SuperSpec

SuperSpec

Sunday, 23 July 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:  Rear Ride Height

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  
92.  Redesigned Dashboard 
         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 Cover
         Phase 5 - Fit improved Warning Light Panel
         Phase 6 - Fit matching Centre Panel  
93.   Revised the Interior to match the Dashboard
94.   Fitted combined Oil Pressure Switch/sensor and new Switch  
95.   Added a Leg Pad
96.   Rewired Lambda Sensor 

Tasks In Progress
 
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.  Redo exhaust  rear mounting 
2.  Replace Brake Fluid 
3.  Replace Exhaust Heat Shield

Rear Ride Height

Although my long term plan is still to replace the piece of angle iron from the rear exhaust mount, at the last kit car show I compared my rear ride height with another Superspec and found his was a good 1" higher.   So today I lifted mine up another inch.  Served it's purpose in that I can now go over the sleeping policemen in the next village without grounding.

Have to see how it has affected the overall ride and handling now.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Lanbda Sensor Wiring Repair

Rewired the lambda sensor wires after that had melted on exhaust. Used the rest of the screened cable and as an extra precaution used some earthed braided pipe to cover from the loom to the screened cable.



Then took her to the garage and back. I knew immediately that the sensor was working as she shot off like a scalded cat. Had to work hard to stay below 60 mph. 

Next thing I noticed was the temperature gauge started working. So it appeared to need rewiring after all even if it hadn't melted on the exhaust. 

Finally, she behaved perfectly after the fuel stop, which historically is when the lambda sensor stopped working. 

A quick check of the data stream showed: 


The data from 0-1.4 mins was when I ran the engine in the garage to check the wiring. Start up time was less than a minute. 1.4 mins - 8.0 mins was the journey to the garage. The start up time was 1 min and she was good from then on. At the garage the start up time was only 30 secs and then she was on song again. I can see there was four sluggish areas for a few seconds on the way back but they were not noticeable in the car and certainly nothing like the drop outs I was getting before. Interestingly they were almost exactly a minute apart. How do we explain that ? 

 Time to take a few days off I think. The fittings for the new heat shield come early next week so that is the next project.

Lambda Senor Rewire

For a long time now it has been intermittent and I had the same symptoms with 3 different sensors so the next suspect was the wiring.    So I stripped it all out and it wasn't good.    


From where the 4 wires (2 x heater, earth and signal) exited the loom near the alternator they had just been bundled together with insulating tape, all red, and sent down to the sensor.   What should happen is the signal wire and it's earth should be screened cable to avoid interference from the alternator and ignition.  So out it all came, carefully labelled

I reused the 2 heater wires and made proper plug connections at the end so I can swap Lambda Sensors just by plugging and unplugging.   Then I used some 2-core screened cable to go from just by the loom down to the sensor, again using proper plugs.
Started the engine (She has been on axle stands for 3 days), plugged in the laptop and watched.   And no-one was more surprised than me when everything started working properly.   So dropped her off the stands and took her out for a run.    She went beautifully all the way to Colsterworth and back, very crisp and responsive, so I was very confident.  However, when I checked the data I found this:


 
She she was working fine until the 9 min point then there was a catastrophic failure.    But the reason I hadn't noticed was that the ECU had seen there was a problem and switched me into Limp Home mode.    So that was disappointing,

But at this stage I suddenly realised there was a nasty burning smell from somewhere and when I took the bonnet off the reason was obvious.   Smoke was pouring off the exhaust.   And this was the cause.



Although I had carefully routed the wires away from the exhaust pipe on initial assembly, when I had finished underneath there was a lot of wire hanging down so I had pushed it upwards to secure with a cable tie.    That must have pushed the signal wire against the exhaust pipe.   Luckily I bought 2M of cable and used only half of it, so it will be a simple job tomorrow to replace the wire.

Exhaust Heat Shield

Having discarded the old silencer heat shield I managed to pick a new one up at the Baston Car Show off another member.   I'm waiting for some fittings to go on before I fit it, but I know already it is shorter so will leave the catalytic converter uncovered.   
 
So I made a second heat shield like the one Pete made to cover the front of the pipes.   Luckily he had left me a spare piece.  (And note the new black silencer - cool)









New Oil Pressure Gauge

The replacement Oil Gauge & Sender arrived today so fitted that.   It turned out the Gauge was fine, it was the sensor that had failed.  
Started the engine and it immediately read 80 psi, which is too high.  However, the Voltmeter reads 1.5V too high and the Temperature Gauge reads too high (ECU temperature of 90C shows as 110C on Gauge), so I wasn't totally surprised,   Looks like cheap Chinese gauges all over read.    These were always just for testing, if I go down the separate gauge route I will get some decent ones.







Friday, 7 July 2017

Leg Pad

A bit of a trivial thing, but ever since I have had the car I have found the tunnel hard on my left leg.   So decided it was time to try a fix and added a pad.
 










Thursday, 6 July 2017

Oil Pressure Switch

A new oil pressure switch arrived this morning.   I had already decided to future-proof the system and bought one of these:
 
It's a 3 way system, so you screw it into the engine where the old sensor went and then you can screw in the new sensor and also you can screw in a separate oil pressure sending unit for when I get a standalone Oil Pressure Gauge.  
 
So the picture on the left shows the old sensor simply screwed in.   The picture on the right shows the new unit screwed in and the new sensor screwed in the side hole.
 
 
 To stop oil gushing out I have temporarily screwed the old broken sensor in the top hole until I get the sender.  Interestingly, all the threads are tapered to make a good fit when lightly tightened.  It was designed so you didn't have to use PTFE tape.    But the new unit recommended you still use PTFE tape, so I did.   Result:  Works perfectly, light works as expected and no leak.

Minor Repairs

OVERFLOW BOTTLE - Ever since the original cooling problems (2-3 yrs?) I have had an overflow bottle on my expansion bottle   I wanted to see if any water was coming out of the pressure cap on the expansion bottle.  While Andy and I were comparing engines at Baston I noticed it had fallen off.   It had only ever been jammed in the chassis so it wasn't totally surprising. 

So put a new one in (using the water bottle I took to Baston) but this time punched a couple of holes near the top and secured it with a cable tie.    Result:  Still there after the trip.

  

MEMS ANALYSER - As usual, I had plugged in my laptop to check the ECU on the journey to Baston but it just came up with an error message.   So this morning I checked the wire and found part of it broken where I had used a very tight cable tie.  So repaired that.  Result: it worked perfectly.  

Unlike the lambda sensor.  Still no idea what is going on.









FAN WARNING LIGHT - Since I rewired the system the warning light didn't come on.  It's rather a complex system as I have 3 ways the fan can be triggered (primary thermostatic switch in radiator (suspect), the secondary thermostatic switch in the top hose, and the fan override switch on the warning panel)

so I decided the simplest solution was wire the light in parallel with the fan, so regardless of how the fan is switched on the light will come on. The 'rats nest' gets worse, although at least I have labelled them this time   Result:   Works perfectly.   Dropped in at the garage on the way home and as I left the fan came on for 2 mins and the light came on.

TEMPERATURE GAUGE NOT WORKING - I pulled the connection to the temperature sensor and then put it back.   Result:  Worked perfectly, must have vibrated loose.


INSULATION - The clutch rattle was so bad with the new MDF cover that I decided I needed some sound insulation. 

Used a gash piece of carpet to do this.  And the MDF cover sits on top.    Result:   Much quieter so it serves it's purpose.  HOWEVER, the severe rattle & vibration at low speed is getting worse and worse.    I think either the propshaft or drive shafts are on the way out.    I think I better go underneath tomorrow just to make sure that everything is still tight and there are no loose bolts in the transmission.


Saturday, 1 July 2017

Revised Interior

Having finished the dashboard,  I decided to replace the gear lever surround with one made of MDF and covered with vinyl so it matched the design of the dash.   That looked good so I thought I better do the same for the tunnel cover.  But then I realised I actually grab hold of that when I enter and leave the car, and I also lean my elbow on it while driving.   So an MDF based one with sharp edges would be very uncomfortable.   So I decided to stick with the existing carpet covered stainless steel covered in vinyl.
And I had some vinyl left over so just to really finish the interior off I decided to do the armrests as well.  


This what they used to look like, black plastic and after 9 years beginning to look a bit scruffy. 
So covered them with the spare vinyl: 
And the 'final' completed look is this.
Very pleased with the result.
 

Took her out for a run and she feels great.   Also, for the first time in 4 years I can see the trip meter on the speedo  (My viewing 'hole' on the cluster is larger than the original).    

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Dashboard Complete

It's taken 4 years but I have at long last I have finished (for the moment) the dashboard rebuild.

As a reminder. this is what it looked like originally:



And here is the finished product
(The tunnel cover isn't a different colour, that is just a shadow) 

So really pleased how it has turned out.   Apart from looking smart, it has the advantage that all five panels (left, right, middle, top and the steering column cowling) can be easily individually removed to access everything behind the dash (electrical, brake lines...)   And all the instruments, switches and warning lights are concentrated in the middle, apart from the horn, which is now just adjacent to my right hand, and the hi-intensity Indicator LED in my sight line so I don't leave the flashers going.
 

Also, now it is all modular, it is going to be easy to do a redesign when I get bored with the layout.   I already have extra  MDF templates for all the panels for future redesigns.   In particular I am looking towards a set of individual gauges rather then the Escort cluster.
 

At the moment I have not incorporated a glove box.  I found I didn't use it very much and what was in there is now stored either in the boot, if I don't want people to see it, or in the cargo net on the side of the passenger footwell.  But the left panel looks a bit bare so I might reinstate it.
 

Next thing I will do is rebuild the gear lever surround (and then the tunnel cover) from it's present carpeted aluminium with vinyl cover, to an MDF construction to match the panels.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

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.