Sunday 28 January 2018

First Run in 2 months

Woke up this morning, looked out of the window and realised this is one of those winter days why I don't SORN the car.   So emergency repairs was the order of the day.    

First I just sprayed blue paint over the cracks to disguise the damage.   You may remember that originally the nose cone was mounted on the two steel supports at the front of the car, but I had replaced that with hinges so I didn't have to remove the grill to take off the nose cone.   

Those supports were so badly distorted after the crash they could not be used for a direct mount, so I went down a different route.   I mounted a wooden batten (Much prefer wood to metal) and then mounted a single bolt on another piece of wood that acts as a locating 'peg' for the bottom the the nose cone.

So drilled a hole in the middle of the bottom of the nose cone and put it on the car.  Perfect fit, rock solid and looks perfect if you don't get too close   And I can remove the nose cone just by unbolting the bolts at the back and lifting it off the locating bolt.

Next I tried to reshape the bonnet.    Just about managed to get it to a state where it will sit on the car and engage the latches, but it isn't pretty.  But at least I can drive her to a body shop and see what they think.    

So with everything buttoned up she was ready to go.

Note the rectangular hole in the bonnet where there used be a louvred vent.   That was totally destroyed in the crash so I drilled the remains out and I have a replacement on order from E-Bay arriving next week.

Originally I was going to do an instrumented run but the battery on my netBook was flat, so I had to rely on 'feel'.   So then, with fingers crossed, I started out, conscious of the fact that she hadn't moved in two months.    Battery was down to 11.8V but she still started (just) .  I had originally intended to do a short test trip but she was going so well, and I was enjoying myself so much that I finished up doing 30 miles.  I kept to country roads but according to the speedo on my iPhone I got up to 70mph at one point.  I played safe by doing it in a clover leaf pattern based around the house to give me an opportunity to bale out if anything was wrong.  I did 7 miles to the A1 and back, 11 miles to Bourne and back then 12 miles around my test route to Grantham and back.

The result was:

1.   The front right indicator isn't working  (easy fix)

2,   One of the 4 bonnet latched came undone but there was no danger of the bonnet flying off.

3.    Once she had warmed up the temperature remained rock solid.

A perfect temperature.   This was a big surprise as all I had done was top up the system when I fitted the new radiator and I expected to have to play around 2-3 times to get rid of air locks and get it working properly.    But not only was it perfect, but when I checked the water level a couple of hours later I had not lost any  So really chuffed with that.

So off to the recommended body shop next week and get quotes for straightening the bonnet and doing a proper job on the nose cone breaks.

Thursday 25 January 2018

Nose Cone Repair (2)

Today I finished off the fibreglass repair on the nose cone.    I had plenty of glass and resin so put double the amount needed on the main cracks.   It doesn't look pretty but boy is it strong.   Total cost £9.99.

And I reinforced the top mounting holes so they are now really solid:

And here she is mounted back on the car.

Very pleased, as I now realise that of the five cracks, the main 2, where the whole nose cone was broken right through, are underneath.   And once the number plate is mounted they are impossible to see unless you lie on the floor.    That means I can practice on those two before I tackle the other three.   You can see one of the others in this picture, on the left side of the nose cone, about 12" long

There is also small one about 3" long on the top right of the nose-cone.  As you can see, about half of it will be covered by the bonnet so that should be easy.    I could even cover it with a sticker  
The final crack is on the other side and is shown here. Again, not very visible unless you know it is there.     So I am fairly confident I can have an acceptable solution just by filling the cracks, sanding them down, priming and then spray painting the affected areas.   I don't need to repaint the whole cone.   Luckily I still have primer and eclipse blue spray cans from my repair of the rear wing.

So that will just leave the bonnet to be straightened and she will be good to go. 

Fuel Leak

Another nice day today so made the most of it.    First I took her outside and ran the engine up to temperature to check if there were any coolant leaks under pressure.   Initially it looked OK, but then I saw a very small drip.  Confusingly it was nowhere near any of the cooling pipes, and a quick taste test showed it was petrol.  It turned out to be a leak where the fuel line goes into the pressure regulator.

Amazingly the jubilee clip was actually loose and took about 6 turns to tighten up.    I have absolutely no idea how long that leak has been there, but it could have been months as I very rarely run the engine with the bonnet off.    

So a very useful exercise. and when I checked later when the engine had cooled down the coolant was at the same level in the expansion tank.    Good news.    I will still need to do some more runs to confirm it, before I go on the 100 mile+ Stilton Cheese run in April, but there is plenty of time.

Wednesday 24 January 2018

Nose Cone Repair (1)

And now the first phase of the nose cone repair.   Having decided I would need to 'wrap' the spare yellow one I realised that it would make more sense to try and repair the old blue one and then wrap that one.  

And having learned my lesson on my first attempt at fibreglass repair that you do NOT lay fibreglass on the outside as you will never get a decent finish, I needed to lay lots of fibreglass on the inside of the nose cone to provide structural strength, before using filler on the outside which can be sanded down to get a decent finish.    What is nice about working on the inside of the cone is that it doesn't matter what it looks like as it will never be seen.   So did the first few cracks, initially concentrating on the ones where the nose cone was actually broken.  Here are some photos of the result so far.

So the nose cone is now structurally sound.  But there are still a couple of places where I need to add some more fibreglass, and I want to reinforce the mounting holes where the bolts were pulled through, and as I have plenty of resin and fibreglass I will add quite a bit more fibreglass to over-engineer it

So once that is all done it will be time to sand down the top surface and use filler to finish it off.    Not sure how it will finish up, but if it is reasonable I may try painting it and see what it looks like.    I can always wrap it if it looks scruffy.

New Drip Tray

At long last the temperature in the garage won't give me hypothermia so was able to get a session in.   Now the new radiator is plumbed in I topped up the cooling system and there is no static leak.   I need to check with the engine running to see if there is a leak under pressure, so If it ever stops raining and I can get the car outside I will do that.

You might recall I initially had a drip tray under the car, but it was trashed when I drove over it.  After that I just left a towel underneath and chucked it away every few months.   Not ideal, so decided it was time for a new tray.

 It's very deep-sided, so I chopped down the leading edge so I can slide it under the sump (Still leaving enough to prevent overflow).   And screwed a handle to the back end to make sliding it in and out much easier.   
And to make sure I don't run over it, another laminated reminder sign is added.