Monday, 12 September 2016

Just when I thought it was all over

I had got the Sprint to the stage where I thought that all I was left with was those niggly little jobs:-

Check gearbox oil level
Check diff oil level

So on Sunday, I worked down the list, event to the point of curing the "squeaky" clutch pedal - needed a strip down and a grease of the shaft and spring, and as its buried under the dash, the parcel shelf has to come out.

That done, the final item was left - check brakes and pads, fronts were nice and easy, but shock and horror when I removed one of the rear drums

oil in the rear brakes - well at least drivers side - the lining wasn't fully contaminated, which is why there had been no noticeable pulling to one side under breaking.

I couldn't understand this, as the rear wheel bearings were replaced 2 years ago, with new seals as well, and there's no issue on the passenger side

However I had a sudden thought, and checked the axle breather - blocked solid with years of debris - soon cleared with a piece of welding rod

Its always the little things that get you - I should have checked it when I did the bearings - new shoes will arrive tomorrow, so it will be mobile again and I can get back to adding the miles

It has a slight oil weep from the rear crankshaft oil seal but I think I will leave this (and may live to regret this) rather than joint the gearbox removal club just before the RBRR

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Finishing off jobs for the RBRR

I have put a few hundred miles on the car this week, and no oil leaks (can't be a Triumph then!)

I did notice some oil weeping from the sparkplug tubes, so time to replace these with some modern replacements which have replaceable O ring oil seals

I was please to note that all the plugs were a good biscuit brown, despite all the oil on the threads, which was released from the spark plug tube on plug removal - it justifies the rolling road session

It was good to also note that the head is still clean in the oil ways and around the camshaft, since it was last removed when the water pump drive failed.

I also painted my seat runners.


jobs left to do :-

Cure the re booting of the Davis Craig water pump / fan controller - its always done this, and it was a PITA during the last RBRR on the run to the A1 and the M40 on the Sunday in the slow traffic - I am going to build a filter network at work to put in its supply.

I need to check headlamp alignment

Check oil levels in diff and gearbox

drive it more and see if I can break anything

Monday, 29 August 2016

Comfy seats

I started by making some rails for the seats to sit upon, as the MGTF seats have much wide spaced runners than the original Triumph ones.

The runners had crush tubes inserted where the bolts go through them

I then welded a set of bars at the spacing of the seat runners and ended up with this

The seats now bolt through their runners to the bars running front to back in the car.

Here's the finished result

Lots of fore and aft movement when required, and the seats will fully recline, which may help the passenger when sleep is required on the RBRR.                                                                                 

Sunday, 28 August 2016

EFI saved a breakdown at the roadside

But more on that later, let the story unfold just as I found out yesterday...

Saturday was the day, to cure the oil leak from the front of the sump, and it was a job that I wasn't looking forward to, so with the engine supported

I undid the radiator hoses, and engine mounts, and then lifted the engine another few inches, until I had full access to the sump bolts. The rear 2 into the alloy crankshaft seal housing were missing - threads stripped, but the rest came out easily enough, and the sump came loose, but I couldn't remove it until I undid the bolts holding the oil pickup to the engine. The sump needed rotating through 90 degrees and then tilting out from under the cross member.

Not too happy with what I found in the sump though

I have given this engine regular oil changes, so where this is from I don't know.

But with this much crap in the sump it did provoke an inspection of the oil pump

fairly scored, and beyond reuse, luckily I had a spare new one, so that went on the engine.

I am fairly confident, that the metal particles stopped at the filter, as I had also changed the oil filter on a regular basis, and used good quality ones - I suppose when a big end fails on the RBRR I'll know why !

So as they say reverse the process and reassemble - I have some concerns about the missing rear sump bolts causing a leak, but I did put a smear of silicon gasket goo on the rear of the sump  gasket - just in case.

All went back together well, apart from the usual fight with the engine mounting bolts, these NEVER seem to line up easily.

After filling with oil and water, it was time to remove the distributor, as I needed to fit the oil pump drive and I wanted to rotate the oil pump with a drill to pump oil round, and fill the filter - I had already primed the new pump prior to fitment.

This is what I found - dissy drive gear doll pin broken again

As the dissy isn't needed by the EFI the engine still runs despite this, and the oil pump is still driven.

I am not sure why its failed again, I stripped the distributor and there's no witness marks inside showing anything catching, the shaft rotates easily, etc etc.

Its twice this distributor has done this, so I am now going to fit an old one that I have and see if this fails too.

Finally I collected my leather MGTF seats - and although I need to make up seat mounts for them, they fit nicely and are really comfy

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Getting ready for the RBRR

As always there's outstanding jobs to do on the car, and having worked through the last 4 weekends its now time to attend to some of the jobs.

The main item to attend to was to replace the radiator and hoses, the PO had bodged the radiator fittings, and the only way to remove it had been to undo the radiator to shroud mounts. The bolts for this go into the core, so naturally 2 of the fittings had started to weep.

I had purchase a new aluminium radiator and some silicone hoses

So once the old radiator was out, I started to remove the old shroud bolts to the body - 2 came out - well the captive nut and bolt together, one I had to cut off, and one I couldn't remove, and cutting the bolt head off wasn't a solution, as the captive nut was in a blind box section

I found out the issue - UNC bolts had been fitted into UNF captive nuts. The two that came away with the nuts was simple, as I could get at both sides, new UNF nuts and bolts will suffice.

The remaining remnants of one bolt had lots of thread, as the bolt hadn't been tightened flush, so I filled the screw thread flat and could now fit a UNC nut on the threads, the remaining bolt and fixing was left for now, as I could tilt the shroud to enable easy fitment of the radiator.

However while doing this I notice a problem with the offside engine mount

This again had been replaced by the PO with an after market replacement, and although the photo doesn't show it, there was very little rubber still attached, luckily I had a NOS item, so this was replaced. The nearside mount is fine, so I left this, it gets less load anyway due to the extra steadying mount from the exhaust manifold to the chassis rail.

I then removed my not needed mechanical fuel pump and fitted a blanking plate to the hole - something less to go wrong. The plate was made from a Ford one off a crossflow, slightly cut down to fit the hole - the bolt holes were at the same centres.

That done I replaced the radiator and all the hoses, the bolts from the shroud into the radiator had ptfe tape wrapped round the threads to provide a good seal and hopefully prevent them corroding into place

So now to fix the none working fuel gauge and look for that elusive engine oil leak.

The fuel gauge was simple, just a connector off at the fuel tank

I have now degreased the engine, so once its dried off I shall run it and see if I can identify the location of the leak

The oil leak is from the front of the sump, I know I damaged the sump gasket when I replaced the timing chain and tensioner on the morning of the last RBRR, so its off with the sump next weekend. It can be done with the engine in situ, but its going to be a dirty job with oil dripping on me ...

Something to be looked forward to !

Still there's no more water leaks and the engine runs cooler too, especially at tickover, water temp stays below 90 degrees, so that's an improvement.

So once the sump gasket is done I shall drive it every day too and from work, that should get a good 1000 miles on it before the RBRR, and hopefully prove everything is good.

I am looking to fit some MGF seats too for a little more comfort, and a larger battery now that's located in the boot, there plenty of room for a larger one

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Rolling Road Day

It was time to take the Sprint for a Rolling Road setup of the Microsquirt.

I thought that I had set it up quite well using the autotune - I hadn't !

The ignition map which I had copied from the Sprint Distributor settings was pretty close, but needed more advance at mid range rpm

and the fuel map was still too rich, but ended up like this

We didn't do a before and after run, but the end result was 137bhp and 131 ftlb at the flywheel (yes corrected I know, but I am happy with this. The factory were managing 127 bhp


Interesting when you took at the torque curve, it clearly shows where the cam starts to "work" at 2300 rpm, and torque steadily increases to 5200, which is why a Sprint is so nice to drive, as you mostly drive it on the upslope of the torque curve.

This is a decent result considering I used standard unleaded at 95 octane ( in their day they wanted 5 star 98-100 octane) AND its a tired engine with 79000 miles on it. Also the cam timing is off, as when I had the head skimmed I didn't have a vernier cam pulley, and a mistimed cam does affect the Sprint's power output significantly.

I can now decide on a cam for the new engine that I am building - to keep the tractability I think a mild cam would be best, probably giving power at about 2500, as the increase in capacity of the new engine will pull back the point at which the cam starts to work.

I do wonder how little power the engine had before I started this work, as the car is significantly faster now - where do all the horses go ?

Anyway I can completely recommend Chris at - he's based in Runcorn, and works on most ECU's Omex, Emerald, Microsquirt  etc etc - if you want a rolling road session give him a call - reasonably priced too ! I am very pleased with the result

Sunday, 12 June 2016

EFI jobs and wheel bearings

I had a few small tidy up items to finish on the EFI conversion, mainly the air box which currently has the lid held on with PVC tape.

I had a number of thoughts to secure it, either clips or some threaded bars either side of the flanges, but in the end I opted for industrial velcro strips fitted like this

with a finished result of this.

Much better.

Its a real flying machine now - the EFI has liberated a lot of horse power, I am going to book a rolling road session for it now, I'd be interested to see what power it has got, and to check my tuning results.

Wheel bearings, I have had continual issues with wheel bearing wear - and if the bearings weren't Timken, purchased from a reputable source, I would have thought that they were Chinese copies. Anyway I decided to fit new bearings, but after some research found this fully synthetic wheel grease (slightly expensive at £50 a tub !) which is supposed to significantly reduce bearing wear - which I still cannot understand as I have never had an issue with wheel bearings in the past provided a reputable supplier of OEM parts was used.

So after a little work, new front wheel bearings are now fitted.

Jobs left for the RBRR,now just replacement of the front seats with some MGTF leather ones I think, and lots of driving ! - off to Lincoln next Saturday for the TR International / CT National day

Monday, 30 May 2016

Tuning the fuel map

Domestic duties over I finally got a chance to take the Sprint for a drive today and get on with letting auto-tune correct the fuel map.

The first run out gave me this, I was still having issues with it being so rich that it bogged down at WOT, but after this run I then manually reduced the fuel table figures of cells that hadn't been auto-tuned and were adjacent to "tuned cells" where there was a large fueling jump.

This was a lot better and my second run out produced this - still some red cells with large disparities to adjacent ones, but much better and it is now hard to make it bog down

While its getting better to drive - and there's certainly more power there than in its previous carburettor equipped mode, it is getting difficult to explore the outer reaches of the fuel map without risk to my license ! I can see a rolling road session being booked soon.

Was the EFI conversion worth it? - you bet, it starts better, hot or cold, and has far more get up and go - I don't know about the fuel economy yet, but that's got to be better

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Airbox finished

Today was spent tidying up the wiring and fixing cable ties to any loose wires, and replacing the dash.

I need to build a little amplifier for the Microsquirt Tacho drive, as although I have a Smiths RVC type tacho, the output is insufficient to drive it, - that's a little project to be done at work.

I then got on with finishing the air box and filter, I had purchased this K&N cone type filter and fittings, so it was time to fit it.

Filter in place - should get lots of cold air here, with the input just behind the grill. This is why I relocated the battery.

I then needed to fit an input to the airbox, I had intended to fit this between cylinders 2 and 3 but realised if I did this that I wouldn't be able to get my hand down to the dipstick, so I had to move it along a little, here's the input fibre glassed in place, I also glassed in the IAT bung

And now all fitted

with its lid in place.

What else to do but drive the car and try and get autotune to correct the fueling, because of heavy traffic I could only get about one third of the fuel cells corrected, and it was certainly running very rich, too much accelerator (and hence extra enrichment) and the car bogged down, and the AFR went too rich and off the scale, but its progress, I managed about 30 miles in it today, but I really need to take it for a good run with no cars about to finish the other cells !

The only other job is to either replace the lift pump or at least mount it on rubber bobbins as its a little noisy !

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Running with EFI

I have done a little more work on the Sprint in the past 2 nights.

First job was to get the AFR reading on Tune to reflect the dash gauge reading - I had selected Techedge as the controller, but forgotten to burn the settings into Microsquirt, which resolved that issue

The MAP sensor wasn't giving a reading, I had wired it as a standard GM device, but upon checking found that 5v and sensor wires needed swapping over, so I corrected that, and by "sucking" on the tube could then get Tune to show a changing reading. I then used the data sheet for the sensor to put the calibration points into Tune - that done I had a reading at rest of 96kpa - close enough to the desired 100 kpa at sea level.

I then fitted the vacuum tubes from the manifold to the MAP sensor and the fuel pressure regulator.


That done I started the engine and it was a lot, lot better, as soon as it was at temperature I used the autotune to correct the low revs fueling, which was all set too high. RESULT ! in fact it was running well enough to take it for a very short drive, which let me autotune more fuel cells.

Tickover is now stable at 800 rpm, and it pulls off without hesitation

I didn't drive far as the dash is still loose and the airbox and filter are not complete, but it works well.
I suspect the cold start needs some attention but I will leave it for now until I have proper air filtration.

The filter parts will be with me tomorrow, but I think if all goes well it will be back on the road this weekend.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Its alive !

I started today by removing the old fuel pipe, and then running the high pressure send and return lines - another nice day lying flat on my back under a car.

So here's the fuel lines where they enter the boot

and a view of them going to the front of the car

All plumbed in to the swirl pot

and connected to the fuel rail

and pressure regulator.

I then powered up the 2 fuel pumps, and could hear the high pressure one start, with bubbles and gurgling noises coming from the swirl pot as the air was expelled. No fuel leaks though!

The lambda sensor was then fitted and connected to its controller, its a fair way back down the exhaust, but this doesn't matter as it has its own heater, and the "self tune mode" of megasquirt is supposed to allow for the sensor delays due to distance.

I then was going to start the car, but I notice when the fuel pump relay "timed out" at the end of 2 seconds, the controller rebooted and started the timing cycle again. I traced this back to a back emf pulse from the ignition circuits, microsquirt wiring diagrams show the ignition system powered off the fuel relay, whereas megasquirt has a separate relay. So I then fitted an additional relay in my fuse/relay box, fed with a separate power feed, but still ignition switched - the difference now being that its ignition switch controlled, and not by the microsquirt, and all was well.

It did start first time

and I have it running reasonably well at a highish tickover speed. It gets a bit lumpy at tickover - its running too rich as shown by the lambda sensor, but you can see the spark timing vary, and if it slows too much the extra advance I have put in the table at slow rpms stops it stalling.

Microsquirt is also showing an incorrect lambda value, compared to the dash meter, so I need to check I have used the correct table in microsquirt - I presume the one currently used is incorrect.

However water temp, air temp and rpm, and throttle position all show correctly on Megatune, and the ignition timing also seems to vary as it should, so all good with these

I have a few jobs to finish before I try it on the road, I need to finish the airbox and cold air intake, tidy up cables, see if I can get the tacho drive to work, and fit the vacuum tubes to the map sensor and efi fuel regulator - I have it running in Alpha N mode at present, but would like to use MAP as well

Where am I?