May 21st

At last, the MACSo, it was off again to Norwich. The weather forecast wasn't too wonderful so I was prepared to get a bit wet. I set off in what I thought was plenty of time to get there by 11am.

On the way the speedo worked well. Once the jitters which seem to exist below about 15mph have gone the needle is very stable. I had calibrated the speedo based on what I achieved on the last SVA attempt, only multiplied by 6 (for the lobro bolts) and divided by 3.62 (for the diff ratio). This meant that it seemed to be displaying the right speed, again checked against the kilometre posts on the road.

I stopped just outside Norwich for breakfast, as was not surprised to see the cops pulling up again. There followed the usual question and answer session while he decided that I was allowed to drive without reg plates.

After that I set off again. Disappointingly, the speedo was now not working so well low down. IN fact, the stability didn't set in until about 35 mph which wasn't good. I stopped at a car park and took the bootbox out. Two things were obvious: the sensor was loose (I obviously hadn't tightened it, or perhaps it really needs some Loctite) and there was some escaping Lobro joint grease. The latter may be due to me moving the gaiter clip around a bit to make sure that it wasn't mistaken for another bolt. I may have to replace the clip, for which I will doubtless have to buy a complete new gaiter...

Anyway, after that it was back to normal and on to the SVA centre.

I then spent about 2 hours hanging around while the SVA on a Fisher Fury was finished. They seemed to find all sorts of problems with this, although the builder hadn't helped by doing things like not locking the brake balance bar and not tightening the seat belt anchor bolts.

At last I was asked to drive in and it took about 10 mins to check the fog light switch and put the car on the speedo rollers. The test showed that the speedo was just about perfect. It was overreading by about 2mph everywhere which is fine.

So, I finally got the MAC and set off for home. Now I need to look at the registration process...

May 22nd

I phoned up Terry Hill at the Peterborough VRO and had a quick chat with him. Apparently he inspects cars on Tuesdays and Thursdays these days. I got all the documentation together and sent it off to him. Hopefully he'll ring me back in a day or two.

I've also realised that I really ought to delay registration until the end of next week, as otherwise I'll get a tax disc that is immediately a month old...

May 26th

Fuel filler running very slightly downhillI still haven't heard from the VRO, but in the meantime I wanted to look at a few things.

One thing was, I've noticed that the fan belt is squeaking, probably because it needs tightening. I suspect, having looked at it, that it really needs a slightly shorted belt so I took the old one off and I'll go to DAP tomorrow to see if they have a slightly different one.

Next up was the speedo sensor again. I took it apart and put it back using some Loctite which should hopefully stop it coming adrift again. After that I took out some of the fuel filler hose, in an effort to make it run downhill (towards the tank) and bit more than it does. At the moment it takes an age to fill the tank, which is I think is at least partly due to the initially horizontal run of the fuel filler hose.

Small series resistor to correct the fuel level sensorThe fuel gauge doesn't work too well, indicating empty when there is a lot of fuel in the tank. I had thought for a while that I could fix this with a small series resistor. So, I measured the amount of fuel in the tank with a dipstick and tried a few resistors to get something that was a bit closer to the real situation. I ended up with 19 ohms in series with the sensor. I mounted this inline with the sensor connections, all covered up with heat shrink.

New return on back of dash bonded inAfter that I turned to something that I was originally unsure about, but having driven the car i would like to look at. This is the position of the steering wheel. I always knew that the Sierra column could be adjusted for reach and I wanted to move it a bit closer to the dash, that is further from me.

So, I removed some of the steering column UK bolts and slackened off the column adjustment. This was I moved the column by about 2cm, which is probably quite useful. However, when I got it there I discovered that the ignition key fouled the dashboard. I had had to relieve the dashboard quite a lot to get it to work as it was, but this time it needed to be a bit more serious. Unfortunately, cutting this amount of the dash away is going to look odd unless it's patched up properly.

I decided to do this by cutting a piece of aluminium to make the return behind then dashboard, and bonding this into place with GRP. I cut the aluminium approximately to size, rivetted it in place, and cover the lot with GRP, hopefully bonded to the back of the existing dash moulding. We'll find out tomorrow how firm it is. One good thing is that taking the dash out again gave me the chance to re-mount the speedo properly as I had left it loose for calibration before the SVA.

May 27th

I phoned Terry Hill at the VRO and he'd got my forms through the post. He said that everything seemed fine and I arranged to go up and see him tomorrow for what will hopefully be the final inspection before the registration arrives.

The dash with lots of room to get at the keyAs I result I had to make sure the car was back together this evening. I finished the dah modification and recovered it in thin foam and vinyl as before. After fitting it back in the car it worked much better than it used to, it's now easy to get at the key which is useful. Once I knew that was going to work I reconnected the UJs on the steering column, which had of course moved as a result of moving the wheel. After a lot of swearing and grunting on account of getting the "flats" filed in the steering column splines to match the new positions it was all bolted up nice and tight.

After that I just checked a few bits over for tomorrow. I'm rather concerned that the weather is going to be horrible so I might end up getting very wet.

Finally, I drove round the village to see if everything still worked. It seemed to. One worry that I've been noticing is that when I start the engine it really sounds rather rattly. At first I thought it was the top end (a lifter or something) but I'm now worrying about the rest of the engine. However, it seems to get a lot better when it warms up so perhaps it's nothing to worry about.

May 28th

So, I got up early to try and beat the rain and set off for Peterborough. On the way I stopped for some petrol. The attempted modifications to get round the problem of the petrol foaming are a complete waste of time, it still takes absolutely ages to fill. One possible reason for this is the Explosafe in the tank. I was wondering if some sort of fine metal grill in the filler hose would have a beneficial effect.

C493 KER appearsAnyway, I carried on to Peterborough and got to the VRO just before 9am. They let me into the car park and Terry Hill toddled out to see me. He checked the chassis and engine numbers and then we had the usual petrol-head chat and he sent me on my way. He said he's phone later to tell me the reg number. With luck the tax disc should arrive tomorrow. I asked for this to run from June 1st so as not to waste most of May without using it.

I stopped at the office on the way back from Peterborough and showed the car to my colleagues. Dean, the chap who crashed my Westfield, pressed me into giving him a ride on the way back home. I warned him about the draft in the absence of the sidescreens but I don't think he believed me until he saw for himself what it was actually like!

I'm starting to press the car a little harder. The thing it desperately needs at the moment is something done to the pedals to make heeling and toeing possible. Without this it's quite hard to drive quickly.

Later on he did indeed phone to tell me that the car was to be C463 KER, an age-related plate based on the Sierra that I used for some of the donor bits. I went to DAP on the way home and got some plates made, now I need to fit them on. I also ought to get somewhere to put a tax disc which should arrive in the post in the next day or so.

Now I've got lots of things. Perhaps the most important is to get the tonneaux covers fitted and sort out some sidescreens, as driving the car without these is a bit of a pain, to put it mildly.

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