Sunday, 1 February 2009

She lives!!!

Is there still anyone reading this? Hopefully the updates will be a bit less sporadic for a while....

To carry on from the last post, we needed to fix the fuel leak from the fir tree on the fuel rail - some Dowty washers (washers with a rubber insert in the middle) sorted that out. After fitting those, we started the fuel pump again - and got a fuel leak down one of the injectors! After taking a look, it was clear that the 'o' rings were knackered - so it was off to the local bike shop for some - they ended up being more than the throttle bodies! After fitting them with some vaseline, they weren't leaking any more....

So, a couple of weeks ago, Ron came round as we reckoned we were ready to start the engine. I got him to check my wiring of the starter, I'd checked that the laptop could talk to the megasquirt and the jaw, and so off we set. Turning the key, and..... nothing. Not even turning. Tried again, Ron checked the starter solenoid connection, and noticed that one of the starter cables was getting hot - it turns out I'd wired it up wrong after all. No lasting damage done, and once we'd sorted it out, we were ready to go again.

So we turned the engine over (with the plugs out to build up some oil pressure), that all looked good, the oil warning light went out after about 30 seconds or so. So, we zipped the plugs back in again, connected everything up and went for it, and - nothing. Out came one of the plugs and we looked to see if we were getting a spark - nope! We looked at why it could be - out came the multimeter, we tested the Edis, coil pack feeds, earths, VR sensor, HT leads, the little adapter bits that join the HT leads to the coil pack (which needed cutting down), and couldn't come up with it. Back to the wiring diagrams, and Ron spotted a capacitor earthing the coil pack, which I'm sure I'd read somewhere wasn't needed. But, it was on the diagrams, so off we went to Maplins to get one.

While I soldered up the capacitor, Ron went back to the manuals - and suggested swapping the cables from the VR sensor over. We did that as well, and it sparked! By this time, the battery was getting a bit flat, so we called it a day and put the battery on charge overnight. The next day, Ron came over again, and with a nice charged battery, we tried again - and she started! It was a great feeling to know that the engine we'd had sat in the corner of the garage, taken apart and put back together over the space of 5 years, with a new head, wild cam and big valves, bike throttle bodies and an open-source ECU actually worked!

Ron remarked that it was a bit lumpy (no real surprise!) and asked if we'd checked the valve timings..... erm, nope! So, off with the rocker cover and time to play with the feeler gauges. We did this and it ran much better - with video on YouTube here. So, after 7 or so starts and long runs, we could see that: oil was leaking from the dipstick, water was leaking from the thermostat housing and the water pump, the cam belt needed tightening, at least one sticky injector, and the VR sensor needed rotating to prevent the cables getting wedged in the spring coils.

Ron took the VR sensor fitting to do something with that, and we made a start on the other stuff. The thermostat housing was easy, some blue hylomar on the joints, and bolted back up. The water pump was more involved, as it meant taking the alternator off to get to the bolts, but I managed it OK. To sort out the dipstick, we needed to modify the sump, as we thought the dipstick was cathing on the baffle plate. After taking out all of the sump bolts, it was being stubborn and not coming off. So, we introduced the rubber mallet. Still nothing doing, so we started trying to "jack" it off the bottom of the block with steel plates and bolts.... Eventually, after climbing under the car with a torch, I spotted the 2 bolts I'd missed. After they came out (with dogleg bends in them), the sump came off easily! To add insult to injury, one of the bolts we'd used to jack the sump then sheared off, and I had to drill it out!

So, with the sump off, we needed to nip to the scrapyard to get a cable connector for the VR sensor. While we were there, we had a poke about (as you do) and Claire turned up a Zetec dipstick - it looked about the right size, so we picked that up as well, and headed off to see Ron and Pauline (Claire's Mum and Dad), as they're not far from where the scrappy's is. Ron was trying to get his new ZX12-R engine started, so I stayed to help him for a few hours. It still wasn't running, and we decided that he either had a knackered ECU, or he'd missed something in the wiring somewhere...

Back at home, we tried the Zetec stick for size. The bung at the top needed turning down slightly as it was too fat, but then it fitted in the tube nicely. And, it fitted through the baffle plate with no modifications needed! Doh! So we cut it to length, and marked where the max oil level should be, and bolted the sump back up!

While I'd been busy thumping the sump around, Claire had been cleaning the injectors with a mixture of petrol and injector cleaner, with more injector cleaner in the tank. Next, it was onto the cam belt. We've got a vernier pulley fitted for the cam, so after figuring out that there wasn't enough slack to move the belt another tooth round the pulley, we took the peg out, and tightened the belt by moving the pulley. So far, so peachy. Putting it all back together again, and tightening the camshaft bolt, I hadn't tighted the jackshaft again, so when it got to the point the cam wanted to move, it did - and the crank didn't. This was bad enough, but I managed to convince myself that I either hadn't moved it enough to make a difference, or that I'd moved it back OK. This was much worse...

After we'd put everything back together, we tried starting it again. It sounded awful, seemed really difficult to turn, was blowing air out of the inlets, so we thought the cam timing was out. Ron listened on the phone and thought we might be right, so the next day, after reading up again on how to time up the cam, we started with it again.... Turning the crank past a certain point was really difficult, so we shone a torch down the bores - and spotted marks on each piston, which could only be there from a valve... So, back on the phone to Ron, we described the damage, and he reckoned we'd probably have got away with it. We measured the valve clearances to be sure, and they hadn't changed, so we had got away with it. Phew!

After more phone calls and some guesswork, we had the cam timed nicely against the crank again. This time we painted marks on the crank pully, block, cam pulley and cam cover, so we could easily see if we ever made the same mistake again! So, we turned the engine over - and it started again! It sounded a bit better than before as well....

The next evening, 5 minutes or so with the laptop, playing with the ignition timings, had it running even more nicely and was an encouraging step after all the mistakes I'd been making! We've got the next week off work to make some real progress on the car. The reason for the sudden acceleration is that VOSA are changing the SVA test rules, and calling it an IVA. In addition, it's going to cost almost £400 more to take an IVA. The last applications for the SVA test have to be in at the end of February, with the last test at the end of April (if you fail first time, you have 6 months to take a retest at the old standard, and for only 30 quid). With this in mind, we ordered a load of stuff, so we could fill the week.

So far this weekend, we've trimmed the edges of the seats, played a bit with the engine tuning, and realised that the fuel hose we've been using to mount the throttle bodies to the manifold haven't been clamping (it's reinforced with spiral steel), so had to try and find some matching bike rubbers, painted the backs of the seats, mounted the fan to the radiator, figured out that the alternator wasn't charging (I hadn't wired it in properly!), temporarily wired in the rev counter and fuel gauge, put grippy tape on the pedals, mounted the electric speedo adapter to the gearbox, wrapped the loom which goes under the exhaust with thermowrap stuff, and added more bits to the shopping list! Tomorrow the exhaust is going to come off to be mounted up properly, and the body is going to go on (probably not for the last time), so we can get on with body stuff while we're waiting for the inlet rubbers (there's not really any point in tuning the engine without them).
















Will try and post more updates as the week goes on. Time for sleep soon I think!

3 comments:

Mark Aitken said...

Yep, I'm still reading this! I'm a few days behind my posts, lots on....

I can honestly say I'm in awe at how far you have gone with this. It's been great witnessing the build on here, I don't know many people who would put so much heart into the project!

Can't visit YouTube at work, but will have a wee look at home tonight!

Pyrrho said...

Looking good Vince and Claire!

I'd love to do a kit car, but don't have the mechanical skills.

Cheers
Simon

Vince said...

Thanks guys, I'm glad you're still reading! Hopefully we'll have it ready for the test by April! :o