Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Car & Restoration Show - Shepton Mallet

An excellent weekend at the last show of the year.  Friday afternoon Colin & I setup the WSCC Dorset Area stand while the Eleven was being photographed by Ian Stent for a Complete Kit Car end of 'running report' article.

Saturday and Sunday there were plenty of visitors and I bought some Lucas L448 rear lights and bonnet webbing tape, both to be more 'original' than those sold in the kit.

The Eleven is now going to be SORN'd and over the winter I'm planning to remove the differential to have it overhauled, fit the new bits, investigate the gear selection issue and a few other bits and pieces.

Friday, 19 October 2018

Newman Cams

After fitting the R1Rs I decided the Zetec could do with a little more zip and after discussing my options with other WSCC members I decided on fitting a set of Newman Stage 2 cams along with a set of Vernier pulleys.  Hopefully it will be straight forward, the Stage 2 cams don't need and additional changes like pocketed pistons but the Blacktop has solid tappets with shims so the clearances need to be checked and the shims possibly replaced.

After fitting the new cams I measured all the tappet clearances and 4 of the inlet valves were outside of tolerance.  Next step was to remove the inlet cam, remove and measure the suspect shims.  Once I had the current clearance and shim sizes I consulted the Ford parts catalogue and selected the closet shims to get the clearances in spec.  Luckily I was able to move 2 of the shims between tappet buckets so only 2 to buy.  Ford were able to get the shims to Yeovil the same day and once they'd arrived I fitted them, fitted the cam, checked the clearances and all was good.

Whilst refitting the alternator belt I found the main mounting bolt loose so tightened it up and it sheared off - b@@@@r.  Lucky I found it when I did because I didn't have anymore M10 x 120 bolts, I now have a couple of spares in my touring kit.

Friday, 13 July 2018

Le Mans Classic 2018

The decision to attend the Le Mans Classic in 2018 was taken last year and getting the Eleven ready to go within the two year window of the 1957 class win has been a big motivation.  We travelled over on the Poole - Cherbourg ferry then took the back roads (even with their new 50mph limit) down to the campsite at the le Mans/Arnage Airport.

After setting up camp and supper we headed off to Arnage to watch the drive byes.

This year We'd managed to get tickets for parade laps so I headed to the track early on the Friday and Saturday - nothing like the 40 mph Silverstone Classic laps this was 'stay behind the pace car' - I never saw the pace car on either day until the drive off at the end of each 3 lap session - had a few hairy moments but was well worth the £199 for the experience.

Video of Friday and Saturday final laps of YouTube:

As ever a big part of the show is the Clubs and Robin (who'd helped me sort out the carburettor on the Eleven was there with 'Beano' and the Historic Lotus Register.

There was also an Eleven on the stand:
High spec'd Eleven with a Coventry Climax engine and De'dion back axle.

Saturday night was in Arnage again - Gendarmerie everywhere after a serious incident in a previous year - but still an enjoyable evening.

The Classic appears to have got bigger each year with the paddock now spread over a larger area and more add events like the Jaguars and Type Cs - as ever I focused on the Elevens

H602 repaired from 2014

The last night we stayed on the campsite as they had cheap beer/wine, a good band and it was also an opportunity to say thank you to Val and Alan who were eventually selling the business after 25+ years.

The drive home was enjoyable but uneventful with me arriving home at 11:30pm on the Monday evening.

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Shelsey Walsh

The WSCC Speed Series is 21 Years old and to celebrate the occasion they booked the Shelsey Walsh Hill Climb for a fun 'non-timed' day with camping over the weekend.  Tricia and I travelled up alone as I had to work until Friday lunchtime and the rest of the Dorset WSCCers were heading off at 10:30.  We avoided the M5 and had a very pleasant 3:30 hrs journey on the A37, A38 and then from Gloucester some B roads through the Malvern Hills to Shelsey. After a BBQ and few beers we walked the hill, 300 metres rises in 912 metres oxygen was required on the way up.

The main day was the Saturday and Tricia and I managed to complete around a dozen runs before deciding that the Le Mans Classic was too close and we were starting to speed up.  The day closed with an enjoyable 3 course meal, chatting over a few ciders before heading off to bed.

Sunday morning started with hot tea and a bacon roll before heading off back to Yeovil to meet up with  family who were over from South Africa.

Video of a run up the hill on YouTube:

Run Up the Hill

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Cooling Improvements

After my cooling and oil temp/pressure concerns on the way home from Stoneleigh I took advice from other Eleven owners and fitted ducting and an oil cooler. 

Fan is still a pusher mounted to the Westfield bracket as I couldn’t see how I could fit a puller fan in the limited space behind the radiator. I’ll give this configuration a go and if I need to look at the puller fan at a later date. 

oil cooler is a Mocal kit for an MG Midget so the hoses aren’t a perfect fit but should be good enough to prove whether there’s a benefit in having one fitted.

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Stoneleigh 2018

First weekend away with the Eleven with over 300 miles in hot weather over the two days.

Particularly hot on the way home and whilst nothing was terminal the temperatures were not stable at cruising speeds and the oil was getting too hot and impacting oil pressures at idle when stuck in traffic so I've decided to add some ducting to the radiator and an oil cooler.

I'm still trying to work out the best way to fit the oil cooler.

I took advantage of the good weather and fibre glassed/gel coated the bonnet where the holes were drilled for the headlight pods.

Friday, 27 April 2018

Visit to Slark Race Engineering

Today was the visit to Slark Race Engineering to tune the engine and confirm the tracking.
As with the IVA the weather was truly awful so a good test of the tonneau which turned out to provide reasonable protection.
Neil confirmed the static timing and set about establishing some baseline runs and playing with the advance map.
When he was happy with the timing he then started playing with the mixture and determined that it needed more fuel mid-throttle but was slightly rich on full-throttle.
He removed the needle and trimmed the mid-range section and after a couple of goes was happy.  After a bit more adjustment the engine was putting out 84bhp with 80-90 lbs/ft of torque between 2.5k and 5.5k.  The more observant will notice that I've fitted the 1" extension to the rear shock absorbers, cut a hole in the ali panel to allow the diff to drop further and halved the lower trailing arm bolt heads to allow them to pass the chassis - the car seemed much better for it but it's early days and I still need to play with the shock absorber settings.
Next we setup the ride height, camber and toe-in all of which only needed a small amount of adjustment and finally we put the car on the scales to find out the overall weight.
Including 3/4 tank of fuel.
The weather on the drive home was no better than the journey there however, the engine was running very well and the car was noticeably more torquey and smooth.
I'd fitted the 1" extension to the rear shock absorbers, cut a hole in the ali panel to allow the diff to drop further and halved the lower trailing arm bolt heads to allow them to pass the chassis.

Sunday, 22 April 2018


I went to Gurston Down to watch the racing which included the Westfield Speed Series , when I got home the V5C had arrived for the Eleven so I focused the rest of the day getting it ready for blatting on Sunday.

Once the car was ready Myles and I completed a circuit around Yeovil covering 12 or so miles followed by a bit of tweaking.  This was followed by a 65+ mile run to Chesil Beach and Lyme Bay with Tricia, the car ran well throughout but the suspension needs adjusting especially the rear.

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Waiting for the DVLA

I've posted off the registration paperwork to the DVLA and await their response - hopefully an age related registration based on the donor MG Midget.

In the mean time I've started to work on the transformation of the Eleven

New motorcycle combined brake/rear/number plate light, reverse light and fog lights plus smaller retro-reflectors and number plate (assuming that they allow me to use my retention plate - and we all know what assume means!)

I've also had extra bolts welded to the driver's seat runner so next weekend will be focused on the cockpit.

Monday, 19 March 2018

IVA - Passed

After a couple of frantic weeks juggling work and garage time I eventually finished the car ready for it IVA on the 14 Mar.

cockpit with doors/screen missing, Sport Turbo seats and motorcycle mirrors

Head light pods

front view of seats/harnesses

Number plate bracket and fog/reverse lights
Adge agreed to follow me to Exeter with spares and tools and we headed off at 06:15 for an 08:00 start.

The first impression was how nice the engine/exhaust sounds, second was how bouncy the ride was - the Protechs need turning down a few notches. Finally the speedo stopped working anything over 40 mph so no opportunity to confirm calibration on the drive there as I'd planned.  We arrived with 1/2 hour to spare so I quickly adjusted the gap on the speedo sensor, topped up the fuel and then took the car for a spin around the car park to confirm that the speedo was working.

Outside the test centre - starting to rain

 After introductions the examiner asked me to drive the car into the rear of the test workshop.  The first steps were to conform chassis/engine numbers, test all the lights/horn and internal/external projects.  Overall the examiner seemed happy enough but didn't like the routing of the harnesses through the rear bulkhead.

Next the car was put on a hoist and given a good look over underneath including confirming lock-to-lock steering nothing was catching/touching anywhere - it wasn't and the examiner suggested that the steering limiters could be reduced as there was plenty of clearance.

The car was lower and then driven through to the speedo test - worked all the way up to the test limit of 70 mph but swapped from over reading to under reading very unusual and a fail.

After the speedo the headlight dipped beam was tested, the pattern was okay but the aim slightly so we were allowed to adjust.  Then the emissions test followed by the noise test where the car was reversed out of the workshop, the test was conducted at 3/4 of 5,000 rpm at passed at 97dB whilst outside and the rain was holding off the car was driven to the mirrors test area where all passed, then back onto the workshop for the brake test.

The initial brake test was the standard MOT then followed by a more complex multi-point test to determine overall performance taking into account the cars weight.  Once the car had been weighed (595 kgs including me and a full tank of petrol) the readings were punched into a computer and - a pass.  However, the hand brake was assessed as having no reserve possibly a bit of stretch on a new cable being used seriously for the first time, again I was given time to adjust this to pass.

By this time it was lunch time and the examiner suggested I use the hour to investigate the speedo mis-reading and re-route the harnesses.  He'd agreed that the inner harnesses were okay therefore only the outer ones needed sorting and that the best way forward would be to re-route them between the clam bodywork and the rear bulkhead.  I started with the speedo and determined that the most likely cause was the alignment between the sensor and prop-shaft nuts.  I removed the sensor bracket and Adge drilled the mounting holes and made them slots so they could be adjusted.  I added an extra nut to each of the prop-shaft bolts, the whole thing was then reassembled and adjusted to read off the centre of the additional nuts and tested using the LED on the back of the sensor (accepting that this was not the best of indicators).  Once we'd finished the examiner put the car back on the speedo tester and it read a consistent under measurement across the whole range, so progress.  After a couple of attempts it was over-reading within the IVA requirement so only the harnesses left.

The examiner looked at the re-routed harnesses and, whilst an improvement, thought that it had transferred the problem to the clam rather than the bulkhead.  After some measurement and discussion we agreed that the bodywork would need to be trimmed to allow the harness a straight run from the chassis mount to the rear of the seat.  While the examiner finished his lunch Adge and I drilled and filed the relief slots and while not pretty they did the trick.  The examiner confirmed he was happy and even said I didn't need to re-trim with rubber as the bodywork was nicely bevelled, the rear of the seats is excluded from the interior projections test and the transition from interior to exterior projections is 25mm from the edge of the body - result.

Passenger side - not too bad

Driver's side - not too good!
While the examiner went to his office to write up the certificate, Adge and I packed everything and taped a temporary cover over the passenger side of the cockpit as it was now raining heavily.

The drive home was wet and not the most enjoyable but at least the IVA was passed.

Clam edge slots blended across the whole of the cockpit opening and covered

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Why Do Today What You Can Put Off Until Tomorrow?

Last weekend I decided I'd done enough and sorting out the reverse switch could wait for a week:

 Well this is a week later! and it's getting worse

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Rundown to IVA

This weekend the Eleven left the garage under it's own propulsion for the first time....I took advantage of dry (but cold) conditions and setup the ride heights.

I also re-torqued the headbolts and gave the car a good going over rectifying anything that wasn't right or adding it to the 'To Do' list.

I started the engine and did a couple of runs up and down the drive - the turning circle is more like an ocean liner than a sports car so I'll need to look at how much I can take off the steering rack limiters post IVA.  Once the engine was warm I fitted the colourtune kit and adjusted the mixture iaw the instructions eventually getting the idling to a steady ~900 rpm with a nice blue burn.

Working down the 'To Do' I removed the scuttle and added a dedicated earth to the fuel tank, I previously thought the fuel sender earth would be sufficient but after getting advice from the WSCC forum it didn't seem worth taking the risk for the sake of a jubilee clip, piece of wire and wire termination.

The next jobs were to add cable ties for the coolant and fuel overflows, a grommet for where the advance vacuum goes through the bulkhead and a Dzus fastener to clamp the front of the scuttle to the bulkhead.

The next task was to try and stop the exhaust manifold hitting the chassis.  I put the front of the car on axle stands and then lifted the engine with a trolley jack.  After a bit of playing around I decided that a shim under the nearside engine mount and elongating the mount slots might be a route forward.  I had some 6mm aluminium so used it to fabricate a shim, I then adjusted the height of the engine using the trolley jack and bolted everything up - I can now get my fingers between the exhaust manifold and the chassis opening so the overall movement was ~10mm, hopefully this will be enough.

I then spent sometime tidying up the engine bay wiring and cables, added a locking bracket to ensure the battery can't slip out of the mount and covered the rear chassis clam mount ends.  The final task was to investigate why the reversing light had stopped working, using an inspection camera I stopped that a wire had come off the gearbox switch - this will require the seats, harnesses and tunnel carpets to be removed to gain access so something for next weekend.

Friday, 16 February 2018

More Eleven build plus the 1st Engine start

Well the DSVA have got back, extracted £450 from my bank account and I now have an IVA date 14 March at Exeter - no pressure then.

First task was to get the engine running, after priming the oil pump and cranking over the engine without spark plugs to ensure I had oil pressure, making all the various cable and pipe connections to the carb, checking the EDIS4 wiring, setting the timing trigger wheel to TDC, adding fuel and getting a fire extinguisher to hand I went it and..... start. Checked that there was a good spark, trigger wheel was correct, crank sensor gap etc, the spark plugs had some fuel on them so dried them out.....still not start not even an attempt.  After advice I rechecked the trigger wheel and then added another 5 deg of advance... still no start.  Time to call in the cavalry, the next evening Malcolm and Dale came over and checked everything over, all seemed good but still no start, various attempts with differing advances and resetting the crank sensor we eventually ended up trying the trigger wheel 180 deg from where it should be set and....the engine briefly spluttered into life and then died. By this time it was getting late and the battery was dead so we drew stumps and called it a night.  The next morning I followed Malcolm's advice and swapped over the coil pack A&B channel wires, reset the trigger wheel to the original settings and with the battery recharged overnight cranked it over and started and carried on running until I blanked off one of the vacuums that I'd forgotten to reconnect at which point it wouldn't restart.

Having confirmed that the ignition looked ok I then reflected on the apparent over fuelling and that having the vacuum disconnect would have significantly weakened the mixture so I raised the mixture a whole turn and tried again and.... still no start and once again the plugs were wet with fuel.  After swapping emails with the carburettor supplier he suggested that I return it and he'd look into why there appeared to be too much fuel....end of engine starting and back to the rest of the car.

Having decided to replace the speedo with a modern Smiths programmable one I needed to fit a sensor, after making a bracket for the front upright to replicate the SEIW it dawned on me that the Midget discs bolt to the front of the hub and therefore couldn't be accessed, no problem I'll bond magnets to the disc I thought.  Unfortunately this was flawed, firstly there was too little clearance between the disc and the upright and, once I'd bought thinner magnets and set everything up I realised that after heavy braking the magnet were likely to debond - back to the drawing board.  The next obvious option was to used the prop shaft but I had to find a mount that would maintain a constant gap to the sensor as the back axle moved after discounting to front of the prop shaft I noticed that the differential housing has flat fins that a bracket could be bolted to and then allow the sensor to point and the 4 x bolts at the prop shaft/differential coupling.  After some measuring, finding a suitable piece of metal, hacksawing, drilling, filing the bracket was fitted and the sensor gap set using a battery.  I then ran the sensor cable back through the tunnel, up through the bulkhead and to the speedo.
Next I moved on to the interior fitting the carpets and the Sports Turbo seats from the SEIW as these are certified and fully comply with the IVA requirements.  Unfortunately this also meant removing sections of the rubber trim from various parts of the rear bodywork clam and fettling it to clear the seats and inner wings.  To cover the handbrake I fitted press studs to the tunnel carp and a trimmed square of carpet that was in the kit.

Once the interior was fitted I tested all the electrics and everything worked apart from the rear number plate light.  This is paralleled off the rear lights so had to be something with the rear loom, after focussing on the changes I'd made to the loom in order to fit the reversing light I eventually traced the problem to the number plate light earth wire not being connected and nothing to do with my alterations.  I refitted everything and retested - everything is now working.

Moving on to the engine bay I drilled and filed slots into the expansion tank bracket as it looks like the cap was very close to the bonnet a without the carburettor access was good.  I then tidied up the dash wiring, added a reset button and headlight high beam warning light that I'd found were both missing when I tested the electrics, trimmed up the scuttle to clear the bracket and fitted it.  With the scuttle on I measured up and fitted the rear mirror brackets and the centre rear view mirror.
I got a call from Robin (an Historic Lotus Seven Owner) who'd heard about my engine problems and offered to come over with a spare HIF44 carburettor and give me a hand.  He turned up a couple of hours later and after fitting the carb, immediately better that with my carb but still wouldn't sustain running.  After rechecking everything on the ignition side etc we got the engine to start with the mixture setting much leaner than the standard setting.  As the engine is new build one of the first things needed was to run in the camshaft at 2,000 rpm for 20 minutes, unfortunately, once the engine started to warm up it spurted coolant all over the garage floor so we had to switch off the engine and sort it out.  We refilled the coolant from the highest point and then when around all of the hoses releasing trapped air and confirming coolant, once we were happy we restarted the engine and finished the camshaft bedding in.