March 2004

Tuesday 30th March 2004
Set the chassis up today. Weighed the car using some digital corner weights, and it really couldn't have been more perfect. We found the following: Total weight of the car is 756 Kg (1665 lb)
Front240.5 Kg240 Kg480.5 Kg
Rear136.5 Kg139 Kg275.5 Kg
This gives a 63:37 split front/rear, and 50:50 split left to right. I'd expect the front to be heaviest, its where the engine/gearbox sit. However, when I get in the car, it increases the overall weight by 90 Kg, and upsets the left/right balance, and with no adjustment available at the rear, I really need to run with a full tank to offset my weight, and I need to continue with the diet.

We've adjusted the front suspension so that the tracking is 0°, the camber is 1.75°, and the caster is 3.5°. These are a massive improvement to last season. I now have caster, with adjustment for more should I go for 13" wheels and lower profile tyres, which will give me more room for adjustment. The rear axle has 1.5° camber on both wheels, with a fraction of tow out, which will make the car turn in more quickly.

So that's it. The winter rebuild is now over (approx 150 hours work). The car is now in 2004 spec, with all new suspension, including 450lb springs at the rear. The engine is now running with Piper BP270BH camshafts and vernier pulleys, which should give a 16 BHP increase, which is around 10% more power than last year. The paintwork and repairs to the wheel arches from stone damage is complete. The Fiesta is clean, fuelled, and ready for her first outing on Sunday. Lets hope we have a successul and fun 2004.
Monday 29th March 2004
Protected the rear arches with helicopter tape. Sprayed the front spoiler some more. Taking the car to get the suspension setup tomorrow. Rxd the final instructions for 3 Sisters, we're car #140, alongside Les Proctor at #141, and Sport Libre class B has been amalgamated with A again due to lack of numbers.
Friday 26th March 2004
Collected my trailer from the car park at work, and brought it home. Loaded the Fiesta back on to the trailer, and the whole lot is now safely locked away in the garage. The brakes on the trailer had rusted on, took 10 minutes to work them loose so I could move the trailer.

The work on rear arches is now complete. The paintwork looks pretty good, and I now need to cover them in 3M leading edge (aka helicopter tape), to protect them from further damage caused by stone chips. Just need to respray the front spoiler and part of the front wheel arch on the near side, which is all masked off ready for spraying.

First event is next Sunday (4th April) and I've the car booked in at Rutland Performance Vehicles next Tuesday for the chassis alignment, so we can sort out the tracking etc.

I've rxd an apology from the Audi(UK) Customer Service Manager for the damage to my A6 whilst the car was at the main dealers last week. It's still booked in for next Wednesday for the repair work, and if it isn't ready for collection as they promised, next Friday, I'll have no means to tow the Fiesta to the first event, so they'd better not let me down.

Thales have committed to sponsor the car for another season, which is excellent news, and I'm just sorting out a package with a lightweight wheel manufacturer, so I can run some split rims and slick tyres later in the season. Watch this space for a further sponsorship announcement over the coming weeks. Just sorting out if I should buy radial or crossply slicks.
Loaded up and nearly ready for the coming season Look no tie bars! Showing the new front suspension Plastic primer on the front spoiler The front wheels are much further forwards now, indicating a greater caster angle than before Repaired (stonechips) rear wheel arch The damage inflicted on the A6 by my main dealer
Wednesday 24th March 2004
Sprayed the rear wheel arches, and cleaned the inside of the car.
Tuesday 23rd March 2004
Ran the engine, had to put a gallon of fuel in the cell. Then changed the oil and oil filter, for Mobil 1 0W40 synthetic. Refitted the bonnet (hood) and swept the garage floor. The Fiesta is finally back together again, and looking like a race car.
Saturday 20th March 2004
Ran the engine, at 2000 rpm for 20 minutes. No problems, runs as sweet as a nut, sounds great too.
Friday 19th March 2004
Finished insulating the exhaust manifold. The Audi was damaged at the main dealer in Leicester today. Took it in for some faults to be fixed, which they didn't do, and then discovered the rear passenger door had been dragged along a brick wall and the paintwork is damaged. They didn't declare their mistake, I spotted it when I went back to collect the car. It's an understatement to say that I'm unimpressed.
Thursday 18th March 2004
Wrapped the manifold with the Cool-It wrap. Took a couple of hours to do the job neatly.

Took the Audi in to the dealers. They think the blue/white smoke at startup was caused by a faulty engine water temperature sensor. I get the car back Friday afternoon, so I hope they find the fault and fix it. I've been given a new shape A3 1.6 as a courtesy car. Nice build quality, but the ride isn't very good. The suspension is quite hard, and the car feels really nervous on the town's bumpy roads. The wheels seem to joggle up and down over the undulations, its not as smooth a ride as the A6.

Event reg's are arriving thick and fast at the moment, for race meetings during the year. Just received the Midland Automobile Club reg's for the events in April and May, at Curborough and MIRA. I'll post them off in the morning. Its a very expensive time of year, as a lot of clubs bank your cheques as soon as they receive them. Even when the events dont take place for several months ahead. The event news page shows which events we're intending to compete in, eleven in all at this stage. Maybe more if the car still proves reliable and I can find the budget.
Wednesday 17th March 2004
Shortened one of the two zorst down pipes by 5mm so that it fits further over the pipe from the manifold. This should cure the leak. Ordered some more Thermotec Cool-It zorst bandage, so I can re-insulate the manifold. The last time I wrapped it, the manifold was on the engine, and it was a nightmare to do. Since I've got the manifold off the engine, I'm going to do a neater job. Bandage should arrive tomorrow. I've also ordered a pair of bumpstop rubbers for the front shock absorbers, and some red alloy bonnet pins, as I'm going to remove the old bonnet (hood) release catch to save some more weight.

Tightened the alternator drive belt, and locked the alternator in place. Did a little bit of painting too.

The Audi has stopped smoking when I start her from cold. I topped up the oil level on Monday, with some fresh Castrol Magnatec, and since then she's not smoked. Its also warmer in the mornings, so it could be related to the ambient temperture. She's in at the dealers tomorrow night for a check up. I may just ask for a fresh oil change after an engine flush. But not one where they just suck the oil out through the dipstick hole, a proper oil change where they actually remove the sump plug and drain all the old oil and sludge out.
Tuesday 16th March 2004
With the back of the car now re-assembled, I've started on the exhaust manifold, trying to cure the leak that's lingered all year. I took the downpipes and manifold off, and found that one of the two downpipes has three slots in it, to allow it to squeeze the pipe which it slides over. However the pipe has distorted, so even though I was tightening the clamp real tight, the pipe wasn't sealing, and the gas was leaking through one of the slots. I had to take some of the zorst bandage off to see what was going on, so I need to get some new stuff to wrap it back up with. I'm going to shorten the downpipe, so it slides further on to the manifold and shouldn't blow when I put everything back together again.

In the March 2004 Classic Ford magazine, there's a yellow Mk1 Fiesta with a 2.0 Zetec in it, and a very familiar looking front engine mount. The text says "Prior to starting this project, Ronnie had seen a fiesta with a similar conversion and so knew that it was possible - he then found the owner's website which contained lots of useful information to enable him to successfully install his new Mondeo engine". Now, forgive me if I'm wrong, but that must be this website, and wasn't it nice of Classic Ford to give us a mention. Never mind, another Fiesta we've helped move to Zetec power, so I'm really pleased.
Now, if Classic Ford wish to feature my car, I'd more than happy to oblige. However, sister magazine Retro Cars had my XR2 on their front cover last year, so it's unlikely they'd want to feature the cleanest and most radical Fiesta Mk1 Zetec in the country. Or would they?
Saturday 13th March 2004
The XR2 is now back on her wheels, and the rear anti-roll bar is connected. Sure looks odd with -ve camber on the rear wheels. Should make a big difference to straight line speed (less rolling resistance) and hopefully her ability to turn in and go round corners (the important bit). I just need to get everything aligned now. The anti-roll bar appears to be doing its job properly, when I jack up the car the rear wheel lifts a lot sooner than it would have done before. There is adjustment available, and I really need to get some testing under my belt before April.

Three jobs now remain. Run the engine and the new cams in, fix the leaking exhaust manifold, and finish off the repairs to the paintwork on the wheel arches. First event is just three weeks away, so it's great to be ahead of schedule at this point. I'm on Jury service (2nd week) next week, so I'll have to wait for the week afterwards before making plans about getting the suspension aligned.

I've refitted the Hawke ferro-carbon pads to the front brakes, which should increase stopping power too. The greenstuff pads are OK, but they just don't have the bite from cold. I may move down from ventilated disks to solid disks as the season progresses. To save more weight, and to allow the disks to get warmer.
Friday 12th March 2004
Rear axle is now installed. I had to swap the disk brakes and hubs over from the old axle, and I've been cleaning, spraying and painting various bits and pieces to make everything look presentable again. The axle and anti-roll bar are both powder coated, so they make everything else look scruffy. Bought some 12.9 grade bolts to replace all the various 8.8's that needed replacing, for items like the rear trailing arms etc. 12.9 grade bolts have a much higher tensile strength, and are almost unbreakable. Where as 8.8's are used in conjunction with rubber bushings usually, and as I'm using rod ends throughout, its vital that the bolts are replaced with 12.9's.
Tuesday 9th March 2004
Front end is now back together. And everything is torqued up, and the car is sitting on wheels again. Started on the back axle. Removed the road wheels, springs, anti-roll bar, disk brakes, and undid most of the fasteners. Just need to prise the shock absorbers off the axle, and I'll be able to remove it from the car. Listening to some great music at the moment. Being back in the garage each night means I get to listen to Zane Lowe on Radio 1, and the tracks he plays are really good. Heard a track by Ulrich Schnauss - 'On My Own' last night. An album I must buy.
Monday 8th March 2004
Spent most of Saturday fitting the suspension. Looks good, front wheels are much further forward, so I now have loads of caster. Timed the cams in. Easier to do than I first thought. You basically find top dead centre of piston number 1, and zero the timing disk which you've fitted to the crankshaft pulley. Then turn the crank clockwise to the 110° position, and using a dial gauge on the inlet camshaft tappet for cylinder number 1 (nearest the timing belt), turn the inlet camshaft by hand until you find full lift (not forgetting to take in to account the dwell angle). The pulley is then timed in at 110° which is the specification for the Piper BH270 camshaft. Now carefully fit the timing belt so's not to disturb the position of the camshaft, and turn your attention to the exhaust camshaft. Turn this to roughly the same orientation as the inlet camshaft, and again fit the cam belt to the pulley. Remove any slack from the belt. Next, turn the crankshaft anticlockwise back to the 0° TDC position, and then turn it anticlockwise through to 110° BTDC. Now turn the exhaust camshaft to give full lift on cylinder number 1, again using a dial gauge to measure full lift on the tappet. Lock the vernier pulleys securely, and rotate the engine by hand through two revolutions and check the timing figures again, at 110° ATDC and 110° BTDC. You'll find that the cams need adjusting again. Once you've done all this, you need to drill and fit the supplied dowels so that the new vernier pulleys cannot rotate on the ends of the cams. Mark the position of the hole through the hole in the aluminium pulley, and remove both the cam shafts. Carefully drill 6.5mm holes in the ends of the cam shafts, where you marked them, and fit the dowel pin using threadlock to stop them from falling out. Refit the cam shafts to the engine, and repeat the timing procedure above. Once complete, tighten the cam shaft retaining bolts to 50 ft/lb. HINT: to make the task above easier, once you've refitted the cams after drilling and fitting the dowels, coat the cam lobes with cam lube. This treacle like substance, protects the cam lobes from damage during the running in period, and also stops the cams from rotating when you release your grip after rotating them by hand. Without the cam lube they tend to snap back to a different resting position.

I've double and triple checked the timing and both cams are spot on at 110° so the engine should start and run. I've spun it over on the starter motor, and everything appears fine. (No horrible noises)

I've also fitted the new stronger alternator bracket, and tensioned the pulley belt. I just need to refit the radiator, and the engine is ready to run, which I'll do in the next few nights. Be nice to hear what it sounds like with the higher lift cams installed. Should be a bit louder, and sounds a little less standard than before.

The Audi A6 Quattro isn't very well at the moment. In the last few weeks she's started to smoke when I start her from cold, which indicates that maybe its the valve stem oil seals that need replacing. The smoke is blue/white, and really smells horrible, almost as though its unburnt fuel. Trouble is that there are 30 valves and four camshafts to disturb to replace the oil seals, so its not a job I really want to undertake. She's booked in next week at the main dealer for them to investigate. I'm supposed to be getting a company car in the next few months, so I don't want to sink lots of money in to the car just before selling it, but if I end up with a car from the pool that can't tow, I need to keep the Quattro for towing the Fiesta to events. She passed the emissions test a couple of weeks ago with almost zero trace of hydrocarbons etc, so I'm puzzled about the smoke. 15 seconds after startup she clear's, you just see steam out the tailpipes. Maybe its an ECU fault at cold start?.
Thursday 4th March 2004
Collected the rear suspension, anti-roll bar, and front tie bars. Chris Taylor at has done a neat job. I'll fit it all tomorrow. The rear axle should give me 1.5° of camber on each side, and the anti-roll bar which fits in the original chassis mountings, should limit the body roll. The ARB also now mounts inboard of the shock absorber mountings, instead of outside of them. The modified front tie bars now clear the 5 speed gearbox. Chris has also made a new alternator mounting bracket for me, as the last one, made by Powermaster, had sheared following the thrash at Bruntingthorpe in December.
New rear axle and anti-roll bar New rear axle and anti-roll bar Adjustable drop link connects the ARB to the bottom of the rear axle Close up of axle ends with machined aluminium spacers ATL fuel cell expiry date is 2006
Monday 1st March 2004
Brise no longer sell the alternator bracket that I was using, and because the one I had has sheared, I have to find an alternative. I'm going to see if I can have a copy made. The Zetecinside website grows from strength to strength. Last week nearly 11,000 pages published to the web in 7 days, which is a growth of 10% on the previous week.

I'm expecting the front tie bars back this week. And the new rear axle and rear anti-roll bar. There are only 4 weekends to go before the event at 3 Sisters on April the 4th, and there's loads of work left to do on the car. The chassis will be setup profesionally to make the most of the new suspension, and I'll have the engine dyno tuned later in the year when I've had a chance to run the cams in and get some mileage on the new suspension.