Tuesday 23 April 2013

Braking Things

Some time last year, I put a post on here about a new brake light switch - well, this is another post about another brake light switch.

The old one was OK, it worked fine - but it wasn't adjustable & it was in danger of getting kicked & wet, so I gave it some thought & while e-baying "brake light switch" I kept getting motorcycle ones coming up. This was irritating because I didn't want a motorcy .......... wait a minute!

The problem with the switch stems from the pedal being floor mounted, the vast majority of car pedals are top mounted, so there is a little extra pedal above the pivot which trips a plunger switch. To use that type on the fury would mean the switch being in the same place as my foot. The bike ones offered an entirely different set of options with the switch being "pull for on", so I made up a lever & bolted it to the brake pedal (making sure it didn't foul anything). It's also made of very thin aluminium so it will just bend out of the way if something gets under it.

The next job was to mount the switch itself. Easy enough as it's a cylindrical thing with a thread on the end & some waterproofing. My lever was mounted in such a way that the switch could be fitted to a hole in the top of the pedal box, I'd cut the pedal box lid to fit around it.

You can see the switch at the top (to the left of the steering column) & the link wire & spring running down to the lever arm just visible at the bottom, nicely to one side of the brake rod. It's all tested & works after about 1/4" of pedal movement, which is fine. The reason I got this opportunity is that I arrived at work yester-morning, to find the boss man standing on the doorstep. It seems there'd been something of a flood over the weekend & there was to be no getting in to the place. So - yesterday & today off - tomorrow still to be confirmed. I would be messing with the ECU program again, but while testing the brake lights I managed to forget the ignition was on & flattened the battery, so as it's 21.5c, I shall sit in the sun - hoorah!

Sunday 21 April 2013

There's Bad News & There's Good News

Having had all the trouble with the starter last weekend, I'd done some measuring & found it WAS the correct starter, but it was only located on the bolts - the location ring being 76mm dia in an 89mm dia socket. No problem, I made up an adaptor ring which also served as a mounting for the new bellhousing dirt shield & bolted the starter back up. It still sounds as awful as before, so I'm hoping the new one due tomorrow will sound better.

So the car was working & there was a blat planned, "Our Leader" wanted to run his new engine in over a weekend, so a way-out-west run was on the cards going right out to Compton Abbas airfield via the wriggliest wroads we could find. Because "Fun Is Not A Straight Line"

So 07:00 saw me sitting in the Fury in a lay by, engine running, waiting for a multi-coloured blur. First past me was the newly re-engined (S2000) green machine, sounding like a jet fighter, & immediately followed by the newly re-engined V8, sounding like a squadron of Spitfires. On my video you can hear the staccato thud of each cylinder firing, then Our Leader in the (again) newly re-engined, newly re-painted Gulf car & finally - in this group, the rarely see Riot. I hit the loud pedal & tagged onto the back.

I then missed out in the overtake-the-tintop lottery, there just wasn't enough road & I got caught behind all through a village, but passed it before the "Pirbright ring" but having taken a short cut I didn't know if I was in front or behind the others. I carried on until just north of the M3, the green & red cars had pulled over. No sooner had I parked up behind them than they pulled away, only to stop & wait again for Our Leader, who it turned out was minus a SatNav.

After a few minutes he rolled up & we set off gain at a cracking pace, taking great strides across the countryside - until - the gulf car rolled to a stop. Attempts to re-start it produced clouds of white from the exhaust, identified as fuel. The bonnet was removed & the collective brains of the SKCC were bought to bare, but it was to prove fruitless & the RAC were called.

The rest of the group headed back towards the east, calling in at Lasham Airfield - where they'd just finished serving breakfast. Gallantly, the chef sprang into action & hash-browns & bacon & coffee was produced, so we were no to go hungry.

That was the bad news. The good news was that having arrived home early, my family was out, so having already solved the on-power / off-power problem, I decided to tackle the hesitation on opening the throttle, my plan was to balance the throttle bodies with the four-way manometer carbalencer. That required the dismantling of the airbox & it's back plate, which is fillier that a fiddly thing, BUT the end result was a car that pulls smoothly - hurrah!

It still seems a little unsure of itself at low revs, but it's drivable, so I'll think about that another day.

Friday 19 April 2013

En France (& Belgium)

The Rallye Des Jonquilles – the Daffodil Rally 2013. After a tense week waiting to hear if my navigator would be fit, the news came through on Friday – and it was GOOD news. As I’d be up early on the Saturday, I slept downstairs – except that with the checking & re-checking of all the requirements, sleep eluded me until about 04:00.

The alarm went off at 06:00, up, dress, drink, marmite toast, check the club forum – Mr Mango’s posted already. Bag already strapped to the luggage rack, head off.

Problem one, Mrs Blatter’s “pimp-mobile” (folding hard top) is in the middle of the drive. It’s quite a big drive, plenty of room for a car each side & space for the fury to pass between, but no - reverse & abandon has always been her policy, so back to the house, get her keys, move said car, return keys.

Can I go now? Can I? Can I?

I arrived at Trev-the-Nav’s abode in time for a quick load & go, but I was offered a bacon sarnie & one doesn’t refuse that kind of hospitality lightly. On the road at last for a short hop round to Clackett Lane Services where the SKCC – weren’t. I sent a text message, but after 5 mins the throaty roar of two kits & the purr of a VX220 announced their arrival. A delay had ensued after Mrs Mango had a small “parking incident” while manoeuvring cars on the drive in a bleary eyed fashion.

That accounted for four of the five, the missing man was soon located by phone – as luck would have it in the Clacketts fuel station, so we mounted up, found him & headed for our last rendezvous in the UK, Ashford Tesco, for a fuel stop & to meet Nash who had kindly offered to bring the specially printed tee shirts to meet us. It was here that my trip took a turn for the worse. Fuelled up & ready for the off, I hit the starter button & was rewarded with a hideous shriek & no movement of the engine at all. The starter sometimes plays up so I tried again – with the same result. That of course could’ve been the end of the trip, but the SKCC are not so easily thwarted & many hands made light work of bump starting the car – just as well as it looked as if they’d be doing it a lot this weekend!

Credit for this photo goes to David E
After a short blatt along the motorway, we checked in for the tunnel, but I was concerned about the starter, so I hatched a plan so cunning, you could pin a tail on it & call it a weasel.

Credit for this photo goes to David T
If I drove down to the train at the head of the SKCC, then when we arrived en France we could wait for the tin-tops ahead to move, bump start the Fury, then the bump-starters would have time to mount up while I slowly trundled along the train, easy. Until the loader on the platform bizarrely asked me to pull alongside the train, then loaded the rest of the SKCC expeditionary force first, putting me at the back.

However, we were not to be wrong-footed by such tomfoolery & soon the small group was running west along the coast road in brilliant SUNSHINE, at least I think that’s what it was, it’s been a while since I saw any. Our route slowly banked south through some smallish hills, keeping to the mirror flat, winding French roads. Little by little we turned east, heading for our first coffee stop at the “Garage CafĂ©”, a car themed establishment we’d been pointed at. We arrived at 13:00 on a Saturday lunchtime – it was closed. We moved on, eventually passing into Belgium, a change of country marked only by a small sign & a dramatic deterioration in the road surface. After a bone-shaking 1/2hr punctuated by the sat-nav trying to send us over a 10ft spoil-heap, we pulled into the small town of Diksmuide, where the locals took a great interest in the cars & guided us though the local parking procedure. There was a “tea room” not 20 yards from where we parked, so we did lunch – but without chips, they’re illegal after 14:00 apparently.

After we’d eaten & I’d disturbed the locals by setting off the Fury’s alarm, then having to be bump started, we drove a mile up the road to see some preserved trenches from the First World War. It
was a sombre & sobering moment, more so once the rain started. Two people in a Fury with the roof up isn’t a lot of fun, throw in the lousy Belgian road surface & a road closed for resurfacing & the journey to the hotel is best forgotten.

The hotel – all credit to Mr Mango, this was a real find, last year our accommodation was best described as “cheap”. A concrete block containing rooms with pre-fabricated everything including the complete shower / toilet room. To be fair it was clean & the parking was relatively secure, but personality? No. We got a taxi into town & had a lot of beer – all very blokey. This year a much higher proportion of us were ladies, so it was just as well that the accommodation was based around a very nice restaurant & the accommodation was in wooden lodges, spacious & nicely equipped (though I was glad I’d taken a travel kettle & coffee). We relaxed in the bar, we ate well (though – again – the English translation of the menu was at times more difficult to decipher than the French.

After a very pleasant evening, we retired to bed. Once again sleep proved elusive as I worried what I
should do about the starter. Get it refurbed? Buy a new one? Buy a lightened flywheel & get a different clutch & starter to match? It was a jaded Blatter who prepped the car the next morning.

It had rained heavily in the night, but the soft top had done it’s job. It was rolled up, the luggage rack re-attached, side screens stowed & replaced by deflectors – for the clouds were lifting, the sky was brightening, the car started easily after only a brief push (bringing the reception lady running as only three of us had paid at that point).

After a short drive through the countryside, we rolled into Aire-Sur-La-Lys town square & parked against the fence. After checking in, attaching the rallye plaque & having a coffee & croissant, I was again a man-with-a-plan, intending to move the barricade behind the Fury, bump start it along the road & come back in. Then one of the other SKCCers said “why don’t you just try it”, wise words indeed, I turned the key, I pushed the button, the engine started, I think the sun may even have come out.
The start is always a bit of a free-for-all, but as luck would have it we rolled into the start tent next to the Mangos & after a few words from Bruno the ever ebullient organiser-cum-master-of-ceremonies, we were waved off & immediately lost. Trev-the-nav was getting cross, but it was pretty easy to just drive about until an interesting car appeared & follow it until the instructions made sense.

Once into the swing of it my navigator did an excellent job & there was very little three-point-
turning, though if we saw 50% of the numbers on sticks we were supposed to be looking for I’d be surprised. The mid-morning drinks stop was at a golf club. Approximately 320 mostly men arrived to find four of the five loos blocked! Out in the car park the sun shone on an eclectic array of cars, from a modern Jag on three wheels & a space-saver, through a whole herd of Elises & Exiges to, at the other end of the age & price scale what appeared to be an original Bugatti type 35, probably worth more than the rest of the cars put together. Joy of joys the Fury started & we headed back out into the countryside behind an MGB travelling slower than even MGBs generally do. The task for this section was to look at eight photos & mark the view you DIDN’T see as you wended your way. This proved near impossible last year, this year was no different, though we did see three & two were in a section we had to navigate round as the villagers were having a fete in the middle of the road, so only three to choose from – we got it wrong. After

Suitably fed & refreshed we headed off towards the finish, back in Aire-Sur-La-Lys. By this time the sun was blazing, the temperature had soared to 22c & I was getting a sunburnt head. The
last section was all about the driving & navigating & while we came at the town square from completely the wrong direction, we were among the first back, so after a very brief chat with Bruno over the PA system, we parked up & watched the others arrive. Not surprisingly we won no prizes, though there was champagne (or at least fizzy wine) for all the competitors & after the speeches & the awarding of cups, we left, but not without the still enthusiastic Bruno appearing from no-where to shake our hands & wish us well. See you next year Bruno.
There was a little confusion over refuelling, the station on the route home was being dug up. Fortunately all the sat-navs took us to the same next nearest one where we re-fuelled & were talked at in French by some eleven year olds who followed us out to the road, one by one the cars put on a
show of accelerating away, until it was my turn, luckily Trevor saw the Gendarmerie van – I hadn’t.

The run back to the train was nothing short of glorious. The sun beat down, the roads were smooth & twisty & the French either slowed to let us past, or joined in with our blatt for a few miles. Fantastic – it couldn’t last & all too soon we were sitting in a queue at passport control for 20mins which resulted in ……… the starter not turning the engine over. So it seems I have a heat issue. We boarded the train & I opened the bonnet hoping to cool the engine bay, until a French tunnelette flounced along & told me I had to close it because it would “interfere wiz ze ventilation” so I closed it – until she’d gone. We were all prepared to push start it in Blighty, but it turned & fired all by itself, which just left the interminably dull motorway home.

What a wonderful way to spend a weekend.

Friday 12 April 2013

What A Week That Was

Started on a positive note - preping the Fury for the Rallye Des Jonquilles blatt. There were a few minor things to do, starting with a wash & polish, then a new near side engine mount to replace the one I designed & made. The design bit was good, but my welding sort of wasn't. It's fine, but I could see rust marks along the welds so the water was getting in & I needed to change it.

Well - what fun! Bear in mind dear reader, that the side of the engine I was working on has a fully dimensioned Ford drawing available on the internet - so why didn't the engine mount fit? The hole pattern was wrong, it hit the water pump, & when I did finally get it in place, the engine was too high & hit the bonnet (sigh). It's sorted now, but it was something of a game to do it.

I then made & fitted a bracket for the second satnav - the one Trevor (navigtor) will have as a tripmaster thingy, along with a power supply for it, did some more tiddivating, fitted the luggage rack & the Fury was ready.

Then Trev-the-nav e-mailed to say he had a chest infection & may not be well enough to go.

This was a disaster, without him paying 1/2 the cost, I had to either pull out of this, or the five day SKCC Road Trip as I couldn't afford pay all the costs for both. Anyway just this afternoon, I called him & he is recovered. So at 06:30 tomorrow morning I shall be heading off to pick him up before meeting some other SKCC-ers at Clackett Lane services & heading for France & Belgium.