Other Stuff

Friday 27 April 2012

Don't Try This At Home

So, The low pressure pump had failed in France & had to go. I ordered a new Facet solid state pump fro Rally Design - which arrived less that 24 hours later, so credit to them, I did the plumbing for it that evening, but notice a couple of things, the hose out of the tank seemed "squidgy" & the fitting on the tank seemed to move too easily - but all seemed good as I went indoors. This PM I decided to finish the job by wiring it up and that went perfectly OK as well (you just know there's a "but" coming don't you). BUT, When I returned from MoTing Mrs Blatter's car, there was a tell-tale drip on the hose. I changes the hose & the clips - not without difficulty & noted that the old hose was well on the way to turning to jelly, so that must've been the problem then. No, it was now leaking properly & the only suspect left was the tank fitting. I reversed the car onto ramps to give myself a little more elbow room. The only option was to drain the tank. Pity then that it was full.

A quick mental sum showed that a full Fury tank should fit into a 1/2 full Zafira - so I'd do that then, Easy - I was walking across the drive with the first can of fuel when I remembered that Mrs Blatter had taken the Zaf. Here car was on the drive - it's a diesel. The inlaws car was also on the drive, so I thought I'd put it in there. They're away for a while, so I'll be using the car anyway. Half way through the first can, it overflowed - he'd filled it before they'd left.

So I took my wife's car & swapped it for the Zafira & decanted the contents of the Fury into it, took out the suspect fittings & re-made them. It was around now that I realised that there was probably 1/2 gallon of unleaded spilled on the garage floor, I was soldering copper fittings with a blow-torch & the only escape route was past the car & it's pool of petrol. Anyway I survived the experience, the car is back together, I put the last can of fuel out of it, back in & so far it hasn't leaked - the new fittings are much better made than the old ones, but I won't know for certain until I fill it with fuel tomorrow - goodness knows what I do it it does leak, all three cars will be full.

Rally Ho

Yes dear reader I have been remiss in updating this missive, but I've been busy you see.......

 David (the navigator) turned up dead on time, & as there were a few spots of rain we put the roof up, wisely as it turned out because the rain started properly as we were leaving, but we drove through it & the skies were blue by the time we got to the meet point near the tunnel.
Getting on the ferry was relatively smooth in spite of the last minute change of car & it turned out the couple we stopped behind live only 500 yds from where I work, & his car had only been on the road for a month too - though his was all new, not just the engine. Rolling out of the tunnel we assembled into three groups of four & set off, we were not going straight to the destination, but heading south west along the coast (ish) to take in some scenery & have lunch. I made the first faux-pas at a tee junction when I was about to pull out to turn left when David shouted "HOLD ON, HOLD ON" I hit the brakes just as a small white van slid past the front of the car with it's wheels firmly locked & the passenger GLARING at - well - David actually as he was on the "driver's" side of the car. Lesson learned - from then on we said "left clear & right clear" at every junction.
The roads were quiet to the point of being post-apocalyptic, where DO the French go at the weekend? We made good progress, but lost our group when my car lost power just after a short stop to "commune with nature" (the women in the party chose to wait). All it needed was a sharp tap on the low pressure fuel pump, but by the time I was out of the car & strapped back in, the others were beyond catching. Strangely though, we arrived at the lunch stop first, a pretty village on a wide estuary, think of it as a very French Padstow. The other cars rumbled in & we sat outside to eat. The majority ordered the only thing we could confidently say in French - cheeseburger, & they duly arrived covered in something that looked suspiciously like custard, but was in fact some form of "cheese-in-a-can", it was pointed out that the menu stated "cheese" not "fromage" so that might explain it. A few of the crew were more ambitious & went for mussels & were rewarded with an entire saucepan full each. You could've re-cobbled the high street with the empty shells. After another thirty-odd miles of wonderfully winding roads we reached the hotel & parked up for the night.
A taxi was ordered to take the thirty of us into Bethune, & sure enough it arrived, I say it, presumably Bethune has only one taxi as he shuttled us into town six at a time. The town square was again very French & we sat around drinking beer & eating pizza before calling the now very grumpy taxi driver to shuttle us all back. At some point in the wee small hours I was woken by people shouting English, then later by wedding party stragglers shouting in French, then at 05:00 (04:00 UK time) I woke & couldn't get back to sleep. So it was a fairly jaded Tony that was taking the roof & side windows off the car & re-fitting the luggage rack at 06:00. Breakfast in the hotel was a buffet continental affair, but very nice all the same, though the non-English speaking girl on reception didn't think we'd pre-paid for breakfast & we had trouble insisting in French that we had.
So we set off for Hazebrouk, another old town based around a square, where we were given another breakfast, in the very posh town hall before setting off. There were about 150 cars on the rally, all parked up in rows in the town square, so we were called in car number? One row at a time? No, it was all very European, there was a total (but good natured) melee, & whichever car fought their way to one of three exit points first, got to leave first.
The rally itself was based on a "roadbook" of some 50 sides of A4, with five or six pictorial instructions per page, with an additional twist of cards laid by the roadside with letters & numbers on, which had to be written on a sheet. At one point I was following another of the club's cars when I saw this small card just as the other car's brake lights came on:-
"was that a card Tony"
"what was the letter?" I'm thinking, this is a competition - you're going to take my word for it??
After quite a lot of miles & many three point turns, we reached the first refreshment stop, where tokens could be exchanged in a hostelry for coffee, hot chocolate, lemonade, beer or wine - imagine that on a motoring event in the UK. Another picturesque town awash with keen photo-taking locals.
After this stop, more of the same, but instead of numbered cards, we were looking for something that wasn't there. At the drinks stop we had been handed a sealed envelope with six photos, the task was to write your car number on the back of the one view you DIDN'T see on stage two. Tricky that. We only saw two of the views so guessed.On this stage the sky was getting heavier & heavier, eventually the sky opened & rather too late we made the decision to put the roof up. David volunteered to assemble the front of the roof while I did the back. This meant I was outside while the worst of the rain fell & David fumbled with the bolts. This was "refreshing", but we were soon under way again in a rapidly steaming-up car. This stage ended at a lunch stop, all the cars were stacked into a carpark in such a way that they could only leave in the same order they arrived. Lunch was a splendid affair, with each of us being handed a glass of wine on arrival, & sitting down on a decorated table for a proper three course lunch with a bottle of wine between every four people.
The final stage took us back to Hazebrouk, no games this time, just follow the route through more countryside, still with very little sign of any French except for occasional groups of waving small boys. There were a couple of "walking wounded" among the car club, one arrived with his exhaust strapped to the back of the car, another who had earlier worried one of the other drivers by asking for a spare clutch cable because his had snapped as a joke, had his clutch cable snap - that'll teach him. But we all made the Eurotunnel station on time & under our own steam. In my car we even had time for some tea.
Of course the worst part of the whole trip was the run for home, the blue skies through the train window on arrival tempted me to take the roof down, but my co-pilot cautioned against it & by then we were cold, very very tired & really couldn't be bothered wrestling with it. This was a good thing, because 20odd miles along the M20 the heavens opened in truly biblical style (out thoughts went out to those with no windscreens - & we laughed), we had a screen, we had a roof, but we hadn't bothered with the full side windows, & all the water off the front of the car was making a determined effort to get in along the rear edge of the deflectors. The rain soon passed though & we were slowed by recovery truck winching tin-tops which had had a coming together at the side of the road. So we made it home. The car had a problem or two - the starter had been iffy & there's a small oil leak at the front of the engine to deal with, but quite an adventure all in all. David the navigator then had another 45 min drive to get home, before getting up early the next day to fly - to Milan for work. I had booked the day off, just as well as I was completely "mind-blown", couldn't concentrate on anything at all.
So will I do it again? I think so, It'd depend on finding a navigator - ideally fluent in French. I have a great deal of video from the car mounted cameras which I'll be editing down & putting on youtube, so I'll post the link out when I've done it.

Friday 13 April 2012

What A Week That Was

No sooner had I got back from Detling (OK, about 36 hours after I got back from Detling) I got a text from Mr Mango http://www.mangofury.co.uk/. He'd had the unfortunate news that his car wouldn't be back from the menders in time for him to take up his place on the Rallye Des Jonquilles (Dafodill Rally), so, would I care to take my Fury & he'd navigate. A little research into what the family had planned & what I'd need suggested it was possible, but there was a problem. I'd finished the cold air duct for the bonnet & it was "attached" by a goodly blob of araldite, 2 planks & several clamps. It couldn't be removed, So I had to go on. I glassed it to the underside of the bonnet & for once got the mix about right & decided to leave it there as it was secure & the car was drivable. I got on with other jobs - finding enough bulbs to make a plausible bulb kit, loading the sub-boot with warning triangle, tools etc, but I kept going back to do "just a little more" to the intake.
 I even re-designed the duct bracket to be made from two pieces instead of one, Then I found myself making up those peices, then, well, I may as well fit them & as the bracket's there I may as well cut & fit the duct.

Then this PM when I should've been doing a nut & bolt check I finished it off. So it's finished. the last of the Zetec mod it done. Over.

Now, where was that passport??

Monday 9 April 2012

Show Time.

So, what’s been happening? The Fury’s been out on it’s 1st club run of the season, this wasn’t a real blatt, just a pootle round the motorway to the kit car show at Detling, not a show I’ve ever attended before. The plan had been for the club to assemble at Mickey’s Diner for breakfast before rolling up en masse. I had all sorts of trouble finding the place with the satnav & eventually rolled up at 08:45 in company with another clubster who I failed to recognise because his car was so different from last time I saw it (better I thought, the off-set scoop over bike carbs giving it a most purposeful look).

Slowly (well, with long spaces between arrivals) more of the SKCC turned up until we had completely filled the carpark. Breakfast was good & we attempted a convoy to the showground, but inevitably that fragmented into two or three chunks before we’d even left Mickeys.
The showground itself is an ex airfield, so is inevitably cold, windy & wet, but the cars were arranged in a carefully considered “random” fashion & the banter began. Lots of people were interested in the Fury's latest incarnation having read about my trials & tribulations in this very organ, & the bonnet was up & down like the proverbial whore's drawers. The comments thus garnered were more favourable than at the rolling road - which was nice.

The show was small, all being contained within one largeish hanger, the usual suspects were all arrayed, but for me the greatest interest was on the club stands – here the standout cars for me were the home-built ‘30s racer looking car that I’ve seen at Stoneliegh, the twin engine Tiger, & the heavily modified Ranger in the main hall, with a Zetec & a 4” suspension drop – only because I know how much work must’ve gone into it.
Then after a cheeseburger & coke it was time to head for home – with the roof up & sidescreens on unfortunately. Not an exciting first outing, but the car was reliable & achieved 35mpg, which at this stage of the game I’m pretty pleased with.

In other news, I’ve made great strides with the cold air intake. The duct is just about complete & ready to bond to the bonnet – so wish me luck, this could get messy.