March 2008

Monday 31st March 2008
RIP David Leslie (former BTCC champion) and Richard Lloyd (Head of Apex Motorsport) who both perished in an air crash in Kent yesterday.

My entry for the Epynt Hillclimb on 22nd June has been accepted
Saturday 29th March 2008
I've re-made the throttle cable, after discovering in the workshop tonight that the outer had slipped, and therefore the throttle wasn't opening fully. I think this must have happened on the last run at Croft, as I hadn't noticed a drop off in performance during the day. It wont happen again, not the way I've placed everything this time.
Friday 28th March 2008
I'm organising a carbon bonnet group buy on We need a couple more orders to complete the minimum order. If you are interested, please register on the forum and show your intent.

I'm definitely entered in the Harewood Spring National, on April 13th. Sports Libre has just 3 cars in the >1700cc capacity, which means that with some determined peddaling, I'm in with a chance of a 1st in class. Preparation will include fitting a new Varley Red Top 15 battery, fitting the heated windscreen, some M8x20mm titanium bolts I bought off ebay, and upgrading the Race Technology DL90 with their latest model. I'll also be wiring in a microswitch to let me do full throttle gear changes, which will take some getting used to, not lifting off between gear changes that is.

My pictures from Croft are shown below
Croft 24-March-2008 Croft 24-March-2008 Croft 24-March-2008 Croft 24-March-2008 Croft 24-March-2008 Croft 24-March-2008 Croft 24-March-2008 Croft 24-March-2008 Croft 24-March-2008 Croft 24-March-2008 Croft 24-March-2008 Croft 24-March-2008 Croft 24-March-2008 Croft 24-March-2008 Croft 24-March-2008
Thursday 27th March 2008
The results from the Croft sprint have now been published, and the organisers admit that the clocks were running 1.51 times (or 51%) too fast in the afternoon, so the time published need to be divided by 1.51 to find the actual times. So my two practice runs, of 107.62s, 105.85, were followed by two competitive runs at 101.37s, and then a blistering 95.11s, which placed me 5th in class, 52nd overall, and 4th fastest front wheel drive. I'm quite happy with the result, as the next time I'm at Croft, at least I'll know the circuit.

My next event is Harewood on April 13th, or at least I think it is, as I haven't been sent an acceptance slip yet.
Tuesday 25th March 2008
In my opinion, there's only two things that spoil a good event. The weather, and faulty timing equipment. And despite a few flurries of snow, the weather didn't really play a major role. And so it was down to the timing gear at Croft to turn an otherwise excellent event, in to a complete shambles. And the organisers really lost the plot in the afternoon, by announcing that the clocks were running 51% fast. So the times in the afternoon, were considerably different to the morning, and any one setting class records weren't going to be credited with anything. What a shame. We pay all that money to enter an event, and the element of customer satisfaction seems to go right out the window. Its high time we ditched timing beams and went for transponders, like the roundy-roundy boys. It settles all the arguments.

Ok, so how did the Fiesta fair? Well, I was making improvements all morning, and on the fourth and final lap (My second timed run) I rocketed round, blitzed the esses, braked late, I'd have given Jason Plato a run for his money. The air box was a complete success, as was the modified Altiss inlet manifold, and the Fiesta absolutely BLOODY flies now. She sat ticking over for 30 mins at a time, whilst waiting for faults with the timing to be sorted, and never missed a beat. Oil pressure was around 35psi at tickover (1100rpm) and the new Stack gauges worked fine. I dont think that I really had an oil pressure issue. It was the old gauge that was at fault. She is thriving on getting cold air for the very first time, and pulled really hard in all the gears. Feels far more like 180BHP now than she ever did.

I did shear another alternator bolt during the 1st practice run, so I spent an hour replacing it. Its happened a few times now, so I need to look at bracing the alternator to stop it from happening again. I'm using 12.9 bolts but they still snap.

I had a great day out, dont get me wrong, the Audi tow car purred along at 60MPH all the way there and back, and the traffic was kind to me too. All in all, a fabulous circuit, a very high speed event, but it was a real shame that none of us have any real times from the event. 5 out of 10 to Darlington Motor Club. "Could do better."
There are a few pictures of the event here
Picture 1
This one even has snow in the picture
Picture 2
Saturday 22nd March 2008
I bought 5l of Halford 5W50 synthetic oil for the Croft sprint. This should help raise the oil pressure when the engine is very hot. The Zetec normally uses 5W30, but the oil pressure has dropped to <10PSI at tickover when very hot, which indicates that the engine in the car at the moment, could be on its last legs.

Lifeline control box I've also changed the battery in the Lifeline control module (left). You MUST use a good quality PP3 replacement battery. I'd fitted a cheap alkaline battery a few weeks ago, but the amber LED wouldn't illuminate when the switch on the top of the box, was moved to the Test position. So I fitted a new Duracell battery today, and low and behold the LED now illuminates. Morale of the story: Use Duracells in the control box.

I just need to fill the Fiesta with fuel, and load the tow car up tomorrow evening, and we're all set for Monday. I'm quite looking forward to the tow to Croft, as well as the actual event of course. Its the first time I've driven the car in anger for almost 18 months, so it'll be great to get reaquanted with all the noise, harshness and vibration which you associate with a competition car.

Finally, the Zetec S3 Eagle rods and JE pistons have arrived from the USA, so the new engine build can commence in April, with the possibility of it being installed in time for the summer.
Friday 21th March 2008
I loaded the XR2 back on to the trailer today. The forecast for Sunday/Monday is heavy snow, so with the weather so nice today, it seemed a good opportunity to drag the trailer round and get it all loaded up and tied down. You can clearly see the 7" round air duct for the air box in the picture. It fits perfectly inside the headlight cowl. Looks a little odd, only having one headlamp, but if it increases the power, then its a small price to pay.
Loaded on the trailer Loaded on the trailer Loaded on the trailer
Wednesday 19th March 2008
Fitted the new throttle cable tonight. I then ran the engine for approx 5 minutes. Pleased to report that there were no leaks, and the engine ticks over really smooth. The Varley red top didn't have enough juice to even turn the engine over, but the boost battery didn't let me down. The oil pressure gauge showed 60PSI at tickover when cold, and I expect this to drop when the engine is warmed up. The fuel pump didn't appear to be running for part of the time I was cranking the engine over, but the voltage was down as low as 8 Volts, which could mean that the ECU didn't have enough juice. Still, she fired up in the end, so I'm more than a little pleased. I'll run her again on Friday, outside this time so I can really let her get up to temperature without having to breath in the exhaust fumes. I'll check my wiring in my control box, to make sure that the relay for the fuel pump is not going to let me down on Monday. By the way, the forecast is for snow this weekend, so fingers crossed it doesn't get too cold.
Engine running
Tuesday 18th March 2008
Fitted the Earls fittings to the fuel hoses tonight, which was fun. I followed the guide here. I used masking tape to stop the stainless steel from fraying. Ran the fuel pump for 60 seconds and there are no leaks which is the important thing. I've got to lengthen the throttle cable, which means I cant run the engine until tomorrow evening, once I've visited the local bike shop for a new cable and outer.

I've fitted a 7" round Revotec air duct in place of the near side headlamp, and the hose for the air box is now fed from the duct. I'll post pictures tomorrow.

So (deep breath), jobs remaining are now:
Fit the new throttle cable
Run the engine
Fit the rear wheels
Load the car on the trailer
So not much left to do, which means I should have a quiet weekend prior to Easter Monday.
Monday 17th March 2008
The TBR32 fuel rail arrived from Jenvey, so I fitted it tonight. I also had the wheels/tyres balanced today, and the fronts are now back on the car. I am car #32 on Monday, and signing on is at 8am, so it'll be a very early departure from Leicester for me.
TBR32 fuel rail TBR32 fuel rail TBR32 fuel rail
Sunday 16th March 2008
Instruments now fitted, and tested and are working fine. The Stack guages look stunning.

Bled the brakes this evening. Took about 10 minutes.

Shaved the two near side tyres ready for balancing tomorrow. Removed the old championship stickers, and will fit the new ones tonight.
Stack gaugues Stack gaugues Stack gaugues Shaving the tyres
Friday 14th March 2008
The new instruments are now fully wired up, and will be plugged in to the car tomorrow. I'll also bleed the brakes tomorrow, and shave the near side tyres.
Thursday 13th March 2008
More work on getting the instruments wired in. I've mounted the water temperature sensor in the brass adaptor boss which Jim Hearne made for me back in 2001. The adaptor provided by Stack, doesn't allow their sensor to actually become immersed in the coolant, whereas Jims adaptor does. I need to some heatshrink tubing to continue, so more updates tomorrow.

I've now adjusted the height of the bonnet so that it is closed properly. Previously, I'd ran the bonnet lifted up about an inch, to allow the heat from the engine bay to escape, but now with the airbox and cold air supply, I can lower it back, which looks a lot nicer I think.

Only a few jobs left before Easter Monday. Finish bleeding the brakes, fit the new instruments, fit the fuel rail, prep the near side tyres, run the engine, charge the booster battery, clean the car, etc.
Stack gaugues Stack gaugues Stack adaptors Stack adaptors Thermocouple fitted to engine
Wednesday 12th March 2008
Fuel hose and fittings arrived from Earls, and I've replaced the 90° fitting on the pipe that runs down from the pressure regulator to the bulkhead fitting, with a straight, and turned the bulkhead fitting through 90° accordingly. I've also fitted the Stack gauges to the instrument pod, which took some doing. The threaded rods which come out the back of the 52mm Stack gauges, are extremely long compared to the other gauges, so I had to shorten each rod by about 10mm, just to get the gauges inside the pod. Not nice having to take a hacksaw to new gauges, but it wont effect the operation, and they're all now ready for wiring up. Each gauge comes with its own unpluggable wiring harness, which means I have a little bit of work tomorrow to get everything connected. Jenvey aren't able to supply the new TBR32 fuel rail until Monday/Tuesday, according to Simon. Thats disappointing as I intended to run the engine this weekend, prior to Croft next weekend. I'll just have to spend the weekend finishing off all the other jobs instead.
Tuesday 11th March 2008
Another day off work, spent working on the Audi. But I did say I was going to replace the rear brake pads and disks, and that is what I did. Mind you I had to buy a piston rewind tool, which I hadn't expected. In the old days, you could just push the brake caliper piston back into the caliper by hand. But some cars that have the handbrake on the rear calipers, have an adjuster mechanism inside the piston, which means that the piston is threaded. So you have to turn the piston on its thread, to get it back inside the caliper. Sounds easy. But my Audi wouldn't allow the brake fluid back in to the reservoir, so I had to undo the bleed nipple to allow the excess fluid to drain away. Without releasing the pressure, the piston simply wouldn't budge. Anyway, both sides are now done, and the old disks and pads (whats left of them) have been skipped.

I've bled the rear brakes this evening, and I've taken the instrument cluster out the car, ready to replace the digital gauges with the new Stack ones. I also rang Earls to order some bits for the engine bay. 2M of Perform-O-Flex hose, a couple of 45° swept fittings, and a straight connector, all female.
Engine bay for 2008 Engine bay for 2008 My outgoing gauges My outgoing gauges My patented brake bleeding system, using a vacuum pump
Monday 10th March 2008
Bled the front brakes. I dont have enough brake fluid to do the rears, so I'll go to Halfords today to collect some more.

Checked out the fuel system too. The filter, pump, and all fittings seem to be ok, and I ran the pump for a minute to make sure that the system was working, and there were no problems. I need to order two dash 6 45° fittings, a straight connector, and a couple of meters of braided hose for the engine bay. Since the throttle bodies have moved, my existing hoses are not long enough. I'll replace all the perform-o-flex in April, with Teflon lined hose. I'm fed up with the car smelling of petrol, which is the problem with the perform-o-flex, it breathes and allows patrol vapour to escape. Not recommended for inside the car itself. Teflon lined hose doesn't suffer from the same problem.

I bought a Jenvey TBR32 fuel rail today. It has dash 6 fittings, and looks better than the two rails I've been using for the past 7 years.

Fitted the new Oil Pressure sender unit today. I treated myself to Stacks new range of 52mm stepper motor digital guages, and I'll have the Oil Pressure, Water Temperature, and Voltage gauges fitted in the next day or so.
Sunday 09th March 2008
The Audi passed the annual MOT test yesterday, so the hard work over the past week in fitting the new parts paid off. I can focus on the XR2 again now.

I found yesterday that the ports in the head are really badly aligned with the ports in the manifold, so I opened up the manifold to match the head, which took a few hours filing, but should be worthwhile. The picture shows a black line around the port, and that shows just how much larger the port needed to become in order to match the port in the head.

The modified inlet manifold is on, the Pipercross 600 airbox is on, and I just need to reconnect fuel hoses, and she's good to go. Well, almost, but you get the picture.
Modified Zetec manifold Modified Zetec manifold Modified Zetec manifold Modified Zetec manifold Modified Zetec manifold Modified Zetec manifold Modified Zetec manifold Modified Zetec manifold Modified Zetec manifold Modified Zetec manifold
Friday 07th March 2008
I fitted the Offside Front TCA to the Audi this afternoon, then injured my right arm trying to change the brake pads on the Offside Rear wheel. Ouch, cars hurt.

I also collected the Inlet Manifold from Altiss this afternoon, and it look much shorter than before, and the throttle bodies will certainly be pointing upwards instead of at the bulkhead. I'l do a trial fitting in the morning.

I've also painted the brake fluid reservoir mounting bracket, and prepped another tyre using the Sureform plane.
Modified Zetec manifold Modified Zetec manifold
Wednesday 05th March 2008
Bought a couple of M12x1.5 nuts for the Audi bottom ball joints, and I've now completed the NSF arm. Just waiting for the OSF arm to come in stock, and I can replace that too.

Altiss still haven't started the inlet manifold, but Nigel did say that it was on his list for this week. Croft is only 19 days away....

The Zetec Alternator Brackets are going to be £54.99 each, plus £2.99 Postage and Packing. I'll add a link to the merchandise page later this week, so that they can be purchased 'On Line'.

Started preparing the tyres on the Fiesta. They've picked up all manner of rubbish since I last used them at Cadwell in 2006, so I'm literally planing off the rubbish. Next I'll wash them with detergent, and cover in cling-film to keep them clean.
Tuesday 04th March 2008
An expensive day today. The Audi A6 failed the MOT Test. The ball joints, on the near side and offside front track control arms had worn badly so the arms needed replacing. Audi charged me £200 for the replacement arms, which I have to say, are very nicely made, cast from aluminium alloy. I changed the Near Side arm, and ran in to a problem. Neither replacement arm is supplied with a nut to go with the bottom ball joint. So I now have a car jacked up on the driveway, which I cant drive until I replace the nut. I think the thread is M12x1.5, but I wont know until I go to my local fastener outlet and buy a couple of nuts. The arms are part numbers A8E0 407 694 AG, and A8E0 407 693 AG. When the arms are both replaced, I then need to sort out the sticking rear brakes as neither wheel was easy to turn when raised off the ground.
Monday 03rd March 2008
I made a blanking plate for the bulkhead where the brake reservoir hoses now come through. I used some ally plate, and cut a 19mm hole. A rubber grommet protects the hoses. Siliconed it in place. I took a closer look at the Pipercross 600 airbox this evening, and its quite a clever design, though I'm not sure it represents very good value for money. The body is made from ABS plastic, and is quite sturdy. The air filter fits in the end of the air box, and is inverted. That is, its a cone construction, and points inwards, towards the centre of the air box body. So all you need to do is connect an air duct to the end, and make sure that the unit is able to draw cold air in. The whole thing feels a bit cheap, but the proof will be in the pudding as they say. Still dont even know if I can fit it. I'll call Altiss today to see when the manifold will be ready.
Sunday 02nd March 2008
I've now relocated the brake fluid reservoirs (see pics) and the two hoses I purchased from Rally Design (7/16 -4) are just long enough to allow me to feed them through the bulkhead using an existing hole. I'll have to fit a blanking plate over the hole, and feed the hoses through a smaller grommet.
Reservoirs relocated Reservoirs relocated New hoses fitted Raldes hoses