Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Autumn driving...

Any excuse to get in the car for a drive;

September: Donnington & SKCC

Donington Kit Car show a couple of weeks back; Good show + on the same weekend as a race day + an excellent F1 car collection on site. This was also the excuse for a run back through central London in the sunshine. I also met a few of the group from the Scotland run earlier in the year.

..then SKCC drive with 40 cars to the Amberley Heritage museum; Convoy from the cafe meet to the museum was great to be a part of, and the weather was with us again for a relaxed wander around - its 80s claim to fame being the location for the external shots for  Main Strike Mine in the Bond movie A View to a Kill.

October: GBS Run out

..and last weekend its back up the M11, A1 towards Newark - GBS have organised a Sunday run out. While its a fair way to drive - any excuse for the countryside further north has to be taken;

Missed the worst of the weather and 'toughing it out' in a local B&B with Pub down the road the night before - sorted :)

GBS Write up is here, Facebook album here, and a sample of photos, including me smiling again - don't know what does it! :)

All Zeros but all slightly different depending on the builder's preference:

80 or so miles of country roads and high speed convoy:

Good run, although I did cook the engine slightly and now have some excuses to upgrade the cooling system over the winter.

A few hundred more miles on the clock with the round trip to Nottingham, ODO is now around 5,200 miles since build.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Heater bonnet vents

The final step of the heater move, inlets on the bonnet;

My layout has a central pattern to line up with the heater inlet, and two side patterns which are both for aesthetic reasons and to let more engine bay heat out. They will let rain water in but the amount this car drives in the rain - I'm not concerned about it; any ingress will drain directly through over the gearbox to the road.

The layout is 10mm diameter holes, 10mm apart left/right, 15mm apart fore/aft laid out in powerpoint and printed to scale. Template aligned with the heater inlet underneath. Prior to starting I tested hole spacing on a scrap to ensure it didn't weaken the area too much:

3.2mm pilot hole widened to the 6mm required for my sheet metal punch. I carefully drilled them with the bonnet in place on the car - it was the easiest way to hold everything rigid, just needed some care with length of drill bit and awareness of what was underneath:

The sheet metal punch leaves a completely finished hole, no need for filing and a very slight bevel towards the inside of the bonnet:

31 holes, 2 hours work - result as planned though, pretty happy with that:

I just need an opportunity for a drive to see if the heater can still pull in air from the boundary layer around the car when it is moving.

Thats it - the end of the radio/heater project!

Update - short trip round the block today, there is certainly a draw of air through the heater, without the fan going, just using the cars forward speed. The area I have my inlet vents must still be close enough to the windscreen to be in the high pressure area.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Aux Panel re-install with radio & DRL

Wiring: Fusebox

New key for the fuse box, in the process of adding the new circuits I documented all the fuses. Colour coding matches fuses to those which have relays switching them: (My fusebox is upside down vs. standard Zero build, fuses above relays)

Wiring: Savage dimmer

My new preferred Savage switch dimming circuit. The same approach is used on all three switches with the output +ve load looped over to the LED side of the switch. Thus on the fog switch, which takes +ve from dip beam it is a true tel-tale, the switch only lighting when the fog lamp itself is lit.

No extra diodes necessary, the LED itself is a diode so won't let current back through to the side lights circuit when the switch is off and in any event its grounded both sides in this scenario.

When off: 

  • +Ve feed connects to nothing
  • If side lights are on they illuminate the switch dimmed by the resistor

When on:

  •  +Ve feed connects to the load and in parallel through the LED, thus when the load gets power, the LED gets power.
  • For the fog lamp the +Ve feed is the dip beam line, so when on  with dips off then the switch LED does not light and neither do the fogs.

The savage LEDs are rated 12v so the resistor is only to dim them slightly, I used 0.6w 5k6 Ohm resistors.

Aux Panel MkIII

Final steps on the new version of the aux panel, vinyl covered and an override switch top right so the electric aerial can be indepdendently turned off. My thinking is this will be useful either if it gets stuck, or more likely to ensure I don't raise it in the garage while testing the radio. 

I'm using the original sides of the old panel, the second picture showing how the front face is now a little more vertical:

I still don't have a new push-pull for the heater control in the left most position, so just a placeholder blank plate for now:

 Trying to keep the wiring as consistent and neat as possible & went back to the standard 11 way connector for the panel. Re-used the old earth rivnut for a stand-off to support the back of the radio:

With the heater matrix on the other side of the firewall bulkhead & the aux panel itself sitting slightly more vertical there is a good inch of space between the radio back and heater box:

Testing: Side lights off, then side lights on which illuminates the switches, radio volume button(when its off) or dims the radio display when its on:

The Radio did give me one gotcha - it takes two live feeds, one permanent to maintain its memory/time etc, and one via the ignition to allow it to turn on - I wired up exactly as per the manual using the standard ISO connectors - but it turns out this particular radio needs these two feeds reversed to work properly - go figure :)

Update - after talking to Blaupunkt, turns out the radio when wired as standard will turn on when ignition is off?  which is odd - i.e. if its standard design is to always be able to turn on, why do they even use the ignition sense line; I'm not going to change it - the absence of clock function is a small price to pay for making sure nothing can be turned on when the keys are not present.

And my nifty (although already temperamental) electric aerial. It works well as an aerial, and I like the way its hidden when not in use, however it also has a habit of not quite winding all the way down - I'll pull it apart and re-grease/clean etc at some point:

Daytime Running Lights

The DRLs wiring installed now, switchable via the aux panel. I bought a switching box which takes +Ve, Ground and a feed from the side lights to automatically turn the DRLs off, overriding the panel switch, at night time when the side or headlights are turned on. The 6 lights just below the headlights actually look brighter than this in bright daylight - very pleased with the effect.

Took her out for a test drive to Ashford on the M20 and back on the A20 ... :)

Passed a couple of huge articulated lorries near Maidstone, a matt black Pirelli & a Grey/Silver one possibly Mercedes, presumably on their way from the Silverstone F1 Grand Prix today heading to mainland Europe.

The radio is much clearer, no distortion now at high volume - but still really only useful when waiting in traffic or moving under 50mph, after that buffeting takes over and all you can hear is wind - I'll add in a headphone circuit later.

Over 50mph there is more to concentrate on anyway!

Final part of the upgrades is the holes in the bonnet to let air into the heater matrix. I need to be in a calm mood for that one - no second chances.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Radio wiring & Aux panel fabrication

Radio Wiring

Inside the fusebox was off to add in a fuse for the electric aerial. It has a permanent live feed to let it wind down when the ignition is removed so I thought it best to have an independent 5A fuse. The polyswitch is also removed now in favour of a separate fused circuit direct to the battery for radio memory & immobiliser flashing LED. My cutoff switch cuts everything except this single radio memory circuit.

Not much to see when its back together - its not the easiest of jobs wading through the back of the fusebox, especially as everything seems just out of arms length when working inside the car:

Radio wiring routed down the passenger side of the tunnel: aerial, electric feed to raise it and the speaker cables. Touch wood it doesn't all interfere with each other - we shall see.

The aerial itself needed a grommet to prevent it earthing against the car, and an eyelet in the boot lid to let it pass straight through when the radio is turned on:

Aux Panel

A little headway on the new Aux panel. I'm keeping the sides from the old one and just re-building the front face in 1.6mm aluminium as per the hardboard template. Then I can offer it all up with the dashboard back in place to find the right angle before riveting the sides back in place.

The folded top edge goes back on my version rather than forward on the stock GBS panel, meaning it will be a little more vertical and hopefully give some more room behind for the switches which are mounted much lower. Everything to be re-covered in vinyl once complete:

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Heater tidy up & coolant back in

The foam edging strip for the heater intake box arrived which should seal the top edge to the bonnet above. Final fit for the box and re-plumbing the heater matrix to the engine. I bought a couple of 5/8" tails for the matrix so no need for adaptors this time. All re-filled with coolant:

My preferred layout for the bonnet holes planned, 10mm diameter in a slightly squashed diamond pattern; however not yet cut them!

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Relocate the Heater

So much for waiting for bad weather before dismantling things; I made a start on moving the heater matrix to the other side of the firewall.

Heater box relocation is both to improve the heater operation with hopefully more downdraught & to provide a little more space behind the aux panel in the cabin for some other alterations.

My firewall even had 4x holes centrally, presumably for attaching the fusebox in its factory standard position? Marked out the shape of the matrix intake, intending to use the 20mm metal punches I used on the bonnet vents for the corners then join up the straight lines with the Dremel:

Not too bad, however, drilling stainless is a mare, 4mm pilot opened up to around 8mm both using my right angle drill attachment in the confined space. The step drill wouldn't have it, so ended up using 10mm metal punch followed by 20mm metal punch. Joining up the straight lines with the dremel extension was much easier:

Heater matrix relocated to the engine bay, with the fan box virtually in its original position - but saving around 1" of space on the cabin side of the panel. The wood blocks on the second shot are temporary to make sure none of the loom touches the firewall while I am drilling/cutting and generally getting things hot:

The heater matrix will take fresh air from the bonnet immediately above as per standard layout on most cars. This requires a box on the engine side to ensure no engine/under bonnet fumes make their way in. Mocked up in cardboard first:

Then aluminium, a little fitting required and patches to cover existing old firewall holes. Not shown here rubber trim between the cover & heater matrix & also neoprene seal to the bulkhead:

Water could make its way down through the, to be cut, bonnet vents. The bottom of the vent box is designed to slope away from the firewall & a marble double checked which side is lowest before drilling a 4mm drain hole:

Final step, rivnut fixing to the firewall so its all removable if need be:

Next up - re-plumbing the water feeds, holes in the bonnet & some rubber edge trim to make the top edge seal with the bonnet.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Aux Panel all-change mockup

The existing Radio is also coming out and with it a re-arrangement of the Aux panel.

Today was just to mock up the new layout moving on from drawings to arranging actual items so I can check the 'clutter level' and visibility of controls. I really didn't want to break up the minimalism of the GRP dashboard so focusing on the lower Aux panel area only.

Current layout:

Hardboard mockup - with the radio position checked that it remains visible from the drivers seat beneath the GRP dash. The bottom row will be: Heat pull knob, Heater fan switch, Lighter socket, Fog lamp switch, DRL switch. One more small button to sit top right area as an aerial override.
The horn will no longer have a button and be via steering centre push only.

Radio & buttons offered up. Granted its not an entirely waterproof radio, but it has no moving parts - no CD drive, fascia is not removable, SD card/USB slots in the front have covers and display backlight is blue to match my other buttons. While it is not the most expensive unit in the world I think it has a nice understated simplicity about it.

There should be some protection from the aux panel location under the main dashboard too so I'm going to chance it.

Because there is no CD/Tape drive the unit sits reasonably shallow; still to work out if the heater will need moving for this to fit though, there is just room, but the matrix will be hot & that is the last thing the radio heat-sink need right next to it. The bottom row of switches are quite tight to the base too now so some general re-work on the tunnel cover will be required:

I think we are good. Ultimately this will be built in vinyl covered aluminium like the current panel. Next step is dash, aux, heater etc out & some fun with plumbing and wiring.