Thursday, 31 August 2017

Prop shaft UJ lubrication

A while since I did this job, its awkward and messy.

The only way I can get on the prop-shaft universal joint grease nipples is with a needle style grease gun adaptor.

After lots of fiddling, depress the nipple ball bearing with the point of the gun and squeeze until the 'crack' and a little ooze indicating the UJ is full. Rear under the disassembled handbrake half-moon,


Healthy amount of oil in the tunnel, my diff slowly drips some out perhaps half a cup a year and keeps the tunnel area happily lubed. Visual inspection of  all the fuel lines/cables and diff flange bolts while the covers were off - all still secure, attached and no sign of chafing.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Sena SMH5 intercom

More prep for a passenger on the Vienna run, time to finish the intercom modifications.


I'm using a Sena SMH5 motorcycle intercom installed on Howard Leight LO4 shooting ear defenders. The SMH5 is an older model - trying to hit the sweet spot between functionality and price + this version retains the large jog wheel rather than push buttons for volume.


- Stereo sound
- Intercom
- Bluetooth audio in from any source
- Music sharing - one headset feed from the radio can share with the passenger
- Phone audio in/out
- Runs from battery, but also functional while being charged from USB 5v - so I can charge it on the run.

The radio is already modified to transmit on bluetooth so this change means I get my default music playback + with the push of a button can talk to the passenger. As a bonus it will also talk to my phone - but thats a mixed blessing - when I'm driving the Zero the last thing I want to be doing is taking phone calls!


Mods to the ear muffs filing out some grooves to route the wires.

The right ear speaker cable is looped over the headband and secured - one stitched, the other glued. Lets see how robust Gorilla glue really is.

The speakers sit inside the ear muffs attached with velcro, the ear pads clip in - so can be removed for routing cables and re-installed to hide them.

Controls Reference

On the bench and stationary in the garage functionality checks out, needs a test run.

The mic boom attachment may need some adjustment - by design its meant to have another support around the chin area in a helmet which I cannot provide, it may need its velcro fastening replaced with a 3M sponge pad or some 3M dual lock. 

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Dungeness day tripping

Headed south today on a run to Dungeness, no particular reason - the sun is shining, the Zero is roadworthy and I'm in the mood for some driving.

Pause at the Britania Inn for refreshment and lunch,

Wander on the beach in fantastic warm weather to let my dinner go down,

Industry, the power station, 

Lighthouses, the first with a curious helter-skelter spiral breakwater at the bottom,

Then return north, the clouds closing in, but some luck here and there with clear roads,

..and of course a random downpour whose silver lining is chance for me to check out the flick wipe's new button location. It worked perfectly without needing to remove my hand from the wheel.

...sun is back, Kent country roads at their best!

A little footage of the return journey:


Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Luggage space

Vienna run pending and potentially I have a passenger so creating some options for 2x kit bags. The second sitting on top of the full boot.

2x seat belt bolts replaced with eyelets behind the seats and a stainless bar across the roll brace diagonals. This should provide plenty of bungee hook on places as well as a physical stop/barrier stopping anything sliding off the back,

Longer bolts to secure extra eye-nuts on the inside.

The rear bar brackets real use is for 25mm tube retail display setup - they seem to be die cast then chromed. The bar between a separately sourced polished stainless tube. The arrangement does compromise boot access somewhat - but all the changes are fully reversible.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Austria Route Planning

Route pretty much settled now, Eurotunnel to/from France then Franco/Belgium border to Germany. Eurotunnel booked, hotels booked.

The aim is to arrive in Vienna to attend a conference with work - the secondary aim is to find some interesting roads and visit a few key locations from childhood memories and favourite movies.


  • Lichtenstein Castle - I used to have a model of it on the model railway Dad made when I was a kid.
  • Neuschwanstein Castle.
  • Grossglockner Pass - Added to my bucket list after seeing on the Hairy bikers!
  • Hohenwerfen Castle - Where Eagles Dare exteriors location (say no more!)
  • Vienna.


  • Stelvio Pass.
  • Gotard Pass - Part of a route Dad took in the 60s in a MkIII Zodiac.
  • Furka Pass - Goldfinger location where Bond meets Tilly Masterson (Soames).


The map is roughly right, although depending on mood/weather/conditions generally the plans may change. Google also likes to draw straight lines and find fast roads - whereas I plan to do the opposite - if a road presents itself that looks interesting then ad-hoc diversions are the order of the day.

Especially weather - I'm right at the end of the season - if the weather turns, then mountain passes will turn into tunnel runs and me holed up somewhere warm with a beer and some good food instead!

Longest days are ~300 miles, shortest ~200 but on slower roads so driving hours around 5-6 per day.

Interactive Google Map

Plans are only ever a starting point...


Zero hour is tail end of September.

Daily updates

I plan to post entries after the event on the blog in the Vienna category
I also usually post once a day on my Facebook page - usually at least end of day 'I've stopped'  so those at home know I'm ok, potentially more depending on opportunity.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Flick wipe steering wheel switch

Moving the flick wipe switch from its initial position on the aux panel up to the steering wheel. The original position needs me to take my hands from the wheel and the button wasn't the best for finding with gloves on.

The new button - stainless and weatherproof. I made a small bracket from an aluminium offcut.

One 3.2mm hole into the side of the hub - after much discussion on whether that was a good idea - de-burred and sealed with glue to prevent any possibility of chafing. The bracket attaches on the back of an existing steering wheel bolt - so shouldn't affect safety in terms of wheel attachment.

My column is earthed - I found if I actively earth the mounting bracket, blue wire and eyelet, it also earths the top of the column and hub. There must be a conductive bushing inside the top column casting.

An earthed steering hub means the 2x contacts on the slip ring can be used for separate circuits. Horn takes one, my new flick wipe button the other. Both are intermittent and low current, activating relay coils.

That is much better - just where I can find it with my left thumb and without getting in the way of normal driving. Wiper stalk up one click - then each push on the button gives exactly one windscreen wiper cycle.

Update -
Found a friendly shower to test the flick wipe today - much better location - I can keep my hands on the wheel which is especially important in wet conditions as demonstrated in this short clip:

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Wiring connector reference

Reference information only - no changes.

I was searching for this and hadn't documented it on the blog. Meant the usual simple search for info turned into some hunting through papers, documents and a little wire tracing.

Most connectors are standard GBS Plug and play loom.

Here pictured are the non-standard/modified connectors to the Aux Panel,

DRLs & Heater fan,

Powered aerial in the boot space.

Colour indicates cable colours.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Steering wheel bolt change

Can't really call this maintenance, there was nothing wrong with the old steering wheel bolts other than looking shabby.

Replaced them with some new M5 button head stainless ones.

Great improvement over before - the original black bolts had gathered a tinge of orange rust from being in the elements.

Monday, 10 July 2017

IACV Filter renewal

The IACV went in with a pristine grille and foam filter, today it looks rather the worse for wear!
First time I've really looked at it after fitting - and first time I noticed air was also being sucked through the gasket paper at the bottom.

Mixed blessing - i.e. not quite working as originally designed but on the plus side a little more intake volume will reduce the restriction caused by the plate. The IACV inlets are 16mm diameter =201mm², the space on the adaptor plate 16mmx10mm =160mm².

Gasket paper adjusted to permit max inbound air flow.

Back in place, now with some genuine air filter foam which is a little jury rigged. Ticking the box on the KISS front, but its not really that neat - one to think on before finalising.

Engine test - idle not affected rock steady at 1000 revs. If the change has affected the mixture slightly the ECU/Lambda setup can automatically adjust the fuelling for any slight increase in air flow. At some point I'll check the lambda adjustment is still actively fuelling and not hitting its preset stops.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Rear view mirror

The original rear view mirror, mounted on the scuttle, was useless - got me through IVA, but just gave me a view of the spare wheel.

Trying something different - £2 gets me 2x glass blind spot mirrors shipped from China. High quality glass sitting on a plastic swivel mount. Small and slightly asymetric shape - yes - but in a test run provides a perfect view through the roll bar behind the car without taking up windscreen real estate.

The only adjustment needed an extra layer of mounting foam to give me the right viewing angle and the back of the mirror sprayed black to look discrete from the front of the car.

Only point of care - is everything looks further away than it really is due to the fisheye/wide angle nature of the glass.

Update - small adjustment required on the sun visors so they miss the mirror when folded down. Flipped them so the hinges are now on the bottom which gives just enough clearance.