Established 22 years
I've fitted a 12V switch panel to the kombi van, and a 240V inverter, which both run from the 12V leisure battery that sits under the drivers seat. I've got some recessed LED lights coming, which will be fitted to the roof lining, and wired in to the switch panel in 3 seperate circuits so I can switch them off in pairs.
The first of the DJM driveshafts has been trial fitted, replacing the gundrilled Sadev shaft which has been used on the car since 2013. I've replaced the tripode joints with wide body versions, and the Mygale tripode housings, with genuine GKN parts, which are heavier duty and should cope with the extra torque and horse power. The nearside housing was showing signs of wear, so I'll keep them as spares should the replacements ever break. Altiss are machining a pair of aluminium dome head buttons to fit to the end of the DJM driveshafts. When they arrive, I can refit the assemblies with some Redline CV2 grease which is on order.
This weekend should have been the first trip of the year to Anglesey, and with the weather as nice as it is, its doubly frustrating not to be racing around the full international circuit today. :(
I've bought an EcuMaster CAN switch board for the steering wheel. Its a CAN connected interface card, that I intend to re-wire the calibration switches on to, thus freeing up the valuable high speed analogue inputs on the X10 expander, so I can refit the suspenion potentiometers and measure suspension travel at 500Hz. I'll remove the ECU from the car and wire the switch board to CAN1 on the bench, and prove that it works before I start modifying the wiring on the car.
CAN switch board is a device that sends information about state of the following channels via CAN Bus:
- 8 switch inputs (switched to ground),
- 8 analog inputs (analog voltages of signals from potentiometers, pressure sensors, resistive sensors, etc)
- 4 low side outputs
CAN switch board can be used to send information from steering wheel buttons and rotary switches, as well as an analog inputs / switches. The module also doubles as a low side output expansion for the ECU or other CAN bus compatible devices.
I've been playing XBOX Forza Motorsport 5 again this week, just so I can drive my EcoBoost FF200, and I decided to try to replicate the vinyl that I have on the car at the moment. I'm not quite finished, and the choice of wheels is rather limited, but I'm pleased with the progress so far. I'll add some Powered by EcoBoost logos today. I've tuned it to have 444bhp, and its a little bit lively without traction control switched on
Keeping myself busy doing little jobs on the car, I've sprayed the pushrods and driveshafts, and started tidying the garage. I've also put this walkaround video together, to explain a little more about the car and the systems used on it.
Finally here is the power plot from the day I spent at SRD Tuning. Not bad for a little 1600. I wish my crossflow in the XR2 had that much power. Now that would have been a lot of fun through the front wheels.
No motorsport until July 2020! All permits have been suspended by MUK until that date. #sadface
I doubt it will have passed by then though. I think we may as well scratch 2020.
Well that escalated rather quickly. All Motorsport UK permits withdrawn until April 30th, and the advice today, just a few days later, all social contact is to be avoided, including the closure of all pubs and restaurants from this evening in the UK. God knows where this is now heading. No racing this year, is likely to be the result. All the effort to get the car ready, pales in to insignficance compared to people dying from a pandemic. Stay safe people.
I didnt want to raise C-Virus, but its looking like majority of events will be cancelled over the next few months. I've entered Anglesey (April), Blyton (May) and Snetterton in July, but with the recent announcement to ban mass gatherings, it looks like we'll be losing meetings until some time in April. I'm not even convinced that the Great Western Sprint next Saturday will happen. And this announcement has just come from MUK, adopting the Javelin style of self declaration inplace of scrutineering.
It is judged that the current methods of close inspection of Competitors’ vehicles and Personal Protective Equipment may encourage the spread of virus contamination between Officials, Competitors, and other staff. In order to reduce the potential risk, the following temporary changes are to be made to at all Motorsport UK events:
At scrutineering, all Entrants/Drivers are required to make verbal self-declarations that their Vehicle and Personal Protective Equipment complies with Motorsport UK Regulations/Event Regulations. Personal Protective Equipment will not be closely examined by Event Officials unless the equipment is visibly defective. The Scrutineer may ask the Competitors/Entrant/Team members to display the full extent of equipment, and as a result, wherever possible no physical contact with the item or the wearer should be made by the Scrutineer. Any items identified to be causing an issue should not be confiscated, but rather should be retained by the Competitor/Entrant/Team.
No vehicle safety examinations will take place where contact with the vehicle is required, except where a safety defect is observed. Where any defect requires urgent inspection, any Event Official making contact with the vehicle should ensure that suitable protective clothing and gloves are worn. Cross contamination with other vehicles or persons is to be avoided. Where possible Competitors/Entrant/Team members should carry out any work required on the vehicle under the instructions of the Scrutineer.
These arrangements are introduced in order to restrict the amount of contact between people who may, even unknowingly, be carrying the virus.
Where there are reasonable grounds for any eligibility examination, this may take place after consideration of any risks involved, but in any event, cross contamination to other secondary vehicles or persons must be avoided. Any person found to be contravening these self-declarations will of course be subject to current Motorsport UK sanctions.
Testing at Mallory went as planned, with no issues with the car. The extra power is very noticeable, and it took more than a couple of laps for me to get used to it. I ran the wider 250mm fronts and 300mm rears, and the car is transformed now. The mechanical grip should mean I can reduce the aero, and therefore the drag, though it will take a few events to find the balance. Thoroughly good fun, and the data I've collected will keep me busy for a while as I pour through the channels I can now see. I've sent a log file off to the tuner to give a quick health check.
So yes, getting the ECU unlocked was the right decision, and worth every penny so far. I ran on full power with the traction control off and there was zero fuel surge, even when the tank went below 30% (3 litres) full.
I took the plunge and pulled the engine and gearbox out of the car, and removed the sump. I've cleaned it, applied V-Tech RTV, and resealed the sump, and the engine is now ready to be reinstalled again. I'll need to bleed the clutch and brakes before I can drive it, but I'm hoping to get it all done this weekend ready for the test session at Mallory park this Thursday.
The trip down to Littlehampton on Monday to get the car tuned, proved too much for their rolling road. The car couldnt be safely tied down. So we moved over to SRD Tuning at Haywards Heath, where their rolling road, had a single roller which the car was much happier sitting on, and we continued the tuning. Eventually, after a lot of power runs, we ended up with 375bhp and 405ftlb of torque, with no issues with the car. The oil leak under the rear of the sump doesnt appear to have improved, so before the test at Mallory Park on the 12th, I will remove the engine and reseal the sump.
The EGT sensors all worked, recording around 785C in the exhaust manifold at 6900rpm. We didnt enable the exhaust camshaft VVT since I hadnt managed to fit the cam position sensor in time, but the power was still very impressive and the engine felt very strong on the dyno.
I have programmed the Datastream on the ECU to accept data from the EcuMaster EGT-CAN box. So the ECU is now able to read, log and react to the temperatures from the four sensors on the exhaust manifold, plus the 5th sensor which is sat in the exhaust pipe. It was easy enough to setup. Once the address of the Ecumaster box is known, the ECU is setup to look for data on frames 1 to 8, using the address of the Ecumaster box. Pictures on my instagram feed.
The pair of cooling fans that direct air over the Fuelab regulator and Radium tank, are wired in, and can be turned on and off manually. I will look at using the ECU to control them, with a sixth temperature sensors.
The Exhaust VVT sensor is now connected to the ECU, using the Rain Light output. This will be tested on Monday at the Rolling Road session.
The ECU was unlocked today. I finally have 100% access to the ECU settings. The culmination of 3 years of negotiations with Ford. And I'm now free to take the car anywhere I like for tuning. And I kept my calibration too.
Back on four wheels again. First time since September. The ECU is being worked on tomorrow, to replace the Ford ID with the Generic ID and update the firmware. I'll post screen shots of the config once its done. Looking forward to getting full access after 4 years of negotiations.
A fifth EGT sensor has been added to the car, this one sits in the exhaust pipe post-turbo, so I can monitor the temperature pre and post turbo, to keep an eye on the engines performance.
The carbon floor panels are now fitted. It took me all week to bond the new pair of boards to the original fixing panels that I cut off the Mygale boards. But they look great, are several kilograms lighter than the Mygale boards, and are hopefully also more aerodynamic.
The Rolling Road session is booked for the 2nd and 3rd of March. I'll have the Generic ID placed on the ECU this week, and collect the van and trailer for the journey, next weekend.
Bonding the sections together.
Fitted the boards and drilled all the fixture holes for the body panels etc.
Fitted the air bottle, and tidied some of the cables.
These are a pair of 60mm brushless DC HP Proliant server fans, which are under microprocessor control, and will reduce the fuel temperature I hope, when running.
I have finished pop riveting the floor to the car, I used around 50 closed head rivets in total, the majority around the area where I sit and the floor has to take my weight. I hate rivets, the hand tools I use are really awkward when lying beneath the car, and I've a few scrapes and bruises from using them. Still, its done now so I can put those tools away again.
I've wired the Ecumaster EGT-CAN box in to CAN1. I cut the twisted CAN1 wires at the GPS connector, ran a pair of twisted wires down to the EGT box, and then another pair back up to the GPS module, making sure to regard the CAN bus HI and CAN LO polarities. I've tested the ECU and I can still see data coming from the GPS module so I'm confident the EGT-CAN box is also working. I wont be able to see the data produced by it until the ECU is unlocked. Speaking of which, the invoice from Life has been paid, and I just need to arrange for Support to take remote control and make the changes to the ECU.
The list of remaining jobs is getting shorter:
Relocate the Lithium starter battery in to the near side pod, on the carbon floor
ECU Generic ID patch
Exhaust VVT needs wiring in
Fuel pump override button wire-in
Swap both driveshafts
Order yellow No 8's (Coalville Signs)
Close the 50mm hole I drilled in the radiator cowling to gain access to the chassis bolts
This week the championship coordinators back tracked on their statement that only 100RON fuel was legal. I pointed out that the definition of Pump Fuel in the Blue Book includes Part (b) FIA Appendix J Art 252, Article 9, which allows the use of 102RON fuel. About a week after my email, they then sent the retraction to all competitors. It pays to read emails! I also pointed out to fellow competitors that a fuel sample take-off is mandatory for car's running in British championships, a rule that has been around for a very long time, and some drivers complained, but have bought the necessary hardware and plumbed it in. The email wasnt aimed at existing drivers, but at the many new drivers we have this year. But it seems not everyone had one fitted, so for this year, all cars should be 100% compliant. If they're not compliant, and a scrutineer chucks them out, I'll be dishing out the Told You So cards.
The bigger quesstion here though, is why tell everyone 100RON was the maximum fuel? Are there concerns about people using rocket fuel in their cars? I dont, I run 102RON, and with some drivers running Methanol, does it really matter anyway?
The new floor has been stuck on to the chassis, with Sikaflex. To be honest I've used the Sikaflex to prevent water getting trapped between the chassis rails and floor. The floor will still be riveted in a few places to take the load when I stand inside the car etc.
The rear suspension is back on, rear brake lines are connected and need bleeding. The EGTCAN box is now fixed to the floor in front of the Gemzoe fuel tank, and I need to get the CAN connections wired up. Easier said than done. I'm going to have to split the pair of wires where they emerge in the chassis split connector, and divert them to the EGT box and then back to the chassis loom, using twisted pair wiring. Thats Tuesday nights job.
The Koso Mini 3 fuel gauge is now wired in, and the cables sleeved and heatshrinked. I then calibrated it with the tank emptied, next I refitted the fuel filler neck, and refilled the tank with 10litres, and calibrated the gauge for full. When I ran the two pumps to prime the Radium tank, the fuel level dropped to 95%, so I added 0.5litres back in to the tank and recalibrated it again for full. So now I can see the fuel level as I fill the tank. Another step towards ensuring I never suffer from fuel surge again. And no more emptying the tanks to see how much fuel remains. This will make running the car solo a little easier.
The oil leak on the rear of the sump has been cured. The replacement aluminium floor has been drilled ready for riveting to the chassis floor. Life has come back to me with a very reasonable cost for Unlocking the ECU, so I'll raise a PO and get the ECU unlocked asap and then I can get it tuned. I'm testing at Mallory Park on 12th March so I need to get my act together to get the car tuned and setup in time.
Ran the engine for an hour, water temp reached 90, oil temp sat around 78C as I had the big blower fan on keeping the fumes out the garage.
The EGT-CAN adaptor is now connected to the power supply and the four EGT sensors. I'll watch the temperatures when I next run the engine. I still need to run a twisted pair of wires to the ECU to connect it to the CANBUS 1 channel.
I have four channels free to monitor further temperatures. I may add a sensor to the turbo exit, so I can monitor the temperature of the exhaust. Plus one for fuel temperature maybe? And one on the input of the intercooler so I can measure the intercooler efficiency.
The engine started first time. I span it over first to get full oil pressure, then switched on the ignition and after a few seconds, she burst in to life. Very happy. No leaks or any issues. I'll run it over the weekend for a few hours to get the engine bedded in.I'll then change the oil and filter for fully synthetic oil ready for the dyno at the new tuner.
The hours are mounting up at the moment, but I have to reinstall everything properly, and there's been a lot of progress in the past few days. Oil pressure was achieved on Thursday evening, even with a flatish battery, turning the engine over resulted in good pressure after a few seconds. On Friday evening I reinstalled the fuel tanks, and after moving a couple of hoses since the Radium tank was closer to the chassis rail than I planned, its now ready to be powered up. The pressure is currently set to 6bar but that will be reduced to 4bar for the engine's running in, in the garage. Saturdays job was to refit the intercooler pipe work and I'd forgotten how difficult this was. There is precious little room in front of the engine with the water pipes sat directly above the intercooler pipe, and after a few hours of effort, its all now reinstalled and ready. Sundays job is to sort out the wiring for the fuel tanks, and I may drop the tank floor out again, to allow me to get to the intercooler pipe as I'm still not 100% happy with its position, and the fuel tanks prevent me from making the small adjustments I need.
To Do: Wire in the fuel pumps. Order the spark plugs, looking to get Champion C59's or equiv. Fit the EGT sensors in the manifold and tighten. Provide power to the EGT CAN-BUS adaptor. Tighten the alternator bolts. Fit the intercooler to throttle body pipe, and air charge temp sensor. Fit the exhaust pipe and lambda sensor. Check for fuel leaks. Start the engine
Looking in to the intercooler pipe that runs from the turbo, across the front of the engine, and to the intercooler.
The fuel system, with two tanks, two pumps, and two pressure regulators.
The gearbox is refitted, and ready to be filled with gearbox oil. The oil lines to the dry sump are connected, and I've added 6l of engine oil so far. The oil filter is also fitted so the engine is ready to have the oil pressure tested, by spinning the engine over on the starter with the spark plugs removed. I've just recieved the beautiful Fuelab regulator, and I've fitted it to the output of the Radium pump, and with the pump running, adjusted the pressure until it reached 6 bar and the pump never missed a beat.
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 black Radium 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.