May 2011

Tuesday 31st May 2011
Spent around an hour and a half trying to adjust the suspension and the position of the engine and gearbox last night, to give me clearance for the gearbox and the tie bar. But try as I might I'm really struggling to run sensible levels of camber on the front suspension. I'll not give up though. If this setup cannot be made to work I'll go down the wishbone route instead. I shall persevere, and will definitely be at the Classic Ford show on Sunday with the Fiesta, even if the front wheels are at jaunty angles.

Ordered another 5 litres of 10W60 engine oil from 76 Racing, and a couple of other bits for the car. A mechanical fuel pump to allow me to fill the Fiesta tank without having to struggle with the weight of the 20litre Jerry can, and a fuel pressure gauge so I can monitor the fuel pressure at the fuel rail.

And I've booked the car back in at **** on the 14th June to allow **** to finish off the engine mapping, and to have the suspension aligned professionally.
Sunday 29th May 2011
Ran the engine today, first time since I changed the rod bolts and the flywheel. The starter motor on 2mm spacers sounds like it engages properly with the flywheel, and after around 30seconds of turning the engine over on the starter, it built up oil pressure (40psi on the key). So I switched on the ignition and started the engine. No horrible noises, and the new lower engine steady bar kept the engine rock steady. Once warmed up, I set about bleeding the front brakes, and now that's done, I'll make some adjustments to the tracking and front geometry to make the Fiesta driveable. I've also removed the old windscreen sunstrip from the car and I'll get some red fablon this week to replace it.

I took this video on my mobile phone today.

Monday 16th May 2011
Finished. The XR2 is back on the trailer, ready for a trip to **** for the new suspension setup and rolling road mapping. **** said he needed another couple of hours to map the engine fully, so I'll see if I can get a session sorted out. Time to register for the championship, get some tyres ordered and send off some entry forms. :D I'll arrange for a test session at Donington or Mallory first though so I can give the car its first proper shakedown since I completed the engine install last August.
Friday 13th May 2011
Even more hours spent outside today. I replaced the neutral gear selector cable with a new stainless one, which is around 4 inches longer than the one supplied by Quaife. Its just a bicycle brake cable at the end of the day, so I used a new stainless one from Halford, and fitted it to the detent device that screws in to the gearbox, then fed it through the bulkhead, and fastened it to the red collar at the top of the gear lever. When I need neutral, I lift the collar and push the lever away, and it allows the gearbox to go from 1st gear in to neutral.

With the detent cable fitted I filled the box with oil. Quaife said it holds 3 litres of 75/90 but I only managed 2 litres before it started running back out of the filler hole on the front of the box. I'll check it again before I drive the car in anger.

Next I bolted the gear lever cable to the box, and calibrated the Geatronics electronic gear display. The gearbox is fitted with a Penny and Giles potentiometer, that the gear display connects to, and when a gear is selected on the gearbox, the potentiometer sends a voltage to the display unit, to indicate the gear that has been selected. But before this can work, the display ECU needs to learn each voltage for a given gear. This is quite straight forward to do. With the aux power circuit on, press the recessed button at the bottom of the display for 3 seconds, and it flashes 'P' for Program mode. It then cycles through 4,5,6,7 and you need to press the button again when '5' is displayed, to indicate that it is a 5 speed gearbox. Then 'R' is displayed, so select reverse gear and press the button. Then 'N' is displayed, so select Neutral and press the button. Then '1' is displayed, and so on and so forth. When finished and 5th gear is programmed, the display box sits and waits for a few seconds whilst it displays a flashing '-' and memorises the gear positions, and you are then able to turn the power off and on, and it remembers what gear the box is in. (determined by the Penny and Giles potentiometer position). When Reverse is selected it flashes 'R' on the display, as an extra warning that you are about to set off backwards.

So I've filled the radiator with water (no leaks), refitted the exhaust system, the passenger side hub and axle are refitted, the air horns are back on again, and it just needs the throttle pedal attaching to the cable, and the engine will run. I need to front bleed the brakes and I can test the car out on the driveway at home. Jobs for tomorrow.
Thursday 12th May 2011
Suspension fits, and clears the gearbox. I had to cut and lengthen the brace on the passenger side as it was 1cm too short, but its on, and that means I can get the car back on its wheels again to test the clutch and gearbox together.

The radiator is plumbed back in, waiting to be filled with water. The oil and fuel lines are back on. I've replaced the throttle cable outer after it was damaged at NMH. I've made a new gearbox steady bar using an end of a panhard rod, that had an insulator in it, which means that there is some give in the link as it now only has a rod end on one end of the link. The wiring loom is reinstalled, and I just need to connect everything up. The zorst manifold is on, and the steering rack is back on the car. Just need to connect the rest of the zorst system, and fill the gearbox with oil, make a new neutral gear selector cable (longer) and bleed the brakes and she's good to go.
Monday 9th May 2011
Bled the clutch, and it seems to be working. Pedal feels really nice too. Fitted the front suspension braces and tie bar brackets. The new braces clear the underside of the sump and the gearbox. So far so good.

I've also learnt that the Titan lightweight (4.7Kg) flywheel is available through Pumabuild, specially made to accept a Ford Fiesta OEM clutch cover. My superlight is 1Kg lighter, but requires the larger diameter CP5905-500 cover, which is marginally heavier than the OEM Fiesta cover, so I'm not too worried.
Sunday 8th May 2011
Christmas came early on Thursday, with the arrival of the new Kustom suspension from USA. I had to pay VAT and a handling charge on the kit, but its a small price to pay if it cures the clearance issue with the gearbox. I also received a set of ARP Duratec rod bolts from Burton Power, and an AP Racing paddle clutch, CP5354-15, which Burton confirmed would work with the CP5905-500 cover.

So Friday saw me removing the sump cover and replacing the conrod bolts. Quite simple with the engine lying on its side in the workshop, and having drained the sump. 17 bolts need removing, then the sump needs prising off. Using a screw driver at the flywheel (cylinder 4) end of the engine, there's a gap between the sump and block, and gently pushing the tapered end of the screwdriver between the two is enough to prise the sump off. Out the factory, black RTV sealant is used to seal the join between the sump and block, and this would need cleaning off and re-applying before reassembly. Changing the bolts is simple enough to do. The new bolts need to have a special ARP assembly grease applied to the threads before re-assembly, and then each bolt is torqued to 45ft-lbs. Once all the bolts had been changed, it took me a further hour to carefully clean off the old black RTV. I dont want any oil leaks and it was worth spending the time to get the surfaces clean.

The sump is baffled on the Fiesta ST, and it looks like it'll be more than adequate for race use. And the oil pickup pipe is made from plastic, and appears to have a filter built in, to prevent any debris reaching the oil pump. Next I washed the sump out with petrol to remove any RTV that had dropped in, and cleaned both surfaces using solvent cleaner. I then used Blue Hylomar on the sump for the replacement sealant, and carefully joined the sump back to the Duratec block, and re-fitted the 17 sump bolts. You dont even have to take off the timing chain cover to remove the sump, but this means that extra care is required when fitting the sump back, so as not to disturb the hylomar (or RTV) sealant.

Next job was to stand the engine back up again, and fit the new clutch. I'm a bit concerned about the depth of the AP5905-500 cover. When I fitted the gearbox back on, it compresses the clutch release bearing, meaning that the bearing is permanently pressing against the clutch cover. I'll run some checks before I re-connect everything back to the engine, to make sure that the clutch depresses the cover adequately to allow the clutch plate to disengage. I'll have to live with the bearing pressing against the cover, I just hope it doesn't generate any heat and damage the plastic clutch slave housing. Anyway, I mated the box back with the engine, and by 21:30 had the engine and box both back in the Fiesta, sitting on the engine mounts, and then called it a day after 5 hours of hard graft.

Fiesta in the Park is next weekend (Sun 15th at Huntingdon Racecourse) and I've really got my work cut out to get the car finished in time. I am trying my hardest, and if everything goes to plan, I'll be there. My concern is with the operation of the clutch, and before I do anything, I'll bleed the hydraulic clutch and see how well it works.
Removing the standard Fiesta ST flywheel and clutch/cover

The section inside the gearbox bellhousing that need modification to clear the Titan flywheel

Laying the engine on its side and removing the sump to replace the conrod bolts. The Fiesta ST sump looks properly baffled, and the sump pickup is plastic and has a gauze inside to prevent debris reaching the oil pump.

Using blue Hylomar to re-seal the sump

Bolting the sump back on - dont worry I did fit the missing bolt!

Fitting the clutch

Fitting the box on the engine

The new gearbox steady bar

Fitting the engine back in to the Fiesta

Tuesday 3rd May 2011
Raceline are happy to accept the incorrectly supplied clutch plate back, and I've been on to Burtons and ordered a paddle clutch, CP5354-15 20x17T for £175, which should fit (fingers crossed) with the CP5905-500 cover. I've learnt from Dyrr Ardash that his Duratec engine blew up, and I'm thinking that now is as good a time as any to change the rod bolts for ARP items, as I'd be devastated if mine blew up. So I've ordered a set of ARP Duratec HE bolts, and I'll change these on the engine when they arrive this week.

Here is the video of the moment where Dyrr's Duratec let go, at the Easter weekend meeting at Castle Combe. He believes an earlier down shift from 5th to 2nd gear did the damage.

Monday 2nd May 2011
Well, what I planned for the four day break came to nowt, when I realised that Raceline had supplied me with the wrong clutch. I wanted to have the engine and box re-installed by today, so I could slot the new suspension on. I fitted the new Titan flywheel, and discovered with the gearbox fitted, the crank could no longer be turned by hand. Turned out to be the larger diameter Titan flywheel needed a slither of aluminium grinding off the inside of the gearbox bellhousing, to allow it to rotate. Out with the Dremel.

Then I found that the Fiesta ST starter motor needed spacing away from the block, to allow it to engage properly with the new flywheel, so I made 3 x 2mm spacers to space the starter motor out from the Duratec block, positioning the pinion far enough away from the ring gear, to allow it to engage and disengage properly. Then just before I was about to start the final push to get the engine and box back in the car today, I put the gearbox in gear, and realised that the diff could be spun around, with no resistance from the engine. Therefore, the box wasn't actually connected to the clutch. "Odd" I thought (or words to that affect). After removing the gearbox yet again, it then dawned on me that the splined center of the clutch plate, was a much larger diameter than the input shaft of the gearbox. "Damn" (again, or words to that effect).

So its the wrong clutch plate, and I'll be phoning Raceline tomorrow to see how quickly they can get me the right one. With Friday and today being Bank Holidays in the UK, its the worst possible time to discover problems, and I've lost four days over the weekend due to this mistake. However, experience has told me to trial fit everything, over and over again, as over the years I've learned many valuable lessons from assuming incorrectly, that parts 'fit'. I think Fiesta must be the latin for 'non-standard' as no one ever seems to have anything off the shelf that fits! Undeterred, I still intend to have the car ready for FITP on the 15th. It's the only thing thats keeping my sanity in check at the moment.

And no suspension yet, as I'm still waiting for the postcard from Parcel Force telling me that they're waiting to be collected. Damn Bank Holidays!

One bit of good news is that the Titan flywheel, weighing in at 3.7Kg, is 5.1Kgs (11lbs) lighter than the 8.6Kg stock Fiesta flywheel, which is a good saving on the overall weight of the car. And I've lost 7lbs (3.7Kg) in weight over the past 4 weeks in my efforts to shed weight, with another 9lbs to go before I hit my target of 13st8lbs.