Archive for May, 2009

Trackside View, Machars at Kames, May 2009

Posted in Trackside View on May 27, 2009 by Giles Guthrie


Another unseasonably glorious Scottish day bathed Kames in windy sunlight. Almost hidden by its own rise, the Kames complex seems like a pioneer’s homecoming. It probably didn’t help that I steered the battle bus into the wrong entrance, climbing an almost escarpment-like slope before driving through the gate I’d vaulted in my previous visit. Round and through the paddock to slot in next to other obvious non-competitors. Slow enough to check out those there to more than watch. Les & Mike’s Dax, a new (to me at least) DJ Firehawk and an interesting looking Ralt. Past an immaculate road-going Porsche 911 GT3 RS to a place suitable for abandoning 1800KG of people carrier.

Machars Car Club’s unruffled organisational tactics were immediately evident as the only noise in the complex was that of the wind, cooling the sun, and necessitating a coat. It looked as though most of the competitors had been at the previous day’s test session, and so were atypically relaxed. An absent ambulance left plenty of time to catch up with acquaintances, nod at those we recognised but didn’t know, and get signed on as a photographer. A top-notch bacon roll passed some time and postponed some pangs, but it would be a while before cars ran in anger. The public address system detailed the deficiency, and someone fired an engine for a few minutes for reasons not immediately apparent and yet somehow aptly complaining.

Paul, myself, fellow ’tog & logistics manager (windscreen & washer fluid) Stephen, and Nicola walked the track. It showed its cambers to us. Still buzzing from frolics of oversteer on the test day, Paul explained exactly how sideways he was planning to be at each point. And we all nodded sagely.

In fact, when the running started, the Bogey looked sorted, Paul settled. A bit of showboating out of the hairpin on the practice runs for the snappers was ruined by unfortunately-placed tape, but it went more than some way to showing Paul’s new-found comfort with the car. The ghosts of missed days at Knockhill laid to rest. Starts still need quite a bit of work though, and learned cousel would later advise Paul that he needs to forget that he’s paying for his clutch. Perhaps the reduced wear of the clutchless gearshifts could be used as a bargaining chip in the battle for more violent getaways.

The class win would still have been richly deserved against stiffer opposition, but as it was, Machars at Kames gave us a view as to Paul & the Bogey’s capabilities. Ever onwards, this correspondent will catch up with the Bogey once more at the majestic ribbon of Doune.


Kames – Machars Car Club Scottish Sprint Championship 24/5/09

Posted in Sprints with tags , , , on May 24, 2009 by Paul Lawrence

First win for the Bogey!

Unfortunately, there were only two in my class but I managed to get third fastest road car and 10th overall out of a field of 47.

Car felt great all weekend and lowered my pb from 85.97 to a very respectable 84.56.

The Numbers Don't Lie

Existing class record remains at 84.22, but an 83 could be on with a great start and no silly but fun slides at 1:24 on the clip below.

Enjoy – I did

Fintray May 2009 Videos

Posted in Hillclimbs on May 20, 2009 by Paul Lawrence

Fintray 30.57 dry run – thought I had a speed sensor issue out of combine, but it was the start of fuel surge. Fastest run of the day from me was a 30.47 which also suffered really badly from surge. More to come from the bogey! Enjoy the videos.

Damp run from Saturday

Fintray Start Line Action

Propshaft Installation

Posted in maintenance, problem, transmission with tags , , , on May 20, 2009 by Paul Lawrence

Propshaft replacement – bit slow with this update, apologies – was really busy getting ready for Fintray then focused on getting the videos done.

Quaife have an excellent name in car engineering circles and to have the famous Quaife reverse box in the car when I bought it was a a real sweetener. From season 2010 the MSA have specified that all “road” cars must have a reverse. There have been jokes about have a shoe on the end of a stick, but it appears we will have to meet this requirement mechanically. Two main solutions exist – one is the inline transfer box that cleverly uses gear sets way above my capabilities even to understand or an electric system, usually around a starter motor and small ring-gear.

Having an inline reverse proved noisy and lossy in terms of power for me. Backlash was noticable and generally unpleasant to drive at high speeds. Fine for a road car, but not a race car was where my logic ended up. On speaking to Quaife two things were important for the sucessful use of their reverse box. The breather/catch tank setup- due to the high revs and temperatures involved in such a small case, the box would regularly empty itself of oil. The Westfield system is commonly joked about as the “Westfield tunnel lubrication system” for this reason. My unit had the £50 pipe and breather fitted and to be honest I never noticed a problem in this area.

The second and more important issue is the alignment of the box in relation to the gearbox output.

My car suffered from the ZZR being a particularly tall engine and also the ridicilious decision to mount the engine at an angle – parallel to the passenger side engine side rail. The engine would idealy be horizontal to the bulkhead. This culminates in the propshaft trying to break free through resonances and general increases in vibration at any speed above 70mph. If left long term I would damage the Quaife unit and that is unnacceptable with £800 worth of reverse box.

gearbox output

I prefer to spend my money going forward (preferably faster!) so I have had the bearings looked over and as the unit has only done 300 miles, it is 100% perfect condition ready for a kit builder out there to get a good bargain.

I decided to go for a Bailey Morris two piece high spec prop with small centre bearing. The MNR tunnel is particularly tight though, so measure many times sprang to mind –

Tunnel only 60mm wide at the top!

Tunnel only 60mm wide at the top!

The overall dimesions as supplied to Bailey Morris for my installation were as follows –

The main difficulty we faced during the install was the tightness of the tunnel requiring the diff to be lifted to allow the old prop out and also the new rear section in. The new prop had to be split at the centre bearing to allow it to fit. Ideally this would not be necessary as there is a chance of not aligning the prop properly and suffering an imbalance. We marked the prop carefully before splitting. Note – when splitting, you may have to heavily modify a 17mm spanner to get it to fit.

Next was the centre bearing mount. MNR used a raised and strengthened platform for the Quaife, so we had to get the car up in the air and then drill from below. The prop angles should be minimised, not dead straight, but certainly no more than a couple of degrees. We used a 1” square section bar to raise the prop to minimise the angles involved. I referred to this page to get my head around all of the possible problems related to propshaft angles –Propshaft angles guide

On reflection with the prop in place, I would recommend making the rear section slightly shorter and allowing the telescopic portion to do its job, you should get around 50mm of float in the telescopic section. My install may just be a little bit tight if I go for an electric reverse and have to install a small gear wheel between the rear prop and diff. Other than that the car is transformed with no backlash and just feels much nicer to drive at 100%.

angles (1)angles

Fintray Hillclimb 9th and 10th of May 2009

Posted in Hillclimbs with tags , , on May 13, 2009 by Paul Lawrence

Big thanks to Grampian Automobile Club for a great event.

Saturday started out well even with a very slippery first run just until the track started to rubber up. Car was running well, so was looking forward to the rest of the weekend. Popped in a good second practice run about 0.9 seconds up on the rest of the field. My competition on the Saturday being Ross in his 2008 Busa powered Westfield.

In true Fintray tradition the rain started and our first timed runs were on a damp track. Too much right foot cost me quite a lot of time, but everyone faced the same problem. Ross piped me by a couple of 10ths and then the heavens opened. So that left me in a disappointing second place for the Saturday.

After a Chinese at Jimmy Chung’s in Woodside we got down to business. Mr John Hamilton (A4 Hillclimb champion last year) was also present for the Sunday as Fintray is not his favourite track. Both Ross and I put in two impressive times first practice, only a few tenths off the record. We continued to swap times just above the record until our first timed runs. John was a little bit off the pace with Matty challenging him for third.

My first timed run was a 30.54, but didn’t feel fast. So I held the A4 record at Fintray for nearly 20 seconds when Ross popped in a 30.34. Pressure was on for the second time run.

Had a bit of a fluster going for my last run when I noticed that my fuel gauge had stuck at 80% and didn’t know if I had enough fuel in the tank. Decided to drain the tank and ensure that I had enough fuel in. Gauge will be checked at the weekend as it is stuck at 80% even when empty.

Went on the last timed run, carried loads of speed through Ruin and was well up passing the clock. Turned in to Combine, again carrying loads of momentum. Then disaster, the dreaded fuel starvation. Even held up my hand in frustration, power was back after what seemed like an age the then roared up the rest of the hill to the hairpin, nice flick and then flat over the finish. Lost by 0.13 of a second to Ross. So lets just say that without any school boy errors, the car has lots more to give and could quite easily do a 29 in the right hands. I had only put 3 litres of fuel in which clearly isn’t enough to stop surge. Will run the car with 10 litres from now on and to hell with saving 5 kgs…. Doh!

So two second places with an extra point for beating the previous record puts me in good shape against John Hamilton who only managed a low 31 and a 3 points for a third, but he was complaining of gear selector problems. The battle for the hills moves on the Doune on the 20th and 21st of June. Meanwhile the next three events are sprints where I can continue to improve the car with two events at Kames and hopefully I will get an entry for Golspie.

Ross continues to be the man to beat, but I am only a 10th here or so behind and have plans to remedy that next time we meet. Respect to the mighty Bananaman.

Full revs – No way I hear you say! Speed sensor solution as promised

Posted in engine, problem with tags , , on May 5, 2009 by Paul Lawrence

This weekend saw a watershed moment with the low rev limit issues that have been hampering the car since last year.

A quick historical summary of my trials and tribulations related to the issue –

On the way home from MNR we went via Daytuner and had the car mapped. Whilst on the rollers it was immediately apparent there was a low rev limit. The engine was putting out peak power at 9600rpm with 162.bhp at the wheels which was about right. Damian at Daytuner commented that he thought the engine wanted to rev further. On checking the official specifications, the engine should rev fully to 11000 rpm. A full search on google and posts on a few of the bike forums resulted in no reports of this error and posts on Locostbuilders were useful but not conclusive.

A Kawasaki dealer mechanic confirmed that he hadn’t seen a similar error and that a limp home mode would be much lower revs that 9800rpm. He wasn’t much help in working out what could be wrong in that they would always have an FI error on the dash to refer to. It’s difficult to get a bike dealer to look at BECs – “look mate, I can get either your car in my workshop or 4 or 5 bikes… not worth my while”.

I read about the hyperbike speed agreement where Japanese Super/Hyper bikes have an artificial top speed of 300kph or 186mph. If the ECU uses a lower rev limit to limit the speed when in sixth gear, this would theoretically come in at approximately 9800rpm.

This led me to believe that my mechanical gear selector was faulty or open circuit. A poor mans TRE – (timing retard eliminator) would be to lock the bike in a non-6th Gear (quite common on the Busa’s) by fixing the output voltage. I traced the wiring on my car and found there was no such fix in place to do this.

For those who aren’t aware of TRE – Kawasaki and other manufacturers decided it would be a good idea to limit the power delivered in lower gears to avoid riders being thrown off the back all the time. As the name suggests the timing of the ignition is retarded in these lower gears. Also on the Kawasaki there is a secondary set of butterflies to limit airflow in the lower gears. A TRE eliminator simply fools the ECU to use a single gear – ideally 4th on the Kawasaki to avoid the top speed limiter.

I managed to pick up a GI-Pro on eBay for a bargain price, this enabled me to verify the output voltages from the gear selector and verify that everything was as expected. I set the GI-Pro to 4th but it didn’t make any difference to the rev limiter.

This left me stumped for a while but then I dived into the wiring diagrams and Kawasaki diagnostic manual.

The wiring diagram is pretty complex as you can imagine on such a beast, but I had nothing to go on, so decided to source a Kawasaki workshop manual to see what I could learn. On browsing the DFI section of the manual I came across a list of errors. Many of the errors were either not relevant or would generally stop the engine from starting – clutch switch, stand switch etc. but all hope wasn’t lost.

Errors 24 and 25 looked promising –

24 Speed Sensor
Speed sensor must send 4 signals (output signal) to the ECU at the one rotation of the drive shaft.

25 Gear Position Switch
Gear Position Switch Output Voltage (signal) Vg = 0.2 ~ 4.8 V
If the speed sensor system fails (no signal, wiring short or open), the ECU set the top (6) gear position. If the speed sensor system fails (no signal, wiring short or open), the speedometer shows 0

So if the speed sensor was faulty or open circuit the ECU would lock the bike into 6th gear. Not many people have installed this engine and the usual array of sources were helpful but not sure about how to solve the problem. Being absolutely honest, Miniciti from the forums suggested the speed sensor maybe faulty, but when beginning this process, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing.

To complicate things moving from the bike install to the kitcar install just made all of the locations and online pictures almost useless. Using a propshaft ratherthan the bike sprocket removes the speed sensor and most of the sprocket cover from the engine. After a difficult day of removing the scuttle to enable me access to the wiring loom, I managed to trace the blue and yellow wire and it was just chopped. About 10inches into the loom, but chopped and left open circuit. This would definitely cause error 24/25 to kick in. To be fair to the “electrician” – apart from using miles of black tape and chopping wires in the most random of ways, most people wouldn’t bother with the speed sensor if using a third party dash like the Digidash. On the Busa’s they don’t use a speed sensor and as very few of these engines are in play he hadn’t bothered connecting it up.

First off, I tried to pass the ecu a set voltage so that it was at least not open circuit. How clever is the ecu and how complicated can it be? So with the help of some electronics advice Stephen and I made up a little circuit to output a constant 4.8v, but this wasn’t enough to fool the ECU. It clearly does need the 4 pulses per engine rotation to clear the error.

So to the solution –

The original circuit is quite simplistic with a voltage – approximately 11v being supplied via the clocks via a pink wire. I just replaced this with a switched live. The sensor needs to be earthed which was easy and the third blue/yellow wire returned to the ecu. Easy I thought.

From the manual –

Input Voltage at Sensor About DC 9 ~ 11 V at Ignition Switch ON
Output Voltage at Sensor About DC 0.05 ~ 0.09 V or DC 4.5 ~ 4.9 at Ignition Switch ON and 0 km/h

Having wired up a speed sensor from Malc at Yorkshire Engines, I didn’t have any success. The supplied Suzuki unit outputted the wrong voltage and on testing it I managed to kill it after only 5 minutes. As a result I had a dead speed sensor. So on to a Kawasaki unit. This proved to be more tricky as the ZX12 engine Malc had doesn’t share the same type of unit. Fortunately Malc managed to get me one off of a ZX10 for me. I decided that I should protect the unit by regulating the voltage to it. At full revs the “battery” voltage could be over 14volts. So I sourced the relevant component from Maplin (Link) to regulate it to 9v which is close enough and wired up a simple circuit as follows to replace the bike circuit which relies on the bike clocks for the live feed (Kawasaki call the clocks the “Meter Unit”)

  • Switched live (11-14v) into a voltage regulator then connected it to the speed sensor live feed (replaces Pink wire)
  • Earthed directly to the engine casing near to the sensor location (replacing Black/Yellow wire)
  • Blue/Yellow – ran a wire back to the ecu to meet the Blue/Yellow)

To replace the sprocket bolts that the sensor would usually detect, I ordered a set of strong earth magnets from Ebay (as the ones from ETB – Digidash chaps regularly decide to leave the car) to attach to the gearbox output flange and fabricated a simple bracket to hold the sensor. The ecu expects a square wave signal from 4.8v (on detecting an earth through a magnet or bolt head) and then dropping to trace voltage (0.09 etc) when not adjacent to a bolt. The ecu needs 4 pulses per rotation of the engine so four magnet were glued in place adjacent to the flange bolts. One quick suggestion – the sensor only picks up when approximately 1mm away from the bolt, so very close tolerance. Also it is the cut out section of the cylinder that detects the signal and not any other part of the sensor.

So with everything in place, I tested the car yesterday and for the first time I had full revs. What a relief! I have left the wiring pretty untidy with loads of spade connectors to allow me to measure the voltages at various points in the circuit. If it behaves over the next event or two I will tidy it all up and solder all of the connections in place.

Any questions – please give me a shout. Lets all hope that this issue has now been put to bed. Thanks to all the usual suspects – you know who you are!

Will post a few photographs later in the week.