Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Vacuum Gauges

Found some really useful info on the use of Vacuum Gauges - not only for tuning but how to diagnose all manner of engine ailments - seems to be a much under-rated piece of kit. Click here to learn more.

Monday, 30 March 2009

Things Still to do......

1) Fit the Mota-Lita Steering Wheel - Waiting on a replacement boss from GD.

2) Work out how to make the indicators self cancel (need new boss first) - think I've sussed it.

3) Fit Engine Bay Louvres and Rear Arch Stoneguards (waiting for GD to get some stock).

4) Work out how to temporarily fit the front number plate. Once I get my V5 the reg will be changed and I'll go for a stick-on plate on the bonnet. But the V5 will be a few weeks after I get my first age-related reg and I'll want to drive it whilst I'm waiting to change the plates.

5) Make a start on setting the carb up properly - Vacuum Gauge ordered - Instructions to be read!

Saturday, 28 March 2009

First Mods

Right then, time to change some things. Wind wings, sun visors and headrests fitted:

Fog light swapped back and reflectors removed:
Suspension dropped 25mm for now (left some room for it to settle so we'll see how we get on) and spinners fitted - tyre pressures set to 23psi all round
Steering wheel nearly fitted:
The Mota-Lita boss hasn't had the taper machined correctly so it will not go on to the shaft properly. Another one on its way up from GD next week.

After a little hiccup with my insurance cover note it has gone off with the MAC to the DVLA. So now we wait for an age related registration to turn up in the post sometime.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

What's Next?...... and the Blog???

Whilst waiting for the DVLA there's plenty of bits to take off and replace and the suspension to sort out.

But what about the Blog???? well after nearly 1000 days and over 30,000 visits it seems wrong to just let it end here?

These cars are never finished... there is always something to do. Then there is the opportunity to share the experiences of driving the damn thing after all this time.

You will note that I have changed the title to "Driving" from "Building"..... as long as people keep looking.... I'll keep posting!

Look out for the first set of mods coming up this weekend..... no time like the present!

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

SVA Passed!!!

Woke up to find no rain.... a good start. Short but enjoyable drive there. Surprisingly the car drove true (straight line with hands off the wheel) with no tracking faults. Just goes to show what can be achieved with a laser level, some bits of wood and metal and a calculator!

Here's a picture of the "Daft Hat Squad" just before we got told off for taking photo's - a good start to the test: And in under three hours it was all over.

The Tester, Dave, was a top bloke and Warren and I laughed and joked with him throughout the entire test.

There were only three issues:

1) The emissions were way off - but a quick twiddle of the mixture screws and it was sorted.

2) One of the bolts on the lower steering UJ was just grazing the stainless steel bottom hose link pipe - something I never spotted. I was allowed to tie this back on the proviso I fixed it when I got home and everything had cooled down.

3) Just scraped the noise test at 100.8 dB - and that's with underslungs and a balance box!

Drove home the longer way..... in the spring sunshine...... I now know what these cars are all about!

I didn't even get to eat my packed lunch..... back in the house before 12!

And after 2 1/2 years here is what it was all for:

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Weather Update

Looking OK for the morning........ might get wet on the way home though....... hopefully I won't be giving a $h1t by then!

Monday, 23 March 2009

35 Hours to go.......

...... and Heavy Rain forecast for Wednesday Morning........ Bugger!

At least I only live 5 miles from the test centre :)

Saturday, 21 March 2009

More or less ready for SVA

Last post I was talking about lockstops. The front tyres are 245/40/18's and as such they foul the inner wings on full lock. The problem is made worse by having to raise the car to get the front indicators up to the required height. This means that the suspension is in droop relative to the chassis (by winding up the bottom spring pans), with the movement of the wishbones these moves the wheels even closer to the inner wings!!

So I need to fit lockstops to the steering rack. First job was to unto the ties and pull the boots back:
Here you can see the rack shaft and the stock nylon lock stop. Any additional stops need to be fitted on the outside of the nylon stop so that they don't get ingested into the rack internals.

Here we see plan A on the left and plan B on the right:
Plan A was a split 2mm thick aluminium washer. The idea being to bend it open, fit on the rack and bend it back. however...... I have very little room to get my arms in due to the Accusump being in the way. No matter how hard I tried I couldn't bend them closed again!

So plan B was to use some 1.6mm thick polycarbonate. The beauty of this plan is that they simply be "snapped" onto the rack due to thier felxibility:
So process was them simple - insert a polycarbonate spacer - check for wheel rub - if so add another. Easy and only took a few minutes, once the spacers had been made (I even made some spares for the SVA just in case!). You can see the spacers here on the outside of the white nylon spacer:
The boots were pulled back over and new ties added to fix them.

This of course necessitated driving around outside the house to thoroughly test the performance of full lock - importantly the steering was making an effort to self centre at relatively slow speeds.

And that was that really...... time for some more photo's:
Put a couple of clips on the throttle cable to tidy it up, calibrated the speedo, polished a few things, sat and stared at various things for a while, and in no time at all it was dusk so I set out some markings on my garage door and set the headlamp aim up as per the Wipac instructions.
This only left two jobs on the to do list, bedding in the brakes and setting the emissions..... I will attempt the first on the way to SVA and the second at the SVA test - should only require a twiddle of the idle jets on the carb.
I assume over the next few days I might find the odd tweak or two to keep me busy...........

Friday, 20 March 2009

Wheels on... Wheels off... Wheels on... Yawn!

Spent a few hours taking the wheels off, winding up spring pans, putting wheels back on, measuring, taking wheels off, adjusting spring pans etc.. etc..
One thing I noticed was that the handbrake cable rested against the spring pan of one of the rear shocks..... I split some grommets, fixed them over the cable and secured each of them with a cable tie round the circumference to "nip" them onto the cable. This will keep the cable away from the spring and the grommets are too big to allow the cable to fall into the spring. Should be OK for SVA:
After a couple of hours of setting spring lengths, driving it a bit to settle the springs and re-checking I ended up with the front indicators at the correct height (350mm) from the floor.Oh well..... after all the waiting I suppose it's time for the money shots:

It is sitting quite high at the moment but will be lowered after SVA, also there are no spinners on either. I did fit one to see what it looked like but forgot to take a photo.

I had quite a few interruptions today from interested neighbours... funny how the sun brings them out!.... where were they through all those long winter nights freezing in the garage??

Now for the bad news...... the tyres foul the inner wings on full lock..... so that means fitting lock stops to the rack.

More on that tommorrow.... I've just wasted an hour or so with Plan A, but Plan B looks like a goer.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

They're Here......

Let the games begin........

......... I got the cobra up on axle stands, took the old jag wheels off, took some measurements, wound up the spring seats, put the new wheels on, dropped the car back on the floor....... bugger ..... rear to high and front too low. (No photo's 'till it's done.... no spoiling the surprise). Too late to do anymore tonight.... So I fixed my knob on instead!

Day off tomorrow.... so hopefully all will be sorted by the end of the day.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Wheels and Tyres

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Nearly Done

Fitted the last oiece of carpet in the boot (after some minor alterations) and re-fitted the lock plate. I finished off with fitting some edge trim around the inner lip of the boot:

Then it was time for a pre-SVA wash, clean and vacuum. I had now't better to do than take some photos:

Excuse the nasty wheels, Vectra steering wheel, no gearknob and dodgy engine bay vents!!

Fingers crossed for GD getting some tyres tomorrow?????

Friday, 13 March 2009

Louvre Blanking Panels

If you end up fitting blanking panels 'cos you don't have the louvres.... then remember to make some holes in the nearside one..... otherwise you won't have an air intake for the heater and the demisters won't work!

Good job I figured this out before the SVA test!

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Trying not to think about tyres.......

Still some small jobs to be done:

The SVA test requires that the clutch and brake pedals are non-slip, mine obviously are not:No problem though as I've got some of this stuff:It is like (Very) Coarse sandpaper on a rubberised adhesive backing. That bit has been stuck on my vice for two days and is pretty difficult to get off!! So after one last time in the footwell.... job done:I have yet to fit the engine bay dummy vent louvres... mainly because GD don't have any in stock. If I did nothing then the rebate in the body has a contactable edge which is a borderline fail being just less then the 2.5mm radius required. This was solved with some 0.5mm aluminium plate and some silicone: This converts the edge projection to less than 2.5mm in which case it only needs to be "blunted". Problem solved. I probably could have spent a bit longer making the plates fit "Exactly" but to be honest I couldn't really be bothered!

One thing I haven't yet tested is the fuel gauge. Fortunately the last time I ran the engine it ran out of fuel. So I added five litres - Moved up to below empty: Added another 5 (10 in total) - Moved a bit closer to empty - honest!!:

Added another 5 (15 in total) - Moved above empty:
Added another 5 (20 in total) - Moved above 1/4:
At least it moves I suppose. I'll keep adding 5 litres at a time ('cos I only got a 5 litre fuel can!) and note the gauge positions so that should give a good idea of what's left in the tank - somehow I think E - 1/2 - F might not be that accurate!

In fact it won't be. The gauge is marked for a float arm that drops below centre and moves up an equal amount above centre - you can see this from the non-linear markings - i.e. 1/4 is nearer to E than 1/2 and 3/4 is nearer to F than 1/2.
My sender is top mounted and moves through roughly 70 degrees up to just below the horizontal, and from my experiments when fitting the sender the resistance did not appear to change linearly with the float arm. So it's anybody's guess really!
So far... E = 12 Litres and 1/4 = 18 litres. It's around a 50 litre tank so looks like I might get to F before 50 litres?

Update on Tyres

Tyres are expected at GD Next Monday, which means I should be able to collect the wheels and tyres on Tuesday.....with 8 days to go till SVA..............

Tuesday, 10 March 2009


Kicking around trying to find things to do....................

......... Cleaned out the wheelarches and fitted the wheelarch covers:
Errrrrr.... and thats it. Need some wheels now to finish the rest of the jobs off:

Sunday, 8 March 2009

In the Engine Bay.

Time to finish off the engine bay. I had noticed a slight weep from the rocker cover gaskets a week or so ago and after talking to Jez I came to the conclusion that it was down to poor workmanship on my part!! I could have just nipped them up but I was concerned about the cork not sealing now it had oil past it. New set of Gaskets only cost a fiver so it seemed a no-brainer:This time around I used a smear of Silicone flange gasket to "stick" the gaskets to the covers as they tend to fall off and move around when you are trying to fit the covers.

After doing both Rocker Covers I set about the last remaining task in the engine bay..... cleaning all the dust out of it. Took a few hours and here are some gratuitous engine bay shots - this no doubt will be the cleanest it is ever going to be!!