November 1999

Sunday 28th November 1999
I've been informed (thanks Ilpo Kotakari from Finland) that the alloy Zetec-S is only fitted to the Fiesta and Puma. The 'S' is developed by Yamaha, and only goes as far as 1700cc, though the Puma variant does offer a 1700 VVC (variable valve timing) option, rather like the Honda VTEC.
Saturday 27th November 1999
Getting some interesting stats from Pair.Com for my website. When you go for a real host (none of this unreliable freespace crap) you may have access to log files, which can be analysed with some software called Analog. The stats I'm getting show that October was my busiest month since August '99 (when logging started), with 9,850 hits!! Not bad for an amateur site. Got to be worth sending off some more letters for sponsorship next week.

Spent three hours in the garage, fettling the front wings ready for permanently fastening to the car. Did some overtime at work this afternoon, applied SP3 to my Exchange 5.5 server. I've still got an intermittent X.500 Distinguished Names problem with some of the servers users (including me), usually when forwarding or replying to messages. Was hoping that SP3 would fix it. I'll post a question to the Exchange newsgroup on Monday.

Went to my local SuperChips supplier in town after work, for a quote on a SuperChip for Geena (the Mondeo). After waiting for ages to get served, I was informed that I need to deal with their garage, which is closed at weekends. I'll return on Monday. I'm not letting them loose on the car till I've got a written quote, and I've satisfied myself that their Electro-Static Discharge practices are acceptable. Dont want them damaging the ECU now, do I? Depending what they quote, I may get Geena chipped next week. The full story, with pictures, will appear on the zetec tuning page..
Friday 26th November 1999
Check out this excellent Mk4 Fiesta web site. Very professional. Gave the Mondeo a good pasting on the bypass this afternoon. She doesn't pink anymore, and starts first time every time. That air filter makes a hell of a difference to top end power. If you're still running with a standard filter, you really ought to junk it and fit a free flow unit. I really need to get Beccy finished, 200BHP is gonna be something else in that little car. Its over four years since I last drove her!! December is going to be Quaife gearbox month, which is what I've been saving up for during November. January will be the respray, February the wheels, March the fuel lines, wiring, and brakes, April the injection system, and then May should be all-systems-go. Unless a mysterious benefactor steps in with a sack load of cash.

Looked under the bonnet of a new Fiesta Zetec this week. Its running the Zetec-S engine, which is slanted right back in the engine bay. The inlet manifold is on the front, and exhaust on the rear. Looks like it'd be much easier to install in Beccy, but theres no going back now. If you're planning on doing a similar conversion, look in to the Zetec-S option. Even the alternator is in a better position, at the top of the front of the engine. It was only a 1.25L engine, but I'm sure the 2.0 Mondeo Zetec-S cant be much bigger. It'd only be the bore and stroke that would be different. Maybe a taller block?
Sunday 21st November 1999
Travelled to York on Thursday, which put 235 miles on the clock. The Mondeo's going like a train now. I'm going to change the oil in the engine in the Fiesta, as that's Castrol 10W40 too.

Bought some knifing putty to finish off the wings. Its RAC Rally time. Check out Network Q for results as they happen. I'm torn between supporting Colin and Richard; My money's on Richards Scooby, as Colins Focus hasn't been that consistent this year. I may venture out in to Wales on Tuesday to take some pictures....

Ripspeed are back! I've just received a circular and catalog from them saying that they're opening shops in Halfords stores across the country. The rumour was that they went bust earlier in the year.
Wednesday 17th November 1999
The garage thinks they've sussed out whats wrong with my Mondeo. This morning, the car played up (it was very cold overnight), and they whipped out the spark plugs and ran a compression check. One of the cylinders wasn't giving any compression at all! Which means that a valve was sticking open. They noticed that the oil filter wasn't a Ford item, and rang to ask what oil I'd used when I changed it last (back in July). Apparently, the Zetec engine MUST have 5W30 oil in it (Minimum). I looked at home for the oil can, and found that I'd used Duckhams synthetic QXR 10W40 which is a thicker oil. They reckon that the valve is sticking because of this! ie The viscosity (thickness of the oil) is too thick when cold, and too thick when hot. Interesting. I gave them the go-ahead to change the oil and filter. They also reckoned that this will fix the engine 'pinking/nocking' on unleaded. For the past two years I've had the other Ford garage in town do the servicing. Maybe they've been filling the engine with any old oil they could lay their hands on, and not 5W30. I should get better performance and fuel consumption with the thinner oil. I'm going to put some mileage on the car tomorrow and I'll see if there's any improvement.
Tuesday 16th November 1999
The Ford garage is stumped by the Mondeo. Started first time, no errors on the computer, cant see why she pinks, or why she occasionally stalls and the cooling fan comes on when shes cold. Microsoft have a wonderful product called the Technet Knowledge Base. If you have a problem with a piece of software, look in the KB, and there'll be an article describing exactly the same fault you've got, and the fix. Now, Mr Ford, surely you must equip your garages with a similar product? Someone somewhere must have seen this problem before, and fixed it?

I've got a Ford Ka 1300 at the moment. Bright red, goes like the clappers, no powersteering, reminds me of my Mini days. The garage wants to keep my car in overnight for a second day. So I've got the Ka again tonight. Pity the car clubs not running a 12-Car this evening.

Check out for some neat tuning tricks for the Zetec powered Escort ZX2. I like the sound of Nitrous, and the temperature sensor mod.
Nearly finished decorating the lounge. Beccy will get some TLC next week, I promise.
Sunday 14th November 1999
I've finished fitting the rally arches to both the front wings. The steel wings have been modified to allow larger diameter wheels and tyres to fit. I've used stainless steel fasteners again, and sealed the GRP arches on with black silicon rubber. I've also rubbed down the filler used on the rear arches. And I've removed both rear light clusters, which isn't as easy as it sounds. You remove three nuts from each cluster, and then soften the mastic seal around the light with a hair dryer, otherwise the light wont come out in one piece (Just as well I've got some spares)...
The front wing in place, before modification The GRP arches allow the steel wing to be modified for larger wheels and tyres. This shows the fasteners in place, and in the background are the two remnants of wheel arch that have been removed with the jigsaw. This shows the clearance inside the front wing, with the rally arch on the car. One of the rear wings, after I've rubbed down the filler. Almost ready for priming.

Saturday 13th November 1999
The Mondeo's been running fine all week. Sods law. On Monday when she goes in for her visit to the garage, I bet she's fine then too. Received a free copy of CCC yesterday, with the MSA newsletter. Something to read whilst waiting for the paint to dry. I read that Ford are going to make a Puma ST-160, using the 1.7i VVC engine. Only problem is that its £23,000. Now, who in their right mind is going to fork out £23K for a Puma? Especially when for same money you could get a Scooby. Saw some really nice alloys on an Escort in Nottingham on Thursday evening. 225/40R17's. Really looked the business.
Tuesday 9th November 1999
I've got the next fortnight off work! Its for re-decorating the living room (one of the many joys of owning a house). I do get to take out the old fire place with a sledgehammer though, so its not all bad news. I notice that Ford are now making rumblings about a road going Focus Cosworth, which I believe is based on the Zetec Turbo engine, breathed on by Cosworth. Hmm, Cosworth Zetec Turbo Mk1 XR2. Now that would be worth investigating... It'd fit too!!
Sunday 7th November 1999
Some late nights at work this week, rolling out Service Pack 5 to my 340 NT workstations. Not had the inclination to do any work in the garage in the evenings. I'm saving up for the respray, and the wheels+tyres, so for the next month (November) things are going to be a bit quiet here. I should get some work done today. The front wheel bearing on the Mondeo is squeaking, so I need to get that seen to in the next few days. Must have dried the grease out, when I cooked the brakes a week or two back. Went for a thrash round the local B roads, but the Mondeo's just not designed for repeated and hard use of the brakes. They're ventilated disks on the front, but they completely fade after five or six corners. I'm missing the XR2. I used to be able to go out for a whole evening, road rallying in the Mk2, and her brakes never missed a beat. I was running Mintex 171 pads though. I wonder if they're available for the Mondeo?