May 1st

Running again, at nearly 40psiWith the MOT tomorrow, I got home a bit early and got stuck into the car, at least feeling that I was on the home stretch.

The first thing was to re-attach the exhaust systems which was fairly easy. The difficult bit remains the single bolt for the header on cylinder 8 which is almost complete inaccessible behind the steering column.

I then filled it with coolant, most the stuff that came out a few weeks ago, and tried to start it, wondering if I'd got the distributor position correct. (There's lots of cylinders to confuse.) Gratifyingly, it burst into life almost immediately. What's more, there was no ominous death rattle from the cam bearing (although there's lots of time yet!) and the oil pressure at idle was nearly 40psi, which is wonderful.

Car nearly completely back togetherWith that success I concentrated on things like the car's interior and re-attaching the rest of the bodywork. Finally, it was back to pretty much how a car should look like. I have to remove the reversing light tomorrow (having broken the switch) but hopefully it'll be OK at the MOT and then I can drive it again...

May 2nd

At last! I took the car off today and got it MOTd without any problems. It was great driving it again, even more so due to the absence of the horrible rattle from the engine. Curiously, the starter seems to turn it over faster than it used to. I wonder if the cam bearing was causing a lot of drag or something?

Next thing to do is to take it apart again and fit the oil cooler. However, I might leave that for a few days and have a rest!

May 4th

A maze of pipesWell, I got stuck in anyway, although now I'm not so sure I should have done. I fitted the oil cooler and put all the pipes in (of which there are a lot due to the oil stat). The photo here doesn't really convey the true complexity of it all..

After fitting this lot I re-primed the oil pump, re-timed the engine and put everything back together. Finally, I went out for a test drive, part of which was a high speed run down a motorway as that was the situation in which I had had elevated oil temperatures before.

The conclusions are, perhaps, slightly mixed. The oil temperatures appear to have been controlled, although only slightly as the oil temperature still seemed to get above 100°. Worse, I think that the water temperatures were a bit higher. All of this would seem to mean that the air flow is just being impeded too much, not surprising really considering the amount of gubbins that there is now. The problem is, it was a fairly warm day and it might just have been that that I was seeing.

I suspect that I'm going to have to try more experimentation though, perhaps moving the cooler about or trying again to work out a way of mounting it in front of the water radiator. The real solution would probably be an oil/water intercooler.

May 5th

Today (and yesterday) was the annual Stoneleigh show and we went up there with a small contingent from Cambridge comprising me and Anthea in our Rush, Clem and Richard in Clem's lunatic Xtreme, Adrian and son in his Disco on account of his Genesis needing an MOT, Kristen (a Dax builder) in an Audi RS4 and Jim and Debbie in their Noble. (The Noble later collected far more grubby fingerprints than the rest of the cars at the show.)

We set off on a fairly cold morning, but at least it was dry, from a local Little Chef and headed up to Stoneleigh via a back-roads-ish route. When we got there we parked in the DROC area, which was almost empty today but perhaps had been fuller yesterday.

The show was pretty much the same as usual: some brilliant things and some completely awful. Although, to be honest, the proportion of the latter seems to be falling. There does, however, seem to be precious little innovation in the car designs and I find the attention to detail in show stands verging on appalling.

As for our Rush, it hardly missed a beat. The temperatures were fine all the time, notwithstanding the worries mentioned above. The biggest concern at the moment is the exhausts. They have developed Dax rattle to a fine extent. What's more, I'm sure they're louder which probably means they've blown out all the wadding. Finally, the leak that was spotted a while ago in the left hand system's collector looks as though it's getting worse. At some point I'm going to have to see if can be fixed.

I've still got a slight high speed hesitation, although I think I'm going to have a fiddle with the advance curve to see what I can do about that. I have a theory that it's getting over-advanced at high rpm.

Finally, while at the show, I spent a while chatting to Dave Ellis and looking at one of his baffled sumps. I really ought to do this properly...

May 12th

Right hand fog light One of the things that I purchased at Stoneleigh was another fog light. I have decided that fiddling about with the reversing light is unnecessary and that the car will look better with two fog lights, especially if I "french" them into the rear tub. So, today I took the boot box out for the 5 millionth time and marked up the rear tub for some holes for the two lights. With luck these will look a lot neater than the modified light base that I used for the fog light a while ago.

The fog light on the right, the first one I did, certainly looks neater like this. However, as I suspected, I may have to modify the rear connectors, as I had to do for the lights mounted on the rear arches, so that more room is available. These lights are now available with right-angle connections which really makes a lot more sense.

May 18th

I've been doing a few bits and pieces over the last few days. I finished the re-arranged fog lights. The back of the car looks much better as a consequence of this. Although I've got a new reversing light switch which I ordered from Rimmers I don't think I'll bother with it as it looks better like this.

As I had the bootbox out I thought I would tackle something else that's been niggling. A while ago I modified the fuel filler to include a filling vent fashioned from a bolt with a hole drilled up the middle. (This vent allow air out of the tank as the tank is being filled.) Although that worked better than the previous version, I wanted to try making the hole a bit bigger. After all, the tank connection is about 12mm across. What's more, I was a bit concerned about the mess of connections that were a consequence of the previous approach.

Different routing for vent pipeSo, I made another bolt-with-a-hole, this time starting from an M12 bolt. I then connected this directly to the filling vent connection with a fairly large diameter piece of hose.

That's all very well, but I needed to do something with the other vent, the one that allows some air into the tank as the car's running so as to replace the fuel consumed. Dax do this by putting a connection into the side of the filler hose. The problem is, the vent I've got (it's a tube with two balls in it so as to allow air in but stop lots of fuel escaping if the car is upside down) obstructs the inside of the hose too much, meaning that the filler can't be got in.

Westfield fuel tank, with built-in ventThe tank I had for the Westfield had a much better approach in that the vent valve is actually inserted into the tank itself. In fact, I never realised it was there until I saw the way that Dax did it.

On reflection, it was quite obvious, as you can see at the bottom right of this photo. (This rather takes me back, I've been looking through old photos of the Westfield build. This one is dated July '99 which seems ages ago in car terms...)

When I first put the Dax together I had tried to convince myself to insert the fuel vent directly into the tank but I could never quite get the guts together. The problem is that you need access to the inside of the tank. The Westfield one, on reflection, is screwed into a boss welded into the tank which seems a superior solution.

The one place I could get access to the inside of the Dax tank is in the vicinity of the fuel level sensor.

Vent valve now mounted in tankSo, after thinking about it for ages I finally decided it was the only thing to do. So, I took the fuel level sensor out and drilled a hole fairly near to the sensor hole. I reckoned that I could just about get my fingers round the back of the panel here. This turned out to be fairly easy, but I was very careful about not dropping the little balls in the vent into the body of the tank. I helped myself by gaffa-taping the vent to my fingers as I did this. It ended up looking like this

After that I put it all back together, shortening the pipe that connects to the vent valve. As I write this, I'm worrying about the rod that connects the sensor to the float bashing into the valve, but I guess I'll just have to see. If there's a problem I can probably bend the rod about a bit so that it misses the valve.

Finally, for this weekend's thrash I had another look at the high speed misfire that I had a while ago. After a wrong turning thinking it might have been the fuel I had a good look at the distributor. In particular I cleaned and regapped the contact points, of which there are two sets on the Mallory dual point, not surprisingly. I must admit that I was surprised at how burnt the points were after just 2000 miles of use, but perhaps the use hasn't exactly been average. I could really do with a dwell meter, or perhaps borrowing one of the Crypton machines that a friend bought off Ebay a while ago.

Anyway, after it was back together and the timing checked the car seemed to run much better, which is a relief...

One thing that's getting very annoying on the car is the increasing level of noise from the exhausts and the amount of rattling that they do. I think I'm going to have to take them apart soon...

May 26th

Bizarrely tidy garageIt finally got too much for me and I had to tidy the garage up. Unfortunately it took the entire weekend. Along the way though I've repainted the floor, with a different product this time as the last one has not faired too well. (Although I guess it's had a lot of wear.)

Ultimately it all looks bizarrely clean and tidy. I just need to use it now!

One thing I did do to the car was to take the exhaust tail pipes off to have a look up the spout.

Interestingly, the exhaust wadding appears to be all in place, so my feeling that it was getting louder are perhaps wrong. However, at least one of the exhausts is vibrating more and more. What's more it's at a precise speed (2100rpm) when it makes a really horrible noise. While I had to take the tail pipe off I tried to oval out the pipe down the middle of the exhaust. Apparently what happens is that this pipe vibrates against the locating disc in the tail piece and one method of stabilising it is to oval it so that it binds on the disc.

However, later on I took the car for a blat and I seemed to have done nothing to fix it. I'll have to have another go. The semi-official Dax fix for the problem is to stick a long self-tapper through the side of the exhaust so that it locates the pipe in the middle. Not unsurprisingly, many people regard this as a fearful bodge. That seems to me to be a fairly sensible view.

The blat, however, was wonderful and was only spoiled by the traffic. I find that at one moment I'm trundling along at 30mph behind some behatted driver of a Rover 25 in a 60 mph limit who is veering left and right trying to remember which side of the road one is supposed to drive on; then I get past and shoot off. The first mode is deeply tedious and the inadequacies of the car seem to be all the more apparent. However, once I'm moving it all fits again and the car gets tighter and everything's wonderful.

One thing I did do while I was out was to refill the tank. I think I may just have fixed the problem with this as it was dead easy to fill it up. However, the jury's still out slightly.

May 29th

Having refilled the tank again by now it does indeed appear to be fixed. At last! The only problem is that the vent in the tank actually let a bit of fuel out the last time it was filled. This has occurred in the past when I've got the balls in the valve the wrong way round (there's a steel on and a much lighter one). I'll have to see how it goes next time.

My attempt at fixing the exhaust rattling by ovaling the tube inside the silencer was a complete waste of time. As I find that I'm adapting my driving to avoid the rattle, which occurs at 2100 rpm, then I decided I ought to try the official Dax self-tapper solution. So, I went to MacKays and bought some long (2" long) self tappers. I drilled a hole in the back of the driver's side silencer (the worst offender), 5cm from the rear and right at the bottom and arranged for the self tapper to fit through into the expansion tube. It was a bit of a fiddle but not too much so. After re-assembling there is, at least at the moment, blessed silence and the car is suddenly much nicer to drive. In fact, if you bash the driver's side silencer while the car is stationary then you can hear the rattle from the passenger side one. So, that's next to do. It is really a bodge solution and it isn't hard to think of ways to design the silencer so that this doesn't happen, but for now it's a lot better.

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