Monday, 14 March 2016

Winter Overhaul

We've spent roughly a day per month over the off season sorting the car out.  Here's the run down on most of it.  

First up was to repair the damage from the last round of 2015 at Silverstone.  This required a new front wing and door to be sourced.  Luckily I got used panels in really good condition and in the right colour so we just had to unbolt and swap them over.

The remainder of the damage had to be done by a processional body shop.  I used Lemass_Automotive in Buckinghamshire who pulled the lower sill dent out, resprayed my spare front bumper and fixed and painted the door dents on the drivers side.   The rear quarters could not be straightened without a lot of painting, so were left as-is and are hardly noticeable. 
Secondly we drained the coolant and refilled with the correct mix of anti freeze.  It just got filled with water in a hurry at Silverstone so needed to be sorted to ensure the engine didn't freeze over the winter.

Next we had the oil flushed and replenished with Millers 10/50 nanotech and had to top up the power steering fluid again - as the top had come loose. (No leaks though!)

On the inside of the car we stripped all of the remaining wiring in the inner doors and replaced the big clunky door check straps with light weight fabric ones.  Its small beer, but a 2kg weight saving is still a saving.

We then partially stripped some of the excess wiring from the main loom. Starting with the relay board in the boot forwards to the front of the car.  There is a huge amount of wring still to come out, but this will have to wait until we have more time to remove the dashboard.  
We should have done this when the car was first converted - but we just didn't have the gumption and experience to go all out race car back then.

The third big job was to replace the exhaust again.  The cheap Chinese made one we ran last year had disintegrated internally.  It was rattling and overly noisy, risking us failing more noise tests. 

The replacement is fairly stock in terms of loudness and much better made from Top Gear exhausts

The penultimate job was to turn our attention to the braking system.  A flush through with new Castrol SRF racing fluid, bleeding any air out of the system.  We use a simple pressure bleeder which runs off the tyre pressure to saving pumping the pedal manually.  

A new set of rear brake pads were also fitted.  Once they get more than half worn (<5mm) they tend to overheat quickly and braking performance reduces.  The wear also gets progressiveness quicker, so the last 3-4mm can go in a race or two.

The last piece of weight saving has been removing the handbrake.  This entailed removing the rear discs, to release the handbrake cables and remove the now  superfluous brake shoes.  In the car the handbrake lever, mounting and cable adjuster goes too.  This is another 5kgs gone. 

The final job was to fit an additional MSA LED brake light in the centre of the rear bumper.  Whilst we have happily used the two std rear fog lights to meet the regulations, some racers have had issues with scrutineers. The series regulations now state we have to run this regardless.