I've finished the vinyl on the engine cover. Took me several hours, cutting all the matt black squares out and sticking them on so carefully. Time well spent I reckon. I ran the engine today (Sunday), but not without drama. First job was to fill the tank with 15litres of Shell Superunleaded. No issues. Then spinning the engine over on the button, it made a terrible noise, coming from the vicinity of the flywheel. I really did think the worse. Could it be lack of oil pressure, had something run dry, or was it an issue with the starter motor? I looked underneath the bell housing which was where the sound was coming from, and realised that the small inspection plate that bolts underneath the bell housing, had been pushed up on the flywheel when I had the rear of the car perched on the spare wheel whilst the gearbox was removed. The panel already had a hole in it, where the flywheel had ground the aluminium away, so I pulled the edges of the panel off the flywheel, and when spinning the engine over, happily found that the sound had done. I've now modified the plate, to prevent this from happening again.
Panic over, the engine runs, I see 2 bar oil pressure, and 4 bar fuel pressure, and no leaks. Very relieved.
Yesterday I fitted the Dunlop slicks to the spare rims (I had two sets of wheels with wets, so I've binned the worst wets for the new slicks), which cost me two trips to the tyre fitters. The reason? I had to take the rears back because the weights stuck inside the rear wheels caught on the top of the rear hubs, so I had to get the weights relocate an inch further inside the rims to avoid this from happening. Lesson learnt.
Here are some pictures taken today.
Another big push and I now have the fire extinguisher wired in, with two push switches fitted adjacent to the power isolator buttons either side of the car. I've also applied the Lifeline warning stickers to show what the buttons are for. With 15 days before I test the car (and the driver) I've a more manageable list of tasks remaining, which I'll keep ticking off over the next few weeks. Life has offered to edit the calibration map in my ECU, to invert the engine immobiliser signal and give me access to Boost targets etc. I just need to setup remote access and they'll take control and make the changes. This is easier than it sounds. If I connect my Windows 10 laptop to the Mygale, and make sure that it is connected to my WiFi, when I run the remote session, Life will be able to connect over the WWW to my laptop, and then move the mouse and operate the keyboard on my laptop, remotely, effectively giving them access to the Lifecal.exe software on the laptop, that then allows them to manipulate the ECU configuration. Easier than taking the car to a rolling road operator. However, they said that this will be the only change that they will entertain without a support contract in place. I darent ask how much one of those would cost me.
She is finally back on her wheels. And the undertray is back on, plus the rear bodywork. Another milestone achieved tonight in a three hour stint outside. I've also adjusted the front and rear camber. The rears were ~3.5° and the fronts around -3.75°, and using the shims supplied with the cars, I've set the rear to approx -1.5° and the fronts to around -3° each side. I'll see at Blyton what the grip levels are like. I've just bought a new trailer tyre, to replace the flat spare which has a nail through the sidewall. Mountune have supplied some stickers for the car, and speaking of stickers, I need to crack on with applying the sponsors stickers, and the graphics that Coalville Signs made for me. The nose and front panel are still not ready yet. I'm relying on Faircharm in Leicester to spray both, and after four weeks there is still no sign of either. Shane says he'll be spraying them soon for me.
Yes I know its a little bit untidy in the garage but the car is the priority for now. :D
Pete has now cured the engine switch off problem with his car. For some reason the low signal from the Cartek isolator was being ignored by the Life ECU, and Life has modified the logic in Pete's ECU to look for a low signal (it was set to high), which has fixed the problem. We still havent fathomed out whats going on, but at least Pete's car is now capable of being switched off from the isolator buttons. My ECU might have the same fault. I need to download my map and send it off. Which I'll do Tuesday evening.
I also weighed the car, and the weight saving from the oil cooler removal is around 7.5Kg, which I'm very pleased with.
Over the weekend I found a website with lots of photographs of the Mygales from 2014, including a fair few of both Radical cars. Shame the pictures are so dear or I'd liked to have had a few myself.
So whats left? A little wiring, running the engine, applying stickers, swapping tyres, new trailer tyre (on order), thats about it right now. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
I overfilled the oil tank in the gearbox on Friday evening (6.5 litres), and when I cranked the engine over, the oil sitting in the engine sump was pumped in to the oil tank, which then overflowed, depositing a couple of litres of oil all over the garage floor. Not happy. I've drained the oil tank, and the engine sump, and refilled the oil tank with another 4 litres of 76 Racing 10W60, and I'm seeing 2bar oil pressure on the button. I've also cleaned the mess, why does a relatively small amount of spilt oil seem like an oil tanker has crashed in the garage? It was everywhere. Anyway, all done. It was a shame to waste £40 of new oil, but once it was mixed with the old 0W20 I decided to drain it all out and start again. The next step is to put the car back on its wheels, and adjust the rear camber. The car came with a set of camber shims, in various 0.5mm thicknesses, and I'd like 0-0.5 degrees at the rear, with around -1.0 to -1.5 at the front. I'll see how I get on.
Oil cooler is removed. This must have saved well over 5Kg with the fluids, hoses and sandwich plate, which wasnt a thermostatic one btw. But now I've filled the gearbox with 2.5L of oil, and the engine sump will have 7.5L of oil it, I suspect the weight saving will be offset by me using the correct oil levels, which has probably added 5Kg back on the car.
The wrapping of the rear wing is now complete. My OCD took over (as usual) and I had to remove all the orange tape and glue, before I was able to apply the chrome vinyl. It was quite straight forward, you just need a willing helper as this, as a first timer, is not a job for one man alone. Really pleased with the results though. Now the wing is back on the car, I can remove the oil cooler and sandwich plate, to reduce the weight even further. I contacted Mountune to ask which oil I should be using. The car came with several gallons of Joe Gibbs XP2 oil, which is only 0W20, and I was quite surprised when Mountune recommended 10W60 fully synthetic, the same oil I used in the Duratec. Thats a lot thicker than what I drained out when I removed the gearbox. So I'll take Mountunes advice, and use 10W60. Pete Goulding is sticking with the 0W20, but I'm not as brave. The deletion of the oil cooler and hoses shouldnt hurt the engine, not if I'm using the correct grade of oil, and I'm definitely not circulating at full power for 20 mins. We're barely on the track for more than a few minutes at a time. So its not like its going to need cooling down. Pete is also having issues with the Cartek MS12FF battery isolator. Since he fitted his alternator on the engine, he's found that pressing the blue kill switches, doesnt stop the engine. The ECU is supposed to receive a low signal on pin 83, which tells it to STOP the engine. But Pete's found that when the alternator is generating electricity, the engine doesnt stop. When he removes the +12V wire that goes to the back of the alternator to tell it to generate +12V, everything works fine. But with the wire connected, the engine just keeps running. Could this be something as basic as an Earth issue with the relocated alternator? Nothing else has changed. If you're familiar with the MS12FF isolator, and have any ideas as to what to do next, please get in touch. I'm keeping my alternator drive on the side of the gearbox for the time being.
I refitted the gearbox yesterday, and reattached both sides of the rear suspension. No issues, no bolts left over either. Took around 2hours in all. Would have been quicker had I not missed the alternator belt off the offside driveshaft. I had to undo the CV joint, so I could slide the belt on the driveshaft. I'm getting some more oil today, three more cans of 75/90 Castrol synthetic, for the gearbox, to fill it to 2.5 litres in all, which is its recommended capacity. Mark Bailey said to run 3.5 litres when on the dyno, as the oil tends to accumulate in the back of the gearbox, leaving the CWP exposed and susceptible to damage. So for now, 2.5 litres will do. I'm almost ready to put the car back on its wheels, I've a few little jobs to do to secure brake hoses, and some wiring, before I can do that.
The gearbox is safely home, together with a box of the parts that have been replaced. A Big Thankyou to Mark Bailey Racing for the swift turnaround, and expert advice. As well as changing the diff and CWP, the box also has new oil seals, and several bearings replaced, so it should be quiet and reliable now. I've already fitted the gearbox back on the bellhousing, and have started re-assembling the rear suspension. I should have the floor back on and the car back on all four wheels this weekend.
Collected the vinyl from Coalville Signs, and they did a great job as usual. I'm working through a long list of jobs on the car, and am making steady progress. The gearbox is now ready and is being dispatched in the next day or so.
Only four weeks to go to the test session at Blyton and to say I'm psyched would be an understatement. For the Rockingham event on the 20th March, if anyone wants to come and watch, I'll upload the Finals, and to get in you just need to print the last page and bring it with you on the day.
This weeks midweek update brings news on the gearbox. It was safely delivered to Mark Bailey Racing down in Chippenham, together with the Powerflow LSD from Germany, and the set of spare gears, for Mark to check the diff out, install it in the box, and adjust the gear ratios if needs be. Mark quickly set to work on the box, and identified a very badly worn pinion. The box has clearly been used with insufficient oil inside, and this has resulted in the damage. So a replacement CWP was found on Ebay, shipped to Mark, and thats being used to replace the damaged pinion. I'm again disappointed with the previous owners. They maintained the cars themselves, and neglected important components. I have heard of teams running minimum oil in gearboxes to reduce friction, but come on, why would you run a gearbox dry? Mark spotted that the O ring on the differential cover was also missing, which would have lead to a significant oil leak. Enough to allow the box to run dry? Maybe. At least the Powerflow diff appears to be OK, the ramp angles are ideal, Mark said it was clearly used, but in good condition. He will transfer the bearings from the free diff, on to the Powerflow, and replace a few oil seals etc. It should be ready for collection next week.
We also checked the gear ratios, and they appear perfect for my needs.
I've finished the front wing end plates,and they're both fitted to the car. The total weight, using the 3mm Alupanel, is 455g which is a saving of around 1.3Kg. Not bad.