October 2010

Tuesday 26th October 2010
The dealer called today to let me know that the flywheel and clutch are on order, and my car is due back in on Monday for more work.

I've downloaded the DTA S80 ECU map from the Fiesta, and that is now available for download here. Looking at the ECU data log from Bruntingthorpe, it shows that the engine tickover is around 950rpm, so at this speed the water pump is operating within its normal range. So I reckon a 1mm restrictor in the swirl pot return hose should cure the overheating problem, as the return hose must be allowing the hot water from the head, to bypass the radiator at tickover.
Monday 25th October 2010
The new flywheel (flywheel number 2) has made the judder worse than before. The dealership clearly understand the problem now, as they pre-warned me and explained what they tried to do to remedy the problem. They were told to check the clutch slave, and that didn't turn up anything unusual. And they even slipped the new clutch for a while to get it to bed in on the new flywheel, and all that succeeded in doing was making the car stink of burning clutch.

So they are now taking advise from IM Group Warranty department, and it sounds like they are going to order another clutch and DMF, and will change both together, and will then see if that cures the fault. If it doesn't, they said that IM Group would send a technical expert to oversee another attempt at dismantling the car and putting it back together again.

I did have a quick look at my original flywheel that they replaced today, and it looked like there were two high spots on the clutch surface, as they had a blue tinge to them. So much for skimming it last week.

So I need to wait another week for the parts to come in, and struggle with a juddering clutch for a bit longer. I'm stumped as to why its still doing it. Maybe the input shaft on the gearbox has bent, who knows? I just want the fault I reported 18,000 miles ago, fixed!
Sunday 24th October 2010
I spoke to IM Group on Thursday morning to find out what was going on with my clutch judder problem. They explained that Heritage had only contacted them for the clutch PWA, but they'd speak to the dealer to get to the bottom of the problem. Sure enough, the dealer called back late Thursday to tell me they're changing the flywheel. So the Diesel is in for a new Dual Mass Flywheel in the morning, and with another 530 miles looming this week, I hope for Subaru's sake that the replacement item fixes the judder.
Wednesday 20th October 2010
I've received an overnight e-mail from a fellow Subaru owner (thanks Robert) in Australia this morning, with a kit list of all the parts replaced on his Liberty (same as the Legacy) and Subaru authorised the replacement of the DMF with a traditional Flywheel. So again, this problem is acknowledged by Subaru, and they are paying for dealerships to do the work to fix the problem.

I'm off down to Wells this afternoon, so I'll have to endure the problem once again, and another 330miles on the transmission isn't going to do it a lot of good in its present state.

Footnote: On the journey down this afternoon, with a fully warmed up car, 49.5mpg so not exactly trail blazing, the engine now needs around 2000rpm and a lot of slipping of the clutch just to pull away from a standing start. I fear my trip back tomorrow may be on the back of a car transporter. I rang the dealers at 5:45pm and was told to call back in the morning, as there was nobody there who was technical, so there was 'little point in telling them about the problem.'

On a more positive note, I've completed the phone interview with Jamie from Fast Ford Magazine, and hopefully, I'll get to check the article before they run it in next months magazine.
Tuesday 19th October 2010
My Subaru Legacy diesel went in to the Dealership in Leicester yesterday for a replacement clutch, and wasnt ready until this morning. The dealer had arranged to have the flywheel 'skimmed', which delayed the reassembly. A phone call at 6pm letting me know it was ready, I arranged to take the courtesy car back first thing in the morning as I had a 250mile trip to make, and time was of the essense.

So I went to collect it this morning, and the first thing they asked was how I was going to pay. "Pay?" I asked, "its a warranty claim. I have no intention of paying for the work". A few minutes later, and they were apologising for the mixup, and handed me the keys.

So I jumped in to the car, with the kids fastened safely in the back, and guess what? The judder was still there. Straight on the phone to the dealer, they asked me to drop the car back in, so I duly took the kids home, and headed back to the Dealership. Approximately 10 minutes before I arrived, I then received a phone call from Andrew the manager, telling me to let them know everything that was wrong, and arranging to have the car back in on Monday for whatever work they needed to do. Their Subaru expert would test drive the car.

When I arrived, a technician, named Chris, who admitted he didn't work on Subaru's as Jeeps were his main area of expertise, sat in with me on the test drive. I demonstrated the judder, and he acknowleged the judder was present. He explained that the original and the replacement clutch plate had springs in them, and he thought that this was odd as the DMF itself has springs inside to dampen the clutch, so quite why Subaru fits a clutch plate also with inbuilt springs is anyones guess.

The bottom line now is that judder still exists, (worse than before) and searching the internet reveals that other Diesel owners have had both the clutch and DMF replace. The garage can only replace the DMF, if Subaru UK authorises the work. When I asked if the PAC file update was applied to the ECU (the update was released recently for all Subaru Diesels, to eliminate flat spots and reduce torque in 1st and 2nd gear to alleviate problems with the clutch) Chris confirmed that it had been applied, though in this instance, it hadn't made any difference to the symptons.

I asked the technician how much the charge was for changing the clutch, and he said £960. Ouch! I'm now waiting to hear from the dealer (next 48hrs) as to the next course of action. In the mean time, the judder feels worse, and eminates itself in first when rolling forwards in traffic. If I dip and re-engage the clutch without bringing the car to a complete standstill, the judder is most extreme as the clutch is re-engaged, and I've almost been caught out twice when arriving at junctions, expecting to make a quick getaway, and having to react very quickly to avoid rapidly approaching traffic. This makes turning right across oncoming traffic almost impossible, and joining roundabouts a bit of a lottery.

Given the dealership changed the clutch, without replacing the flywheel, intimates that this was done purely as a cash generator for the Dealership (Heritage Leicester). They were expecting me to pay almost £1000 for what should have been an 'approved' warranty fix from Subaru, that should have included a new DMF. I had no intention of paying for the work, as the agreement with the dealer was that it would be done as a warranty repair. Skimming the Dual Mass Flywheel does not sound like a common practice, especially on a DMF unit, and the process followed certainly does not sound to be one endorsed by Subaru UK.
Monday 18th October 2010
Went to Bruntingthorpe on Friday, and had the pictures taken for the cover of Fast Ford magazine. The other Fiesta was a white 4x4 Cosworth powered road going Mk6 Fiesta, that started life as a 1400 Diesel. Ian, the owner, and his brother, were at Brunters for the first time, and were soon enjoying themselves around the 4.5 mile track (including a 180° spin on cold tyres). We had to drive side by side, following the photographers 530D Estate car, whilst pictures were taken of myself and Ian trying to drive as close together as we could get without leaving swirl marks down the cars. A mirror fitted to the rear of the 530D would have made life a lot simpler, as we had no way of judging how close we were to each other, and our fate lay in the hands of Mike the photographer. We then had to follow the car again, this time one at a time, for more shots. After that the BMW followed us both driving side by side, for another lap to get some shots from the rear. And finally, a camera boom was fastened to Ians car, and we had to do some walking pace shots, with the camera on a slow exposure, to get some motion blur.

I think I must have done over 50 miles in total, and the Duratec is still suffering from overheating in neutral at tickover. So despite plumbing in the top water swirl pot, the engine still isn't pulling cold water in to the block at tickover even with the stat open. This didn't stop us enjoying ourselves, and I managed over 100MPH (5250rpm in fifth) on one quick blast, which is quicker than she's been for a long time.

For the trip, I fitted the old Pipercross foam air filters elements to the Titans, and this proved essential with all the stones and grit thrown up following the BMW. Ian's Fiesta windscreen suffered a couple of nasty stone chips from the crap thrown up from the concrete runway. Its high time they cleaned the surface, and I'm sure there used to be a old road sweeper that used to circulate the 4.5 mile track.

I've received a few suggestions (via Twitter) as to what to do to fix the cooling problem. On Friday, the temp was creeping over 105°C and raising the engine rpm made the water temperature drop to 80-90°C. Given that the tickover on a standard Duratec in the Fiesta is 950rpm, I need to check my tickover speed to give the pump a chance to do its job properly. One suggestion from Uphillracers.com is to fit a 3mm restrictor in the 8mm return hose from the water swirl pot, as the volume of water returning to the header tank suggests that this could be bypassing the radiator. Another is to fit an 80°C thermostat, as petrol engines run most effectively at around 75°C. This may help, I wont know until I try it. (presumably they run at 90C in the ST because the heater inside the car needs much hotter water to warm the cabin up) Maybe the impeller on the pump is freewheeling on the shaft, so I may take the pump out to check. Another option is to fit an electric water pump, but I really dont want to do this until I've cured the problem, otherwise I'm just masking it.

If you, or your company, has any other suggestions, to cure the overheating at tickover, and wants to help me get to the bottom of it, in return for publicity, please get in touch. I'm happy for someone else to lend a hand.

Tuesday 12th October 2010
Spotted a broken engine steady bar on Monday evening. The bracket that I made to bolt on to the steering rack mounting had fallen to bits, and I remembered that I'd just tack welded it together. In the excitement of driving the car at Shelsley, it broke clean off from its mounting, leaving the engine with just one steady bar, and a lot of movement. So I've made another bracket, from 4mm steel and some 1" square box section steel, and this one isn't going to break. At least it explains the horrible noises I was hearing from the bulkhead when driving the car. That must have been the bracket complaining.

The swirl pot has arrived, and I'll plumb it in on Thursday evening. The joining instructions from Fast Ford have arrived, and I need to be at the airfield by 9:30am, so I'll load the car on the trailer on Friday morning, rather than trying to do too much on Thursday evening.
Monday 11th October 2010
Evalution-Designs are making me a custom alloy water swirl pot, that will fit in to the radiator top hose. Any trapped air/steam in the top of the radiator will vent to the header tank via an 8mm hose.

I'm off to Bruntingthorpe on Friday for another photo shoot, this time for the Fast Ford magazine front cover. So I'll plumb the radiator back in, and leave out the thermostat, unless the swirl pot arrives in time, in which case I'll plumb it all in.

Safety Devices has sent me the certificates for the Mk1 Fiesta roll cage. They're here and here.

Supposedly, there is a new ECU update for the Subaru Legacy diesel, to reduce torque in 1st and 2nd gear, and therefore save the clutch/DMF from wear. I'll call the dealers to see if this is something that they can do, prior to tearing the gearbox off the car.
Wednesday 6th October 2010
Last night I removed the radiator, to check the cooling system for problems. When I disconnected the top hose, I found a large chamber of air in the top of the radiator/top hose, and I believe that this is the source of the problem. I removed the thermostat and it opened when I placed it in near boiling water. There are no markings on the thermostat so I can only assume its a 88c version. The engine block is free of any obstructions. So I reckon I need to elevate the 8mm bore hose that runs from the temperature sensor housing on the end of the cylinder head, to allow air trapped in the top hose/radiator to escape. Or add a take-off on the top of the radiator, feeding back to the header tank, again, to allow trapped air to escape. I'll make some mods in the next few days and try again.
Tuesday 5th October 2010
The shorter axle arrived last week, so I've some work to do over the next couple of weeks to fettle the car for the return trip to the dyno. First job is to drain and remove the radiator and check for blockages in the engine block, a job for tonight.

There are some rather worrying discussions on forums about legality of roll cages in cars, and the MSA have been failing cars at events because their cages dont comply with one new regulation, concerning the front legs of a cage, and wether or not it has more than one bend it. They seem to be focusing on S bend cages, where the cage legs avoid the dashboard. But others have fallen foul of mis-interpretation of the rules.

Read more here and here

I've booked my 2008 Subaru Legacy Diesel in for a new clutch, as the dealer finally agreed last month that it does judder in 1st gear. It'll be interesting to see what state it comes back in, theres so many pipes and wires to undo and reconnect. I actually polished the car for the first time this weekend, which took forever being an estate car. But there is something very satisfying about watching water bead and run off a freshly waxed car.