Archive for October, 2008

Post Knockhill Blues

Posted in maintenance, problem on October 31, 2008 by Paul Lawrence

Looks like the season is officially over, sad… so not much of an update. I have committed to updating the blog every week and doing pretty well so far.

Jobs for this weekend –

  • Strip down the steering rack and try to get the driver’s side arm tighened up..
  • Check the torque on the clutch cover and potentially order a new gasket
  • Get the front wheels off and get them balanced up at Drew’s.
  • Have a go at the front brakes, probably just take out the pads and resurface, will bleed if I can get someone to push the pedal… will probably also keep adjusting the bias bar.
  • Maybe get a few miles on Saturday as the weather forecast doesnt look too wet. Cold though.
  • Probably change the oil.

Still waiting to hear more about the engine safe mode problem and looking to purchase a flatshifter off of the WSCC bulk buy going on at the moment… merry Christmas in advance to me…


Knockhill Trackday 26th October 2008

Posted in problem, trackday with tags , , , on October 26, 2008 by Paul Lawrence

Weather was actually looking positive, just light showers down in South Lanarkshire. Signing on was at 8:30 and we needed fuel, so we left just after 07:00. Good progress up to Cumbernauld for the fuel, then continued up to Knockhill to find loads of people. Spotted Ross’s cousins and then Ewan waving furiously as they had kindly kept me a spot.

Got the bogey out of the trailer and the guys got the first opportunity to see the beast in the flesh. Overall I think they were impressed and a wee but scared of its potential.

After a quick check and no sign of any form of scrutineering – after all the threats of noise limits etc. I went to sign on and get the drivers briefing. As ever Knockhill is a friendly welcoming place but with its on freezing micro climate.

Track was still wet and we decided to let the Evos go out and give use a dry line.

First time out as interesting, line up and accelerated quite hard out of the pits and the rear end lit up…. Very slippy… after a few laps all temperatures were all fine, no issues or alarms. Track was very slippery out of the hairpin and had a mini spin…(my only exploit of the day) and with the newish 888s it was like driving on ice. Slowly built up some pace and tried not to chuck it in the barriers. Noticed some vibration at 90mph plus on the straights and that the front brakes were still naff.

Checked over the car at the first stop, a little weep of oil from the clutch gasket again. But nothing major. Figured out that the wheels may need balanced again to get rid of the wobble. Decided to go out again and build up the pace some more. As the morning wore on the line dried out more and at 11:00am managed to actually get a dryish lap or two in chasing a rather played with (possibly) turbo charged 350z. He had me on power but I was catching him through the twistier bits and in traffic. My mate Alan reckoned that I had broken the minute and maybe even done a 58. Was surprised with that. Especially as the engine is still down on revs and running in safe mode. Speedo peaked at 125mph during the day which is a good bit higher than the older blade powered car.

All importantly managed to get past both Ross and Matty during the day, both with nice cars, but I somehow think that Ross will have more to offer next time.. 😉

Later in the day had a look at the steering column, there is some play on the drivers side arm. Andy Thoirs said that it was a power steering rack and should be pressurised with the fluid from the system. A good question for MNR me thinks…

Decided to lower the front suspension a bit more and stiffen up the shocks to 4 clicks each. The biggest issue remain that I had very little feel from the front brakes. On coming back into the pits Dad checked the temperatures and reckoned that the rears were hot and fronts were cold… hhmmm brake bias. Had a look at the bias assembly and it appeared to be making little or no difference on the pedal travel. Rears were definitely being engaged first. Popped into on of the workshops and chatted to a guy with a formula ford and showed me how to adjust the bias. Basically to have one front and one rear up in the air and have people turn them until they start to bind. Makes sense really. Managed to adjust the bias a bit more and get a few laps in after lunch, but it was still raining, so difficult to tell.

So all in all a good outing for the bogey with a few things to check out..

1. Steering wobble/vibration above 90mph… could be play in the steering or wheel balance

2. Clutch gasket leaking… must not over tighten.. Maybe another gasket.

3. Front brakes – strip down and bleed again…

Took Matty out – who has a rather nice Busa Westfield with all the right bits and he commented that my transmission noises were similar to his and that they were all noisy.. So pleased with that. He also commented that the ZZR had more low and mid range than his busa… so promising there too. Hopefully out of safe more it was be even better.

After a few laps and Matty and back in the pits he stated that the car was stopping well, the brakes are still poor compared to the Willwoods on the old car, but perhaps removing the vibration and resurfacing the pads it will be 100%.

We popped out again in the rain and it began to bucket down, so aborted the last run and put the car straight into the trailer.

After the drive home, washed the car and trailer, tidied up and Dad stated his long journey home to Aberdeen. Cheers pop – a good weekend. 🙂

Mare efter as Ross would say… 🙂

And here’s “mare” in the form of pictures.

Paul between McIntyre’s and Butchers.

Chasing Ross in the rain.


More pictures to come when I (Stephen) get round to processing the rest.

Steering Rack Questions

Posted in problem, trackday with tags , on October 26, 2008 by Paul Lawrence
Update – it is a Ford Power Steering rack used to get the quick rack performance. Still need to work out if the play in the arm is a big issue or not….
Had a wobble at anything above 90mph at Knockhill… a nice chap at Locostbuilders has agreed to try and identify it.. it has a Ford badge on it.
Steering rack

Steering rack

There is definately plan in the drivers side arm, which would probably give me my high speed wobble and on braking… 🙂

More to come from Knockhill…. a better day for the bogey and 58/59 second lap to boot… more to come…

Preparations for Knockhill 24th and 25th October 2008

Posted in maintenance, problem with tags , , on October 25, 2008 by Paul Lawrence

So what needed done now –

1. Exhaust is leaking – all over the place – full strip down and rebuild. Not happy with the end can, but have been promised a new one from the chap that I bought the car from

2. Need to raise the car – problems with the sump being the lowest point on the car.. The ZZR1400 really is a tall engine…

3. Check all of the suspension nuts/rod ends… they appear to be working loose every time I go out in the car

4. Uprights – similar – bolts vibrating their way out… time for thread lock me thinks.

5. Hub nut torque – rear left nut has never been torqued and has some play in it. Perhaps this will help with my transmission noise/kangarooing….

5. Service the brakes, appear to have little to no stopping power at present

6. Refit the remote oil filter head – crimp and check the wiring to the dash

7. Change the rake on the passenger seat, seat with spacers is sitting way to upright and doesn’t provide any leg support

8. Replace the rather mucky looking fuel filter

While waiting for the help to arrive (Dad) I stripped down the exhaust and cleaned all of the surfaces on the headers and main can. Removed the passenger seat and prepared all of the spacers ready for a refit.

Dad turned up with a selection of large 40mm+ sockets borrowed from a friend in Aberdeen – cheers Scotty. Hub nut was 42mm and needed four full faces to get the hub torqued and bearings seated properly. Fortunately there has been no damage and all is tight now. All four hubs needed reseated and are all running nicely now. We then started to strip down the rear end and removed all of the brake assembly, just two bolts for the calliper and four holding the upright in place. Took the opportunity to wind up the rear springs collars at the same time. Pads were resurfaced with a bit of wet and dry and rotating them in a figure of eight to freshen them up. We took the opportunity to remove the light surface rust and paint it with a nice primer at the same time.

With the wheels off and the car up in the air, I noticed that one of the rods end lock nuts wouldn’t tighten and was pulling the rod out of the suspension leg. Disaster me though.. 😦

Spoke to Marc at MNR and essentially as the powder coating wears away the nuts become loose and then rod ends begin to move around and then stretch the threads. Not ideal and I believe that the threads could be cut with a closer tolerance to the rod end so that there isn’t suck as reliance on the rod end itself. Swapped the rod ends from the front of the upright to the rear and managed to get some torque on them all. Will order two new rods ends to be safe and remove the powder coating while I am at it… no use in them loosening off every time you go for a drive.

Refitted the rear end with threadlock, left the calliper bolts without as they will be off quite regularly. All looks good. Diff has remained tight and dry, so finally some success in that department. Put the wheels back on and dropped it to the floor. Amazing how much time goes by when doing this stuff. Handbrake is still poor, will need to remove the tunnel cover and tighten the cables at some point over the winter…

Next on to the front end. Refitted the tapped oil filter head and crimped the nice new blue wire. Started her up and all was good. Oil temperature… nice…

Jacked the car up in the air to fully drop the suspension and began to wind up the shocks. A real nightmare, so space to work with the inboard shocks, so spent ages winding them up. Was getting grumpy at this point, so Dad went to Larkhall to get us a Subway…

Tried to remove the front wheels…. The arches while looking nice, don’t allow the wheel to come off. After much discussion and removal of various bolts the decision was that the design of the wings poor. Stupid in fact. The wings come with a collar that if it hadnt been hammered into place would allow the wings to come off while leaving the majority of the stays in place. Ended up removing the two main bolts and holding the wing out of the way. The only way to split the wing from the stays is to remove the four self tapping screws. Only four screws I hear you say… but they wont last if I have to do remove them every few weeks. Will end up with 10mm screw after a year. These will need a serious amount of thinking to get this better… very dissapointing part of the car. To take ten minutes to remove a wheel is nonsense… rant over… Had a look at the forums and people have ground away the outer edge of the arch to allow the wheel to be removed… seems like a real hash to me… not a happy bunny..

After a late lunch, full travel on the spring collar resulted in a lowly 30mm increase in ride height at the front… no use… what to do next. The rod ends on the arm are adjustable. Had to fully remove the push rods as they we locked solid – probably rust!, unfortunately nothing had been fitted with any grease during the initial build. So decided to fully strip the front end too. After copious amounts of nice grease the front end was serviced and suspension raised a mighty 100mm…. Probably too much, so I started the laborious process of unwinding the shocks. Morale of the story, please put grease on bolts before you fit them and if you have inboard suspension, leave the shocks alone and adjust using the push rods. I left around 30mm of rake front to rear with the ride height increased to around 100mm at the front.

Tidied up the exhaust system and refitted. Lots of gum and we had removed around 90% of the leaks. Still not tidy enough for long term use, but will do for the track day tomorrow.

Took the opportunity to bleed the front brakes, pedal is firm enough, but I still don’t have confidence in them. Ran out of time a bit so decided to leave them for now. Hopefully they will come alive after a few hard stops at Knockhill.

Passenger seat was adjusted, actually quite a pain of a job locating the bolt holes etc. Managed to get another 20mm of spacers in to the front. As I have the Super R chassis with extra bracing it means that the seats sit about an inch higher above the floor pan. May even remove some of this bracing at a later date, just to get my seat down a little bit further. Ideally a higher cage or chopping a few inches out of my spine would minimise this issue, but beggars cant be choosers as they say…

Decided to cut up some foam that Dad brought to make the seats a wee bit comfier at the same time.

Replaced the fuel filter… only wasted a few litres of petrol… doh!

So we were ready to load up the car, but noticed a further problem. A problem with the lights and on checking I thought fuse number 2 had blown, but was only heat damaged off of a rather blown fuse 1. Fitted new fuses and diagnosed the fault down to the horn. Circuit 1 = fuse 1 in the MNR loom is the horn and lighting circuits. When pressing the horn it blew the fuse. The car has dual horns and I had wired it up wrong after refitting the oil system – I never expected the horns to be bothered about polarity.. My fault.. No harm done.

Following this, checked the lights… fog light wasn’t working, so stripped it all down and remade the contacts. These carbon fibre effect light units really are poor quality. Next lighting snag was one of the number plate lights – removed the cover the bulb just fell out… never been fitted properly. Lights done!

Weather had been atrocious all Friday and Saturday, but I still had to load up the car and get the tools etc all ready for the track day. Finally got the car loaded and put to bed around 18:00… just the tools and garage to tidy up…. Loaded the tow car and went in for something to eat….. tired and emotional, just wondering what would happen at Knockhill.

Mare Snags

Posted in problem with tags , on October 22, 2008 by Paul Lawrence

Clutch judder or is it?

When pulling away slowly in the car I noticed that the car would start kangerooing and wouldnt stop until I depress the clutch and then pull away with more throttle.

After some good suggestions from the guys at Locostbuilders, I called Damian at Daytuner and discussed various options regarding the clutch. He reminded me of the blued plate when the clutch was slipping at the dyno run and suggests new steels. Bit of an unexpected cost, but will probably wait until the mapping is right and get some money togethor – about £100 for a set of steel plates…  It just means that I need to give it more gas while pulling away for the time being.. once into second gear we will be away as normal…

More snags – 9800k rpm limit

Posted in engine, problem with tags , , , , on October 22, 2008 by Paul Lawrence

While surfing the web I spotted that the limiter on the ZZR1400 should actually come in at 11k. On my car during the mapping process it only reached 9800 rpm. I hadnt though much about it since then but decided to open up this can of worms and get to the bottom of things.

It appears that my ECU is bewing told to work in some sort of “Idiot” or “Safe” mode and without the power commander would be using safer fuel and ingnition maps to stop the engine from hurting itself. I have read that the Busa bikes have an idiot mode – where if the clutch, stand or neutral is in use the rev limit is dropped to 10k from about 11k. This was I believe was due to people trying to get an engine rebuild on their warranty before it ran out by sitting revving the nuts of off the engine while stationary. So the clever people at Suzuki put in some extra checks within the ECU. The problem is that this last 10% will be robbing me of power and more importantly torque….

Mycar doesnt run the standard clocks (uses an ETB digidash), so the ECU may actually be reporting a fault somewhere in the system that the dash isnt designed to show, so it could be in some sort of “Safe” limp home mode. How to determine is this is the case without clocks I really dont know….

At the dyno, Damian at Daytuner thought that the power figures were ok (161bhp atw), but the torque was down on what he expected (96 lbs). Speaking to Malc at Yorkshire engines, he reckons I should be closer to 180 bhp and well over 100lbs torque. So what next Dr Watson….?

Malc at Yorkshire (top bloke) has asked for the ECU code – so I will get this tonight. Meanwhile I need to locate and verify that the clutch engaged wiring is ok and not just chopped as the ecu would determine that the clutch is in, similarly with the stand switch. The stand switch will be harder as I have no idea in the loom where it will be….

The car wont start unless it is in Neutral and the digidash correctly displays the little green light at the right times, so I am hoping the gear selection side of the equation is ok. If the ECU is not getting the correct gear, then a GIPro may be the answer, this essentially fools the ecu into thinking that it is in a higher gear and hopefully then not in neutral. Have emailed the manufacturer’s of the GIPRO for more info… It also includes a nice little red LED showing which gear you are in…

It would be nice to discover that with a little tweak of the clutch wiring this could be fixed. Fingers crossed…

more to follow on this one….

Sunny Aberdeen – 17th October

Posted in upgrades with tags on October 21, 2008 by Paul Lawrence

During a quick visit to the folks on Friday, managed to get a wee bit of time on car stuff.

Dad was all prepared and raring to go, so it was time to get the remote filter head tapped to get the ETB sensor installed. I still can’t understand why you would build a race car and not install oil pressure or oil temp sensors. Especially when you dash supports it and can configure alarms etc…

Dad managed to source an 1/8th 27 threads per inch npt tap and some drills, so 20 careful (measure many times) minutes later the job was done. Will get it back on the car on Wednesday night. Looking forward to Knockhill now…. roll on Sunday.

Tapped remote filter head

Tapped remote filter head

Jobs still to do before Knockhill –
1. Raise the front of the passenger seat so that passengers are comfier
2. Check for oil leaks around the clutch cover… was weaping last time
3. Need to raise the car – especially after catching the sump previously
4. Further brake bias adjustment, but can do hopefully tweak this during the run at Knockhill….