Thursday, 12 December 2013

Back in Black.

I've had some parts back from powdercoating - all in satin black for a change.
The light switch, brake bias and master switch panels are included.
Likewise, the rear anti-roll bar mounting plate for the passenger side. 
In  other news, this is the gear change rod connected to the paddle by the tiny universal joint.
Finally, here's one of the new front brake lines.  The first pair were too short.  Oh, and matching Chuck Taylors - as you do.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Pagani-ish... right?

Apologies for contributing to what appears to be the trend in the RGB-related blogosphere - a dearth of updates.  In my case, it's not without good reason: family-first etc.

The main gear-change rod to connect to my paddle is nearing completion.  It seems that I'm not really delivering the planned weight saving.  It looks pretty cool though and that's worth 7bhp surely.
This is a pultruded carbon fibre shaft with custom brass end-fittings.
One of my engineers in work very kindly machined the end-fittings for me at home - and refused to take any sort of payment.  Thanks so much Rich - I am indebted.


Sunday, 10 November 2013

No piccies ≠ no progress

This weekend:
  • The stainless offset spacers have been fitted to the trailing arms.
  • The throttle pedal has been modified to work with throttle bodies that have just 25mm of cable travel - just a tweak to the pad left to do.
  • The gear-change paddle now has a teeny weeny universal joint attached which will in turn attach to the pultruded carbon shaft that connects paddle to fulcrum.
  • The overflow hose from rad to header tank has been finalised.
  • The calcs have been finished that determine what springs I'll run, at least to start with.  This means that I learnt a lot about wheel frequency that I didn't know before.  Interestingly, by coincidence we are aiming at a number similar to that of a Caterham CSR260.

In the absence of any new pics, I thought I'd remind myself of how it started.  It's come a long way but I still need to up the pace in order to get out for the start of the season.

Over and out.

Monday, 4 November 2013

The Poddington Ease

Attached (albeit temporarily):
That aside, I have mostly been making a mess of things.

Grrr - obviously going through one of those all-too-frequent frustrating periods.


Saturday, 2 November 2013

Sub dash thingies.

The Gemini isn't having a dashboard in the traditional sense so I'm having to find homes for some of the switches and knobs.  Having decided on the master switch mounting some time ago I've chosen to replicate the mount for the lights and brake bias adjuster.
This will leave the must-have switches to be mounted in a pod similar to Tim Hoverd's old one on his J15, seen here:
Thanks for another good idea Tim.


Tuesday, 29 October 2013

They see me [not] rollin', they hatin'.

I have some more anti-roll bar photographs to present.  Firstly, the kit of parts (most of anyway):
Unsurprisingly Dave at Track Developments has done all of the work.  Interestingly this is the last major piece of fabrication work that Dave needs to do on the car.  I know that I've a couple more turning jobs for him to do and the car will be going back to Dave for set-up but this in many ways is a bit of a landmark.  I'll summarise the work that Dave has done in a separate post - suffice to say, its a lot.  

The rear bar is actually fairly complex - with special unique fabricated fittings at either end.  The front bar is a little more conventional.  I need to get all of the steel parts (drop-links etc. are aluminium) either powdercoated or plated next - I'm leaning towards the latter.

That'll do for tonight - it's been a long day.


Sunday, 27 October 2013


Not a great day yesterday; I had problems with everything I touched.

Anyway, some pictures:
Clutch cable fitted.  I need to decide whether or not to replace the crank position sensor - or just solder the wires up.
Gear-change rod - waiting on fittings/
Front ARB taking shape.


Sunday, 20 October 2013

Looks like a monorail...

It's been slow progress over the last couple of weeks, not least because Kate and I went up to Lincolnshire last weekend to watch the RGB racing at Cadwell.  We got there on the Saturday just in time for racing to be abandoned for the day due to the torrential rain and standing water on-track.  Duncan Horlor had already bumped both ends in his Spire while poor Martyn Turner was in hospital with a back injury following an accident in his MNR.  After a few greetings, I was happy to head for our B&B and a curry.

The next morning things were looking slightly brighter and we headed back to the circuit just as a patch of blue sky appeared.  We watched some excellent racing from various places on the circuit's edge; it's an outstanding circuit for the spectator.  The undoubted highlight was the RGB Class F race where Austen, Paul, Colin and Steve all led at one stage or another.  The top-four were nose-to-tail and side-by-side for at least half of the duration before Paul broke clear.  Paul also got the fastest lap which drew him level with 3rd placed Austen in terms of Championship Points.  Both drivers had won 5-times throughout the year so it took Austen's greater number of second placed to split the pair.  As Austen and his Dad, Ken, explained to me, it was the culmination of 5 years' work.  
Earlier in the day I'd spent an invaluable 20 minutes chatting to Paul and Tony Gaunt about Paul's Phoenix - his is the only current car running the same 4C8 R1 as is in my car.  The good news was that I seemed to be doing most things right in terms of the installation.  Ironically, the exception was the clutch cable where I was doing the same as Paul but, in light of issues this year (which I assume arguably must have cost him the Championship) they are changing things over the winter so that the cable runs to the engine as it does on the bike - this means a long cable and Paul also suggested that they'd move to a lighter gauge cable.  With this in mind, this became one of my jobs to start yesterday.  

The cable needs to turn through 270 degrees so it needs to be long and the bends need to be as gradual as possible.  I've also go to raise the cable above the gear-change fulcrum to avoid disastrous consequences.
The cables are spaced-off the chassis using my preferred method of hose and cable-ties.  It's light, tidy enough and does mean that things can flex a little if needed.
At the other end, an 8mm cable adjuster will terminate the outer cable.  I need to get the pedals powdercoated before I can finish it off and check that it works - I have high hopes however.

Other jobs completed yesterday include relieving the rear dampers where they were just touching their brackets and finishing off the main battery cables.
The bumble-bee finish (made using yellow heat-shrink) is there to show the marshal where to cut the cable to kill the power.  Let's hope that its never needed.

What's next?  Finishing the clutch cable, taking the propshaft back for a second time for mods, getting the oil-take off modified, cleaning the TBs, replacing a spring on the reverse motor, getting a sub-lever made for the handbrake, fitting the front calipers and pads and much, much more.

Monday, 7 October 2013


Assuming that someone has followed the build since I bought the Gemini chassis, you may remember that I pointed to to the attractiveness of the Falcon Mk2 amongst the reasons for building the Gemini.  Well, there's one for sale at present and it looks lovely to my eye.
As pretty as it is, umm... I think I'll stick with my chassis.
That is all.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Tunnel Channel

The focus of yesterday's activity was the transmission tunnel.  The first thing that I wanted to do was to run the 7-core cable that will carry power to all of the rear lights and the fuel-lift pump.
This runs along the bottom of the tunnel then rises-up to meet the connecting cables from the fuse box and switch panel.  You can also see that the prop-shaft is in situ.  This has been a debacle.  I collected the shaft on Friday having had it shortened from the length that it was originally made to - still not sure if this was my fault or the manufacturers.  Anyway, it looks okay for length now but the 3" dia rear section is too close to the tunnel on the driver's side.  I may end-up with yet another version - I'm trying to canvass opinions on how big the tube needs to be.  It's very frustrating.
A bit more of the prop and the front-to back cables can be seen here.  I've also started to tidy-up the battery cables but need some large heat-shrink to finish the job.  I also spent a little bit of time painting the water pipe that had been welded-up during the week:
Finally, I collected the side-impact protection framework that Dave from Track Developments has put together for me.  This is now a 'Blue Book' requirement but it's left open to interpretation.  Mine has been designed to not be too rigid - it's a crumple-zone for want of a better word.
The camera angle makes it look a bit odd - it's not as bizarre as it looks.  I'll get this powdercoated at the same time as the roll cage.

This week I shall mostly be deciding what to do with the propshaft - Kate and I are planning to go to Cadwell Park on the weekend to watch the last races of the season.  Hopefully folk won't think me too weird when I ask to see down their transmission tunnel.


Sunday, 29 September 2013

The Cable Guy

I had a friend of a colleague join me in the workshop this morning.  Neil Sharp is a proper auto electrician. Perhaps surprisingly he wasn't brought-in to fault find.  Not yet.  I needed to get the battery cables made-up and rather than buy them in and then find that they are all the wrong length, I'd asked Neil to do it on the car. Neil, being a pro, felt that it was a good idea to (a) fit a big fuse and; (b) use 300amp cable for the first leg, on the basis that if I ever engaged the starter and the reverse at the same time it might need it.  It looks whopping and is a nightmare to get tidy but who am I to argue?
In theory I should be able to test the bike-side of the loom now; see if the throttle bodies will cycle, the fuel pump will energise etc.  I didn't do it yesterday as I had to knock-off early to do some other stuff and then get to dinner with the in-laws.
Just to re-state the point, we are some p-clips and conduit short of a tidy job.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Yawnabore R1

If there was ever a signal that I've spent too much time building this car, or more specifically too much time thinking about it, here it is:
On the bottom here is the water-in pipe which fits into the bottom of the engine on a 2007/8 R1.  On the top is the same part for a 2004-6 R1.  While the bottom-end on the two models is, in material-terms, the same Yamaha have obviously improved the packaging of the motors.  Unfortunately, for someone sticking these engines into a front-engined car, it's a pain in the arse as the water flows from the front at near-floor level rather than from up-on-high.  After harassing Austen Greenway for months, he finally sent me one of his spares and I fitted this today.  The water system is now pretty much as far as I can take it.  The aluminium fabricator wunderkind needs to do the rest. 

In other boring water-pipe news. I took a hacksaw and flap-wheel to one of the other water pipes today. I've removed the leg that took water to the oil-water cooler, since I don't have one any more.  I didn't want to have a dead-leg; if the water pump is a bit marginal, I want to make flow as straightforward as possible.
I need to get the hole welded-up now.
Dave has done an amazing job with the carbon airbox - it wasn't quite wide enough for the throttle body trumpets and was yet too wide for the throttle servo motors.  A couple of small moulds and a bit of cutting'n'bonding later and its a bonza job - if you need something similar, speak to Track Developments.
I'm not sure what it's cost me yet bit it has to be worth it.  There's a bit of a debate about inlet trumpets on the RGB forum at present.  I will be furious if mine aren't permitted next year but I can't believe it will happen.
Something which hasn't gone my way is the the oil system; having tried to marry the fittings on my oil cooler with those of my take-off plate I gave up and bought the same cooler with smaller fittings to suit the rest of the system.  I could only find one single unit that would do.  It arrived.
And is going back, leaving me with a problem.


Sunday, 15 September 2013


The lack of activity has been due to two much-needed weeks island-hopping n Greece.

Car-building recommenced yesterday with a couple of minor-looking areas receiving attention..  Firstly the bus bar for the accumulated earths from the bike loom was finished-off.
Then I set about finding a place for the EXUP and airbox motors to live.  Neither are actually being used in the installation but at least the EXUP needs to be kept.  I've received conflicting information about the trumpet servo so it's staying just-in case. 
The bracket is a piece of aluminium angle manipulated to suit.

Saturday, 17 August 2013


To catch up with those points that I didn't really make last week:

I looked at aluminium hubs for a while.  I couldn't find any where nobody hadn't had some sort of issue.  It didn't matter if it was CompBrake, Rally Design or HiSpec - the web is awash with comments where things haven't been quite right.  I was actually contemplating sticking with the steel originals when a friend mentioned that he had a set of unknown origin that he'd bought some years earlier with the wrong bearings as an accompaniment.  Thankfully, said friend was an engineer and had carefully measured the dimensions and ordered the correct bearings.  He'd just never got around to fitting them.  I said I'd take them.  On collecting them I was pretty sure that they were HiSpec.  This has more or less been confirmed since as I ordered their dust caps and they fit a treat.  The same cant be said for the discs however, or more correctly the hubs don't fit standard discs as they should.  The PCD of the mounting hole seems to be just out.  I've managed to solve this by drilling out the the holes on the disc to 7/16".  Not a major problem but rather confirms what I've heard about HiSpec.  To give them credit where due, the dust caps arrived very quickly.

Talking of good service, I just have to mention EBC, specifically Bob Sketchly, Head of Technical Support. Bob is motorsport-mad and a very committed Marshall.  He also seems to be in charge of the MSA license holders discount scheme.  I had a ludicrously good deal on Turbogroove discs and Yellowstuff pads.  Top kit at a fantastic price.

What next?  Oh yes, we weighed the chassis and bodywork.  There's a lot still to go on but I'm pretty sure we'll be close to the weight limit.  Particularly if I can reverse my own personal fitness trend.

The bodywork went on pretty well considering - I'm going to have to be pretty mercenary when it comes to trimming the arch-lip returns.  In essence I'll be removing the returns altogether.  There's a number of internal sections of the bodywork - they enclose the engine bay and boot area mostly.  The rear has all-but-gone already and I've resolved to give the front the same treatment; it's not doing anything useful on a race car.

Also not of any use is my right rear wheel which is leaking.  I need to chuck it in a bath and check that it's not just the valve seating before I pull the rim apart again and have another go at building it up.  The other three have rock-solid pressures.

So, that was last week's news.  What about this week?  My focus has been on getting some more of the electrical components in place and working towards having the engine-side of the loom completed and tested in the next couple of weeks.
Above is the starter solenoid.  When I used one of these on my MNR people couldn't understand why I didn't use the bike part.  The reasons are twofold: (i) the bike relay is 'bundled' in with loads of stuff that I don't need; (ii) The Lucas unit is well-proven and very easy to check that it's operating.  The master switch is just a few inches above the solenoid so the cable runs are as short as possible.  The red cable seen is the main feed to the wiring module.
This is the regulator-rectifier.  While the Yamaha units have a much better reputation than some, they still need a nice panel to help soak-away heat and ideally a flow of air. Hence, this is the bottom of the transmission tunnel.  
This bus-bar will collate the six(!) earths from the slimmed-down bike loom and ECU. Apparently this is the most reliable way to do this.  Below is the wiring for the bike pump which will be housed in the swirl pot. The  live cable for this was a bit of a mess thanks to the spliced-in aftermarket immobiliser.  Hence it now contains a join which is very reliant on the solder which isn't ideal but the multi-meter tells me that all is well and I've protected the integrity of the join pretty well.
While I've been on-sparks, Dave has been charged with modifying the only carbon fibre piece on the car. The throttle bodies need their velocity-stacks/trumpets to work.  In an effort to achieve this and keep any bonnet bulge as small as possible (I sit LOW in the car) I've bought an ITG Trumpet Tray -catchy title eh?- which is actually made by carbon-meisters Reverie.
Unfortunately, this lovely piece of kit fouls the fly-by-wire throttle actuator and also isn't quite wide enough to meet two of the six trumpet mounting holes.
Thankfully Track Developments have constructed carbon parts a lot more complex than that which I need, so Dave is already up-and-running making a couple of moulds which will form new sections of the tray. Sounds easy but I'm glad he's doing it!


Sunday, 11 August 2013

Words will wait.

I've precious little time for prose today but wanted to get some images up anyway as I've passed a couple of important milestones.

Things to discuss (mainly to remind myself:)

  • Hi-spec hubs
  • EBC Brakes
  • Weight
  • Tight arches
  • Extreme Camber
  • How mercenary to be with GRP
  • Right rear wheel