Self Inflicted Misery

Camping next to the broch

After a very enjoyable week hiking and driving around northern scotland without a hitch, disaster finally struck on my way home.  Not long after leaving the house the car just cut out with no warning, the first time I managed to grind to a halt and stop in a lay by.

It was likely something electrical, so I opened the front of the car and started wiggling.  Eventually after pulling at random wires for a while it started up, and I drove off only for it to cut out again about 10 minutes later.  This time I came to rest just after a blind bend, I felt the only thing to do was get the car off the road, so I used the starter to pull the car forward 15, this ultimately was what ruined my day out.

After more wiggling, and as the battery started to go flat, I called out green flag who sent out a local recovery company.  We hooked up a spare battery and started wiggling again, eventually the engine started, and we continued wiggling until it cut out again, this time I noticed that the battery lead to the solenoid was loose, this is also where the main electrical feed for the ECU branches off, so it was tightened up and off I went.

I stopped for fuel 200 miles later, and as i started the engine up, i noticed that the starter was turning very slow, and initially put this down to the battery being flat and the generator being weak, and drove off.  About 20 miles later it cut out again, this time I noticed the battery lead was loose, I reconnected it but the car wouldn’t turn over.  I called out the green flag again.

As it turns out the issue was not a flat battery, in fact far from it, I’d managed to kill the starter motor which when I removed it was just a pile of black soot and burned electrical connections, this was the price I paid for using the starter motor to get the car off the road, although I’d rather a broken starter than a smashed car.

I wasn’t convinced i’d solved the electrical problem for good though, loose battery seemed too good to be true, and one would  expect that if its loose it would stop running completely, or make no difference, as the generator isn’t affected.  Green flag only restart your car once, after that its recovery or your on your own, so rather than get suck and have to call out the ANWB, I decided to have the car recover to Andy Bates for a new starter, and to get the engine mount beefed up as it had cracked.

I found the electrical issue, or should I say issues once I got the car home a few weeks later, there was some corrosion on the fuses, when the bulkhead flexed the car cut out as a result.  I was finally able to reproduce this when examining something with the lid open, replacing the fuses has solved that issue, and its easy to check.  I expect the loose connections didn’t help things either so I glued and lock wired them accordingly.


Collecting the Fury

The car is finally ready, in fact, its been ready now for about a month, but due to other commitments, I’ve been unable to collect it from Andy.  I’m now back from Guatemala, the first week at my new job is complete, and if my past car related logistical experiences are anything to go by, this weekend is going to be hard work.

The car is registered, taxed, insured, and otherwise ready to drive, except for the engine, which whilst running, hasn’t been setup yet.  I’ve only driven the car about 250 meters, but i’m fairly confident that as long as the engine doesn’t explode on the dyno, that I crash and burn due to driving with slicks in the middle of winter, and if nobody forgets my booking, that i’ll be home on monday night.

The plan is as follows, fly to Birmingha,, pick up a car transporter, drive to Suffolk, pick up the car, drive to northhampon with the car on the boot, and get it dyno’d, then drive back to Birmingham to return the truck, before driving to Harwich to catch the ferry. A bit optimistic? Perhaps, but its that or wait another 3 weeks…

The fully flat floor makes it hard to strap the car down properly, using the rollbar puts additional downforce on the rollers, increasing drag, and compressing the suspension.  As the tyre speed increases the tyres stretch, and this can cause them to rub

As it turned out, everything went according to plan, I collected the transporter, picked up the car, and arrived at Northampton Motorsport more or less on time. The car was strapped down and mapped.

Power run shows just under 180bhp at 12,500rpm

Peak power was 179.5 still with a few more rpm to go, so I’ll round that up to a nice clean 180.  After bolting on the side pod, and dropping the transporter off I had the best drive ever back to Harwich.  This car has completely redefined my definition of fast, and whilst with the ambient temperature a crisp -3, I wasn’t exactly testing the performance, it absolutely blew me away just how capable it is.  I arrived in Harwich just in time to roll onto the ferry, and slept like a log overnight.

Power run shows just under 180bhp at 12,500rpm

Order Progress

Spoke to Chris today, Arranged for everything including the floor to be powder coated tangerine. Discussed a number of points of confusion for me, the brake flexible hoses will be m10x1 male on the end, so I need to convert them to 1/8th NPTF somehow. I might just whip the ends off and stick an NTPF fittings, or at least M10 Female. Ordered a 6 Gallon tank, a bit small perhaps, but will do nicely for now, complete with baffles, a sump, and return pipe. We’re still not sure on the uprights, in theory standard Escort ones should be fine, but I was planning on putting Alloy hubs on, so I need to check that they fit the smaller stubs. I shall place an order at Rally Design sometime later today.

On the list of things to do is:

  • Check the price for the fuel tank
  • Confirm the colour code that the whole kit and kaboodle will be powder coated
  • Check with Rally Design that the hubs will fit

Chris recons the order will be ready mid to late November, which is more or less Ideal as I’ll be back from Supercomputing and the US no later than the 8th of December.