Saturday, March 31, 2007

Rumpith's Wedge

No, the title of this post does not refer to a medical complaint!

This is the man himself, my neighbour, Spitfire owner and now Wedge pilot with his new flying machine.

Well, it will be a little while before it's flying again but we all have to have a project.

And no, we are not referring to the red skip!

I also took this opportunity to pick up my new uprated radiator and Simon of S&S kindly fitted my electric fan to it whilst i waited (after having made me a cup of tea - great service).

The rad is now on BRP along with new hoses and clips etc so that's dealt with one of the major problems from the RBRR.

Next I'll look at the valve clearances etc before probably going for it and fitting the group 2 cam I have along with twin 2" SUs.

Monday, March 26, 2007

And so it starts again

Yes, spending money!

After the RBRR it's obvious the car needs a new radiator so, bearing in mind the competition motoring in view, there's no messing about needed.

One uprated 4 core radiator (brand spanking), full hose kit with clips, 5 litres of oil and a filter = I am £290 lighter in the pocket.

Now, I could have spent alot less but this is no time for penny pinching - proper kit is what's needed on a rally car to improve reliability.

"To finish first, first you have to finish"

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Round Britain Run 2006 final report

Still wearing those overalls!

Martin Randle, car 57 TR7 16V BRP 285S

I left this story of our 2006 RBRR with us having had a radiator problem, nearly drowning out the electrics and then surviving a drama replacing the alternator at Sterling. To continue the story, you can guess from the title dear reader, that our troubles were far from over!

Sterling to Gordano

After checking that the crew of the 2000 were OK I settled down to sleep whilst Andy drove the next session to Lancaster where another mate of mine (Kevin Makin, ex RBRR and 10CR veteran) would be meeting us with some extra Radweld..

Within 10 miles tho I was awake again as the ignition light had come on and the volts were dropping – what now! We made it into a service area, killed the lights immediately and then followed the usual routine of pulling on overalls and getting the toolkit out. Now the problem was that one of the blades in the alternator fan had stood proud (no doubt damaged during the change over at Sterling) and had sliced through the fan belt.

Andy spotted a recovery truck in the service area with a Spitfire (amazingly) on the back so he ran over to ask if they could help. No, they couldn’t there and then although the driver said he might have a fan belt back at base but of course we would have to pay a £70 call out charge.

Right, now it’s time to call Footman James and retire from the event. The plan then was to get home, get some sleep and then travel down to the Plough in my Audi to welcome the other crews home. The recovery truck turned up within half an hour and it was the same self chap from earlier, this time with a selection of fan belts! 20minutes work, a charge of £7 for the fan belt and a tip for him and we were back on the road again.

There was no way we would make Lancaster on time to get the roadbook signed or get to Chirk either so Gordano would be the next checkpoint we could expect to make and that seemed a very long way away.

We still pulled into Lancaster to get some fuel and were amazed to see 3 Triumphs at the petrol station. They were the GT6 of our very own champion driver, Doug Foreman, the Herald of champion co-driver Katie Foreman and the GT6 of “GT6John”.

Doug was having a problem with the accelerator bracket mounting on the bulkhead in that metal fatigue had set in and it was pulling away from the bulkhead resulting in less and less acceleration! We set to trying to assist (having pulled those overalls on again) and were soon bashing one of my sockets onto the retaining bolts but there was no way they were going to move.

A few minutes thought came up with another solution – using the choke cable as a hand throttle linked up to the accelerator linkage with a cunning “handle” made from cable ties! Doug was soon on his way again but couldn’t get much over 60MPH.

I don’t think we saw them again but they very nearly made it all the way round on a succession of modifications to the hand throttle until something terminal happened with the engine in Devon.

BRP on the other hand seemed OK and we made it to Gordano with no signs of overheating thank goodness. On the other hand we did seem to have lost a lot of oil somewhere which of course we topped up and went on our way.

Unfortunately the oil loss got worse and worse until we had put another 5 litres in and needed some more! We stopped to investigate about 50 miles from Lands End (here come the overalls again!). I sent texts to my wife and also to my mate “Rumpith” to see if they could contact one of the marshals at the Dartmoor Lodge requesting help. This was a gent I had never met before but knew he would be a decent chap as his forum name is TRTony.

We knew by now that it was daft to try and get to Lands End with us losing so much oil so I was hoping Tony could bring a decent jack and some axle stands so that I could get under the car and see where this massive oil leak was. In the meantime I finally managed to spot that the oil sender unit had failed and oil was being pushed by it!

Tony came through on the phone by now and he had a new sender unit so we arranged to meet up at Ashburton. So, with another 5 litres of oil in the car we set off by the quickest route over the Tamar bridge and along the A38.

Before we could get to Ashburton though the temperature gauge shot off the top of the scale with steam coming out the bonnet. By now we used the familiar routine of rolling into a lay-by and me pulling on the overalls, getting the tools out and getting ready to sort out the next catastrophe. After giving some time for the car to cool down (and ringing Tony to tell him we would be late) we slowly topped the radiator back up with water from drinks bottles and set off once again.

The scene at Ahburton was the usual one for us by now, bonnet up, overalls on and spanners being wielded. Tony had brought along the replacement sender unit so we fitted that (thanks mate) and then inspected the radiator. The radiator was leaking again and the bottom hose was looking very weak after having been soaked in oil. Never mind, I went straight to the spares kit to get a replacement hose and found there wasn’t one! By sheer luck though I had thrown a second hand one into the boot during the engine swap which seemed better than the one on at the moment so I used that. Then someone else donated more Radweld (thanks whoever you are) and we put that in, topped up the radiator again, checked and topped up the oil and were then ready for the road again.

At this point I had a chat with Andy Pearce and said words to the effect that we had been pushing our luck now for over 24 hours and it was time to stop pushing! We made the decision to cut out the last two stops and head at a very steady pace back to the Plough which we accomplished without further incident. What a relief it was to make it although of course we hadn’t completed the RBRR which was a shame.

It was another pleasant evening with like minded people before I headed off to a welcome bed in a hotel in Stevenage, which at least meant that I had started the long trip home to Lancashire.

Next morning after breakfast I went out to the car and chatted to a passer by who was very impressed with the car in it’s works rally colours which cheered me up somewhat. I then got in the car ready to start my long trip home content that another creditable performance had been put in. Content that is until I turned the ignition key and BRP refused to fire up. After all that surely I wouldn’t be stranded and have to return home with the car on the back of a recovery truck?

Up with the bonnet, check all wiring, spray some WD40 around, shut the bonnet and crank the engine until the damned thing finally did fire up and from there I never stopped the car until it was back under my car port!.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Cover up

Here's my cunning plan to cover up the door speaker holes.

Two bags I bought from an out-door shop (well 4 actually, 2 each side).

Screwed to the doors over the speaker holes they provide some storage space for pens, sun glasses, Pro-plus tablets (!) etc.

Pretty neat and very useful too.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Bits and pieces

Good to get the car out from under the car port again.

I am making steady progress but most of it unseen. I replaced all the fuel pipes with braided hoses today and put in a new fuel filter. These are the things that make the car more reliable but take time to do.

In addition though, I also fitted the centre instrument cowling with the new panel in it and it looks pretty damned good - thanks Bryce!

I took my time with this as there was lots of fiddly wiring etc during the installation but here it is. The oil gauge is in and working (the pressure part of it - the temp will have to wait some time), it even illuminates now! The cut off switch is mounted but is still work in progress at the moment. I have even managed to get the panel lights working for the first time in years.

It's really possible to see the competition car coming out now - switchgear at the top, the new panel with cut out switch etc and the co-driver's bracing panel in the left footwell.

Some more interior stuff needed and then a new uprated radiator are the next prioroities.