Tuesday, 25 March 2008

The end of the bank holiday....

And four days in the freezing cold garage! On the Monday, I tried my hand at arc welding (rubbish, but after reading a tutorial today I know what I was doing wrong), installing the throttle linkage whadjamacallits to the throttle bodies, and making the bodywork fit better at the front.

My experiments with welding didn't go especially well. I kept sticking the arc rod to the piece, but I've read up on it today, and I was striking it but then not moving th tip away! I didn't have the workspace set up well either, so I may have another go this weekend.

The throttle bodies were much easier, with Ron having bent some small pieces of steel to fit betwen the throttle linkages. I had to shorten them by a couple of mm, but easy enough. Ron had bent them at just the right angle, with me having to just pack them out with a single washer to get them perfect. Now all four throttle bodies move together again, all completely close, all we need to do is the fuel rail (a card through th door this morning tells me that it was delivered while I was out), and the inlet manifold. I'm getting quite excited about being able to get the engine running again! We should be able to do that around the first bank holiday weekend in May, if everything turns up on time (and if I haven't forgotten anything!)

Next, the attention turned to the bodywork again. We'd had some replies from other guys on locostbuilders, including from Marc Nordon, indicating that we needed to pack up the front end. So, off to B & Q, along with half of Swindon - lucky we live close to it! - for some Ali angle. After some deliberation, we worked out how far up we needed to lift the body (we did this by measuring the side that naturaly sat further down, and basically filling that gap). With this support further up than the chassis was, we can now comfortably hold the bodywork in at the sides with tape, and squeeze the drivers' side bodywork down to it. There is still some stress there, but nothing like it was. We also took a bit more out of the bottom of the fibreglass, and this helped too.You can see the four new brackets in the photo, for once I fabricated something that Claire was entirely hapy with! Maybe I'm getting better at this after all..... :)

Like I said, we're aiming to get the engine running over the May bank holiday weekend. In between now and then, we're going to try and get the bodywork finished, it needs to come off again so we can fill back in any areas we've had to take out, and touch up those areas where we've had to take off the gelcoat. We also need to hoick the engine out again (last time this time) to do a couple of jobs around the engine bay - refitting the brake t-piece for one. Then the engine can go back in, and the body can go on, and we can get it on its wheels. I think we have everything we need up until that point - then we need some seats, harnesses, gauges, and lots more hard work!

On a final note, Ron sent me a link to JAW, a DIY wideband O2 controller kit, which works out quite a bit cheaper than buying an innovate LC-1. I'd welcome any comments from anyone who's used this, especially with megasquirt!

Monday, 24 March 2008

Some advice from locostbuilders (and Marc)

Quick post before we head into the garage for the day - advice from some of the other MNR builders on locostbuilders said that we'd need to support the bodywork at thr front, higher than the mounting points currently are. Marc confirmed that they had to do this on slightly older bits of bodywork. Also a possibility is flattening down the rivet that the bottom piece is catching on, and thinning the ali plate on the bottom there (two pieces overlap just under where the body pops out). Hopefully we can get this bit cracked today, and finish off the locating holes for the suspension. Then it can all come off again! :)

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Pink dust!

Well, this weekend has seen some dremel action in the garage. As I mentioned last post, we asked Ron to come over and lend us his hands to trial fit the body work. First off was to get the chassis down off trestles and onto axle stands. No worries. Next, the difficult bit.

We'd had some excellent extra tips from Redback Racing, MNRs agents in Australia, on how to get the body fitted. First, we offered up the tub and marked out where we needed to relieve bits to get the body around chassis tubes, etc. The body was probably on and off about a dozen times as we got it right. There are pictures of the process on the Picasa album. We did find that one side of the body is under a lot of tension when fitted properly, to the extent that it's started to crack when stressed into place. Coozer and Tim both seem to have had the same problem, and have added spacers to the bodywork mounting rail to help the bodywork out a bit. The pic to the right shows where this is starting to go.

On Saturday, we trolled down to Merlin again, to get a battery and some more fuel pro-clamps. The only problem was they didn't have either! We had decided on a Varley battery, because of their small size for their power, and the ability to mount them in any orientation except upside-down. And we wouldn't have to pay postage if we got one from Merlin. Apparently though, the UK importers sent their order off, with a requested date of 11/03/08, to the manufacturers in the States, who looked at the date, and presumed it was for delivery in November! So, there are very few in the UK, and the racing season is rapidly aproaching! Ehhhhcxcellent.....

So, once we were back, it was onto Ebay to find a different thing. We found an Odyssey battery, which I strongly suspect is the exact same battery as the Varley - same size weight, power, rough cost, different badge. Postage wasn't too bad on that either. We also ordered in the last week a header tank, HT leads, a header tank cap, some fuel rail, pro clamps, filler hoses for the water system, and I now think we've got everything that we need to start the engine either here or on its way shortly - hopefully we can get all that plumbed in and the engine running by the May bank holiday. Also yesterday we started on the holes for the top front wishbones, and stopped to figure out what to do about the stressy chassis.

So, today, we went out to take another look at the twisting and cut out the v shapes at the rear, that give the rear wishbones room to move. Marc's instructions were pretty clear on this, and with a cutoff disc and sander attachment for the dremel, we got those done without too much fuss. This didn't have an effect on the twisty front, so we tried locostbuilders for some help. Tim and Coozer have both had the same problem, and fixed it by supporting the front end higher up. Looks like we need some steel box or Ali angle to lift the front end up. This would give some extra clearance for the oil filler cap, which pretty much touches the underside of the bonnet at the moment.

Also on the to-do list is to make the inlet manifold - Ron's lent me his arc welder, so I'm going to have a play with that and try to tack the tubes onto the fitting plate. Then the welder who's done a load of Ron's car so far is going to pitch in and finish it off for me. I've never done arc before (I've only done oxy-acetelene a few times, while I was at college over 10 years ago), so that's going to be fun! with some old bits of steel I'll see what I'm capable of. My practical skills have been getting much better over the last few years, so I think I'll be OK. If not, Ron will come back over and tack it on there.... :)

That's it for now, another bank holiday tomorrow, so hopefully we'll get a bit more done. Finally, a pic of the driveshafts we mentioned last week....

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Some more work done...

But not a lot. Every little helps though....

We're getting to the point now, where we're having to decide where things will go in relation to the bodywork. As we only have a vague idea of how all the bodywork goes together so far, we need to get it fitted to check it all out. So (hopefully), next weekend Ron will come over and give us a hand with the fitting, so we've an idea where the battery, header tank, coil pack, ECU, EDIS unit will fit...... :-o

We've also been ordering stuff - we've ordered Red Samco coolant hoses, with some alloy joiners to go with them, fuel rail for the throttle bodies, vacuum tube for the throttle bodies and decent hose clips. Amazing how all this stuff adds up! Got a new tool as well - a right-angled attachment for the dremel. I've not had a chnce to try it yet, but it looks cool.. We need this to make up the throttle spindle extensions for the throttle bodies. We spaced the bodies themselves out on some studding, with ally sleeves to hold them the correct distance apart, now we just need to extend the throttle spindle. And the fuel rail. And the injector loom. And mount them on the new manifold.... Not too much work, but on the bright side, my measuring (and Ron's cutting) were spot on!

Finally, we've also been battling with CV boots this weekend. We cleaned up the old driveshafts, and we'd bought some new boots with the kit, so off came the old ones, then a bit of head-scratching about how the joints come off. It turns out that these nice one-use metal covers (that we'd just spent 45 minutes cleaning) need to be cut off and replaced. Surprise, surprise, there weren't any in the kit. Off round the motorspares places we go, and no-one has any. The last place we tried didn't know what we were talking about, but they did have a large conical tool for stretching cv boots over. So, today, after 3 hours, much swearing and CV grease messiness, the driveshafts are complete with their new boots and have been painted a nice sparkly hammerite black.

Will put some more pics on showing progress, but we haven't really taken any yet! :)

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Very quick post

Just to link to the photo album. I've commented on all 200-odd pictures charting the progress of Ruby since May 07.

You can get to the picasa album here - I'll aim to keep it up to date, as doing it all from scratch was a bit much!


Sunday, 9 March 2008

Shiny bits!

Well, yesterday was a first - a day in the garage where we didn't have to go out and buy tools or nuts and bolts!

In the last post I mentioned that we had been out to get the fuel flexis and clamps to fit out the car with. Now, it was time to mount it all up (wel, the rear end at least). We had ordered a spacing kit for the throttle bodies at the end of Jan, and it still hasn't arrived, so we're going to do it ourselves instead (when I say we, I mainly mean Ron).

So, out we went with the drill and rivetter. We bought a right-angled drill from Screwfix the other week, and it's been brilliant, one of those tools you never thing you'll need till you get one! We started of with the flexi from the tank to the pump. Usefully, we mounted the pump on the opposite side of the chassis from the tank (thinking back, we did this because we were taking the loom the other way around the tank and wanted to keep them apart), so this meant we had to take the fuel flexi all the way across the back of the car, under the tank. Plenty of driling and rivetting, nothing very exciting.

Next we had to figure out the pump to the copper line, and the return line as well. We figured out a route for them to meet, and then took them along a chassis rail together (P-clips turned with the centres towards each other, and one rivet through both). It all looks quite neat, I must be getting better at it!

Finally, we just had to mount the tank breather valve. This is a one-way valve to allow air into the tank as the pump sucks fuel out of it, but not let fuel out if you tip the car upside down. This was a bit awkward, as the pipe from the tank is 10mm, and the tail on the valve is about 6mm! Thsi meant we had to use an inline reducer and two bits of flexi. It's mounted to the rear stay out of the way.

We also (had a productive day, didn't we?) trial-mounted the new alternator bracket Ron made for us. It fits nicely, and the alternator fits in well, even with the front exhaust manifold fitted, we just need to find a shorter belt, and work out the mounting for the alternator top mount it can be adjusted to tension the belt. There's not an awful lot of clearance (we can make a little extra by taking out a chunk of strengthening gusset from the chassis), so we need to get the belt as short as possible. Next we need to figure out the mounting points for the VR sensor, and the runs for the water hoses. It all gets a bit tight in there!

More updates and piccies to come soon!