Saturday, 25 May 2013

Rear Brakes: Seriously Uncool. But they make me happy.

It's been a long time since drum brakes appeared on cutting-edge race cars.  I see no reason not to use them on my car though; light, decent handbrake, no issues with wheel/brake interface.  Now, I know that its difficult to argue that drum brakes can look sexy but when everything is either new or refurbished - including fresh zinc plating and powdercoat - I think they look pretty ace.
Dave has virtually finished building-up the rear axle now so that can go in pretty soon.

I've only had the chance to make some very subtle additions to the car: a water pipe here, a stabilised oil pressure sender there.  I've been thinking about the control cables again though.  The clutch cable at the pedal-end has been sorted for a while.  The throttle cable at the throttle-body-end is now in hand.  Two down, two to go then.

I need to knuckle down and deal with the wiring.  I have to admit that I've been putting it off.


Sunday, 19 May 2013

Elegant but requiring mods. For a change.

The first job was to fit the recently arrived microbore pipe down the tunnel. Once the pipe was cut and straightened-out this literally took seconds thanks to the previous prep work.  The ends are left long and loose for now. I'm expecting four gas-tight christmas tree type end fittings any day now.
I've just realised how dirty the aluminium is.  That'll need a hoover and wipe over then.

Next up was another newly arrived item, namely an oil cooler take-off plate to replace the OE oil-to-water cooler. The original plan here was to use a sandwich plate in-between the oil filter and the block to then direct the oil to the front-mounted air-oil radiator. However, a few things were troubling me about this. Firstly the sandwich plate would mean that the bottom water hose would have to be spaced away from its mounting lug. Secondly, space - evan having moved the pipe - was very tight. Thirdly, the oil hose runs to the front of the car were fairly long. Fourth and lastly, the water-to-oil cooler would remain. So, do you run two oil coolers? Do you loop the water to oil cooler out?  The final decider was the fact that I've heard that the water pump is a bit marginal. I've never wanted to fit an external water pump due to the extra weight, complexity and the additional potential failure point. As such I decided that the best course of action was to reduce the workload on the water pump as much as possible. This meant that the water to oil cooler had to go.  As such I toured the interweb for solutions. Eventually I found a racing buggy parts place in the USA who was happy to ship to Gloucestershire. I placed my order and waited. In the mean time I saw a post on Locostbuilders from a chap (Adithorp) who was looking for a replacement cooler.  I contacted Adi and did a deal on the Yam cooler and then even managed to persuade him to buy the sandwich plate that I'd bought previously - admittedly for a song.  
The kit was advertised as fitting all R1s from 1998 to 2009, so 4XV to 'Big Bang' - it all looked good.  However, on trial fitting I found that the bolt was too long and fouled a little flange in the oil galley.  There was only one thing for it - chop it down and tidy it up.  With that I sent Rich at RK Performance a quick text to check what the bolt should be torqued to.  He kindly replied with the answer (63Nm) and I finished the job off.

When I ordered the take-off plate I paid a little extra to have a hole drilled and tapped for the oil pressure sensor feed.  Andy Bates had supplied the hose and fittings when I ordered the dash from him.  Having given him a quick call to check the thread of the supplied fittings I screwed it all together.  The other end can be seen here.
The only slight issue is that being a single rivet mounting the sensor wants to move all the time.  I've got PU adhesive underneath it and the cable tie in the foreground is just there to steady it while it dries but I suspect that I'll have to do something else to keep it still.  Also visible in the photo are some of the top water hoses.   I'll come back to water hoses in a moment.  Before I do, it's worth stating that the standard Yamaha engine mount bolts have now been turned-down and re-threaded for the mount here and the similar one below.

Looking at some build blogs for the 5VY R1 engine, I spotted that the hose that exits the water pump terminates in a different way to the 4C8.  The packaging on the later bike is obviously slightly different and the water is sent ninety degrees up towards the top of the motor.  This isn't much good to me and hence RGB's CHAMPIONSHIP LEADER, is hopefully sending me a 5VY pipe that leaves the water at the bottom of the engine bay.  I can then more-or-less copy what others have done.  I have been looking at efficient ways  to tie-in the header bottle and the best I came up with was a turned insert attached to a 25mm t-piece.  Here it is.  
A 10mm I/D hose will run from the header tank to the bottom hose.  It helps when Dave isn't far away and can turn up something like this in a matter of minutes.
The rest of the day was spent on the wiring which, as one might expect, is proving slow going.


Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Look after the pennies and the pounds will...

Holy smoke; a couple of years away from a full build and you forget what the little things cost.  This week I've bought a load of 'smaller items' like silicone hoses, a handbrake cable, cable-tie bases, fuel pipe, a flexi brake line, aluminium tape, bearings, wheel cylinders...
Total cost?  In official technical terms, an absolute shit-load.  For a bit of sport (torment) I just had a quick look at what I could've bought instead of building the Gemini.  Ha - hilarious.  Would I do it again?  Right now - no.  My view is likely to change on the first successful test but right now it feels rather painful.  Goodness knows what Mrs C thinks.  Bless her.

Still, we've come this far: onwards - will hopefully fit some of this folly tomorrow.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Because you're Würth it.

I'm coming to the end of a much needed week off.  The garden got some attention but I've managed three fairly full days on the car - if you include half a day running around for the correct tyre valves.  Ah, the tyres and wheels...

Having got the wheels powdercoated as previously described, I needed to bolt them back together.  I turned to the internet for advice and found lots of conflicting information as one would expect.  In the end I settled on some advice from a chap who makes wheels for a living.  I therefore had a shopping list which consisted of good quality marine grade nuts and bolts, good quality silicone sealant and a new 3/8" drive torque wrench,
The picture above actually shows the fourth wheel mid-way through construction.  You may ask what the highlighter pen is for.  This is for numbering the holes on the back of the wheel so that I kept in sequence - opposites as much as is possible, N-S-E-W and torquing-down is two stages.  You may also ask what the secateurs are for.  They aren't for anything - except acting as a paperweight.  Naturally on wheel number one I used too much sealant and made a bit of a mess.  By the fourth wheel I was poetry in motion.

Now, before refurbishment a couple of the wheels had a LOT of weight stuck to them - one of them had 250g attached!  I was very keen to do better and suspected that the bare mounting faces would help.  I also didn't want the things to leak.  None of this was certain.  Anyway, I ordered the tyres (RGB control Yoko A048Rs) and went to get them fitted.  "Errr, we don't have any valves that will fit them Sir."  Oh, great.  It seems that the wheels were designed for 'special' valves - either Austin Metro valves or costly aluminium racing things.  I did find the Metro type items on eBay but the expected delivery date was next week.  Merlin Motorsport eventually came to the rescue (@ £23) after I'd wasted £10 on some that didn't fit.  Rats.

Anyway, what to do once tyres have met wheels - and they don't leak AND they don't need much weight at all?  Introduce wheels and tyres to bodywork of course.  The Retrorocket is born, almost.
Okay, so at this stage effort was essentially purely logistical.  What else has happened?  Well, the biggest news is that Mrs C joined me on Thursday and between us, with the help of an engine crane, we craned-in the engine.  No mishaps, no disasters.  Kate continued to help by cutting-out the heat-proof mat to protect the battery from exhaust heat and by bolting the oil cooler in place with thread-lock and spring washers.    Between us some brake lines were finished too.  
I've also fitted and tested the reverse mechanism.  The teeth rounding has made a big diffrence but it could do with a stronger spring to push the one gear onto the other so I need to investigate that at some stage.  I've also fitted the button to energise the reverse switch itself.  This is deliberately well out of harm's way, next to the brake master cylinders in fact.

Today, I added the oil temperature sensor by replacing a plug on the end of the oil galley.  I'm not 100% convinced that it won't leak as the M16 to 1.8NPT adaptor was effectively countersunk so I had to hold the end of the sensor in the soft-jaw vice and turn the adaptor rather than the other way around.  Not ideal.

I've been back at the panel beating again too.  First I made a little triangular panel that sits at the back of the chassis.  I've not photographed this but it was a bit of a pig, needing a couple of bends.  The tubes that it is riveted-to are on different planes too - not unusual for the Gemini - Tough, but a good result.  It may house the lift-pump shortly and is crucial to the flat-floor.  I appreciate that this is meaningless without photos so I'll move-on.  The next panel that needed to be made was a little stand-off plate to mount the ECU on.  The regs say that the ECU has to be in plain view.  The ECU will now be visible and capable of being examined from the driver's seat or general cockpit area.  It's just held in place by velcro at the moment but it'll get a strap around it too.
And then I had a look at the wiring.  It doesn't look too bad in terms of cable lengths, with a couple of exceptions where extensions will be needed - but of course I have no idea if what I have planned will work.  We will see.  

So, useful progress.  

Next major step will be to get it rolling so I can line-up the bodywork in relation to the wheels and fit that.  I need to get the axles built-up first though.