Friday 26 November 2021


There's not a huge amount going on in the garage at the moment, I have to keep all the cars mobile as I'll be servicing my daughter's car over the weekend, after that I can get serious on the Stylus.

But this week I thought about the SatNav Mount on the Stylus. There isn't a lot of space for it. The screen is quite small, so I didn't really want it on a suction mount. I drew up & printed a mounting that used a RAM mount & although my bit worked, the rest of the RAM mount was quite cumbersome on the Stylus' dash, so I looked at alternatives & wondered if I could print something that would clamp the RAM mount ball. I drew up the top half & printed it & if felt promising.

Sitting in the car I wondered how I could mount it & then realised I'd printed a plinth to raise the rear view mirror, could I integrate the SatNav mount with that? A little more CAD work & 4 hours printing & I have a mount which is secure & places the SatNav just where I want it, above the minor clocks, but below the mirror. I've not decided if it's a bit garish, I've run out of black filament so I might re-print it later.

I also recieved an e-mail this week from the nice people at EBC Brakes saying they had "Black Friday" deals on. Being a naturally cynical engineer, I raised my eyes to the heavens - but no! I looked up the XR2 brakes I needed for the Quantum & there were the vented discs & green stuff pads for £90 delivered, and the credit card bill had just closed, so I wouldn't be paying for them until the new year!

They arrived the following day - the doorbell rang & I walked round the house to see a large bear of a man with the brake box standing against the front door. "Thanks" I said, he sighed & said "the front door has to be open for the photo sir - so they know it's been delivered" It seems just handing it to the person it's addressed to is no longer sufficient! I went back round the house, through the house & opened the front door.

But they were all there in the box, & fitted beautifully, though looking at the old pads I was doing it not a mile too soon. >> That's a new green pad next to the old one that came off. I wondered if this is the first time the pads & discs had been changed since the car was built

Sunday 21 November 2021

Big Day Out

Up before the lark again & off out to meet up with some blatting folk near Horsham. The plan was to head out towards Winchester, turn back to LA (Littlehampton) & get breakfast. I had a further plan to go from there to Tangmere to walk round the museum, then go on to my cousins house for lunch with the family.

This weeks run proved to be a little different, they've been something of a Lotusfest since the writer of routes (blessed be his name) started driving a Lotus, but word had spread & today's gathering included a Ferrari California, two Maclarens & a Porsche GT3RS as well as a number of Loti, a Caterham & - erm - the Quantum, with a value less than the cost of servicing several of the other cars. It looked like the start of the Cannonball Run.

When it was time to go several of the newcomers were arguing about the route, not believing it could be three hours & planning on cutting it short. I followed the organiser & a group of about six trundled west with the rising sun behind us. All went well, the steering was nice & light after I moved the tyres round, the gearchange was better & the car is more than quick enough to keep up, until when pulling out of a side turning the exhaust separated from the manifold again.

I pulled into a car park, put two wheels on the kerb & went underneath, but wasn't able to get the pipes to align, so I reset the SatNav & headed due south for breakfast - very noisily. But on the upside the sun was out & it was a pleasant drive with the roof down.

When I arrived there was just a Maclaren & the Ferrari in the car park, so I parked up next to them thinking how embarrassing it was going to be & was shown to the table where the owners were sitting. Is seems the bulk of the supercar crew had almost driven straight to LA & arrived at 8:00am to find the cafe didn't open until 9:00 & had driven off. The two still there had found a coffee & waited. I explained the circumstances of my early arrival & then we to my complete surprise spent ten minutes talking about the Quantum, the Fury & the Stylus! Both of the chaps had owned Caterhams & one had done a lot of research & knew a lot about kits.

After breakfast I rumbled over to Tangmere where there were an unfortunate amount of tin-tops parked in front of the Harriers, but I managed a photo of the Q with them - sort of. Neither was an aircraft I'd had anything to do with (I mostly worked on Harrier IIs), the GR being far too old (its the actual aircraft that won the London to New York air race in the 60s), the Sea Harrier could've been one I worked on but it didn't give a date for first build, only conversion to FA2 standard,

I walked round the small but information packed museum for a couple of hours. They have some significant planes there - the Meteor that took the absolute speed record to 606mph & the Prototype Hunter that when modified a little took it to 727mph. Having been apprenticed at the Hawker factory in Kingston-Upon-Thames, I was interested in the workmanship & took a photo of the riveting on the nose of each aircraft:-

The Meteor has "flush rivets" in the nose area & highly polished gloss paint.

The Hunter has a finish I'd be happy with on my car - there are just as many rivets there, but most are invisible. Have they been filled & smoothed for the speed record attempt? Well if they had been The Meteor would've had the same treatment & the other Hunter in the shed next door was very nearly as smooth. Its just Hawkers - we were damn good! (I say "we", I was never that good myself, that's why I went to design.

Tuesday 16 November 2021

Back On The Ground

I may have found the cause of the handbrakes problem, on having it all in bits there was a scrape mark on the inside face of one shoe made by the lever that the handbrake cable pulls on. a swift tap with a hmmer had it passing the shoe as it should & having re-assembled it, the brkes come on more or less evenly - still not very well, but even at least. Having done that I fitted the new exhaust bracket, swapped the back wheels to the front & adjusted the side windows so they roll up & down nicer - the passenger side rear guide chanel was held in place with a block of expanded polystyrene. It's now done properly. With the car back on its wheels I did the merry dance that is swapping the car round & the Q is back on the drive awaiting a visit to the tyre shop to pick up two new Uniroyal Rain Experts & get the tracking checked.

I then spent another hour in the gagarge faffing with the Stylus, trying to get the best arrangement for strapping the hood down. After a number of ideas its now strapped between the roll bar & the rear bulkhead & it seems to work quite well,

Nothing exciting came in the post today

Monday 15 November 2021

Up In The Air

The cars have been swapped over & the Quantum is now in the garage, a foot in the air on axle stands. Yesterday I started looking into raising the exhaust. I'd made a bracket to support the pipe about 1/2 way along when I fitted the Zetec, but it still just caught the drive when I left the house, then of course there was the incident with the speed hump in the hotel in Wales when the exhaust got knocked off.

The old bracket was just a sheet metal angle, the new one is a much more substantial item that will raise the pipe by about 10mm - not much, but it doesn't need much. It's made from one of the legs of my old desk at work - they did throw it out before I "acquired" it.

It features my usual standard of welding & has had a coat of hamerite ready to go on the car tomorrow.

Next I straightened the steering wheel by adjusting the track rod ends, both kits have the wheel offset by about 5deg to the left - the Stylus being worse as someone fitted a "motorsport" D shaped wheel with a yellow band at 12 o'clock - which wasn't quite a 12 o'clock. So hopefully both wheels are now straight - or straighter.

I may have fixed the Quantum's gearchange! Up until now it's been pretty horrible, with no "feel", I had been told that it was because I had a late model gear shift, but an early gearbox, but I have found nothing on the internet to back this up - and you can usually find something to back up ANY theory on the internet. I added a small spring to the linkage I remembered my Mum's Fiesta had one, but the Quantum didn't - it's not stiff enough, but it's a start, but that made things worse because third - like a good heart - was hard to find. It occurred to me that the spring was pulling the lever to one side of the travel, but maybe that wasn't lined up properly with the selector in the gearbox, tweaking that has made all the gears easier to hit, BUT as mentioned, the car is a foot in the air. It may be a different thing when driving it.

Then it was onto the Q's handbrake - which is pants! It's been commented upon as being ahem - marginal at both MoTs I've taken it to & I had assumed the inner cable was kinked as it had not been well installed by the previous owner (one Colin Chapman - no, not that one). but initial investigation made me think that wasn't the case. One wheel works OK, I was able to tighten & undo the wheel nuts on the offside with just the handbrake resisting the torque, not so on the nearside. Tomorrow I'll take both drums off & see if I can see what the difference is.

So maybe, when it comes down off the stands it'll drive like a proper car! Or at least a proper car with really heavy steering.

Wednesday 10 November 2021

Odd Jobs

Been a bit of a strange day.

I started by fitting a tee in a hose so I can fill the cooling system - except that I can't because I'm still waiting for an adaptor so I can fit the fan switch to the water rail & a second fan switch for the radiator. But my main plan for the day was to find the cause of a couple of faults that popped up yesterday when I switched the ignition on. Firstly the green shift light came on, then I noticed the oil pressure gauge was right at the top of the scale.

I assumed the gauge was a wiring fault created by me when trying to wire up the brake microswitch - I tested the wiring & it all rang through, so I looked at the gauge. Putting 12v on the ign terminal & earthing the earth made the needle climb, so I e-mailed ETB Instruments who answered within the hour saying the gauge was fine, run these three tests to find the fault - excellent customer service! I ran the tests & it was a wiring problem, but not in the way I'd thought. I'd cut into the wire sheathing, found the black wire & linked to it - only to find afterwards that there were three black wires hiding in the sheathing & I'd found the wrong one. I connected to the right one & re-insulated the wire, but it now seems I'd blown the oil pressure sender. I've ordered another one.

The other fault was also of my own making (sort of) when putting the dash back in last time I must've caught a wire & pulled it out of the termination (not one I'd crimped I might add). The wire provided an earth for the ECU, so the shift light was on because that was the only way the power could earth. Crimp on a new termination, plug the wire back in & all was well.

Then I started looking at cameras - the Fury had camera mounts all over it, the Stylus has less - but they're more "integrated" with back & forward facing cameras on the same bracket, plugged into the same socket. I may add more, The Fury had a mounting that stuck out of the side of the car when in use,which gave some very dramatic shots - but I did have to be vary careful not to drive it into stuff or trip over it when getting out.

I've also fitted a third mount in the radiator intake for the dramatic low shot.

During all this busyness I noticed the tube light above the bench flicker, so popped into Screwfix & bought an LED replacement & fitted it - and watched in horror while the old tube slid s-l-o-w-l-y down the bench - just out of reach & smashed into a million tiny tiny pieces on the floor (sigh).

After I'd tidied that up, I adjusted the steering to (hopefully) straighten the steering wheel - not only was in not quite straight - which is both irritating & very "kit car", but the wheel is inevitably a "motorsport" type with the yellow bit at 12 o'clock, so it's REALLY OBVIOUS when the wheel's not straight. Doing that little job meant the car could come off the axle stands it's been on for a month or so.

Slowly it progresses.

Sunday 7 November 2021


Up early this morning & out in the Quantum - there was a blatt on.

I'd been hesitant all week because I had a niggling cold that wasn't anything much, but equally, wasn't going away either. Even the night before I'd decided I probably wouldn't be going, but set the alarm anyway & as luck would have it, the following morning I felt OK - OK for someone who's just been woken at 05:45 anyway.

I arrived at the meet point from the north just as GB arrived from the south & we sat awaiting the arrival of two others - there would be three lotii & me. One arrived pretty much on time, but no sign of the other. GB's phone rang "we're here at the meet point - here - at the caravan sales place. Can you google it on your phone?" Ten minutes passed in spite of the Exige driver being in the same village, he'd failed to find us. GB's phone rang again & shortly afterwards the Exige arrived.

We set off, as I was still a little under the weather I kept the hood firmly on & stayed at the back. Immediately the Lotii shot out of sight, followed by me missing a left turn & having to turn around. I was thinking of heading back as the thought of 100 miles driving alone didn't appeal, but I persevered & much to my surprise I caught them up only about five miles later.

We toured the lanes of Sussex & Kent & after a while we parked up in a farm entrance. It looked like it could be a bit tight, so I abandoned the Q on the other side of the road. Sure enough there was a sparce but steady stream of cars & pick-ups turning in. When we were rested, I set off first & had gone some way when the Lotus' appeared in the mirror & I quickened the pace a little. I'm not sure if the gear selector is getting better, or if I'm just getting used to it, but there wasn't a single fluffed gearchange. After a pleasant drive we eventually parked up as Isfield Station for breakfast. Somehow GB was there first having lost us at a junction, but there was bad news for the Q. One of the headlamp flaps was dangling forlornly in the headlamp well (hence the title), the hinge pin had worked it's way out & the hinge halves had separated. I removed the linkage & stowed it in the car. After breakfast one of the Lotus owners approached me & said "what engine have you got in that - it goes really well", I may have left them behind once or twice (ahem).

On my return home I looked for something to replace the hinge pin & found a long split pin which was slightly too big - I mean REALLY slightly. I put it in the drill chuck & spun it in some wet & dry paper for a few minutes & it fitted, I greased it & tapped it in, there was just enough leg to tap that to hopefully stop it coming out again, so all's well with the Quantum again - well apart from all the things I want to fix when I get it in the garage - hopefully next week.