August 2008

Thursday 28th August 2008
I discovered a few teething problems with the new site design and layout. I tracked them down to a redirect problem in the .htaccess file. So all the old links cached by sites such as Google etc, should still display the new web content, despite the cached filenames having changed extensions (from .htm to .shtml). The Analog Stats for the site are showing a significant drop off in hits in the last couple of days, but now the redirect is working, normal service should have been restored. Fingers crossed.

All the web pages now have exactly the same look and feel to them, and I'm currently converting the archived news pages (all 127 of them) to use the new template and file extension. These will be available in the next couple of days.
Monday 25th August 2008
The new website design is now live. I've made a lot of changes, and it now uses SSI, or Server Side Includes, to allow for far more flexibility when modifying things like menus. I've still some work to do, to convert all the 120+ archive pages over to the new format, and these will follow over the next few days. I hope you like the new layout, and you can still find everything you are looking for.
Friday 22nd August 2008
I've sold the 2.0 Zetec engine, the Eagle rods and JE pistons. These were going to be the basis of the new engine for the XR2, but since I've bought the Duratec, the Zetec parts were no longer required. A quick trip to Heathrow airport on my way home yesterday, and I've now recouped the money I'd spent on the parts, which will go towards the Duratec build.

I'm currently adapting the website to use something called SSI. This technology allows me to have more control over the content, and it makes it easier for me to update all 200+ pages. The newsite can be found at The existing home and latest news pages show the new header, and these changes will also be applied to all the rest over the coming week, as well as the SSI changes being implemented. Sorry for any disruption, but normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.

On the way home this afternoon I spotted the recently restored Vulcan bomber flying overhead. It was flying along the A43, near Silverstone, and must have been out performing some trials. Quite a spectacle.

Tuesday 19th August 2008
I passed my ITIL Service Management foundation exam yesterday, yeah!
Sunday 17th August 2008
Here are the shots of the front Fiesta ST150 Duratec engine mount, and a potential problem with the gear selection mechanism on the IB5 box. The box goes in to gear, but the large counterweight, which presumably improves the 'feel' of the gearchange, hits the chassis rail. I guess I can just trim that piece to give me some clearance.
Front ST150 engine mount Gear selector
Friday 15th August 2008
I'm revamping the website at the moment, so there's a new style sheet that needs loading. If you dont see a blue background with orange hyperlinks, press Ctrl-F5 to force your web browser to reload all the cached pages.
Thursday 14th August 2008
I stumbled across a very useful website yesterday. You can compare engines according to their weight, dimensions etc. Very useful and well worth bookmarking.

The all new Dash 3 arrived today from Race Technology in Nottingham. Its a programmable backlit LCD display for the DL1 datalogger, and it can be programmed to display GPS speed, RPM etc etc, and it connects directly to the DL1 via a D-Type connector. I'll try it out at the weekend.
Thursday 7th August 2008
Well, the Duratec engine is in the engine bay, just waiting for some engine mounts to be fitted. Plenty of room for the alternator, and the exhaust by the looks of things.

Installing the Duratec Installing the Duratec Installing the Duratec Installing the Duratec Installing the Duratec Installing the Duratec
Wednesday 6th August 2008
The end of an era tonight. The Zetec engine and BC box have been removed, in preparation for the installation of the Duratec.

And the BMW 3 Series Touring went back today. It turns out that they're not on the company car list at present due to BMW facelifting the 3 series, and the new models and prices will be added back to the list later in August.
Stripping the engine bay Removing the engine Empty engine bay
Tuesday 5th August 2008
Removed the exhaust system and manifold; inlet manifold and throttle bodies + air box; oil catch tank; wiring loom. All thats left to remove now is the gear linkage and the engine/box can be removed.

The demonstration BMW 320D arrived today. Its a black M-Sport with leather etc. Drives really nice. I checked the list of available cars yesterday, from the lease company, and found that the 3 Series is no longer available, nor the Skoda Octavia. Its either an SQL database error, or the cars really have been removed from the list. I knew Corporate were reviewing the list of cars, but to remove the BMW and the Skoda just doesn't make any sense.
Monday 4th August 2008
Dismantled the radiator, header tank and hoses; removed both front struts, brakes and driveshafts; removed the remote oil filter, catch tank, headlamp surrounds, grill and bonnet
Stripping the engine bay
Friday 1st August 2008
So the front suspension is all removed, and the brakes disconnected so the front struts are ready to be dropped from the car with the driveshafts attached. Just need to ship the bits I sold on Ebay to clear enough space to stow everything.

Bill Davidson from the USA contacted me with an explanation as to why my front tie bars are foobared.

Your lower control arm has an inboard heim / rose joint / spherical bearing and an outboard ball joint, hence it is free to rotate along it's longitudinal axis which will be a straight line joining the centers of the "ball" at each end. This is regardless of the shape of the metal structure between them (inc the 30 deg bend required to match the bottom of the knuckle). What stops the fore - aft movement of this control arm under accel & braking is the front tie bar. This needs to attach to the control arm on the (theoretical) centerline between the inboard & outboard pivots to prevent any moment or twisting of the control arm under accel & braking. If you connect the front tie bar below that centerline (down where the actual structure is) then you are trying to bend that joint (attachment point) every time you hit the gas or the brakes.

Eventually this cycling will fatigue the joint and/or structure leading to cracks & failure. I do know this because mine failed several times, resulting in the wheel coming back into the footbox, folding up the wing & des****ing the flare.

So I'll definitely try a different design on the new tie bars and TCA's. Thanks to Bill for the diagnosis.