Monday, 19 September 2016

End of season - To-Do list

Getting towards the end of the good weather and driving season with a certain autumn feel now in the air. I'm starting to compile the winter to-do list. Some are already started with parts ordered and just waiting for enough bad-weather that dash/off is unlikely to remove any driving opportunity:

1. Intercom II
The new intercom approach, financed by a little selling on eBay, is a combined shooting ear-muff + motorcycle bluetooth intercom hack. Intended to avoid shouting between driver and passenger. The radio will also have a simple Bluetooth transmitter added.

2. USB Power
Replacing the existing single 'lighter socket' with a couple of purpose built twin USB power outlets
The front socket is permanently used for camera and sat-nav anyway.

3. Aux Panel buttons upgrade
The savage switches will be coming out to be replaced by something more robust + include a separate  local fuse for the button illumination so if/when the illumination goes it cannot take the button function with it.

4. Suspension height + brake disc paint.
That feeling when the seat bolts bottom out on roads with a high camber needs correcting with a turn on the rear adjustable coil-overs to stiffen things up a little. It's probably a combination of the springs settling and me getting heavier - or driving faster :) . I think I'll paint the slightly rusty/visible parts of the brake discs while the wheels are off.

5. Wideband Lambda
Some discussion on Facebook + identification of a new (to me) piece of Wideband lambda kit. It can null out some inaccuracies caused by installation, loom driven voltage variances, and looks interesting. Intending to swap out the narrowband (parts not yet purchased for this one)

6. Clocks surround + Shift light
I must get around to removing the stainless clocks surround and changing the mirror finish. I think just a brushed one will do the trick and stop it reflecting the sun right into my eyes. This post on Mitch's Blog reminded me. Installing a combination shift light and indicator tale-tale while the dash is apart.

None are must haves - just tinkering/upgrading.

That should keep me busy!

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Silencer refurbished, re-installed and back to nominal performance

GBS did a good job on the silencer.

Keith confirmed over the phone they could sort it out so I took it up last weekend, had a chat with Richard, handed over the offending item and meandered back through Lincolnshire. 

Got to have a wander around my namesake City - Lincoln, it's Cathedral and medieval quarter.

The refurbished silencer was back on my doorstep by Wednesday!

The silencer rear end cap had been removed, interior pipe re-worked, wadding re-packed, re-assembled and cleaned into the bargain.

Re installed on the car today: new exhaust gasket, manifold, lambda probe re-installed and then the silencer. This time no exhaust jointing compound - 1. because it was so hard to part last time 2. the old tube of the stuff had gone off.

I replaced the rear bracket padding - the old pad was made from fuel pipe offcut which must have lasted 10k miles now - a little worse for wear but seems to work so replaced it with the same thing.

Quick run to my parents - around 70 mile round trip to test.
Everything back as it should be - engine and exhaust sounds & no rattle at any rev range, power or idling.

15100 miles on the clock - lets see how long she stays like it this time.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Running repairs - Silencer

The silencer has developed a nasty rattle around 2,000-2,300rpm, and on overrun, first noticed it on the Barcelona run last year.

Finally got to the point where I have had enough and it needs to be resolved permanently.

Spot the missing item from the left hand side of my Zero:

The manifold had to come off too - there was just no budging the manifold/silencer joint on the car, or even off the car.

After lots of advice from the RhoCar club on possibly approaches - '2b cruising'  helped out. Application of two pairs of hands, rubber mallets, gravity, heat and brute force did the trick - silencer now separated from the manifold and no damage done.

Next step is to return the silencer to the supplier to see what they can do.

Monday, 29 August 2016

15k miles & 7k rpm

Out for a bit of a run today, left her in 2nd a little too long and found out the ECU rev limiter is working fine! A puff of white smoke from the exhaust and no more power as the engine saves itself from over revving.

Once home the ECU memory feature indicates the 7,000 max revs from its previous run.
I suppose thats one way to know the tachometer is correctly calibrated!

Milestone 15,001 miles on the clock now.

The red tape pointers on the speedo are typical continental European speeds 50, 90 & 120kph, to save me trying to read the tiny kph font on the clock when driving.

The digit decals on my smiths clocks lifting from their black backgrounds after too much hot weather running over the years.

Update - re revs, looks like no harm done, subsequent 80mile run shows no problems and everything running as normal, I guess put it down to driver error, thinking about installing an in my face shift light...

Thursday, 21 July 2016


Nothing really to do with the car itself.

A spin-off use for some left overs from the cooling system.
An off cut of silicone tubing, section cut out, makes a perfect sprung heat proof 'pot handle grabber' for the kitchen...

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Adaptive feedback update

Approx 1,500 miles on the clock now since shifting to fully adaptive.

I get a larger spread of feedback adjustments and the start of some changes in the higher rev range - car doesn't stay there for long on normal driving though so not yet a smooth graph.

0-500 rev range is excluded from the feedback process.

There is the expected top-left to bottom-right diagonal of feedbacks - consistent with relatively flat running and smooth acceleration in high gear, and the top row of values at zero throttle when lifting off and coasting. Not many hills on the Berlin run so only a little feedback on the left vertical - high throttle/low revs.

The original powermap high inputs at low revs are not great, I presume they are to stop the engine stalling, the car tends to bog down at low revs when pulling away and I suspect it's moving into this area. I may let adaptive adjust the 500 column in around 10% throttle and see if that helps.

Friday, 1 July 2016

Berlin and Back - Home!

The final leg,
Across Belgium and towards the ferry at Dunkirk.

An interesting lifting bridge along the way.

Nothing really more to tell other thank losing my debit card to an automated petrol garage in France somewhere. Luckily had enough cash for the final fill up. Rang up the bank to cancel my card and they asked me where I was:
   "er, not really sure, somewhere in Belgium or France..."
   Made the bank assistant laugh anyway.

Arrived at Dunkirk just in time to catch the 16:00 ferry.

The boat was reasonably full, and somewhat shock to the system with so much noise, people and genral hubub.  It was nice to have a complete english conversation with the lady behind the coffee counter - I mean just full sentences rather than broken english and signs, then a little people watching while I supped my hot coffee and ate a warm danish pastry.

Its only a 2 hour crossing, the route first running west along the French coast then north into Dover. 
I spent a fair amount of time on deck in the wind - the wind just makes me feel alive!

All parked up at home, car needs a wash.
Time for a proper cup of tea (in my experience tea is just not the same outside the UK), feet up and then a long bath.

All done.

One European road trip: complete.
Countries visited: UK, France, Belgium, Netherlands and Germany.
Languages: English, please/thank-you in local language, smiles and pointing.
Weather: roasting heat to torrential rain
Miles Travelled: ~1,578
Car issues: None

Thank you to all the locals, petrol station owners, restauranteurs waiters and hoteliers for being patient with communications. The waves and nods from general public also appreciated.

Hood down all the way while driving, used a couple of times for overnight waterproofing.

Roads - no mountains, but plenty to see, lots of places I have never been to before and a few on a shortlist to re-visit.


Thursday, 30 June 2016

Operation Chastise - Dambusters Dams

A fair few miles to get through, with the overnight in the Netherlands, but on the way, based on a tip from a RhoCar member visiting the Dambusters Dams.

More chocolate box German half timbered towns and villages.

along with some nice sweeping curves and great wide open views.

The Dambusters attacked tMohne then Eder then Sorpe sequence - my sequence is based on my arrival traveling east to west.


Just before elevenses I arrive at the Eder, the winding road around the reservoir is an awesome drive in terms of views, but unfortunately limited to 50kph and not so great as a challenging drive.

However the Dam itself - fantastic.
There is a finess/cleanness and lightness (odd adjective for a Dam) to the design.

The tale-tale missing sluices and lighter stone work mid-dam betraying its past - the sluices were not re-installed after the re-build post Dambusters run.

You can imagine the bombing run, first using limited space to line up on the approach over the reservoir.

Then the pull up on the other side to miss the hillside, looks like plenty of space for a smaller plane, a Lancaster still with enough fuel to get home or even with its Upkeep bomb still in place for a go-around is probably a different challenge all together!

These places for some reason send a shiver through me - theres some memory of the history present in the location - the effort of one side to destroy, one side to defend, and the collateral damage. The feelings seem to remain in places even when the people move on.

Decent bit of engineering, and some style too, the structure has a really open/positive feel to it.


Different in design, the Sorpe is an earth bank - so not much to see; I just stopped for a couple of snaps and a breather. I believe this one was not breached, a bomb bouncing over the top - but the sink on the reservoir side and explode mid Dam was just not going to work on the sloped sides.


This is the daddy. Compared to the Eder a more brutal design - really heavy imposing towers. The weather closing in a little too and helping the overall feel. Incredible build in the first place, and incredible that anything could damage this structure.

A memorial to the approx 900 civilians that lost their lives in the aftermath.
Notwithstanding the efforts of the allies and impressive achievement of the mission the only guarantee with war is everybody dies.

Early dinner in the restaurant overlooking the reservoir, and then on the move again.

Return to the Netherlands

The road east now a straight run for the hotel. A little traffic around Essen and Duisburg, and then virtually as soon as I cross the border into the Netherlands, more rain.

My patent waterproofing system - plastic bag + clothes peg - re-installed on the sat nav. Works well, the touchscreen even works through the bag.

...and another chance to give the wipers some exercise, at speed its not so bad,

... but the rain got heavier, and as soon as I slowed it covered the inside of the windscreen too!

Arrived at the hotel, opposite the church in Meijel. By the time I had her wrapped up for overnight and checked into the hotel the rain stopped! Its only water though.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Headed West

Return journeys always have a different feel; thoughts return to being home and the feeling to meander lessens. Today is about getting back into that driving mood.

I did plan in some key waypoints on the way back, the route taking me a little further south to some higher ground, a few more hills en-route to Brocken.

Some fantastic scenery in the Schulenberg im Oberharz area on the drive around the reservoir.
Dams always have a gentle side with reasonable drop to the water and a downright scary side, this one with cargo nets to presumably catch anyone falling over the edge?

 Everything suddenly getting very swiss chalet style for the overnight stop near Munden.

Weather good again, but cooler now, nice driving temperature, more like a warm breeze than feeling like I'm inside a fan oven.