Thursday, 7 February 2013

Big Long Overdue Update and TV news!

Ok, so I was full of good intentions about keeping this blog regularly updated, but erm... that didn't quite happen.

So here is the big long overdue update!

The car is now pretty much finished, on top of everything that was done by the last blog post it now has external pull switches, a plumbed in fire extinguisher, another set of wheels with part worn race tyres and a full set of lowered springs installed by yours truly.

If you have been following the blog then you will have spotted that I got the arse with a couple of jobs along the way.  Well, this job was worse than all of those put together.  If you ever have an urge to replace the suspension on a car outside your home, please don't.  Just get someone else to do it.

However, many, many hours and one severely mashed thumb later (hit it with a mallet would you believe) it was finally complete.  Hooray!

Also since the last post I attempted to attend a training day and my ARDS license test, and both got cancelled due to the damn snow :-(  Never mind, they have rescheduled for in a couple of weeks time.

The audi TT has gone and has been replaced with a diesel Frontera 4x4, and I've booked a trailer for all the race dates with a random man in Billericay.

Anyway, more exciting news! It was announced that the whole season is now going to be broadcast on Motors TV, with a 30 minute programme dedicated to the MR2s each race.  How cool is that :-)

I am officially registered with the championship now, and have a number and everything.  We will be racing as number 80.  Chosen for the highly scientific reason that it looks nice, and it kind of looks a bit like "BO" from Azbo/Bola.  Yes I am that sad.

So it is all a bit real now, and with just 6 weeks to go until the first race am getting rather excited.

The full schedule can be found at the 750mc site, but the first race is Donnington 23rd March, and the second, closer, race is Brands Hatch on April 28th.

Here are some pictures of how it looks now.  Nice and rough :-)  It might even give it a clean before we start putting the stickers on...

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Moving the window switch

Just a final tidy up after stripping the doors means I had to put the window switch somewhere so luckily it fits exactly where the ashtray used to be.  A quick(ish) bit of work on the remaining aluminium and same dodgy carbon wrap later and here we are :-)

Stripping the doors, and the door fights back :-(

One of the things I did recently was ordering the roll cage and booking fitting from Rogue.  Frankie also booked his in at the same time so we are getting them done starting 14th October.

In order to do this, it is a good idea to strip the doors out and replace them with aluminium door cards, so I ordered these up and got busy with the doors.

Stripping them was pretty straightforward, but the complication is having to move a load of wiring to get the door cards to fit.  The passenger side was pretty easy and just involved taking out the speakers etc.  

Passenger door before stripping (old card already removed)

The drivers door was a lot more involved as we need to keep the window switches out and put them somewhere else.  In order to do this I had to move all the wiring out the door except the two wires that go to the window motor, and then relocate the switch somewhere else.  For the minute I just left it hanging around.

Hmmm. Lots of wires.

Once this was done, screwing on the new cards was just a case of more drilling to make some holes and then screwing everything in place.  I really have been drilling a lot recently.

Just needs screwing in

At some point during this abuse, the car decided it had had enough and somehow managed to slam the door straight onto my hand :*-O.  So I hit it with a hammer.  The door that is, not my hand.

We made up though, and the car is really starting to look a bit brutal now.  I like it :-).



Getting strapped in

Did this a little while ago but not updated the blog, but I have fitted the 6 point harness that I had delivered.

A nice pair of blue SRS 6 point harnesses, apparently these are actually made by Sabelt but there were a lot cheaper.  Fully FIA approved though.

Also delivered were some eye bolts and backing plates.  These are to go on the outside of the car to stop the bolts pulling through the bodywork.  That would be bad.

So I measured up where the belts should go in relation to the seats, and marked the body work.  Then out come the seats again, and the trusty drill is used to drill two holes each side underneath the seats for the anti-submarine straps to clip to.  These straps are not actually for destroying submarines, but to stop you sliding down in the chair in case of a crash.  After a bit of nervousness related to drilling holes in the floor, these were actually pretty straightforward.  Screwed in the eye bolt and these straps are done.

Next up is the lap belts.  One of them just screws straight into the existing seat belt hole, but the other side needs another hold drilled into the floor on the opposite side.  This is a bit fiddly as it is so near the fuel tank, but a deep breath taken and then just dive in.  Same principal as the sub straps, but this time under the car I had to jam my hand under a plastic cover which was somewhat painful and annoying.

Lastly the shoulder straps need to go into the firewall behind the seats.  This involved taking out the heat shield from the engine bay, and to do this I had to take out the strut brace.  Pain.  Anyway, while doing this I found that the previous owner had left in part of the air box which is no longet needed, so I took that out and chucked it :-)

Once all that was out, drilled the holes and screwed in the eye bolts and all was done!  Not too bad at all.  Except now I had to put the seats back in.. I HATE DOING THAT!  Anyway, it got done and then it was a case of adjusting the straps to the right length, and this also took a while as I had to keep taking them off the bolts, adjusting them and then putting them back.  Over and over.

So here is the finished product, looking pretty cool I think...

Front view of drivers seat
The shoulder strap attachments in the firewall

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Bright light in my rear end

Newly confident after the cut off switch success I thought I would tackle the FIA rain light that has to go on the back of the car.  This will attach to the funky aircraft style switch on the centre panel. Being an experienced auto electrician of one whole days experience, I thought I would takle this alone. 

First off, a visit to Halfords (naturally) to get some more wire and some attachments.  I then attached one end of the wire (blue this time - no black available) to the neutral terminal on the battery, and ran it the length of the car through the same holes as the existing wiring, through the engine bay and out into the boot where I attached it to one side of the light.

Next up, run the red wire from the switch, back through the car, through the.. oh.  Ran out of wire. 
Back to halfords again for some more red wire.

And.. through the engine bay and into the boot and the other side of the light.  Tighten up all the little connectors, turn the power on and flick the switch.  Nothing seems to have melted, so check the light and wow, it's on!  Two successes in a row, this is unheard of.

Now the fun bit :-) 

I've seen pictures of other MR2s so have seen they put the light into the rear light valance thing so I took this off and the light fits in the gap.  Just need to drill out the plastic and screw it in place. Luckily I seem to have one of those big gap drill bit thingies (a serated disc type effort), and it appears to be exactly the size I need by some bizarre concidence. 

So drilly drilly, and before you know it, this light is in place (although it was a bit of a pain as the back was not flat for some reason) and everthing is done.  Next!

Quite bright - this was taken in the sun, at night its much brighter.

Cut it out.

Finally it was time to bite the bullet and attempt the electronics.  Small problem is I have no idea what I am doing, but I know a man who does :-)

So a return visit to Frankie's is arranged, and this time I actually turn up with the parts that are needed.  Well most of them, we still have to take the obligatory trip to halfords to get a few more bits.

Next up is a lot of looking at things and stroking of chins, before we dive in and start wiring things up.  First up we take the live cable off the battery and extend it inside the car to behind the switch panel and attach it to the big connector.  From the other side the other half of the large cable (25mm2 if you are interested, which you won't be) goes back and reattaches to the battery.

Lets test this by turning the switch and hooray! All power is disconnected!

The second job is to attach the ignition wire to the small connectors to kill the engine as soon as the switch is twisted.  This was always going to be tricky as we had no idea what wire it was.  After much messing about pulling things apart near the key tunnel, we consulted the forum and lo and behold found it was the "black wire with an orange stripe".  And there was! Looks like it already has something to do with the alarm attached as well.  So we bravely chop the wire in half and run it to the switch.

The final connection is to take a power lead to one side of the other connection and run a resistor to the bodywork.  This stops the car blowing up when you turn the switch while the engine is running, so is therefore heartily recommend.  Chris use his electro skills to do this nicely and I was the bolt monkey.

So now for the big one.  Start the engine and get ready to twist.  Hopefully the car will not explode or blow every component.  And.  Twist.  We live!  And the car has shut itself off too!  Exclamation marks!  This shouldn't be as exciting as it is, but we are laughing our heads off and both want another go.

Here is a picture of the panel in-situ even though it looks the same as another posts picture.  I don't like posts without at least one picture you see.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

I am Kwik fit. But slower.

Went to see Frankie about installing the cut off switch (what with him being an eletrician and everything, thought he might stop me electrocuting myself), but the shop managed to have nothing we needed so a small change of plan.  Decided to fit the new discs and pads instead.

While talking about Frankie, I didn't mention before but he has also decided to join in and has bought himself an old MR2 too!  Looks like we are going to go racing togther next year.  And little Frankie.  What could possibly go wrong there? :-O

So I thought installing the seat was a pain in the arse.  Oh no.  This was.

It seems the discs have been on the car for about 10,000 years and did not want to come off.  Here is what they looked like when I started:


When I say they did not want to come off, I mean they DID NOT WANT TO COME OFF.

Firstly the bolts on the back of the caliper holder thingie (technical term) were absolutely frozen solid.  No amount of whacking, levering, praying or swearing would move it.  My somewhat unorthadox method of rfinally emoving them was to put a spanner on and then jack the 1.5 tonne trolley jack up underneath the spanner.  The car was actually lifting up before the bolt finally freed up.

Hurrah! And now just to remove the disc... oh oh.  This also did not want to budge.  Cue more swearing and banging.  No luck.  A final and probably highly dangerous brainwave was to wedge the other jack between the arch and the back of the disc and crank away.  After an unbelievable amount of pressure the thing finally gave way with a highly concerning crack.

After this putting on the new one wasn't that hard, except I found that there was no lubrication anywhere and the sliders were bone dry.  A bit of jiggery pokery later and voila!  One corner complete. It only took 2 hours :-O


So there we are.  You might notice that the pads are yellow, this is because they are ECB yellow stuff racing pads :-)

After this I had kind of worked out what I was doing, so managed to finish the other 3 corners in a mere 3 more hours...  Cripes.