July 7th/8th

Second sidescreen constructedWork's been so busy recently that I've been falling behind with the updates. However, for the same reason I haven't managed to do very much to the car and the rubbish weather has meant that I can't really use it either.

All the same, I managed to find the time at this weekend to make the second sidescreen, although I still need to add the black covering to the outside.

The second one makes a lot of difference to the buffeting in the car and this bit of the build is now just about done, not without a lot of false turns and changes of mind. We've ended up just about at the point that first occurred to me; I should have just done it immediately.

After making the sidescreen I took the car out for a run and at one point got to a very bumpy bit of road. I've still got the dampers set pretty close to full soft, so as to let the suspension bushes acclimatise and so on. At one point, while going over a rather large bump, there was a loud crash as something hit the road. I wasn't sure what it was and Anthea, who was with me, and I agreed that it seemed to be at the back of the car. I was at a loss to work out what it could be and when we got home I looked underneath. Rather disturbingly, the rear corner of the driver's side lowered floor had hit something, taking some hopefully irrelevant bits of the GRP with it. This is a bit worrying. There must have been a significant lump in the road as it's hard to see what could have got to this, with it being so close to the rear suspension and therefore in the "shadow" of the wheels.

I'll try and patch this up a bit when I next get a chance. In addition to that, the things I now need to get into include:

  • Getting the car rolling-roaded. I'm getting used to the power and thinking that I could do with a bit more...
  • Changing the engine's oil, it's been running, as recommended, on some rather low quality stuff up till now.
  • Check the situation with the gearbox oil leak.
  • Get the suspension aligned properly.
  • Get it on a track somewhere.

July 17th

Finished left hand sidescreenI managed to get a bit more time this evening to finish off the second sidescreen, which looks like the picture here.

What's more the weather seems to be a bit better this week so perhaps I'll actually be able to drive the car! However, I was driving it the other day and while giving it a good burst (to pass a badly driven Ford Escort with loads of stickers in the windows and 20 people inside) there was a strange vibration. When I got home I had a root around and it seemed that the alternator fan was contacting the chassis. Mind you it wasn't obviously so, but stopped when I took the fan belt off. Not sure what else it could be.

Anyway, I need to move the alternator over a little bit. The first attempt is to try a slightly different drive belt, which I ordered from DAP. Failing that I might get hold of one of the nicer brackets that William found for mounting the alternator on.

Also, I did some phoning today. First of all to Simon at Dax to ask why the hell was I still waiting for bootbox carpet two months after he said he would sort it. He seemed quite surprised and said he would sort it. We'll see...

Also, I phoned Peter Baldwin to book the car in for a rolling road session to get the engine set up properly. It'll be interesting to see what difference this makes.

July 18th

I had a look at the engine vibration today, and discovered that it was coming from the crank pulley. In particular, the bolts that hold the pulley itself to the hub were loose! I managed to tighten them up with some difficulty due to the poor access. The worrying this is why they were loose. It's possible that I hadn't tightened them, but it seems a little unlikely. It may be that I ought to take the pulley off and replace the bolts with new ones. I'll keep an eye on it...

July 20th

I got hold of a different fan belt from DAP in Cambridge. This is nominally the same size but is from a manufacturer that seems to make them a bit wider than the one I had before. The advantage is that it rides a bit further "up" the pulleys and, as such, moves the alternator fan a bit further away from the chassis. It appears to have been a great success, at least for now although I'm still concerned about the loose crank pulley bolts.

As well as fitting the fan belt I did a couple of mods to the rear suspension. First of all, I raised it very slightly. Obviously, this will make the CoG a bit higher but it will give me a bit more clearance to the bottoms of the seats and, due to the de Dion suspension, won't have an effect on the suspension geometry. I also stiffened up the dampers slightly, as the car is clearly under-damped at the moment here.

July 27th

I spent some of today charging around the Rush. However, while giving Richard a ride, I managed to ground the bottom of the seat again. Perhaps I need to make the rear suspension stiffer again?

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