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  Author    Right - join Part A to Part B etc, etc, etc  (currently 63,586 views)
Graham Bichard
Posted on: January 20th, 2019, 16:12:39 Quote Report to Moderator
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Thanks Simon - I thought it was the charging light but just wanted to be sure.
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Graham Bichard
Posted on: June 4th, 2019, 19:06:43 Quote Report to Moderator
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So, with others making such good progress on their cars I thought I'd better give an update.  Unfortunately not the one I wanted to give.
I've slowly been working through the list of IVA points, had booked the retest, and rebooked it, and delayed and changed the date again.  When to - 10th June (next Monday).
Last jobs were to get the rear lights swapped over (tail lights not bright enough - I now think I might have been sold 24v LED rear lights).  Arranged to get the car around to the garage (wanted the electrics done properly and tidied up) and the brake pedal started to go to the floor (again) and not return.
I've had the master cylinder rebuilt and had a nice firm pedal and the only thing I've done in that area since was to replace one of the pedal box mounting nut/bolt's for a longer item so I could fit a spring washer and still have threads showing.  So that'll have to be fixed again (brake pedal travel).
But while the car was in the garage I had them carry out an emissions test (today).  And it fails.  Miserably.
That year of engine should record around 0.3 (%CO2 I think) mine recorded 1.6.  So today I had to ring DVLA and try and reschedule the test only to be told I can't - I'll now need to got through the whole IVA test again .
so on a bit of a downer at the moment.  My own fault I suppose - should've pulled my finger out a bit, but hey ho - life gets in the way.

So - plan of attack:

1. Sort out the brake problem (again).  Once this is done I promise to sit in the car regularly, make brmm brmm noises and exercise the brake pedal often keeping everything moving (assuming this'll keep things working correctly).
2.  Sort the engine emissions.  First, get the sensors checked.  I've been told of a guy who is a bit of a Rover nut and has all of the old Rover test kit - I'll get him in to plug in to the OBD (or Rover's equivalent) and make sure they're all in order (or perhaps more hopefully not!).  If that doesn't work, accept I haven't put the engine together properly and pull the engine out (bugger).  (If this is the case, this might be the autumn/winter plan)

Watch this space (but don't hold your breath....)

Last modified June 4th, 2019, 19:07:53 by Graham Bichard
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Posted on: June 6th, 2019, 10:51:52 Quote Report to Moderator
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fantastic work graham,just keep plodding on your nearly there
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Graham Bichard
Posted on: September 18th, 2019, 18:40:45 Quote Report to Moderator
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Just a quick update - I managed to get the electronics guy with the MEMS test kit out to plug in to the car last week.  There was a fault with the coolant sensor repeatedly popping up.
At the weekend I found the plug on part of the sensor had a crack in it so not properly engaging I guess.  I dug out another engine harness that I have, found the correct plug and splice the replacement onto the fitted harness.

A point to note if you're ever fancying building an MPi powered car (other than perhaps don't!), Rover made available I think for the coolant sensor a replacement section of harness.  It seems they made the harness lengths JUST long enough to fit where it need to the result being they were string tight and chaffed at certain points.  That wasn't the problem here but does indicate these later cars might suffer electrical problems with the harnesses.

Anyway, hopefully this weekend I'll get the car run up, see if it runs any cleaner (I don't have an emissions tester to hand unfortunately).  Knowing that the plugs run very black I might do a compression test too, to see if perhaps it is the piston rings which are letting oil past.

But hopefully another little step closer to completion.
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Graham Bichard
Posted on: September 21st, 2019, 18:39:08 Quote Report to Moderator
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So the compression tester shows me all cylinders are 'in the green' on the gauge.  However the instructions on the gauge say a discrepancy across the cylinders of 1 bar or more shows a problem.  The lowest reading is 13 bar, the highest 14 bar.
The plugs are as black as ever, and with the engine warm, a hard blip of the throttle still shows a black cloud coming out of the exhaust.
I'll get the car plugged in the next chance I can to confirm the sensor is now soted, but it's looking like I'm going to have to pull the engine out
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Graham Bichard
Posted on: April 18th, 2020, 21:11:33 Quote Report to Moderator
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Well, its been quite a while.  I hope you're all keeping well at this time, and making best use of the time we all have on our hands.
I'm still working, but with weekends now free (no football or cricket to take the kids to at weekends), and with the weather turning a bit warmer I spent last weekend and today back in the garage looking at the little orange beast.
I've made contact with Green & White in Durham, and was planning to get the car to them to have the engine problem diagnosed (they know the man with diagnostic equipment) to find out once and for all whether the engine needs another rebuild or its one of the sensors failed (making it run rich).  With this lockdown though, that's out of the window for now.
So I've been looking at the other little jobs that I had left to do, that were going to be done after getting the car on the road.  The first of these was to try and fit the wheel arch liners.  While these might not be required on a fibreglass car, I noticed (over the many years of crawling under the thing) that there's still plenty of space for crud to gather up in the top corners of the wings.  I also have a couple of electrical connectors running up in these spaces too.  I'm also hoping these will perhaps help reduce spray a bit, as the inner wings don't extend down quite as far as on a mini, and the ecu is mounted on the opposite (engine) side of the OSF inner wing.  
I started with the OSF corner, making a cardboard template, transferring this to the liner.  Unsurprisingly, the space is slightly different to that of a mini, so I had to do a little chopping.  After a bit of a fight, I managed to get a reasonable fit.
Moving on to the NSF I guess I got a bit too eager, or wasn't as careful with making the template.  Whatever the reason, I ended up cutting the area around the damper a bit to much.  If there's a silver lining to this, this makes getting the liner into position a bit easier!  I used one of the larger bits that I'd cut off, mounted with a pop rivet, to form a piece that, once the liner is in place, I can swivel around to close the gap.

So having cut and fettled these to fit all I need to do now is fix these in place - this is where I'm hoping someone can suggest something to glue these in place.
If Lotus and Aston Martin can glue whole chassis together, is there a suitable superstrong mastic type substance that you can recommend to glue these in position?

The other small job I'm looking to achieve is to fit the DAB antenna.  I'm looking to fix this onto the rear side window (passenger side), but the instructions say part of this needs to make contact with the metal of the (normal) car for earthing.  My thoughts are to run a cable (I have a reel of Halfords 8 amp cable in the garage - do we think that would work?) from the antenna to the earth cable bolt that is located in the passenger footwell.  Has anyone else got a DAB fitted to their plastic car and if so, what solution do you have for the antenna?

Well, hope you all stay safe.  Good to be back at it again!

Last modified April 18th, 2020, 21:12:30 by Graham Bichard
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Graham Bichard
Posted on: October 3rd, 2020, 14:30:55 Quote Report to Moderator
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Short update.
Had the car collected last Monday and taken away for electrical plug in diagnosis.
Early days, but received a call back the next day - the first fault found was no earth to the lambda sensor.  Possible broken wire in the (2nd hand) loom?
Anyway - that might (if I'm lucky) account for at least some of the emissions I'm seeing from the exhaust....

More to follow, I'm sure.

Stay safe
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Graham Bichard
Posted on: October 17th, 2020, 14:57:24 Quote Report to Moderator
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Right then.
So, Green & White have had the car for a little over a week now and I'm pleased to say, it seems that I have built the engine correctly!  Good news.
They used a borescope down each cylinder and all appears fine (I was afraid that I'd done something wrong with the rings and ended up gouging lumps out of the cylinder walls).
They've also had the car on the Rover diagnostic on three separate occasions and all sensors are working and talking to each other.
Emissions are recorded as hydrocarbons reading 205 (200 allowed), but CO is still three times the allowed.

So what's next?  Well, after several calls and conversations it seems like these emission symptoms are typical of a modified MPi mini engine running the standard Rover MEMS ECU - it simply can't cope.
The Rover ECU 'defaults' to running rich to prevent detonation and engine damage when it doesn't understand the readings.
So a programable ECU is the way ahead.  And this is where I need some help.
I'll start another short thread about this (with a new title) in case someone isn't reading this one (or is bored after 10+ years!), and we'll see how we get on.

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Graham Bichard
Posted on: May 28th, 2021, 14:10:34 Quote Report to Moderator
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Right, so this afternoon I took the MM around the corner to my local garage who tested the emissions.  This was the readings:

For comparison we pulled up the MoT requirement for emmissions for my old MPi mini:

From this it can be seen that the CO reading is about four times what it should be (it was hovering around 1.3 - the camera caught it at a slightly lower reading of 1.1.
The fact that the car is reading 229 for hydrocarbons and the MoT requirement doesn't show any, I'm, not sure what this is telling me (i.e. is it mean to be zero hydrocarbons, or is it not measured at normal idle?)

So it would seem that I need to have the car mapped to correctly assess what the emissions could be.
And this is where things again get interesting and the questions begin.

While the car was idling, the guy testing the emission noticed that there was a coolant leak at the core plug at the end of the block, above the clutch cover:

This got me thinking (and worrying):
1. Could this have been as a result of the overheating that occurred during the first IVA test?  What other potential damage could've occurred?
2. When I tried to bed the cam in, I used the rev counter as a guide trying to hold it at around 2500rpm.  I now know the rev counter is far from accurate - i was probably holding the engine at around 4500-5000rpm.  Could this have glazed the bores/would this give the idle hydrocarbon reading?
3. Is it possible to change this core plug with the engine in situ?  I think there would be enough room to carefully knock in a new core plug, but how hard are these to remove?
4. Since changing the ecu/engine loom the car has had a tendency to blow fuse C7 (fuel pump fuse).  I checked the connection to the fuel pump (all tight), connections to the rear loom (seem good), looked at the connections of the new loom (again all look okay).  This habit seemed to stop when I managed to set a steady idle, but it happened again during the emission test.  Pulling the fuse out the fuse box it was hot and the plastic had slightly melted:

(I pulled the metal prongs out)
This has got me worried.  I really don't want the car to catch fire, but am unsure what else to check to find out what this electrical problem could be (would I be right in thinking there is an increase in resistance somewhere in this circuit leading to increased heat?).

Enthusiasm for continuing with this car is a bit low at the moment
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Graham Bichard
Posted on: June 2nd, 2021, 12:23:43 Quote Report to Moderator
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So we've got the core plug out:

The larger hole is the 'corrosion' hole, the other put in by my removal method (stubby screwdriver and hammer).
I might have to get a stubby dolly machined to aid fitment of the replacement.  What do people recommend as a sealant when refitting these - instant gasket?  Or is there a specific product that's best to use?
What I did discover is that, due to the coolant hoses routing, it's not easy for me to empty the coolant.  I've ended up having to remove the radiator top hose, which allows the coolant to drain to a level, but no where near empty.

ETA Just noticed looking at the photos on screen, there are two corrosion holes by the look of it.  I've never come across core plugs corroding like this before.

Last modified June 2nd, 2021, 12:46:35 by Graham Bichard
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Graham Bichard
Posted on: June 2nd, 2021, 12:40:08 Quote Report to Moderator
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I've removed the header tank for cleaning (it's pretty grimy inside) with bicarb and vinegar.  But when the core plugs back in I plan to top up with water, hopefully get the car running up to temperature and drain the coolant at the same place.  Doing this a couple of times should get most if not all of the old coolant out.
Following on from Steve's example I've updated my 'to do' board - more broad brush perhaps, history suggests Steve's progress will be much better than mine at crossing off the job list....

Last modified June 2nd, 2021, 12:44:51 by Graham Bichard
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Graham Bichard
Posted on: June 11th, 2021, 17:48:00 Quote Report to Moderator
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So I had a day off today and decided to fit the core plug.  Given the tight space available (and as I can't justify a hobby lathe!) I googled a local machine shop and had a couple of dolly's made up as it wasn't possible to easily fit in a socket to hit.

The company made these up for me while I waited - I was expecting to see a length of bar faced off in an old Colchester but they actually did this in a CNC milling machine in front of me.
CNC was just coming in to common use when I did my apprenticeship some 35 years ago (and wasn't something I've ever done) but it was fascinating to see.
I ended up asking for two thicknesses of dolly - 10mm thick and 20mm.  I also asked for a lip to be machined into one side.
These allowed me to fit the core plug this afternoon.

I used instant gasket around the circumference of the plug/hole, but can see from the photograph that the plug isn't quite square - is this going to cause me problems?  Am I going to have to refit this (I do have a second core plug if needed)?
I'm also having second thoughts about trying to better drain the old coolant before refilling with new stuff, as I won't be able to accurately know the strength of the coolant.  I'll still use only water in the meantime, but want to have it correctly mixed on completion.
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Graham Bichard
Posted on: June 19th, 2021, 18:51:38 Quote Report to Moderator
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I've worked out the way to drain the coolant as much as possible - to do this in future will mean removing the bonnet and front panel, raising the car to gain access to the radiator lower hose, but I'm glad I did.  The remaining coolant that came out was as grotty as the first lot.  I've flushed the system a couple of more times, starting the engine up to get the water cycling through the system.
This was when the fun and games started (again).  It turns out the header tank has split.  Now this was a new header tank - reading online, the MPI header tank splitting isn't an unknown event, but it really does feel as if the car doesn't ever want to be on the road!
Oh, and I discovered a fuel leak at the newly installed fuel regulator.  I'd carefully checked these (several times) when fitting these up and before first start up, so this is particularly galling.  I did resort to using regular jubilee clips, not the fuel hose type, because I couldn't source any of the fuel hose type at the correct size.  Guess I'll need to order some of these off the internet and try again.
And when I started the car up this time it sounds like its running on three cylinders (I stopped running the car when I discovered the fuel leak).  Pulling the plugs showed all plugs sooted up (I already knew this with the car running rich) but no.2 plug was wet (looked like fuel not oil - the liquid being 'thin').  Putting my widgets between the plugs and the leads shows sparks occurring across all four cylinders, so I'll get another set of plugs next week and see if it'll run on four cylinders with these fitted.
If there is any good news, on the four occasions that I started the car up to get the coolant circulating, the fuel pump fuse didn't blow.  Although I'm not sure this actually is good news, as I can't trace a problem when it's not occurring.
Oh well, onwards and upwards....
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Phil Smethurst
Posted on: June 23rd, 2021, 11:14:31 Quote Report to Moderator
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Not been on the forum for a bit but good to see you’re still progressing with the car. I’m sure you’ll get there in the end!...just keep going🤙🏻.
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Graham Bichard
Posted on: June 30th, 2021, 16:58:41 Quote Report to Moderator
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Thanks Phil.
I've sorted the fuel leak, repaired the header tank (plastic welded with the aid of a soldering iron and a cable tie) and now run the car up to temperature (heat in the top hose) - all looks good.  So the next thing is to drain the coolant/water again, and fill with a fresh mix of proper coolant.
But the fuel pump fuse hasn't blown again which is a bit of a worry (hidden problem!).  Could it have been corrosion in the fuse box creating extra resistance, and swapping them out a number of times has removed this?  Or am I grasping at straws in thinking this...
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