Friday, August 29, 2008

More fluid movement

Wanged some oil in the engine, halfords track day synthetic 5/50w - like water!

This is caterhams motorsport oil, Comma make halfords oils, and Comma make Caterhams fluids, so same stuff...First time I have spent more than £12 on some oil.

Checked all connections cranked the engine over and some moments later 60psi of pressure at cranking speed.

No leaks or issues with the system at this stage. Tappets all filled up in short time, and looks ok.

Just need to add the last of the fuel line (hopefully this weekend) and sort the exhaust, then broom broom, oh and brakes. Need to refit the windscreen, ideally want a new screen, but might just wang the old seal and screen back in...More into saving than frittering atm. This projects not cost me a heap of cash, it's been pretty good value.

My aim was try to limit the expenses related to the engine swap bit to less than the cost of replacing my 1300 with an engine made from parts to give durability...which was about £2500.

With some wheeling and dealing I just about completed this task...also with flogging off all my triumph engine stuff, the actual cost of the engine swap parts, to my pocket, was barely £1000. The other stuff, brakes, suspension, seat, instruments, wiring and stuff I do not class as part of my engine swap, but upgrades just cause I knew what I wanted from where it was...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Fluid exchange.

Filled the cooling system last night. All worked as planned. Appeared to have self bled too.

I spent a while pressuring the system to check for leaks, fixed a weap or two. I attached a foot pump to the header tank connections I added for this reason. I used some rubber tube and a old tyre valve and some hose clips. I attached the fuel pressure gauge in the cabin to the cooling system. This enabled me to "blow-up" the cooling system, not literally...

Anyway tells me the system blow's off at 17psi. As planned.

It also told me I had a small leak somewhere, or a couple of microscopic leaks.

I blew the system up to 15psi, left it for 2hrs for a leakdown test, this showed pressure had dropped to 13.5psi. I then deflated it and went to sleep.

Today I looked around for small spots of coolant on all the alloy parts...The coolant I am using is OAT, its bright pink so easy to see.

I note two microscopic drops of coolant on a weld on the headertank, so there is part of the answer. Although these are only equal to about half a drop of coolant in 12hrs (2hr under pressure-10 static), quick blob of TIG will sort.

Also there is a tiny leak on the water rail flange at the cylinder head...This only happens over 10psi, but will need to be fixed. I tried to fix it by "twatting" the flange with a blunt object in a dodge attempt to force a seal...thats worked for me before!

I need to whip the water rail off again once the system has been run and assessed as to the pressure and flow in different areas... to plumb the heater system, so I will cut off the 5mm flange and make a new one from some 10mm and get that welded on...

This is a problem on caterhams too, the flange can really only be one shape with two bolts, ideally it needs 3 bolts or 4 to even the stress on the flange. I have the original cast flange here I cut off the original water outlet, that might be weldable, the cast material is stiffer than alloy sheet you see. Anyway bar that it's ok bit of pain removing the strut brace and header tank again but, hey ho.... I decided to try the twat it approach after realising that replacing the flange was probably the only decent fix.

I'd just like the cooling system to hold pressure like a tyre, thats not too much to ask, no?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Well been taking it easy on my car, some small jobs done.

I mocked up an exhaust from some old pieces, a dummy, just taped together.

Basically can get away with just buying two bends of 2.25" 304 stainless and a 800mm straight bit, bit of welding.

Couple of these type connectors to hold it together. These make taking it apart a doddle.

Currently the starting to fit the front-end to Matt's mobile, the space is so tight I need to make use of every centimetre, so I have atleast something to work from I need fit the valances, get the bonnet inplace on hinges. Been looking around for radiators, and parts, but need precise measurements, so will have to await some bonnet hinge brackets and tubes to arrive and get the front-end in place. It's gonne be a total squeeze. I am not quite sure I can resolve the packaging without the front-end inplace, not without a large headache anyways.

Can't really totally finalise much at this stage. I really want to stick the dry sump tank right by the pump, as I need to alter the wheelarch a bit anyway, I could alter the hinge tube layout on that side, moving it more outwards...this means I can stand a tank by the side of a large radiator and buy myself some space...I could make a fancy wheelarch for this side, one that is shaped to the travel of the wheel, lock to lock, so buying maximum space. It's all rather of a headache, hense I need firm stuff to work from.

5litre dry sump tank anyway, a massive one will just mean it takes ages for the oil to warm, ideally maybe best to run a laminova exchanger in place of the oil radiator (cooler). As this simplifies the oil system, packaging. Does away with the need to run a thermostatic oil cooler plate and oil radiator...The laminova being heat exchanger, this means it can warm the oil when its cold and cool it when its hot. It also means a simple loop for the oil system without the need to duct air and find space for a radiator. Warming the oil also means the car can be thrashed quicker from cold etc.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Lightweight brakes

Don't come any lighter than these!
Well having a measure, the rally design bells are too big, they are 7" bolting centres for the disc, so the bell needs to be almost 8" in diameter.

To use this setup I'd need to make my own bells on a 5.5" disc bolt pattern...cause the rally design ones are 7" and larger discs really...Also cause of the 14" wheels I cannot have a bell with a larger O/D than 6.5", the minimum safe material size is 6.44".

6.5" also cause 7" will push the caliper out more or foul it. This forces me into the 5.5" pattern discs.

These come in 260mm and 266.7mm.

Some messing the cardboard discs and sized caliper printout tells me I need the 266.7mm. Cause the 260mm will leave the caliper too close the outer edge of the bell, or need a chamfer. With 266.7 there is no great clearance issue.

The stock offset on the disc is 1/2", so the bell is quite simple, it would be a piece of 1/2" thick alloy, sized on the o/d to 6.5". The centre will need a 66mm hole to slip over the hub. It will need 4 holes for the disc to hub bolts, and 6x M8 size holes with a recess for a socket cap bolt on a 5.5" pattern. It will need a flange on the back to locate the disc, for concentric reasons.

I can hopefully poach a set of caliper brackets, as if the offset is setup right, I can pack the radial mount calipers out from the disc to cover the difference from the 247mm discs in kit the brackets were intended for, as now using a 266mm disc...So a 9mm pack on some well made washers. Or I can just make my own brackets from some alloy bar.

Not sure if its worth the effort, just messing about seeing whats do-able.


Another idea.Use some Midilite Wilwoods

Use seperate discs that bolt to a bell, centre.
Buy some bells, they will need the hole in the middle opening out to slip over the hub, then the 4 holes drilling, thats easy enough.
Need to knock out some caliper brackets.

Bonus is obviously they are slighly lighter, heat transfered to the hub is less via better and quicker cooling of the alloy bell and the fact the disc is bolted to the bell by only 7 small areas and not part of it, so heat stays in the discs. The discs are lighter anyway, they are decent quality wilwood items.

The discs come in loads of sizes, I can run 260-265-270-275mm discs, just need to allow for the wheel, the normal Wilwood kits are 247mm discs. Which will be fine, I'd think I would go for the same size as the GT6, 265mm?

Also by not buying a kit I can spec the caliper piston sizes to the master cylinder. Plus its something different! Unique. If spending £500-650 on Caterham, Alcon, Wilwood anyways, I can build my own spec stuff from parts for the same figure and say I did that, plus get a lighter and superior setup!

Engine bay valances

Keep rocks out of the cambelt and keeps the engine clean. Just cut outs, they need cleaning up and finishing and a rear bracket, plus exhaust cutout. Guess they will be get sprayed white when the gearbox tunnel is done...

Most of the issues with Matt's engine fitment have been thought through and assessed and a way forward planned. I really want to keep the bonnet in one piece, with the wheel arches still in the bonnet and also have the bonnet hinges as normal.

There is so much to account for it's a real headache. The original builder did not think things through that well. He seemed to want the bonnet in two pieces or 1 piece and on pegs etc. I think this is think last, act first, like having humps and bulges in the bonnet, they aren't my thing.

I mean just for myself when road testing the last thing I want is a bonnet on pegs that I can't lift off alone, just jetting carbs, or checking for leaks, or whatever...It's just a total pain the arse. Slicing the bonnet in two means unless you spend probably a month solid making it work properly, lasting build quality, good fit, it's just not feasible to do this for a customer. So I want to keep the front-end as usual as possible.

There is a issue with the supercharger in that to fit a filter or airbox of any worth the bloody wheel will be touching it at full bump and you need to squeeze a wheel arch in, so this is a BIG headache...not ideal!

I noted an image of a supercharged engine of the same type in the Croft box, it has a 90deg manifold and a DCNF carb sat behind the supercharger by the bulkhead...This is another way. Either that or a 1.5" thick manifold plate and a DHLA on it with 10mm trumpets and a K&N of 50mm or so, sticking out the charger, with no 90 bend...Not ideal in the DCNF 90 bend setup as getting cold air to the carb will be fiddly at the back of the engine bay...It's virtually impossible to get a decent sized airbox on the DHLA either. Maybe a thin airbox can be fitted / made and the wheel arch squeezed and angled a bit...

Also the water system its a bit crap as suggested how to do it, drilled thermostat no bypass at all..I think it's an ideal candidate for a PRRT like mine, this will damp out the temp and give an even flow and cooling rate. It has a bypass built in with the PRRT and the bypass allows FULL flow through the head at all times and circulates water very quickly, then gently bleeds in cool water as needed via the stat...This will do the headgasket a power of good evening out temp spikes and changes and allowing a great deal of flow....The engine will need the outlet from the head modified, this can go to a larger vertical swirl pot infront of the engine , on the top will be a bleed line and a fill point. The header tank can do somewhere low-down, purely as expansion room. It's another upside down system. Cannot be any other way, I cannot lower the engine cause of the dry-sump the outlet from the head will be the highest point, rather like a triumph! So I have a fixed idea for the water system...Should be improved over normal.

Need a GOOD radiator thats tall and thin I think. Angled forwards, shrouded at the front, I need enough room on one side to fit a drysump tank in the engine bay next to the radiator. It really cannot go anywhere else, this keeps the lines and plumbing "cheap" as opposed to longlines to the boot etc, also means I can vent the crankcase into the dry sump tank, which saves a catch tank (planning, planning).....I need to accomodate a larger oil cooler too.

This must all tie together and allow me to retain a hinged normal bonnet...I will need to remake the fittings on the dry sump pump, I MAY make two allot blocks and weld fittings to the, this allows me to make a tight 90 from the pump to avoid having to cut the shock tower...I can port the blocks to the 90 turn is smooth etc. Or get some tight bend material, but its tricky to bend tighter than the fitting supplied without wrinkles. There's a mass of stuff, this is a no easy task, one must weigh up all ideas!

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Moving the belt eyelets to a bar, saves messing with the rear panel.

Weld in some top hats.
Means my freshly carpeted rear panel just fits back in, not bothered by a firewall at this stage. Angle still a little steep on the belts, but my shoulders are below the seats belt holes so the seat takes any downward compression. Brought a roll of decent quality carpet for £12.95, enough to make some carpets for both sides. Barefloor pans are a royal pain in the arse. Atleast now I can capture muck on them vac it up, make some more in a few mins and chuck em away after etc. Might have to encorp this into Matt's as his dimply stonechip floorpans will rapidly piss him off... Nothing fancy just velcro'ed down.
Almost a wrap there.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Castor, Camber, Toe, Bump Steer.

Well, after 4hrs every evening this week my front suspension is setup.

Firstly Camber, then Castor, recheck camber, recheck castor. Obviously Anti-Roll Bar is not connected at either end.

I do not know the exact castor figure, as my patience with maths is pretty low. However, I can measure two things with a digital inclinometer and use logic. Firstly I can attach it to the hub on the wheel studs horizontally, zero it. I can then turn the steering 1 turn on the steering wheel. I made a pointer and on the dash and a mark on the wheel to ensure reliable repeatable results.

On both hubs the change on the meter is the same for 1 turn either way of centre. This tells me that both sides are doing the same thing :) They are the same to within 0.1-0.2deg! Thats cause I planished all the lower wishbone shims down to get it EXACTLY equal, this took AGES. I found my measurements entirely repeatable.

At the same time I also ran tests using meter running vertically on the hub, measuring camber change over the steering wheel movements from centre, side to side. Again I got this within 0.2deg each side and keeping 0.1-0.2deg on the other measurement...

My rough calc is 4.5 of castor, which is book figure. It was not a quick job to get this equal...

Satisfied with my efforts I moved on the toe and bump steer measurements.

Now...Something has changed massively here, I never used any great accurate ways of checking it before, however I had shimmed the rack to get ride of any bump in, I had shimmed it give a little bump out under compression. I had a quick fiddle the other day and something in the swap from GT6 uprights to Caterham Spitfire ones, the lack of Trunnions and Mikes wishbones have really changed the desired location of the rack. Actually if anything the system is more suited to the normal rack height than it was. I had to shim to the rack before to get rid of bump in under compression.

Now with my previous settings I was gettings more bump out than before, indicating the rack needed lowering or the trackrods raising to get the suspension back where it was. So I removed the 8mm of shims from rack. This inclines the steering arm more, so as the suspension bumps the arm gets shorter in relation to the kingpin pivot points, so arches faster and shortens quicker compared the lower wishbone. The top wishbone is more steeply inclined to begin with so shortens alot giving camber gain under bump...So the steering arm needs to match the mean radius of both kingpin pivots etc...+/- a little if you want a bit of toe out or toe in.

Anyway removed the shims from the rack, rechecked with the method below using the dial gauge against the hub. I was still getting a little toe-out under compression. I wanted to get the point of having some toe-in, not sure what has changed in my suspension, it had more shims on before, more camber, different parts.... So time came for another mod, as I cannot really lower the rack enough, well maybe I could JUST in hindsight. However never one to turn down the chance to change another part of the car!

Below are some tubes made from good qrade alloy. I knocked these up in a few minutes, its the thinking and planning and why and why not that take the time! The big ones were threaded right through.

I happened to have some TOP quality 1/2 x 1/2" male rod ends, jam, nuts and sidespacers, also a top quality bolt. So this thing was easy to make. Lucky I had just enough thickness on the steering arm to cut the thread further up the shank, I had to shorten the ends of the steering arms by about 3/4", the two ends inside the alloy tube virtually meet in the middle, only 2mm spare. The alloy tube is now a perminant fixture on the end of the rack arm, it has a jamnut obviously, however for some extra safety, it's been throughly loctited in place. It will not be coming off again even if you want, no biggy if the rack needs changing I can make some more, the bar just needed cutting, cleaning up in the lathe and drilling a 11.5 hole through to take the 1/2" threading.

I see some guys in the USA using alloy radius arms and rods to replace the rotoflex wishbone, with rod-ends in each end! So a bit of alloy on a pretty low load joint doesn't bother me.

Any adjustments to toe you just use a 1/2" spanner on the rod end case and undo the jam nut, the large O/D of the alloy tube means steering rack arm twisting is now a hand affair, not a pair of grips.

To test the bumpsteer firstly I need to set the toe parallel, this was done with some string and couple of poles, the steering was then locked.

Obviously also the ride height has been dummied up on the nice flat floor, the suspension is lifted with a range of bricks and shims to the correct place to correspond to static ride height I want and the chassis is all leveled etc.

I then attached the dialgauge to a piece of 8mm angle iron attached to a pair of small steps. I made two very faint lines on the hub either side of centre, to keep where the dial gauge will run the same each time to allow me to get repeatibility. I had to establish a reliable measuring technique, that would give readings within a close range when the steps and dial gauge are taken away and replaced. I got this down to about 0.001"-0.002" or complete repearability within 0.0005. Using the same line point each time I was able to get really good resolution on my adjustments. I initially shimmed up the old track-rods with two 2mm washers before making anything, this gave me still a trace of bump out. So I made the smaller alloy bush slightly oversize.

So then I had my first toe-in under bump, something I do not want bar to see where the cross-over point is from in to out bump steer. I planished down the smaller alloy bush about 0.010" at a time, it was fascinating to see the distance travelled on the dial gauge changing with each adjustment, almost in a linear curve, as you'd predict! I had the front of the hub deflecting 0.088" at the start and the rear about 0.058"...

This tells me the front of the hub is moving further away from the dialgauge under bump. So its toeing in, as predicted and designed in to the spacer thickness for the start point.

I then removed 0.010" and it was 0.075" front and 0.065" rear, then another 0.010" off and it was 0.066 rear and 0.067 front. That final figure is 0.001 of toe-in (in) 1" of unloaded supension deflection (bump).

(above figures are just an example)

I want a little toe-out under bump, this time I want it accurately set! Hense all this work.

I ended up with passenger side setup to give 3 thou bump out over the hub during 1" of suspension travel (REAR 0.075", FRONT 0.072") the driverside 3 thou also( REAR 0.0685", FRONT 0.0655".

I have no idea if these are good settings :) However having no bump steer is good, I can shim up the trackrods again or test different settings from a perfect base now. Just shim the rose-joints evenly.

Having eliminated the bump steer completely I have attempted to give a little toe-out in bump to resist any backwards movement made by the upright, under braking the upright and suspension will deflect backwards a bit as the car tries to push through the suspension! Also the car will dive a bit, so if you setup with a little toe-out under bump, when the front is loaded and the bushes are deflected back a bit, the toe-out you designed in may go back to even, or may need more, or fine tuning for driver style and whatever.

I am happy enough with all that, I am just doing the best I can with the limited equipment.

The setup has been to extremes of movement also, and there is basically no bump steer :) Seemed to gain the initial 3 thou over 1" of bump then gain another 2thou over the next inch. If the suspension is drooped from static placement there is loss of 1 thou of the original toe setting, a very small turn towards toe-in. Everything from static upwards will give either even readings, of as I have tuned in, some bump out in a linear amount.

My shocks and springs were designed to give 18mm of droop past static before the wheel is lifted by the shocker becoming fully extended, this is also adjustable! SO from two extremes, all bump steer has gone bar a TINY amount in the 18mm droop zone before wheel lift, gone, obviously bar the compression bump out that has been added by me.

Each wheel is setup for bumpsteer on its own, obviously. One side needed roughly 2.5mm raising over the standard axis of the track-rod and the other side (passenger) needed 4mm. Obviously the rack was centralised first before any adjustments so each steering arm is the same length from its inner axis.

Shimming up does increase the torsional load on the steering arm thats attached to the upright. However its only 2.5mm and 4mm over normal. So doesn't concern.

The steering arms needed the hole opening out a little to make way for the 1/2" pinch bolt. All paint and coatings removed from mating surfaces under washers and stuff...To get a reliable clamp.
Thank f*** that's over. It may need some final adjustments when its on its wheel's, but just the toe-in I think! Which shouldn't change much anyway, cause there is bugger all bump-steer! That was the bloody idea!

I hope it makes a difference, cause via the textbook it's doing exactly the same thing on both sides!

There was no play or untoward movement in any part, as the hub was locked also... the canley bearing carrier that's currently fitted, that gave me 0.001" of my 0.002" of unexplained movement. You can hear it clonking if you move the suspension and this relates into a change of toe, inorder of 0.001" and a change in camber of around 0.05 degrees. Its fascinating to see the tolerance of a bearing in its housing effecting your measurements, just cause it means your measurements are not 0.5mm or about right, they are microscopic! down to engineering tolerances and lower! My suspension is as accurate as a blueprinted engine!

Shame its attached to a rubber chassis :) oh well.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008



Fitted. Note more technical bricks.
Sat a fair bit higher and more forward than mine. Should just clear the bonnet.
Shock tower adjustments aren't as bad as could have been.
With this section removed the tower goes, however it will need some mods for the front line connection. I have turned the scavenge connection over for the sake of working out what to do. I think a combination of modifying the connections and tower will be best.

Its exceptable, its just a matter of making it exceptable with the connection on!
Useful connection on the back of the waterpump inlet, for header tank scavenge.
Car came with a Marcos steering rack, some stupid alloy mounts that raised the rack about 2"...Cannot work this out as to why you'd want to do that, bump steer etc. I assume the mounts came with the rack and fitted, so it went on? Also the dry sump pan will need a section removed and reinstated to clear the standard rack I intend to fit on standard mounts. The geometry of the stuff I have been given is totally and utterly wrong. There is no way the marcos stuff will fit with this sump-pan.
So thats a brief outline of an afternoons work, found a few nasties, the thread on the inner mount of the turret has a stripped/damaged thread, the captive nut on the chassis, so will need drilling to the next size and rethreading...Diagnosis, lack of care on assembly, there is ALOT paint on that chassis, so much its pushed the turret outward slightly. So the inner turret bolts hole needs ovaling by 1mm (or better still the paint cut back on the turret mounts), so the person who put the turret on last time cross threaded the bolt as the holes didn't line up, guess what, same thing the other side.

Also there was still masking tape all over threads on the lower wishbone bolts, still there from powdercoating. All the front suspension needs putting together properly also, dunno what grease is in the hubs, but it looks horrible, so that can be changed too.

Also the nuts for those wishbone brackets were done up without washers behind the nuts, I know it was a "loose" assembly, but when you spend ages painting a chassis, using filler and build primer! It's suprising that you mess up all the paint by wanging the thing together in such a way. I was operating the hydraulic handbrake the other day, could hear a whistle noise...Guess what, the braided line was assembled so badly it was leaking. So really, you need to go over things piece by piece, no matter how good is may look.

There are some nice touches to the car, there are also some questionable things! Just a case of going back over it all bit by bit when the timing is right. It'll get there.

Radiator will be more challenging without the luxury of having the engine sat further back and lower.

Various Stuff

Few little jobs done.

Was stumped for somewhere to take off my oil pressure gauge line, as the apollo tank will not be used for now. So this was about the only suitable place to tap a 1/8NPT hole for a sender adaptor.
Like so.
Had these wishbones from GT6Mike for a while, but haven't played with them.
Neat and well put together.
These give camber adjustment without messing with shims, you can adjust the camber without splitting the balljoint via the pair of threaded adaptors in the tube. You can see the details here.

Fitted with superflex bushes. I'd rather the feel of the polybush, its got alot less friction/preload when torqued up, the wishbones are stiffer to move. I will use the superflex anyway, they feel like they will give good location.
Point to note, no big deal, actually obvious when you think about it. I will need to remove one of my alloy "wishbone bracket packers" to get the new top ball joint in a mid travel position. Above is has 5deg of camber still and the ball joint will be out too far.
Obviously my suspension with two 5mm packers behind the brackets is pushing the lower wishbone out to extremes and as such the top balljoint is outside of its sensible design location. I add Mike has designed that place perfectly, my car is at fault! The only reason I spaced the brackets was to get the extra 10-15mm trackwidth :) So out with 1 of the packers from each bracket and then equalise castor as best as possible, then set the camber, then check bump steer, then set tracking!
Extreme droop above. Droop is now limited by the shocklength. This is good at it removes the extreme areas that are needed and just strain balljoints etc.
Maximum bump above, it will NEVER achieve this level of bump, but it pays to check, check and check again for any issues eh.
Again max bump. Just an exploration of the setup.

So basically that's all there, I just need a session to finalise it.
Did some timeconsuming R&D for Matt's rear suspension. I need the suspension to come back before I can finalise anything, the tolerances are a bit tight, but a test bracket has been born. Basically the 3 marked and uncut holes are the normal repro bracket locations, the 4 extra ones could be used with an adjustable wishbone to get more adjustment. Bracket just a dummy at this stage, the 4 other holes give purists something to moan about if nowt else.
Brackets can be held on with crush tubes slotting over top-hat fittings, top hat fittings slightly different to this example with a larger head, countersunk and TIG welded in, then the bolts go in from behind.
Have to wait for more progress on that. Some wiring adjustments made. Bar the brackets the car awaits it's "repaired" rear suspension to arrive, normal handbrake system is reinstated.

Engine will be hoiked in shortly. From my measurements it's gonna be a little tight to the bonnet, only real purpose of this engine fitment is to see what is where and how well, or how badly the previous builder did on locating it, take a note of locations, take alot of photo's and work out whats best! It's far from the ideal transplant, but then any supercharged engine is going to provide some headache. I know it needs a big a hole to be made in the shock turret for the drysump pump, so it's all good news so far! The carb and airfilter/airbox will be fun regarding the wheelarch!