February 2023


Busy weekend

I ran the engine for the first time with the new loom fitted, and there were no errors, and the engine had a really good strong tickover. I adjusted the lift pump pressure to 5.2bar, by adjusting the set screw on the front of the fuel pressure regulator, and added crosscheck wax to the screw and locknut to prevent it from rattling loose.

I also tried fitting the freshly built wheels to the car, and found one of the wheel centres had an undersized centre bore, by about 0.8mm, which meant it wouldnt go on to the hub. The wheel nut wouldnt fit the centre either, so I deflated the tyre, removed the centre, and its now ready to be posted back to Force to be rebored to the correct size. I'm glad I found this out in the garage, and not at an event.

With the engine running, and the oil temperature up to around 65C, I spotted that my printed oil filler body was leaking oil, which was very disappointing. A tiny split has appeared in the side of the body, which appears to be down to the expansion of the plastic from the heat. So it looks like I will have to get one machined from aluminium, so I'll try and get some quotes this week. In the mean time, I'm going to reinforce the body on the other spare filler body, with resin and some carbon cloth, and I'll see if that makes it strong enough to allow it to cope with the heat from the oil running inside. At least I've proven the design, its just the material that doesnt seem capable or suitable for the heat.

The heave posts are both finished, and I'm expecting them in the post this week. They look fantastic.


Anglesey entries opened

The Longton DMC event opened last night, and as entries flooded in, one that stood out was the car that 2022 champion Matt H and Steve B are going to be sharing. And its not the championship winning Dallara. It's Nick Algar's DJ Firehawk, with SBD's new 1440cc Hyabusa in the back. And so far there are no V8's entered, so this years British Sprint Championship could be wide open, as both the drivers who beat me in 2022, are either not entered, or in a different car. Could this year be the year? :D

The heave spring supports are currently being manufactured. Click here to see a video of the first one being milled.


Telescopic spring assembly

I've dropped the steel and other parts off to have the telescopic heave spring manufactured. Should be ready in a few weeks time.


Engine wiring loom swap, done

After I fitted DTM connectors to the CAN2 (Pin 1 = CAN2 Hi, 2 = CAN2 Lo) wires on the engine loom and the X10 loom, I fitted the loom back on to the car, carefully cable tying the various wires together and to the chassis, to keep everything safe distances from moving parts etc. With the ignition on, the dashboard worked, and the paddle shift worked, so I then connected the laptop to check for errors and there were none. Phew. Another job ticked off the list. Now I have a new throttle body mated with a new connector, so I'm hoping thats the end of the gremlins that crept in at the end of last season.

Wiring loom swap complete


Rear wheels built

The pair of Force Racing Wheels centres arrived on Friday, so on Sunday I was able to build up the pair of wheels that had sat in the shed for a year. These already had tyres fitted, another set of Pirelli Ultrasofts, which I hadnt used very much, so for the £380 for the centres, it was a worthwhile spend in order to give me more usable tyres for 2023. Each wheel uses twenty M6x20 fasteners, washers and nylocs, so it takes a good ten minutes or so to assemble them. Once built I used the compressed airline in the garage to inflate them to 40psi, and then I lowered to 30psi and left them, and so far, neither tyre has lost any air.

Another job I had to do was to take the Inlet VVT connector off the old loom, and connect it to the COMP BYPASS connection on the new loom, and this was completed on Friday evening. I'm just waiting on a pair of DTM connectors for the CAN2 connections, and when they're fitted I can refit the new loom and test all the sensors are working.

The steel tubes have arrived for the heave spring, so I need to complete the 2D drawing and take it over to Altiss for Nigel to create the telescopic mechanism for me.


Old wiring loom removed

After removing at least thirty cable ties, I extracted the old engine loom from the car, and it is now ready to have the inlet VVTI connector cut off and soldered to the new loom. The Force wheel centres are due today, so hopefully I can get the spare rims built up over the weekend.


New wiring loom modified

I added the twisted pair wiring to the new engine loom, and its now ready to be fitted on the car. Pins 79 and 80 in the connector are not populated, as CAN2 was never used on the original EcoBoost race cars, but I use CAN2 with the X10 IO expander, hence the wires have to be fitted. Its straight forwards to do, just takes ten minutes or so, and its easier to do this with the loom on the bench rather than on the car.

The Torques -4 fittings arrived in the post, so I can replace the 6mm poly hose which provides the compressed air to the gearshift actuator, with the ptfe lined braided hose. This will stop any more leaks and mis-shifts.

The Iglidir flanged bearings also arrived, so I'm now waiting on the steel tubing to get the telescopic heave spring made.


Steel tube ordered

The 16mm and 12mm od steel steel tubes have been ordered from ebay, as well as the 1214 Iglidir flanged bearing from RSWWW, so when the parts arrive I'll pop over to Nigel at Altiss to have the telescopic heave spring made. The 16mm tube has a 14mm ID, so the bearing will push inside. The 12mm tube will then slide inside the 14mm bearing, which as a 12mm ID. I was advised to use plastic bearings as they're hard wearing and easily replaced.

The pair of oil filler necks arrived today, from 3D People, and again I'm very impressed with the quality of the finish. I cut the M22 thread for the AN fitting using the taps I bought off ebay recently, and the AN fitting now has an o-ring fitted to ensure there are no oil leaks. With the improved dimensions, the body is a really snug fit inside the top of the gearbox, and I'm confident it wont leak any oil.


Van MOT passed

My van passed the MOT this morning, thanks to Jason at Dave's Auto's for a great service. More good news, the wheel centres from Force Racing Wheels are machined, and at the anodisers, so I will be able to run the pair of wheels which are currently sat in the shed. This gives me another set of rear tyres which will be a great advantage to me, as I now have two sets of pirelli rears and a set of avon rears to play with this year.



The rear heave spring posts are now being machined in 6082 aluminium, only after I revised the drawing to make it possible to machine them. I'm hoping to get them back for the end of February. I better get a move on now with making the actual heave spring itself.

I've designed some drag reducing parts for the front push rods, which are now being printed. They clip together using magnets, with the pieces stacked end to end, so at 90mm long I need five on each pushrod to give them a more aerodynamic profile. I had fun building the struts inside the bodies, until I found a very informative Youtube tutorial which showed me how to do it.


Fuel regulator changed

Super quick delivery from the shop I purchased the replacement Fuelab regulator from. It arrived today, and I quickly swapped it over for the broken one. I've put PTFE tape on the NPT threads, and I've fitted the barb so I can run a hose from the regulator to underneath the car, so if the diaphragm does fail again, the fuel wont be spraying out inside the car, it will be dumped on to the ground beneath the car instead. Far safer. I adjusted it to produce around 5.5bar, and when I run the engine again I'll adjust it again to make sure the GDI pump is getting fuel at precisely the right pressure.


Engine runs

After refitting the ECU I started the engine, and left it running for several minutes to warm up. Whilst I was watching the gauges I glanced down at the fuel tank, and noticed there was a significant fuel leak. So I quickly stopped the engine and disconnected the battery, and started mopping the mess up. I couldnt find any loose hoses, and then noticed that the vacuum port blanking plug on the top of the Fuelab Mini regulator was missing. And I couldnt find it anywhere around the tank, so it must have fallen out some time ago. I fitted the spare blanking plug, and tried priming the fuel system again, and the fuel pressure rapidly climbed over the 5.5bar it was set to, and rose to over 7bar. And petrol was leaking out of the port despite the blanking plug being fitted. Not good. The blanking plugs are 1/8NPT which means they're a tapered thread, and despite me doing it up very tight three years ago when it was installed, the plug has clearly worked loose, and dropped out. When I then removed the regulator and, on the bench, removed the blanking plug, petrol came out of the port which means the diaphragm inside has burst. So the regulator is scrap. Not good. I'm pleased I hadnt refitted the seat as I'd not have noticed the leak. But I am annoyed that the regulator has failed.

Looking at the instructions for the regulator, it actually says that the barbed fitting should be installed so the area above the diaphragm can breathe, so not having a blanking plug fitted was actually desirable. But when I first installed the regulator, I was advised to fit the blanking plug, presumably to keep the dirt out.

I shall fit the barbed fitting in the replacement, and a length of hose, so should the regulator fail again, the fuel will be allowed to vent underneath the car, rather than accumulate around the hot bits in front of the engine.

So I've had to order a replacement. I will make sure that the blanking plug cant come out, and seal it with PTFE tape and cross check to ensure it never leaks or vibrates loose again. Delivery is Tuesday.

The plastic oil filler was fitted when I ran the engine, and it performed perfectly. I realised that in order to fit the replacement engine loom, I need to modify it first to add the twisted pair of wires for the second CAN bus connection, which goes to the X10. This will be done on Monday.

The entries for both the May and July Lydden Hill events opened on the 3rd of February. This is really unheard of, and event in July opening 5 months before it runs. Many people have entered, and paid the £175 entry fees. I havent. I find Lydden extremely hard on the tyres, so I will be skipping both events in 2023. And the BSC championship still hasnt opened for entries yet, nor Sprint Leaders, so again, how can people enter qualifying events when their championship hasn't been given a permit?


Oil filler update

Faced with some frankly frightening costs to get my FTR oil filler printed in PA12-CF (> £300) or aluminium, I've instead modified the design to make the filler more robust by increasing wall thicknesses, and I've ordered a pair in Nylon-PA12 from 3d People. In the mean time I expect to run the engine this weekend and I'll have the prototype fitted, to make sure it doesnt leak any oil.

I've also had to modify the design of the heave spring supports, as there were three sections around the base, which were very hard to machine. I've added a chamfer to the edges, so that should now make them possible to mill without any issues.

The ECU is now ready to be refitted to the car. I had an error when programming the calibration, well it was actually a warning. Basically the LifeCAL was saying that I shouldnt have any preliminary injection during starting, as it was a Direct Injection engine. There are two preliminary injection tables, and table 1 was all zero's. The ECU only uses table 1, however table 2 has always had values in it. But the new firmware makes sure both tables are empty before the warning goes away. DI engines dont inject fuel on the starting phase until the engine is cranking at the desired speed. This is mostly done for emissions, but it also prevents the fuel from wetting the cylinders/plugs.

The Registration for the British Sprint Championship still hasnt opened. And the regulations published are still only draft. Yet entries have opened for Cadwell, and drivers are registering. This is very risky, when you dont even know the registration costs or the final regs for the championship. I did hear that Motorsport UK are slow this year at approving permits, lets hope they dont take too longer over it.