Established 22 years
The repaired gearbox is ready to be fitted back to the bellhousing. The fuel tanks are now tested and ready to be reinstalled. I ran the pump in the main tank for 1 hour and measured the temperature rise over that time and it climbed from 11C to around 16C which I was expecting. Since the fuel is continously recirculated around the Radius tank, the fuel is likely to get warmer still when the 2nd pump is running. I may lag the tanks to prevent further heat soak from the engine that they both sit in front of.
Tested the fuel system, and the intank pump in the large tank provides plenty of fuel to the Radium surge tank. I need to test the Radium pump next, and that's tomorrow nights job. The wiring loom that came with the Radium cell will need to be modified for use in the car, but I'll test the wiring out tomorrow too.
Dropped the gearbox down to MBR and Mark found damage to the 2nd gear, which needs replacing. The tops of the teeth are rolling off, presumably down to not having any form of torque control strategy switched on in the ECU, something I'll address once its been unlocked by Life. So I had to leave the box with Mark, and shall collect it next Saturday. The fuel system is built, with the hoses connecting everything up. The Gemzoe tank output goes through a Bosch filter, and then supplies the Radium tank. The return from the Radium then goes back in to the Gemzoe tank. The output from the Radium directly feeds the GDI fuel rail, without any additional filters. I thought it best to provide the Radium with pure filtered petrol, and then there shouldnt be any chance of debris getting in the fuel injectors from the Radium. I went to nip up the fitting on the Radium output and the fitting rotated in the tank, so I need to dismantle it and tighten up the locking nut to prevent it from rotating again.
The fuel tank is now fitted to the removable floor, as is the Radium fuel-surge pump. The next job is to plumb the fuel lines in, and fit a filter and pressure regulator. The brace fitted over the turbo without any issues. I've connected the radiator back up, just waiting for a 32mm 45 degree hose to replace the final blue Samco hose. The intercooler pipework is also reconnected.
The exhaust manifold was ready in the morning, so I popped over to Altiss and collected it. Nigel had had to use the milling machine to drill the holes since the manifold was made from a type of stainless steel which was a lot harder to drill through than we expected. Once the manifold was fitted to the block, I offered up the EGT sensors, and they all fit perfectly. The bosses are mounted to they are flush with the inside of the manifold, and therefore dont protrude in to the exhaust gas flow. Next I fitted the S280 turbo, and swapped the water coolant fittings for the right angled ones I used on the S242 turbo. It all fits very nicely, and the next job is to offer up the engine brace that fits over the turbo, that might be a tight fit. Finally I replaced the pair of 32mm blue samco hoses with the new black viper hoses, and the section of pipe is now attached to the water pump outlet on the front of the block. Great progress today. I'm really pleased how its all turned out.
I've emptied the dry sump pan in the Hewland FTR gearbox, of the old engine oil. The exhaust manifold is away being drilled and tapped for the EGT sensors. As soon as that is back I can fit the turbo and start fitting the intercooler pipework back on the car. I've soldered the LED's to the fuel gauge and that is now ready for testing. I'm gradually ticking off all the jobs.
FTR gearbox oil pan emptied of the old engine oil
The small fuel tank fits nicely behind the drivers seat, and the Radium pump sits alongside with space to spare. I'll attach both to the false floor, and then plumb and wire them together so I can calibrate the fuel level display and test the flow rate and pressures. I tried drilling the exhaust manifold to accept the EGT bosses, but broke two drills in the process, so I'll take it over to Altiss who will have the right tools to do the job properly for me.
I've tested the EGT sensors, with the little black box thats going to read them, and they all check out OK. I now need to wire the box in to CAN1 from the ECU, which should be straight forward to do, as the only other device on CAN1 is the GPS module. CAN2 is used by the X10 expander, and I dont want to interfere with that datastream, so CAN1 will see the data from the temperature sensors. I have 8 inputs altogether, so with four spare, I'll also add a sensor to the air temperature pre the intercooler, to measure the efficiency, and I'll add a gearbox oil temperature sensor. These will be cheaper to buy than the special EGT sensors, and I should be able to pickup some Type K sensors for around a tenner. I might also add a sensor to the turbo exhaust, just to get a full picture of how everything is working.
A very merry christmas to all my followers, and friends. I hope you have a great time during the Christmas break, and get everything you wanted.
Collected the fuel tank from Gemzoe Motorsport, and its a really great advert for Dave's skills and workmanship. I've given it a quick polish on the outside since the ultrasonic cleaning solution left a few dull spots. I'm really happy with the end product, built to my design.
The four EGT sensors arrived from The Sensor Connection in the USA. They look so good. I'll get the spare manifold drilled so I can fit the sensor bosses. A tip for sealing the bosses if the sensors are removed, is to trap a ball bearing inside the cap, which will keep the boss air tight, and prevent any of the exhaust gasses from leaking.
How the engine looks today.
The M10 bolts I ordered on ebay arrived, and I've now fitted all the bolts to the bell housing, and the upper engine mount on the end of the cylinder head. Once torqued up, they all recieved a blob of yellow cross check, so I can keep an eye on anything that might try and loosen off. Its only 90 days until the first round at Castle Combe in March, and I've so much left to do. The calendar was finally released last week, together with the rule changes that I've known about for several months, and the calendar is looking better with two back to back events in September, with a visit to Aintree followed by 3 Sisters the following day, assuming 3 Sisters has an A license, unlike MIRA!
The fuel tank is ready and will be collected on Sunday. Thats the last major expense out of the way. Now to test the fuel tank and make sure that it works together with the radium fuel surge pump, and supplies fuel at 6bar to the engine. I did some soldering this week, constructing the fuel level gauge. I will need to change the reference voltage, and find a suitable resistor that is 9 x the impedence of the VDO sender, so I can use the voltage drop across the sender to provide the LM3914 with the signal it needs to display full or empty. I'll set it up next week.
Good progress again this week. The flywheel/clutch and bell housing are all back on again. The majority of sensors are reconnected. I've misplaced a few M10 fasteners (or hidden them) so I've had to order a few replacements on ebay. I've ordered the EGT sensors, and a spare turbo manifold so I can figure out where best to drill the runners to fit the weld-on bosses in to it.
The engine is now back in the chassis. It was quite difficult to line up all the bolts but with a bit of persistence it all came good. There are a total of 7 bolts holding it in. Three across the front edge of the dry sump pan. one on the front of the head between the cam pulleys, and three on the inlet side.
The dry sump pan is now affixed to the engine again. I used Hylomar for the gasket, which should make the pan oil-tight. The next job is to reinstall the engine in to the chassis, which I will do tomorrow evening.
I've just bought a soldering iron, to help me build some small electronic circuits for the car, and I'd been looking for quite some time to find one thats not too expensive, one that allows the temperature to be controlled, and has a fine tip. I ordered this last weekend, and I'm very impressed so far with this iron I found on Amazon. I experimented with the temperature, until I found a setting that allowed the solder to flow without risking damaging the semiconductors on the circuit board, and the joints came out really well.
I'm building a bar graph display for the fuel level on the car, using an LM3914 driver and 10 segment display, and it should be ready for testing when the fuel tank arrives from Gemzoe Motorsport.
I've also bought an SIP air compressor for the garage, which will allow me to use air-tools for the first time. I can also use the air for cleaning and drying components. This is a great compressor, and sits upright so doesnt take too much room in the garage.
Ford UK has today confirmed via email that they give their full permission to replace the Formula Ford ID with a Generic ID on the Life ECU. I have passed the email on to Support@Life, so I can arrange to return my ECU for modification. A small update, but a major one at the same time.
I didnt expect the turbo to arrive that quick, it was with me on Monday. Thanks Turbo Technics for the great service. I've trial fitted it to the engine and there is a tiny piece of the engine block that needs filing away to give it clearance, shouldnt take more than 30seconds to file it off. This weekend I'll refit the dry sump, and slot the engine back in to the chassis.
The Area 6 engine is back. I collected it, and the box of broken parts, from Lincoln yesterday. The melted piston is very impressive. It would make a great paperweight. I'll take them out with me next year to show the other teams what can go wrong.
I've now found a competent engine tuner that I'll be working with over the next couple of months to maximise the package. It was about time I broke free from the original tuner. I feel a tremendous weight has been lifted from my shoulders.
I ordered the bigger turbo from Turbo Technics yesterday, taking advantage of their Black Friday 10% discount deal. I'm now waiting for it to be built and it should be with me in December.
The replacement aluminium floor has been collected, so that will need to be drilled and refitted, after the fuel cell has been installed.
The engine is ready, and is awaiting collection. I just need to clear some space in the garage so I can work on fitting the dry sump pan back on the engine, and then I can get it installed back in the chassis. I'm now waiting for the fuel tank, and the floor, and I'm no closer to getting the ECU security removed. One option is to go for a full Syvecs S8 ECU, which I'm now leaning towards. Turbo Technics has a black friday sale this Friday, with 10% off the S280 turbo. But, Pumaspeed has just exceeded 500bhp on an Area Six developed 1600 EcoBoost, and that uses the Garrett G25-550, running at 2.0bar. I'll have another chat with Ian at Area Six and see what he thinks is better for my engine.
Whilst waiting for the engine to return, I've made some replacement hoses for the dry sump. The original hoses were stainless braided, and were quite scruffy. I had to place gaffa tape around a few areas to prevent painful stab wounds from the braid that was sticking out. I've bought a couple of AN12 fittings from Manson Motorsport, and the lines are now cut and assembled.
I've decided which turbo to go for. I found this link to an interesting thread on a Golf turbo, whilst researching options. That must be a lot of fun with over 400 bhp.
With the £50 increase in competition license costs for 2020, the MUK organisation has dealt another blow to grass roots motorsports. My costs to sit in the car at the first event in March, comes to around £500 including entry fee, championship registration fees for the HSA, the Sprint Leaders, and the British Sprint. Thats ridiculous. Thats not trying to get more people in to motorsport. Its just moving the sport further and further away from reaches of the people we want to get involved in the sport.
There is a petition to ask MUK to review the price hikes, which I urge you to sign. If we dont make our voices heard, then whats to stop the costs going up next year, and the year after.
Please sign the petition here: https://www.change.org/p/motorsport-uk-force-motorsport-uk-to-lower-license-fees
It was the BSC awards last Saturday, held again at the Lea Marston hotel, and after last years dreadful food I opted to skip the dinner and turn up at 8:30 to collect my award. I couldnt even find where the 40 or so guests were seated, the hotel put them in a very small room, without a bar, but there was a big wedding on, so it was probably all they had left. I pulled up a chair and sat at the end of one of the three tables, whilst they finished their meals and we waited for the awards to start. Several of the trophies hadn't been returned by drivers, so the winners had to make do with a glass award. The outgoing champion wasn't in attendance, with Heather Calder finishing in 11th and Colin Calder in 9th, so I stepped up to collect my 8th place award. There were no silver awards for the top 3 drivers either, something to do with MSUK not supplying them in time. And the Sprint Leaders trophy hasn't been seen since it was shown at the HSA awards at Prescott the year before, so Justin Andrews had to make do with another small glass trophy.
Next years calendar see's the loss of Croft, Pembrey, MIRA and Aintree. So effectively we are going to Combe, Anglesey twice, Lydden, Snetterton, Blyton, Kirkistown, and Knochkill and thats it! Only 7 circuits.
21 March Castle Combe
4/5 April Anglesey
16/17 May Blyton
4/5 July Snetterton
11 July Lydden Hill
1/2 August Kirkistown
22/23 August Knockhill
3/4 October Anglesey
So September is free, which we could fit in a visit to Aintree. And June is also free.
Engine news - the engine is almost ready. We are waiting for a few last minute parts to arrive, which should be available next week, and then it can all be assembled and I can go and collect it. The turbo still hasnt been ordered. I've spoken to a few different firms, and I've still not made a decision. No hurry, I need to get the selection right. The fuel tank is going to have a fuel level sender fitted, so I can see how much fuel is present rather than drain the tank to empty the contents in to a fuel jug, which introduces dirt and of course a risk of fire.
My Revo S242 turbo is for sale, I'm looking for £750. Having just paid TT £240 to have it serviced, its a bargain. Get in touch if you want to know more.
I've still not decided which turbo to is going to replace it. The Revo RT330 looks pretty good, as does the Revo S280, but the S290 isnt yet released as TT are still testing it. I'll make a decision in the next fews days.
On Friday I fitted the new floor panels to the car, and the overall width is within the max 140cm width target. The combined weight saves 1Kg over the old boards.
I've bought a radium fuel surge tank. I'm going to plumb it in-line with the main fuel tank, and the idea is that it will feed the GDI rail at 5 bar, and itself is fed from the pump in the main fuel tank. It has a Bosch 044 fuel pump inside, and should maintain the constant fuel supply that the engine so desperately needed in 2019. The replacement main tank is designed to be 250mm wide instead of 400mm, and this gives me room to stand the radium pump alongside. Since the floor that the tanks sit on, is removable, I can mount both tanks and filters on the board, and thoroughly test it before it goes on to the car. I've made a drawing of the floor panel that I need to replace, and I can now send that off to get the floor cut to the right shape. I might go for a carbon floor, to replace the aluminium, to save a little weight. Area Six now has the head and block back, and the block looks very impressive. Ian can now concentrate on the build, as he has all the components he needs.
My S242 turbo has been inspected and it will cost me £200 + VAT to have it overhauled, and as soon as its returned I'll put it up for sale, so the replacement can be bought. Since the clocks changed at the weekend, the weather seems to have nose dived, and its now heater-on when I go out to the garage. More incentive to get the car put back together before the Christmas break when the winter blues really set in.
I’ve chosen the size of the replacement fuel tank, and I am going to run the same Fiesta ST180 in-tank pump that is used on the sister car. The reason why I was getting fuel surge was I believe down to the installation of the Peugeot pump in the Mygale bag tank. Looking at witness marks on the underside of the bag tank, the plastic bucket at the base of the fuel pump was pressed hard down on the bottom of the bag tank, so the inlet on the underside of the bucket, wasn’t able to get fuel 100% of the time. From the open top design, fuel could overflow in to the top of the bucket, but as the fuel level dropped inside the tank, the bucket relied more and more on the fuel entering the bucket from underneath. But with the flexible bag tank restricting fuel flow, I’m sure that this was the reason for the sporadic fuel supply on some corners.
For 2020 the fuel system will be engineered to eliminate fuel surge and will provide fuel to the direct injection rail at ~5bar. The rebuilt engine with the larger turbo will have an increased thirst for race fuel, so the tank will still have a large capacity of around 11.25 litres, or around 8Kg of fuel in real terms.
I recently spoke to Turbo Technics, and returned the S242 turbo so it can be inspected and serviced. We chatted about the replacement, and I've now decided on which turbo I'll be running in 2020.
The engine block was being worked on today, with the cylinder liners being replaced. The head and block will be returned to Area Six next week for the assembly. I've had to make some more decisions regarding the specification, and I need to hurry up and return the turbo to Turbo Technics so they can service it. I'm trying to work out what size of tank I can squeeze in the gap in front of the engine, there's not a great deal of space to play with. Pete's tank was 300mm x 200mm x 200mm tall, and he still suffers from fuel surge. I'm still toying with getting away with the in-tank fuel pump and running an external pump fed from a bottom collector.
The floor has been removed, pop rivet by pop rivet, and the fuel tank is now on the garage floor, so I can start looking at replacing it. The engine block and cylinder head are at the machine shop, the engine should be back in November.
This is an analysis of the Run Off finishing positions, vs the class of the cars that ended up in those positions. The championship is still dominated by the V8 cars in the ULSS class, and the 2.0 cars in the 2000SS class. The 1600SST EcoBoost cars need to work harder next year to improve finishing positions.
I finished 8th this year. Well I actually tied for 7th place with 78 points, but I was bumped down to 8th by the other driver's higher finishing positions in a couple of rounds. Never mind. The 5th to 8th places were covered by just 5 points, it was that close this year.
My congratulations to John Graham for winning the 2019 championship. Couldnt have gone to a nicer bloke. And he's long overdue the win.
Other news, my Mountune engine and head are at the machine shop and the Area6 engine build is officially under way. The rebuilt engine should be ready for the dyno in November. I need to chase Life up in getting the ECU wiped, I'm still waiting to find out the price! And I need to order the larger turbo. I cleaned the intercooler out at the weekend, thankfully there were no metal pieces inside, just lots of engine oil.
Ian@Area 6 reports that the cylinder head is cracked in two places, between the plug hole and the exhaust valves on Cyl1 and 4, and the exhaust valves were coated in aluminium. It really did fail quite spectacularly.
I sent the data from the Knockhill weekend over to Sam at Life, and he's has had a look at the data for me and says there is no 'smoking gun' that he can see in the data. I've agreed with Life that they are going to wipe the ECU to remove the Ford ID, and all the remaining security settings, and they are also going to supply a 1600 EcoBoost map, which means I can take the car somewhere else for the tune. The ECU will be returned with the paid-for features, plus I'll have access to all the other config, which is handy as I'll need to setup the data stream for the dashboard. That'll be fun.
I'm not going to be at Anglesey this weekend, so as I'm missing the final two rounds of the BSC, I'll drop from 5th to maybe 7th or 8th place overall. Thats really disappointing, since I was hoping to finish in the top 5 this year. Its not a great return for all the spend, a number on your car. I'm runner up in the Saxon Cup, runner up in the Britannia Cup, runner up in the 1600T class, and unlike last year, where I had a trophy, this year, diddly squat. But I have some good memories, I improved on every event, with new personal bests at every round. I qualified for every Top 12 run off. And I had a few spins along the way. I won my first Javelin event at Croft, landing the FTD. The low point (lower even than blowing up the engine) was the crash at Abingdon, where the rear suspension collapsed on the afternoon course, when I hit the same culvert I hit last year, resulting in the same retirement whilst leading the event. In 2019 I made big improvements, averaging >2s quicker every where I went and breaking records, but I let myself down with a couple of poor performances, which I've only myself to blame for. The car got better and better after I re-fitted the rear anti roll bar, and once the front wing support bracket was replaced with a solid version, the aero started to work properly.
Lets see how much quicker the car will be in 2020 ;-)