it will be a simple job tomorrow to replace the wire.

Exhaust Heat Shield

Having discarded the old silencer heat shield I managed to pick a new one up at the Baston Car Show off another member.   I'm waiting for some fittings to go on before I fit it, but I know already it is shorter so will leave the catalytic converter uncovered.   
So I made a second heat shield like the one Pete made to cover the front of the pipes.   Luckily he had left me a spare piece.  (And note the new black silencer - cool)

New Oil Pressure Gauge

The replacement Oil Gauge & Sender arrived today so fitted that.   It turned out the Gauge was fine, it was the sensor that had failed.  
Started the engine and it immediately read 80 psi, which is too high.  However, the Voltmeter reads 1.5V too high and the Temperature Gauge reads too high (ECU temperature of 90C shows as 110C on Gauge), so I wasn't totally surprised,   Looks like cheap Chinese gauges all over read.    These were always just for testing, if I go down the separate gauge route I will get some decent ones.

Friday 7 July 2017

Leg Pad

A bit of a trivial thing, but ever since I have had the car I have found the tunnel hard on my left leg.   So decided it was time to try a fix and added a pad.

Thursday 6 July 2017

Oil Pressure Switch

A new oil pressure switch arrived this morning.   I had already decided to future-proof the system and bought one of these:
It's a 3 way system, so you screw it into the engine where the old sensor went and then you can screw in the new sensor and also you can screw in a separate oil pressure sending unit for when I get a standalone Oil Pressure Gauge.  
So the picture on the left shows the old sensor simply screwed in.   The picture on the right shows the new unit screwed in and the new sensor screwed in the side hole.
 To stop oil gushing out I have temporarily screwed the old broken sensor in the top hole until I get the sender.  Interestingly, all the threads are tapered to make a good fit when lightly tightened.  It was designed so you didn't have to use PTFE tape.    But the new unit recommended you still use PTFE tape, so I did.   Result:  Works perfectly, light works as expected and no leak.

Minor Repairs

OVERFLOW BOTTLE - Ever since the original cooling problems (2-3 yrs?) I have had an overflow bottle on my expansion bottle   I wanted to see if any water was coming out of the pressure cap on the expansion bottle.  While Andy and I were comparing engines at Baston I noticed it had fallen off.   It had only ever been jammed in the chassis so it wasn't totally surprising. 

So put a new one in (using the water bottle I took to Baston) but this time punched a couple of holes near the top and secured it with a cable tie.    Result:  Still there after the trip.


MEMS ANALYSER - As usual, I had plugged in my laptop to check the ECU on the journey to Baston but it just came up with an error message.   So this morning I checked the wire and found part of it broken where I had used a very tight cable tie.  So repaired that.  Result: it worked perfectly.  

Unlike the lambda sensor.  Still no idea what is going on.

FAN WARNING LIGHT - Since I rewired the system the warning light didn't come on.  It's rather a complex system as I have 3 ways the fan can be triggered (primary thermostatic switch in radiator (suspect), the secondary thermostatic switch in the top hose, and the fan override switch on the warning panel)

so I decided the simplest solution was wire the light in parallel with the fan, so regardless of how the fan is switched on the light will come on. The 'rats nest' gets worse, although at least I have labelled them this time   Result:   Works perfectly.   Dropped in at the garage on the way home and as I left the fan came on for 2 mins and the light came on.

TEMPERATURE GAUGE NOT WORKING - I pulled the connection to the temperature sensor and then put it back.   Result:  Worked perfectly, must have vibrated loose.

INSULATION - The clutch rattle was so bad with the new MDF cover that I decided I needed some sound insulation. 

Used a gash piece of carpet to do this.  And the MDF cover sits on top.    Result:   Much quieter so it serves it's purpose.  HOWEVER, the severe rattle & vibration at low speed is getting worse and worse.    I think either the propshaft or drive shafts are on the way out.    I think I better go underneath tomorrow just to make sure that everything is still tight and there are no loose bolts in the transmission.

Saturday 1 July 2017

Revised Interior

Having finished the dashboard,  I decided to replace the gear lever surround with one made of MDF and covered with vinyl so it matched the design of the dash.   That looked good so I thought I better do the same for the tunnel cover.  But then I realised I actually grab hold of that when I enter and leave the car, and I also lean my elbow on it while driving.   So an MDF based one with sharp edges would be very uncomfortable.   So I decided to stick with the existing carpet covered stainless steel covered in vinyl.
And I had some vinyl left over so just to really finish the interior off I decided to do the armrests as well.  

This what they used to look like, black plastic and after 9 years beginning to look a bit scruffy. 
So covered them with the spare vinyl: 
And the 'final' completed look is this.
Very pleased with the result.

Took her out for a run and she feels great.   Also, for the first time in 4 years I can see the trip meter on the speedo  (My viewing 'hole' on the cluster is larger than the original).    

Wednesday 28 June 2017

Dashboard Complete

It's taken 4 years but I have at long last I have finished (for the moment) the dashboard rebuild.

As a reminder. this is what it looked like originally:

And here is the finished product
(The tunnel cover isn't a different colour, that is just a shadow) 

So really pleased how it has turned out.   Apart from looking smart, it has the advantage that all five panels (left, right, middle, top and the steering column cowling) can be easily individually removed to access everything behind the dash (electrical, brake lines...)   And all the instruments, switches and warning lights are concentrated in the middle, apart from the horn, which is now just adjacent to my right hand, and the hi-intensity Indicator LED in my sight line so I don't leave the flashers going.

Also, now it is all modular, it is going to be easy to do a redesign when I get bored with the layout.   I already have extra  MDF templates for all the panels for future redesigns.   In particular I am looking towards a set of individual gauges rather then the Escort cluster.

At the moment I have not incorporated a glove box.  I found I didn't use it very much and what was in there is now stored either in the boot, if I don't want people to see it, or in the cargo net on the side of the passenger footwell.  But the left panel looks a bit bare so I might reinstate it.

Next thing I will do is rebuild the gear lever surround (and then the tunnel cover) from it's present carpeted aluminium with vinyl cover, to an MDF construction to match the panels.

Thursday 22 June 2017

Rev Counter

Found the problem with the rev counter.  

Checking the back of the cluster you can just see in the red circle that the track has burnt through.   Can't actually repair the track but a jump lead to the power input of the rev counter (circled in blue) sorts out the problem.

Centre Panel

Concentrated on centre panel today.     Built and fitted: 
Plugged everything together and took her for a quick run and confirmed everything worked (lights, indicators, brake lights, fog lights, warning lights, hazards, reversing light, fan, speedo, rev counter, temperature gauge, fuel gauge.... ).  All good except for the rev counter.    Looks like it has burned out internally and that was what caused the original problem.    Confirmed that by plugging in my spare display and and on that one the rev counter worked.   So the problem is internal to the display cluster and I doubt it can be repaired.   But it isn't an MOT requirement so I guess I could live without it.    The alternative is to fit the spare, but that has 65,000 on the clock and I would prefer to keep it with the genuine mileage.
It's looking good now, but I now think the 12v Charger looks out of place on the top row and would be better down on the bottom.  That will leave room for the fog light switch to go in it's place and match the hazard warning light on the right.    So I will make a new top panel tomorrow, and an extension loom for the fog lights (5 wires, lucky I have plenty of spade connectors. )

Number Plate

Had a minor glitch when I walked around the back of the car and snapped off part of the number plate

But with the judicious use of a piece of MDF ( I love that stuff ) as a backing plate, and some Araldite, I have a temporary fix (which may become permanent)

Monday 19 June 2017


So now it was time to start rebuilding the dashboard itself.  Here is state of play when I stopped for the day.

The top panel has been reworked  (can't cover it in vinyl yet as I need to buy some more).   As you can see I have moved the 2 big switches (fan override and demister) up, either side of the warning lights and added the 12V charging socket to it as well.    And although you wouldn't know, I have also added a spare warning light.   the wires go through to the engine bay and it can be used for anything.   Before I had wired in the full beam light I had used it for diagnostic purposes to check on the lambda heater and found it very useful tool.  

So if you now look at the wires you can see that all that is left 'floating' is the Blue and White multiplugs that go into the instrument cluster, and the fog light switch, which at the moment is hanging into the passenger footwell.    Still considering mounting that on the top panel as well, so that the ONLY thing on the centre panel is the instrument cluster (Apart from the iPhone holder for the satnav).   Looking to the future that would make a future upgrade to separate speedo (electronic), rev counter, fuel gauge and temperature gauge a doddle.


While I was test running the engine a couple of days ago I suddenly saw the rev counter drop to zero.  
Further investigation showed no warning lights, no wipers, no flashers....    Obviously a problem at the back of the dashboard and there was nothing obvious.   Checked all the fuses and they were apparently OK.

I've been threatening to remove the centre console for 2 years now so decided this was the time to bite the bullet and go for it.   Out came the angle grinder and 10 mins later was presented with this:

It actually looks worse than it is, and I fairly quickly found that the 12V supply to the display wasn't appearing when I switched on the ignition.   Proved it by injecting 12V at the hub and everything started working again.    Logic tells me that a fuse has blown somewhere, but I cannot find one that has blown.  As usual my first instinct is to bypass the broken circuit and hot-wire an ignition switched 12V supply from somewhere else.  Trouble is I don't know where from.
Meanwhile I now need to build a new centre console.    It will be vinyl covered MDF to match the rest.    No huge rush as car still drivable, but needs to be fixed and in by the MOT, which is mid Aug.

Now I had access to everything, the first thing to do was make sure all the joints were correctly made, wires routed and that I could identify every wire (The previous owner had used a Sierra loom and has not removed any of the wires that we would not use (Aircon, power windows...).   First thing to do was find an alternative 12V ignition switched source si could stop using the console power for everything.     
While I was rooting around near the steering wheel I suddenly found this hidden away.

I couldn't see anywhere where it might have come unplugged from and everything was still working OK and lo & behold, when I put my meter across it is was a 12V ignition-switch source with a very think wire.    Paydirt !!!   

So I wired that in and now have a 12V ignition-switched 'busbar' for anything else I want to add and the display power source has reverted back to simply powering the display.

So this was the state at that point.   I know it doesn't look much of an improvement but now every joint is properly made, all the wires have plenty of extra length so the dash can easily be moved out, and all the wires are routed logically.

Oil Leak

At the Castle Bytham Fair I noticed I had dumped a VERY appreciable dump of oil on the road, much more than I have ever seen.    Initial thought was the sump really leaking again (I have always had a small leak but not major), but then I managed to convince myself that the problem was caused by me parking downhill and at an angle.   The sump guard I have fitted is larger than the sump and does act a bit like a drip tray and catches the oil.   So I decided that because of the angle it had simply emptied from the front left corner.

So woke up this morning, first thing was check the oil.   

No change on the dipstick and the towel under the car had nothing on it (the sump is near the bottom of the towel.  So obviously I was right and it is now filling the 'drip tray' again.    Sigh of relief.

Exhaust Rattle

During the drive to the Fair there was a very distinct rattle from the exhaust area, reminding me of the time when the catalytic converter disintegrated into bits.    Reproduced again on the way home.  Luckily one of the owners came back to the house so I was able to take him on a run, and he put his money on the heatsink domed front, even though it was apparently tight.

So this morning off it came again (happens every couple of weeks ), but as it is modular I needed to take off just the back half.    It was reassuringly quiet as I shook it.    So heatshield and dome front off and exhaust back on.

Result was perfect.  No rattle and everything nice and solid.   The heatshield has suffered a lot over the years, it is full of holes where we have tried to secure the domed front end, which was a terrible design and just held in place by being squashed by the heatshield, so it was looking decidedly scruffy,    

As you can see from the picture, it isn't as 'flash' as when it had the heatshield on but to my mind actually looks better.    If I really want her to look smart I can always put on my spare exhaust which has a brand new heatshield.    Another sigh of relief.

Castle Bytham Fair

Took her to the Castle Bytham Midsummer Fair yesterday, along with 4 others from the Club.   Obviously it was blisteringly hot but we managed to find some shade.  One of the older members actually fainted in the heat, lying across the engine of the MX5, and we had to call the St Johns Ambulance team.  Luckily he recovered after lots of water.

Wednesday 31 May 2017

Lambda Sensor (cont'd)

Phase 2 for the lambda sensor this morning.  But before fitting the old 'overnight washed' sensor, there was an additional job.  When I put this on my blog yesterday Richard, a regular reader correctly pointed out that the recommended position for the lambda sensor is facing upwards between 10° -75° from the vertical, not pointing sideways to slightly downwards, which is the usual position for the Superspec.   Another example of poor design.  Apparently it allows condensation to gather in the sensor and destroy it.  So off came the exhaust pipe again and the sensor re-positioned to the perfect position.  

It's all starting to look a bit scruffy, but luckily it will all be hidden when the heat shield goes back on. 

So in went the 'cleaned' sensor and I took her to the scrapyard to get some bits for my next project (This is a 'real' scrapyard where you take your own tools and they just tell you to search through the cars and take what you want off the car).    I wasn't totally surprised that the closed loop light stayed off all the way there and back and a look at the data shows why:
Obviously no good on the journey there, but after a 'hot soak' at the scrapyard it did at least make an attempt and towards the end of the journey I could convince myself that it was 'almost' working.   So I will leave it on until I get the new one.

As an aside, I had put the top cooling pipe back in and she behaved much better. 

Back to 15 minutes to reach working temperature.   Dropped while parked at the scrapyard, but at the 30 min point I was stopped quite a long time at the traffic lights in Grantham.   She climbed to 95C, fan kicked on for a couple of mins, brought her back down to 86C and she sat there all the way home, just climbing a bit as I drove through the village and home.  Still wondering if I should replace the fan thermostat with a slightly higher one, maybe 98C.

Tuesday 30 May 2017

Lambda Sensor (contd)

Spent a lot of today looking at the lambda sensor.   First thing to do was rebuild the exhaust pipe so the sensor could be changed in-situ without having to take the exhaust off.

So now it is facing the ground, still angled a bit to give room for the heat guard to go back on.   And the 4-way block added to allow easy switching of sensors.  And as I am relatively convinced the present sensor has been 'poisoned' by the emissions from the supposedly sensor-safe exhaust paste I used to seal the joints I decided to just use an exhaust bandage and two half pipes clamped over it to seal the joint.

Next was to try the spare sensor I had in the drawer that came with my spare 'MOT' exhaust pipe (that pipe is presently fitted with a brand new sensor) .   This was not as simple as it sounds.   Most manufacturers have standardised on white for the 2 heater wires (doesn't matter which way around they go), grey for the sensor signal and black for earth.  As you can see from the picture, this sensor came with black/black/blue/white.   A search for a wiring diagram confirmed that the heater was black/black, but if it had come from a Honda then the blue was signal and white was earth, but if it came from a Toyota then it was the other way around.   And I wasn't overly confident anyway as the previous owner had said he ran it for a long time not even wired in.

So first attempt was using the Honda system with blue as the signal.   A quick 5 min run around the houses and all I got was a flatline.  So for the second attempt I switched the wires and did the same run and the result was still a flat line.   So either I still have the wiring wrong or the sensor is shot.  I suspect the latter.

So for the third attempt I took the brand new sensor from the MOT exhaust and wired that in.  Same run and this time I saw the system go into closed loop very quickly and it stayed locked on for the whole trip.   

MEMSAnalyser confirmed the behaviour, that it switched in after 45 seconds.
So I now know that the sensor from the drawer is probably shot.    And now having had the chance to drive under the 2 systems, open loop and closed loop, back-to-back I can tell that the closed loop run was much better then the open loop one.    While the car drove perfectly well with a dead sensor, with a working sensor she is so much sharper and crisper and and much more positive acceleration.   So I would prefer not to drive without a sensor (even though I did it quite happily for the first 2 years)

I am a bit wary about using my brand new one, as I would prefer to keep that one for MOTs.   On the other hand the 'official' sensor runs to about £60.   So before shelling out for another one I am going to try 2 experiments:

1.  I am soaking the old one in petrol overnight as apparently that might clean off any impurities.

2.  I will get a cheap one (£7) off E-Bay and see how it works.

So we'll see how I get one with those.