September 2010


Thursday 30th September 2010
Today I took the Fiesta to Shelsley Walsh for the Fast Ford magazine photoshoot. I very nearly didn't make it though. As I pulled off the driveway with the trailer in tow, the Subaru came adrift from the trailer and the emergency brake cable yanked the trailer handbrake on, leaving me parked across the road, with the trailer stuck firmly on the drive. Inspecting the mess, I realised that I hadn't hitched the trailer properly. The tow ball couldn't have been inside the trailer hitch. Instead the hitch was locked, and resting on the tow ball. It was lucky I didn't stop when I first realised what had happened, as that wouldn't have pulled the trailer handbrake on. Meaning the trailer would have rolled forward, in to the back of the Subaru. After a bit of huffing and puffing, feeling very embarrased, I reloaded the trailer on to the car, and set off again.

Once I arrived, I set about unloading the car, and after a quick wash, started the engine to allow it to warm up. It is apparent that the cooling system still isn't running right at low revs. I'm going to drain it and remove the radiator again, and check the thermostat. I reckon there could be a bit of rag left in the block from when I had it all stripped down. It'll be something stupid for sure.

The car drove OK, though I did have to keep my eye on the temperature. I did about a dozen ascents of the hill, some at 20mph following the photographers car whilst Gerard shot pictures from the boot of his hatchback, with a chap called John (aka RescueDude from Uphillracers.com) doing the driving. And then I did some high speed runs, in 2nd and 3rd gear, with the photographer stood at Bottom S, which gave me the opportunity to really see what she goes like. Fook me, its a completely different animal to when she had the Zetec. She just bursts in to life when I nail the throttle now, and the car accelerates like crazy. The Titans give it a fantastic throttle response. And the noise from the induction roar is incredible.

So the shorter axle arrived on Weds, and I'll fit that over the next couple of weeks, and get her back to Troy at Northampton Motorsport for a 2nd go at getting the wheels aligned. The existing axle is too long and stops the suspension from being adjusted, which is why the passenger side front wheel looks to be at a jaunty angle.

The two steady bars I made for the engine, will need to be modified, as they use rod ends (heims) to locate them, and this is far too harsh, as when I lifted off and accelerated there was an awful lot of creaking from the bulkhead, so I'll have a rethink. I reckon stiff rubber bushes on one end of each tie bar would make it a lot nicer to drive. This is the first time I've had to really drive the car with some enthusiasm, and its definitely going to need some respect. Saying its Quick is an understatement.

The photographs that Gerard Hughes took, looked incredible. He uses a Canon EOS, with two external flash lamps for lighting, and the pics looked very dramatic on the camera screen. The deadline for the next issue was yesterday, so it looks like mine'll be in the one the following month. (Possibly December 2010)

I reckon she deserves to be a cover car, and the pictures that I saw were certainly worthy of a cover picture.

Big thanks to Midland Automobile Club for the use of the Shelsley Walsh hillclimb venue. If you've never been, you can pop in at any time during the day, ask permission, and have a walk up the hill. The gradient of the hill has to be seen to be believed, and its by far and away, the best hillclimb venue in the UK.


Tuesday 28th September 2010
The short (333mm) axle-bar is ready, and should be with me tomorrow. Big thanks to Commercial Propshafts again for the speedy turnaround.

The engine runs, with the new header tank, but I dont think I've cured the over heating problem. Its as if the water pump isn't turning quickly enough at tickover, to draw water in from the bottom of the radiator. I'll see over the next few days if the problem is down to an air lock. It could be the fact that the bottom hose, isn't below the height of the thermostat housing. Maybe its time to fit an electric water pump.

The Fast Ford magazine photoshoot is green for go on Thursday at Shelsley Walsh. The car is loaded on the trailer, and I'm hoping to get there for around 10am.

Below is the diagram for how I've plumbed in the header tank. The green pipe is the return pipe on the front of the block, that allows the water in the head to circulate when the thermostat is closed.

Monday 27th September 2010
After a fairly quiet week, I've not much time left to put everything back together in time for the Fast Ford photoshoot at Shelsley on Thursday, but where there's a will there's a way.

One piece of good news is that the site has a new sponsor on board. Proud to announce our association with Motors.co.uk. Please go to the home page and click on the Motors.co.uk sponsors link to show your support.

The new axle bar is well under way, and I've sent an ST tripod joint to CPS as they're still quite rare to come by and CPS need to make sure that they're a perfect fit on the axle. My old axle bars are now listed on Ebay.

Header tank and new pipe-work fitted.

Filled with coolant, ready to run
Filled with coolant, and ready to run.

Monday 20th September 2010
This is a diagram of the cooling system on a standard Ford Fiesta ST. It shows how the header tank (8) needs to be plumbed in to plastic thermostat housing (6).

Part number (5) in the picture, is the oil to water heat exchanger, that I'm not running. And (2) is the EGR valve, that wasn't actually fitted to my engine, as my Duratec is one of the later ones, and came with a blanking plate in place of the EGR valve.

Stock Fiesta ST cooling system

The Trilobe joints have turned up from M-Sport, so I'll get one posted off to Commercial Propshafts so that they can finish off the new driveshaft for me.
Saturday 18th September 2010
Ordered a pair of ST Trilobe joints from M-Sport. I need to send one to commercial propshaft services, so they can complete the new axle bar for me. I've also found a new 1litre header tank, which I've ordered, and it should be with me next week. I have the new hoses from SFS, so I can plumb it all in and test it out by next weekend.

The photographer from Fast Ford magazine has been in touch, and we're planning on using the Shelsley Walsh venue at the end of September. I just need to call M.A.C. on Monday to make sure the dates we've chosen are free.
Tuesday 14th September 2010
Removed the Titan airhorns, the radiator, and all the hoses from the engine, so I can re-route the hoses on the water pump inlet, and also remove the alternator so the brackets I made can be sprayed black (they're in grey primer at the moment).

I've noticed a problem with the throttle cable. The cable outer has been pulled through the bulkhead, so I'll have to make another outer cut to length, and a better mechanism for holding it in place. The only throttle stop is on the throttle bodies themselves, so if the driver (or rolling road operator) gets too carried away, any excess pressure on the pedal, and the outer is the component to fail.
Monday 13th September 2010
New hoses from SFS are due to arrive tomorrow for the header tank re-location, and I'm due to order a new header tank today/tomorrow.

New 30mm shorter axle bar is on order from Commercial Propshaft services, and I'm selling my GpA RecoProp unequal length shafts if anyone wants them. See my Parts For Sale page for details.

I've updated my Event News Archive page, to include all the html event reports I'd written since 2003, and I've uploaded a lot of 'lost' videos to Youtube to make them easier to watch, including events from 2003 and 2004 taken on board and by my good lady wife from the side of the track.


Tuesday 7th September 2010
My Trax 2010 pictures

Monday 6th September 2010
I thoroughly enjoyed the Trax 2010 event at Silverstone. I arrived at around 7:20am and drove over to the main paddock area behind the pit straight, and unloaded the Fiesta on to the Fast Ford magazine stand. Then after parking the trailer and Scooby over in the trailer park, I manoeuvred the Fiesta in to position along side the other cars, and removed the bonnet (which fits neatly in the back of the car).

And that was it really. I spent the day looking at other cars, or meeting people looking at mine, and the feedback was very positive. I left at 4pm, as I had duties at home to perform, and the car is now sat in the garage waiting for the new water hoses so I can re-plumb the header tank in and sort out the cooling issue. At lunchtime I ran the engine to warm it up, after the rain had stopped, and the water temp climbs very quickly 100°C, with both the cooling fans on all the time, which is why I need to re-plumb the header tank. Once that's done, it'll tick over all day at 90-95°.

I've ordered the hoses this morning, and I'll seek out a smaller header tank to replace the VW tank, as I want to move it across to the driver's side, so the hoses are as short as possible. I didn't find anyone selling tanks at the show, but I took plenty of pictures, and have inspiration for how I want it to look when it's done.

Next outing is a magazine shoot for Fast Ford magazine, and that'll need to be arranged in September, once I've finished off the plumbing.

Friday 3rd September 2010
I've refitted the freshly painted gearbox mount, and made a number of other minor modifications (mostly cosmetic) to the car for the Trax show at Silverstone on Sunday.

I now know how the header tank needs to be plumbed in, and because I need to fit it on the drivers side of the engine to connect to the thermostat housing, I'm going to ditch the VW header tank, and find an aluminium tank, that'll fit in the smaller space next to the engine mount, and hopefully on Sunday I can find someone selling header tanks, so I can buy one on the day (saving P&P hopefully). I'm also after an oil breather filter to fit on the back of the rocker cover, so I'll be on the lookout for one of those too.

A few people have asked about the neighbour situation. He pleaded guilty to the assault, in Hinckley Magistrates court last week, and was fined a poultry £70, claiming financial difficulties. He now has a criminal conviction for the offence and is still under a harassment order, so fingers crossed, thats the end of it.