Friday 29 March 2019

The Car's Working Again - Unlike Me

This morning I set to checking as much of the car as I could, The cam timing was OK, all the plugs were definitely sparking, it had fuel getting to the cylinders, it would start, but would only run at about 1/4 throttle & then it smoked badly.

Having checked all this & some other things, I connected the laptop to the OMEX ECU & opened the software. The first thing to catch my eye was "Throttle = 100%". I waggled the throttle but it didn't change. I cut the self-amalgamating tape boot off the Throttle Position Sensor & found this:-

So the engine was getting 100% fuel with a closed throttle - no wonder it was having problems.

The soldered joints must've been just hanging on when I moved the wiring to fit the vacuum hose.

So the car's working again. I on the other hand have been turned down for every job - I thing that at 58 I am now too old to be taken seriously.

Looks like a life of shelf stacking is beckoning.

Thursday 28 March 2019

There's Good News & There's Bad News

The good news is that the dash is finished (again), to get rid of the power sockets in the middle of the dash (which work & looked OK, but any leads plugged therein got in the way of the handbrake & gear lever), I looked at moving the screen heater & rear fog switches to a circular panel there, then I was looking at ebay & saw a vintage Smiths vacuum gauge & put a bid on it - then forgot all about it & went back to designing the switch panel.

You know what's coming next.

I was about to start cutting metal when an e-mail told me I'd just bought a vacuum gauge. So yesterday I found a not-to-beaten-up sheet of aluminium in the garage & made a back plate for the five existing clocks which covered over the big hole for the power outlet & set the new gauge in that. At some point I will also move said switches to this panel.

Also on the plus side, the hooter button arrived & has been fitted & most splendid it looks too.

I mentioned bad news.

While running the hoses for the vacuum gauge around the coil pack, the engine started running rough - really rough. I tried all the obvious things, but all the cylinders seemed to have a spark & fuel, on a hunch I bought a new coil pack, fitted it & bingo - it ran perfectly - until it didn't. I have to hold the throttle about 1/4 open to make it idle & then it smokes & sots up the plugs. This evening I checked the cam timing in case one of the cam wheels had jumped a tooth, but no, all there seems well.

Also on today's to do list was a trip to Biggin Hill's Heritage Hanger, where they build Spitfires, they will tell you they restore them to flying condition, but when you're making a new pair of wings, tail & rear fuselage, I think that probably goes beyond "restoration". Anyway, there are no fewer than 12 Spitfires in the hanger, none earlier than MkIX, but they do have three two seaters that you can buy a flight in for £many. If you're thinking "two seat Spitfire?", Supermarine bought MkIXs back at the end of the war, refurbished them, moved the cockpit forward 13" & inserted another cockpit behind it. These were then sold to various air forces around the world.

Of more interest to me was the Hurricane & BF109 (this very aircraft was flown by Hans Jochim Marseille - look him up), we were then treated to a start up & take off as a passenger flight had been booked, so we stood very close by while the Merlin was started & the Spitfire taxied out & took off.

A little light restoration going on


That's a proper fighter

Thursday 21 March 2019

Ever Wished You'd Never Started Something?

Today I set about fitting the new stalks, though I’ve already lost one of the switches & had to order TWO more, the screenwash stalk went on just fine, the hooter stalk – less so.
It was the usual story, I got impatient & in spite of not having the hooter button I ploughed on, then thought I’d look at the hazard warning switch. It’s always been a pain, the red bit popping off with the least provocation, so I took off the left stalk switch – into which the hazard switch is totally integrated. “how complicated can it be?” I thought, well, once I'd broken it apart, really quite complicated is the answer, with the switch turning out to have four separate poles switching between seven contacts. More to the point, the indicators were now dead as they rely on one of the poles to power them.
I took the Haynes-book-of-lies upstairs along with the switch & a multi-meter & started working out which contacts did what. Having more-or-less understood the workings, I reasoned that a jumper wire between two of the terminals should see the indicators working again – and indeed they did. So I’ve now worked out what I need to buy to have the hazards worked by a single conventional toggle switch & will put that order in tomorrow.
Also on the order books is a 1963 registration, so the car will lose "G 789 BBK" & become
"AFW 817 A". I may fit black & white No. Plates – strictly for shows of course.
Did I mention I also fitted another four USB ports, two at the back to charge the phone & drive the I-pod & one hidden under the dash to drive the SatNav. This means the charger point in the middle of the dash is redundant & will be replaced by a switch panel for the screen heater & rear fogs, their place to the right of the steering wheel being taken by the new hazard switch & a mute for the indicator buzzer.

Keeping up?

Friday 15 March 2019

Latest News

Two interviews, one rejection & one long silence - rejection assumed, one interview in the diary & four more applications gone in.

One session with the mediator & an appointment with a solicitor in the diary.

Tintop - Cactus seen & approved awaiting word from the garage that it's been serviced.
Fury - lots of minor jobs done while I've been on "gardening leave".

I'll just expand on the Fury stuff as that's why you're reading this. When I moved the exhaust exit to the rear of the car I had intended to take the tail pipes out through the bodywork, in the event I chickened out & put them though an existing hole in the rear valence. I now took a brave pill & cut the holes where they were always meant to be.

Having marked roughly where they needed to be I started cutting.

Chain drilling the holes & then dremelling out to size showed that the tail pipes would be pointing upwards, so I shortened the pipe in the wheelarch & the strap that holds the last exhaust section to move the pipe upwards & they came out pretty much spot on, but chattered on the body, so the next stage was to dremel the holes bigger & put rubber trim round them & all is now good.

 This picture is pre-enlargement, but you get the idea of how it looks.

That under the left hand side is not a wheely caster, it's the trolley jack.

I wasn't convinced to begin with, thinking it was a bit "Max Power" but I've got used to it now.

The other things I've been up to are all about disguising it's age. On the Zetec the plug leads all sit in a "valley" in the cam cover with the coil pack at the back of the engine, this is all very neat & tidy, but also very modern, so I bought a set of plug leads without the coil ends "made off", made up a plate to sit below the inlet manifold & ran the new (RED) leads to the now hidden coil pack, giving the impression there's a distributer under there somewhere.

Mounting the coil pack on an aluminium plate allows me to dispose of the large steel mounting bracket & three M6 bolts at the back of the engine, saving a little weight & cleaning it up visually, as a bonus the wiring run to the coil pack is now all hidden as well.

You'd now have to be something of an expert on Ford engines to know it's a Zetec, most of the clues have gone.

On the same subject, about the only thing in the cockpit to give the game away (apart from the many many USB ports) are the Sierra stalk switches.

Some time ago someone was selling stainless stalks to replace the Sierra plastic ones, they looked nice but they were just "dumb" stalks, so you needed to add dash switches for hooter & screen wash. I've tried to keep the dash as free of switches as possible, so I made up a set of aluminium ends & mounted them on waffer-thin wall titanium tubing I "happened" to have.

I've bought two chrome-on-brass, waterproof (allegedly) momentary switches & when they arrive I'll machine the alloy ends to take the switches, run the wired through the tube & bob is your uncle.

The smaller light stalk has no switches, so that one's fitted already.

Sunday 10 March 2019

Blustery Day

We'd been trying to do an Edenbridge to Isfield run for a few weeks, but the weather was against us & indeed it looked as if we'd be rained off again right up to the Saturday evening when the forecast suggested it should stop just before the off.

The alarm chimed at 05:30 & I made my way out to the garage, I had a bag packed as it was my Dad's 90th birthday bash & I would be going straight there - it was also my Dad & his wife's 23th wedding anniversary & as the "thing" for that is china, I'd bough them a very expensive teapot - which I would have in the car on the blatt - what could possibly go wrong eh?

As I left the house is was still just drizzling, but I went roofless & it soon stopped. We all arrived at the meet point more-or-less together & set off promptly, the roads were wet & strewn with twigs & lumps of dead branch, but the new tyres (Uniroyal RainExpert IIIs) coped admirably, I was very impressed by them. There were the inevitable satnav issues & closed roads to contend with, but soon enough were in the cafĂ© beakfasting & chatting.

Post breakfast we set off for home and there in lies a tale. I saw Tony B coming back, he pointed at a fallen tree blocking a road we'd come along about 3/4 of an hour before & I decided to turn around. So I went forwards across the road, stopped, went backwards across the road, stopped & just as I engaged 1st again, I felt the car roll back a further inch & drop into a ditch - there was a thud as chassis hit tarmac. I radioed GB but he was away on his tyres (I guess he didn't have his radio on), 1st gear did nothing, reverse just showered me & the car with mud. :evil:

So I called the fallen tree into the police as well as the other road blockage - me, then a nice man in a merc stopped & we considered ways of extricating my car. He suggested we could lift it, but a short test said that wasn't going to work, he said he had a tractor that would pull it out - but it wasn't road legal & the police were on their way, I'd got the tow rope round a front wishbone & we were going to try to pull the front sideways to lift one rear wheel back onto the road & then the other, when another couple turned up, so after a brief planning session my new best friends lifted the rear wheel arches, while I (braced against a fence post) pushed on the roll bar & ........ it came out of the ditch! :D :D :D

I thanked them profusely & headed back to my Dad's, finding another fallen tree blocking the A23 (I think) & another between Westerham & Farliegh where a curved tree had fallen right across the road, but because it was a curved tree the traffic was just driving under the arch it had made - quite surreal.