Tuesday, 11 August 2015

what's been happening since

Well I got the car home and solved the lack of boost problem. This was the offending piece which must of fallen off so a spare sourced.

Such a small piece such a lack of power!

Since then I've been using the car a fair amount and one thing I wanted done was for the car to be badged which I forgot to mention in the last update. So I had laser cut some badges which I made in CAD. I really like the design I then sprayed them black and fitted them. Just to the front at the moment.

So with the continued driving I've hit 1200miles done. The first 150miles were with the headgasket issue and testing so its now been a 1000miles engine trouble free and niggles. Im running higher boost and the car is performing well.

Ive had a loose connection on the lights and a couple of other bits but nothing major so I've been able to run my focus back on to the fun stuff...how the car looks! the rear for me has never been that good ive not been happy since day 1 when I finished it but was small on the scale of work I had to do.

However my exterior rear plans are;

* change rear lights to LED design
* Rear wing - interchangeable - maybe even actuator controlled as not difficult to do
* Rear look...full stop

So I've started working on various light designs which there will be many more updates on as i try different LED's and styles, however one thing for me was to make the middle part between the two matt black light cubby holes also matt black. But how. so I choose plasti dip, its basically a sprayable black rubber paint. People spray whole cars in it, which is fine if you want a matt finish, gloss I don't think looks good. So I gave it a go.

It came out really well, it can be hard to pull the masking tape off without pulling more of the black off than you want but I can improve my technique. the bets bit is it will just peel off when I don't want it anyone. I would actually recommend using the stuff to people it works well. I warmed the can up first in water which stops large blobs flying out, a good tip for normal spray paint as well.

I'm still not sure whether to keep the exhaust where it is or more it back down to the bottom like a normal car but its going to be a fun winter sorting out the exterior....and of course redoing the whole interior!

Monday, 20 July 2015

Clutch change, missfires and more

So my last statement was a jinx ' if everything was ok I may move on to the interior'.

First was my new set of coilovers had arrived and so I wanted to fit them ASAP!

Got them fitted and the awful banging I had has reduced a lot I've still had it a few times on large bumps but there isn't alot of travel available and a thin tyre wall but overall the Meister R coilovers have massively improved the ride.

Overall a success, as well as this the rear of car was able to go about another 10mm lower. Without the larger 20" wheels I dont think the arches will ever be as full as they look on the other DDR's but now it looks reasonable.

....So I had started to run with more power, slowly creeping up to the 1bar area of boost and then I felt some slip, I ignored it first time thinking one off, but decided to go out and do a 3rd gear pull from low revs and again I had a slight slip.

I knew I couldn't ignore it and didn't want to run low power! So I ordered a new clutch (toyota OEM) and prepared to fit it. The fitting then came...OH MY GOD!!! Advice, if you think your clutch is ok when the engine is out....it doesnt matter just change it! The job took a total of 10hrs and wasnt easy on a drive.

Engine mounts were removed, jacks used to hold engine in position straps to take the gearbox weight and then wiggling the gearbox off. To be fair that all wasn't too hard but just time consuming. Changing the actual clutch again was easy enough, although lining it up when it was at an angle was not.

However getting the gearbox back on was a nightmare it took best part of an hr and half to get the gearbox back on to the engine and I ended up using longer bolts to pull the gearbox back into position and on to the location pegs. Once done I started bolting everything back together.

Once done it was time for a quick test drive and it juddered a bit at first but even within 20miles that had almost gone so I was happy it was successful!

I was then due to go on holiday but wanted to stop a missfire at high boost! so got some contact cleaner, it was then I found the king lead from coilover to distributor was missing an end and was having to arc! So i got a replacement one and tested it and all worked as expected.

I then went on holiday for a week and this weekend had a 200mile+ round trip to do for an event, the longest single days journey without tinkering the car will of done to date. I was nervous but prep'd as much as I could.The Journey up went well and we arrived at the meeting point.

the above image shows the rear a bit lower now.

Next was a convoy to Mercedes Benz World where we'd park up fro the Brooklands supercar day, made it there fine and left the car parked up.

So then came the drive home, 100+miles of some motorways. about 10miles in I realised I couldn't make any boost, so I had barely any power. luckily 70mph was doable and that's what I cruised back at, any slight hill though had me worried!

When I got back and took a look at it the actuator rod had come off the wastegate. The wastegate stays shut and opens when boost hits the level set so you don't send too much boost into the engine and blow it up. I had the opposite the wastegate was just swinging about all by itself, mostly open. hence no boost. It looks like either the retaining clip had fallen off or was missing either way an easy fix which I've already done.

However it was a very annoying 70mile drive home with no power!

Sunday, 21 June 2015

I'm still learning...

So since the last update I've had a nice drive in the countryside and a couple more test runs as I raise the power.

The power is rising nicely but tends to drop off before the redline with this engine, although holds the boost. I'm still not up to 1bar and at about 0.7bar currently so slowly getting there, but I keep getting boost spikes to 0.95bar, which is fine but not once I raise the boost as the spike will rise as well, so I need to sort that first by adjusting the boost controller settings.

The coilovers are still leaking and actually the top mount centre bolt on one came loose due to all the banging going on. I'm still sourcing new ones which I hope to fit soon as that should improve the ride, i see ever hole and wait for the Bang!

As well as that just before the Wilton show mentioned previously I was rushing to fit the exhaust and didn't do a good job...it fell off... then was ran over. So I've just finished replacing it.

I then went to a local meet and a new issue showed up the clips that hold the headlight unit on one unit wasn't strong enough and kept popping off. Called Carbuildersolutions and explained and as I bought from them they sent me the little clip free! Great! I've fixed the issue already and seems good now, below is the car taken at dusk when back, a little run with an Ultima on the way back, unfortunately no photos.

If everything is stable and ok for a few weeks, I may move on to working on the interior whilst still using the car. I could still fit new lightweight carpet, the current stuff is too heavy and thick which keeps more heat in!

Wednesday, 10 June 2015


For once the good news is...everything has been smooth. The cars been running fine which is good. I took it for a midweek run as well after the previous weekend and everything was fine.

Following that I fitted the exhaust tip I wanted to use going forward and think it looked much better than the previous one.

I then spent the Saturday getting the car really clean, wash, polish, wax... there goes 3 - 4hrs of my life!

Then last weekend was Wilton House Supercar show and it was parked in the car park. Its first public outing and still not finished, the feedback from people was good and they liked the car, almost all questions were what is it. The only issue I have come across is from people thinking its a poor replica of a Mclaren F1. Its not although inspired. However a lot felt it had a Zonda front to it but I want to stop that so I definitely need to get some badges made up to solve that! Also I didn't do up the new twin exhaust I got... so fell off on the Saturday and was run over DOH! So i've re-dordered it again to refit.

As for the cleaning....shouldn't have bothered the path was like a dust bowl, better than mud but the car ended up like this down the side of the car.

The car drove great on the day and in some good heat and stayed really nice and cool running about 185 - 190f when driving, so perfect.

So whats next, well im now going to work a little on other touches like sealing up all the little gaps between the cockpit and engine bay and also the front arches just to help keep out a bit more noise.

Only bad thing to come out of this was the BC racing coilovers have previously leaked and all the oil has gone or too much air, do not get bc racing coilovers they are rubbish, barely done any miles and just sat on the car for ages. Instead I will enjoy a couple weekend of hard metal on metal banging when its a big bump!

I've also been looking into the rear wing again, now ive chopped off the ends, so just getting an idea on what to do.

I guess it would be rude now not to look and getting that 100bhp back I've lost, so time to up the power this weekend I think.

Sunday, 31 May 2015

The first trip out

I did about a 45mile single trip, nice figure of 8 on some nice roads in the area, bit of driving of all sorts, dual carriageway, A roads and some B roads. The Car handled it all fine. The suspension (coilovers) can be a little hard for the poorer B roads and a couple of loud bangs...always make me wince! but nothing too bad.

The car continued to run at a nice 180f (82c) - 185 (85c) raising to 190f (87c) - 195f (90c). Only rising after some spirited accelerating. The car seems quick because of how low you are but I cant tell its not. You just know. Its probably at around 200bhp at the moment. with the boost set at just 7psi. I will eventually have it set at 15/ 16psi giving me 290 -300bhp.

I am going to add water wetter to the system as this does aid heat transfer and with higher boost will come more temps so i'd rather the cooling system was ready.

The day was warm at around 18c so was a good chance to test out the rally vent for cockpit cooling and it worked very well to the point when at faster speeds it was closed slightly and at one point fully. However sat in traffic saw temps rise a bit so without aircon this summer may be interesting at some points.

This is a small pull I did, I didn't floor the throttle as these are early days and its testing the systems but we are beginning to look good!

The noise isn't all road noise, as good as the vent is as you can imagine turning air 90 degrees created a fair bit of noise although the video has made it sound worse then it is.

The next question is when do I start raising the boost so its performance is so much better. i'll give a few more weekends of driving first so I know everything has settled.

Saturday, 30 May 2015

So did the changes work....

So firstly I've moved the water coolant pipe away from the downpipe which I'm sure is helping.

You'll also notice in the picture a turbo blanket under the heat shield, this has made loads of difference, a hell of a lot. maybe not to coolant temperature but definitely to under hood temperature and the intercooler hot pipe above that heat shield can now be touched. Don't get me wrong its still 'hot' but before you couldn't even leave your hand on it.

The final piece done is to go with the ducts for the front vents is a flat bottom piece that sits between them so air can not escape under the radiator it has to go through it or over I (there's a small gap at the top). This has dropped the temperatures down to 185F so a drastic drop, it looks like most of the air was just going straight under the radiator and not cooling very efficiently. Its only a temp piece of 2 pieces at the moment as I didn't have a piece big enough but now I know it works ill do something that's more permanent.

I'm up to 230miles in the car now since I started driving it, the issues I've had are;

* Coolant being eaten - poorly fitted headgasket
* Coolant running warm - more ducting
* Coilover centre nut coming lose - heard a bit more banging then expected and noted it had come a bit loose

That's it! So far its been about 60miles trouble free since the last issue. I'm sure little things will work loose so ill keep checking and I'm not convinced at the moment one of the rear callipers is working properly but could be as simple as bit of air in the systemas it worked for the test.

I'm still waiting on the rear side windows annoyingly, but hopefully they should be here mid this week.My new exhaust tip has been altered so I can fit that at some point as well.

Anyway off for that first daring drive more than a few miles from the house!

Monday, 25 May 2015

Recent work and finally driving it

First of all I completed the doors. This involved a few things, first was to fit the new blanking plates for the car and removing exterior door handles. This gave the car more security. the remote central locking is working well.

After this I fitted some open pocket foam inside the door, its light and will stop excessive noise as well. With the interior parts of the door completed it was at this stage I fitted some door cards just to tidy the doors up. the final finished article will be higher quality and match the dash etc... when done.

Next was the exhaust piece being completed, well there's few things I've got majorily wrong on this project, but this was one! It looked horrible, the design just did not suit the car. Im only sharing the picture for others so they don't go this route!!

So at the moment I have the original tip on for driving however a new tip has arrived already and I'm very happy with its look, I've just got to do some minor adjustments to it and it will be on and looking much better!

I've now set the front ride height at 85mm on both sides give or take a mm or two. This works well for me with the front arches looking full enough but allowing me to get on and off the drive without planks etc... At the end of the day I want to be able to use the car relatively easily. the rear will need to be lowered further in the future.

Next I had the side windows refitted, the current fitting was done in the bodyshop and there was too much dust in them when fitting with some areas lifting. As well as this I had a nice rubber edging added to give it a cleaner look.

The final side window bits are being fitted this week to finish the look off but I think it gives it a much nicer edge.

So then it came to driving it at the weekend. This was the first time since the engine had been put together and various other work. so I took it out, with the softer springs I fitted a while back the ride is better but still a bit softer at the front would be nicer. It has too much of that coilover 'bang' for my liking. The engine was now performing correctly and not eating water, so it does look like a poor fitting of the headgasket was the cause (should of done it myself in the beginning!).

Now whilst driving the car is not overheating, but it is running hot, ideally it should run up to about 195f and mine is running around 210f-215f. Now when on the drive it gets warm and the fans kick in but never gets higher then the 190f i'd expect. However once driving it raises slightly and sticks at that higher temps, so not overheating but just running hot. So I've had to look into why and what can I do to improve it.

I noticed the coolant pipe return from the radiator is very close to the downpipe, so the coolant is cooled at the radiator and then reheated just before re-entering into the engine. Meaning the water flowing into the engine is hotter then it should be, raising the operating temperature slightly. this doesn't happen on the drive at idle because the down pipe hasn't raised up to the hotter temperatures, as well as this the hot and cool pipes to the radiator run close to each other under the car, again not helping. The 2 pics below show where the pipe is now and the new path I'm going to do this week with a new pipe. Also a diagram of what it was like on the MR2 and you'll see its far away from the exhaust and the radiator pipes are separated.

As well as this other work I'm going to do to help temperatures;

1. The engine compartment temps feel high, when lifting the rear clam shell I can feel its warm, so id like to lower these, so I've ordered a turbo blanket to help.

2. Exhaust wrap for the downpipe. Now exhaust wrap is a debatable subject to many, however in this case keeping the temp inside the exhaust has a big benefit to not radiating onto other components and will also lower engine compartment temps with the the turbo blanket as well.

2. Ill also try and wrap / insulate the hot water feed to the radiator under the car so it does not radiate heat on to the returning pipe.

I think with the above I will drop 10f minimum, I actually think the biggest cause of heat into the system is the fact the coolant pipe is 1cm away from an unshielded downpipe!

So back to the drive, I managed to complete 90 miles without any actual overheating, eating of water etc... the car had no faults and ran as expected. If I can just lower the temperatures now a little bit for safety I can then work on lowering further intake temperatures, which will already benefit from the above as well.

The performance, well the turbo is still at 7psi (actuator pressure) and I wont turn the boost up until temps are under control. seeing as I haven't had the geometry done yet the car handles pretty well with minimal pull to one side.

Here's a quick video, sorry there isn't a good one yet. I've got to get them all on a video training course as I received a lot of videos of the floor.