Tuesday, 19 June 2012

June 18th. At last- work resumes!

With the Scottish rally now a distant memory and the hangover recovery process complete, I had a few weeks rest away from the cars. This was mainly due to friends and family functions and parties to attend (So the hangover was soon in full swing again!) and also to build some monies back up after spending a small fortune preparing and competing in said rally!
The first port of call was to sort out the ill running estate. Just before I went away I fitted it with Simon BBC electronic ignition. It was running well on tick over, but due to the demands of Gertie, I never actually got to test drive it. Once I returned from Scotlandshire a run out in the estate revealed it to be puffing and chuffing like a sea lion on 60 a day!  Various tests and adjustments were carried out, but no matter what I did, it still refused to run right. In the end I decided rip the bloody electronic ignition out and go back to points and condensor. What a transformation! It's been running perfect ever since. I shall be contacting Simon BBC with regard to either a refund or maybe try another unit. We'll see what happens. Not impressed! Particularly as this was going to be the back up car if Gertie broke!

With the near 1200 miles that Gertie covered on the rally, her new engine is now well and truly run in. So the next job on the agenda was an oil and filter change, re-torque the cylinder head and re-adjust the tappets. Once funds allow she will be booked into Mowatts in Essex for a rolling road session to address the advance curve on the distributor and possibly have different carb needles fitted too, but for now there are other pressing matters.
The first job to address in the vibration that occurs at the front of the car from 65mph onwards and is still evident at 95mph. (If there are any policeman reading this, Peter Fern pointed this out when he was driving.) :-)
Various different items have been changed not just to eradicate the problem, but also as upgrades. Changes so far: Propshaft, outer wheel bearings, having the wheels balanced, gearbox cross member mounts, suspension legs, steering rack, drag struts, ball joints  and even driving up to 110mph to see if it smooths out at all. (This occurred in Belgium in March, so I can admit to this one. -I think!) ;-)
I have some superflex drag strut bushes so I'm going to fit them on and also I'll be changing not only the inner and outer front wheel bearings, but also the bearing cups in the hubs as well. These are the only items that haven't been changed in my ownership, so if it isn't these causing the vibration....I'm buggered if I know what it is!

(New polybushes on the drag strut)

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

June 1st. We're away! Scotlandshire here we come!

Friday morning finally arrived after what seemed a long week and my Co-Driver for the event, Peter Fern made good time in getting to my house for 10am. (I had been in the garage at 7am changing the angle drive on the gearbox so we could have a working speedometer!)
After a quick cup of tea we set out and headed across to Chelmsford, then Stansted, onto the M11, A14, A1, sat in a traffic jam at Doncaster and then finally off at Scotch Corner and across the A66 towards Cumbria. We arrived at our hotel, the Graham Arms in Longtown just North of Carlisle at around tea time, checked in and made for the bar. By the evening time quite a few other cars and crews had arrived and a good night was had by all.
Saturday morning saw the start of the autotests at the Townfoot garage just over the bridge. Due to the fact that I was still running my engine in, we decided to skip the competitive autotest parts of the rally and just do the road coverage.
On leaving Longtown we avoided all of the main A roads and headed North West through Newcastleton, then Jedburgh, then cut back to Selkirk before stopping for a coffee in the small town of Innerleithen.

Suitably refreshed we then headed up to Edinburgh and across part of the RBRR route, the Forth road bridge. The next stop was for more Autotests at Glenrothes (again we didn't take part) and then we headed west over to Leven and Crail and then Northwards through St Andrews where we stopped for a bag of chips cooked in beef dripping! We then took the back roads towards Wormit, Creich and Newburgh. We encountered some spectacular views on this part and managed to get some cool pics. 

Saturday night at 7pm we were parked up with everyone else at the Travelodge in Perth. Peter decided to stay in the pub opposite, while fellow Essex members Steve & Tina Poulton and I decided to jump in a cab and head into Perth for an Indian. Very nice (and cheap) it was too. We did return to the pub for more drinks, but the days 230 mile route had taken a lot out of everyone by then and most people were turning in.

Sunday morning and Peter and I decided to get an early start and followed the route heading East towards Creif and then Loch Earn. Absolutely stunning views at this location and a photo stop just had to be done.

We then headed south through Brig O'Turk and then encountered the beautiful Loch Venachar. Again, we couldn't resist it and had to get some more pics.

After leaving here we continued South past Dumbarton, over the Erskine Bridge, then through Kilbarchan and Beith. We then took numerous B roads and continued South until we reached the Galloyway forest. Once through the forest and down to Newton Stewart we turned West again past Dumfries and Annan and back towards where we started from, Longtown. Today's total mileage was 250.
With all the crews in attendance dinner took place followed by the presentations followed by more drinking after. We started off in the Graham Arms, then diverted to the only other pub in the town (Unofficially known as 'The Sticky Carpet pub!') for some live music (if you could call it that) before returning to the Graham Arms again.
At breakfast the following morning, we decided we hadn't had enough yet and to do a bit more sight seeing on the way home. We headed through Kirkby Stephen and over the Buttertubs pass in North Yorkshire. There's some stunning views over this way, so thanks to Dave Langrick for tipping us off about them.

Once again, a fantastic weekend was had by all and Gertie behaved impeccably. My fears of poor fuel consumption due to running too rich were completely unfounded as she was better on fuel than the standard 2000 Mk2 I took last year.  We must have covered around 1100 miles in total, possibly more, so I think I can say that my engine is now officially 'run in'. Oil and filter change to follow then! :)

May 30th & 31st. Last minute tune up and repairs!

Wednesday 30th.

I took the car to Dave Picton's today to see if he could do anything with the twin SU carbs that were running far too rich.  Dave's Mk1 saloon is a very similar spec to mine engine wise, so he was able to do a few comparisons against his. Leaning the carbs off just resulted in it refusing to rev at all, so it was decided to tune as best as possible and order new needles to be fitted when I return from the Scottish rally.

Thursday 31st

Before the rally I decided to change Gertie's thermostat to a cooler running one. The weather had been hot this week and the forecast for Scotland was hot as well.
As in keeping with the pattern for this week, nothing went smooth and both bolts in the thermostat housing sheered off!
This now meant changing the water pump housing as well. Luckily I had one in stock, so this was cleaned up and duly fitted. The next issue was trying to undo the water piper that exits the rear of the water housing and runs along side the block. This was also corroded solid and took some freeing off. Eventually, by late afternoon all was done and back together and it was time to pack the tools, spares, maps and clothes to get ready for the off on Friday morning. What a day!