New season coming rushing up

Fullscreen-capture-12022013-231258Finally,  I seem to be making a bit of progress on the car. Mind you, precious little of this progress has translated to this website. I have, though, been doing stuff on two other sites. The new 750 website was produced with a good deal of help from me and I’ve also been putting together a new site for RGB to go with the existing forum. Note that even if you’re not an RGBer you can now invest in some RGB teamwear to make you feel more a part of the action. Perhaps, though, the RGB umbrellas will be a better choice if we have the same sort of summer as we had last year.

Less of the wibble though, “what’s been happening in the garage”, I hear you all cry. Well, something, at least. Due to all the alarums and excursions over the winter I’ve done nothing like what I originally

Air filter-002

planned to do and am just having to satisfy myself with a few minor tweaks. You can tell the new season’s approaching though, I have to drive up to Donington Park tomorrow evening (as I write) for the first race committee meeting of the year. Doubtless I’ll learn lots of interesting stuff about Locost and Formula Vee.
Onto the car though. One thing I wanted to do was to increase the spring rates all round although to change the front/rear balance slightly to see if I can make the overall balance better. I’m also planning on running the car closer to flat (that is, with no rake) to see if that will also help the balance. There have also been a lot of maintenance things to do like replacing the air  filter foam. This is last year’s, complete with grass.

So, I replaced that and cleaned up all sorts of bits in the engine bay. I made an especial  attempt at neatening up Tidying up wiringthe wiring which had got into a bit of a state after the rushed engine change at Anglesey last year. A bit of me would like to completely redo this, but that’s a but extreme really. One thing I did find while doing all this was the earth connection for the power commander was loose. Hopefully, that’s the explanation for the missing that the engine developed at the Birkett. I certainly haven’t found anything else wrong. At the time we had a theory that it was caused by the fuel tank vent being blocked but closer investigation showed that that wasn’t the case. But, I replaced it anyway…

One thing that I had a bit of trouble with last year was the aluminium turnbuckles that connect to the ends of the anti roll bars at the front and rear of the car. As it’s clear after the Birkett that I need to put a bit more energy into the bars I replaced these with ready made, and steel, items from McGill Motorsports who are a company that sells all sorts of interesting little gadgets. I’ve used them for all sorts of things over the ARB turnbuckles-002years and their service is usually superb; I had an interesting chat with them at the Autosport show last year when they were saying that they’d taken 8 tonnes of stuff to the show with them to sell. At the time Adrian bought about a tonne of rod ends which we then had to lug around the show for hours.

While in and around the suspension I changed all the pads and changed the brake fluid. I’m going to try some harder pads for the start of the season  but I have a suspicion that they’re going to be too harsh for me.

I spent a while doing things to the exhaust system. First up was re-packing the silencer. I actually repacked this before the Birkett but it was clearly getting noisier and so, after just that one meeting, I took it apart again to find the glass wadding half not there and half completely solidified.

This time, I repacked it with basalt. Supposedly this will withstand the temperatures better, although it has a reputation for just blowing out of the exhaust so we’ll see how it goes. I tried to forestall this with an epic quantity of Exhaust wrap-002stainless steel wire wool wrapped around the perforated tube but I’ve no real idea how well it will work.

On the same front, I knocked off the wrap I’d got around the headers. From experience that just goes hard too and eventually falls off so I thought I’d assist it and here it all over my nice garage floor. (That, by the way, is a huge success.) Hopefully the end result of this won’t be overheating of my back but we’ll see how it goes. I have tried to add some extra heat insulation by the exhaust system around the back of the passenger compartment with some proper double-layer heat shield but I don’t really know how well this will work when the engine’s working properly.

Heat protection-003The other thing that seemed sensible to do was to replace the chain and sprockets after a hard season. So, I bought new items from B&C Express and installed them. As you can see in the photo below, this time I decided again to not split the sprocket as it’s just too hard to make it run nicely. As such I could buy a lightened driven sprocket which, if nothing else, looks seriously blingy. I also made the chain this time to have a single link more than it did before, to try and make it run a bit better.

Looking at last year’s sprockets they’re pretty badly hooked but perhaps that’s just par for the course after a full season.

One final change was to remake the toe-link adjusters on the rear suspension. The previous design had a flat tab so you could only adjust in half-revolutions. What’s more, you had to unbolt it all the time, hence the turnbuckles. I didn’t buy these ones  ready made though, mainly because, rather oddly, I needed on with a 1/2″ thread on one  end  and a 3/8″ one on the other. But, to make  these I had to break the TIG welder out for the first time for a while. I’d forgotten  Transmission refresh-006how much fun TIG welding was and I’m now looking for something else to weld, Perhaps I’ll make a complete new body out of aluminium. English wheel, anyone?

I’m getting to the point now where I need to put the car back on the ground and do some set-up work. I might also remake the seat which I made in a bit of a rush two years ago… Perhaps this weekend.


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