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Build In The Bog - Part 5

Well last year (2011) was a 'no build year' as we stayed in Leeds for almost all the summer but since the early spring I've been making up for lost time. I'd set myself the target of completing the build and getting it on the road this year - no excuses were allowed!.

The car looked complete but as many have said '90% complete and only 50% left to do' and that's rather the position I was in. There seemed to be lots of 'little' jobs to do and what made it a bit depressing was that the build didn't seem to look any different as I crossed 'jobs done' off the list.

I used the original design of mudguard and I'm not sure I like the look of them - we shall see if they stay. I needed to make the inner splash guards and fit them before mounting the complete mudguard. I decided not to cut slots in the flange of the splash guard as I wasn't certain about the position of the rivets. Using a steel hammer on an anvil, on the rear of the vice, I managed to stretch the flange and as I did so the mudguard splash guard took on the required curve. I have to say I was pleased how easily it worked. I made up two dustbin lids from aluminium offcuts, to go over the ends of the front suspension/steering rack - I have a feeling they might fall off sometime. One problem with the dustbins is the reduced steering lock - it's a devil to turn the car round.

After the engine problems recounted in Build In The Bog 4 I assembled the engine and had to make a plug to replace the welch plug at the flwheel end of the camshaft and make a retaining bolt to replace the oil pressure switch. I used a mechanical oil pressure gauge and this is fed from this bolt. I made very very sure I got the camshaft thrust bearing retaining bolt in correctly this time! I made a new sump plug to take an electric temperature sensor. I'm losing the sump plug magnet but can't do much about it.

I attempted to mount the Dellorto carbs on the original manifolds splayed out rather than in, and discovered they didn't fit as the control cables and throttle slide clashed with the lighting bar. Tom Rae, for some reason, didn't have a problem even though his layout is exactly the same - well it can't be 'cos his fitted and mine didn't! I solved the problem by making up four mild steel spacers to push the engine/gearbox forwards by about 20mm. The effect on the position of the C of G is minor so I'm not bothered about the altered weight distribution. I was concerned about the headlight wires being cooked by the exhaust pipes, even though they run in stainless flexible conduit so I extended the lighting bar by 50mm which should do the trick.

The throttle cable movement at the pedal didn't match the movement required to move the carburettor slides so my first attempt used a lever with two connections to sort this out - it looked awful and was big so a rethink was required. I think that if something doesn't look right (and pretty) then there must be a better way of doing it. I came up with a small brass drum with two different diameter sections. The throttle cable on one and the two carburettor slide cables on the other. It looked neat and more importantly worked smoothly. A two into one box was made for the choke cables.

With the engine in place I discovered I couldn't get the clutch to work - a cry for help on the forum gave useful advice, as always, and I made a thick spacer washer to effectively lengthen the outer clutch cable - success! I needed to sort out the fuel supply. Because the fuel pump pressure is higher than the gravity feed on the bike I could have bought high pressure float chamber needles - again more expense so I made a small header tank out of, don't laugh, a baked bean can. The float operates a slotted optical switch which in turn switches on the electric fuel pump via a relay. The can is mounted on the front of the glove box and should maintain a head of fuel similar to the tank on a bike. The ignition system is based on a Boyer Bransden unit and required a printed circuit board to carry the two pick up coils at 135° and a new rotor for the single magnet. The rotor was made from mild steel, as recommended by Boyer Bransden, and it all went together without problems. I timed it by eye using a hole at 30° and the magnet retaining bolt as recommended by Boyer Bransden.

I had bought a black faced speedo and a matching oil pressure/fuel/temp gauge in separate auctions on ebay. I calculated the revs per mile with Camacs (724.4) for the 2CV speedo cable. This obviously is different to the speedo (1214) - the step up ratio required is 1.676. I did consider, briefly, getting it recalibrated but discovered that it cost money so I made a small friction variable ratio drive gearbox to sort out the different revs per mile problem. A total failure!

What to do now - I tried a rubber belt but again no joy. I then looked in my scrap box and found a stepper motor, 48 steps per rev, from a dot matrix printer (do you remember what they looked like?) and made a disc with the required number of holes (80) to give the ratio 80/48=1.67 which is near enough to the 80.46 holes required - it's dificult to drill 0.46 of a hole! I used a small rotary table and BS1 slocum drill to make the disc and I canabalised the friction gearbox failure for the other mechanical parts. I built a simple stepper motor driver and, using an optical slotted switch to detect the holes in the disc had a working electronic gearbox. As a bonus it also works in reverse.

I had previously tested the speedo by driving the front wheel with an electric motor and comparing the car speedo against a bike computer mounted on the drive shaft. I got near enough the same ratio, comparing odometer readings, over twenty miles, as I'd calculated. I noticed that the speed reading high but well within the legal limits. The speed reading must be between 100% and 110%+6.25mph of the true speed over the range 25 to 70 mph. I'm certain the cost of calibrating a speedo is far far cheaper than all my messing about but what's done is done! The whole thing is far too big and ugly so I regard it as a mark 1 design with a much smaller one possible as mark 2.

I welded up a frame to surround the engine which mounts on tapped holes on the engine/gearbox plate. It looks rather like a hurling helmet face guard big enough for Fionn mac Cumhaill! When covered in mesh it should keep the MSVA man happy. Other MSVA jobs were to make wooden surrounds for the Monza filler cap, remove the Brooklands screens, mount the 2CV mirror on a block of wood which then bolts through the holes used by the Brooklands screens. An interior mirror utlises some of the other holes from the Brooklands screens so there aren't too many unused holes in the scuttle.

I had the task of building a trailer to get the car to Leeds - I used my own ideas and suggestions made by Bill (crozier3). An additional constraint; the ferry charged more for trailers over 4m which set the overall size and layout. I had booked an MSVA test in Beverley at this point so time was pressing. The car went on the trailer OK except I used an old large winch from a sailing boat to pull the hopper onto the trailer. The rear wheel of the hopper went up OK but when the front wheels started to climb the ramp the shaft of the winch snapped! I had to resort to a small tackle (4:1) to pull the hopper onto the trailer. A test drive showed no problems apart from loading and securing which took an hour. The major mistake, which became apparent later, was forgetting about the overhang at the rear and when the hopper is on the trailer closer to the hitch than my test drive, to get under 4m, the nose weight is excessive. The hopper was chained to the trailer at the rear wheel and ratchet straps used to pull it towards the rear of the trailer. I used a ratchet strap to pull the hopper down on its front suspension so that I could chain the chassis cross member to the trailer spine. The hopper was rock solid on the trailer.

At this stage the engine hadn't been started but my time in Ireland was up! I had booked test (MSVA) in Beverley for the begining of July. There's nothing like a deadline for forcing the pace.I trailered to car to Dublin, ferry to Holyhead and a drive over to Leeds. The ride was awful! Because of the excessive nose weight and poor road surfaces, especially in UK, the trailer would pitch and cause the car to jerk. I was limited to about 45mph max except when climbing hills when it was even slower. I'm close to the weight limit for towing an unbraked trailer and my poor old (1997) Hyundai Accent struggled at times. The ferry and fuel companies did well! The trip is not one I'd like to repeat soon.

Now the hopper was now in Leeds with two weeks to go for the test and an almost finished car. I called into the local stainless steel exhaust place on Gelderd Road, Leeds who I had contacted some time back about doing the work but he'd gone bust! I found Zorstec in Shipley who made up a header and balance pipe for me. The final major jobs were fitting the exhaust side pipes and silencers and - oh yes - get the engine running.

The space under the bonnet is quite tight for a car battery. The smallest one that would just fit was a 038 so I shopped round and bought a 12 volt 28AH battery (895) designed, so I was informed, for a ride-on lawnmower. The battery fits perfectly on the battery tray and there's enough side clearance for the hand brake cables.

I couldn't put it off much longer so I bought a can of petrol, filled the sump with oil and cranked the engine until oil pumped out of the oil pressure switch hole then I popped in the plugs, replace the fuel pump and ignition system fuses and tried it for real. Fuel poured out of a loose banjo on one of the carburettors but it fired! I sorted the fuel leak and got it running much to my delight. I hadn't put the rocker covers on from checking the timing but no oil appeared which did concern me. While I was showing Jan the fruit of my labours she asked if the spray of oil from the rockers was normal - another issue resolved. I used the carburettors as bought and did nothing to them at all so it was a great relief that it started and ran OK. I looked at the plugs and they were a sooty so it was running a bit rich. I clad the cage with mesh which covered almost everything and made any further work on the engine almost impossible.

Crackleport came over to give Quicksilver the once over and made useful comments about the MSVA testing procedure. He pointed out that the front indicators weren't visible from the side so I bought a couple of rubber cased horrors which are mounted on the top bolt holding the mudguard. I also had to remove the existing front indcators as four are two too many.

I had a carburettor flooding problem on one side which I guessed was a faulty float needle valve. At this stage it was too late to cancel without losing my test fee so 'crack on'. A call was made to Eurocarbs to buy new ones which came the next morning - great service. I bought the recommended 10375 needle valves size 150 suitable for for no more than 3psi pressurised fuel feed. I installed them and attempted to start the engine which was a bit more difficult - perhaps the flooding was a very effective choke.

Another problem was excessive oil spraying out of the breathers on the rocker covers. I hadn't connected any pipes or catch tank. A quick fix - I joined the two breathers together and it all seemed OK so that would have to do for the test.

I have to confess - I had a test drive of a few hundred meters and it got the neighbours out! It was quite noisy so I took advice from others and bought a pair of VW tail pipes (from Retrodubs) and sealed them in the ends of the 'silencers' with silcone caulk - what would we do without it? I did notice the speedo didn't seem to be working properly. I put the car onto axle stands and discovered it didn't work at any realistic speed. I re-read the motor specs and found it wasn't designed to step at the rate I required. What to do? - I dug out a bike computer and the magnet, usually screwed onto a spoke, screwed to the end of the speedo cable. A quick test and it worked. A small LED to illuminate it as per the MSVA requirement and that problem was sorted.

It raining the afternoon and evening before the test so I was very wet by the time the car was loaded and covered ready for the early morning start. I never sleep that well if I have to get up early and this time was no exception. I woke at 2 o'clock and didn't really get to sleep again. Bored with the wait I got up much earlier than planned 4 AM, had breakfast and left at 5:30 as planned. The journey was slow but unevenful - just as I like it. I arrived at Beverley about 10 minutes before the gates opened at 7:30. I got the car off the trailer and then waited until the examiner appeared at 8AM on the dot.

I asked him if he had tested a Pembleton before and he said he had done about five or six. He remembered Crackleport and Koen from the previous year. I knew that should make things easier.

We started the test with VIN check - I'd managed to make a mistake in the VIN but had previously cleared it with VOSA - no problem with the first bit. I explained that the car had not really been run and the headlights were unaligned and he said that we could sort that later. He then did a visual inspection under the bonnet pulling at the wiring and a general look at things. He then went round with a torch looking underneath at, I assume, the wiring, pipework etc. He was quite happy to talk about the test and what he was doing. He looked at the seat belts and the rear top panel and supporting steel structure. He was happy enough with the strength of the car to withstand the seat belt loads. I know others have had problems with this item.

We talked about the external projections and he didn't bother with the 100mm sphere as he said it was obvious that there was going to be no problems with edges. He saw the engine guard and said that that was fine. We laughed about some aspects of the test. He demonstrated, with the sphere, that the front edge of an unprotected steering rack/supsension unit was touchable by the sphere but it was such a tortuous route that cutting a pedestrian on that edge would have been the least of his/her worries. He commented favourably on my wooded surround to the Monza fuel filler as a neat way of satisfying the projections test. He also liked the rope binding on the seat belt bar. So far so good.

Emissions were easy as my engine is pre 1993 and just required a visual check - when asked about the test he said 'there wasn't a cloud of smoke when you drove across'. Onto the braking test. They use a single roller both to weigh the load on that wheel and to test the brake. Both front wheels were powerful enough to lock the wheels (I can't recall the rear wheel result). He forgot the hand brake worked on the front so we had to repeat the process for the hand brake. The results were OK but because the cables were new four years ago and they had stretched and it were at the end of the travel. The weight of my car was 360kg which surprised me as I expected it to be nearer to 340kg. I tried to keep it as light as I could despite using 1.5mm aluminium sheet for the bobywork. I commented that he hadn't checked the speedo yet and the answer was it's not required. All that's required is the MPH permanent marking so I needed have bothered with the bike speedo. I still have to get the speedo recalibrated but that can wait. In fact it's almost the same cost to recalibrate as to buy a new speedo. My defence is that I like the look of my speedo and instrument two dial dash.

Onto the noise test which did concern me as I thought the exhaust was quite loud. I explained I might have problems revving the engine as I'd done nothing to the engine since getting it running. He was happy enough and said that we would run it as fast as we could if it didn't reach the magic 3100rpm (half max power speed). The car passed well under the limit of 99dB (my results; about 91dB on one side and 93dB on the other). I was starting to feel that I was going to pass.

The final test was the lighting requirements. He got the VOSA MSVA manual out and started to go through each requirement. I hadn't set the headlights but he did it when testing the headlamp pattern. Another examiner appeared and said that the rear position lights were too close together. My examiner and I were in agreement that the wording was clear enough. Each condition (in bold) is followed by the requirement and, for a trike with one rear wheel, only required the rear position lamps to be on the rear half of the car. The reflectors were OK. No problem so far so onto the indicators and the rear pair were too close together 45cm vs the required 50cm - a fail! We tested the indicators; hazards OK but the flashing rate was too fast for normal indication. I'd replaced the indicators, tested that they worked using the hazard switch but didn't check the normal mode. The bulbs were lower wattage and didn't present enough load on the flasher unit - another fail! The fog lamp was OK but the brake lights didn't work even though he had noticed they were working earlier - yet another fail. It was about 10 o'clock at this stage.

He suggested that if I used some of the existing mounting holes I could shift the rear lamp units out and as they woud be bolted they would still be securely fixed. He went off to do something or other and said I should find him when I was ready. I moved the lamps, borrowed bulbs from the car and replaced the stop lamp fuse and got him to come over. I asked if it was OK not to bother remounting the rear lamp mounting board on the car and he was happy enough to test it while on the ground. Everything was OK and he went off to do the paperwork while I reloaded the car on the trailer. Part way through the loading he came over with the Minsters Approval Certificate and after a chat and a 'thank you' we went our separate ways. I left the test station just after noon. I was on a high at that stage as I hadn't expected to pass. I drove back to Leeds but was forced into a motorway service station for a coffee - that shows how knackered I was after the early start as I usually try to avoid service stops on motorways. I got home and was congratulated on my success by the family. I think Jan is really pleased as I am now available for more household duties without an excuse! I did feel very pleased that the build was alost complete - only DVLA (Leeds) as the final hurdle to clear. I had spoken to the man what does these things in Leeds and he seemed reasonable person to deal with.

I have to say I found the examiner most helpful and he wasn't trying to catch me out. If he had failed the car I would have accepted his verdict without feeling I'd been 'done'. I'd strongly recommend that a good variety of tools be taken along for the test. I forgot to bring Allen keys and luckly my Swiss Army knife tin opener blade allowed me to remove the lighting board. I would have been up the creek if I couldn't have removed it to re-position the lamps.

What would I do differently if I was mad enough to make another one.

I'm in Ireland at the moment but I will return to Leeds, get the DVLA stuff done as I need a car that can tow a trailer and then return to Ireland without the 'hopper. I don't fancy the long journey towing the 'hopper and two up. I plan to return to UK in time for the 10,000ft run in September which gives me plenty of time to sort out the 'lttle' items outstanding and polish Quicksilver.

David Tocher

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