Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Sprinting on the RBRR

Well we made it, all Controls visited and following all the route in the road book - no short cuts, so no more rude comments about the Sprint and its reliability please - even I might stop being rude about it.

Thanks to my co-driver AJP - Shedtune we had a most enjoyable RBRR, much banter, rudeness and squashing of furry animals (badger, fox and rabbit spring to mind - there were others) happened during our drive.

Back  to the car, we got 36.5 mpg average out of it, which is significatly better than I had hoped, and we were not hanging arround on the twisty bits, the car had a Trackerjack Brake conversion with Mintex 1144 pads, and both of us managed to get brake fade, myself on the stretch from Conon Bridge to Glen Coe, and Andy on the twisty bits in Wales before Sugar Loaf.

The handling is just about right, Yoko tyres with lowered suspension and Gaz adjustables (nearly at maximum rate), make it turn in well and minimise roll, although they are a little harsh on the Motorway stretches.

All was going well, so well in fact that we had time to fettle a few outstanding jobs on the car at John O'Groats, stiff throttle cable - needed some lube and the passenger door that had wind whistling past the door seal - needed the window frame twisting to reduce the gap.

Driving down the loch road we were lucky enough to see a full grown stag (with large antlers) cross the road in front of us, followed by 2 other deer - we did stop and try not to add them to the road kill total, besides which, I think the car would have suffered some damage.

The loch road did however reveal that with two "large" drivers who had eaten a lot of pies and a boot full of spares and tools, the ground clearance was a little low ! - might need to replace the rear antiroll bar !

All went well until we left Badgers Holt, when the car ground to a halt 400m from the car park on the hill leaving the car park. This was soon traced to a blocked fuel filter, which was checked and clean before departure from home. Bad fuel somewhere.

Filter cleaned and carbs primed with fuel we were on our way and reached the cake stop at Pimperne in good time.

On departure the car misfired and stopped, we presumed it was a blocked filter again, but no cleaning, or blowing through the pipes fixed it. I replace the lumenition system with good old fashioned poits and capacitor and the car started again, but with a random misfire. Accompanied by Alan and Bradley in the 2000 (thank you both) we nursed it to Didcot, still within time and signed in.

Here we checked the car again and found the points gap was now 1/5", so this was reset and off we went again to the Plough still misfiring, to be confronted by the worst traffic I can remember on the M40 and M25, with the misfire, lights, electric water pump and fan on, the pump / fan controller started playing up too, so we had to reset that on the move several times.

We finally made it to the Plough, and after a brief rest pulled the distributor, which had significant wear in the shaft bearings, which explained the random firing and increasing points gap. Luckily I had grabbed the seized spare distributor ( from the timing chain tensioner donor engine) on my departure from home Friday morning, so we rebuilt one good distributor from the two on Michael Helm's signing in table in the bar at the Plough, and that's what got the car home to Birmingham on Sunday night. My mad hardcore co-driver drove back to Somerset that night!

On inspection the wear in the distributor was caused by the oil pump drive shaft seizing in the dristributor drive, which put excess sideways loads on the distributor bearings.

Would we do it again ? you bet, I'd sign up for 2016 now if I could, and Andy is so impressed with the Sprint he's going to buy one.

Lessons learnt, don't have 4 hours sleep the night before the run, replacing a timing chain and tensioner - I was wrecked before we started and remained so through out

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