Friday 28 December 2012


Over Christmas I ar bin mostly – ill.
However, feeling better today I took the alternator bracketry out to the garage & fitted it on the car. Firstly the beam hit the right hand idler pulley, so I established whether it was my measuring that was incorrect or not. It wasn’t, but I remembered the idler wheel is a fair bit wider than the belt, which accounted for the foul. So having trimmed that back & made a 2mm spacer to move the beam away from the timing case.  The next job was to temporarily attach the lugs, which I did by drilling a single hole through the centre, a matching one through the beam & holding them with a countersunk bolt. This allows me to fit the alternator & set everything up for welding, the bolt hole will be drilled out into a lightening hole as the material is 9 ½ mm thick at that point!

Just before retreating from the drizzle, I fired th engine up & ran it for a few minutes (no drive to the water pump obviously). Mmmmmm still sounds niiiice.

Tuesday 18 December 2012

Ding Dong

So, how did I get on?

Well, once over the exfoliation shock, rather well.

For those that didn't read the previous post, last Sunday was the SKCC Christmas Breakfast. Not a true blat as most turned up in "tintops" - that had been my plan as the Fury is undergoing a few minor upgrades, but an e-mail from The Two Davids meant I could passenge in a seven type car for the first time.

It would be something of a baptism-of-ice, the Tiger Avon (readers of a "certain age" will see the link to the title) I would be travelling in not only has no heater, but no windscreen either & this was mid December. Having accepted the invite I remembered that the ski jacket I usually wear in the Fury had been sent to Devon with my father-in-law as "I wouldn't be needing it". Twit.

Having squeezed into a tee-shirt, thick sweatshirt, fleece & a raincoat, I drove to the meet point repeatedly checking the outside air temp - but no amount of hard staring would get it above 4dec C.

At the allotted time the two Davids rolled up, so after scrambling in through the full roll cage & strapping myself down, we set off towards Farnham. As we barrelled along the bypass I realised the full meaning of the term "wind-chill". Fortunately, as the sun rose the additional few degrees made a huge difference.

So what of the car? I was extremely impressed, I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it was rattle free, pulled smoothly (in a way my Fury doesn't), the suspension was firm but supple, & it made a very nice noise, it also had a foot more leg room on the passenger side than my Fury. But if I'm honest, I won't be giving up my curved heated windscreen any time soon. The thing I found interesting was that after reading comments on Pistonheads about how "unsafe" seven type cars are, when I got back in the family bus to drive home I felt VERY uneasy. It was so slow to react & swayed alarmingly on corners & there was very little impression of speed (something I'd been painfully aware of in the Avon). So there you go - what is the safer car, the one that absorbs an impact, or the car agile enough to avoid the impact? Discuss.

Passenging was also surprisingly good fun as I had time to move the camera to different angles, which makes for perhaps a more interesting blatt vid.

Saturday 15 December 2012

Above Zero

After a week of -3deg, followed by lashing rain, I have at last got out to the garage & got on with the job in hand. With the distractions of the dash changes out of the way, I focused at last on the alternator bracket. The lumps of extrusion have been sat in their tube waiting patiently for some time.

I cut a lump off, drilled it to match the engine - almost (I had to slot the rear hole) & shaped the two flanges. When it's nearer completion I'll cut some lightening holes as it's the stiffness I need, so there's some weight I can remove.

I also started the engine (no alternator or water pump) just to give it a rotate, & a bit of a warm. It sounded goooood & the exhaust didn't rattle.

In other news, it's the SKCC Christmas breakfast breakfast tomorrow. I was planning on taking the increasingly pink Zafira, but fortunately I checked my work e-mail (in case there was some good news on the contract we're waiting on - there wasn't) & there was an e-mail from the two Davids asking if I'd like to tag along with them - which is nice. I've only ever been in one screenless car before, it was the Fury demo car, it had a BIG deflector & it was in the spring. How I get on with next-to-no deflector & no helmet in the middle of December, I'll report tomorrow.

Monday 10 December 2012

Where's It At?

What have I been doing for the past couple of weeks? Well I should have been sorting out the alternator mounting of course, in fact I'mm still messing with the gubbins behind the dash. Mostly this weekend - the stereo. Why? I have asked myself that very question while labouring in the bitter cold in a footwell, but ultimatly the only excuse I can cme up with is if it's on the car, it should work & the stereo didn't. So the speakers have been re-mounted properly & the socket the Ipod plugs into has been replaced with a better one.

I've also fixed the hazard lights - only the right indicators were flashing - turned out to be a problem with the switch, cured with a little WD40 (OK, quite a lot). I guess the switch just deosn't like living outdoors.

So now I'm almost ready to re-instate the dash & after that I'll start on the alternator mount - promise

Monday 3 December 2012

Pod Done, What's Next

Things have moved on, I’ve now finished the side pod. There were a couple of intervening days of effort on it, I fitted the heat shielding back on the inside, cleaned up the outside & gave it a polish.

I made up a new external heat shield (which hides the now enormous hole in the pod). I’m quite pleased with it, it has a lip curved round into the wheel arch, & a rolled edge round the hole the exhaust tip pokes out through, which is pretty central.

Here we see the plate in place - not the best photo, the reflections of the flash make it look crinklier than it is, but you get the picture.

In other Fury related news, I had been considering putting the car on a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notice) for a while, the decided not to, so I was intending re-fitting the alternator & getting it going again. Could I find the bracket? I remembered taking it in the house to clean up, I remembered EXACTLY where I'd put it - but it wasn't there. I searched the garage, the rest of the house, nothing. In the end I thought I may as well SORN it as without the alternator I wasn't going to be using it until the new one went on after Christmas, so I reluctantly downloaded a form, filled it in & put it in the post box just outside my house on the evening of the 30th. You know what's coming next don't you. Early in the morning of the 1st, with the form STILL in the post box, I found the bracket.

So the car's officially off the road, time to get on with some maintenance / upgrading. The first thing on the hit list is the dash. Thee stereo hasn't worked properly for a while because the jack-plug from the iPod would wobble about. So I acquired a 1/4" jack socket & a new lead. The old socket was a pain as it had to be screwed to the dash after the dash was in, the new one should be much easier.

The next thing was the car's many & various 12v sockets, currently two behind the passenger seat, one the far side of the dash & one on the driver's side of the dash - all with transformers plugged in to run electronic stuff. With the ferry & navigator booked for the Rallye Des Jonquilles, I looked at the required equipment list for this mission:-
Sat-Nav programmed with trip computer.
Fwd camera.
Rear camera.
GPS data logger.

That's five then. Doing some Ebay engineering I found a 12v multi-socket & a couple of nice "adaptor socket" that converts a 12v socket into two USBs, so I'll fit the 12v socket in the passenger footwell, with a USB adaptor in each & that'll power all the toys, another adaptor will go in the back allowing me to simplify the wiring there.

I know this is all pretty dull, & I apologise, but it'll all go to make the car more reliable next year.

Sunday 25 November 2012

More Exhausting

If any of you watched the YouTube videos, you may have noticed a heavy knocking when the car is moving slowly. It's the exhaust tip hitting the pod as as it exits. The exhaust runs through the nearside pod, which keeps it tidy & hidden, but is a git-of-a-thing to engineer nicely. Anyway, since the Zetec went in it's rattled. Time to do something about it. The solution was a couple of rubber mounts attaching the tail pipe to the side impact frame, easy enough to sort, but in getting it all tied down nicely, it's moved a little, added to which there's a tell-tale burn - rub on the inside of the pod with a matching crack on the outside, so the rear of the silencer is touching the pod as well. 

The Tray
Moving the silencer isn’t really ideal as wherever I put it, it’ll louse up the run of the pipe past the side impact protection. I decided drastic action was required & decided to attempt a fairing in the side of the pod. But what to mould it on? It had to be a female mould (fibreglass component on the inside), I could spend ages carving wood or foam, but my eyes fell upon a semi-disposable food tray we bought for some event or other. It’s aluminium foil, but thicker than kitchen foil. I started working it into a dome with my fingernail– resulting in a smooth polished nail the TV ads would be proud of. I finished off the shape with a teaspoon (yes really) & gave it a coat of furniture wax.
The Tray With A Bulge
Then to the garage, I made up some gel-coat (using the prised kitchen scales - shhh) & laid that on the wax, a little heat to cure it, then a couple of layers of chopped strand. So far it was all going quite well, no failure to cure, no bright yellow sticky hands, it was strange.

After a little more heat, my patience gave out - as it will on these occasions &I peeled off the foil tray, & because my new fairing was still “green” (flexible) I duct-taped it to the side pod, to take the shape. So far it looked good, but my fingers were firmly crossed.

The very next day, I did some more podding. The fairing had fully cured, so I washed the wax off & marked out the pod where the fairing needed to go. I decided on a butt joint where the fairing is trimmed to the same shape as the hole, dropped in & laminated on the inside, this is the easiest to finish nicely as there's little filling, but by far the hardest to cut as the fit has to be pretty close. So I marked where the fairing needed to go, cut the hole, covered the fairing in masking tape & offered it up from the inside, marked the shape, trimmed it & trimmed it only a little more, then superglued it in place & finally bonded it in.

 Phew - sounds easy doesn't it? Doesn’t look half bad though I say it myself, & it fits pretty well, hopefully it may even provide enough clearance. In the last picture you can see the extra “filler” resin needs a lot of cleaning up, but it shouldn’t be too bad, most of the time this area’s covered in mud anyway.

So the fairing's bonded in place, there's a little yellow gel / resin run into the gap (less that 1/2mm at it's widest) & I just need to cut that back & polish & it's all done. Well, except I need a new exit plate for the tail pipe. But it's nearly all done.

Monday 19 November 2012

Christmas Present

V1 Machined Bracket
This year's Christmas present to me is a shiny new lightweight alternator. Not very exciting in itself, but it does give the opportunity for a little engineering - which is a good thing. The new alternator is about 1/2 the size of the venerable Lucas ACR unit that's been on the car since I built it, but all you get is the alternator - no brackets or adjuster & even the pulley's wrong, being the old style single Vee. So I started drawing up a machined bracket, but the cost of having one made, or alternatively the time to make one in Neil's man cave were both prohibitive, although it would've been a pretty thing.
V2 Two Piece Extruded Bracket
 So, back to the drawing board terminal, I did a little Ebay engineering & found some alloy extrusion, with  little thought I came up with a cunning plan to use 1 1/2" x 1 1/2" channel to make a beam, with a shorter piece of 2" x 2" extrusion turned through 90 deg to make the lugs that would mount the alternator. It's not as nice to look at as v1, but at less than a 1/4 of the price, it has it's merits. With the design more or less finalised, I looked at pulleys. The alternator is unusual in having a 15mm shaft, most are 17mm, so that limited my options, then there was the size. The alternator has a "red line" at 18,000 RPM, so I did some sums & with the Zetec having a red line at 7,000 RPM, I needed a pulley no larger than 60mm dia. A company called Brise had a selection, but with prices around £70 they were a non-starter, Burton were offering a steel "Cosworth" pulley at £30, but someone on the SKCC forum suggested a Co. called "Woods" who's catalogue boasted hundreds of pulleys, but only 3 in the right size range. An e-mail to them got prices in the £8 - £10 range - much better.

Then I looked at Ebay again & found a small engineering company selling a 53mm pulley with a titanium nut for £19 - SOLD. 53mm gives an alternator RPM at the engine red line of just over 17,000 RPM, so just within limits. I've ordered the extrusion as well, so some parcels should be coming my way - we LIKE parcels

Tuesday 13 November 2012

Remembrance Day Blatt

In 2012 Armistice Day & Remembrance Day coincided, which made it a bit special.

Last year the SKCC attended the Remembrance Day service in the little village of Pulborough. There was no reason, other than Pulborough appeared to “do it right” & had enough parking. When it was suggested that the SKCC show it’s appreciation of those who gave by rocking up in noisy, brightly coloured cars & effectively gate-crashing someone else’s solemn moment, there was understandably a certain amount of scepticism that the effort would be appreciated. However, the SKCC was not to be cowed by such negativity & duly rocked up.

The effort was very much appreciated but the small number of Pulboroughrians in attendance, so this year it happened again & I joined in.

The sky when I left home was clear, one of those times when although the moon is new, you can just make out it’s full circle, Venus was very bright just to the left. I had forgotten to pick up my gloves from the wardrobe, but found an old pair of ski gloves in the utility room. Oh boy was I glad I did as I motored along the M25 – at 70 – with the roof down.

The SKCC met initially at dawn in temperatures only just above freezing. After the arrival of a couple of new members, looking somewhat stunned that folks would choose to drive open cars in these conditions and then the usual chat, banter & downright insults, a dozen engines fired & we headed off into the dawn.
Conditions under tyre were best described as “variable”, which made utter concentration a pre-requisite, my blatt-cam mounted high on the roll bar records the application of a little opposite lock on a few occasions. I can’t say I’m confident at that sort of thing, but I kept the car out of the hedges, so I guess that’s good enough.

But we were in for a treat. As the sun came up, it sent crisp new light through the roadside trees, barring the early mist with brilliant white & pale shade, igniting the autumnal colours remaining on the trees & flickering at the edge of vision. Not a cloud was there in the brilliant azure sky.

Ahem.  <butch voice on>   Wevver wus ‘kin good wern it  <butch voice off>

One of our number suffered a little unreliability, one of the new starters was having a problem or two with his straight six Spartan. To be fair it was a recent purchase & needed a little “fettling” to be fully serviceable, but top marks for pitching up & top marks also for nursing it to the breakfast stop. But I’m getting ahead of my tale. It’s normal for the long chain of inappropriate cars to become broken up, as overtaking manoeuvres & junctions disrupt the continuity, but today, unusually, the band of blatters kept re-forming. A number of times I was driving with nothing in sight ahead, only to roll up at a junction behind a clump of Sevens impatiently waiting for the lights to change.

So it was that for once we arrived at “the Chalet” pretty much together & bang on schedule at 09:00, which inevitably made for something of a queue at the counter. But as usual the excellent – though not entirely healthy – breakfast arrived within minutes of ordering. More banter, more prodding of the new-comer’s cars. Then we headed off in formation for Pulborough.
If anything the morning was now even more spectacular (fear not, I won’t be going all lyrical again) as the sun rose over hedge height the light & the colours were pretty special. We managed to stay more-or-less together & arrived, again bang on time at 10:45 at the church, rumbling as quietly as possible up the rough track. It was a slightly bizarre sight, gathered around the memorial were a few military types in full dress uniform & extremely well spoken & well dressed locals, stepping elegantly out of Range Rovers & Mercedes, then there were the scruffy oiks of the SKCC, dressed like ninja Michelin men, scrambling from the insides of GRP tubs. Were the locals phased? Were they upset? Not a bit of it. I heard a couple of very smart ladies say “look at all the bright cars – aren’t they lovely – they were here last year you know”.

We ambled to the memorial looking not unlike a bunch of naughty schoolboys in the headmaster’s office, the conversation & guffaws died away & the vicar began reading the list of the fallen, the repetition of surnames bringing home some families particular tragedy. Then a bugle rang out for the last post, & after two minutes silence, distant guns sounded, wreaths were laid – one by the SKCC’s own veteran & we retired respectfully.

Then a VERY posh lady tottered up to us & gushed “You were here last year weren’t you, how wonderful ………… who are you?” our leader modestly answered “we’re just a car club” & we turned to go.

Once again starters whined (or graunched in my case) & engines crackled. We said our goodbyes & went our separate ways.
Quite a moving event & another great blatt.


Tuesday 6 November 2012

Yellow Submarine

The plan was simple - the best plans always are. 1/2 doz blokes with open cars meet up in the early early morning, go for a drive through some scenery & eat a hearty breakfast by the coast. Nice.

The first thing to go wrong was the weather, the Met Office was forecasting three spots of rain, the most there can be apparently, but in a wide circle, outside our area-of-interest. The next problem got me up at 04:20 with shocking heartburn, but it seemed dry at least - until I sat down with a hot drink, then the precipitation alarm - otherwise known as the conservatory roof - thundered into life. I decided I'd cancel. Then I decided I fancied taking the car out, & it wouldn't keep up this level of deluge for long. I went back to bed, but still couldn't sleep, so at about 06:30 I set off for the meet point - having changed my mind back & forth at least another five times.

It was raining, so I swapped the deflectors for the full side windows, put up the roof & headed out onto the dark. Pretty quickly I realised what I was up against & just how good modern cars are in inclement weather. The Fury was reasonably watertight in kit car terms - from the rain at least. The real problem was seeing & heading in the direction I was seeing.

Aquaplaning is a scary thing & the darkness & long bonnet meant there was very little indication of large areas of standing water until the steering went light & the brakes didn't work anymore. As you can imagine, I kept the speed down & was 15 mins late at the rendezvous. So having filled the car up with fuel & still the others hadn't arrived I assumed (wrongly) that they'd left. So I deleted a few waypoints from the route - intending to intercept them before the breakfast venue, fired up the Zetec & headed off - slowly.

The gloom was lifting by now, but the hammering rain meant that large pools of standing water were indistinguishable from tarmac. I rumbled along a dual carriageway being overtaken by small hatchbacks & 4x4s, I was sure I could feel them smirking. Still being indecisive I turned round & changed my route several more times before giving up & plotting a course directly for the café.

The satnav had warned me it was on a gravel track, so when it directed me along a narrow unmettalled alley at the end of a residential road I was not concerned (except for my sump) & rumbled right to the end - where I found NO café & NO space to turn round. Reversing the Fury with a five point harness is a challenge normally, with the hood up, the side screens misted & the mirrors covered in rain, it was an impossibility, so I managed a 15 point turn & arrived back at the end of the alley, only to see a large sign saying "BLUEBIRD CAFÉ THIS WAY" pointing along the ADJACENT gravel track. A casual observer may have noticed my usual good humour failing at this point.

The new track led to a large gravel car park, at least I expect it was gravel. The parts of it that were visible above the water-level were gravel. I negotiated my way along a relatively dry(ish) bit, before being forced to take the plunge with some of the wider pools & arrived nose first at the café wall. Then - thinking ahead for once, I turned the car round to point down-hill. That way the water ran to the front of the foot-wells so it could be mopped out. The café was nice & the full house breakfast was warm & large, just what I needed. As I sat there eating the rain lashed at the window & ran down it at 45deg - and two joggers went past.

I sent a text to one of the SKCC:- "I'm at the café - where are you", the answer came back "surely you're joking". Having eaten, drunk, admired the view of the sea & taken as many serviettes as was seemly, I sallied forth. After mopping the floors, I once again attempted to navigate the wild waters of the carpark.

Making straight for home, I was now presented with a new hazard. Being much lighter (the morning - not me, I was much heavier) I could easily see the standing water, but so could the abundant 4x4s which seemed intent on submerging the fury, Time & again I had torrents of muddy water running UP the windscreen just after something had gone the other way. Also the water was no longer standing but going off on journeys of it's own, on several occasions I was following the turbid surface of what was presumably a road by looking for the regularly spaced "wakes" coming off the cats-eyes. I navigated these areas with a lot of throttle & very little speed. But to the Fury's credit, the engine never missed a beat, & the electric heated screen stayed clear in spite of the car filling with steam finding it's way in from the exhaust pod.

Finally I was on the home straight, but approaching Guildford, the traffic came to a halt, then moved a little, then a little more. After a while the cause became clear, a deep flood from kerb to kerb meant the cars were restricted to tidal flow. I inched forward with the engine racing & predictably a gaggle of 4x4s came the other way at 30 sending white (& brown) water cascading up the screen & slamming into the side windows. Nice.

I got home safe enough & pretty dry except for my turn-ups which had made a sterling effort to soak up the water in the foot wells, but I still managed to get another pint out of each.

Hopefully the car will have dried out by the next time I see it on Thursday. I'll have to give it a good coat-of-looking-at to see if it's come to any harm.

The video from this adventure is here should you ever decide that "Titanic" wasn't enough watery disaster movie for you.

Thursday 1 November 2012

At Last

Finally got out on another blat - just a short one round western Surrey.
The last two attempts were thwarted, firstly by the car refusing to start - my own fault, I'd been adjusting the headlights, which needed them on for quite a while, then to check the battery was OK I started the engine, then satisfied, I left it for a week & went to Chester. Of course starting the engine had used the last of the battery. The second fail was my own decision as my wife was tending to the damned 'orse, so I chose to stay at home to provide some parental attention for daughter the younger - & indeed we had a reasonably pleasant morning getting her homework sorted & suchlikes.

So, back at the point. It was to be a short, very local & roughly Africa shaped blat, Newlands back to Newlands, only 58 miles.


The meet time was set for 07:00, I set off from home & arrived at the departure gate thinking "surely that's not SNOW??" GB was already there & within a few minutes three other blatters had rolled up - without exception, as they dismounted they said "surely that's not SNOW??". It was, only a very light flurry or two & certainly nothing to stop us heading out. But at his time on the last morning of British Summer Time it was still DARK, the sky had begun to lighten, but basically it was DARK. So we rolled down the long hill in loose formation, testing the tarmac for grip & wetness. The first stop was the lights on the A246. Five fast cars, an empty dual carriageway, traffic lights on red. This was only ever going to go one way. After the opportunity to "arrange the cars in speed order", we took to the lanes, I was running second at this point, I don't like leading because I ALWAYS mis-read the sat-nav. But when the lead car went straight on when my route pointed left, I ended up leading anyway - briefly - because after about three miles I did exactly the same thing, dumping myself back to the tail-gunner position.

There were the usual SKCC "events", we rounded a fast corner, to find a Tractor cutting a hedge & COMPLETELY blocking the road - at 07:30 on a dark Saturday morning, but by dint of quick reactions & good brakes, disaster was averted & I reversed back round the corner with hazards a flashing in case anyone else should happen along, the tractor driver kindly pulled over & off we went waving our thanks.
Apart from another Sat-nav induced formation turn around (on the map above you can see it to the north of "Madagascar") we had a good blat. Very little traffic, good (if bumpy at times) roads, but VERY cold. Unusually we all managed to keep together in a group, & arrived to park up in formation back at Newlands just as the food shack was opening - Hurrah. As this is very much an outdoors type establishment, there are no plates or cutlery, so I indulged in cheeseburger & chips, with the largest coffee they could manage - I wasn't thirsty, I wanted it as a makeshift hot water bottle.
 As we stood about bantering about the run & being disparaging about almost anyone who wasn't there (as you do) some of the gentlemen of the Surrey Constabulary - having quaffed their hot beverages - ambled past, nodded at the roofless & mostly screenless cars & said "bit cold for that isn't it?" "No" I answered, shuffling into the watery early sun, "at seven o'clock this morning it was quite cold for this, now it's quite pleasant."
To prove the point I took the Fury up the A3 to my brother's house in the afternoon, so that counts as a good day in my book.

Friday 12 October 2012

Another Cheque!!

Having been exasperated by the insurance Co.s penny pinching attitude I gave them "some valued customer feedback" in an e-mail that may well have exploded if not handled with care & I also forwarded the same to the Broker for information. I say Broker with a capital as this particular one is worthy of considerable respect. My previous experience of insurance brokers is that they are not only entirely useless, but also lower-than-a-snake's-bollo belly. However Barry at "Frank Pickles" deserves nothing but praise & has sorted out any problems I've had with efficiency & good humour. Sure enough a cheque for the princely sum of £26 floated lightly onto my mat within two days of me writing the e-mail. I know it seems a bit mean, being only £26, but I was very miffed that by prudent purchasing I'd saved them £500, but £26 had to be shaved off the labour charge because that's what a guy who saw the car in a damaged state for about ten minutes said.

Anyway, might be blatting again this weekend - hoorah

Wednesday 3 October 2012

A Cheque!

The on-going saga of the insurance claim might be entering it's closing phase.
Having been working away for some weeks, it was difficult to get the necessary paperwork together, but eventually it was all sent in & guess what - a cheque arrived! To be fair, Equity did send me a cheque for the recovery immediately after my last outburst, so this was the cheque for the repairs. Hurrah.

On the other hand, from a customer service point of view it’s still not an entirely rosy picture.

Way back, an insurance assessor saw the car, took my estimate, then for some reason fabricated something entirely different & gave authority to proceed with the repair. His estimate was way over what I’d asked for with regard to parts & he’d included a figure of £224 for labour. The total payout by his estimate would be around £2000.

Before paying out for the repair, the insurance Co. wanted an invoice including receipts for the parts, so I sent all that off showing the much lower cost of parts & asking for a nominal £250 for the labour – probably only because I couldn’t remember the actual figure.

The total repair value stood at around £1500, so a £500 saving over the assessor’s estimate.

Yesterday I received a cheque for the parts - & £224 for the labour as that’s what the assessor had said. The princely sum of £26 less than I’d asked for - 10/10 for saving the Co. money, but minus several thousand for irritating the customer.

Last night I sent an e-mail detailing the time taken for every stage of the repair, & pointing out that I’m a mechanical engineer by trade & my employer charges £70/hr for my time, so the labour bill should have been £2030 - & that would amount to a 20% saving as I’m not VAT registered. Even using a more normal motor trade rate of £50/hr, the bill would have been £1450.

 So would they please pay my very reasonable request of £250 (£8.62/hr).

Of course the real irony is that it will cost Equity more than the £26 saving to have someone read my e-mail (it was deliberately quite long) & write a cheque.
Let's see what happens.

Monday 1 October 2012

Back On The Road

With the situation at work not improving (I'm owed £2,500 in unpaid expenses & overtime) I decided to take a week off. This was not as productive a time as I'd hoped as there was a lot of family stuff going on. But, by the end of the week I'd finished the rear valance, fitted the headlamp trim rings & aero covers & as a finale I smeared some goopy stuff called "wunderseal" to the inside of the front wings to stop stones thrown up by the wheels cracking the bonnet.

As a reward for all this effort I went out on a car run on Sunday.It was a bit of a trek over to Kent, but it's a long time since I did a car run so well worth it. There was a P.A.M. (Puckered Ar5e Moment) when two of us were barrelling merrily along a country lane with the sun in our faces, about to plunge into a dark "tree tunnel" when an ENORMOUS tractor emerged unlit from the gloom. There was much standing on brakes & no harm was done. A little extra laundry perhaps, but no actual harm.

Sunday 23 September 2012


Hello good people of Blogland, it's been a while since I posted, because it's been a while since I had anything to post. But I have news at last.

In one of the previous missives I may have suggested that my job was not all it should be - well that's got worse, so I'll not mention it again for fear of this becoming a rant. I shall confine my ramblings to the car.

I've fitted a front grille, much as before it's well inside the "mouth" of the car, so the grille wires don't reduce the area for air to pass, & it's all painted black so it can't be seen. I've also almost finished the rear valance infill panel. as the GRP is so thin - less that a mm - it distorted out of shape after it was cut, so to avoid a wobbly edge where it met the existing shell, I've cut a series of vents & grilled them, so it only gets close to the shell where it's bolted. It looks like this:-

From the inside showing the grilles clamped for glueing
From the outside, the centre bay needs a little more paint

Thursday 6 September 2012

Adventures In Sub-Contracting

So how can I describe the last few weeks dear reader? It’s certainly been one of the more “interesting” months. When I last contributed to the blogosphere, I believe I was in Lanzerote suffering the oppressive heat, well on the way home a row with the elder daughter blew up out of nowhere & as I had to be up early the very next day to travel to Chester, the resulting “atmosphere” could still be cut with an axe (just – if it was a big axe) the following weekend – nice. However, relations slowly returned to normal (that’s from non-existent to merely “strained”), not helped in the least by my time in Chester being “less than successful”.

My employer’s plan was that I would do a spot of production trouble-shooting at the customer’s factory, but these things rarely work to plan & by the end of week one I had a log-on, but little else.

There were other factors, the B&B was best described as “the land the ‘70s forgot” with something of a flowery theme going on, a great many mirror tiles (not on the ceiling – not that kind of establishment) & “eternal beau” crockery like what my Mum had. WiFi was clearly not going to be an option when the standard of the wiring was set in the ’30s (round Bakelite switches & an open junction box in the shower room). But all that was OK, the irritating thing was my employers travel dep’t repeatedly asking my travelling companion & I if we were SURE we wouldn’t be happy to share a room. For a question like that, one “absolutely not” really ought to get the message across.

On to week two & straight in with the problems, no hire car. A brief investigation by my boss showed that the travel dep’t had forgotten to order one. By the time that was sorted & I’d picked up my compatriot, we were late – very late, it was just gone 16:00 when we arrived at the plant to find that no-one had booked us in with security & everyone who could get us on site had gone home. But with relations at home thawing, a much better B&B & the IT sorted at the plant things would be better yes? – well, sort of. We had health & safety presentations for all the appropriate parts of the factory, we checked our access to the various systems we’d need & then we sat waiting for something to happen – which it failed to do. Added to this the “much better” B&B only had two rooms for one night, so we had to get another B&B sorted. On the up-side, Chester is a fantastic place & I urge you to visit should you get the chance. A little like Winchester, a little like York, a higgledy piggledy mish-mash of architectural styles from Roman to modern post-brutalism, with any one stretch of buildings having most of them cheek-by-jowl.

Week three has started every bit as well, with us arriving to be told that we wouldn’t be allowed on site as security paperwork hadn’t come through. So we went to find the B&B. Actually I should say we went to find the guest house, as this week’s establishment was named after one of the royal palaces & had an attitude to match. The front door was locked & prominently bore a sign which read “our carpets are clean & pale, please remove your outdoor shoes in the porch, slippers will be provided”. We rang the bell & the lady of the hose allowed us as far as the porch, managed to remind us to take our shoes off three times while introducing us to the town we’d been in for two weeks & barred the door to the house proper all at the same time (she was clearly a professional). Having removed footwear & gained access one couldn’t fail to be struck by the very large photo of our hostess meeting the Duke of Edinburgh (about twenty years ago by the look of it). We enquired about breakfast – there was obviously to be no budging her from “breakfast is served from 8:30”, but we were offered instead cereal & milk left out the night before.

As it turned out a later breakfast would’ve been OK as the gates to our employer’s premises were still locked when we arrived at 07:15. Later that day we did get into the customer site at about 11:00, but over the weekend the PC I’d been using had become the subject of a custardy battle between my employer & my customer, it seemed I was to be denied access. This restricted what I was able to do down to just about nothing & it looks like I won’t see a PC until Week four at the earliest.

So not the best start to a contract then, but on Wednesday of week three, passes arrived, which meant our e-mail addresses got sorted, computers arrived – but were apparently the wrong type –so were taken away again. Little by little we’re getting there. Next week we’re back in the “much better” B&B where they are more used to the lower classes & so have WiFi & serve breakfast from 07:00. Maybe we’ll be able to get started on the job we were sent here to do three weeks ago. Fingers crossed.

Monday 27 August 2012

Family - Always A Problem

Not a great deal going on with the Fury just now, two main reasons, one we had a family holiday in Lanzerote, & two I've been working away from home.

On the last day of the holiday we rented some Segways - great fun & fascinating things - absolutely no practical application in the real world of course, but very clever.

The journey home wasn't the best, first daughter No.1 disappeared to get a drink for 15 MINUTES just as the coach was due, fortunately the coach was late, but the same daughter returned with two cups of lemonade, & stood one on an upright suitcase (I'm guessing you can tell what's coming next) in spite on warnings, she then knocked it all over the suitcase & my cabin baggage (that's my bag, not my wife). We arrived at the airport just about last & had to queue for an hour to check in. Lanzerote has "environmentally friendly air conditioning" a sign said - I think that just means it was turned off. Once inside the departure lounge, things got worse. Tempers were frayed at this stage, so when I offered daughters & friend 30 euro for some food & was ignored, then when I offered it again somewhat more pointedly & was told to "shut up & go away" I'm afraid I lost the plot. The red mist descended & I found myself thinking "I'm going to hit her. I'm going to hit her in a MacDonald's queue in a foreign departure lounge & be arrested". Fortunately my iron will prevailed, I walked away & stayed walked away right until we got home at 02:00 the following day. Then I got up & went to Chester for the rest of the week.

Perhaps not surprisingly there was "a bit of an atmosphere" when I returned.

Meanwhile, back at the car, I've spent odd moments cutting up the old bonnet & taking the "hump" to Neil Dean (who needs it as a temporary fix for his zetec swap), painting the new fuel tank & getting it ready for fitting. But, I hear you cry, why have you painted racing stripes on it? Well, because of the close fitting rear body, it's not possible to lift the tank into position & then fit the straps, so I've made the straps fit right round the tank, so it lifts as an assembly into position, so the red stripes show the position the straps need to go in to align with the holes in the chassis.

In this seemingly identical photo the straps are fitted, confusingly they're also painted red - the paint was open & I didn't want to wash the brush again. Having got the tank ready to go up I extended the wires to the sender & tested the travel. There had always been "an issue" when the tank was full, the gauge showed 3/4, when it was 1/2 full the gauge showed empty. Well by rocking the tank to & fro, I think it will show almost full when it's completely full & empty when it's almost empty. At least this time I'll be able to take the tank out & adjust it.

Sunday 19 August 2012

Not Home

So where in the world am I?

Lanzerote this week. A very pleasant place to be too, Staying at the Sandos Papagayo Arena, a fully inclusive type hotel which it has to be said, is rather good, Right on the southern tip of the island & close enough to the town to be walkable, but not so close that you get disturbed by it. At this stage I should point out that this update will include no car related news at all.

While the hotel can’t be faulted (except perhaps that they have only one music tape, shared between two bars one in the day, the other at night) The climate is causing me some problems, not so Mrs Blatter & certainly not the Blattettes who have been exposing large amounts of pink flesh to the golden orb so seldom see in the UK. Anyway I’ve finished my all-inclusive beer, think I’ll have a rum & coke next. This purgatory will end tomorrow when we fly back to the UK & within 9 hours I’ll be on the road to Chester to do some troubleshooting for Airbus. So blatting is unlikely in the near future - got to finish the fuel system first.

Sunday 12 August 2012

Front To Back

Having spent a LOT of time on the front of the car, today I worked on the back - they say variety is the spice of life.

The plastic fuel tank's been weeping for a while, so it was time to put it out of it's misery, the problem being it's fixed in place by the the rear bodywork, so the only solution was to cut away the rear valance. In fact only a small amount needs to be cut, But I decided to take a "let the dog see the rabbit" approach, as you can see from the before & after photos. The old tank came out as did a whole load of piping, I have a vent valve for the new tank, so the two yards of vent pipe won't be needed. Some wiring got re-arranged & I took the fuel level sender out of the old tank & cut a hole to suit it in the new tank. I also re-bent the old tank straps.
So after a bit of jiggery-pokery, the new tank is temporarily in the car. It's been in & out so often it's now quite adept at the Hokey-Cokey, the main problem being some bolts I'd not taken account of in my design, the tank needed a little "dressing" with a bossing mallet to create three scollops (sounds so much better than "big dents") to clear them.
I still need to move the pump to the back, remove the swirl pot & another load now unecessary piping, before finally fitting the tank & making some means of re-attaching the 8" x 3ft chunk I've removed & making it strong enough.

Saturday 11 August 2012

The Joy of Blatting

Now THAT's what I'm talking about.

In-spite of a sleepless night & a headache, I stumbled out of the house at 06:00 heading for the garage. My steed was clean, polished & duct tape free, looking lithe  on the drive. The shape of the Fury continues to take my breath even after almost ten years of ownership.

The sun was almost up, a little early morning mist, painted pink by the sunrise & banded by roadside trees & shrubs. No other traffic to impede my progress. There was a blat on - & it was DRY.

After a while my fellow Must Blatteers arrived, GB in his Orange Westie, Steve (or was it Roger?) in his orange Westie & Roger (or was it Steve?) in what can only be described as a "non-kit-car", not too bad though at least an Elise is made by a kit car manufacturer (at this point I'm ducking behind my keyboard). So, two orange "sevens" & two yellow wheels-in-the-body-curved-screen-opening-doors sports cars. There had be rumour on the forum of another car. "CustardPants" had requested the start time & route, but GB had been unable to get the full details to him before 05:00, so at 07:00 we decided he was a non-starter & left.

The route was basically an old one with a tweak or two, the start & end points only being about four miles apart, but we'd be doing somewhere in the region of 80 miles to get from one to the other. Not only were we lucky with the weather, but also with the traffic. With the sun getting warmer by the minute we circumnavigated west Sussex, eventually getting separated from Roger & Steve (or was it Steve & Roger?) by the inevitable milk truck, you see that sticky out bit on the route at about six o'clock? that's both sides of a road that is, out & back & yes we did pass them going the other way. Also passing on the other side of the road was CustardPants, who had arrived at the launch point a little late, & taken off on a route of his own devising.

 There he is in this still from the BlattCam. Shortly after this we were even more surprised to see Steve & Roger (or was it Roger & Steve?)also going in the other direction - can't explain that one at all.

What-ever, in glorious sunshine GB & myself arrived at "The Chalet", an honest-to-goodness transport cafe & wondered aloud about S & R's (or maybe R & S's) route, but shortly after, they arrived & parked up in a pleasingly symmetrical arrangement - though we could've been closer together it must be said. All we needed was for CustardPants to show up & park in the middle - but alas that wasn't to be.
So three of us ordered the Chalet Special, one (Roger - or perhaps it was Steve) broke with SKCC tradition & ordered an omelet & chips - a "healthy option" in SKCC terms. & we chatted & breakfasted outside while the sun shone.

But all too soon we heard the call of home, or at least felt sufficiently guilty about the length of the jobs list our loved ones would've prepared for us & we set off. GB, Steve & Roger were all heading more or less north, while I was making for the west, so I headed off up the A22 alone. After a while a green dot appeared in the mirror & over the course of half a mile or so, resolved itself into the shape of a Porsche 911 - couldn't tell you what type, they all look alike to me, but it was a modern one. Anyway, having passed the cruising Fury, he rounded a roundabout & "gave it large" to use the vernacular, & suffice to say the Fury was not found wanting - at all - in the least.

One acceleration was enough, I was not going to let it develop. I'd proved my point. German engineering? The South Downs is littered with it.

Friday 10 August 2012

And ............. Relax

The Fury's back in use - Hoorah!

It's not finished, but it is safe & sorted. There was an "issue" with the throttle sticking at about 2000rpm. Looking all round the twin cables didn't reveal anything obvious, but after a lot of looking I found the cable stop plate on the throttle bodies was touching the alternator, the plate is attaches to was slightly loose on the housing allowing it to sit either in the right place, or very slightly open. Easy fix, but not easy to find. It's only attached by two screws, one M5(ish) csk & one M3, so I'll need to keep an eye on it & mount it better if need be.

Wednesday 8 August 2012

Back On The Road

Noble reader, the Fury should be back in use this very eve - note well that I didn't say "finished" & I advisedly used the word "should". Yester-eve I cut back the second wheel arch, trimmed the GRP so the bonnet opens fully, then bonded on the cut-off angle & the bonnet prop bracket.

In theory it just needs the new No. plate & I can use it again. As ever, reality is somewhat more involved & I actually need to:-
properly glass the bonded-on angles in place to replace the lost stiffness,
put the headlamp covers on,
take the heat shielding & intake duct off the old bonnet & bond them onto the new one,
paint the new bonnet with underseal (to protect it from stones).

There's a fish & chip run to Hastings tomorrow eve, bit of a long way but I might pop along.

One irritation that's still ongoing is the insurance payment. Initially it all went well with the engineer turning up & giving the go-ahead to repair the car, but since then there's been no sign of an actual cheque. I've contacted the insurance Co. several times, but on the occasions they've replied, the case seems to have slipped back a notch or two. In desperation I e-mailed the broker (the rather Dickensian sounding Frank Pickles) & within an hour the insurance co. was on the phone to me offering to pay the recovery immediately & the pasts cost ASAP. There was a little back-sliding on that as they later called back requesting receipts for all the parts - I have most of them but not all - so we'll see if a cheque drops onto my doormat. Over all the full cost is less than £2000, which must be quite small in claim terms.

Monday 6 August 2012

Getting There

So, repairs rumble on at a snail's pace. over the weekend I trimmed the off side front wheel arch to clear the front wheel at all angles of steering, then bonded the lump I cut off back onto the bonnet further forward to stiffen it back up. You can just see it clamped in position while the adhesive cures. I wasn't having much of a weekend, family troubles & generally feeling down, so that was all I did.

But today, a couple of packages arrived at work for me which contained a couple of M8 rod ends, a fuel tank vent valve, & a new front No. plate.

The rod ends were to make a new alternator adjuster, the engine side bracket for the old one having fatigued. I decided to go to M8 from M6, a spur on the moment decision designed to make the joints wider & so reduce the offset. What I failed to take into account was that it also made them longer, so as you can see from the photo, there is no gap between the joints. But fortunately they are just the right length. we'll see if it lasts better this time. It's the gold thing in the middle of the photo.

One last thing I've done it to tape the new No. plate into position. This time round I've bought a "square" one, which I'm intending to offset to the near side to try to reduce the "mustachioed" look, here's what it looks like.

Friday 3 August 2012

Bored Bored Bored

While colleagues watch the Olympics & award points for "artistic impression" to the female athletes, I'm sitting here wondering if my attepts to fit the new bonnet will ever be complete (sigh). The lights light, the latches latch, but major surgery is required to make the front wheels steer. I may get around to that this afternoon, But I'm getting pretty fed up with all things bonnet related, having spent two days off & two evenings working on it this week.

To be honest I'm seriously considering cashing in the tax disc, as I'll be working away from home from mid August & I still have the fuel tank to install.

Wednesday 1 August 2012

More Bonnet

(Sigh) still trying to get the bonnet to fit nicely. This evening I:-
Wired up the indicators.
Cut a little more away around the hinge frame - I think the bonnet now opens far enough.
Adjusted the latches - the bonnet now locks shut.
Trimmed a little more off the rear flange - the bonnet top edge now lines up with the main tub.

Then I found the main problem. With the bonnet shut there was a clonking in the steering, with it open there wasn't. Using the BlatCam as an endoscope revealed that the bonnet was pushing the airbox down onto the steering universal joint. I couldn't raise the bonnet without the car looking ridiculous, I couldn't lower the engine without the sump getting even closer to the ground. After some pondering I took the throttle bodies off the manifold & cut 7 - 8mm off the length of each runner, the TBs would now sit closer to the engine & away from the slope on the bonnet. By keeping the support strut the same length, the TBs would be forced further down, giving more clearance. The steering U/J was still an issue though, so I cut the offending corner off the airbox, taped over the resulting hole & filled the corner with araldite, once it's cured I'll take the tape off & re-fit. I may even put some aluminium tape over the araldite to konseal consele conceel hide wot I done.

This was of course a whole bunch of faff, but it should have cured one of the car's long standing niggles.

Also on the positive side - may I proudly present - the new fuel tank.

That's upsidedown that is but it shows the swirl pot & the brackets for fixing it to the diff cage. It also shows that it's a very very shiny thing - which is good.

Tanks a Bunch

Ouch - my headlines don't improve.

As you may have guessed my shiny new tank has arrived - no photos as I'm at work without a camera, but the quality seems good& it measures OK to the dimensions I sent.

Now all I need is time to fit the thing, which won't be until after the bonnet's finished. There's other things to be done first too. i need to fill it with water to set up the fuel gauge - at least set it up better than it's currently set up where "empty" means there's three gallons or less left - in a six gallon tank. It's fine if i'm on a run because I check the mileage when it hits empty & fill it up before I've gone 100 miles, but when it's only used occasionally I forget & therefore effectively have a three gallon tank.

Getting it in the car will also mean a reduction in complexity & weight, as the low pressure pump & swirl pot will become redundant as will a couple of yards of piping. Hoorah. There's a few Kg of fuel filled copper, rubber & about a dozen jubilee clips to come off the inventory.

Tuesday 31 July 2012

Bonnet Fitting ........

...... Or hood if you're reading this in that big place where they almost - but not quite - speak English.

So you get the bonnet & pop it on the car right? Well, no. there's a LOT of fitting to do. First I cut the holes & fitted the lights, then I tried the bonnet on the car. The fit was better than last time, but there's still a choice between a small(ish) panel gap at the back, & clearance for the wheels at the front. You can't have both. If I wanted it easy I'd have built a Caterham.

I wrestled the bonnet into position & cut away the internal structure that fouls the hinge frame, then drilled the bonnet & bolted the hinge frame arms on, then cut away more of the internal structure so the bonnet would actually hinge. It needs to come off again so I can do the final clearancing & grease the hinges, but it's almost there.

After that I set about the wiring, changing it slightly from the previous incarnation to simplify the wiring route.

Next was cutting the sides for the aero-catches& trimming the bonnet flange, then stiffening it again with an alloy bracket. I started with a large "sighting hole" to make sure I was in the right area, then marked the catch profile & chain drilled the hole to suite. The latching isn't as good as it was before, partly because the bonnet is more flared than the old one, maybe making it from thicker GRP makes it "spring" when it leaves the mould? Anyway that's done now, just needs a little adjustment I hooked up the wiring & tested the lights - all OK, then I had to stop as I was bushed & making silly mistakes. Would you believe I've spent TWO DAYS on this? & there's probably still another day to do.

Sunday 29 July 2012


With the new front in my possession & the women-folk away, it's time to get down to some fettling. I've stripped the lights out of the old bonnet, fitted the new hinge frame, & trial fitted the new bonnet.

The new bonnet seems much stiffer to move about, but isn't noticeably any heavier - which is good, there's no point weighing the bonnets as one has cut-outs for the lights etc, & the other hasn't - yet. It seems to fit better too I couldn't get the old one to sit straight & true when I fitted that, but this one seems a lot closer straight out of the box. Nice to see that Fury Sportscars are improving the quality of parts.

Friday 27 July 2012


After what's seemed like a very long wait, I picked up the new front for the Fury today. Nuff respec to Fury Sports Cars, it was available when they said it would be (unlike the fuel tank that I'm STILL waiting for), & appears to be higher quality than the Kit Car Workshop era front the car has, the lay-up of the glass fibre is better, the grille slot is pre-cut, & the general finish seems to be better. I haven't had time to put it next to the car to check the colour match & on the down side they must've refurbed the mould because there are now flares over the wheel arches - personally I preferred it without, but we'll see what it looks like on the car.

Very definitely improved is the hinge frame, now made in polished stainless rather than plated steel, the welds are a thing of beauty, & it sits on the floor with all four legs touching, which would suggest that it's straight.

So, happy days - I've booked Monday & Tuesday off work so I can get on with it, & I shall be almost woman free as Mrs Blatter & daughter-the-younger are away in the caravan.

Wednesday 25 July 2012

Flattery Will Get You Anywhere

Last weekend a couple of Mrs Blatter's friends appeared on the drive because they were local when their daughter came over all queasy, so while she was fussed over in the house, I chatted cars with "Mrs Blatter's-friends-husband" who it turns out has a Porsche.

One thing led to another & ignoring his daughter's plight, we took the fury out, & during the trip he uttered the words "this is quicker than the Porsche". Ah, music to my ears. OK his Porsche is only a Boxter S - a car with the same power / weight ratio as the Fury pre-Zetec, but still nice to hear.

With the sudden arrival of summer (the jetstream's moved north apparently) the Fury has been my conveyance of choice for getting to work. The new bonnet should arrive on Friday & the new fuel tank is overdue (forecast this week), so things should be happening on that front shortly.

Sunday 15 July 2012

Woe Is Me

I'd been working on a plan for a while, link up a load of roads I liked & that had some memory attached to them into a route - that would be good wouldn't it?

Starting at Newlands Corner, the route went south to Cranliegh & picked up the Dunsfold Aerodrome to Godalming road, then across to Farnham, up to Fleet to take in Teweseldown, back west for the Pirbright Ring, then the wiggly roads south of the Hogs Back, the Ranmore common to Box Hill, Ending at Redhill Aerodrome for breakfast.

Unfortunately, my plan was ill-conceived, the roads I chose, while windey enough to be entertaining were not really wide enough for blatting & there was far too much suburbia between the entertaining bits. Another thing there was a rich abundance of was traffic, motorised in the west, man (& woman) powered in the east - the Box Hill section was something of a disaster, I'd unwittingly picked a lot of roads from the Olympic cycle race route, so we were driving in amongst cycle clubs for all told about ten miles & while we tried our best to stay behind them & overtake only where there was plenty of space, I'm afraid low & loud cars are always perceived to be going considerably faster than they actually are. This was particularly evident at the top of Box Hill. We had weaved our way through a small gaggle of brightly coloured cyclists (mostly riding two & three abreast) & accelerated ONLY where there were none in evidence, but at the top one of our number was pulled by a gentleman of the police - which was fair enough in the circumstances, but every cyclist who passed by felt the need to interrupt the ensuing lecture to tell the policeman that there were three cars all doing at least 150mph.

Anyway, two things were not a disapointment - the breakfast, the weather & the car ..... three ....... THREE things were not a disapointment. By the time we got to the airfield a number of other SKCCers had arrived - sensibly ingoring my route & heading straight for the food. So there was a sizable table of us tucking into our full English. From ordering to eating was no more that five minutes so top marks for service go to the Redhill Aerodrome Cafe. The weather was wet just before we set off, but dry for the entire run & even bright & sunny at the end & the car didn't cause any heartache. So that's all good then.

Cruising, But Not As We Know It

Mr Mango had created a route north west towards Oxford and the forecast was for rain around Guildford, dry round Oxford, so why not!

At the appropriate time I sauntered out to the garage, Mrs Blatter had left her car to one side, so no problems there, I pushed the Fury out into the sunshine, strapped in and turned the key – nothing. I checked all the switches, then got out and checked the fuses, the usual suspect had blown.

I tried to text Mr Mango that I wouldn’t be attending, but the phone had no signal, I mean NO signal, I walked up the road, no signal anywhere. Then, with time ticking away I thought if I took the brake microswitch out of the circuit, all should be well and indeed it was, so fuel-up and head out to the carpark just off the M3 were we were meeting up. Nick, David T and new guys Aaron & father-of-Aaron were there, so we were only waiting for the very local MangoDave. At this point I was distressed to note that my ancient phone still had no signal, had it finally died? After a couple of minutes, Mr Mango appeared and under darkening skies we set off.

I was more than a little concerned by the oil pressure gauge, it was showing 4bar at decent revs, but dropping to 0 at idle. As will happen on these occasions, I thought the water temperature gauge was rising, I thought the pressure was dropping more when cornering and I fancied I could hear a tapping coming from the engine, after a few miles I found a petrol station and pulled over assuming the engine was short of oil. The dipstick said otherwise and turning the engine over on the starter made the oil light go out instantly, so assuming it was a gauging fault we set off again.

It seemed we were following the rain, there were puddles of increasing size as we went along, but apart from a section flooded to a depth of 4” and an emergency brake caused by a duck, we arrived at the pub (another “The Lamb”) without incident and after gawping at the rather spectacularly proportioned young lady behind the bar for a while, we went and sat outside before we got a slap.


After the usual banter, we noticed the approach of heavy clouds and quickly mounted up. Not quickly enough, the large splats of summer rain began as we were pulling out of the car park – I hadn’t put the hood up because we were in a hurry to leave and it would at worst be a short sharp shower, however I hadn’t bargained on a few things, first our leader turned the wrong way out of the pub, so after 50 yards we had to turn round, then the route doubled back on itself through the rain again, THEN the route ran along the weather front, keeping us in the shower for what seemed like ½ an hour, but was probably only 28 minutes.

If you can keep the speed up, most rain is lifted over the car by the screen, but when it’s raindrops the size of ping pong balls, it’s dark, the road meanders and the screen AND your glasses are steaming up, speed isn’t an option. Eventually the MangoFury pulled over and a large umbrella appeared, I drove on and after a few miles found a closed petrol station to shelter under and dry the screen / mirrors / seats and put the roof up, but of course by then the rain had stopped, and after waiting a while for the SKCC – who didn’t appear – I set the satnav for home and went but the most direct route.

Sunday 8 July 2012

Summer of 2012.

What summer I hear you ask. Quite, I've just cancelled another run out due to weather & the long range forecast isn't getting any better. This was to be my "Memory Lanes Blatt" taking in some of the best roads around north west Surrey, but the weather's killed it again. This one's time bound too as it went past Farnborough Airfield, & it's the airshow next weekend, it also passes up Box Hill as there's no speed humps at the moment because it's on the Olympic cycling route.

Ah well, there's always 2013.

Saturday 30 June 2012

Taking A Brake

While sitting outside the pub last Weds, David T showed me pictures of a mod he'd made to his car, by co-incidence, I'd been looking at the same sort of thing only that afternoon.
When I built the car I fitted LED brake light bulbs on the basis that they light a fraction of a second quicker, thus giving the following car a fraction of a second longer to react, only after the car was on the road did I realise that as I'd used a hydraulic brake light switch which reacts to rising hydraulic pressure, not brake pedal movement, I'd lost that fraction of a second in system reaction time. A microswitch on the pedal was the answer & david's idea for accomplishing it was much neater than mine.

I set about making something on the Friday afternoon, bending an old offcut of aluminium such that the switch (from a long defunct washing machine) was a snug fit. Then bending the bottom into a pair of "feet" drilled for mounting. I soldered wires onto the tags as there wasn't room for spade connectors & the finished artical looked like this:-

Drilling the floor to mount it was not an easy thing, the footwell is pretty difficult to get two hands to, but in the end I got two decent holes, fitted clip-nuts to the bracket feet, bolted it up & sent the wrapped wired through a gromet in the firewall to connect up in parallel with the hydraulic switch - job done - Can't explain why the picyres sideways though.