4 January 2007
Things have kind of stalled at the moment. After all the work getting the car to where it is now, before Christmas, now everything has slowed down a peg or two. I’ve been carrying on with with the engine wiring trying to get all the sensors connected together and running everything back to a central point. I need to install some relays as well to switch the lambda sensor heater, the VVC valve solenoid and a relay to switch power to the coil and injectors. All of the above is in hand.
I ordered my ECU from Emerald yesterday, but have been told that I won’t receive it until about the 18 January! The reason for this is that they are doing the Autosport Show at the NEC and this is when the K3 version is being released, so I’ll get one when they get back. It’s a bit of a nuisance as I wanted the ECU as soon as so I could get on with finishing the car. Hopefully this won’t bugger up my time frame of getting the car on the road before I go back to work at the end of March.
I also printed out a copy of the SVA1 form from the VOSA website. I will fill this in and try to get in the post after the weekend. At least by setting a date for the SVA will help me focus on getting the car finished, I can always move the appointment if I need to.
I’ve got a few things on order as well. A thread adaptor for the oil pressure sender for the ETB dash, from ETB. Also from Rally Design I’ve had to order a 90° hose to allow me to fit the air filter to the throttle body as unfortunately my expansion bottle is in the way and there really is no other place for the expansion bottle so it’s easier to move the location of the air filter.
5 January 2007
A stroke of luck, I ordered the parts that I needed to move the air filter clear of the expansion tank at about 4pm yesterday and they turned up at 10am today, my faith in the postal service has been restored.
I had ordered a silicone hose 70mm in diameter, a 70mm hose joiner and some large jubilee clips. With everything connected together all I had to do was jut about 20mm off one of the legs on the hose so that the 90° bend would clear the expansion bottle.
Now when the air filter and hose has been fitted it now clears the expansion bottle. It’s also down quite low so the air getting to the filter will be cooler which should help with the running of the engine although the filter will get dirtier as it’s closer to the road and all the crap will get scooped up into it. I’m definitely running out of room in the engine bay!
With that minor victory I carried on with finishing the ECU wiring. I needed to fit some extra relays for the Lambda sensor and the VVC valve also an extra relay was fitted to supply the coil and injectors as the cable that runs up the car to the ignition switch is quite long and I’m worried about voltage drop when everything is switched on. Three relays were fastened to the bulkhead just under the ECU platform and they were wired up top their respective circuits and control wires were made to the ECU. Finally all the separate looms were bundled together and secured with spiral wrap ready to be connected to the ECU when it arrives.
I got a Brother labelling machine for Christmas and it has been really useful for labelling all the electrical circuits on the car. So I labelled up the relays as well so I will know what they are for in future and to help in any fault finding.
I also applied for my SVA and have set a provisional date of 7 February 2007 for the test which is good as it gives me something to aim for. My intention then is to spend the time up to the arrival of the ECU which should be about 2 weeks getting all the other things on the car set up and finished so I can spend the two weeks before the test getting the engine running properly, however I can always move the test date if required.
8 January 2007
I noticed that where the the exhaust manifold flange meets one of the tubes there was a small hole where the weld wasn’t fully completed. It was a simple matter to use my welder to fill the hole. If I hadn’t noticed it then it would blown like crazy when the engine was running.
I had also ordered an adaptor for the ETB oil pressure gauge to fit in the block. Unfortunately it won’t fit. It looks the same, smells the same and feels the same, but just won’t screw into the block. I’ve returned the adaptor to ETB along with the the ford oil pressure switch so hopefully we’ll get a match this time.
I’ve been using my time before the ECU turns up to make the car SVA proof. I’ve been identifying possible sharp edges that might fail the SVA. The best way to eliminate sharp edges is to use rubber edging material. The first area of concern was the wheel arches so I used rubber U strip to cover exposed fibreglass edges. Initially I tried using silicone sealant to secure the U strip in place. However due to the tight radiuses around the edges of the wings the U strip would pucker up and the silicone glue wasn’t strong enough to hold it in place. Instead I had to use super glue which as an advantage held the U strip tight in place. The disadvantage is that it is permanent and cannot be easily be removed. However the strip looks quite good and isn’t obvious or obtrusive and what’s more provides an SVA compatible edge.
I then used some more sealing strip around the edges of the bonnet around the suspension areas where there is an exposed fibreglass edge. Again this was super glued in place the not only does it round the edge it also makes the bonnet look finished.
More edging strip was fitted around the number plate bracket. This edging strip has a metal grip inside so it fits well without glue it also fitted well on the corners without puckering.
I also noticed between where the engine cover wings and the aluminium side panels meet they are not flush and there is a sharp edge. I had a piece of wing piping left over but not enough to do all the way around, I’ll need to get some more, but enough to do a small bit to see if it works. It was a bit of a fiddle but I managed to get it in place and it does a good job of filling the gap and providing a more rounded edge. It also gives a cleaner line between the two materials and follows the line of the piping that extends up the side of the cockpit.
On the centre tunnel where it extends under the dashboard there is also a suspect sharp edge.
Due to it’s location I can’t get to it to drill out the rivets so I can fit some piping under it. I made up a cover out of aluminium sheet that slides over the tunnel. The cover was then covered in foam and vinyl and secured over the tunnel with adhesive tape.
9 January 2007
I made up two brackets to hold the reflectors in place. They are basically a lolly pop shape and are riveted to the underside of of the rear wings. I used some polyurethane bond as well to ensure that they won’t move around.
Due to the SVA rules the reflectors must be a minimum of 600mm apart and there is no room to mount them on the engine cover wings as the lights take up all the room and I couldn’t mount them on the engine cover as there isn’t an area where there is a minimum distance of 600mm where the reflectors could be mounted. So I had to mount them on the wheel arches as it is the only free space. Also it helps as a marker to show other drivers in low light where the wheels are as the tail lights are quite far inboard.
When I ordered the hose for the air filter I also ordered some spring catches to secure the engine cover. I mounted two of the spring catches on the rear bulkhead and mounted the hook on the engine cover itself. On the bottom edge I mounted the spring catches of the engine cover and mounted the hooks of the chassis. Making the top catches to latch is relatively easy but you have to reach under the exhaust pipe tube to make and release the catches on the bottom of the engine cover, and with a hot exhaust I could easily burn myself trying to release the catch quickly.
However the engine cover is now secure and won’t easily come off, at least when I’m driving. I also enlarged the hole where the oil filler neck and VVC solenoid is in anticipation of fitting the bonnet scoop I have ordered from CBS.
10 January 2007
The stuff I ordered from CBS has turned up, the Royal Mail is really quick these days. One of the things I ordered was a bonnet scoop to cover the hole in the engine cover. It’s made from ABS plastic and is just the right size for covering the hole. I was trying to decide on how to fit it in the end I mounted it with the scoop mouth pointing forwards.
Using my labelling machine I also labelled up the fuse box so I now know what all the fuses are for instead of digging out a tatty piece of paper.
The next main problem is that when the steering wheel goes to full lock the wheel arches touch the body, an SVA fail.
I need to restrict the travel of the rack. The rack can be pinned, welded or my choice jubilee clips. To gain access to the rack I had to remove the bonnet which is a pain but I need to adjust one of the headlamps anyway. At the same time I took the opportunity to properly centre the rack, which is a complete pain to do as it’s very difficult to find something to reference to. In the end I found the magic number which is 42.5mm between the jubilee clip edge and the body of the steering rack, which centres the rack perfectly.
With the rack centred and the two jubilee clips fitted at the end of the rack. Just the width of the jubilee itself is enough to restrict the movement of the rack to prevent the wings from hitting the body as shown below.
12 January 2007
The weather in Scotland the last few days has been unpleasant to say the least and my garage has been not exactly the best place to work either. The wind has forced the rain through the brick work and my garage keeps flooding, I’ve mopped out about 10 litres of water today alone, hope it stops soon.
When I had the bonnet off to do the steering rack, I took the opportunity to have a look at the headlight brackets. The NS headlight wasn’t quite upright which required the removal of the headlight and bracket before beating the bracket with a mallet (again) to put a bit more of a bend in it. While I was at it I put a curve on the edge of the bracket to make it more SVA compatible and to make it look better.
With the arrival of the Willans harnesses I needed to get the seats fitted in place. The bases were easy as they were just screwed through the floor panel. The backs needed to be removable as I may need access to the access panels in the bulkhead. I used 3mm thick aluminium 20mm by 40mm with 2mm thick aluminium bridges placed over the top and then riveted them to the bulkhead.
From that I made up some “tongues” and screwed them to the back of the seat. I made a slight dog leg in the bracket so that it would engage in the bracket on the bulkhead. I also cut a slight angle on the ends of the tongue so that it would self align to the bracket on the bulkhead.
I also varnished the wooden backs of the seats to stop them going mouldy like they do on other cars. The Harnesses turned up from Sylva and I mounted the ring bolts at the top. However finding the 7/16″ UNF bolts to hold the lap strap in place is easier said than done. All the usual motorfactors had sold out and I didn’t really want to use ones from a breakers. I don’t know why Willans don’t just supply them with the harness. I’ve ordered some online from Merlin Motorsport and should turn up soon.
As it stands the car is pretty much complete. All that is left now is to get the engine running. oh, is that all!!
16 January 2007
Still waiting for the ECU from Emerald. Apparently they’re back from the Autosport Show but now they’re getting a daily phone call until it gets here.
I took the plunge and filled the cooling system up with..er..coolant. I mixed up about 10 litres and poured at least 6 litres in so far. It will need more once the engine is running and all the air pockets bleed out. I had a few leaks one, in the engine bay where the coolant hoses join the tubes that run up the tunnel. The other was at the front where joined two hoses together. Both were cured by tightening up the hose clips b’stard tight. In fact all the hose clips needed nipping up a bit, as I think the hoses have all compressed slightly so I could tighten up the clips a little bit more.
The bolts for the harnesses turned up from Merlin and the harnesses were bolted into position. I’ve never had a car with a harness before and when you are strapped in it feels really good and they look the part in the car.
I’m still SVA proofing the car. Where the trim plates hide the gaping holes in the rear wings where the roll bars pass through the body work in my eyes are too sharp. One of the first things to look at were the plates that cover the small area on the front edge of the wings by the bulkhead.
In used some of the 3mm aluminium sheet I had and made up a replacement and then rounded off the edges and dressed them smooth. The edge is now a lot more rounded and more SVA compatible.
I had a look at the rest of the trim plates and tried using some of the 3mm sheet but its just to hard to bend to fit around the curves in the bodywork. I looked at using something else. I settled on using plasticard which is a styrene sheet that modellers use. It’s easy to work with and more importantly it’s compliant and will bend to form around the curves on the bodywork. I’ve got some 3mm sheet and intend to remake all the trim plates out of the plasticard. I’ll also be able to round all the edges and will hopefully make the trim plates SVA compatible.
17 January 2007
Its now be confirmed that the SVA test date is the 7 February at 8am. Is there an 8am? I’m going to have to be on the road, in the dark at 0630. Let’s hope it ain’t raining or snowing!!
Its also been confirmed that I’ll get the ECU on Friday so might get the engine running next week, scary.
I’ve been making the replacement trim plates for the bodywork where the roll bar passes through. I’ve used the plasticard and rounded the edges to make them nice and smooth. I painted them using a plastic paint that will not flake off when the plastic bends. So far they have all been cut out and painted and I’ll fit them tomorrow when the paint has gone off. Pics to follow.
The front flexible brake lines were a cause for concern. After I had to replace them as the Sylva ones were too short, for longer ones from Rally Design there was a problem. Both of the ends of the hose had long threads on them so when bolted into the calipers there was about 12mm of exposed thread.
I wasn’t too sure how that would stand so I ordered from Rally Design two shorter versions which will screw right into the caliper with no thread exposed. Changing it over was no problem, just unscrew the nut on the back of the fitting pull out the threaded stem, put in the new one and tighten up the nut. I had to reuse one of the copper washers, the washers become work hardened so to soften them heat them up to a dull orange on a brick and let them cool naturally and that will soften the washer again so that it can be re compressed, works on sump plug washers too. The brake line was then refitted and tightened up.
With the lines back it was time to use the Easi-(oil sprayer)-Bleed, my favourite job. At least this time the brake fluid actually went into the system and didn’t pee all over the floor. I re-bled the system through, removing all the air bubbles.
20 January 2007
First of all to clear something up, the labelling machine I got for Christmas was from my sister.
The trim plates that I remade from the plasticard that were painted have been refitted in place of the aluminium plates. The edges of them are a lot smoother and rounder although I still had to fair in the edges of some of the plates with silicone. Overall I think they look better than the aluminium plates.
The ECU turned up on Saturday morning, complete with it’s multi-way plug, software and rather thick manual. I fitted the ECU on the mounting plate I made, and got ready to terminate the cable ends.
All the wires that terminated back at the ECU platform were in a bit of a mess. I shortened them all and relabelled them with their respective pin number ready for termination into the plug. The plug has a total of 36 ways and I’m only using 22 of them. I plugged the holes that I wasn’t going to use so I wouldn’t accidentally plug in any cables in the wrong holes. With each of the wires numbered they were crimped and and plugged in sequentially to prevent any mistakes. when the connector was finally finished the loose cables were bundled up with spiral wrap and plugged into the ECU.
I tried using my laptop to interrogate the ECU it doesn’t have a serial port (eh?) so I had to use a USB adaptor which unfortunately wouldn’t work with the ECU so I’ve had to borrow my mums viao which does have a serial port. When I switched on the ECU for the first time the cooling fan rocketed into life. On the live adjustments screen the ECU showed that the temperature readings were all over the place which caused the fan to trip in. The temperature sensors need calibrating which I’ll have to sort out before I try to start the engine. I also set up the throttle pot using the software so that it now tracks in the right direction up through the load sites. The ECU came preloaded with a basic map which should be enough to get the engine started but might need trimming to get it running right I’ve still got about two and a half weeks to the SVA which should be enough time to getting it running right.
21 January 2007
Started first thing with getting the sensors calibrated. I removed the coolant and the air temperature sensors from the engine and got ready to test them under various temperatures.
I needed to test them over at least 3 different temperatures to get enough data for the ECU to compute a response curve. I used a glass filled with ice and water and measured its temperature to be 2degC, some boiling water on the stove at 100degC and some water at a temperature of 66degC, 66 was chosen by accident but near enough between the two. Firstly I got the following readings for the coolant sensor, 100degC = 2KR, 66degC = 6.6KR and 2degC = 96KR. For the air temperature sensor I got the following readings, 100degC = 2.2KR, 66degC = 7.3KR and 2degC = 90KR. From these readings I was able to input the data into the ECU. You also need to set the upper and lower readings for sensor for fault conditions otherwise the ECU will assume that the coolant temperature is at 100 and the air temperature is at 30degC. With this loaded in and all the other readings looking about right it was time to start the engine.
I got a small extinguisher to hand just in case and with 5 litres of petrol in the tank I was ready to go. With the crank sensor unplugged I cranked the engine to make sure I could get oil pressure. When I was happy I could, I plugged the crank sensor back in. The engine started after about 10 seconds of cranking but was very rough and wouldn’t idle. The idle problem was down to the holes in the inlet manifold for the brake servo, map sensor etc that I hadn’t plugged. with the holes filled I tried again the engine started but was very rough and sounded like it wasn’t firing properly. A quick check of the exhaust manifold showed the engine wasn’t firing on cylinders 2 and 3, the pipes were stone cold.
So far I’ve checked to see if it was a wiring fault on my half, which it isn’t. I’ve checked for a spark which was ok(ish) and I’ve checked the way the ECU is configured. It has has to be something connected to the ECU as I’ve batch connected the injectors together (1 and 4, 2 and 3) the same is true with the ignition coil. I know the injectors open as I touched the lead against the block and heard them click open. I made sure that my wiring is ok and there was no stupid mistakes made and I’m pretty sure there hasn’t. Also I noticed that my O2 sensor doesn’t appear to be working either so I’ll have to check that. The only real unknown quantity here is the spark plugs and leads as they came with the engine which has been standing around for at least a year so that they might have gone “leaky” and preventing a good spark, ie one could be pulling the other down and not generating a spark, bearing in mind I checked them one at a time, with the same plug for both leads (I’m noticing a potential solution here). When I pulled the plugs out after a few attempted starts there was a lot of carbon fouling on them, all four which would suggest the inner two are trying to fire but most of the un-burnt fuel get chucked out of the exhaust. So tomorrow I will try a new set of plugs and leads and see if that cures the problem failing that it’ll be a big HELP ME!!! email to Emerald.
23 January 2007
Still having problems with the engine not firing on cylinders 2 and 3. Tried some new spark plugs and leads still the same problem. I went back through what I had done and made doubly sure that I had checked everything. The injectors outputs for 2 and 3 are capable of running 1 and 4 the same with the ignition as well, so it’s not my wiring or the ECU. I checked the compression and found that it was lower than it should be on cylinders 2 and 3, arse.
The problem lies with the engine, arse. The decision was made to pull the engine out and check it out thoroughly, it simply can’t be done easily in the car so out it comes. I spent the afternoon disconnecting all the fuel, coolant and electrical lines. Also making sure to remove the gearbox linkage. I’ve lost about 5 litres of coolant and the gearbox oil (again) as it drained out when I pulled the driveshafts out. I’ve lowered the car onto a piece of timber to hold it off the ground so I can slide the engine crane under the car, which is all set up so I can lift the engine out tomorrow.
Once out I’m going to pull the head and see what the problem is, it’s either the head gasket has blown between the bores one or more valve lifters is stuck holding a valve open. Bearing in mind I don’t know the engine history and the previous owner may have caned the nuts off of it, we’ll see. In the motor factor got a bit of a shock when he quoted £200 for the head gasket set and £100 alone for the head gasket, Matt at Sylva says he can get the head gasket for £45 which is a bit more reasonable. Headbolts and cambelt/tensioner is about the same as what I would expect to pay for any other engine. With the SVA 2 weeks on Wednesday I might have to postpone it for a few more weeks until I can get this sorted out.
We’ll find out what the problem is tomorrow, hey, you’ve got to have a sense of humour about things haven’t you!!
24 January 2007
Managed to pull the engine out this morning. I’m sure that putting it in was easier getting it out. It was a pain trying to push the engine sideways with my foot whilst trying to raise and then lower the engine to get it to clear the body work. It took ages but eventually, the engine was out and resting on a couple of blocks of wood. With the engine out the engine bay was given a clean out and all the bits of swarf, stray coolant and oil was removed from the chassis and then the whole car was covered over to keep it that way until I’m ready to put the engine back in.
With engine out it was time to pull the head off of it (fnarr, fnarr). I’ve dismantled quite a few engines and I have to say this was one of the nicest and easiest engines to dismantle, everything was accessible and I was able to quickly strip the head off. With the head off the block first impressions were low. I was surprised to see how extensively the crowns and head were coked up, especially on such a young engine. I would expect to see the valves being a nice brown colour but they were just as black. As the cause of the lower compression, I’ve no idea the head gasket seemed intact, it could be that the carbon deposits might have been preventing the valves from fully closing, maybe.
I’ve no decided to strip the engine right down and remove the pistons from the bores so I can give it a full inspection, the bores seem okay, but I want to be certain. Since it’s such a pain to get the engine out I want to make sure everything is fine before I put the engine back in so I won’t have to get it back out again in six months time if the clutch failed, for example. I’ll also be giving the whole engine a thorough clean and a coat of paint. I’m also going to have a few key components powder coated such as the rocker cover and air intakes. I’ve spent so much time making the rest of the car look good why let the engine let it down.
Should have I done this before the engine went in the first time? Yes. Why didn’t I? God knows.
26 January 2007
Yesterday morning an engine stand was purchased from Machine Mart (thanks Dad) to help with rebuilding the engine. Then in the afternoon I split the gearbox from the engine and the gearbox is currently being cleaned up and painted silver by my Dad to save me some time and also as he’s very good at it. With the engine now on it’s own I took off the clutch which was also quite worn and would have needed replacing soon and also detached the flywheel so I could mount the engine on the stand.
I had to refit the cylinder head back on the engine to give me something to lift the engine by. After faffing around trying to bolt the engine to the stand while suspending the block from the crane I gave up and took the mounting plate off of the stand, bolted it to the engine while the engine was on the floor and then lifted the engine and mounting plate onto the stand. With the stand taking the weight of the engine and being able to revolve it through 360 degrees it was time to start to work on the engine.
This morning I took the head off again and started to clean it up. I had already removed the valves and the cams previously to I started to job of removing all the carbon deposits in the combustion areas. After considerable time using engine cleaner, carb cleaner and WD40 I ended up with now brighter and cleaner combustion areas.
With the combustion chambers clean I then cleaned the intake ports which just required the use of a rag and some carb cleaner. The exhaust ports required a bit more work to remove the quite substantial carbon build ups.
It took a brass bristle wire brush and a lot of scotchbrite to remove the deposits but soon the ports were looking a lot cleaner, I’d really love to know what the previous owner had done to the engine to get it as bad as this, then again maybe not.
With the head a lot cleaner then I lapped in each of the valves all 16 of them. The valves had to be cleaned so my sucker stick would stick properly and then coarse paste was used to cut a new face and then it was finished off with a finer paste. The head was then cleaned off again with engine cleaner to remove any traces of grinding paste and then given a thorough jet wash. The head is now in my airing cupboard drying out, I really could do with an airline in the garage, maybe next month.
With the head as far as I can take it for now attention was turned back to the engine. The sump was removed along with the oil pick up pipe and the catch plate exposing the bottom end. I need to buy a socket to fit the splined bolt that is used to secure the con rod caps so I can drop the pistons out of the bores. The open engine was covered with a layer of cling film to stop any crap getting in. The photo below is mainly for my benefit so I can tell which way around the bearing caps go back on!
The sump was given a thorough clean to remove the oil traces inside and a quick clean on the outside to remove the worst. The intake pipes, plenum chamber and rocker cover were also cleaned up as they are all going off to be powder coated tomorrow. The sump parts will be silver, the intake and plenum will be matt black and the rocker cover will be bright yellow, should take a week or so for the powder coater to do. Also tomorrow I’ll see how much the top and bottom gasket set, head bolts, new water pump, clutch, and other bolts etc will come to. So hopefully by this time next week I will be well on my way to having a almost complete engine to put back in.
29 January 2007
Been a bit fraught the last few days after I made a bit of a cock up. I removed the main bearing frame and exposed the main bearings which I found out was not a good idea as Ford says that if you do this it’s new engine time as it assembled with milimetric precision etc etc. Turns out that’s not quite true and after speaking to Impulse Developments
I have now ordered a new set of main bearings for £45+vat. Turns out that they do this all the time and it’s no big deal, apparently Ford used to say this about the Pinto in the early eighties, now one of the most easily modified engines ever. So, if you pull apart your engine totally don’t panic it’s fix-able. All I need to source now is a set of main cap bolts.
Going back to Friday, I now had an engine mounted on the stand and the crankshaft exposed I started to remove the pistons. I had to buy a splined socket to fit the conrod bolts , in fact I ended up buying the entire socket rail and they fit just about anything, metric hex, star and spline, one set does all! I pulled the pistons one at a time to prevent them getting all mixed up and tallied them with the bore number so that they will go back in the correct bore. The bores are in very good condition with no signs of scoring at all.
Selecting one piston I tried cleaning it up and the carbon deposits came of really easily with a brass wire brush and some carb cleaner solvent. The piston rings on all the pistons seemed to be fine as well. The bearing shells however weren’t, on at least two of the pistons the white metal had worn through completely exposing the sub layer. The decision was made to replace the bearing shells.
With the conrod shells being in such a bad way I wanted to see it the mains were also in a mess as well, so pulled off the mains web and inspected them as well. This at the time was a bad thing to do although I didn’t know that, but in as I found out today not a problem. For the 1700 engine Ford charge a staggering £2500 for the block, crank, web and pistons. Which I was definitely not going to part with.
I carried on with the crank removed and the main shells removed but numbered in case I needed to refit them to clean the block. I used a degreaser and a small brush to get the worst off and then jet washed the block off to remove all traces. The block was then refitted back onto the stand and my heater started up underneath it to use the warm air to warm the block though and completely dry it out.
Today, after finding out that the shell could be replaced and I wouldn’t need a replacement, undisturbed block I ordered from Ford all the parts that I needed to complete the rebuild, I also found out that it’s cheaper to buy a lot if not all the parts directly from Ford for example the head gasket is just £25 which is even cheaper than the motor factors. Even the total cost of all the parts it was still cheaper than buying another used engine and when finished the engine will be virtually as new. I started to reassemble what I had such as the crankcase breather box, new water pump, thermostat housing and thermostat.
The new parts from Ford should be in on Thursday and the replacement shells should be here on Wednesday, I still need to source the main cap bolts and I also want to have the injectors checked and cleaned as well which I’ll do tomorrow.With going back to work at the end of March I’m not too sure if I’ll get the car SVA’d in time. I should know more by this time next week.