Sunday, 20 April 2014

Arrived at Dornie!

No more details - off to find food & drink!

Stunning weather all day...

Richard Lincoln
Digital Marketing Application Manager
Pfizer Biopharma Business Technology Europe SMSC
+44 (0) 1737 330403
(Sent from b.berry; I am probably out of the office with only periodic online access)

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Nottingham to Falkirk

Met up with the group variously through the morning

  Woodall Services @ 8:30

  Ferrybridge Services @ 10:00

  Scotch corner around lunchtime

  Scotland border @ 4pm

Falkirk wheel early evening & 10 cars in total:

Friday, 18 April 2014

Scotland - Prologue - Maidstone to Nottingham

First is getting to the right end of the country for the 'official' start day. This is reasonably similar to my previous longest trip to GBS during the IVA process so touch wood the familiar ground will be uneventful.

The plan is to stay overnight near Nottingham, then meet up with various members of RHOCar on the journey north in the morning.


  • Start: Maidstone
  • Finish: Watnall
  • Driving Time: 3 hours 24 minutes
  • Miles: 175

No issues on the drive up, I made good time, good weather & no traffic to speak of. Hood down and tonneau up all the way! Some looks from other drivers, one smiling thumbs up, and passed an MGA en-route. The M11/A1 route is a much nicer road than the M1.

Just need the car to cool a little & I can check the coolant & oil levels.

Left home around lunchtime to try and avoid the Bank Holiday rush...

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Scotland - RHOCar trip around the Highlands

This weekend was preparation - finishing the half hood so I have a modicum of weather proofing on a really wet day; and playing with maps to design the trip logo:

The plan is a RHOCar club organised tour of the Scottish Highlands, around 6 cars expected on the full trip with some more possibly joining on particular days. I'm starting at the wrong end of the country so I tacked on one more day to get north, and another south at the end.

A Mixture of cars expected: Zero, 2B, Stylus, MK...

Should be interesting and potential for some stunning driving and views & a real challenge for the car. I'm starting a day early to meet up in the midlands, joining the rest of the group on day 1 on the journey north and when we get to Scotland.

Overall Schedule:

  • Prologue: 18th April: Maidstone to Notingham
  • Day 1: 19th: Falkirk
  • Day 2: 20th: Dornie
  • Day 3: 21st: Inverness
  • Day 4: 22nd: Dunfermline
  • Epilogue: 23rd, 24th April Dunfermline to Maidstone

Overall Distance

  • Approx 1,410 miles

Weather on the long range forecast courtesy of the Met office is looking mixed, so it wont be boring sun,  looks more like some drama so we know we are in Scotland; the only 'bad' weather would be fog/mist which means no view...

Met Office weather:

Highlands Outlook for Friday 18 Apr 2014 to Sunday 27 Apr 2014:

Probably a good deal of dry weather at first, especially for central parts of the UK. It may be cloudier with patchy rain in both the northwest and far south. Northeastern parts are most likely to have the best of the weather through the Easter weekend. Temperatures generally near average and winds mostly light. Current indications then show a gradual change to more unsettled weather across most parts from Easter Monday and into the following week, with cloudier conditions and showers or longer spells of rain, particularly in western areas. Any drier and clearer periods are expected to be limited. It will become windy at times too, with temperatures mainly above average but slightly below under any rain. Confidence in the change to more unsettled weather is currently fairly low.

I have prepared some placeholder route posts each day & will return to update with detail as I make progress, or events happen which merit an on the spot comment. If the camera works out and there is some decent footage I plan to insert some movies too; Falkirk Wheel, Eileen Donan in the distance or the mountain passes should provide good opportunity if the technology behaves itself.

Saturday, 5 April 2014


Scotland road trip is coming up, so some basic maintenance to hopefully keep the car happy.

Oil Change

I have had a very minor oil drip from the back of the sump since build, while it is not showing up as anything major on regular dip-stick tests, its a good opportunity for an early oil change and just measure how much is left in the engine.

Engine oil change showed I still had 5 litres of oil in the engine - so the drip really is negligible and I'm not worrying about it other than regular level checks.

Diff also checked for levels (as per maintenance schedule), sitting within the required 10mm below the filler, so no problems there.

Brakes Disc/Pad change

My brakes developed a shudder/judder seemingly coming from the front left when braking at high speed. Its not wheel balance and there was nothing obvious visually amiss with the discs or pads, although turning the wheel I could feel a ever so slightly tighter/pinch spot consistent with wider disc, or more pad material laid down at that point.

Best advice seems to point to an issue with a warped disc - which can be caused by any number of things including - stuck guide pins, manufacturing defects in the disc, bad running in on the pads (read driver error).

I have read its possible to correct by hard braking from speed followed by letting the brakes cool with the brakes off; however due to the lack of time until Scotland I decided to swap out the discs and pads

The discs that came out are not obviously warped, by visual inspection and holding up against each other. The pads a little worn asymmetrically - outside pad more than inboard, but again nothing obvious.

On re-assembly, checked the calliper guide pins were clean and very lightly greased them too.

Discs replaced with: Maxtorq vented, drilled & grooved
Pads replaced with:  Mintex 1144
(Spec on Parts page)

I took the car out for a brief test, checking the pedal before moving to remove any slack in the wound back pistons. The above new combination of discs/pads feels excellent - as much bite and stopping power, even on running in/light braking, as the original setup. So happy with the upgrade so far.

Hopefully all set for the Highlands road trip...

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Bonnet pins

Belt & braces - I have not experienced any issue with the bonnet fastening security; however this simple mod ensures there is no lateral movement in the sides and should remove any chance of the bonnet flexing and pushing the catches open.

I decided to tap the top tube to try and minimise impact on the chassis rail integrity; drilled 4.8mm holes tapped out to M6 & some cut down bolts as pins. Finally bought myself a tap wrench, much easier with the right tool for the job:

M6 60mm stainless bolts cut down to approx 45mm, end chamfered on the grinder then installed finger tight with thread lock to stop them shaking loose:

Marking up the bonnet: first the offside located on its catches to mark up the holes on the nearside then vice versa; The holes in the bonnet rail were opened up to M8 so installing and removing the bonnet is still smooth while still limiting its movement once the catches are closed:
  Nearside has pins behind the catches and one either side of the exhaust opening,
  Offsite has pins behind the catches only.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Sump bolt torque - correction

I was just reviewing my blog/torques page and I had recorded 9NM for the sump bolts.

Seemed low?

Double checked the Race-line instructions I see it should 18lbft (progressive tightening) which is more like 24NM. I don't recall if I tightened to the correct torque and recorded it inaccurately  or just plain got the lb-ft to NM conversion wrong at the time;

The Race-line install entry is quoting 18lb-ft so possibly I just setup the Torques page wrong;

Torques page corrected; and a nice little job on the car to double check!

Update - Sump is fine, it was a mistake on the torques write up

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Stone Guards

The stone guards were part of the original kit, I just never got around to fitting them; now with around 2k miles on the clock there are a few stone chips on the rear arches so makes sense to finish the job.

I had already trimmed them and shaped them to fit the arch:

I opted for some thin edge trim and rivets about 5cm apart: 

Friday, 14 March 2014

MPG Economy

I'm running the stock GBS Power-map day to day; the IVA passing map is filed away for when I need that very lean low end for emissions testing.

Finally this week I got around to some range and economy testing; the MPG important because fuel moving in the tank combined with a badly calibrated gauge means knowing roughly when the next fill up is due is useful.

One run only, mixed driving A roads, stop/start, 30-50mph etc:
I bottled out of driving until the tank was completely empty but it must have been close:

158.8 miles range

23.44 litres fuel

Gives: 30.8 mpg,  9.17 litres/100km, 10.9 km/litre

That will do - no need for the rolling road just yet.

Full 3/4 1/2 1/4 Empty Refilled Litres MPG
0 55 75 126 158.8 158.8 23.4 30.8
159 230 250 - - 267.3 15.3 32.2
0 - - - - - - -

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Radio - high pass filter

A simple high pass filter for the radio speakers; I've read this will allow higher volume before distortion by filtering out low frequencies which smaller speakers cant handle.

8ohm speakers, Capacitance to block anything under 150hz thus:
        C = 1/ (2* pi * R * fc)
        C = 1/ (2* 3.14 * 8 * 150)

        C = 0.00013269639066
        C = 132.69639066 uF

Each side has 100uF & 33uF unpolarised capacitors in parallel inserted into the positive line to the speakers:

It didn't seem to make much difference to the sound, and there still appears to be distortion around the 12-13 volume level on the radio. Its entirely possible the calculations I did to select capacitance are off... they were based on some internet research months ago now.