The 2006 Diary,

February 2006

3 months off from the car build! A couple of odds and ends tied up over that period, but not much. Mainly the seats are in and seatbelts fitted.

So late Jan saw the boot lid fitted and lock installed [ photo ], which means the boot area is complete except for the carbon covers final fit, but that will be dictated by the hood fasteners. Not going to fit the hood for the SVA but will need to do a trial to get the alignment of the press-studs sorted, mid to late Feb I think!

Instrumentation was still in need of work, and I had found a supplier to fabricate the cluster plate in 5mm Aluminium so placed the order last week of Jan with a estimated delivery date mid Feb, lots of time to get the wiring loom sorted out and few bits ordered for it. Two days later I get an email to say that its done and if I want to collect it would be available on Friday! So that's here test fitted the smiths clocks, warning lights and switches - it all fits.

Also started the fit for the front indicators, extended them but got to sort out the SVA proofing them now - D'oh! [ photo ]. At last ride height has been sorted!! I now have clearance of 4” which is 0.25” more than a new mini, so should be ok - anything was going to be better than the original 2” clearance.

March 2006

Well there wont be an SVA this side of May realistically. Things haven't progressed as quickly as I hoped - but then I've not spent as much time in the garage as I used to. Work doesn't half get in the way of hobbies!

First couple of days in March had the instrument loom prepared ready for installation. Just have a slight problem with the fuel gauge and sender miss-match - but that a “work in progress” Clocks fitted to facia, loom fitted to clocks, facia fitted to dash :D [ photo ] looks good even if I do say so myself.

Indicators are hopefully ok for the SVA now [ photo ], and AT LAST I managed to replace the rear bearings !! That's almost all the mechanicals finished - just got the wiper arms to sort out now. So what's left? Finish sorting the fuel gauge problem, final fit for the carbon boot cover; but that means temporarily fitting the hood to mark out the poppers around the edge of the carbon - not a small thing to do I fear! Get under the car and seal the bits that need sealing, paint up the handbrake cable plate and get the car MOT'd. This isn't entirely necessary for SVA, but there are a couple of things like tracking and alignment that I want sorting out. Once I've done that then it's onto a final check of all things SVA, and finally put in for the test itself.

April 2006

Tidy up the car,

Check everything for the SVA,

Get an MOT,

Fit the hood,

Final fit for the carbon boot cover.

Wheel alignment and tracking,

Fix the fuel gauge,

Fit a starter switch radiused bar (New Mini-esq) to block the dreaded SVA sphere(s) [ photo ].

Put the paperwork in for the SVA.

That's the list I started with. But I now have another one to add: stop the 3mm steel plate handbrake cable bracket from flexing.

I have fitted the hood [ photo ], NOT that I intend to go to the SVA with it, but I had to find the position of the lower edge poppers for fitting to the rear carbon covers. I have to say its a bit of a feat to get in and out!

July 2006

May, June and July have not been either productive OR good months! May and June saw a few modifications ready for the SVA - notably the edge on the filler cap [ photo ], Exhaust cover (now inside the end cap) [ before ] & [ after ] and a heat shield around the battery [ photo ].

The end of June the car went into a local garage for a pre-MoT checkup. They found a couple of things that needed so attention; emissions, movable battery tray, rigid brake pipes and brackets. Most of July was spent tinkering with these and taking the car to Leeds for a built up inspection (which went fine).

It seemed that every time something got fixed something else cropped up - like the Speedo jumping all over the place or fuel gauge not registering, or the handbrake cable snapping!!!

August 2006

SO...could August get any worse? I needed to fit a new lambda sensor to fix the emissions problems - which I did. The emissions look to be spot on now - but the engine doesn't run properly anymore I've had to take it to a garage to try to fix. When they found the lower ball-joint on the drivers front wheel had come loose!

Still, she's getting a thorough work over now and hopefully got to the SVA in a couple of weeks.

September 2006

The answer was yes...A LOT worse! The engine problem just brought everything to a stop. Two days before the SVA the car was given an MOT certificate but then the engine just would not run at all. RH couldn't really help and advised me to send the ECU to Avon Diagnostics. I had to cancel the test and was charged £50 and the garage charged me £200 for not fixing the problem.

I have to say that Avon have been brilliant and over the last three weeks of August worked very hard to resolve the problems I was having. They couldn't identify the exact fault with the ECU with their equipment but were convinced a replacement was the key. Therein lay the rub. They didn't have any left nor did RH. Eventually Avon found a couple and tested them. Now more cost, they wanted £209 before they'd ship it to me with a promise that they'd provide enough support to hopefully get a refund from RH (They never did give me a refund!). ECU came, I fitted it... the car lives again!! Thank God, and Avon Diagnostics.

So now back onto Beverley Test Station and re-arrange the test.

So it's Sunday and the SVA is tomorrow at 8am. Been over the car again for a final check to make sure I haven't missed anything. It's really hard now, as I've been working on it for so long I only see what I'm used to. Enlisted the help of my partner to check it over and she hasn't been able to spot anything either...so fingers crossed and its over to the SVA inspector at Beverley, lets hope he's ok!

He was, but the car wasn't. It failed. I woke up to a grey wet morning and just knew it wasn't going to be a good day! It failed on about 11 things, most of which are pretty minor and are an easy fix, like the handbrake handle not being radiused or the brake pedal touching the steering column. But there were a couple of major ones; emissions! and the handbrake effort. To say I'm gob smacked about the emissions is an understatement, I had that nailed before the ecu failure, I can only guess that the new ecu is playing up. Awaiting a call from Avon on that. The biggest worry as I write this is the handbrake effort. I'm pretty much at a loss. I know the handbrake is exerting more than enough movement to apply pull as the lever only travels 3 - 4 clicks as opposed to the 6 - 7 it was. But why that's not enough effort I don't know. The annoying thing is that its tested on the declared design weights, if it was on the actual weights (684kg) it would have passed.

Still I mustn't get too stressed, the fail list was small and should be solvable eventually. There were no major mechanical problems, the inspector thought the car was one of the nicest he'd seen or driven and it was fantastic to drive the 60+ mile round trip. Just got a bit of head scratching to do now. Here she is after the final round of tests [ photo ].

December 2006

Well, its been a bit of a problem getting motivated at the moment. I got through the smaller items on the list quickly enough - but still awaiting input from Avon re the ECU, and having looked at the filler cap carefully I don't think I'll ever get it to seal as the neck is not a smooth flat surface a new cap and neck is in order I think.

The biggest problem remains the handbrake! Going to have to go back to the drawing board I think and see what I've missed on the design. Christmas soon though and hopefully Santa will bring something to take my mind off of it.

That's all there is here, you'll have to check out the next years diary...

copyright Ian Grant © 2005-2010 all rights reserved


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