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Last page update was 31 Mar 2007

Fisher Fury SVA Test - March 2007

1st March

The car goes for it's first proper run tomorrow, so I'm desperately trying to get it into a suitable state. I've run out of time to finish the bonnet catches so the bonnet is going to be taped down for my test run. I need to do a bit more work on the seats so I'm using my first attempt for now. It's a matter of checking for loose items, making sure all the bolts and nuts are tight. Filled up the tank, charged up the battery, checked the oils level and put 20psi in all the tyres. I've removed things that are not permanently fixed yet (which is not much), such as the chrome surrounds on the headlights.

2nd March

The weather is on my side . First warm, sunny day for ages. Picked up my borrowed trailer and loaded up the car. It's a fairly short run up to Debach Airfield , where I've managed to get permission to do some testing for a small contribution to their Control Tower restoration fund. To say I'm nervous is an understatement!

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.

Test Run

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 .

3rd March

Finished off the bonnet catch brackets and spacers. More progress on the seats and fixings.

4th March

Main Tub

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.

5th March

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.

My elder brother, Pete has built a Sylva Striker . Who'd have thought that the designs of Jeremy Phillips  could have such a wide reaching appeal to one family?

Next, I predict a R1ot :-)

6th March

Lots of odd jobs including painting the seat backs and dash radius.

Ride Height

Raised the front of the car by winding the springs up the Nitrons. This is to ensure the lights are high enough to pass the SVA test.

Headlight Alignment

Roughly set the headlight alignment by seeing how far the dipped and main beam went down the road. Even with the front of the car raised, the headlight units needed to be fully wound in at the top to get the dipped beam high enough. Might be interesting setting this up after the SVA test.

Dash

One thing I noticed from my test run was that the dash moved a bit too much. The carbon fibre effect sheet is only 2-2.5mm thick. To fix it in place and to stop it moving I've added some 3mm socket head bolts along the top edge.

6th March

Headlight Surrounds

Found some short self tapping screws with a hex head. These are needed to hold the chrome headlight surrounds in place. The screws supplied assume you have screwdriver access but, the Fury bodywork doesn't even allow room for the 25mm screws to go straight into the hole. The only way to do them up would have been to drill an access hole in the bodywork under the lamp and I wanted to avoid this. By using a hex-head screw I can fix them in place with a 6mm spanner. These are still really hard up to do as the bodywork face is not completely straight and forces the headlight nest out of shape.

BEC Owners Club

Chris Darby has started up a new Bike Engined Cars (BEC) Owners Club  which definately looks worth joining.

8th March

Posted off all documents required for SVA and vehicle registration to Paul Jepson.

I've really struggled to find a couple of roll pins locally so I ended up buying a box of the things on eBay.

9th March

Seats

Finished off the seats and bolted in place. Adjusted the harnesses and clipped into place.

10th March

Daz popped round in his now road legal and registered Striker R1, to give my a car a quick once over and some advice on my imminent SVA test.

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.

11th March

Dash Radius

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.

Wiring

Last go at the wiring. If in doubt it was wrapped and P-clipped to something solid. Wrapped the connectors with rubber sheet to keep out moisture.

12th March

Interior

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.

13th March

Front Wheel Studs

Cut down the front wheel studs. Plan A was to use a hacksaw to avoid heating them up too much but this blunted the blade in seconds and got me nowhere. Plan B was a rotary file with a cut-off disk but these kept breaking. Plan C was the angle grinder which worked a treat and made it a very quick job. The studs didn't get that hot. I put the nuts on prior to cutting them down, to tidy up the threads on removal of the nuts.

Rear Number Plate Lights

I'd heard that these don't need to be fitted for the SVA test but reading the latest draft of the SVA manual  I'm no longer sure. The SVA Manual March 2004 (Sixth Amendment) lists "Rear Registration Plate Lamps" in the "Annex 1 Requirements for Obligatory Lamps 9.1" section. They are obligatory for all vehicle requiring a registration plate. Arguably, you don't need to fit the lamp for SVA as you don't require (and can't get) a registration plate at the time of the test. I fitted my lights just to be on the safe side. Even with the rear access cover removed, connecting them was hard work.

Sidepod Covers

Stuck the foam mat to the vinyl.

14th March

Got a call from Paul Jepson. A few questions on the paperwork and receipts sent to him but it all looks in order.

15th March

Dash Labels

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.

Interior

Lined the interior edge of the main tub with rubber strip and covered any other sharp edges.

16th March

SVA Test

Got a call from the Norwich SVA test center. My SVA test is going to be Friday 23rd March. It's an 8am start! I've sorted out a trailer to get the car there and also booked an MOT on the morning of the day before.

Left Bonnet Catch

Finished the left one. It's a lot harder than I thought. It's mounted on the sidepod and this has to be rock solid and the alignment of the catches perfect.

17th March

SVA Test

Got a confirmation letter, a map and a big notice telling me to fill my tank up from the Norwich SVA test centre. The full tank is to give an indication of maximum weight, against which the brakes performance is assessed. It also serves as a useful way to check that the tank doesn't leak.

Fuel Gauge

I've only ever seen 15% full on the gauge and had assumed it was not reading very accurately. Since the SVA test requires a full tank I emptied a 20 litre jerry can in. I thought I'd over filled it as petrol jumped back out of the filler, but the tank is far from full and the gauge now reads 69%. Perhaps it is accurate after all.

Right Bonnet Catch

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.

Reflectors

Stuck on some reflectors for the SVA test.

Tidy Up

General tidy up all over the car.

Digidash

Connected up my laptop and turned all the alarms off. I had a programmed calibration factor of 6270 set for the speedo. I think I got this number from Richard . Daz has got his set to 6011 but he has larger wheels on his car. I could really do with testing the speedometer against my GPS system but I don't think I'm going to get the time or find a suitable location to do this.

19th March

I've got this week off on leave, to redecorate two bathrooms! Just as well the car is ready and I had been planning for an SVA test today.

Fuel Filter

The second fuel filter before the fuel pump was a bit of an after thought. It is kind of dangling on the end of the fuel pipe so I made a proper mount for it.

Seat Fixing

Looking at these didn't really inspire confidence in me so I don't know what the SVA examiner would have made of them. I replaced the flimsy screws with some 6mm bolts and added some large washers to spread the load across the holes drilled in the floor.

Hazard Switch

Fixed this as I broke the plastic front whilst doing things in the car.

Bonnet Catch Covers

Made some tidier covers for the bonnet catches. These are held in place with Velcro.

20th March

Fuel Tank

Filled the fuel tank right up, to make sure none of the connections at the top of the tank leaked. No leaks spotted :-)

Odds & Ends

Whilst checking over the car, I noticed the handbrake cable brackets are only a few millimeters from the inside of rear wheel rims. I borrowed some 10mm spacers from Daz , to add to the 10mm spacers already on the rear wheels and to provide more clearance. The wheels are still well within plan. One slight flaw in this plan though is that the wheel studs are not really long enough to handle another 10mm spacer. A bit of lateral thinking was required, so I hit the brackets with a large hammer and now have plenty of clearance :-)

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.

21st March

Coolant Hoses

Some of these need connecting together and tethering to something solid to stop them moving around. Used some foam tape and hose clips linked together to join hoses in places. Also made a couple of support brackets and fixed these in place.

22nd March

Power Commander Map

Had a mild panic when trying to load up a map onto the Power Commander. It doesn't stay on with the ignition. If it detects no engine start after a few seconds it seems to switch off. This means I can only load maps when the engine is running or by using the auxillary 9V battery (which I can't connect with it in its current location). Loaded up the map sent to me as an MOT pass but it doesn't work. The map only lowers the fuels at 0% throttle opening. My engine is ticking over at about 17%, so the wrong part of the map is being used. This could cause some problems in the next few days .

MOT

Booked and MOT with my local friendly garage to check the emissions and brake performance, plus a few other things. Started with the brakes. This was a proper roller brake test machine and both front and back brakes seemed to work pretty well. As expected the fronts were better. On the hand brake test things didn't look so good. The left side was just about OK but the right side is border line.

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.

DVLA Vehicle Inspection

I was sent a letter for an inspection next Monday but I phoned up to see what other options they had. I've borrowed a trailer for the next 2 days and having to get hold of one again would be hard work. A really helpful woman said I could bring it in before 12noon. With an MOT at 10.30am, it was going to be a close run thing. As it happened, I phoned her to tell her I would be late and she waited for me. It only took 5 minutes to check the engine and chassis numbers.

Panic!

Loads of odd jobs and tidying up to do in the inside. I'm totally stressed out. Bugger! The R1 header tank is empty and I don't know why. Filled it up again. I'm not optimistic about tomorrow. Loaded the car with all the tools I own, loads of spare and borrowed bits. Not even room for a passenger as all the seats are full.

23rd March

The SVA Test Pass

5.30am start! Left home at 6.10am and arrived at the test centre at 7.40am for my 8.00am appointment.

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 .

And Relax!

I'm going to sleep well tonight, for the first time in several weeks and not just because I was up at 5.30am this morning!

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.

24th March

BEC Owners Club

Joined the Bike Engined Cars (BEC) Owners Club .

Insurance & Registration

Sorted out my insurance based on the chassis number and will hopefully will get a cover note through on Monday.

24th March

Next Project

With the pressure off and a more free time on my hands, it's time to think about the next project . This is on a much smaller scale and a joint effort with my children. More wheels, less speed, very low cost and a learning experience for all of us. I also owe my wife a lot more attention and a holiday.

Build Complete!

Everything from here on in, is covered in the driving section.

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