Friday, 26 May 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:  Lambda Sensor

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 

     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.  Replace Steering Column Shroud with proper Mondeo one
3.  Redo exhaust  rear mounting

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


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

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.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Built-in Battery Charger

I've noticed recently that the battery is losing charge very gradually.  I doubt it is the battery itself a it is relatively new, so I guess one of my 'modifications' is causing a leak.   As it happens I have been thinking of buying a 'smart' battery charger (One of those you can leave permanently connected and it will not overcharge the battery) for some time, particularly as I am about to leave her for 3 weeks.   And we know now that disconnecting the battery is not a good idea as you lose the idle settings in the ECU.

But I also wanted one where I wouldn't have to keep taking the bonnet off to clip the leads on.  So I bought one that had a detachable lead and plug/socket.  It then has 3 optional types of lead to connect to the battery, a normal one with crocodile clips, one with a cigarette lighter plug and one with just 2 bare wires.  The first and third came with the pack, the cigarette one was extra.   So I used the ones with 2 bare leads.

So I wired the lead into the passenger footwell (The 6-way plastic connector on bottom right is connected directly to the battery, and you can see the red lead going vertically up to an in-line fuse).   This area is becoming even more of a 'rats-nest', I really ought to tidy it up.  On the positive side I know what every wire does

And the other end of the lead comes out just by the passengers arm rest.   This shows it with the charger plugged in.  In day-to-day driving it is nicely hidden away.   So now it is a 20 second job just to plug/unplug the car.

What's the odds on me driving out with it connected one day

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Progress on Lambda Sensor

Time to look into my odd lambda sensor behaviour.  As far as I can see there are only 3 reasons for this:    ECU not programmed correctly (not much I can do about that),  lambda sensor heater relay (which should power the heater on engine start) not operating correctly or a dodgy lambda sensor.  

First thing to do was to give some visual indication of the heater status.   I decided to 'borrow' the headlight full beam warning light, which although fitted, hasn't been wired in yet.

Next I tried too reproduce the problem, this time by driving to the Post Office, sending off some build-DVDs to a new Superspec owner, then driving back.  and to add another factor I stopped for another couple of minutes in a layby.
 Here is the RPM display. So the profile was 7 mins to the Post Office, 2 mins with the engine off, 2 minutes driving, 2 mins with the engine off then 3 mins home.

And here was the lambda trace. So I guess the good news is that the problem was not a one-off but is reproducible, so that will make testing easier. 

We can see that while sitting at the Post Office the lambda sensor went to it's default 0.45V although the ECU still showed it's status as being on-line  (it's a bit odd but we can only assume that was a decision by the Rover programmers).    But when I started the engine at the 9 minute point, it didn't react enough to the exhaust gases and at the 10 min point the ECU have up and switched it out of the circuit.   Even on the next engine start at the 15 min point it still isn't really reacting properly.

I need to do another test run tomorrow, but this time switching the ignition off between sessions (I had to leave it on to keep the data flow going), to see if rebooting the ECU helps.

However, the really important thing is that for all 3 of the engine starts, the warning light illuminated so we can rule out the relay as the problem.   So I guess the next thing to do is try a replacement sensor.  

I have a couple of spare ones but unfortunately, last time I rebuilt the manifold/pipe join I stupidly positioned the sensor so there isn't enough clearance with the body to get it out without taking the exhaust pipe off.

So I'll leave that test until the next (inevitable) time when I have to remake the joint again.

Friday, 30 September 2016

Odd Lambda Sensor Behaviour

Took her for a test run this morning.   Drove to the surgery (5 minutes), turned off engine but left the data logger running while I was inside (5 minutes), then drove back home (5 minutes).

This was the lambda trace:

You can see it behaved itself on the way there, but when I restarted the engine to come home the sensor was so slow in reacting that the eCU gave up and went open loop for the whole trip back.  I have seen this before but never reproduced it this cleanly.

I now need to figure out why it is doing that.


Useful couple of hours this morning.

1.   Wound clutch out a bit so the bite point is right in the middle of the travel.  Feels just right now.

2.   Following the odd rattle and vibration I have noticed at very slow speed, decided to check the engine and gearbox mounts.  Engine mounts were rock solid but the gearbox mount, whilst not exactly loose (it's a rubber mount), allowed 2 further revolutions of tightening up of the bolts, so did that.  Can't really tell if it has improved anything.

3.   Greased the rear suspension units to try and stop the squeaking I have had for 3 years.    Don't think it helped much.

4.   Rebuilt exhaust again (It started blowing again after 100 miles), using Plan D 
Cleaned it all off, pushed the pipe in as far as I could and added a few taps with a rubber mallet.    Then surround the joint with an exhaust 'bandage'. 
Then, this time, I split the stainless steel pipe into 2 halves;

And clamped them around the join to give added support and hold the bandage in place.  

 Let's see how that goes.     If this fails I will give up and just live with the exhaust blowing a bit.   

It's interesting that when it actually starts to blow the performance of the engine drops off a cliff, but after about 5 minutes, once the ECU has figured out what is going on and adjusts itself to cope, the performance returns and she runs perfectly well, just a bit noisy.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

New Windscreen Washer Bottle

I had noticed the windscreen washer bottle was empty even though I had filled it up just before the MOT.   Took it off and found that no only was it leaking but the motor outlet had snapped off.

So it was onto E-Bay and a new £10 windscreen water bottle arrived today.  

Astonishingly, considering it was generic and I had purchased it purely based on the size, it not only had the same bulkhead slide connector but the electric plug was the same.  So 3 minutes later (much of which was spent going to the kitchen and back to get water) I have a new fully working washer system.

End of Season Bash

Just got back from the RHOCaR Club End-of-Season Weekend bash.   I really enjoyed the run there and back, all cross country no motorways, 60 miles each way, weather glorious and the car behaving nicely (Although on the way back I was wearing noise-cancelling headphones so the engine could have been tearing itself apart and I would be none the wiser).  The cooling was absolutely perfect with the fan just kicking in occasionally.  And passed 16,000 miles on the way home.  

And while I really don't like driving in a big formation, as everyone else goes too fast for me,  the charity run was also OK as we all got separated after 1 mile when we hit a very difficult junction to get out and join a main road and it took about 1-2 mins for each car to escape.  I had no chance of catching up with the chap in front so just pottered along and followed the satnav for 16 miles.   Funnily enough I was the first to arrive at the pub as everyone else got lost.   

I was  having a bit of clutch trouble (found it difficult to select 1st and reverse in the car park, so joined the return run right at the back and made no effort to keep up.  In fact clutch problem did not manifest again and although I never exceeded 60 I picked up the tail end of the procession with 1 mile to go.

The do itself is really a chance to chat to people and discuss cars and that was good,  Unfortunately the band in the evening was way to loud and not my type of music at all.  I did win at the Bingo, and my prize was a roll of insulating tape !!    Actually more useful than many of the other prizes  

Tent was fine and I slept reasonably well apart from being woken at 0400 by a rain storm and then 0600 by an aircraft from East Midlands (we were very close).    

I set up camp as far away from the band as I could, in between 2 dead caravans, to act as wind breaks.   And car buttoned up for the rain we knew was coming overnight (Tarpaulin covering engine inside bonnet as well based on past experience).

Did have a couple of interesting chats this morning.  I asked one chap to take her for a test run as recently I have noticed a vibration/rattle/clunk at low speeds.  he gave her a clean bill of health but was amazed at how stiff the clutch was.   Another one tried it and said the same.   I told them it was a Superspec design problem and told them to sit in another car to check it.   They both proclaimed his clutch much lighter than mine.  So I guess it's time to go in there and find out why it is stiff (pedal, cable or clutch).

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Catch up Jobs

Good mornings work.

1.  Refitted the old rear light cluster.

2.  Rebuilt the exhaust join.   Still working on the principle that the vibration/torque from the engine is causing the joint to vibrate until it comes loose.    The basic exhaust is 54cm outside diameter so bought a short length of 56mm Stainless Steel that I can use to surround the joint and provide extra support to prevent it flexing.   

First attempt is here:

The 56mm pipe was just too tight to fit over the 54mm exhaust so I cut a groove in it so that it would slide on and then be compressed by the brackets to seal the unit.   Turns out I cut too big a gap, so even when tightly clamped there is still a 3mm gap, but I decided to try it anyway.  If (when) it fails again then I know next time to cut a much narrow gap, probably just 1mm.   Also I made it only long enough to cover the join.  Once mounted i can see I could probably make it 1" longer, so If I have to do it again my next attempt will be better.  Luckily I still have enough pipe left.

3.  Air locks in the cooling.   I had previously got enough out as I could in a static situation by opening the top of the radiator and filling it while squeezing all the pipes.  But this has it's limitations and the only real solution is to allow the engine (and therefore the water pump) to run with the top off the expansion bottle to allow air to work it's way around and be released through the open cap.   Unfortunately, because of the design of the system you immediately hit a Catch-22 situation.    Once you start the engine and it begins to warm up, the trapped air very quickly expands and pushes the level of the liquid in the expansion tank out of the open cap.


I had woken up this morning with a solution, which was to wrap a cloth around a funnel and force it into the bottle, thereby extending it's height.   That proved to be 95% OK, but an extra towel wrapped around it made it 100% successful.

As you can see, after starting the engine, within 2 minutes the water level had risen to half the depth of the funnel.   But then I starting squeezing the top and bottom cooling pipes and it was quite encouraging that a lot of bubbles came out.  In fact, after a bit I managed to expel enough air that the water level dropped down below the level of the funnel.   So I definitely got rid of some air, it remains to be seen if it helps at all.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Greetham Car Show

Only found out about a week ago that there is a Classic Car Meet just 9 miles away at Greetham, 17:00 till dusk on last Thursday of every month.  Unfortunately it only runs from May-Sept so this was the last for this year.  But I will know about it next year.
Very professional set up considering it is only a small village, it was held at the Community Centre so there was a bar, lots of seating areas both inside and outside, and a mobile burger van.    And there was a huge field and as you entered you either went to the display area or the car park for 'normal' cars.   There were probably 200+ classic cars there of every size and shape.  In particular a large turn out of old Jaguars.

As we didn't leave until dusk, I was able to get people to check out the LED vs 'Normal' rear light clusters.  Unanimous decision that the LEDs were useless   I might try the 40 x LED clusters, but meanwhile I will revert back to the original cluster.

Then driving back the exhaust really started blowing so need to fix that joint again.   Then this morning, while putting the battery on charge I found that bottom cooling hose appeared to partially empty, so I still have an air lock in the cooling system somewhere.   Need to figure out how to remove that.  

And to add icing on the cake I realised the windscreen washer bottle was empty even though I had filled it last week.  Took it off and found a split, and also the motor feed outlet snapped off.   Luckily £10.20 on E-Bay gets me a replacement bottle, motor and all the fixing, arriving next week.

And here I was worrying that I had run out of things to do