SuperSpec

SuperSpec

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 


     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.  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

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.