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Mods 1

09/10/05

Whilst waiting for the DVLA inspection, I've carried out a few minor mods...

I've moved the front indicators back under the headlights. The aluminium mounts I made first of all were a bit too flexible, so I've retained the steel mk2 versions. They've been cut down to length, sanded and painted.


 

That large, heavy Rover steering wheel has gone. It has been replaced by this rather nice Momo Race wheel, which was a present from a friend. Thanks Ken!


I found the driving position just a bit too upright, so I've tilted the seats back by about 2 inches at the top. To do this, the rear braces were shortened, then larger spacers fitted under the front seat mountings.


 

The smaller steering wheel meant that I had to move the instrument cluster yet again. This time, I couldn't move the exhaust clamp far enough down the steering column, so I've made some new mounting brackets out of aluminium. I'm beginning to think that the instruments are going to be rather distant and hard to focus on in this position.


While the instrument panel was off, I've reset the milometer to read 45.75 miles, which was the round trip distance to the SVA station (including a mile or two on the speedo test rollers).


The "ears" on the front corners of the subframe aren't needed on the Firefox. As they add a bit of weight and reduce ground clearance, I used the angle grinder to remove them. No blood this time.


16/10/05

At the rear of the car, I've made a couple of simple shields to protect the trailing arms' outer bearings from water and grit thrown off the tyres.


 20/10/05

I've finally been given a date for the DVLA inspection - Monday 31st of October at 11.45am. That's nearly a month after I applied for it. Apparently, this is the earliest date possible, even though I offered to take the car to them to save time. The car has stood unused in the garage since the SVA test on the 28th of September. I've missed a couple of sunny weekends, the Donington show and two local airfield days. Very frustrating!


 30/10/05

Aero screens made from 3mm polycarbonate sheet. There's plenty of the sheet left, so I may experiment with slightly wider and/or taller screens.


I've made a couple of mud flaps for the front from High Impact Polystyrene Sheet (HIPS). I know they look rather naff, but as I intend to use the car in all weathers, I think they're essential. I don't mind being rained on (as long as I'm wearing waterproof clothing), but I do object to getting spattered with muddy water, grass cuttings, gravel, horse s**t and dead slugs (yes, I speak from experience) thrown back from the front tyres.


 31/10/05

I'm on the road at last! Well, I will be from tomorrow, when the road tax starts. I drove the car to the DVLA local Office this morning to be inspected. It initially failed, because the inspector wanted to see a stamped chassis number as well as the riveted chassis plate. I took the car home, borrowed some die stamps and hammered the number onto the top of the O/S shock mounting bracket. The car was then taken to my local garage who checked the new numbers and signed and embossed the form that the inspector had given me (I didn't have to take the car back to the DVLA).

The form was returned to the DVLA in the afternoon and after a short wait I was issued with a tax disc, allocated an age-related (1990) registration number and given a V948 Number Plate Authorisation Certificate. I then went to Millards to get some number plates made, but in all the excitement I'd forgotten to take any ID with me, so I'll get them done tomorrow.


 24/11/05

I've managed to put several hundred miles on the car over the past few weeks. Mainly local trips over roads I know well, but also a very chilly trip to the Exeter Show on Sunday 20th (ice was forming on the aero screens going down the M5). I'm really pleased with the car so far - it goes, stops and handles very well, the ride quality is better than expected, the seats are surprisingly comfortable and the aero screens deflect most of the air over or around my head.

After spending some time fiddling around with the damper settings on a twisty, bumpy road, I finally settled for 6 clicks out from minimum at the rear and 12 clicks out at the front (out of a total of 40 clicks). For airfield/track use, I'll probably start by doubling the settings.

This car has already convinced me of the benefits of fuel injection and Electronic Management Systems. Whatever the ambient or engine temperature, the engine always starts with a flick of the key and idles like a Swiss watch. In use, there are no coughs, splutters, pops or bangs - it just pulls cleanly and strongly. Another benefit is the fuel consumption. With the aid of the closed-loop system, the car averaged almost 48 MPG on the Exeter trip. Fuel economy wasn't the main criteria when planning this car, but with the current cost of petrol, I'm not complaining.

I used a single carburettor with contact-breaker ignition on the Quantum partly to keep the car simple and also because I didn't understand the latest technology - I was scared off by ECUs, all those sensors and the high-pressure fuel lines! Having learnt a lot about engine management over the last year or so, I'll never willingly go back to carburettors.


 Like most kit cars, this one will probably never be finished. I've already identified a few areas that can be worked on...

  1. The most important issue is that the rear brakes have a very slight tendency to lock the wheels before the front, despite the successful SVA test. This isn't a great surprise, as the rear of my car is so light. I spoke to David at Onyx about this and he's going to send me a replacement spring for the rear brake pressure limiting valve, which should have the desired effect.

  2. The clutch bites a bit too high for my liking and there's an on/off feel to the pedal with little progression. I am getting used to it and could probably live with it, but I'll experiment with clutch arm lengths and angles.

  3. I'd like to bring the instruments closer to me. As I feared, it takes just a fraction too long to stare down into the scuttle to focus on the various gauges and lights. In particular, I'd like to have the warning lights and rev counter in view above the steering wheel. The little K-series loves revs, especially in the lower gears and I've already hit the rev limiter a few times. If the rev counter can be positioned just below my normal line of sight, I could change gear just before the limiter cuts in.

  4. I need to fit a third Dzus fastener to the middle of the bonnet/nose cone where it meets the scuttle, as I noticed this area lifting at speed on the motorway. I'll have to do it soon, because the bodywork is going to the paint shop on Monday week to be painted in Ford Radiant Red.

  5. There's a rattle from the rear of the car that needs investigating.

So, nothing too difficult or expensive. I just need to get the garage heater down from the attic and get on with it.


29/11/05

I've braved the cold and made a start on the new dash layout. Like the bonnet fastener, this needs to be done before the scuttle goes off to the paint shop. The other jobs can be done after the car is stripped.

The new warning lights I bought from Stafford Vehicle Components at the Exeter show.


I've separated the rev counter and speedometer as detailed on Onyx's Firefox Roadsport page. David uses an angle grinder to do the job, but I chickened out and used a hacksaw. Lengths of L-section aluminium were then riveted to the sides of the casings to provide new mountings. Nearest the camera are the templates I'll use to cut the holes in the new dash panel. In the middle is the clock, which I also intend to re-use.


 

Before starting the new dash panel, I hacked some more holes in the old one, to make sure the instruments and lights will be in the right place. This picture shows the viewing angle when I'm strapped in the car. The rev counter and warning lights can be seen above the rim of the steering wheel and the important parts of the fuel and temperature gauges are visible below the rim. The clock will be fitted below the speedometer.


 03/12/05

The new dash panel with all holes cut and drilled.


10/12/05

The finished article from the front...


...and from the rear. I just need to wire it all up now!


11/12/05

Job 4 on the list done - the central bonnet Dzus fastener and bracket.


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