Thursday, June 22, 2017

Inspection B passed

(NOTE: Post written on the 5th January 2018, in retrospect)

I don't want to talk much about the import process as it still is ongoing (as of January 2018). Suffice to say one of the steps if for the car to perform a B-level inspection. This is a more thorough inspection than the standard road-worthy periodic inspection (A-level inspection). It confirms the car adheres to EU regulations and it measures the CO2 emissions for tax purposes.

The car passed the exam without problems. Some pictures below taken during the rolling road test to measure CO2 levels.

I was very uncomfortable doing 70km/h facing a fan and having a wall not much further away. Thus my "braced for impact" position.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Difusor added to the rear

(NOTE: written on the 5th January 2018, in retrospect - I don't have the same motivation to keep the blog going anymore)
I ordered from Phil at Aries a rear difusor, along with a couple other parts. Adding it to the car was a mere "Jack it up, use a few self-tapping screws, jack it down". In the end, there was a gap between the lip and the fiberglass as I did not screw there (screws not long enough). Wife went along to help (hold the difusor while I bolted it) and took some pictures.

Later (next post) I was called for a B-level inspection as part of the import process. I had to remove the difusor prior to testing. Before putting it back in I bent it slightly and that gap was thus eliminated. Final look is actually great! Check future pictures as confirmation, specially from the 9th December 2017 track day.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Wrapping Done, Mobile Phone Support Too


Had the day off work and nothing else to do so I managed to get a few hours on the garage. First task was to finish wrapping the exhaust before the job became a never ending nightmare... It was done and, frankly, not as bad as I thought it would be, given how tight it was all becoming...
Then I moved into the storage room. My goal was to fabricate a small aluminium plate that could hold my mobile phone. This way I would be sure RaceChrono would have the best GPS signal and behave, something it didn't last track day when I kept the phone on my trousers, under the dash. I had a part from a chinese phone holder that broke on the first usage (my phone is a bit heavy but...). So...

First drilled and sanded a bit of ally to the shape I wanted...

Then, covered the ally with black masking tape to make it look nicer. Finally, used the part from the chinese holder on the ally and used a tunnel bolt to keep it in place. The final image does not have my phone there to demonstrate because I use the phone for the photos.

Next time I'll be installing the difusor. After that, there are no plans! For the next track day I just need to fill the deposit (it currently is 50% full), charge the battery and check the tire pressures. All other plans I have for the car (boot, cover for tunnel) are only to be done if I can get the car on the road... Paperwork for that was delivered yesterday, the 25th. I should get some news in a month, I was told... Lets see!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

More Wrapping and Diffusor Trial Fit


The wife came with me to help me trial-fit the diffusor. The part is big and hard to handle alone and then see how it fits. After jacking up the rear into stands, she held part of the diffusor, the jack held another bit and I could see how it fit and where to drill. I still haven't bought the self-tapping screws so she went home and I stored the part.

To take advantage of the fact I still had a bit to work on the car, wrapped another exhaust pipe. This time I remembered that I should soak the wrapping in water to make it easier to handle. And it really worked!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Should I Swap the Diff?

I've been considering swapping my diff with one with better gearing for a bike-engined car. I have the most common version, the 3,62 ratio. This means that I'm in 6th on the rev limit at 173,5km/h. I do half the Estoril straight on the limit. The advantage is that theoretically I can do 0-100 km/h in 4,5 seconds, doing a good gear shift (never tried this).

In theory, it is possible to calculate the theoretical maximum speed per gear using math. Knowing 1) the engine revs limit, 2) the primary ratio on the engine, 3) each gear's ratio, 4) If the reverse box has a 1:1 ratio or not, 5) the diff ratio and 6) the tire circumference it is possible to calculate the maximum speed on each gear.

Used an excel sheet that does the calculations, if fed with the correct data. The next image shows the difference between using my current diff (left) and the rare/best 3.14 diff (right).
For those that prefer a table with values, here is the comparison in numbers:
Gear 3.62 3.14
Speed in 1st (kph) 73,53 84,77
Speed in 2nd (kph) 101,80 117,36
Speed in 3rd (kph) 128,95 148,66
Speed in 4th (kph) 145,43 167,66
Speed in 5th (kph) 162,88 187,78
Speed in 6th (kph) 173,43 199,94

Well... The trade-off between the two diffs is that I gain top speed at the cost of acceleration. Also, if I get hold of a 3.14 I will get LSD with it. The top speed increases by 25km/h...
If I can get the car on the road, it is important to note that doing the maximum allowed limit on the highway (120km/h) I'll be at 7500rpm with the 3.62 and at 6500rpm with the 3.14. The difference in noise and consumption may be noticeable...

According to this page on Super7thHeaven, I'm looking for a diff out of a Ford Granada 2.0. There weren't many of these sold in Portugal... And I can't even find one on eBay currently, to have an idea of how much it would cost in the UK.

Well... I'm not completely decided on this, anyway...

EDIT 2017-05-27 - Another good reason to change the diff is to reduce the need to shift gears up. For instance, when I exit the parabolic on Estoril, I'm on 3rd (probably) and I'm constantly up-shifting until I'm in 6th because the max speed in each gear in between is just 15km/h more than the previous gear. And the car gets that extra speed quite fast!
The diff I'm looking for is a 7,5" diff (2 bolts on the top and not a single long bolt), with bolt-on shafts, 3.14 ratio. Having LSD is a plus. A similar diff but 7" and push-in shafts (no LSD) would cost around 300€, from an ebay listing, shipped from Latvia... Unfortunately, the inwards of a 7" are not interchangeable into a 7,5" casing.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Steering Wheel Alignment and Exhaust Wrap


Started this session by trying to align the steering wheel. This was not important to go on a track day but is one of the pending issues I have. Since I had to remove the side body to wrap the exhaust, this was a good time to also do this.

Some background story on the wheel alignment issue... I have the short steering rack, which means that a small change on the steering wheel position makes a noticeable change on the wheels direction. It has 2,5 turns side to side. When I bolted the steering wheel to the boss, I didn't notice the wheels were not straight and thus the steering wheel was not straight. It came with bad quality allen-key bolts that started to shred still while assembling. Later when I took the car to a shop to be aligned, the guy aligned the steering wheel by adjusting the steering rods. When the car got to the UK Steve considered the current setting dangerous as one of the rods was held by just a couple of threads. He made it safer but the steering wheel got a quarter of a turn misaligned. That is pretty visible in my track day videos.

Unbolting the steering wheel and bolting it back again was out of question. The bolts are shredding and have a bit of rust too. After some fighting with the column turns out I had to set it lose on the u-joint at the middle (the one that links the triangular Sierra part to the cylindrical lower part). Then untighten the connection on the UJ that links to the steering rack. Adjust there and then bolt the upper part again. Not undoing the upper part meant the lower would not budge and even undoing the bolt was not possible.

With the steering aligned, time to wrap the exhaust. The idea is to try to get as much heat as possible out of the engine bay. Also cover as much as possible the exhaust to prevent people from getting burnt on it. These type of cars are not common here so viewers on track days and the likes don't know that they should take care. I bought the fiber-glass exhaust wrap on ebay in November 2014... Has been around for a while. After some fighting got the first pipe done. Started doing the second but it was not looking good so I called it a day.
Before going away checked if the air intake pipes I bought fitted inside the nose cone between the cone and the radiator. Can't fit one, so no change of fitting the two! I'll have to think about a different place to put the pipes on...

Also found a bit of scrap aluminium I had, bent it a bit and mocked up a support for the mobile phone. I have to now clean the part, drill a hole and do a couple other changes to be able to use it. This will allow me to have the phone on a open place so no more problems catching GPS signals because of being on the trouser's pocket as last time. I want my racechrono software to have all the data for nice videos.

Talking of videos, next time I'm on the car I'll try to think of a couple different places to hold the camera to. The idea is to have a different angle per session on the next track day. Avoid having 4 dull videos all looking the same. So far considering, besides the usual rollbar place, to put it hanging from the driver's rear-view mirror (see the suspension working) and to put it on the front grill (close to the floor footage). Lets see if I can make it work.

I have lots of ideas of stuff to do. Just don't have time to follow through it them all...

Monday, May 1, 2017

Third Brake Light

Had another bit of time with the car. Trying to continue scratching items of the list I posted last time, today was to install the new 3rd brake light.

Before actually doing that, I took a look at the suspension. After installing the new shock last time, I had to put the car down to move it to a different garage floor as mine was being washed. So I looked and the right rear is still lower. Turns out the problem is not the shock. Phil from Aries did say it was strange to be a failing shock as they are usually bullet-proof as long as they don't do full-course. He was right. The problem is the spring that seems to not hold the weight as well as on the other side.

Having both spring adjusters set at the same height, the right side is 1cm lower than the left side. Tightened the right side enough to eliminate the difference when measuring from the lower chassis beams to the floor. I'll have to see with Phil if I should replace the spring or this is normal/acceptable.

Then the brake light. The theory was easy... Splice a cable into the connection from one of the rear brake lights, hold the cable on the rollbar, connect to the light and hold it in place. Did just that, with lots of testing in between to be sure the light worked when the peddle was pressed. Used black electrical tape to wrap around the rollbar holding (and hiding) the cable. That worked well.

The problem was holding the rear light in place. it has a kind of a steam from where the cable exits and, since it is not flat, it doesn't sit well on the rollbar. Ended up "fabricating" a U-shaped support with a bit of shielded copper cable wrapped in black tape to put behind the light. Then held the light in place with cable ties. It looks really sloppy/temporary. I have to lose some time fabricating a proper support in aluminium to bolt the light to. Even if then the support gets just cable-tied to the rollbar. But for now that is enough and I'll feel safer on the next track day with this added light.

In the end, this is how it looks like: