Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Waiting for the DVLA

I've posted off the registration paperwork to the DVLA and await their response - hopefully an age related registration based on the donor MG Midget.

In the mean time I've started to work on the transformation of the Eleven

New motorcycle combined brake/rear/number plate light, reverse light and fog lights plus smaller retro-reflectors and number plate (assuming that they allow me to use my retention plate - and we all know what assume means!)

I've also had extra bolts welded to the driver's seat runner so next weekend will be focused on the cockpit.

Monday, 19 March 2018

IVA - Passed

After a couple of frantic weeks juggling work and garage time I eventually finished the car ready for it IVA on the 14 Mar.

cockpit with doors/screen missing, Sport Turbo seats and motorcycle mirrors

Head light pods

front view of seats/harnesses

Number plate bracket and fog/reverse lights
Adge agreed to follow me to Exeter with spares and tools and we headed off at 06:15 for an 08:00 start.

The first impression was how nice the engine/exhaust sounds, second was how bouncy the ride was - the Protechs need turning down a few notches. Finally the speedo stopped working anything over 40 mph so no opportunity to confirm calibration on the drive there as I'd planned.  We arrived with 1/2 hour to spare so I quickly adjusted the gap on the speedo sensor, topped up the fuel and then took the car for a spin around the car park to confirm that the speedo was working.

Outside the test centre - starting to rain
 After introductions the examiner asked me to drive the car into the rear of the test workshop.  The first steps were to conform chassis/engine numbers, test all the lights/horn and internal/external projects.  Overall the examiner seemed happy enough but didn't like the routing of the harnesses through the rear bulkhead.

Next the car was put on a hoist and given a good look over underneath including confirming lock-to-lock steering nothing was catching/touching anywhere - it wasn't and the examiner suggested that the steering limiters could be reduced as there was plenty of clearance.

The car was lower and then driven through to the speedo test - worked all the way up to the test limit of 70 mph but swapped from over reading to under reading very unusual and a fail.

After the speedo the headlight dipped beam was tested, the pattern was okay but the aim slightly so we were allowed to adjust.  Then the emissions test followed by the noise test where the car was reversed out of the workshop, the test was conducted at 3/4 of 5,000 rpm at passed at 97dB whilst outside and the rain was holding off the car was driven to the mirrors test area where all passed, then back onto the workshop for the brake test.

The initial brake test was the standard MOT then followed by a more complex multi-point test to determine overall performance taking into account the cars weight.  Once the car had been weighed (595 kgs including me and a full tank of petrol) the readings were punched into a computer and - a pass.  However, the hand brake was assessed as having no reserve possibly a bit of stretch on a new cable being used seriously for the first time, again I was given time to adjust this to pass.

By this time it was lunch time and the examiner suggested I use the hour to investigate the speedo mis-reading and re-route the harnesses.  He'd agreed that the inner harnesses were okay therefore only the outer ones needed sorting and that the best way forward would be to re-route them between the clam bodywork and the rear bulkhead.  I started with the speedo and determined that the most likely cause was the alignment between the sensor and prop-shaft nuts.  I removed the sensor bracket and Adge drilled the mounting holes and made them slots so they could be adjusted.  I added an extra nut to each of the prop-shaft bolts, the whole thing was then reassembled and adjusted to read off the centre of the additional nuts and tested using the LED on the back of the sensor (accepting that this was not the best of indicators).  Once we'd finished the examiner put the car back on the speedo tester and it read a consistent under measurement across the whole range, so progress.  After a couple of attempts it was over-reading within the IVA requirement so only the harnesses left.

The examiner looked at the re-routed harnesses and, whilst an improvement, thought that it had transferred the problem to the clam rather than the bulkhead.  After some measurement and discussion we agreed that the bodywork would need to be trimmed to allow the harness a straight run from the chassis mount to the rear of the seat.  While the examiner finished his lunch Adge and I drilled and filed the relief slots and while not pretty they did the trick.  The examiner confirmed he was happy and even said I didn't need to re-trim with rubber as the bodywork was nicely bevelled, the rear of the seats is excluded from the interior projections test and the transition from interior to exterior projections is 25mm from the edge of the body - result.

Passenger side - not too bad

Driver's side - not too good!
While the examiner went to his office to write up the certificate, Adge and I packed everything and taped a temporary cover over the passenger side of the cockpit as it was now raining heavily.

The drive home was wet and not the most enjoyable but at least the IVA was passed.

Clam edge slots blended across the whole of the cockpit opening and covered

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Why Do Today What You Can Put Off Until Tomorrow?

Last weekend I decided I'd done enough and sorting out the reverse switch could wait for a week:

 Well this is a week later! and it's getting worse

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Rundown to IVA

This weekend the Eleven left the garage under it's own propulsion for the first time....I took advantage of dry (but cold) conditions and setup the ride heights.

I also re-torqued the headbolts and gave the car a good going over rectifying anything that wasn't right or adding it to the 'To Do' list.

I started the engine and did a couple of runs up and down the drive - the turning circle is more like an ocean liner than a sports car so I'll need to look at how much I can take off the steering rack limiters post IVA.  Once the engine was warm I fitted the colourtune kit and adjusted the mixture iaw the instructions eventually getting the idling to a steady ~900 rpm with a nice blue burn.

Working down the 'To Do' I removed the scuttle and added a dedicated earth to the fuel tank, I previously thought the fuel sender earth would be sufficient but after getting advice from the WSCC forum it didn't seem worth taking the risk for the sake of a jubilee clip, piece of wire and wire termination.

The next jobs were to add cable ties for the coolant and fuel overflows, a grommet for where the advance vacuum goes through the bulkhead and a Dzus fastener to clamp the front of the scuttle to the bulkhead.

The next task was to try and stop the exhaust manifold hitting the chassis.  I put the front of the car on axle stands and then lifted the engine with a trolley jack.  After a bit of playing around I decided that a shim under the nearside engine mount and elongating the mount slots might be a route forward.  I had some 6mm aluminium so used it to fabricate a shim, I then adjusted the height of the engine using the trolley jack and bolted everything up - I can now get my fingers between the exhaust manifold and the chassis opening so the overall movement was ~10mm, hopefully this will be enough.

I then spent sometime tidying up the engine bay wiring and cables, added a locking bracket to ensure the battery can't slip out of the mount and covered the rear chassis clam mount ends.  The final task was to investigate why the reversing light had stopped working, using an inspection camera I stopped that a wire had come off the gearbox switch - this will require the seats, harnesses and tunnel carpets to be removed to gain access so something for next weekend.

Friday, 16 February 2018

More Eleven build plus the 1st Engine start

Well the DSVA have got back, extracted £450 from my bank account and I now have an IVA date 14 March at Exeter - no pressure then.

First task was to get the engine running, after priming the oil pump and cranking over the engine without spark plugs to ensure I had oil pressure, making all the various cable and pipe connections to the carb, checking the EDIS4 wiring, setting the timing trigger wheel to TDC, adding fuel and getting a fire extinguisher to hand I went it and..... start. Checked that there was a good spark, trigger wheel was correct, crank sensor gap etc, the spark plugs had some fuel on them so dried them out.....still not start not even an attempt.  After advice I rechecked the trigger wheel and then added another 5 deg of advance... still no start.  Time to call in the cavalry, the next evening Malcolm and Dale came over and checked everything over, all seemed good but still no start, various attempts with differing advances and resetting the crank sensor we eventually ended up trying the trigger wheel 180 deg from where it should be set and....the engine briefly spluttered into life and then died. By this time it was getting late and the battery was dead so we drew stumps and called it a night.  The next morning I followed Malcolm's advice and swapped over the coil pack A&B channel wires, reset the trigger wheel to the original settings and with the battery recharged overnight cranked it over and started and carried on running until I blanked off one of the vacuums that I'd forgotten to reconnect at which point it wouldn't restart.

Having confirmed that the ignition looked ok I then reflected on the apparent over fuelling and that having the vacuum disconnect would have significantly weakened the mixture so I raised the mixture a whole turn and tried again and.... still no start and once again the plugs were wet with fuel.  After swapping emails with the carburettor supplier he suggested that I return it and he'd look into why there appeared to be too much fuel....end of engine starting and back to the rest of the car.

Having decided to replace the speedo with a modern Smiths programmable one I needed to fit a sensor, after making a bracket for the front upright to replicate the SEIW it dawned on me that the Midget discs bolt to the front of the hub and therefore couldn't be accessed, no problem I'll bond magnets to the disc I thought.  Unfortunately this was flawed, firstly there was too little clearance between the disc and the upright and, once I'd bought thinner magnets and set everything up I realised that after heavy braking the magnet were likely to debond - back to the drawing board.  The next obvious option was to used the prop shaft but I had to find a mount that would maintain a constant gap to the sensor as the back axle moved after discounting to front of the prop shaft I noticed that the differential housing has flat fins that a bracket could be bolted to and then allow the sensor to point and the 4 x bolts at the prop shaft/differential coupling.  After some measuring, finding a suitable piece of metal, hacksawing, drilling, filing the bracket was fitted and the sensor gap set using a battery.  I then ran the sensor cable back through the tunnel, up through the bulkhead and to the speedo.
Next I moved on to the interior fitting the carpets and the Sports Turbo seats from the SEIW as these are certified and fully comply with the IVA requirements.  Unfortunately this also meant removing sections of the rubber trim from various parts of the rear bodywork clam and fettling it to clear the seats and inner wings.  To cover the handbrake I fitted press studs to the tunnel carp and a trimmed square of carpet that was in the kit.

Once the interior was fitted I tested all the electrics and everything worked apart from the rear number plate light.  This is paralleled off the rear lights so had to be something with the rear loom, after focussing on the changes I'd made to the loom in order to fit the reversing light I eventually traced the problem to the number plate light earth wire not being connected and nothing to do with my alterations.  I refitted everything and retested - everything is now working.

Moving on to the engine bay I drilled and filed slots into the expansion tank bracket as it looks like the cap was very close to the bonnet a without the carburettor access was good.  I then tidied up the dash wiring, added a reset button and headlight high beam warning light that I'd found were both missing when I tested the electrics, trimmed up the scuttle to clear the bracket and fitted it.  With the scuttle on I measured up and fitted the rear mirror brackets and the centre rear view mirror.
I got a call from Robin (an Historic Lotus Seven Owner) who'd heard about my engine problems and offered to come over with a spare HIF44 carburettor and give me a hand.  He turned up a couple of hours later and after fitting the carb, immediately better that with my carb but still wouldn't sustain running.  After rechecking everything on the ignition side etc we got the engine to start with the mixture setting much leaner than the standard setting.  As the engine is new build one of the first things needed was to run in the camshaft at 2,000 rpm for 20 minutes, unfortunately, once the engine started to warm up it spurted coolant all over the garage floor so we had to switch off the engine and sort it out.  We refilled the coolant from the highest point and then when around all of the hoses releasing trapped air and confirming coolant, once we were happy we restarted the engine and finished the camshaft bedding in.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Eleven Update

After a long break I've finally managed to get back to the blog. In the last post James and I were installing the engine into the Eleven and after than work on the car has been limited due to a combination of factors, however, with the New Year has come new enthusiasm and the car has also been accepted to complete a couple of parade laps at this year's Le Mans Classic in July so it's now all hands to the pump.  I've submitted my IVA application as I did a little plan and realised how little time I've got once you take into account all the potential delays with DVSA and DVLA getting the car tested and registered.

The most obvious progress is that I've now largely finished the bodywork.  Once I had the engine fitted I installed the front inner wings and trimmed them with a compressible trim to ensure as little road debris and water thrown off the wheels gets into the pontoons and engine bay.  Oh and clearly I now have the tyres fitted so have a rolling chassis.

And then the same at the rear of the car, both sets are fibre glass and needed a small amount of trimming before they fitted and allowed the bonnet and rear body clam to fit.

I installed the headlight and indicator pods to the bonnet, again they needed some fettling to fit nicely, and I've also fitted the front wiring loom.

In the engine bay I've installed the HIF44 carburettor and after trying numerous off the shelf manifolds that wouldn't allow the carb to clear the bonnet had one made by Maniflow in Salisbury, it's a slight adaptation of their Midget/Sprite with the interfaces parallel rather than the carb interface being angled up.

Once I'd sorted out the inlet manifold I installed the Westfield Long Centre Branch (LCB) exhaust manifold and the exhaust, this included a cone that needs fitting to the input pipe of the box taper bit into the box and full bore perforated sheet to the front.
I'm currently wiring up the instruments (inc blinkStop) and the Megajolt ECU, EDIS4 Module and Coil pack.
Oh and I've also manufactured an aluminium bracket to mount the rear number plate and fog/reversing lights - hopefully I've managed to get the measurements right so the lights and vertical and above the minimum high required for the IVA.
I've now completed a 'To Do' list and estimated I have about 50 hours work left to finish the car, luckily I have a week off work in mid February so once the DVSA get back to me I'll get an IVA date shortly before Easter to allow registration by May and time to do some shakedown drives before Le Mans Classic.

Sunday, 27 August 2017

First Engine Installation

After a two week wait the replacement bell housing arrived back from Westfield, the original was machined with a ~2mm error between the engine and gearbox interfaces that prevented the engine mounting bolts fitting when the input shaft was fitted into the spigot bearing.

After fettling the bell housing for the 1275 oil pump and clutch slave cylinder I fitted gearbox, clutch release arm, bearing and slave cylinder.

And with fingers crossed installed on the engine - fitted no problem.

Also fitted the WOSP hi-torque starter motor.

James came out to help and we got the engine onto the hoist and positioned the engine for installation.

After a bit of a faff with front engine mounts we eventually got the engine installed and marked up the gearbox mounting holes on the chassis, removed the engine, drilled and painted the chassis and then refitted everything.

Once fitted I found a number of potential fouls that need to be resolved, handbrake mounting bolt/prop shaft, reverse light switch/chassis and bell housing starter blister/chassis, however, the engine is staying put for now so I can sort out the megajolt wiring and all the engine plumbing.

And the sump is the lowest point - not as bad as I thought and once the suspension is adjusted it will raise it further.