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).