Friday, 19 May 2017

New Tyres - Hankook Ventus V12 evo2(K120)s

18.8k miles, 4 years in and the MOT flagged the rear tyres were on their last legs, still legal, but reported as an advisory. The offside rear had plenty of tread but wearing through the inside edge.

So time for a change - I've gone for Hankook Ventus V12 evo2(K120)s, fitted care of Staplehurst Tyres.

Chosen through a combination of reviews, price and wet performance. I need a general purpose tyre, nice as slicks/semi slicks look, I'm road use rather than track. The spare not being replaced - its not directional which makes more sense for a spare, I can use it on either side of the car.

Hankook's Symmetrical and Directional tread - I think a good compromise between practicality and looks. In theory if the inside blocks start to wear I could swap tyres (not wheels) side to side and even the wear pattern.

Need a few miles on them to run in and we shall see!

+ while watching chatting to the tyre fitters, an idea - I need some distinctive jacking point indications on the bottom of the car, either stickers or simple painted circles.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Wheel bearings

The drivers side rear wheel had a bit of play, detected at MOT. So before replacing the tyres I'm replacing the bearings. On the original build I had replaced oil seals but for some reason left the bearings as they were - just delaying the inevitable!

Procedure is as described in my old Sierra manual plus a useful page compiled by my car club: RhoCar Changing a wheel bearing assembly (Sierra).

The rear assemblies are relatively straightforward - no special tools required - but an oil seal puller is useful.

I have a 1m breaker bar and hub nut socket, used on the original build, which loosened the hub nuts with relative ease - pressure applied with the car on the ground, wheels on, in gear and handbrake applied. Then jack up, wheels off, brake calliper off, disc off then finally a puller to pull the hub plate off the drive shaft.


Now that is a spanner!

Just nuts and bolts - however the 4x bolts holding on the bearing carrier went back on with nuts on the outside - much more accessible on the completed car.

Drive shaft bearing surfaces a little discoloured, not blue - but straw coloured so ~300ºC at some point in its life. Feels smooth to the touch, a little muck on the rear edge where the oil seal rides - but looks serviceable to me - no change required here other than a wipe down.

Part way through the job, old bearings and seals out. Tools: oil seal puller works well to hook underneath without damaging the carriers, steel drift and hammer to knock out the old bearing races and install the new, wooden packing and g-clamp to hold things steady.

Drivers side carrier with seals and bearings removed - looks and feels ok to me.

Re install is the opposite of dismantling, straightforward - precise application of pressure taking great care not to damage any of the new components and keep everything clean of dust or other contaminants (other than copious grease).

  • Hub nuts are handed, both loosen towards the back of the car, tighten towards the front. Interesting reason why to do with precession which I found out on the original build.
  • Keeping the bearings and the seals in the freezer beforehand makes them possible to fit.
  • Need to keep the bearing inners with their own races.
  • Pre fill the back of the oil seals with grease before chilling so they can come out of the freezer and straight into the carriers before they warm up.
  • The vice was useful for balanced pressure on the oil seals to get them started back in. Stacked with the old seals to avoid any damage on the new - this is the trickiest part of the job IMHO.
  • The old bearing runs and oil seals are useful as drifts to help install the new ones without damage.
  • The grease is messy - everything gets messy - gloves useful, if only to have one clean hand to get back in the house!
  • Nylocs and hub nuts are one use only - so all replaced during the procedure

Drivers side complete, test run not showing any issues, passenger side is next!

Update - passenger side complete 13/5/17



Oil seal puller,

Bearings out - again this carrier looks clean inside,

Re-assmbly - bolts on the outside now for accessibility reasons, left handed hub-nut this side.

If I got it right, that should be it for the life of the car.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

MOT Pass

Computer says yes!

One more year on the road, MOT test professionally worked through by Tom at I am all legal for another 12 months open top motoring.

Good friendly and flexible team at the testing station - thank you!

Its reasonably stressful having someone else checking my Zero, I definitely want a first class MOT test - I'm trusting my life to the car - but even so, I put every nut and bolt into this machine, theres a lot of effort and emotional investment.

Emissions adjustment

I think I finally have the emissions worked out! 

I spent 20-30 minutes adjusting the map before the test, Staplehurst tyres let me use their emissions equipment to fine adjust things. The map wasn't far off, just needed a tweak to 14.7 AFR in some key areas (calibrated), and adjust the underlying injection map to ensure the Lambda wasn't pegging at its 20% adjustment limits - i.e. give it enough leeway to do its job actively managing the fuelling.

The new wide-band lambda gauge helped massively, now I have the equipment on the car to actually accurately measure and adjust the fuelling.

Once we had all stable green on the test machine - Tom setup the MOT test proper.

  1. Use an accelerator holding device for the fast idle test for consistency 
  2. Don't adjust or leave things too long on slow idle since everything (CAT) seemed to cool down and readings wander.
  3. Adjust one thing and wait - give it at least 5-10 seconds to settle before making the next change- force myself into a think-adjust-wait-think MO and avoid rushing things.
  4. Don't be afraid of re-loading the before adjustment map - start again from a known point if things are not going in the right direction.

MOT Test

The test itself was no issues,

I already had emissions dialed-in from the adjustment session, so let them settle again and watch the count down timer on the test machine until it turns into a green tick,

..nothing found on the suspension shake/rattle tests, steering or fuel system etc. I'm much more relaxed about the physical part of the test - if there is a problem I know how to fix it - or I know I can find out how to fix it with tools in the garage.

Headlights within limits but a little high on the nearside.

If only I had space for a lift like this - it would make life so much easier for maintenance...

The to do list now has:

1. New tyres required, rear nearside is especially low on the inside edge. This was due anyway but I thought I would get the MOT out of the way before investing in them, i.e. didn't know if I was looking at a re-map first!

2. Offside rear bearing has a small amount of movement when no load on it, sounds and runs fine, but probably an indicator of a job to come. If I'm replacing the bearing then I may look at some camber shims for the rear at the same time,  no particular rush on this though.

3. Headlight alignment - again I'm within limits just needs a little adjustment.

4. Reverse engagement sticky when on the rollers - need to keep an eye on it

Otherwise we should be good!

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Stoneleigh 2017

I drove up with my wife yesterday and stayed overnight just north of Coventry, meaning a quick run down to arrive at the Stoneleigh show-ground around 9.30.

Good weather this year, the threat of rain reducing to a little overcast, and in the end perfect weather for wandering, looking at cars and meeting up with fellow drivers I've met from various run outs and events:

Castle Combe 2015: Bob and his wife - stalwarts of almost all RhoCar gatherings with his unique 'Florin Metal Works' seven.

Scotland 2014/2015: Rob, Terry recovering from a severe crash in his Cobra replica, Simon perusing the GBS Stand, Stewart and Jon (missed Andy) driven down from Scotland and Dan who just upgraded his car with a super charger. Sadly Ian, from the first Scotland run, recently passed away (unrelated to driving).

Bucket and Spade 2016: Al Milton, and another driving colleague who's name escapes me.

I also bumped into Zach who drove up in his upgraded V6 Zero and still working through some teething issues with oil leaks and stable cylinder firing. Zach's Orange car just visible behind mine in this picture, with the bonnet off and vertical air intakes.

Looked like a good turnout on the RhoCar stand,

Within 10 minutes of my arrival the outer line of club cars had stretched around the perimeter of the club area, when we came back just before lunch the whole of this area was covered with cars 3-4 rows deep.

No idea what this is - but the car itself, its grile and trailer are eye catchers!

A particularly photogenic Beetle based beech buggy caught my eye,

Camping options - looks like these guys were expecting to need protection against wild animals?

All sorts on display and I did pick up a few parts for the motor, I think we were there from around 9.30 to14.30 ish, very nice gammon roll for lunch, and made it home to Kent for around 18:30.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Gear lever gaiter / boot

Minor tidy up and upgrade - the gear lever gaiter, or boot, and tunnel top area was very minimal - but also getting a little tatty. The hole in the tunnel top was originally round - but adjusted to ensure it would not knock the lever in 5th.

I found an MGB part for the surround, available in chrome or matt black, found by trawling eBay and google images. The centre hole is over the minimum 80mm inside radius required. The only gotcha was the side bolt positions are right over the tunnel chassis tubes, so are cut short to be flush on the underside and hot-glued in place. The other two hold everything in place with rivnuts.

The old gaiter was removed and used as a pattern for the new one. I went for a single piece and no drawstring to simplify it - knock on effect is its not possible to double stitch the front seam, so my seam is positioned towards the front of the car - out of sight.

The new gaiter made from an off-cut of the original tunnel/aux panel vinyl cover material, time will tell if it is robust enough for this purpose. I didn't modify the tunnel panel hole - the gaiter and surround just sits over it. Looks the part.

I'm also slowly replacing the on-show original BZP M8 button head bolts: tunnel top, dashboard etc, with stainless flanged button versions to clean up the look a little.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Stoneleigh Kit Car Show plans

The Kit car show of the year is fast approaching, running Sunday 30th April through Monday 1st May. Seems to have arrived so quickly this year.

I'm planning to take the Zero up on Sunday 30th at some point - usually get there mid morning, park up on the RhoCar stand and stay for lunch and a few hours mooching about before heading home. 

Shopping list:
    T moulding - need a longer bit under the windscreen
    P moulding - might replace the bonnet chrome trim
    Wide rear view mirror for the top of the screen
    .... ? - who knows - ?

An excuse for a run out as well as the show itself.

Replace number plate lights

My original 5 LED unit only had one left working, so replacing it.

Bolt LEDs units for under £5 from China, I made some simple brackets from PETG offcuts left over from the Wind Deflectors, these will stick behind the plate rather than bolt through it to avoid any issues of making the plate less readable.

They wire into the original number plate lamp on the rear panel, which is still in place.
I still may re-visit the wiring route...

I should be all set for MOT now, perhaps after Stoneleigh.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Gear selector saddle upgrade

5 minute upgrade - the gear lever saddle clip which isolates/cushions the lever from the gearbox linkage.

I was watching discussions on Rhocar replacing these clips with brass parts to tighten the gear selection. Any wear on the plastic saddle I also understand can affect ability to engage some gears - so seemed like a nice straightforward upgrade.

I really dont want to feel pure metal on metal 'zing' feedback from the gears through the gear lever. Opted for middle ground, a heavy duty glass re-enforced nylon version (red) sourced from MKF Engineering to replace the original (black) one.

Straightforward pull out and push the new one in - making sure to maintain correct orientation. There is no particularly obvious wear on the original, time will tell if this new one makes a noticable difference.

Re-install seats

New plate washers and bolts arrived so quick job to bolt everything back in.

Slightly new arrangement which saves me 5mm seat height! (12.5mm down to 7mm) this is secondary to spreading the seat load on the floorpan a little more.

Inside: A half height nut, who's job is only to stop the bolt falling out when putting the seats back in, and a 3mm thick 50mmx50mm plate washer.
Outside: No change - penny washer and new full size nyloc. 

This still gives just enough clearance to lift the seat position adjuster bar.

Changed to hex heat bolts rather than cap head, the hex locks into the rail and along with the half height nut on the other side its never going to turn.

Plate washers showing the size in context.

...and all shiny and new on the underside until the next run out which will hone the bolt length.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Replace front indicators

This one was on the cards for a while, a breakage on the Ireland trip just forced the issue. No idea where the lens went, didn't even notice it was gone until one of the campsite owners told me.

So looked for some options, this one only £3 from china - nice shape - but a little too extreme on size - perhaps more suited to being a repeater.

After browsing Ebay for 'motorcycle fairing indicator' settled on this. It would be no good for IVA - no 45º visibility from the front let alone minimum distance to the side, but MOT just checks number and functionality on indicator lights so I should be fine.

The car is on stands so no way to stand back and double check I got them exactly level - all functional though, nice new clean look.

Couple of longer shots in the drive - looks fine to me, they are even reasonably level!