With an opportunity to drive harder and to properly warm the tyres up, the rear end grip was there and very progressive it is too. It is remarkably easy to dial in any angle you want mid corner, once the tyres are properly warm.
Dropped the tyres down to 16psi all round today. Tried to ignore them when cold and focus on what the car felt like once the tyres were up to temperature. This is interesting. The car is much more compliant over bumps and is now comparable to the ride of my old Lotus Elise. Very civilised. Grip is still very good too. If this was purely a road car for getting from A to B, then this is how I would leave it. There is still a slight nagging feeling that the back end is moving around a bit more but, the grip is there when called upon. I'm sure I can feel more rolling resistance though, the car doesn't feel quite as quick.
Maybe it's related but the brakes don't feel quite as sharp either. Did some emergency stops to test them and I'm pretty sure the rears were locking up first, just. This maybe because I've not adjusted the balance bar since I cleaned up the rear pads and disks. They must be working more effectively now. They are due to be bled as well but, I'm going to leave this until next spring now, when I'll do a full fluid change.
|Was going to spend a bit more time experimenting with the tyre pressures today but, I noticed the paddle shift was slightly offset when viewed from above. I also stood on a nail sticking out of a piece of wood, whilst helping a mate move house. It went into my right foot just where I press on the pedals, so driving is a bit painful .|
|A quick look under the bonnet reveals that the bracket had bent again and was not long for this world. It would be fair to admit that this is a flawed bit of design, having a life expectancy of less than 250 miles .|
So, before I do any more testing, I need to sort this out once and for all. The shift rod is attached on the left of my paddle shift, meaning that a pull towards me on the right-hand side, is a change up through the gears. The gear arm is mounted vertically upwards on the engine and a pivot plate translates this movement 90° to push the gear arm to the left (as viewed from the drivers seat).
If the gear arm is moved further around the splines (so that it now points left), a push down would also result in an upshift. This means a cable shift design could use my existing paddle shift mounting point and work the same way, so long as the cable end points down in the engine bay. This has the advantage of being unaffected by the sideways movements of the engine during gear shifts (the rapid change from full load to no load causes it move on its mounts slightly).
Ideally, the engine end of the cable sheath should be mounted on the engine itself and not on the chassis but, in practice this is going to take some quite complex fabrication, as there are very few points that can be used to fix the cable. I need a cable about 90cm long.
Ordered a gear-shift cable from AB Performance (Pie Hatch Farm, Brettenham Rd, Buxhall, Stowmarket, Suffolk IP14 3DZ. Tel: 01449 736633) with a pair of matching, 5mm rose joints. Off-the-shelf, these cables come in 1m and 1.7m lengths but, they can make custom lengths if required. I've gone for a 1m cable as this is close enough to the required 90cm.
|My gear shift cable arrived today. It's 1m long and allows 25mm movement in each direction. I notice that the two nuts are missing on the outer sheath at one end.|
|There is a bit of flexibility in the mounting the gear shift cable at the engine end but, none at the dash end. So I started at the dash end. The length of the cable is such that a bracket is required behind the dash itself. A quick investigation showed that the bolts and bracket holding the column in place are ideally placed for a bracket, so I cut this rough template from 5mm thick MDF. The holes are 12mm in diameter and the cable mounting hole is 50mm out from the left bolt hole.|
The MDF template was a perfect fit, also allowing me to reuse the rod hole in the dash. Even in MDF it was rigid but, I used the template to cut out one from 5mm thick aluminium plate, which is extremely rigid. I forgot to take a picture before I put the dash back on.
The rod hole in the bulkhead is also in about the right place and I've used a 25mm rubber gromit with a 10mm hole in the centre, to stop the cable banging on the surrounding fibreglass.
There is a tiny bit of stiction in the cable compared to my rod mechansim but the feel is excellent. The radius of the cable bends involved is fairly large and it has no noticable impact on way the cable feels in operation.
Under the bonnet, things are not quite so simple. I fabricated this rough bracket to check positioning and alignment. This required me to remove the chassis plate. This works but, the final mount is going to need to be more rigid. I can't fully test it because the fixing nuts were missing from this end of the cable.
One other thing to resolve is that the rose joint has a 5mm thread and hole but, it needs a 6mm hole as the gear arm uses a 6mm bolt. Not sure what to do about this. When mounted like this the cable just touches the bonnet, when closed. A bespoke 85cm or 90cm long cable would be more ideal and would clear the bonnet. Ran out of time to do any more.
|After much thinking, I fabricated a cable mount very similar to the above prototype but, using 4mm x 30mm steel bar. This results in a very rigid mount but I've also cross-braced it, to make sure it is really solid. This involves some welding, which is being done for me by a friend. This is the first bit of welding I've had to do on this car. I'll see how it goes but, I may also triangulate across to another chassis point to make it even more rigid.|
|Painted and fixed the gear cable bracket in place. The tie-wrap is there to make sure the cable doesn't touch the bonnet and to stop the cable movement in operation. On a longer run, this cable would be P-clipped down, to avoid the outer sheath moving around and to make sure all of the cable movement is transferred to the remote end. My cable is not long enough to require this and there is also nothing close to fix it down to.|
Wow! It's a huge improvement. The mechanism has the same gearing as my rod solution but it feels much more direct and if anything, slightly lighter. Despite having the same gearing, much less movement of the paddle is now required to change gear and this can only be due to slack in the old mechanism. Interestingly, the gear changes also feel less clunky now. It's funny how one small thing can change your perception of a car but, the Fury as whole feels much more solid now. My 5 minute drive to work took a lot longer this morning .
Went out again at lunchtime for a proper drive. Great fun!