Tuesday 27 March 2012

There's Something About Fury

The Fury project seems to attract nice people. (OK I would say that) but the two previous owners were always keen to ensure that Fury building & ownership was enjoyable & I've just spoken to the latest owner for the first time. The car failed it's first MoT on the lower front suspension joints, I bought replacements but found that the lock nuts had seeming been tightened up by a troll & were corroded on. I heaved at them with a very large spanner & succeded only in rounding off some of the corners, so I resorted to the dremel & cut them off the car, then found they are an obscure imperial thread & could find no more - even Margnor (http://www.margnor-online.co.uk/) who are usually brilliant failed me on this occasion.

I called Steve at Fury Sportscars (http://www.furysportscars.co.uk/) & he's put a couple in the post for me, FoC. What a nice man, I shall book the car in for a geometry check & corner weighting session later in the year.

Testing Times

The thing with fitting a modern engine with an ECU, is that they need programming or “mapping”. The ECU comes with a “base map” which will get the engine running, but not very well, it needs tuning - messing with & for that you need to go to a rolling road.

Good establishments take on the aura of a wizard’s cave & the denizens that reside within are clever blokes – don’t get me wrong – but dealing with us mere mortals seems to make them believe their own powers are somewhat god-like rather than those of a geek with oily fingernails & a need to insert the “f-word” into each & every sentence.

 But I’m getting ahead of myself, this saga is a long one, so get comfy.

I'd been driving the Fury for a week & a half, to make sure it was reliable, not prone to overheating, battery was charging, all those basic things. At last the day of the rolling road arrived & at 12:00 I left work & set off. Things did not go well. I hadn't even got to the M25 when the car lost power & stopped. It did exactly what it did when I first had it on the road with the crossflow, but that was a distributer problem, the new engine hasn’t got one of those. After a few minutes rest it started & seemed OK, but stopped again after about three miles - and so it went on. I'd decided to abort the mission & go home, so pulled up off of the motorway where at least I could think without the trucks hurtling past, but in the event decided I'd carry on, what ever the car’s ill was would be best fixed when I got there. I wondered if at constant high speed, exhaust heat was being drawn into the unfinished air intake & sending the inlet air temp sender out of range, so I took off the duct & it seemed much better - lasted ten minutes this time.

I managed to limp through the inevitable road works without stopping (just) & gave it a long rest at some services. Then (with only two more stops) got into some traffic. Dilemma:- do I sit in the inside lane which is near stationary but has easy access to the hard shoulder, or move to one of the outer lanes in the hope of moving faster & so keeping the engine cooler. I decided to try the latter (I was an hour late by now) & shortly afterwards had to push the car across the slow moving juggernaut lane to get onto the last four feet of hard shoulder before two motorways joined! Eek!

It stopped again just as I was passing a pull-in for an electrical sub-station, so knowing the guys at the rolling road would need the side pod off for access to the lambda, I took it off there & then in the hope that maybe the lambda was going out of range in the heat of the enclosed pod. That took 15 mins or so & I managed to get through a tunnel (phew) & the last couple of miles in one hop.

Then the problems started. As I mentioned at the top the guys surely know there stuff, but one of them is either the most arrogant bloke I've ever come across, was having a REALLY bad day, or took an instant dislike to me & my car. NOTHING it seemed was right about it, from the low pressure pump fuel pump (wrong way up) to the swirl pot ("that's just an old catch tank, tch"), to the high pressure fuel pump (should be at the back) to the throttle bodies (not designed for this application - just all wrong) to the vacuum pipes for the pressure reg (don't need those) to the exhaust (for the road, that should be 4-2-1). If I hadn't been so exhausted from my journey, I'd have shoved his rollers AND his tie down straps where the sun don’t shine & left for home. Apparently he's "used to working on LMP cars", yes well, I’m sure we’d all like those facilities & budget. As I said, don’t get me wrong, they certainly knew their stuff, & a lot of the points they made had merit – but there are ways of bringing these things to the attention of a customer & then there’s being just plain insulting, yes?

Anyway, they loaded a map, then the car wouldn't start at all. They re-loaded the map I'd arrived with, & it started but there were obvious problems. A fuel pressure gauge was fitted & showed low & fluctuating pressure. After a while’s head scratching I realised the low pressure pump wasn't ticking. I thumped it in the time honoured fashion, & it stayed not ticking. There were dark mutterings from the gurus at the front of the car about unreliability & wasted time. Then I realised that this had been the problem all the way there. With the low pressure pump dead, the high pressure pump would operate gravity fed until there was a partial vacuum in the tank, but high pressure pumps don't suck, so it was unable to open the vent valve, so was starved of fuel. Just opening the lever on the top of the petrol cap would've done the trick if I hadn't been so fixated on heat.

There was talk of finding another LP pump to enable the session to go ahead, but they didn't have one, then just as all seemed lost, I hit the errant pump once more (well, you would wouldn't you) & it went tick tick ........... tick ............ tick tick tick ........... tickatickatickaticka. We were away. Another three hours (& a great deal more moaning) later the car was mapped & had a graph showing 160bhp at 7000 RPM, & 135ft/lb torque. A nice flat torque curve ("would've been better with a 4-2-1") & to their credit the guys refused to take any money until I'd driven it up the road & was happy with it. The journey home was wonderfully uneventful, seldom have I enjoyed a dull motorway drive so much.

The car now feels good, though there is sometimes still a little hesitation when the throttle is pressed & I’ve got a little tidying still to do, but it should be OK for the road trip next month.

Thursday 15 March 2012

Live & Learn

So dear reader, what have I been doing?
The Fury is taxed – goes for it’s first MoT this Friday, & a rolling road / map set-up next Weds.
There have been “issues”, the nice man at the rolling road asked what size the injectors were, I had no idea, but a quick google said that were either 190cc / min, or 240, or 270. The nice man said that 190 was too small, 240 would be OK, 270 would be better. Further research discounted the 270 possibility, but everything else I found said either 190 or 240, none of it was trustworthy as it was obviously just cut & pasted from other forums.

So now I was in a quandary, spend the money & have the car tested only to find they were 190s & no good? Buy more injectors on the off chance – but they come in all shapes & sizes, how would I make sure they’d physically fit?

I spent an entire evening trying to google a definitive answer to no avail. In desperation I posted a message on the SKCC forum, & one of the members – a garage owner, ex-bike racer, compulsive tinkerer & all round good egg offered to help & within a couple of hours had received confirmation from a contact that the injectors in the car were indeed the 240s I craved.

The other main problem was getting the engine off idle. It would idle beautifully, humming away all day, it would also rev very nicely, but getting from one to the other required several gentle stabs on the throttle – not easy when you’re doing a lot of other driving. I enquired of Omex if there was anything I could adjust to make it more drivable before the rolling road, as usual the reply came back promptly, but it wasn’t hopeful. In the mean time the problem was getting slightly worse. Then I was struck by a flash of the bleedin’ obvious – as often happens - to me at least.

The trouble with fitting a computer to run the engine is that I assume it is both the cause & the cure of all the engine’s ills. But the laws of physics still apply & when the inlet manifold isn’t bolted up tight enough it will still leak, causing problems. With the bolts tightened it ran much better, & I have now ordered a new gasket – or in fact a gasket, as the one on the car is home made cardboard – in the excitement of getting it running I’d forgotten all about that.

So baby step by baby step the Fury approaches a useable state, but the learning process it what it’s about & the Fury is the end product of a very long process which started with converting the ranger from carb to injection Pinto (electro-mechanical to EFi controlled fuelling using OEM parts, then to 1800 Zetec (computer controlled sparks & fuelling using mostly OEM parts), now onto the Fury with full aftermarket electronic programmable control.

I suspect it will fail the MoT, if on nothing else then because one of the front wheels just catches the wheel arch when turning left & going backwards. We’ll see.

Friday 9 March 2012

There's Good News & There's Bad News

First the good news. The Zetec has run :D .
It was all going so well, just a couple of minor leaks & an electrical problem or two, nothing big. I did need to strengthen the idler wheel bracket after it threw the belt a couple of times. So I decided to clear away the tools & take it up the road.

It wouln’t move :x :( .

When the engine is off the gearbox goes easily into any gear, with the engine running, the lever won’t pass through the gates, but the car creeps forward as pressure is applied. At first I swore at the release bearing thinking I must’ve been supplied with something that wasn’t a CT133 Capri bearing. But the clutch pedal feels normal, so now I’m inclined to believe the clutch plate is corroded to the flywheel.
Disheartened now.

Wednesday 7 March 2012

Never Underestimate Your Own Capacity For Stupidity

So, I'd been having problems getting the ECU to talk with the laptop. I dislike electronics, I prefer things to look broken when they break.
After speaking to a couple of folks who are interested in wiggly amps, I established that the connector I'd bought for £2 off Ebay was unlikly to be fully USB compliant, so I bought a much more expensive one (though why doesn't the ECU come with one?) & this evening I repaired the the garage to test out my new purchase. It worked! it actually worked! Overjoyed I set about setting up the sensors, beginning with the Throttle Position Sensor (TPS).
This proved worrisome. The reading, according to the big blue book of words from Omex, the raw output from the TPS should range between about 20 & 255. Mine varied from 170ish to 255, so the ECU thought the throttle was permanently open.
I broke out the multi meter & rechecked the outputs - they were as they were when I'd tested it before, I took the TPS off the Focus manifold that came with the engine - that yielded broadly similar results, I crossed checked all this data with the big blue book of words, everything seemed good. I carefully transcribed all my results into a chart ready to send to Omex in the morning, then as one final check - I compared the wires each side of the connector. Grey went to grey, but pink went to orange & orange to pink. I thought I'd wired it up so carefully. Tomorrow, I shall swap the two errant wires & try again.

Saturday 3 March 2012

Under Pressure.........

........for more reasons than one.
Firstly having worked in the garage all day Friday, I now have oil AND fuel pressure, these are two good things. I did a great deal of finishing off, as a result of which the car just needs the map fed into the ECU & I can attempt to start it. it also needs another fuel rail banjo bolt after the one I modified broke, seems I drilled the bore size out rather too much, but there's an alloy one on it's way from Ebay.

I also decided to raise the engine, as there didn't seem to be a lot of ground clearance, so on one side I raised the mounting with a couple of 5mm plates temporarily fitted. The other side's more difficult to get at, so in my wisdom I fitted the only 50mm engine mount I could find to that side, so when it was done, it was done. It looked good, the engine seemed more level, there was 90mm under the sump, there were no problems with the hoses - result! I tidied up the tools  closed the bonnet - tried to close the bonnet - it seemed "springy" as if something was in the way. Ah, I see what I've done here. The following day I lowered the engine back down, & now the bonnet closes.

The second reason for the "under pressure" tag, is the MoT which is due on the 1st April, so I really should have the car in being tested about now. I really NEED it sorted in the next week.