Tuesday, 26 February 2008

More actual progress (yes, really!)

I finally figured out a way to lift the very heavy and awkward inlet manifold onto the V8 at the weekend. So the job I abandoned before Christmas has finally moved on again. In the end I dug out a couple of short lengths of chain from the garage and bolted them across some convenient fittings on the top of the manifold to form "handles" so I could actually lift the thing. I still have no idea how I managed to get it fitted the first time around.

I spent most of Sunday scraping off old gaskets and then refitting the new ones. Hopefully they're the correct ones this time, they're definitely different to the ones I used last time. I also used copious amounts of RTV sealant to try and make sure they don't leak. Normally I try and avoid using gasket sealant but the manuals all recommend applying some to these inlet manifold gaskets so I have.

The throttle body looked like it should have a gasket under it too but they don't seem to be available. I've made some up using gasket paper. I've never tried making my own gaskets before so I'll just have to hope they work.

Since the weekend I've made a start on reconnecting all the plumbing and wiring that goes with this engine. I found a large (and entirely uninsulated) bodge in the wiring that connects the ECU to the various sensors on the engine and one wire hanging on by the last couple of threads of copper. A little work with the soldering iron sorted that one out. The result doesn't look very pretty but it can't be seen anyway once everything's back in place and it should work fine.

I've also removed the EGR valve and blanked off the fitting. Who needs exhaust gases piping back into the inlet and weakening the mixture anyway? More than one person I've spoken to recommended this as a way to avoid possible problems. The van originally had a full complement of 1990 US-spec emissions control gear which is slowly being stripped away as things break and don't get replaced. The UK regulations don't require anything like the same level of emissions control and it's not entirely clear how much difference is made by some of the parts on there anyway. With any luck the removal of some of these parts will also result in a little more power output from the engine by the time I've finished.

I'm hoping to get all the various pipes and wires reconnected by the end of this week so I can see about trying to start it up again at the weekend. Here's hoping for some decent weather so I can continue working on it.

Not much more progress on the race car yet. A few parts have arrived ready for the pre-season rebuild and I did spend a few minutes bashing the dent out of the rear valence (only taken me three years to get around to that job!) but the next real job is still to remove the engine.

Monday, 18 February 2008

Clunk -click, click, click, click

Finally got around to upgrading the four-point harness in the racecar to a full six-point one at the weekend. The four-point one tended to lift the buckle when I tightened the shoulder straps which made it uncomfortable. Having the extra straps should prevent that. I actually bought the add on kit last year but never got around to fitting it. In the end it was easier than I thought it might be. I think I spent longer trying to get the adjustment right afterwards than I did actually fitting it.

I was hoping to get the engine lifted out too but I needed an extra pair of hands so that one will have to wait for another weekend.

That's about it for now. More of my pointless ramblings in a week or two!

Monday, 11 February 2008

Spring cleaning

It must be spring. I've actually made some progress on things so something certainly changed.

Unfortunately I was working part of the weekend so couldn't make the most of the proper spring-like weather we had. I did have Sunday afternoon free though and spent it dismantling the race car, removing all the ancillaries from the engine and getting ready to lift it out. It will need new bearings at least after last season's racing. Once I get it over to the engine builders we will find out whether it needs anything else doing as well.

The big news this week is that I've had a clear out and sold my Ford Transit recovery truck. It's kept me on the road for the last three years moving the race car around but it had to go to help fund all the work I need to do on the other vehicles. In particular the van and trailer that I intend to use for the race meetings in future. The Transit was starting to deteriorate (read "rust") and was at the point where it needed salvaging before it became too bad. Anyway, the new owner seems quite pleased with it and collected it today. The front of my house might actually look quite respectable soon what with the engine no longer hanging out of the van and no rusty transit clogging up the road outside!

I also dropped off the frames we made two weekends ago to be powder coated so I might be able to start on the interior of the van too once I've got them back next week.

It's only February though. I'm looking forward to the real spring and summer already.