SuperSpec

SuperSpec

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Present Status

New Visitors :
If you are interested in the full story I suggest you read this post from July 2013 first for the back story : The Beginning of my Journey and then work through the rest of the Archive on the panel to the right. 


Current Visitors :    Latest Post:  Rev Counter

Tasks Completed
1.    Initial Cosmetic Fixes
2.    Clutch Cable replaced
3.    Front Ride Height increased
4.    Sump Guard fitted
5.    Wheel Alignment checked
6.    Steering Bushes replaced
7.    The Boot (Trunk) redesigned
8.    Battery Isolation Switch fitted
9.    Brake Light Switch replaced
10.  Auxiliary Electrical Panel fitted
11.  Engine/Chassis Earth Strap fitted
12.  Fuel Filler Pipe replaced
13.  Exhaust Pipe fixed

14.  Replace Front Number Plate after crash
15.  Repair the Offside Front Wing after crash
16.  Fit Tension Spring to Clutch
17.  Fit new Front Wing
18.  Fit a new Thermostat and Cooling Fan Switch
19.  Grease Propshaft CV Joints
20.  New Rear View Mirror fitted 
21.  Steering Rack checked 
22.  Oil leak in Sump reduced
23.  A Better Rear View Mirror Fitted  
24.  Additional Flasher Light and Bigger Buzzer fitted 
25.  Elastic Band added to Fuel Filler cap to make a better seal 
26.  Rear Exhaust Mounting changed to a Rubber Mounting 
27.  Wind Deflectors Fitted
28.  New, Longer, Mud Flap fitted  (Second attempt)
29.  Exhaust Heat Shield Renovated   
30.  Doors made Folding for Storage behind Seats
31.  Reversing Lights Fixed
32.  Handbrake Guard Fitted   
33.  Reversing Sensors Fitted
34.  Reversing Switch Power feed changed to Ignition Live  
35.  Matching Nearside Front Wing and Mudflap fitted 
36.  Fog lights mounted direct to car body
37.  Handbrake adjusted  
38.  Fitted Aluminium Treadplates to Footwell Floors
39.  Catalytic Converter replaced  
40.  Petrol Smell identified and pipe replaced
41.  A Ram-Air Cooling System fitted to Starter Motor
42.  Tested the Exhaust with one outlet blocked
43.  New Luggage Rack Fitted  
44.  Fitted a new Grill
45.  Fitted a new Thermostat Gasket
46.  Fitted a new Serpentine Belt
47.  Replace Bushes on Bottom of Rear Shock Absorbers.  
48.  Raise Rear Ride Height 
49.  Engine Cover Fitted
50.  Fit Daylight Running Lights
51.  Rewired Front Indicators  
52.  Fitted Brake Light Monitor
53.  Fitted LED Voltmeter and USB Charging Point  
54.  New Battery Fitted
55.  Redesigned Heat Shield Mounting
56.  Fitted more Running Lights 
57.  Built ECU Diagnostic Interface Cable
58.  Painted Rear Drums
59.  Fitted Handbrake Warning Light
60.  Fitted Longer Wind Deflectors
70.  Fitted new Exhaust System and Lambda Sensor  
71.  Fitted Flexible Joint in Exhaust System
72.  Fitted Seat Belt Extension to Driver Seat
73.  Changed the Idle Speed from 1000 rpm to 850 rpm 
74.  Replaced Coolant Temperature Sensor 
75.  Partially blocked off Intake Grid    
76.  Fitted a Grid Guard
77.  Fitted Bonnet Louvers
78.  Fitted New Larger Wiper Blade (10")
79.  Fitted New Air Filter
80.  Fitted Tyre Pressure Gauges  
81.  Fitted New Tyres all round
82.  Removed Top Coolant Pipe
83.  Redesigned Rear Number Plate 
84.  Fitted Third (High-Level) Brake Light
85.  Fitted LED Rear Light Cluster to test
86.  Fitted Proper Thermostatic Fan Switch 
87.  Replacement Windscreen Washer Bottle fitted  
88.  Built-In Battery Charger fitted
89.  Cargo Net fitted to Passenger Footwell  
90.  New Spark Plugs fitted
91.  Fitted Power Steering Reservoir 

Tasks In Progress
 
1.  Dashboard Redesign 


     Completed
     Phase 1 - Warning Lights and 12V Supply
     Phase 2 - Provide Access to Electrical Panel with New Cover
     Phase 3 - Fit matching Driver side Cover
     Phase 4 - Fit matching covers to Transmission and Gear Cover
     Phase 5 - Fit improved Warning Light Panel

     Still to Do
     Phase 6 - Fit matching Centre Panel

2.  Electrical System


     Phase 1 -  Identify Relays     (Partially completed)

Status: Just need to track down the ECU Relay.  I can hear it clicking behind dash and instrument cluster.

     Phase 2 -  Identify Fuses       (Partially completed)

Status: Just need to identify 3 fuses

     Phase 3 -  Identify Services   (Partially completed) 

     Phase 4 -  Fit Battery Isolation Switch   (Complete)
     Phase 5 -  Fit Auxiliary Panel                 (Complete)
     Phase 6 -  Wire in Camera and SatNav   (Complete)


Tasks Still Outstanding 


1.  Redesign Dashboard
2.  Redo exhaust  rear mounting
3.  Replace Brake Fluid

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

Dashboard

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.




Electrics


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.



Friday, 26 May 2017

Lambda Sensor

On the cooling test run the Lambda sensor was a pain in the neck.  Here is a picture of the last 30 minutes of the trip.

The first part of the trip was fine as the ECU quickly decided the sensor was useless so went into open loop (Status=zero) and as we all know the car still goes perfectly in the 'limp home' mode.   The problem occurred when I stopped for petrol (18 mins on the graph).  The ECU re-started in closed loop and because the sensor was initially OK it stayed in closed loop.   The problem, as ever, was when the lambda sensor started sulking the ECU continued to use the output and stayed in closed loop.   So for most of the journey back home she was sluggish, popping and banging from the exhaust and well down on power.   Then there would be a sudden surge in power as the sensor started working and she ran beautifully, only to revert to poor running when the sensor failed again.   Very frustrating and I am seriously thinking of disconnecting the sensor until I get round to replacing it.


This screen shot of the Short Term Fuel Trim shows the problem.
Because the ECU is trying to use the 'duff' data from the sensor, it totally wrecks the fuel/air ratio, causing all those symptoms (I think it stops at -25% to avoid ruining the engine).
Still, enjoyed driving in a short sleeve shirt for the first time this year, and my new Power Steering system worked perfectly as well.


Cooling System

Having removed the top cooling pipe I decided today would be a good time to run a test in a high temperature.   So took her out for a 55 min, 45 mile drive.   

As expected she passed 80° C within 6 mins rather than the usual 20 mins so a very quick warm up now the top of the rad is not being fed.   But again, as expected, she began to run a lot hotter and in fact she remained firmly pegged at 90° C for the remainder of the trip.   But that was because the fan was running continuously.  I don't suppose it matters, but it is a bit of a power hog and the alternator voltage dropped from my normal 13.4V to 13.2V.
So do I trade a fast warmup time for more running of the fan ?   Not sure yet.   

Still might go down the thermostatically controlled water valve inserted in the top pipe so it remains shut until the engine reaches temperature..

Saturday, 6 May 2017

DRL Upgrade

When I originally fitted the Daylight Running Lights (DRL - Total cost $3) it was always a proof of concept and a bit of fun.  They looked good but I had never had them fully road tested.

On the way to Stoneleigh I drove behind a friend Andy to see if his exhaust was smoking (no) and he confirmed that while he could see they were on, but they didn't stand out all that well.    So time for an upgrade.   

Have now replaced them with Hi-intensity LED strips that are dramatically brighter and were actually advertised as proper Daylight Running Lights and not just LED strips.

Slightly more expensive (£3/pair ) but they work extremely well.   Just need to follow someone else now to see how they hold up.
 

I actually have 2 more I could put on the lower wishbone, but I think I will then start to look like Blackpool Tower.
 

(BTW. ignore the drips on the cardboard, that was while I was fitting the extra hose to the power steering.)

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Broken Exhaust Bracket

Decided it was time to look again at the rear exhaust bracket.  As well as being a bit ugly, it continues to ground on sleeping policeman.     I took this photo a couple of weeks ago to demonstrate the 'before' situation.

What I failed to notice was the bracket had snapped, and the exhaust had settled down and was just resting between the bobbin and the body of the car.   I must have driven all the way to Stoneleigh and back with it like that.
So urgent action required.    Out came some scraps of steel, the drill and the angle grinder and a 'temporary' solution manufactured.
 
It's basically 2 right angle pieces of steel bolted together to form a 'U' shape, with the bottom one bolted to the top of the bobbin and the top one trapped to one of the pipes using a circlip (good thing I bought a job lot of those at the Newark Autojumble. I'm using a lot lately).   It actually seems very solid so may become a permanent solution

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Power Steering Pump Reservoir

Only been back 24 hours but been busy   To be fair, as she was working so well a couple of weeks ago, I decided to leave everything until after Stoneleigh.


One of the concerns I have always had with the car relates to the power steering pump.  Obviously the car doesn't have power steering but the power steering pump is combined with the water pump so there is no way it can be removed.  

The original Robin Hood solution was simply to run a tubes from the inlet and the output and join them together.  Here is the join, a copper pipe with the tubes clamped.




That is all well and good, but if ever the fluid leaked you would have no way of knowing and eventually the pump would run dry and would fail catastrophically.
 

First thing was to replace the piece of copper pipe holding the 2 ends together with a brass T-piece and put a third piece of pipe on that.    Here is the result:



When I split the pipe no fluid emerged, and once I had the third tube in I put a small funnel in and added some fluid.   It took a disturbingly high amount.   So maybe I caught the system just in time.  Remember, this has been running like that for 8 years.

The next stage was to fabricate some sort of reservoir to attach to the other end of the new pipe to hold the fluid.  I had been looking at various options but while I was at Stoneleigh I found these:

The plastic reservoir is off a hand-held paint spray , the adapter is off an air compressor tool and the fuel pipe was from the the spare stuff Pete gave me with the car. 

When It came to mounting it I could have put it on the left of the car just back from the T-piece, but that was very close to the exhaust so there would be a danger of the fluid boiling. 



But I had plenty of pipe so I decided to mount it front right of the engine bay where there is plenty of room.  And mounted it using the double circlip method.  Rock solid.



So job done, I just need to go and buy some more power steering fluid to completely fill it.


Sunday, 30 April 2017

Stoneleigh

With the shrinkage of the kit cars shows, we really only have Stoneleigh left, the first show of the summer season.   So I really ought to go, particularly as the Club holds it's AGM and then lays on a hog roast.  I wasn't sure about camping overnight but eventually decided to do it.

First nice surprise was that the Show had recovered from a poor showing last year to quite a respectable number of kit cars and trade stands.  Maybe the weather last year put people off. 

 

On the Club stand we had 60-70 cars on the Sunday.  Not as good as the 100 I saw 3 years ago, but much better than last year.

 So had a good day looking around and then a nice evening sitting around chatting, with beers and pork baps.   Went to bed at 10:00 and a few minutes after I settled in it started to rain.   It carried on till 05:00.    


But at 08:00 when I got up it was nice and clear.  So back on the Club stand with the car.   This time only the real die-hards were there but it was still nice to wander around chatting.

Left at 14:30 for a nice run back.   All in all a very pleasant weekend.
 

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Stilton Cheese Run

Lovely day out driving the Stilton Cheese Run, for the 4th year in a row.   On my first run we had 4 cars, this year we had 16 Robin Hoods and 4 other cars, all in formation.  And 3 other Robin Hoods who decided to drive the route as individuals.

Everyone arrived at Uppingham before 10:00 and parked up.   Apart from us there were 300 official entries and I reckon another 100 unofficial entries.    A quick look around and saw these:
 

Looked at all the other hoods and saw my next project.  Isn't that the most fantastic colour scheme ? 
 
 
First problem was to find somewhere we could group up before starting.  We picked a cul-de-sac near the start.   It looked like this :

I was slightly worried the residents might be annoyed, but actually they were very happy and came out and chatted away with us.  One lady filled a couple of water bottles and as we left shouted she would do tea and cakes next year.


Then at 11:00, off on the run, the first half took 1:10 hrs and we finished up at New Lodge Farm.  Janet had brought Neve to see us, which was nice, so the other drivers, some of who had seen her last year, met her again 1 year later.   Time for a quick cup of coffee and a snack.


Then off for the second half of the run, which took about 40 mins, with a now usual stop for a photo op of a very impressive viaduct we go under.  I was about Number 6 in the queue so a hidden here.





After lunch at Stilton we all drove back home.  For me it was 30 miles up the A1.

The Tiger wasn't perfect unfortunately.   The cooling system was fantastic and worked exactly as it should (first time in 4 years), but the lambda sensor started playing up, so although she was perfectly drivable, I was a bit down on power and a bit sluggish.    As it happens that did not matter with 20 cars in formation on country roads.  I don't think I actually ever got into 5th gear.   It eventually started to work on the last leg up the A1 when I cruised happily at 70mph.

And the weather was perfect, of course.  I started the day wearing a shirt, jumper, fleece, neck scarf, gloves and woolly hat.    By the time I got home I was just wearing shirt and jumper.    So 100 miles covered all together.      Now looking forward to Stoneleigh Kit Car Show next weekend.




Saturday, 8 April 2017

Spark Plugs

Mustn't forget annual maintenance, particularly as she is getting on a bit.   Decided it would do no harm to give her a new set.

 Very pleased to see the heads were a perfect chocolate colour showing the mixture is perfect.

Slightly concerned at the oil on the threads, looks like there might be a small oil leak from the valve cover gaskets,

Monday, 27 March 2017

Back to the Factory

Every so often Great British Sports Cars (who took over Robin Hood Engineering) have an Open Day, with coffee and cakes.   So I took the car there, as she was first sold from there as a kit about 15 years ago.    Here are some pictures:





 

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

More Bling

Recently I was looking at some pictures of another Superspec in Italy and realised that we were missing something that most other cars have, the make and model number in chrome on the back.

 Easily fixed.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Hot exhaust sign

Having already had a passenger with a burnt leg I decided to add yet another warning message.

 Hopefully it will help.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Lambda Sensor

When I took her out a couple of weeks ago it was obvious the lambda sensor was not happy.  This was the data readout:



What should happen is that the ECU sets the status to ON when the engine starts, then monitors the output from the sensor.  If it doesn't see a proper signal after about 80 seconds it switches the status to OFF.  So there were 2 things wrong:  The status started at OFF;  the sensor never really started working.

However, I had just redone the exhaust join upstream of the sensor and, although the sealant was supposedly sensor-safe, I wasn't convinced it hadn't coated the sensor, so I was hoping that a good run would burn off the containment and then on a second run it would all start working again.

So out for a good run and this was the result:

So it was nice to see that the status started at ON.   And also I had been a pessimistic as it seems the contaminant burnt off very quickly and the sensor started to work.  What was a surprise was that the ECU left the status at ON for over 2 mins with a non-working sensor.  Never seen that before.

Still, nice that everything is working. 
 

Thursday, 5 January 2017

New Milestone

Just back from a nice long 2:20 hr trip.  Weather was a bit chilly but I wrapped up well.  During the trip I also passed another major milestone.
 

Clue:   She had 6650 miles on the clock when I bought her.
 




Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Xmas Present

Just done a test run of my Xmas present:


It isn't just a hat though, I have plenty of those, this one is special in that it has Bluetooth headphones built in     Test run a huge success, very comfy and warm (although not heavy so I can probably continue to use it in Summer),  headphones had plenty of volume, even though the exhaust is now REALLY blowing and I listened to a whole episode of R4 Friday Night Comedy, on my round trip.
 
The only slight drawback is that if the mask covers my nose then my glasses immediately steam up.   So I have to pull it down slightly to expose my nose  (Most of us drive with glasses on since one chap had hid windscreen shatter, and it is safety glass rather than laminated so he was showered with glass).  But nose didn't get cold
 
Very successful

Monday, 19 December 2016

Fitted Cargo Net

It's a bit cold to tinker at the moment, but just had a successful 15 mins with her.  I have had 2 'niggling' problems that I have been living with for some time:

1.  The carpet in the passenger footwell has to be loose so you can access the bolts holding the exhaust heat shield.   It is held in by velcro, but occasionally the wind coming into the side of the footwell gets behind the carpet and dislodges it.

2.  Now that plastic bags have been declared 'persona non grata' I've got in the habit of carrying one of the reusable shopping bags  (known as 'envirosacs' apparently)  around in the car, for ad-hoc visits to supermarkets.   The glove box has got a bit full so I normally just chuck it in the passenger footwell, but three times recently it has actually been 'sucked' out of the footwell and flew out of the car  (the aerodynamics of these cars is totally off-the-plot).    Cue a U-turn (once in total darkness) and a drive back to try and find it.

So I realised I could cure both problems by fitting one of these mini cargo nets to the side of the car.    Here is the result:



And with the envirosac in:   (And actually room for more, hat, gloves...)
 

Job done.  The carpet will never come loose and the bag will never get sucked out.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Brake lights

Been a bit quiet recently but took her out 3 times last week.   Nice run down to see latest grand daughter on Sunday.    The engine loves this cool damp air, she ran like a sewing machine and once again I found I was having to force myself to slow down.   I really don't know why people SORN the cars over the winter, it is lovely.   Temperature stabilised at 86C, which I am quite happy with.  It could run hotter but anything above 80C is enough to boil off contaminates in the oil.

But on the way back, as it was getting dark, I noticed the brake lights weren't working again.  The warning glow behind the dash next to my right knee once again proved it's worth, as I would never have known otherwise.

This normally means the adjustment has vibrated out, but this time that didn't seem to be the problem.   Taking the switch out it all worked fine, but once I mounted it back it stopped working.   Wiggling the wires made it flicker so I put new spades on both wires.   Didn't help.   Eventually I figured out the contacts inside the switch had become intermittent.  You may recall the original switch had corroded and I had replaced it with one of a Mini that I got for 99p.   I guess 3 years is not bad for 99p.

So this time I decided to splash out and get one from a Land Rover Defender on the basis that might be heavier duty.  Cost the grand sum of £3.25

LAND ROVER BRAKE LIGHT SWITCH, LAND ROVER, DISCOVERY, ETC, MINI
Fitted it and everything was fine.   The only problem was getting the adjustment right.   Up to now I have adjusted the whole mounting unit, but as this has to be mounted using self-tappers (If nuts/bolt used then it needs a second person to access the underside of the pedal box) these are not designed to be repeatedly taken in and out so have now worn.   So had to come up with an alternative solution.   Have always been happier working with wood than metal (Remember the wooden clutch cable adjuster with is working perfectly), probably because I did woodwork at school rather than metalwork.  
So I decided to use a wooden wedge, initially cutting it roughly to size and then using a Surform plane to gradually reduce the length until the switch was in exactly the right position.
 

Success, very solid fit and lights come on perfectly when pedal depressed.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Day out after a long gap

After over a month sitting in the garage (another reason not to go on long holidays) and the weather was good, it was time to take her out.   I had the trickle charger on for all that time so she leapt into life and actually ran perfectly straight away, where she is often a bit 'lumpy' for the first minute or so.


Arranged to meet Andy (the chap with the other Superspec) for lunch at a pub in Rockingham.   Obviously a bit chilly, and although the engine loved the cold air it was breathing in, it refused to get up to a decent temperature so I didn't get the usual warm air flowing up from the footwell.   Time to reinstate the 'shutters' on the grid I think.    


Also the cold meant the tyre pressure was only 16psi and they wouldn't warm up either, so time to put another couple of psi in them.   Otherwise lovely journey and nice lunch.




While we were there we decided to go and have a look at the Rockingham Speedway Circuit.  I have driven past it often enough but never been in.   And as it was only 3 miles we decided to swap cars so we could compare them.  Interesting experiment.   Andy thought his steering was heavy and preferred mine but I found his steering very light but it refused to self-centre after going round corners, which was a bit off-putting. And his clutch was how mine used to be, i.e bite point near the floor and either 'on' or 'off',   So we discussed how to sort his out by tightening the cable a bit.  Otherwise they seemed pretty similar.

Rockingham is a very impressive setup and interestingly there was a sign saying "Site of the 2017 British Grand Prix".   First I have heard of that, I guess it can't be Formula One.

What was on was a 'Learn to Drift" school, with 4 cars sliding around a wet patch doing doughnuts and driving sideways.  I actually have a TravelZoo offer to do this for £69, so sorely tempted.  Anyone care to join me ?

Then a nice run back up the A1 to home.  Good day.