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Last page update was 25 Apr 2008

Fisher Fury R1 Ownership - April 2007

1st April

Front Stripe

Applied the main part of the front stripe with some assistance from my wife. This was a bit of a nightmare to fit as the bonnet is a complex surface and the stripe is a flat piece of vinyl. I'm not sure how we did it but it involved some stretching. Used maybe a bit too much soapy water as the whole thing tended to float off the bonnet when pulled. Still need to do the bits under the front grille and on top of the scuttle.

And the view from the rear.

First Passenger Ride

I had promised my daughter the first ride in the car and after yesterday's glitch free initial run, I felt confident enough to take her out. This event started with a bit of an audience and the general consensus was that the car is too loud. This is a bit a problem because the car was barely ticking over at 3500rpm when I pulled away. The audience was still waiting when I got back and apparently they could hear me on the other side of the housing estate.

I then took my son out and he also thought it was too loud. It's a good job they haven't heard it when I put my foot down hard. First priority though is definately going to be to make my Fury quieter. Hopefully the R1 exhaust can will be a significant improvement, followed by some form of air box. It is all very well being noticed once in a while but, when you live very close to Suffolk Police Headquarters, it is definately better to keep a low profile. Well, as low a profile as you can get in a road going race car with a stripe down the middle .

Second on the list of priorities is an aeroscreen. I'm going to end up with flappy jowls like Jeremy Clarkson if I don't do something about the wind buffeting soon. It is also seriously limiting how fast I can go! An interesting approach for the government to take on limiting speed? Inflicting pain on the driver in proportion to the speed they are going just might work .

After that I'm going to focus on the other few noises and rattles. The brake bias bar is the main one. The Fury is never going to have the 'carved out of a solid lump' feel that my old Elise had or the quiet ride but, I'm going to try and get close. The limiting factor is that you really can hear bugger all over the engine once you press the accelerator hard. It's going to take a little time and development but this car really has potential.

2nd April

Ordered a stick on front number plate. Took the car into work briefly to show some work friends. I'm sticking to local journeys for now until I've given the car a thorough check over and I'm more confident in driving it.

3rd April

Planned to take the Fury in to work but on starting the engine I noticed that the oil pressure reading on the Digidash2 was stuck at zero. I switched off the engine immediately and took another other car in to work, which was just as really because it started to rain. With all the unfamilar noises going on and my lack of knowledge with bike engines I'm a little bit paranoid about the oil and water levels, pressures and temperatures. My first thought was that the oil pressure sensor had failed as it is a known problem that bike engine vibrations can kill them. This would unusual though because I have made the effort to remotely mount it. I was sure that my wiring was good. A quick call to ETB Instruments  and their technical support department clarified the test procedure. Telephone 01702 601055 and not the number shown on their web site (which is well out of date). Testing showed the sensor resistance to be OK (it fails as open circuit) but I noticed a dribble of oil running down from the sensor. The adapter/coupling must have just started to vibrate loose, causing the sensor to not see any meaningful pressure. I tightened it up and was then getting a good reading for oil pressure.

This is a timely reminder that the car needs a thorough check over having done the grand total of 12 miles and that an SVA test pass doesn't reduce my responsibility for the safety and reliability of the car whilst things are bedding in.

4th April

Recalibrated the speedo based on figures from the SVA test rolling road. So far I've been driving to a self imposed 9000rpm limit. Today I raised the point at which the shift lights illuminate on the Digidash2 from 9000rpm to 11,000rpm. Things are about to get interesting . And a whole lot louder .

Fisher Sports Cars

Good news! Fisher Sports Cars has found a new owner. BGH Geartech Ltd are based in Cranbrook, Kent and also own Cranbrook Kit Cars. They also employ Steve Hughes, who has worked for Fisher Sports Cars for the last 15 years and is very knowledgeable about the Fury. BGH Geartech are well known in the Kit Car industry for their up-rated gearboxes and have worked with Fisher Sports Cars in the past.

Schroth Harnesses

The buckles on my harnesses are subject to a safety recall and need to be replaced.

Check Over

Perfect weather but I resisted the temptation to drive it and spent time going over the car, checking every nut and bolt, paying particular attention to anything to do with the fuel, oil and water. Nothing too surprising:

First Proper Drive

I then gave into temptation and put on a helmet, to go out for a drive on my favourite local roads. The car is a little nervous on bumpy B-roads and there is little self-centering on the steering. With such a direct steering rack, it is very easy to keep it on track though. On public roads, there are very few turns or corners that would require you to take you hands off the wheel, just as a track day car should be. The car itself feels light but solid. There are a few noises from the bodywork on bumpier surfaces but I know where these are coming from and plan to fix them soon. My spring rates were chosen for road use but they feel a little bit firmer than those of my old Elise. It may be the light weight of the car that gives this impression but, I can't rule out the tyre pressures either. The Digidash2 speedo is digital and you notice it jump around a little bit, never quite seeming to settle on any one indication of speed. It is not as pleasant on the eye as an analogue needle. With the helmet on, it was slightly quieter and a little bit easier to discern where the various noises were coming from. The exhaust is the major contributing factor. At higher speeds the helmet itself makes some noise.

The oil pressure started off at around 65psi from cold and seemed to sit at around 59psi once up to temperature. It would drop lower when the revs dropped though. The oil and water temperature seemed to sit at around 79°C. This is the first time I have really got to drive some decent corners and the grip levels and the centripetal forces  felt huge. The corners highlighted the need for some more supportive seats though. The brakes are improving nicely but I'm a little too far back in the current seat for my liking. I also need some sort of foot rest to avoid leaving my left foot resting on the clutch pedal.

I went into my favourite long and sweeping left hander at a decent speed and the car just went through it with ease and barely any body roll. Looking at the speedo, I was surprised to see that this was just about the fastest speed I had ever dared take this corner in my Lotus Elise. The Fury felt much more confident and not even close to its limits. The lower center of gravity and higher levels of grip from the A048's must help but the main factor is that the weight distribution just feels right. Lift-off oversteer was always on the mind in the Elise and it was always the back that started to move first. Any further experimentation in this area would need to be done on a track. I learnt this lesson  the hard way in 1999.

It will be very interesting to do a side by side handling comparison on a track with my brother's Striker. My intial thoughts are that my Fury feels slightly better balanced but I'd need to be on a track to push the car closer to its limits, to be able to verify this. The steering is much more direct and possibly slightly heavier thanks to a much faster steering rack. The noise is comparable, if not an octive higher than that of his Crossflow engine . There is room in the car for me! No bruising of hips on chassis rails. His seats are more comfortable. I'm not looking at the front tyre contact patch wondering when it is next going to throw grit at my face. There is definately something to enjoy in watching the front tyres doing their job though.

I then experimented with the acceleration on the straight sections (no standing starts though), trying to get the shift lights to come on. It's a 'simple' matter of planting the right foot and holding on. As originally intended this experience is best described as '_______ scary'. The rush of acceleration feels endless and I started praying for the shift lights to come on, so that I could take the pressure off the back of my brain. This car is seriously quick and then some, when compared to anything else I've driven or been in. I will aim to quantify just how quick next month using my AP22.

I then took a route back home using a dual carriageway to see how well it coped on these kind of roads. At 70mph the engine is sitting at a 'relatively relaxed' 6200rpm in 6th gear. Being so low, I'm very wary of other traffic though and feel safer assuming that no one can see me when attempting an overtake manouvre. The speed at which you can pass things is a positive safety feature. The buffeting when overtaking large lorries is noticable and the constant air pressure on the helmet results in some neck ache. An aeroscreen will help rectify this. The bonnet seems to be filling up with air at speed and I would feel much more confident with a second set of bonnet catches on the car and I'm sure some side vents will eliminate the slight lifting of the bonnet rear edge.

The helmet was definately a good move. The bumble bees are now out in force around Suffolk and the 'plonk' of insects bouncing off the helmet was fairly regular. The front of the car has been blooded with an array of insect splats. Throughout this the tyres never once broke traction or made any noises to indicate that they were even about too. I put this down to the phenominal grip of the A048's and the very light weight of the car. Or maybe I'm just not trying hard enough? .

On top of all this there is yet another level of performance to be found. Because the engine pulls so well from around 4000rpm I've tended to drive right through the rev range, on up to the shift light. To extract maximum performance from a car like this you need to keep the engine in the power band and get used to swapping gears more often. I think this is a practice best saved for the track though. Familiarity with the paddle shift has made me realise what a wonderfully quick and tactile way it is to change gear. Gear changes are lightning quick and very smooth. I was worried my mechanism would be a bit too heavy but the weighting and movement is near perfect. The ability to change gear without moving hands from the steering wheel makes you feel much more in control.

I've got new respect for riders of big, powerful sports motorcycles. Just how do they hold on? They are braver than me! Then again, it might be a genetic thing and they are just a few synaptic connections short of a survival instinct .

And my favourite web page right now is ... here .

5th April

High Level Brake Light

I've made my own based around an aerodynamic shaped 64mm diameter cap from a bottle of something. I've made a mounting ring from some 3mm thick acrylic sheet, into which the LED lamp sits and which then sits inside the rim of the cap. I'm in the process of spraying this black. A 6mm hollow through bolt (through which the wires pass) bolts through the rear lip of the main tub (and it's support). I included the wiring to this lamp during my build.

Aeroscreen

I want to fit decent height, transparent aeroscreen. I've made a template and will use this to cut one from a 3mm thick Lexan sheet. I need a piece 160 x 25cm.

Schroth Harnesses

The replacement buckles arrived today.

Front Number Plate

My stick-on front number plate arrived too. Very simple and quick to fit. No holes in the bonnet!

7th April

High Level Brake Light

View from behind the car.

Side Stripes

Applied the side stripes on both sides of the car. It was a lot easier than the bonnet stripe.

8th April

Excellent weather this Easter weekend. Went driving out and about around Woodbridge. I need to check the clutch cable to see if it has stretched. Gear changes seem slightly clunkier than before. I've still got a small fuel leak on the return fuel connection into the tank. I've now done 68 miles and the fuel tank says 35% full! I need to track the readings against miles done to see how linear the sensor is. I've also noticed that the car backfires on over-run adding to the noise. The exhaust is also quite sooty and I noticed that the back of the car has a fine layer of soot all over it too. I think I might try a different map in the Power Commander.

9th April

Checked the car over again thoroughly and can't see anything obvious to make the gear changes different. Fixed the fuel leak finally. Noticed that the oil level has dropped slightly so topped it up. It was above the top of the sight glass prior to the SVA test but this morning it was 2mm below. The tyres now look well scrubbed in. I was shocked to see the maximum speed recorded on the Digidash2 over the last few days. I must move it so that the main speedo is in sight.

10th April

Drilled a 2mm hole in the oil filler cap and threaded a bicycle brake cable through. Crimped and soldered a loop on the end and tie-wrapped this to an engine mount. This is to stop the thing accidently vibrating loose and all the oil jumping out whilst on track.

11th April

Took the car into work today. The gear changes seemed fine so it must just have been me. In the sunlight some things have heated up and expanded. The dash now bows slightly between mounting bolts. It could really do with being made from something thicker.

16th April

Exhaust Silencer

Replaced my borrowed exhaust/catalyst with my smaller and lighter 2003 R1 exhaust, which contains a smaller catalyst. It is a fair bit quieter than the SVA exhaust I borrowed, especially at lower revs. It doesn't have a long tail pipe to carry the exhaust gasses out through the side pod though, so I had to add one.

I've added an initial comparison between my Fury and my old standard Elise S1  to my Elise web site.

20th April

I've still got a fuel leak at the point where the fuel return goes back into the tank. The tank is plastic with threaded inserts and it looks like this one is loose. I'm going to seek advice before trying to fix it but I've got several ideas on how best to do it.

21st April

Finally fixed the fuel leak using a large fibre washer and some Araldite. Great weekend for driving and managed to get some decent miles in. Temperatures are fine and oil and water levels are pretty constant. Fuel is dissapearing at an alarming rate though .

Pedal Box Plate & Gear Shift Lever

Getting at the brake pedal is hard work from inside the car. Removing the footwell cover plate was also very hard work as I had bolted it in place and reaching the nuts inside the car was tough with the bodywork on. Managed to get them all out and put in some rivnuts to make future access easier.

23rd April

Brake Pedal

This brake pedal pivots on a bush which is clamped through using an 6mm bolt. The trouble is, the bush is not a snug enough fit and is also too long, resulting in a brake pedal that vibrates noisily. The whole thing is pretty low quality to be honest and I want to replace it with a proper bearing arrangement but this might be too much of a job at this point in time. Looking at solutions. Half of me thinks the bush is not being clamped tightly enough and is rocking on the through bolt.

23th April

Brake Pedal

Spent a lot of time trying to squeeze a washer alongside the pivot bush, to ensure it was clamped firmly. Absolute nightmare of a job requiring me to climb into the drivers footwell upside down, because access through the cover plate is not good enough. Nearly got stuck at one point. Good job the steering wheel can be removed or I'd still be there! The annoying thing was that I managed it, only to prove that the bush is too slack a fit in the pivot tube. It has improved things but, I really need to get a new one machined and I've arranged to get some new better fitting bushes fabricated from nylon to improve the situation.

25th April

Found out why gear changes were getting harder. The clutch cable has stretched or slipped slightly. That such a small movement can alter the gear shift indicates that I should also lengthen the pivot side to get more movement down the cable.

Resprayed the rear undertray as it had suffered slightly from the petrol leak.

27th April

Clutch Pedal

Put the new acetal nylon bush in the clutch pedal and it works perfectly. No lateral movement or slack at all. Moved the cable point down the pedal by 3mm and removed any slack in the cable. Also moved the rubber stop on the back of the pedal so that I can push it down further. Time for a drive to see how well it works. Or not! Started the engine, pressed the clutch and it locked open. Bugger!

Richard  did this when he first showed me his car. The cause is the clutch being pulled out to far and the basket castellations sitting on each other, rather than interlocking (I'm sure there are better words to describe this though). Phoned Richard  on his mobile and got some advice on how to fix it. Basically, the clutch cover has to come off and you then remove any tension in the clutch spring by undoing the six bolts holding it in place, ensuring that they all come undone evenly, so as not to warp the clutch spring. The bolts don't need to come right out. With no tension in the spring you can spin the basket back so that it locks back into place.

Did it all back up. Refitted the clutch cover. Getting the clutch gear to sit on the spigot is much easier this time because I've removed the spring on the clutch arm. Too dark to do much more but I need to undo all the changes made to the stop and cable pivot location.

28th April

Decided to simplify the clutch cable arrangement and move the cable clamp and tension adjustment from the pedal to under the bonnet. Makes access so much easier.

With everything back working again I went out to test it. Less helmet because it is so much easier to hear what is going on without one. Things seemed much quieter and the clutch action is miles better. I might almost be able to do a hill start now . Ended up doing a bit of a trip and found a few roads where the car just seemed to flow perfectly. Retraced a route that I did in a work mates Sylva Stylus on Friday to see how my car compared. My seats and springs are harder. One bumpy back roads the car is nervous and it doesn't really feel like fun. On smoother B-roads the car feels fantastic, the acceleration between the corners is just awesome. It's even more addictive than the noise. There are huge levels of grip on the smoother surfaces and when the rear end starts to move it is very progressive. It inspires huge amounts of confidence. I can't wait to experiement properly under track conditions. I found a few more sources of noise now that one of the major ones has been eliminated. I can almost imagine the car being squeak and rattle free with another month or so of development and testing.

Put the helmet on and went out again for a proper drive deep into the Suffolk countryside. Time to stop fiddling and just drive it. The difference on wearing a helmet is huge. All you can hear with the helmet on is the engine. All the rattles get lost in the padding. With no wind battering your face, you can also concentrate more on enjoying the experience and the other sources of sensory feedback. I had a brilliant drive. I also took the opportunity to test the brakes out a bit more too. The stopping power is huge but the feedback is not as good as my old Elise yet. The brakes are much less likely to unsettle the car though and they don't feel like they are shifting the weight about on application.

Temperatures, pressure and levels are all very stable, fuel level excepted. The car is covered with flies and with no aeroscreen yet, so was I. They seem to collect in my pockets. I hit the rev limiter three times today. I really must move the Digidash so I can see the shift lights. I'm starting to connect with the car a bit more now. It's not just a scary experience now and I guess that comes with a bit more familiarity and a bit more trust in this thing that I put together.

29th April

Bonnet Vents

Bit of spare time so I decided to cut some bonnet vents. I'd made a template using MS Powerpoint but even so it doesn't look convincing when stuck on the car. I have seen this design used before though so I was confident it would work. Marked the holes through the template using a scribe and drilled out the holes progressively using 1, 3 and 5mm drill bits. To avoid chipping the surface, the trick is to hit the fibreglass with the drill bit spinning at full speed.

Using a 44mm diameter hole saw I cut the holes and using some tape I marked the straight edges between them. I then used a multi-tool file to connect the holes and file out to the tape. This one still needs a little bit more work. Some black mesh will be fixed from the inside.

30th April

Finished off the bonnet vents bar fixing the mesh from the inside. A quick test drive reveals that the addition of these vents has eliminated the tendency for the rear edge of the bonnet to lift at speed.

   

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