What is becoming a regular feature of our project is that nothing seems to go exactly according to plan.
As mentioned in our last message a few members of the team descended on Dave at Emerald for our first real dyno tune.
After a very early start Harry and Ian braved the M25 and the wilds of Norfolk to get the car to Emerald’s workshop in time for opening.
On the way, the day started as it proved to continue.
We had decided to run the car on ‘high octane’ super unleaded pump fuel. We had been unable to obtain any race fuel in time for the tune up so this was the next best thing.
There is a fuel station just around the corner from Dave’s workshop so we decided to fill up there.
We soon stopped filling as soon as it became apparent we had a leak! With the car on the trailer we couldn’t see where the issue was so we rushed off to the workshop to diagnose and repair.
Having found and cured the fuel leak, a simple tightening of a loose bolt caused by the removal and (poor) refitting of the fuel tank during the chassis repairs.
By this time Andy had arrived and was prepared for his first day at tuning school. Dave had very generously agreed to teach Andy the mysteries of engine tuning so we had more help if needed at Bonneville.
We had warned Dave that we had the potential to get close to the maximum load for his rolling road so he made extra effort to strap the car down securely. We really didn’t want to see the car disappearing through a hole in the wall!
There was even a bit of messing around with our exhaust system. Dave was a bit worried we might wake the neighbours!
Alas, and as now has become project normal, this is when the issues started to arise. The engine appeared to be getting very hot, very quickly. After a scan with a thermal camera it became obvious that the water was not circulating within the radiator. There appeared to be nothing coming out of the water pump.
This was very disturbing as the pump was replaced when the engine was built for Bonneville last time and therefore had run for a total of about 3 hours.
The radiator was also recored, before we left last time, so at the time we were very confused as to what was causing this odd cooling.
Whilst looking about for a solution to the cooling, we also discovered an oil leak. Whilst the leak itself was not serious the cooling fans at the rolling road blew the oil almost the entire length of the car!
Also of concern our turbocharger was ‘whining’ a very irritating noise, but also a fairly sure sign something was amiss inside the blower itself.
Very annoying as this was almost literally the first time the turbo had done any work at all.
Far more worrying than these issues was the fact the clutch appeared to be slipping. Anyone familiar with the layout of a rear engined car will know that this means engine and/or gearbox removal. A lot of work!
So after all this work, the early start and preparations we ended up with 80 bhp. Obviously a disappointing figure, but when you consider this is at tick over and is full power for a family saloon from a few years ago, not too bad!
Once the engine was out and the various components were inspected we got to work resolving the issues.
The water pump was in perfect condition, the radiator flushed through and using a pressure washer all the water ways in the engine block itself were blown through.
A large amount of rusty water came out and highlighted the fact that the engine sat for some time without water in it just after the very corrosive atmosphere at Bonneville.
These engines are also prone to air locks, which we will take care to remove when we refit everything, so we are confident that the cooling issues is now repaired.
The oil leak was very minor and turned out to be a seep from the sump, a new gasket and that’s all sorted.
We took the turbo to our friends at Essex Turbos and they completely stripped, rebalanced and rebuilt the unit for us.
This did give us the chance for another photo opportunity.
Just to put things in perspective our ‘freshly rebuilt’ turbo is the one on the left, the other is from a high performance VW Golf.
The clutch however was a slightly less easy repair. But as usual another opportunity to improve things.
As we had changed the gearbox, we had put together a ‘hybrid’ clutch using the pressure plate from our previous build and a new friction plate to suit the input shaft of the new gearbox. Our issue was caused by the clutch release bearing just touching the Jaguar pressure plate.
The fact it was just touching was enough to cause us these problems. If it had been pressing on it properly we would have been aware of the fault as we fitted the gearbox and if it had had too much clearance we would not have been able to select a gear when stationary. All very frustrating!
We did however do a bit of homework and decided as we had to replace the clutch and/or release mechanism that we would put one in that could definitely cope with our power output. As a result we now have a multiplate clutch from a NASCAR.
Whilst this clutch is going to be perfect for our application, and in fact can cope with more power than we can throw at it, it does however have one issue.
Our original clutch was 10″ diameter the new one is only 7 1/4″. The real problem with this is the central recess in the flywheel is too big and would create a very small contact patch. After talking to everyone that makes or sells flywheels to fit our engine, we could not find one that suited our new clutch.
Once again Harry and his fabrication skills came to the fore and we have a solution.