Saturday 19 October 2013


So, all the LED bulbs are in, the electronic flasher unit is in, the wiring for the near-side front indicator has been swapped +ve to -ve so the LED bulb works, & the large LED bulbs in the front indicators have been swapped for small ones so the Lucas 488 "flat" lenses fit AND - it all works.

Why have I done all this? What's the deep engineering-based reasoning behind the change? Well, there's nothing to do at work, so I've been spending far too much time on E-bay.

Time to put the dash back

I'd split the wiring loom on the dash so I can plug all the plugs in in the same place, previously the speedo & tacho had to be plugged in separately once the dash was in. My plan was flawed though because the dash won't physically fit unless the speedo's withdrawn, it's better than it was though.

One last thing I wanted to do:- the speedo had been reading about 15% over since my last attempt (guess) at calibrating it, not usually a problem because the Satnav's always on & that has a speed readout. But if I'm carrying a speedo about with me it ought to work, so I made up a "jumper" cable which plugged into the speedo connector & the speedo and I persuaded Mrs Blatter (at best a reluctant traveller in the Fury) to passenge while I drove along the A3 at 70 as shown on the SatNav, she then held the speedo in her hand & adjusted it to read 70.

Job done.

Back home, the jumper cable was removed & stored for next time & the speedo re-mounted in it's rightful place in the dash.

All ready for a blatt then yes? Well - no, rain has stopped play this weekend I'm afraid.

Saturday 12 October 2013

Living Day Lights

Yes, after a week of popping out to the garage a bit, the Daytime Running Lights are fully functional, as are the spot lights. I've done some other jobs too & I only set fire to the car once!

The fire incident occurred after I sensibly looked at the connection diagram printed on the relay, then wired it up wrong, filled the garage with acrid smoke & set myself back 20 mins while I replaced the burnt out wire.

So, here they are, with ignition on, & with ignition & main beam on - powering up the side lights automatically turns off the DRLs. The DRLs look brighter than that in real life, so hopefully I'll be hitting the hooter less in future.

Other jobs I've done while the car's laid up:-

I've removed the speakers, I took out the stereo some time back, but now the speakers & their panels (1,287 grams) have been replaced by plain panels made from the finest leatherette encapsulated waffier-theen fibreglass (166 grams).

I've ordered an LED indicator relay & a set of four LED bulbs, the relay is also a little lighter, but the bulbs are almost certainly heavier, the idea is to get the flash-rate left & right to be the same & hopefully re-fit the much nicer "flat" Lucas lenses.

Also on the shopping list is a pair of LED sidelight bulbs. One of the sidelights was noticeably brighter than the other & when driving at night, the 40a alternator struggles a bit with the side, main & spot lamps on as well as the windscreen heater, so that's 10w it won't have to provide. As LEDs get more powerful & less expensive, I may swap the spot-light bulbs too, losing another 110w off the total.

One job I've been unable to complete because of the non-arrival of an 8-way connector is separating the speedo & tacho plugs from the main loom. Pulling those two (particularly the speedo one) usually results in pain, but a connector nearer the centre of the car should mean I can take the dash out with the loom still attached to the clocks.

Monday 7 October 2013

Light Fitting

I've fitted the lights, what a faff! Holding the brackets in the radiator intake, while fitting a bolt in the wheel arch would confound an octopus, but I got there in the end. I used my new digital angle finder to set up the spot lights so they light up more than just the tarmac 5ft ahead of the car. The DRLs are visible just below them, but they don't distract.

So yesterday I confirmed the spare slot in the fuse box was live-with-ignition & took out the dash. It is I have to admit a bit of a bird's nest behind there, but I found the appropriate wires, capped & stowed from when they used to run the amplifier. I'd bought the relay, but the there was inevitably a problem. The relay has a "tag" for attaching it to structure, but the rest of the relays have a tag on the relay BASE, & are fitted to a rail so they can be changed / tested easily (sigh). So I ordered a base with a tag, probably no more than 10p worth, but £3.50 delivered, & I'll fit it properly in line with the others. The last thing to do is run a wire through the car to the front & fit the waterproof connector that will supply the spots & the DRLs.

Not a moment too soon either - I took the car out - just to the post office - yesterday & got pulled out in front of AGAIN.

Thursday 3 October 2013

Fuelling Debate

There's been a kerfuffle about the imminent introduction of E10 fuel (10% ethanol) to the UK. There have been the usual "THIS EU DIRECTIVE WILL KILL YOUR CAR" horror stories, but an SKCC member found a report on the consequences online, so I read it. It's conclusion is that you can't use E10 in several million vehicles in the UK, but as usual that's not the full story - particularly where kit cars are concerned. Here's what I think, read & decide for yourself, but first a link to the report.

Right - I've read the report end to end - yes, still not much going on at work.
The first thing to note is this:-
"The study was funded by Olleco, a business which collects and refines waste cooking oil to be used as biodiesel in vehicles, which Mr Bailey found was a better option to be mixed with fuel than ethanol."

Not an un-biased view then.

Secondly, no practical experimentation was done under this report, all it does is report the findings of other reports & note comments found on internet forums.

There are several important areas it comments on:-

Fuel filter blockage caused by the ethanol dissolving fuel tank sealants & fuel hoses.
It says there is a small amount of evidence this happens, BUT the use of E5 & detergents already in petrol mean the chances are that if it was going to be a problem it would've happened by now.

The only repeat problems identified were with cars with sealant in fuel tank seams, in-tank hoses made from incompatible material & one make of camper where the filler hose was eaten by the ethanol in six months.

Our cars generally have welded tanks, so no sealant, have the outlet at the bottom, so no in-tank hoses, the filler hoses we’ll have to keep an eye on.

Galvanic corrosion (dissimilar metal corrosion) caused by the ethanol being a conductor & having water dissolved in it.

One of the few bits of actual science in the report says that Amal (they make carbs in the UK) has done soak tests & found that after a while a white powder collected in the float chamber & the brass jets showed signs of corrosion, they have changed materials to cure the problem. On aluminium it notes a number of reports, some say aluminium is fine, others say it’s not. Those that say it’s not, seem to regard tarnishing / discolouration as being unacceptable because it shows the Ethanol has “an effect” – significantly one report on fuel storage tanks states that aluminium is OK if it’s anodised, ethanol contains a lot of oxygen, tarnishing of aluminium is the oxidation of the surface – which when it’s done deliberately is known as …… anodising. There’s little actual info about brass, but it looks like it’s the zinc content rather than the copper that’s the issue & zinc is right at one end of the dissimilar metal table, just above magnesium, so that seems likely. GRP fuel tanks seem to be a particular problem, but they only seem to be used on boats.

On my car I have copper fuel lines, so I assume these won’t be a problem. When I built the car I earthed the fuel lines to prevent static build up, so that may help to reduce the electrical potential & therefore any galvanic corrosion, but I’m guessing there. I also have an aluminium fuel tank, but aluminium corrodes to a white powder, so I can look for that in the pre-pump filter, if you’ve not got one, now could be a good time to fit one.

Here the report states that as Ethanol contains about 35% oxygen, the air/fuel mixture will be wrong on carb engines, with EFi, it’s only when running open loop that there is an issue & the issue is that the exhaust temp could rise by up to 30deg C, which it sees as a problem only for the longevity of the cat, which I haven’t got.

So at worst it’s a rolling road session for a re-jet or a re-map. If you have carbs, get jets made of the more recent materials, though it’s worth noting that if the jets corrode, the holes get bigger, richening the mixture.

It says there is the potential for carburettor icing because the ethanol vapourises faster, lowering the inlet temperature more. It reports that internet forums dealing with running light aircraft on mogas (car petrol) suggest there’s a problem with carb icing. It goes on to say that in Canada they adjust the mix of petrol depending on the season to prevent carb icing, in the winter they add – ethanol.

So, inconclusive.

Deposit formation
The report says increased levels of inlet system and combustion chamber deposits have been reported with the use of E5 and E10 blends compared to E0. It goes on to say that those reports come from areas where they don’t add detergent so it’s unlikely to be a problem here.

So this shouldn’t be a problem either.

My conclusion is that the only real issue for my car is the flexible hoses. However, the major manufacturers all said that their cars made this century should be OK, all the fuel hose on my car was bought this century, so should be OK unless it was old stock when I bought it. But I had a similar problem with this when I built the car with some hoses not being compatible with unleaded. The first sign was a smell of petrol in the garage as the hoses soften & allow fuel to seep through, so I’ll be watching (sniffing) out for that.

Having said all this & concluded that the evidence is sparse, contradictory & apart from one or two instances (like the camper vans) not really serious, it goes on to say:-
Vehicles ten years old or older, carburettored vehicles (including powered two wheelers) and first generation direct injection spark ignition vehicles should not be fuelled on E10 unless the manufacturer can state the vehicles are compatible with E10.” Which I guess is a legal disclaimer.

Wednesday 2 October 2013

Day Light

On the past couple of runs I've been impressed by the Daytime Running Lights (DRLs) on the following car. I was very sceptical of DRLs at first & still don't understand why we need DRLs & side lights, but I decided I wanted DRLs on the Fury to help with visibility after having to hit the hooter three times in a single journey after folk failed to see the vivid yellow red & black car.

But Where to fit them? Most of what E-bay had to offer were light units which would fit into the multi-holed frontage of a modern car, but would look pretty stupid on the Fury. I considered moving the indicators inside the light covers & fitting something in place of the Lucas units, but I could find nothing I liked the look of. But I did find a simple 1" dia 3w LED in an alloy body.

So today on getting home, I made a couple of simple alloy brackets which would fit the DRLs just below the spot lights in the grille. The spots sit a way inside the grille with black painted brackets so they appear to float, the DRLs will sit further back still & in the shadow of the spot so they shouldn't show up unless the light is on - that's the theory anyway.

So far so good.

Tomorrow I'll blow over the bracket with some matt black, re-fit the lamps & start on the wiring.

The DRLs need to be wired into the ignition so they come on with the engine, but they need to go out when the side lights are on, so there will be a "normally closed" relay, switched to open by the side-light circuit.