Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Taking the plunge

I have entered and been accepted for the first race at Oulton Park on March 31st.This is it now

November track day

With the car performing so well at Santa Pod it was now time to get it on the track.I had a bit of a hunt about and found an open pit lane track day at SnettertonI had done a TD there before so knew the track although this was on the new 300 circuit.
An early start on the saturday morning and it was throwing it down with rain.Deep joy.
I booked a pit lane garage so we managed to stay dry most of the time.Filled her up with fuel and checked the tyre pressures and after the drivers brief we were out.

What a feeling.It was great,slippy but great.
Nice and steady for the first session,Karen andAmy were doing lap times so we had some idea of what was going on.The weather managed to sort itself out and over the day the track dried out.I done a couple of twenty minute sessions before dinner and my lap times were coming down and down.Getting used to the car was a new experiance,she feels very positive and if you do get a little busy it tells you soon enough but it is nice and easy to correct.I find that i can hold my own against the smaller hot hatches but have to make way for the bigger/faster stuff like caterhams and evos.What i lask in straight line speed i make up in the corners.She realy does handle very well.

With four sessions in the afternoon my lap times are down to the qualifying pace of last years race cars at the back of the grid.I am exstatic.
I end up facing the wrong way only the once and have had a fantastic day.I have learned a load about the car and I am getting more and more confident in my own ability.
We pack up at around 4ish as i have to get the chinese in when we get home.Thanks team

A testing time

With the car running now it was time to think about testing.The best place i came up with was to go to a run what you brung at Santa Pod.With entry priced at £10 each all we had to do is rock up,unload and drive around the car park.All i wanted to know was if the car went in a staight line,accelerated and stopped when told to do so.No point in spending £150 on  track day and not getting it out of the garage because of a silly mistake made by me during building.

I was very nervous when i pressed the start button.She fired up and felt good,I selected first gear and let out the clutch.What a feeling,I was driving a race car that I had built in under 11 months.There is a huge amount of space at the pod so i drove around on a huge circle for a couple of minutes,gradually getting faster.all the gears worked and the brake stopped it in a straight line.The ride was very stiff but felt fantastic.
A quick check over the car to see if all of the fluids were being kept in the right places and then it was time to bed the brakes in a little.Again driving around in big circles.
After having the hottest chilli dog in the world the decision was taken  to take the car down the strip.£25 later and i am in the queue.Feels like old times with scooter,a little nervous.Still i get to the line and make my lane partner wait for me,oh the memories.A very gentle start and a build up of speed down the track.She feels good and i get in all the gears.Time of around 20 seconds.more than happy and after a another check over it was back in the queue.The next run was a little faster with this time seeing when the shift light comes on(6000rpm).Run three was much the same and I came in with a 17 second run.

Very very very happy with the day.The car behaved perfectly and I could not ask for more

The end is in sight....sort of

With the engine,fuel lines and wiring in it was time to see if the engine turned over.W had no idea if it worked so it was quite a tense time.Erny found a suitable battery and once it was connected i turned on the master switch.There was no explosion,fire,sparks or big bang which was a relief.Various switches were operated and things seemed to work.The lights and indicators were good,brake lights operated but i had them arse-about-face.All is looking good.
The big moment has come.Press the start button.......she turns it for a little longer and it turns over but does not burst into life.After a bit of fault finding the slightly used fuel pump off ebay was knackered.That will teach me to buy used important bits.
So it was a deflated evening in the end but it was off to euro car parts for a bosch fuel pump the next day.

YEEHAA she runs and sweetly too.

So relieved,with the car up on the ramps we had her running with no problems at all.All the fuel lines were fine and no leaks.All the gears worked along with the clutch and the brakes operated to.
I think we had a celabratory cup of tea that night.
Now came the finishing touches to get it out to test.I fashioned the light covers and fitted them in place along with the worlds flimsiest and piss poor fitting fibreglass front bumper.Erny sprayed the bonnet which looked sweet until a moth decided to do a wheels up landing on it between coats.

The seat and harness where next to be fitted with a fair bit of time spent getting the seat in the best possible position.The car felt very comfortable.pedals and steering wheel felt in the right place and my arms slightly bent so not under undue pressure.The next problem then to overcome was getting in and out of the thing.I do like a good meal and a beer so i have had to fit a quick release steering boss which hurt the pocket a little.Found a nice yellow steering wheel too.

Now thinking of where to go testing. 

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Suspension brakes and fuel lines

Now we had all the big important bits in the car it was now a big push to all those little things on order,begged,borrowed,stolen etc,etc.New wishbones had been sourced along with a complete set of poly bushes for the front end.Anti-roll bar painted.Brake calipers rebuilt,flexi hoses fitted,front wheel bearings changed.All new brake lines run in from the master cylinder to the front's and rear's,with the rear lines running through the inside of the car on the passenger side.

With the rear axel fitted I changed the rear wheel bearings,brake pistons and brake shoes with all new springs and clips.Shiny.

Now came the fuel lines.I wanted these run in through the car so to comply with the MSA regs these lines have to be high pressure rated and stainless steel braided.After much messing about I found Earls at Silverstone who were fantastic and sorted me out with all the right bits first time.Brilliant.These lines have special anodised fittings on them and they look the part.A new fuel pump was fitted along with new hoses between the tank,pump and accumulator.

engine and drive train

The build was now getting to the point where the engine,torque tube,gearbox and rear suspension could be removed from the old white race car chassis.In no time atall Erny and I had the engine disconnected from the torque tube and that was lifted out.the tube and gearbox where then dropped out and placed in a position so that we would trip over it for a couple of days.
The rear axel was next out and when we had it on the ground we could compare it against an axel with no adjustments made to it for racing.The race axel setup was altered by some 125mm from stock.A big smile then came across my face as i realised that a very hard job had been done for me already.Nice.

In the original crash the engine had suffered a holed sump,so while the engine was out that was changed.Thanks goes to gary(snaggletooth)from the owners club for the kind donation of the sump and many other parts.
Next job was putting the rear axel and torque tube into the new car.This slotted in without to much rouble in one evening although I found that the rubber mounts for the torsion bar arms were shot so I manufactured some replacements out of solid steel.
The engine was next to go in,again this proved reasonably straight forward with Erny in control.

We now had a car resembling a racing machine on its wheels.Result 

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

the wiring nightmare

Once the dash was fitted i could then turn my attention to the wiring and getting some cables and wires to the front and back of the car.This is when i discovered that the chap who done the wiring on the centre consol was not quite right.All of the switches have bolt terminals and the former owner or builder had decided to use push on spade terminals instead.This is fine when a piece of equipment is resonably static and if there are not more than one cable terminated onto the switch.But this muppet had loads of cables running round with multiple piggyback crimps.There were four piggy's on the main switch alone.What a mess,this would not get me to the finish line.

So I ripped out all of the wiring and started again.New M3 nuts,bolts and washers were used on the switches with lovely ring crimps fitted so the buggers wont come off.New tri-rated cables were put into the loom with the earth terminal and fuse box in a more accessable place.Amulti core cable was run  to the back of the car.Here I discovered a piece of wire less than 2 feet long with 4 YES 4 scotch block connectors in it.JOKE.I fitted a new multipin plug so everything is readily accessable and detachable.The multicore handles the rear lights,indicators,brake lights,fuel pump and gauge along with the newly fitted high intensity rain light.