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Build report #113


Philip Hardcastle

I can't believe that my last update was in December; time seems to fly by. Only another 40 years until I retire and then I can actually spend more time on these projects!

Anyway – I left you with the intention of taking the test for MSVA in the February half term. The car was built and running – want could possibly go wrong?! Well, most things. I won't bore you with the whole saga but it went a little like this:

I was pretty upset to say the least. I just couldn't get the car started at all. To make things worse, it was difficult to diagnose – it had all the symptoms of fuel starvation, but I wasn't getting a spark either.

Feeling annoyed and full of cold I started replacing bits, and made the cardinal sin of not following a logical method. David Stephenson came round, as it seemed that the Keihin carbs were flooding, and the float angle seemed a good place to begin. We opened the carbs up to find plastic (unchangeable) floats. Luckily, David being the gent he is offered me his Keihins from his own build – he is moving back to a solex and 2cv engine as opposed to his current visa engine with Keihin carbs. Those of you who know David's car will know that he actually used a matched pair of Keihin carbs and sat them horizontal and connected together as they would be on the bike. David went home, and I now had some increased enthusiasm to get things working.

I had also decided that I wanted the carbs sat level, but under the bonnet to give a clean line. (I had previously started on a 1.25" SU conversion but that's another story for another time!). After research on the internet I also decided on a copper manifold as this would be in keeping with the car. I set to work, borrowing a pipe bender from the local plumber and purchasing some pipe from the local plumbers merchants. I don't have any finished pics, but you can see below my initial system. You can also make out the pipes in the end pic.

There were other benefits to running a single carb setup. I only needed one throttle cable, and a simple choke setup could now be made. My father turned up a nice brass pull for the cockpit which attached to the cable with a little grub screw. Simple but looks very tidy.

At this point, the car was out of the cow shed and in an open fronted garage. The weather was awful and I decided to trailer it to my parent's place – workshop facilities and parental hospitality are sometimes just too much to resist!

I'm still not sure what caused the non –running, but during this period I also tired/replaced the coil, plugs, and fuel filter. I actually think the key issue was either a suppressor cap (it ran almost as soon as they were swapped) or a fuel blockage. A friend put his mouth to the fuel filler and blew though – this caused a marked improvement in fuel flow.

So, now we were running and ready for MSVA:

I went to Beverley for the MVSA, and can't praise them enough. An excellent tester who was interested in the car, and really wanted me to pass. I was happy to see just how efficient my rebuilt brakes were, and the tester allowed time to rectify small snags (handbrake cable too close to battery). At this point I was surprised to hear "drive her round to the sound test hanger and if it's okay then you've passed". Wow. However, nothing is simple.

I knew the car was loud, but not quite how loud! We just couldn't get it anywhere near the limit – only 3db over, although as decibel level is exponential, 3dp is a huge amount of increase in actual noise produced. It was a fail. But I decided to at least get something from the day and drive her home, even if it was in the pouring rain!

One interesting point to note was the tester's experience of Pembletons. He was happy to say that all the cars he's seen have been excellent, and of a much better quality than what he described as the "kit car lot". He also was keen on neat, evenly spaced rivet lines. It just goes to show that first impressions really do count.

I booked a retest for early the next week, and set about re packing my baffles and making some inserts. Pics below:

I think it's fair to say this didn't make much difference, but someone was shining on me that test day, and the VOSA station was having problems with noise from local building works. Also, the tacho machine wasn't working too well which meant an estimate of engine RPM. I PASSED!

Here she is at the station after pass:

I don't know exactly what happened, but when I came to the car soon after lots of parts had dropped off, and some lovely new bits added....

I had also noticed lots of oil escaping from around the dipstick tube. The forum was quick to help and diagnose a broken breather. I decided to put my hand in my pocket and buy a new small style oil filer from Ecas. I'm really happy with this, and its small size means that it doesn't look out of place on the front in its correct position and I have more room under the bonnet. Instantly my oil problems were fixed. Magic!

Since fitting my breather I have heard from David Gardner in NZ. He built his own arrangement using a non-return valve and some plumbing fittings. I plan to follow his example over summer and see if I can make something tidy and in keeping with the brass/copper theme. If this is successful I'll see if I can make a few...

After almost 6 weeks, my logbook arrived – with new reg: E493 KNO. A friend was up from Norfolk so had chance to share my maiden voyage (and take some pictures and videos!)

I even commuted to work on Thursday – a 50 mile round trip. Great fun!

So, current thoughts are that it's far far too loud, and the mudguard brackets need some extra support. These can be easily fixed I'm sure. I understand that Phil's silencers are the best option, however I can't really stretch to £100 per side, and am looking at alternative arrangements, I will update in the next PAG! Progress may be a little limited this summer, as we have just had an offer accepted on a house – It'd be fair to say that this is yet another project....

Finally, a huge thank you to everyone on the forum for their advice and support. Special thanks to Duncan and Kevin for lending me parts for the MSVA, and Spike for giving his time.


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