Saturday, 27 March 2021

Still Getting Nowhere

 It's so FRUSTRATING! The car starts on the button first time - every time, but either the idle decays & it stops, or if I touch the throttle the engine, makes a sucking noise & dies, release the pedal befor it dies & the revs climb back to idle, then slowly decay until it stops.


.......I take the Throttle Position Sensor off the Throttle Body.

I have a spare set of connectors, so I've made a "jump loom" so I can plug the TPS in away from the Throttle Body, with the car like this, the idle still slowly decays, but if I twist the TPS with a screwdriver the engine can be persuaded to rev quite nicely. At low settings it's a bit on - off, but a little more & it will spin up to 3000rpm & stay there just fine which considering the throttle is shut so it's running on idle bypass air seems pretty good & here's the thing, if I tweak the throttle & the TPS simultaneously - no sucking noise!


Tomorrow's job is to take the sub-loom that supplies the injectors, TPS & the Idle Speed Control Valve off & remove all the loom tape, just to see if there's any bare wires or other problems inside.

Wednesday, 17 March 2021

Damn Car's Haunted

Well it's all got a bit sad I'm afraid. The car still won't run properly & due to an ongoing lack of work at work, I've had to pull out of the road trip I've spent six month organising. I am still trying to fix the car, I swapped the Mass Airflow Meter (MAF) to no avail & my brother came over this PM & we tried some things I couldn't try with just one of me.

I'd taken the Throttle Position Sensor (TPS) off & checked it on a meter & it seems fine, so with it off the throttle body, turning it with a screwdriver, my brother was in the car & started the engine & pushed the throttle & we got it running OK, but found we didn't need to open the Throttle body butterfly, it'll run just fine up to 3-4k just on bypass air - so there's no restriction in my adaptor block & it responded to the TPS just like a throttle pedal - though the butterfly stayed closed.
BUT, put the TPS back on the throttle body & it doesn't want to run at all.

ALSO with the engine like that (TPS de-coupled from the butterfly), if the MAF is plugged in it runs on - off - on - off - on, engine rocking one way as it's on, the rocking back when it goes off, it's a hard on - off cycle, not a sine wave. Unplug the MAF & it's OK. The frequency of the on - off cycles could be controlled with the TPS.

Current thinking (see what I did there?) is that something in the loom is picking up interference from another wire, corrupting the signals to the ECU. The wires from the Crank Position Sensor are a twisted pair, so someone was concerned about interference. Next step is to strip the car again & unwrap the loom, separate the wires & see what happens then. Worst case is that I fit the Omex ECU from a previous car - which needs me to unwrap & separate the loom anyway. I may find the solution before I resort to the Omex, I may not (sigh).

Monday, 22 February 2021

More Small Steps

 My plan was to use the weekend to sort out why the engine wasn't running properly, but it didn't turn out like that.

I started it up & it wasn't a happy engine at all, misfiring at idle & still refusing to rev, so I ordered a coil pack & a set of leads as a first step to find out what's wrong. So then I needed something else to do, so installed new side repeaters - yes, hardly essential I know. 

The ones on the car were the square ones from the donor Fiesta & stuck out the side of the car. I wanted soething smaller so bought "push-in" LED jobs, you put a gromet in the hole, push the lamp into the grommet, all done.


 But - the grommet pushes into an 18mm dia hole in an up to 5mm thick panel, the holes in the car were 22mm dia & the panel is 10mm thick. Not a problam for a man with a 3D printer, I drew up an adaptor ring, like a headed bush that would push into the car from the inside, the outer ends has a rib fo the grommet to grip, I glued it to the car & fitted the indicators. Wiring wisw the car already has an LED comparible flasher unit as the bulbs in the other lamps have been swapped for LEDs.





Next I finished wrapping the wiring loom, checked the wiring for the headlamp flaps, re-fitted the bonnet & started to cut it to fit around the re-positioned radiator,  that done I tried to close the bonnet - it hit the throttle cable bracket. This was always a risk, so I but I re-designed & re-made the bracket - actually it's now a more elegant design - & now the bonnet shuts - but still touches the intake duct, so a little more work to do yet.

Monday, 8 February 2021

Where Was I?


Once again it seems to be a while since I contributed here. Since the last entry I met with some success & hit some more problems.

The new Idle Speed Control Valve didn't fix the fast idle, but mounting it the other way up did, it seems I'd put the inlet / outlet holes the wrong way round - in my defence, when it's mounted on the Focus manifold it points sideways, will fit space & wire length wise either way round & in contravention of good engineering practice, can be fitted pointing either way, so I had nothing to go on when I designed the mounting plate - of course the "Haynes-book-of-lies" was no help because I have a Focus part & the Escort ISCV in the manual is completely different.

Mounting the ISCV the other way up cured the problem - but inevitably led to another - namely that the valve now pointed upwards & the bonnet wasn't going to shut. I re-designed the mounting plate with the airways reversed & set the 3D printer going again, after a day & a half something wasn't right - the print had a "fault line", it had started printing 3mm to the left. DISASTER.

I re-started it, this time (after a day & a half) it offset the print to the right!

I abandoned the 3D print file made with – in theory – superior slicing software & re-made it using the software that came with the printer, by now I was getting very short of black printing filament, but two days later I had my finished part & it worked.

Another problem I was still to resolve last time was the Intake Air Temperature sensor - it had been screwed into the intake duct - but that wouldn't fit, I toyed with ideas like cutting a hole in the new duct - but as it has a wire coil moulded in, that was going to get messy, I thought of drilling the Mass Air Flow sensor body, but it's a carefully designed venturi that relies on airspeed over the sensor, putting another obstruction in the way would mess the reading RIGHT up. Then I was "struck by the bleedin' obvious" & cut the hard plastic & brass mounting out of the soft plastic duct, drilled a hole in the air filter centre cone (where it's solid) & used polyurethane adhesive to stick the mounting there. It’s in the airflow without disturbing it, it can't get sucked into the duct & it's easily replaceable.

Good isn't it?

I assembled the radiator & made cooling pipes outof left-over bits of Escort, Focus & Fiesta, jury-rigging the cooling fan switch into the end of a cut-off branch pipe with a jubilee clip, filled the system with water & started the engine. It idled beautifully - but - the alternator light stayed on, the engine refused to rev above idle & when I turne the key off, it refused to be stopped. not the caughing & spluttering "running on" of a carb / distributor engine with a problem, but perfectly normal running.

I checked all the wiring to the alternator & even replaced it - the light stayed resolutely on. I turned my attention to the non-stopping & thought that as I’d put relays on both the fuel pump & ECU feeds, maybe just the power coming up the line from the alt light bulb was enough to hold the relays closed, I did some re-wiring - & it made no difference, but it didn't always do it. After a lot of faffing I noticed the warning light for the rear fogs was on with ignition & then found there was 5 volts in the earth line. Not the earths for the things on the centre console - I'd fitted them & made sure of a proper earth, but the original car loom was only earthing through the rear fog light bulbs. I fixed that - cutting another 10 yards of wiring out of the car in the process. I've come to the conclusion that the original builder crocheted the car from electrical wiring, then put glass fibre round the outside at the end.

Last weekend a chap from the SKCC bought a proper industrial fault code reader round as neither of mine could connect to the ECU, his couldn't either, but he applied some wizardry & over-rode some functions & eventually computer found computer. There were no fault codes, which was kind of good because it meant the wiring was all OK. We started the engine & I demonstrated the strangeness with the revving ie with the air duct & Mass Air Flow meter in place, it refused to rev, disconnect the MAF & it spluttered & died, BUT - leave the MAF electrically connected & remove the air duct (so there's no flow through the MAF) & the engine will rev. The warmer it got the better it reved until it was very nearly normal - even with the MAF in line, the next problem was that my jury-rigged temp switch mounting was too far from the flow of hot water & when the engine got to 117 deg C (yes - A HUNDRED AND SEVENTEEN) we pulled the plug & put a wire across the terminals, the fan came on & the engine dropped to normal in about 30sec (it was BLOODY cold out there).

What did I learn?

The ECU is wired correctly & all the sensors are sending signals.

Even running big revs at 117C there was no oil smoke from the sump breather so the engine seems to be in top condition.

When it runs well, it runs really well, so there's just a fault to find somewhere.

So I have some jobs to be getting on with. Today I've taken the alternator to the shop it came from (Burghfield Starters & Alternators - highly recommended) where the nice man confirmed it's working but told me I'd had the alt light wire going to the wrong terminal (DOH! - I photographed it before I took it off the old engine where it was working just fine) so the alt light now goes out. I've removed the radiator & top hose as I need to get a hose joiner with a proper mounting for the fan switch & improve some of the hose routes. I also fixed a small leak or two & now need to wrap the rest of the engine bay wiring loom nicely & make a couple of small electrical changes. I've started tiddivating the dash, so it won't be too long before it's ready for the road, but at the moment I have no work, so I won't be taxing the car until next month at the earliest (sigh).

Wednesday, 27 January 2021


 I've just realised I've been doing this blog for ten years. I started it with a Rickman Ranger, a Fisher Fury, a wife, two daughters, a share in the house we all lived in & permanant employment. Now the Ranger's gone, the Fury's gone, the wife & daughters have gone & so has the house & the job. In thier places are the Quantum, plans for another build, my son from a previous marriage, his wife, their son, a house that's all mine & contracting when there's work about for me to do.

With the exception of the Ranger being sold, I saw none of that coming until it happened.

Funny old world innit?

Tiny Steps

Yesterday I fitted the exhaust & "knife & Forked" (bodged with style) the Mass Air Flow meter onto the intake so the ECU would get readings from it, so apart from the intake air temperature sensor (still on the kitchen worktop) all the engine sensors were fitted & working.

I turned the key & the engine fired straight away & ran smoothly - but (there had to be a but) it ran smoothly at about 3,000 rpm. I turned it off.

Suspicion fell on the Idle Speed Control Valve, I had put 12 volts across it when the engine parts came home & it reacted, now I put a hose in one side & triggered it while blowing. Much like the UK Government in the current pandemic, the ISCV didn't shut the ports when it should've. New ISCV on order.

Also on order is an alternator drive belt so I can have the cooling system running with the engine & so run the engine longer for tesing.

In the post today was an intake duct. I'm not sure it'll be staying, it was cheap & it'll do for now, but it seems stiff, so may well break or rub through, but I wanted some of the parts that came with it - we'll see.

So what's still to do?

The wiring loom still needs tidying, shortening & wrapping.

The radiator needs fitting & filling.

The relay for the headlamp flaps needs bringing into the car - currently it's on the bonnet right in front of the front wheels getting wet.

The dashboardneeds putting back together.

Ideally it needs five new tyres, front discs & pads.

It would benefit from some general tiddivating inside.

So, not too long before it's roadworthy again - unless the ISCV isn't the problem.

Sunday, 24 January 2021



Yes, the traditional "it lives" post. A lot has happened over the last few days, a fair bit of stuff has arrived in the post that's enabled me to finish a few things.

On Friday I picked up a box of fasteners from Margnor that allowed me to change all the exhaust studs for M8x50 stainless grub screws & attach the manifold with new nuts & lock washers.

A new sump plug arrived & was fitted, I picked up some oil & a filter which allowed me to turn the engine on the starter for the first time - there was no oil pressure, so I had to take the exhaust off again, take down the sump & poke a whole pot of Vaseline up the oil feed (many lewd remarks left on anti-social media), then put the sump back up, re-fill the engine & this time the oil warning light went out.

A relay arrived which allowed me to connect the ECU to the ignition feed & turn it on for the first time.

Other fasteners in the box from Margnor allowed me to finish mounting the throttle-body onto the plenum, which in turn allowed me to finalise the routing on the fuel & vacuum lines.

So small parts allowed big advances.

Finally everything was in place to theoretically allow the engine to start. The wiring loom was still unfinished (to say the least), but with a couple of the sensors on the garage floor but plugged in - & one on the kitchen worktop & forgotten - I switched on the fuel pumps & turned the key.

The engine turned over for maybe 10 seconds, then it got faster, faster still, did it seem to be 1/2 running? I pushed the throttle, it turned faster still & yes - yes it was definitely running!

No exhaust pipe, no cooling system, no alternator, the wiring in a mess like this:-

Also before I'd turned it over with a spanner I'd squirted oil down the bores & the exhaust manifold had had a lot of work done which had dislodged soot, so it was VERY loud, smoky & sooty.

A little while later I turned the key again & this time it started instantly, but ran at about 3k revs for 2 seconds then cut, when I tried again it did the same, so I'm hoping that when the sensors are in the right places & the ECU can tell what's going on it'll work better. Also the exhaust will be on by then so it won't be MAKING SO MUCH NOISE!

Since then I've tidied & wrapped the loom & clipped it down. The next job is to fit the LAMDA sensor in the exhaust & get that on the car. By then the air filter & ducting should have arrived so the remaining sensors will go on & we shall see what we shall see.