Thursday, April 7, 2011

Diffs in the dark!

Well it’s been another hectic few days here with work still busy and lots happening in the garage.   As I said last week, the car felt a bit down on power in the final so our major priority was finding out why this was.   The fuel system was the obvious place to start so Dad set about stripping it down and looking for any problems; dirt, blockages, that kind of thing.   When he lifted the top off one of the carburettors it revealed a small stone in the chamber.   The cause of our problem!   This was quickly removed and all the filters cleaned and put back together and it seemed to be running fine in the workshop.
The dirt after a wet meeting seems to get everywhere, and even after it’s been washed you still keep finding more hidden away in the awkward places, so Ross and I spent an evening with cloths just wiping it all down and cleaning everything.   As well as the mess it leaves, there’s the weight of dirt to be taken into consideration.   It’s amazing how much it does actually weigh - and with weight being so important, you can’t afford to have too much extra.
A friend of mine, Daryl Harris who races a V8 Stock Car, put me in touch with a chap called Roy Scorer who designs and creates technical illustrations of racing cars.   He did the artwork of Jason’s Hot Rod and Daryl’s Stock Car that were on display at the NEC a couple of years ago, and can be seen on the wall in the diner at Ipswich.   He also does a lot of work with the BriSCA F1’s.   I think his work is amazing, and you have to really look twice to see that it’s not a photo.   The details and colours are so accurate - right down to the reflections on the signwriting.   He agreed to come and take some photos of my Tigra and see what he could do with it.
Considering it had been a pretty rough meeting at Ipswich and the car was looking a bit tatty I thought I’d best do something to tidy it up a bit . . . . so out came my little paintbrush and the blue paint.   An hour later it looked a bit more presentable, then another hour spent making the door fit again and it was ready for the cameras!    Roy had arranged to come at 3.30 and seeing as I don’t usually finish work until after 6.30, three hours off seemed to be a bit of a result and meant I could spend some time on the car after he had gone, rather than stay out in the garage half the night doing it!    He spent a good half an hour going round the car taking photos with some high-tech looking camera equipment.   All the work is done in his spare time, and each car takes about 30 hours from start to finish.   He told me it would take about a month and I’m really looking forward to seeing the end result.    For anyone that’s interested in his existing work check out his website   and see for yourself how good it is.
When Roy had gone I thought I’d get on and change the diff.    I’d got the car up on the ramp and while the oil was draining I headed off to get some tools.    Just as I was going underneath to start work the electric in the workshop went off!    I checked the trip and everything seemed fine but it turned out to be a power cut as there was no electric in the house or any of the houses round about.    I never have chance to work on the car during the day and it was an opportunity I didn’t really want to waste so after finding some torches and lead lamps I set about changing the diff anyway.   It’s no different to doing it on a dark Saturday night at a meeting after all!    Annoyingly, after I had removed it and got back out from underneath the car all the electric came back on - typical!
In the pub the other night, Jason Kew told me he was testing at Northampton on Wednesday, and asked if I wanted to go along.    Seeing as we had the problem with the engine it seemed like a good idea.    There were a couple of things we wanted to try out, so we set about getting the car all sorted and ready to go.   This meant finding a spare set of wheels to take - and as you know wheels are not my strong point - and after much searching followed by much swearing we found a set and got the tyres fitted and not leaking!
We got to the track and it was the hottest day of the year so far, and one of the rare times when the track was dry - I’m sure the place is jinxed as it always seems to rain when a National Hot Rod goes anywhere near.
Jason and myself had a blast around together for a few laps before he set off to do a feature with Paul Hines for Oval Racing News magazine.    I’ll leave that for him to tell you about but I’m sure you will be able to read it in his column soon.   Martin Kingston from was also there and you can see his photos in the gallery.  The car seemed to be flying, and the lack of power was well and truly cured.   I spent the rest of the morning trying a few things we have been talking about for ages before loading it back into the trailer satisfied with the day’s achievements.
The car is back in the workshop now, and after a few checks it will be ready to race on Sunday.   I think there’s a leak coming from the gearbox that needs looking at and some new stickers to fit and of course, the usual set-up stuff.   The tyres are sorted already so it saves us that nightmare.
With things still being so close in the points it looks as if it’s going to be another exciting meeting!   I’ll see you all there.
Thanks as ever for reading

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