Wednesday 27 February 2013

A Sharp Intake

When the Zetec first went into the Fury I made up an air intake with a carbon bodied filter & the alumuinumised hose that came with it. A year later it's all sorts of bent & going into holes in one or two places, so before something unfortunate happens, time for a change.

I bought a silicon 90deg bend in enormous 73mm dia & a length of aluminium tube, but there is a rel danger that if left to it's own devices the new duct will bang on the throttle cable bracket & be damaged like the old one. So, having little to do at work, I drew the bend & the tube on the computer & drew up a bracket to attach it to the throttle cable bracket. I then added the airbox & the filter I'd drawn previously making this:-

Then, feeling all ambitious, I added it to the chassis model, positioned more-or-less accurately. Looks pretty good I think. Hopefully it'll work just as well on the car. I might have to use orange super-flexible hose to mate the tube to the airbox to stop the engine's vibration being transmitted into the throttle cable bracket, but I'll see how it goes.

Saturday 23 February 2013

Mmmmmm - Sticky

After last weeks HollyBlatt where the Fury had Toyo 888s on the front wheels & the old Yokohama C-series' on the back (accounting the lurid wheelspinning in the video - that's my excuse anyway) I have now had the other two 888s fitted.

For those that don't know, 888s & the like are sometimes known as "trackday tyres" or "semi slicks" you can have them on any car, but on a tintop they would wear out extremely quickly because of the weight, on a kit car weighing just over 1/2 tonne they are a more practical proposition. They are actually sticky to the touch! I asked the local garage to fit them, they are kit-car friendly & there's no other garage I'd trust to MoT my cars & service my wife's. So I've re-fitted the wheels - let 1/2 the pressure out of the tyres (they were pumped to 35psi, I need 18) & in a when my wife goes out I shall head out for a test run.

Sunday 17 February 2013

Doin' It For Charidee

You know when you start something & you’re really not sure how it’ll turn out?
This was to be the Fury's first SKCC blatt of 2013 - & it had a cause.

The Reason.
My younger daughter has been chosen as one of thirty pupils to fly to Kenya were she will help teach the local children in a school & contribute to other projects. To go she has to raise £1500 + the cost of the injections. We wanted Holly to be properly involved in fund raising - that's part of it surely?
The Plan.
Run a blatt round Surrey & Sussex ending at my house, where a hearty if not healthy breakfast would be prepared & served to the blatters by my wife & daughter in exchange for donations.
The Preparation.
Looking through my back catalogue of .ITNs I found one that started at Newlands & ended at the Chalet. I reversed the direction & extended the start to Buck Barn, then re-wrote the end to pass though the Hindhead tunnel. Sorted. The food was gathered on the Saturday with a request for 3 dozen cumberland sausages & a similar quantity of rashers raising the butcher’s eyebrows somewhat.

Then Mrs Fury started panicking about how much cutlery we had, where everyone would sit, whether 36 sausages would fit in the roasting tray…….
The Day.
The forecast had been for fog, but the stars were bright as I pushed the car from the garage. An empty drive today (the cars having been stowed elsewhere to provide off road parking), so no need to worry about the Fury’s exhaust setting off the Focus’ alarm. Neil – my passenger for the morning arrived promptly & we headed off into the cold. Just south of Guildford we found the fog & on one corner we found a fair bit of ice, but made the corner only slightly sideways. There were a couple of cars at Buck Barn when we arrived, then rumblings in the fog announced the arrival of others.

After the traditional ten minutes of tyre-kicking, chat & randomised insults that come under the heading “banter”, we headed off. It was truly FREEZING, with a few “moments” tempering the right foot, a tin-top in a ditch reinforced the message.
Then the fun started with the usual satnav issues, I had headed off leading the posse & indeed I thought I still was in front, until we arrived at a roundabout to find a brightly coloured troupe of kits already there, waiting for one of our number to re-arrange his car to point round the roundabout rather than across it. Oh how we laughed. No harm done, we went on our way

There was the inevitable smoke break (or non-smoke break for one of our number) during which a problem with the Spartan was reported, a clutch master cylinder with air in it is not a good thing & put paid to Matt’s hope of a filling breakfast. The starter had no intention of turning over a straight 6, in gear, uphill, so Neil & I pushed it up to a speed at which first could be crash-selected & Matt headed for home.
A message on the forum later confirmed he got there OK. Peckish, but OK.
Helping with the Spartan left my passenger & I stood in the road when the rest of the group headed off, so a two-man LeMans start was called for. We caught the main group a while later after the fog had slowed them. Yes, the fog came down again, properly sub-zero, wet, & a serious limit on the progress that could be made, but make progress we did, & I was surprised how soon the sign for Hindhead came up. The route had been plotted to bring us onto the A3 just south of the tunnel – what I hadn’t anticipated when I created the route was the speed humps on the link road – sorry ‘bout that chaps. Then there was another SatNav issue with a wayward waypoint, fortunately it didn’t fool anyone & most folks just deleted it, I turned the SatNav off.

The Hindhead tunnel. Unusually we’d managed to stay together in a clump, except for Lee who’d gone in search of fuel, so we all passed through the tunnel almost in line astern. Noisy cars are of course anti social, so we trundled though making almost no noise at all – you wouldn’t have known we were there – church mice & dropped pins would’ve drowned us out. Honest.

Just north of the tunnel I left the route to run straight for home in order to pre-warn the cookists & get my car in the garage, so as not to take up a parking space. Not sure what happened after that, but Hammy was last seen heading up the A3, so he was another who would miss out on the cholesterol-fest.

As I suspected it would, the sun came out as we passed over Stag hill about a mile from Guildford. It had been bright & warm(ish) all morning. "You had a lovely day for it" said mrs Blatter. She hadn't seen Neil-the-passenger shaking with the cold half way round.

Back home the kitchen was a-humming & my wife was worrying that the sausages weren’t cooked yet, but she’d not counted on how long the SKCC could stand around in the cold talking cars. In the end the food was ready & folk were still loitering about kicking tyres.

People got fed & watered, Mrs Blatter relaxed, the sun shone, one or two stragglers appeared & all was well with the world.
All told, the event raised the quite incredible sum of £260 for Holly’s fund & I shall take the left over cake into work for (hopefully) more contributions.

So a very heartfelt thank you to all who got out of a warm bed on such a day.

Friday 15 February 2013

Iritating The Neighbours

This week I ar bin mostly - driving round the block.

There was a reason.

Since the Zetec went in the car it's had an annoying trait. There was a hesitation as the throttle was pressed & the engine came off idle - not every time, but occasionally as I perfectly clipped an apex & squeezed the throttle to exit a sweeping bend (it must've happened once I'm sure) the engine would bog down for what seemed like an age, but was more likely a split second. The problem also showed up when bimbling along in fifth, the engine would "rock" between on & off throttle.

My intention had been to take it for another rolling road session to have it sorted, but I'd never accumulated £300 before something else needed fixing. Then in a flash-of-the-bleedin'-obvious I sent the map to OMEX (makers of the Fury's ECU) & asked if there was anything obvious wrong.

I have been astonished by the response. So far I have had the map modified twice & advice on changing the settings on several other occasions, always with patience & helpfulness. so I've been driving round the same route each evening with the laptop data-logging the ECU, then send the log to Omex & within a couple of hours it's been analysed & changes suggested. Brilliant service, but then I guess that's what I paid the £800-odd for.

It appears to be running much better. Not quite right yet, but the man from OMEX said there may be a few things causing the symptoms, so I'm hitting them one by one.

Also on the subject of neighbours - it's the HollyBlatt this weekend. On Sunday a small but intrepid (not to say peckish) cadre of the SKCC will meet "somewhere in the south of England" at really early o'clock, drive round for a bit before appearing outside my house, where my wife & youngest daughter (possibly daughter-the-elder too in an all to rare show of "doingsomethingforsomeoneelse") will present them with a full English in return for donations to Holly's going-to-Kenya-to-help-the-children fund (not sure if anyone's consulted "the children" on whether they actually need help). In all seriousness it is a good thing. Holly is the sort of person who will just get on with it, & will make good use of her time there, to the benefit of both her & the children she meets.

So, come Sunday morning my small cul-de-sac will be the reluctant parking place for up to a dozen brightly coloured kit cars clogging up the exit to the main road. Fingers crossed.

Monday 11 February 2013


Well the starter’s back on the car – what a palaver, I’ve never sworn at a car so much. When I built the car I fitted a new starter (thinking it was a fit-&-forget item), then laid in cooling pipes above it, the exhaust above them. The upshot of all this is that it's VERY near impossible to fit the starter. No matter how you move your head, you can't see the bolt holes & even if you could see them, no amount of twisting & turning will get a pair of fingers to the bolt heads to turn them. In the end I made a sling out of rag & held it one side of the pod, while the other arm went under the car to insert the lowest bolt. Having got that in, the other two were much easier as I didn't have to hold it in place AND insert the bolts.

So the starter was back on & it worked without shrieking - so Burghfield Starter and Alternator Centre had done an excellent job & in just over 24 hours of dropping it off. So I grabbed the laptop & set about loading the new map from Omex. That led to more fun. I had been sent the map by e-mail & had tried to file it under a different name. But when I tried to call it up - it wasn't there. I tried to look up the e-mail, but that was gone too. So I had no map, no e-mail & no-idea who'd sent it. I went back in the house. In a mood.

Then - I found the map. I put it in the right place, I loaded it to the ECU, pushed the starter & it failed to start. Then I remembered the fuel pump was switched off. This was not one of my better days in the garage.

Having sorted myself out, the engine started. It ran with a noticeably higher idle, one of he things I'd asked for help with was a high idle, but it was now higher, I read the e-mail & it said to reduce the idle with the idle screw, something that’s not worked before, it worked! So it’s looking good for a fix for the other problems but the weather has kept the car in the garage, so no testing yet.

Friday 8 February 2013

Dull But Necessary

Since the road trip last year, the Fury's starter motor has been making a horrendous noise. A sort of clanking clacking noise - it started the engine - mostly, often on the third or fourth push of the button, so there were always more pressing things to fix - or at least more interesting. So it didn't get done.

But with the fund-raising "Holly-Blatt" coming up next weekend & the Rally Des Jonquilles on the horizon I really needed to get it sorted before it left me stranded somewhere. Research on Ebay came up with prices between £60 & £115, then someone on the SKCC forum recommended a place near reading - they didn't have a 1.8 Sierra starter in stock, but could re-build mine in pretty short order.

So yesterday I dropped the starter in to Burghfield Starter and Alternator Centre. It was a “Bloke-in-a-shed type operation. He seemed very efficient & knowledgeable, diagnosed the faulty clutch straight away. It was (or at least seemed) OK when I took it off, so I guess there was something loose inside that sometimes caught, sometimes didn’t – that would fit with the symptoms. Later on the guy called to say he’d had it in bits & ordered the new parts.

Today I've had a call from the starter man. The starter’s ready to pick up – Hurrah! I didn’t because it’s near Reading, much easier to collect while I’m at work on Monday.

I also had to replace three tyres on the Zaf, so while I was at Martin’s Tyres, I got them to mount two of the Toyo 888s for the Fury. They are noticeably more square at the shoulder than the Yokohamas they replace, which led to a problem straight away – no steering! There was a little steering to the right, but none at all left, because the new tyres were rubbing on the front wheel arches. A couple of hours with the drum-sander & a Dremel were required to restore the ability to change direction.

Then I realised the parts I ordered to extend the video camera wire had arrived, so I started looking a routes for that. Quite a good day really.

Monday 4 February 2013

Out & About

The Fury is BACK!
No exciting runs out to report, on the 1st I just took it up to Local beauty spot Newlands Corner, then on the 2nd I took it to Surbiton on a mission. There's a bit of a story to it, so get comfy.

Many many years ago I worked at Dunsfold (Oh happy day!) & sat next to a chap called Chris. He was building a car - an SSC (nee Sylva) Stylus. The car is, to the casual bystander, the same as a Fury, but it was the sainted Jeremy Phillips' subsequent design & has bigger doors, an actual boot - with a lid, & an inset bonnet. The demonstrator was once road tested by no-more a person than Jeremy Clarkson - who really liked it. Anyway, Chris spent most of the '90s building the car - with the running joke that "next year he'd be driving it to LeMans". The car itself was a bit special as rather than the usual MkII Escort, he used a RWD Toyota Corolla as the base car, that gave him a 130bhp revvy twin-cam engine, an all alloy five speed gearbox, a limited slip diff & rear disc brakes. So in it's day, it was pretty "exotic" for a kit car. It was also extremely well built - it took as long to built as my car & Chris DIDN'T have to fit-out an extension, or do an engine swap on a Rickman!
Chris did a whopping 750 miles in the car & was seconded to work in America, that accounted for the next nine months, then there was a spell Oop Narth, then back to America, where he met a girl (you can guess the rest). So circumstances added up & Chris was going to lose the garage, so needed to sell the car. I was able to put him in touch with a buyer & the deal was done. Now due to the build timing of our cars, they had never been in the same place at the same time, & I'd always wanted a photo of the two cars together, so on the day of collection I took the Fury up the A3 to Surbiton & found this:-

Bit of an "issue" there, but the skip was due to go by 11:00 so that was OK. At 10:45 the skip-hire Co. was called & we found out that a/ No-one had been dispatched to collect it. b/ There was no-one at the depot to send. c/ They knock off at 11:00. So we had a problem, fortunately is was one of the smaller skips & by brute force we were able to shunt it sideways just enough to get the Stylus out past it, take a few photos for posterity, & load it on the trailer to go off to it's new home where it will be stripped, refurbished & live a new life as a track car. Which is Nice.