May 8th

Setting off, but not for the SVA!Matt, one of the cam7ers, arrived at the crack of dawn and after sorting out cars and trailers we set off. It was bloody cold at first, especially in the absence of sidescreens.

Everything was going hunky dory. Indicated 70mph on the motorway, which Matt later said was what was actually happened. This was good because of the problems that I'd had with the speedo sensor.

However, just as we were passing Snetterton I noticed the speedo had developed a mind of its own. Bugger, a certain fail that.

Later on, just as we were coming up to a roundabout with three lanes going into. We were going straight on and there was a queue both to the left and right. We drove up the middle past the five traffic cops who were sitting going left and right. One of them couldn't resist it and stopped me just after the roundabout. After explaining to him what an SVA was (I may have overdone the irony slightly by pointing out that the reason it didn't have a registration number was because it wasn't registered) he engaged me in meaningless banter about the car. I thought about telling him to bog off as he was holding me up but held my tongue...

After some slight trouble finding the SVA place (they've moved it to a nice new shed) everything was going great until we got to the speedo test. I had been hoping that it would have miraculously cured itself by not charging along the motorway, but was thwarted. At the end of it all I was given a failure document that listed the speedo and also the fog light switch didn't have a separate tell-tale to say when the light was on. (I noticed the other day that the switch didn't have a little cut-out in the top like the Westfield one has.) In retrospect I reckong that Les, the tester, was going to ignore the fog light switch if nothing serious had cropped up elsewhere...

Still, I can fix the fog light easily by using the switch illumination as the warning light. The speedo is going to require a bit more force. Current plan is to:

  • knock some of the magnets off the prop because there's clearly too many of them.
  • if that doesn't work look at using some magnets on the wheel side of the diff
  • if that doesn't work use a inductive sensor.

Luckily, you can apparently get a retest on the speedo bit without problems...

When I got back into the MR2 later it was like driving a sackful of blancmange in comparison to the Dax. Some observations on the Dax are:

  • It goes like bloody stink
  • It is running ridiculously rich. There's this lovely black fur in the exhausts
  • I managed to get the idle mixture rather better this time, down to 0.3% CO, which is too lean.
  • It needs a quicker rack.
  • The squab seats are more uncomfortable than a very uncomfortable thing.
  • The dampers are set too soft
  • A front ARB is worth trying.

May 11th

Having had a couple of days off resting from the car, I got back to it today to have a look at the SVA failure points. First of all, I grovelled under the car to have a look at the speedo sensor. Immediately it was obvious what had done wrong with it in that there were only three magnets attached to the propshaft. What's more, another of them was loose. Still I completed the job by bashing another off with a cold chisel. Disturbingly, it came off rather easily.

I then opened up the tunnel again to look at the gap between the sensor and the magnets again. Oddly, while I was taking the carpet up again I found the magnet that was missing sitting on the passenger side floor! Presumably it had flown off the propshaft and found its way, via the gaps caused by the flange having to be taken off the bottom of the tunnel moulding, into the car. Bizarre though... Anyway, everything seemed to be fine around the sensor and I tried it again and was pleased to see that this time 110 mph (in the garage!) was easily achieved. I also checked the calibration against the tachometer, having worked out that the car should do 23.16 mph/1000 rpm in top gear!

Everything went fine, although the other magnet falling off has to be seen as a potential problem. I suspect that the problem here is caused by the propshaft having been powder coated. The epoxy doesn't seem to have adhered well to the coating.

Having put the tunnel back together again, I took out the dash and arranged for the illumination on the fog light switch to come on only when the fog light was on.

Having done that I seemed to have nothing to do. Although there are loads of things I want to do after I've got the SVA sorted that seemed to be the lot for now. Amazing...

May 13th

This morning I phoned up the test centre and booked an SVA retest for Wednesday afternoon. I just hope it stops raining by then.

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