Archive for the ‘Driving’ Category

Thursday night I was quite busy and didn’t have much time, but decided I had just enough to finish up the EPAS work. Oh, how wrong could I be. I needed to press fit the inner bearing race onto the machine top hat. This was simple enough, just a case of getting the parts lined up and into the vice.

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Once that was done it was just a case of fitting them onto the column. However whereas the top hat spacer had previously slid on and off the column with only a little assistance it was now tight getting it on… So out with the torch to heat it up and expand it. Sure enough, it slipped on fine… until I got about half way to getting it into position then realised that it was back to front. Oh and then I also realised that it had just transfered it’s heati into the column and cooled and was now stuck fast.

It was not coming off. Drifts wouldn’t touch it. Trying to heat it up again wasn’t working because both the top hat and the column shaft were both expanding. At this point the language became quite colourful as I worked out how to get it off again. I tried wrapping exhaust wrap around the column shaft and all sorts of other things. Then I ran out of time.

So after sleeping on it, I decided the only thing to do was to make a press. As I don’t have one I had to improvise. To start with the vice had to come off the bench and be mounted to a structural vertical steel I beam. This meant I could retain the top hat and then use a trolley jack and the application of heat to it to pop the column back out.

It might have looked odd, but it worked to my relief and after a bit of fine tuning with the Dremel I finally managed to get it all together late last night. What a mission – just needs painting now.

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Yesterday I took PNK’y for a spin down to Northampton, dropping a gearbox off for Spaget and then heading over to see Bic at Streamline Carbon. There are some great driving roads in Northamptonshire 😀

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The team had made me a full carbon tailgate which tips the scales at just under 5kg but is structurally stiffer than the original panel. Merv gave me a hand to get it fitted.

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It’s internally reinforced for the aerocatch mountings and the pillars for the mounting a of my AC-Sport kit car spoiler. The exterior is in primer as it’s going to be painted up and the inside surface is raw carbon. I’ve not decided what to do with that. Maybe just leave it as it is.

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They’ve also made me a instrument binnacle and I have been working with them to develop a motorsport matte finish. No glossy lacquer here.

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It was good to get some driving in and to spend some time with people who are so enthusiastic about cars and making quality product. Keep an eye on the Streamline Carbon website for some more behind the scenes features…

…well not one of mine, but that’s not the point.

My wife bought me a trip to Gwynnespeed down in Gloucestershire last year, but getting down there has taken some planning. They’ve recently moved to a new venue and it was a first for me driving a 106 on gravel and that alone made the trip down from Manchester well worth it. I was there for the all day session and saw a noticeable improvement in my driving. Had a good chat with Andy Gwynne – I hadn’t realised that he’d been in the original 106 cup rallying series.

After two trips up to see Chris Birkbeck I am not new to driving on gravel, but have to say Andy’s setup is something special. Great tuition and a good venue. I was very lucky to get some fantastic weather given what it was like elsewhere in the UK. We had rain on and off, but by the afternoon it was dry and dusty on the course. No need for the handbrake to get the car sideways or around the corners, just brake, turn in and feather the throttle. Awesome.

Would very much recommend it to any one looking to have a laugh and improve their driving and car handling – especially if you have a 106. Knackering day though (drive home seemed to take forever) and it felt so weird getting back into the car and driving on roads when you’ve been sliding around all day on gravel.

Rallying

Rallying

Rallying

Rallying

Rallying

Rallying

Long Return

Posted: 14th May 2012 by asteriskr in Driving, Rallye 8v
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Headed home to Norfolk for a weekend of carpentry and decided to take the Rallye. It’s the first time I’ve driven a Rallye on the familiar country roads around our house since I had the Series 1 and it was a good laugh to get out and about a few times in the car. The drive over the Peak District through the National Park rarely disappoints and made for a scenic backdrop for a few photos…

Peugeot 106 Rallye

Peugeot 106 Rallye

The driving emphasised that the standard Rallye suspension and handling is perfect for rural Norfolks largely rubbish road surfaces, delivering a huge grin enducing drive out. I think it’s a misconception that all of the work Lotus do to build great handling cars and well tuned suspension is a product of the Hethel test track. Real world driving on the surrounding roads is a big part of it too.

That said the Rallye’s natural habitat is certainly not motorways or dual carriage ways. On cam at 4000 RPM at cruising speeds is not a great place to be for any considerable amount of time. It’s a trip that’s also reminded me about those little jobs that still need sorting out…

Driving Again

Posted: 23rd October 2011 by asteriskr in Driving, Rallye 8v
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Headed out to the heart of the Peak District for a weekend of Mountain Biking. Driving across the Cat and Fiddle early morning on a glorious sunny autumnal day. It just doesn’t get much better…

Rally 8v

Car is going really well, didn’t miss a beat. Few little things to take care of like a new rear wiper blade on the rear screen and an alternator belt, but that doesn’t stop it handling like a go kart and stopping and going like stink.

Getting Dirty Again

Posted: 12th February 2011 by asteriskr in Driving
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Well today was the day I belatedly headed north to near Whitby to do some rally car driving with Chris Birkbecks rally school outfit. Chris has quite strong links with Peugeot – His early success as a team operator came while running the Simmonite sisters, Stephanie and co-driver Rachel for Peugeot. Although the Simmonites real success came when they signed for Ford in 1996 and responsibility for their brand new Escort was handed to Chris. They acheived a 100% finishing record to clinch the British Ladies title and finished fourth overall in the British Championship. For 1997, the sisters upgraded to an Escort Super Rally car, kept their 100% finishing record and scored maximum points on all six events to claim the British Ladies two years in a row.

Focus

Focus

Focus

A great day of driving Ford Focus cars on the private test track environment and practicing those gravel driving techniques.

S2000 Fiesta

S2000 Fiesta

It was also a great chance to look at some of the very interesting cars in the workshop and get some inspiration…

S1600 Ford Racing Puma

S1600 Ford Racing Puma