Wednesday, April 29, 2009

La Carerra Caledonia

Well what an interesting couple of days. I had to go to Manchester on business for a meeting today so I drove up last night and stopped off to see Dave at Canley Classics. I often drop in for a pint and a chat (OK usually a pint of coke).

I had considered entering and mentioned it to Dave but it was somewhat half hearted as I knew I would have no time to prapare or help prepare a car and mine hasn't really proved itself yet.

Anyway Dave said he'd been visited by Dave Langrick who had convinced him that doing La Carerra was a good idea - we'd done the event together 2 years ago in my fire breathing Vitesse (the flames out the back had scorched Langricks bumper) and it had been fun despite the issues.

Anyway, Dave asked if I wanted "in", well I had already decided that I could not do it in my own car, due to the lack of any preparation time. I'm due out to India again in a few weeks and won't be back until Thursday evening on the 4th but hey! If there's a drive in it and Dave's prepared to do the hard work then yes I'm in!

So Dave's doing the entry, I'm sorting the accomodation and the deal is done!

What car? Well maybe the new Atlas V8 Sport Touring? Or maybe not. He won't tell me but who cares, a weekend away with Triumphs and the Scotlandshire countryside will be just fine.

First issue though is finding somewher to stay on the Friday night as the Old Stome Trough is apparently full! Major issue as we do like to have a drink or two. Sleeping bag in the car or maybe a tent in the field? I'll have to ask around but if anyone doesn't mind a couple of house trained semi-drunk blokes snoring for a night then let me know, if you're going to the OST and can give us a lift that would be a bonus (well if you don't ask...) We've got B&B money to spend.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Unstuck stickiness

Well that's me done for the day, my back's gone stiff and it's time for a shower and a beer. It's been a decent day really, the sticky brake is unstuck. I couldn't really see much in the way of a cause but there was quite a lot of dust and crud in there. I've cleaned it all up and made sure there's no rust on the drum or lumps on the shoes. To be honest it just looks like they were sticking to the drums, everything now looks fine. It's all pretty new looking in there, all NOS stuff.
I also managed to get blanking plugs into all the holes in the nearside inner wheel well. Throughout it's life the car looks like it's had several incarnations of PI plumbing. That's not uncommon seeing as there were half a dozen factory modifications done to Mk1 PIs! I've gone and done my own version relocating the pump to the offside, away from the exhaust. I've plumbed in a fuel tap and glass bowled agglomerater with a drain. That drain goes down through the boot floor so changing the filter should now be easy and involve turning the tap off, draining the filter through to the outside. The filter housing is now plumbed in with flexible hoses so it can be unbolted and manoeuvred easily. I still need to do something with the boot boards to tidy it all up, especially as I have pulled out all the grotty boot carpet (have kept it for patterns). I am still looking for some shadow blue carpet so I can make it all pretty and neat.

Stabilisers back on

Well stabiliser (single).

Ever since getting the car the dashboard has been a weird ornament. None of the instruments worked. I had a low fuel warning light but that was about it.
First came the choke light, that was just a clear up of the mechanism and I did that when I found the right choke cable to fit.
Next came the clock, thanks to Scrapman Colin Wake I got a working clock - it even kept excellent time.
Next came the speedo, that was my fault I think, when I fitted the cable I seem to have managed to miss align it at the gearbox, quite how I did it I don't know but a happy few days tracing it sorted out and that was great.
But the fuel and temp gauge eluded me - I got a new voltage stabiliser but that didn't work, it was more serious than that. I managed to buy one of those new solid state stabiliser chips (no connectors just the chip) and was prepared to "go modern" to fix it. First though lets get the multimeter out and see what the hell's going on. Yup, it's all over everywhere. Neither stabiliser (original or new) was producing the required stable output, even running a direct feed for the earth off the battery didn't do it.
So, nothing for it but to get the soldering iron out and have a play. 30 mins later I had soldered up some wires onto the tiny chip and it was all connected - it works! Frankly I am amazed, I'm crap at electrics, my eyesight is going so fine work is a challenge and my soldering has always been more expressionist art than electronics.
So, what's left on the job list - bloody loads!
I have now renewed 3 of the injector seals as another injector failed today. The ones that have failed were yellow plated, the ones that have not are plain - no idea if that's the cause but it does seem likely. I have one plated injector left but it was the first one to fail and I have replaced the seal in it - I have no more decent spares to use. I'll get another set of seals and the clean up my spares, I might just swap out that plated one anyway.
Next on the list is to investigate a sticky rear brake. I don't tend to leave the handbrake applied on the car when it's in the garage so I can roll the car about but just lately it's been very hard to push. I found the same just before and at the MOT test but the brake efficiency was fine. I suspect a strip and clean will sort it but we'll see, nothing is ever that easy!

Friday, April 24, 2009

I've seen the light

I've always been keen to use modern technology to improve the lighting on my cars, I don't think I've ever had standard lighting for long on a car. Usually that's been fitting relays and higher wattage lamps.
There's never been much choice for upgrading the sidelights so I was quite interested when I started seeing LED lamps coming down in price.
I also liked the look of those modern LED indicators that are crisp and instant as they come on.
For nearly a year now I have had an HID kit sat on the shelf waiting for me to get round to fitting it, I don't have all the lenses I want to do that yet.
So last week, in a moment of weakness and I dare say idleness, I took a surf and ended up with a set of LED lights. Somehow I managed to mess up the order and ended up with a bit of an odd assortment - I didn't want to do the indicators until I had figured out how to ensure they actually work! LED indicators and old school flasher units don't play well together, apparently the LEDs are such low resistance that they don't work properly with those old flasher units. The fix seemed to be wiring in resistors but that just feels like a fudge. I have now found a purpose designed LED flasher so I will try that at a later date.
Anyway, back to the LEDs. I had sidelights, stop/tail, some reversing lights (or indicators) and some festoons - that's where I messed up! The festoons were for the indicators on the B posts and one for the interior light, well the festoons are the wrong size for the interior light and of course the indicators don't work (Duh, I knew that so why did I order then this time!?!)
Brain fade!!

Right, so I tried the sidelights in the front to see what they were like. You know, I'm not entirely sure! I mean I like the "look" bit I'm unconvinced they are actually brighter (as these are supposed to be) but I do like the crisp light. It's quite hard to take photos of lights but here you go.

From Jason's Blog

Here's a closer look at the LED side

From Jason's Blog

and the other side with a filament lamp in it

From Jason's Blog

Here's the end result

From Jason's Blog

Here are the rears, first the reversing lights as standard

From Jason's Blog

and now with an LED

From Jason's Blog

This is the one that's quite hard to photograph, here are the rear sidelights as standard with a filament lamp in it,

From Jason's Blog

and now with an LED in it, I'm not convinced this is an improvement but from some angles it is

From Jason's Blog

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sometimes the Gods smile on you.....

....and sometimes they turn round and take a dump on you.

So, it goes like this - MOT passed, feeling good. I'm sorting out the rough running (I'm running out of ideas but I'm still keen). I refit the air filter, it's all a little tight with the "spaced" throttle but it just about fits.

Now let's see if the timing is still OK. I find that the timing is a little off, weird because I've done that a few days ago. Never mind, get the timing gun out and get it sorted, dizzy feels a little loose so I tighten it all up.

The car's ticking over nicely and then just stops, dead. No stutter just stops. I jump in the driver's seat and whiz it over, it doesn't catch. Strange.

Then I get that flash of inspiration or was it the sound of the pump changing ever so slightly or the stench of petrol? So with ignition still on (silly boy) I take a look in the open boot - it's not a good sight. The high pressure hose on the output side has split where it goes into the fitting - it's just old and had it's time.

You see the thing with a PI is that any "leak" on the high pressure side is not really a "leak", it's a Tsunami. So the boot is awash with petrol.


Unfortunately petrol attacks the stone chip paint under the colour and therefore in no time we're down to bare metal!

But every Tsunami has a cleaning effect, stripping away the old so the new can be built. I've ripped it all out and replaced the broken pipe, got it running and driven it into the garage. Tomorrow I will plan the relocation of the pump, PRV and filter. I may even sort out those boot boards I've got and tidy the whole lot up.

Before all this happened I also did something I have been threatening to do for a while. I stripped and "reconditioned" and injector. Dave P gave me a new seal about a year ago, it's a tiny "O" ring, it was an original Lucas one. The procedure is really simple, so simple I am bound to have screwed it up! There's an external circlip at the squirty end that you can remove with a small flat blade screwdriver. Then you can push the guts of the injector back through the input end, I used a brass drift to push it all the way.

From there you can see the guts of the injector and the O ring, fiddle that off and refit a new one, trying not to upset any of the rotating stuff - looks to me like you can twist things and set the trigger pressure - I left well alone. Reassembly was the reverse but I used a little light oil to ease the new seal back through the injector body. After refitting the C clip all was ready to whack it back in the car.

Guess what?

It only bloody worked - really good fine cone spray, no drips, no bubbles, fires at the right time - I am amazed.

And before everyone says "Oh but you need to set the trigger pressure correctly" - I know, I haven't and I don't know how to measure it so I'm not saying reconditioning your injectors is as easy as I have described because there is more to it. I feel that test rig is getting closer to being built.

From the guts of the injector I can't see a huge amount to go wrong, Dave P's been telling me for years they are simple and just to prove I do listen to you Dave - you're right, again :-)

Whooo Hoooo!

It's that feeling you get when you win the lottery, when you find one more chip in the bottom of the bag, when you come home and the kids haven't broken anything, when, when , when - you get the drift.

Well that feeling was mine today when the PI sailed through the MOT without a problem. The guys in my preferred MOT station are old car friendly, Bob the one I see more often than not, appreciates the finer things in life, like Triumphs :-) OK so whe I said "it's running a bit rought I've got a dodgy injector" he did say that they were standard on PIs - thats' why he always ripped it all off and put Webers on!

Nevertheless, a fresh ticket is mine. The car made it there and back - I have even managed to get the speedo to work, bonus!

So, to celebrate, I gave her a present

The issues now are all around getting her running right, anything else is pretty much cosmetic tarting - I have promised myself that I will attend to the important stuff first. Otherwise I'm going to have a pretty car that won't go :-(

Thanks Bert

I've been struggling with the PI, I think I've turned the corner thanks to Albert Einstein. You see I have a "Home Page" on my PC that includes a daily random Einstein Quote, I'm trying to increase my bullshitting repertoire. Anyway, today's quote was

'Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.'

and as I sat there looking for inspiration this morning I figured that was good advice. Let's go do something different!

You see I couldn't understand the results I was getting with the fuel injection - bubbles in the now clear line (sometime you can have too much information) and poorly injecting on No1. All unions tight, no sign of leaks, everything all as it should be visually. I had changed out several components and generally messed about with the usual suspects. All my test readings on my pressure gauge were OK but it would still not run well, popping and farting like me after a curry and bucket of lager.

I decided to see what would happen if I exceeded 106 PSI at the metering unit and went up to an indicated 120, the racers do it, so why not?

Bingo! Bubbles cleared in the line. The injector was still not right but better, I swapped it for No2 which was fine, that told me the injector was faulty. I rummaged in my spares and found a better one, not great but better. She runs without the popping and stuttering, seem far happier at idle and is worthy of a road test, or two :-)

I will take stock of what I have and see if I can sort out a recon injector, I don't want to run with this one for long. I have some seals somewhere to put in an injector but I haven't yet figured out how to test the trigger pressure. There's not much too them but I am guessing that they all need to trigger within a reasonable pressure range of each other. The book says 60 PSI I think.

That leads me to another idea to make up a test rig and pressure test some of this kit I have lying around. I've got loads and some of the pumps look great but there's no point in keeping useless spares and there's no way of knowing if they are crap until you pressure test them!

This episode today has encouraged me to sort out the plumbing in the boot of the PI, I fancy putting the pump over on the driver's side, away from the heat of the exhaust. I'll also put a fuel tap in there so changing the fuel filter isn't such a messy job! I'm also told that Mk2 plumbing style is better with the pump on it's side, I have the necessary cradle and cooling coil combo on there at the moment as a temp set-up. The pump is NOS. I now have a glass bowl filter so I think I'll put that in the OS wing and modify the trim around it all.

Anyway, that's the midday update, MOT this afternoon so now my dear daughter has shown her worth and provided me with a bacon sandwich, I can get back to the car :-)

Monday, April 06, 2009

A few more silly little jobs done

When I bought the car it came with a nicely rechromed bonnet badge, these things are getting to be silly money, £100 for a decent one, £200 for NOS.

Anyhoo - mine was nicely rechromed with a new foil for the Injection lettering, however it wasn't quite right as the indents weren't black. So I decided to try something and took a roll of go faster striping I had and a craft knife - here are the before and after pictures

Hopefully it'll stay on, I've had that reel of stripes for about 30 years! I remember nicking it from my Dad's garage and using it to put some on my mates Raleigh Chopper when we were about 10 years old!
The other major achievement today is that the proper steering wheel is back on and.....

...... I'm not so sure I like it!
Too thin, too flimsy and too big! With PAS I don't need a bus wheel and I may well find a smaller Motolita one - if I can find one for a reasonable price.
More later, I'm enjoying this :-)

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Today's learning......

There two ways to remove a steering wheel, one way is to leave the nut on but loosly so the wheel just comes un-stuck and doesn't actually come off the column - ie you can undo the nut completely after you've loosened the wheel on the colum and are left with the steering wheel in your hands and a smile on your face.
The other way involves you removing the central nut and sitting in the driving seat. You pull on the wheel whilst bending your head over the steering wheel. Now give it a few repeated tugs culminating in one big snatch. The wheel will now fly off the steering column and you will whack yourself on your head with the wheel. Bearing in mind you have just put a lot of energy and ooomph into this it will hurt, you will see stars and if you're really luck you will have a nice red mark on your forehead, a small lump and a big headache.

Guess which method I used?

Remember kids, I do these stupid things so you don't have to.

Tomorrow I am going to play with electrics, watch out for burnt fingers, blown fuses and appliances doing weird things that you don't expect!

I have redeemed myself

Got the PI back together and took her for a blast down the road, well more of a pootle than a blast!
Never mind, it runs and I can now get stuck into MOT preparation, well checking really because she's been nowhere in the last 12 months.
A couple of corroded connections got in the way of the passenger side repeater working, but that's sorted in a second, just need to do a little repair on the lens to ensure it lasts another 40 years.
I returned wo the orginal pump and have noticed that the fuel pressure is falling under 100 psi so I will change that all out this week - must try and see if I can relocate it to the other side of the boot, away from the exhaust.
I picked up a pair of black Stag seats for pennies last week, they need work - diaphrams etc but they may do for a trial fit - I like them, just need blue covers!