Have I mentioned how much I hate towing trailers? It is even less fun with an expensive and uninsured car on the thing. Took me much longer to get to Debach than expected because I had all sorts of problems with the straps on the wheels coming loose. I really must learn how to do these things up so that they don't move.
|Finally arrived and lots of good intentions and plans went out the window. The airfield runway and service roads are in a pretty poor state with many potholes in the concrete and lots of gravel on the surface. I found a decent stretch where I could build up some speed and use the brakes. Never really got the car out of first. Any worries about stone chips went out the window. Any chance of listening for creaks, rattles and vibrations also disappeared as the car was pebble dashed from below. I was on my own so I had no chance of doing a noise test either.|
First impressions are difficult to quantify given the circumstances. The steering is quite light with decent feedback. Seems to self centre pretty well and adjustments post SVA will make it even more responsive. The quick rack is very noticable as is the quite remarkably small turning circle. The latter point is handy on a car with no reverse gear.
Everything seemed to creak and rattle though. There were some very odd noises coming from the car but, I've got no idea where from and I had no real chance to find out either. Nothing major though and it all stayed in one piece.
I went up and down trying to get the brake disks shiny, which was the primary goal of the trip. After about 10 runs the brakes started to work as brakes should do. After 20 or so they were working rather well. The disks were now very clean and shiny.
Another first impression is that this car doesn't like to do slow. Even in first, the engine likes to be up in the 4-5000rpm range in order to generate the necessary torque to keep it moving. This equates to 25-30mph so crawling at 10-20mph in traffic would be a pain.
With hindsight: I've since found out that I was not using first gear at all (see driving section).
At this point I got out and looked for anything loose and any leaks. Nothing obvious spotted so I did another set of runs, this time using more of the rev range. The shift lights are currently set to start coming on at 8,000rpm and the last one at 11,000rpm. I got to the point where one or two started to come on. I saw over 40mph on the speedo, so it can't be too far out (8000rpm equates to 40.5mph according to my spreadsheet).
Having built up a bit more confidence in the car, I through caution to the wind a little bit and attempted to see what the car is really capable of using second and third gear as well. This Fury is rather quick . And there was obviously more to come in the higher part of the rev range. The surface was too broken up to really stand on the brakes but it now stops very rapidly and with a nice feel to the brakes too.
At this point changing gear started to get tricky and I couldn't select neutral. A brief second of panic followed by a quick investigation showed that the pivot bolt on my paddle shift had vibrated loose and the bracket on the back of the paddle had also bent out of shape. Two things easily rectified.
I didn't get a chance to calibrate the speedo to my GPS system but this is easily changed later on the Digidash2. I also need to change some of the alarm points as it kept warning me about the oil temperature even though the readings were pretty low. The exhaust has now changed colour and when I lifted the bonnet I could feel the wave of hot air come up to greet me. Some bonnet side vents would help I think.
Ran out of time and the main job was already done, so packed up and went back to work. I hadn't even broken much .
Finished off the bonnet catch brackets and spacers. More progress on the seats and fixings.
Did something I've been meaning to do for ages. Martin Bell mentioned it when I picked up the bodywork and I recall seeing if flex alarmingly when bringing it back home. I also happened to notice it with the car on the trailer a few days ago.
The front edge of the main tub, just behind the roll hoops is not really strong enough to support itself at speed. It starts to vibrate as the wind goes over it and flaps about over 40mph. To remedy this, I've bolted a length of aluminium right-angle under the lip on the fibreglass using 3mm socket button bolts. I'm also going to support this with a tube running up from the boot floor to this lip because I've run the wires here, up to a high-level brake light, which will be added post SVA test.
My younger brother, Richard has just bought a pre-built Fury LeMans. It's much more road orientated, with doors, windscreen, a rather luxurious interior and a Ford Zetec powerplant.
Next, I predict a R1ot :-)
I've really struggled to find a couple of roll pins locally so I ended up buying a box of the things on eBay.
|Finished off the seats and bolted in place. Adjusted the harnesses and clipped into place.|
|One thing I hadn't considered is that my front wheel studs are a bit too long. I'm going to have to trim them down and radius the cut ends. This is a real pain because I specifically ordered new ones from Fisher that were meant to be the right length for these hubs and wheels. My wheel nuts are already rather untidy, where I cut the closed ends off to allow me to do them up. I've covered the rear ones with nut covers and I'll do the same at the front.|
|Made some 90° brackets onto which the dash radius strips of wood were glued. The glue was to get the positioning right and once set, I screwed through the brackets into the wood. The brackets are held in place by the bolts that hold the dash on.|
|Made a trip to Walkers Rubber & Plastics to get some rubber trim. I've used this to cover the edges of the dash and the plate underneath the dash.|
|I also popped to the local Fabric Warehouse to get some black vinyl. I've cut up an old camping mat and it will be covered it with this vinyl, to line the top of the side pods inside the car. It will be held in place with velcro and I'll then super-glue some 90° trim along the inner edge to tidy it up.|
|To make life easier for the SVA tester, I've stuck some labels on my dash. These are only temporary because I know what the switches all do and I prefer the dash without them.|
|As per the right one but it is a lot easier knowing what I know now! I also made some smaller wire loops for the pip pins, to hide under the rubber covers.|
|Stuck on some reflectors for the SVA test.|
Got a letter from the Ipswich branch of the DVLA. They want me to take the car into town on Monday afternoon to be inspected. I might have to re-schedule this.
Next was the emissions and idle tests. It's easy to get the correct idle speed (450-1500rpm) by using the idle adjuster on the engine. The emissions test looked bad though. Way out as I had predicted from the map. I fired up the laptop and had a look to see what was going on. With the throttle position and speed set, the map was actually increasing the fuel ratio. The main problem is that at idle my Power Commander thinks the engine is at 17% throttle and is using this bit of the map. I simply stuck a load of negative values (-10) in the map across the space the engine was operating in and all the readings turned green. Lamda was spot on 1.00 and the CO2 was also well within range. The hydrocarbons seems to vary a bit and pops into the red occasionally. At this point my laptop battery died! Just as I was really getting somewhere. I had to leave it at that and hope it all works out tomorrow.
Next was the headlight adjustment. These were also way too low. I had to put some spacers in to get close to the right values. This makes putting the surrounding rings on even harder.
Started off testing the lights and my rear brake lights didn't work. Then it dawned on me what a nob I was yesterday when tidying up the wiring. I shortened the wires to the high level brake light by cutting them back but this was the feed to this light and the onward feed to the rear lights. A quick twisting of wires back together fixed this.
Then came the emissions test, the bit I was dreading. We let the engine and catalyst get hot. Unlike the MOT machine, this one gives no indication of likely success. I mentioned that it passed at the MOT station yesterday though. I was asked to run the engine at various speeds and used the idle screw to set the rpm and not the throttle. With a bike engine it is virtually impossible to hold a steady rpm using a throttle pedal. I guess on the bike the movement is geared down a bit more. After a few tests it appeared to have passed. Result! I was now starting to think that I could actually drive away with a certificate.
Up on the ramps, to check underneath. I was pulled up on the front left flexible pipe catching the tyre on full lock. This was easily fixed. Then the inspector found a loose nut on the handbrake cable guide. Must have missed this one earlier but again it was easily fixed.
There was some concern that the calipers were a bit close to the wheel but I offered to put some more spacers on (borrowed from Daz) but, he let this go.
Onto the speedometer check. My speedo indicated 70mph at a real 65mph, so this passed. I will set this more accurately later.
The brake test couldn't be done on the rollers because of the ground clearance. This was another area of concern for me so this was a bonus. Instead they use an accelerometer in the car which takes better account of my Fury's light weight. Brakes passed easily but the handbrake was borderline apparently. The SVA test is even more rigourous than the MOT test. Because the brakes were new this was passed, knowing that they would get better.
And finally, the noise test. I thought my car would pass easily so I didn't bother with an air box. Daz had given me a rather nice printed dyno plot proving peak power for my engine was at 9000rpm but I didn't need to show this. The noise test is done at 3/4 of this (6750rpm). The test was done just outside and a bit too close to the building for my liking. As it was, I was right on the limit. I gently suggested that it would give a quieter result out in the open (and in the rain). It was passed. With hindsight I was stupid not to take more steps to quieten the car. This is one thing that I could have done nothing about on the day.
So the morning ended up with a positive result after all and I well chuffed! From practically zero car knowledge to a fully built and road legal car in 17 months .
It's been quite interesting building along side Daz in the latter stages of my build. It was very handy sharing ideas and tools (and his exhaust!). It was never competitive but there was always the sight of someone else making progress, to spur you on.
If I learnt one thing doing this car it is this. Even on the worst days, do at least one thing that keeps you moving forward. Even if it simply choosing an item to go on the car or placing an order for a part that you can fit in the future. The whole thing is so daunting when it gets down to the everyday detail. What ever size step you take, it will still be one step closer to the end.