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Everything posted by ibrooks

  1. I'd probably get away with the telegraph poles as it's only in the garage. I'm only out there when I'm not working which means evenings and weekends. Evenings when it's cold enough for me to need heat in the garage mean the neighbours are inside with the heating on and the windows closed. Weekends - more likely to be a clash with me being in the garage and them being out in their gardens so I watch what goes in there to try and keep it burning clean. Space heaters are a bu@@er for creating condensation too. You do get some with an exhaust chimney where the combustion by-products can be taken outside though. Iain
  2. Oil drums are a bit lightweight - I'd be worried about burning through after a season or so. One of the other nice things about a good thick lump of steel is that it keeps radiating heat after the actual fire has gone out so with a bit of foresight about when you are knocking off for the evening you can let it burn out before you've actually finished for the day but it's still radiating heat right up till the time you head for the sofa (and for a while afterwards) but there's no worry about leaving it lit and un-attended. It's been known for people to weld up the holes in an old brake drum and fill it with old engine oil. Drop a rag or tissue in it to act as a wick and shove the whole lot into the burner and set light to the wick. I'd never do such a thing of course as there are all sorts of regulations about burning waste oil. I'd imagine a drum from a post '85 Mini would be a good bet as they have a built in spacer that would keep the hottest part of the drum off the surface it's sitting on. It's also not unknown to keep some wood soaking in a container of old engine oil before it's thrown into the burner. Iain
  3. I dropped on a Clarke Barrel stove locally for £70 at the end of the summer - it's installed and working nicely now. I was fully intending to make one from a gas bottle but for the £70 it wasn't worth the time and effort. There's nothing advanced or fancy in the Clarke one (I struggle to see how they can justify asking for £250+ in Macinemart) so there's no reason for a home-made one to be any more dangerous. So long as the doors are a reasonably close fit and the flue can draw then anything will do the job. Personally I'd like the baffle in mine to extend a little further to encourage a secondary burn as it seems to happen in the bottom of the flue at the moment. The flue is far more important for safety as if it's done right it'll draw any fumes out of the burner and create a little negative pressure in there so even if it leaks like a sieve you won't get any combustion by-products in the room. I had the flue in place before the burner was sited and with the slightest breeze outside I could stick a piece of cardboard over the end of the thing and it would hold it in place. I half wondered about sticking the vacuum hose on the end of it and having a quick go around the workshop. Once it's warm you can swing the door of the burner wide open and see the flames being drawn to the rear of the chamber and hear it roaring like a jet engine. Iain
  4. WTF are you planning to do? Only person I know who might have such a beast is Dennis Parkin from Parkin plant hire in Chorley. If he doesn't have something himself he might know a man who does as he's in that business. Iain
  5. I've seen the standard Sierra cover with a circle cut out of it's face to expose most of the centre of the pulley whilst still protecting the belt from other objects and protecting other objects like hoses from the belts. This was on a rally car and the idea was that the vernier mechanism could be reached/adjusted without having to remove the cover. Iain
  6. I've got one too if Paul's isn't do-able. Iain
  7. I didn't mean was your car a positive earth but had the gauge come from a car that was. Smiths gauges are not all the same and have been fitted to lord only knows how many different cars over the years and it's quite possible to have a gauge made for a positive earth car that looks just like a gauge for a negative earth car. Assuming it's not...... Check the rear of the gauge first - some of the Smiths ones had screw terminals that were insulated from the case with fibre washers. If the screw terminal has been off and replaced without the washers it could be contacting the case rather than there being a problem inside the gauge. Iain
  8. You sure you've got the sender and power connected the right way round? The casing of the gauge should be earthed so if that's making it drop to zero then something is wrong. It's not from a positive earthed car is it? Iain
  9. Andrew is the guy you want - bloke leaning over the 7 in the pics on the website. The older guy I think is John and I've yet to see him look enthusiastic about anything. Andrew knows his stuff and has spent a lot of time on a mate's Scirroco getting the Weber tuned properly (replacement for whatever VW fitted). Also spent a long while recently finding out why a Vectra Diesel wouldn't boost (broken diaphragm in the EGR valve). Iain
  10. There's a lot of snobbery around Q plates so in the real world they will fetch less money no matter how wonderful the car wearing it is. This can be a good or bad thing from your point of view. The real question you need to ask yourself about a car with a Q is "why does it have a Q?" There's no hard and fast rule to answer that question and to how the answer will affect you if you buy it. Generally with a kit car it means the parts have come from more than one source which is unlikely to be a problem and possibly an advantage as hopefully it means the builder selected the best bits rather than making do with what was in a single donor. On a "normal" car it's more likely to mean something questionable has gone on in the cars past so you need an answer as to what and you need to make a decision based on that information. When the Q was issued can have a bearing here as in recent years they are rarely issued so it tends to be something seriously iffy whereas in the '80's it seemed that a Q was issued if the DVLC were too lazy to look in the files to trace a cars proper ID or if they were at all confused as to what they should issue. Imports, kit cars, stolen recovered etc. anything out of the ordinary was likely to get a Q-plate at the drop of a hat or if the usual person that dealt with that sort of stuff and knew how to handle it was on hols, sick or the loo when it came across their desk. Living with one..... There's the snobbery and stigma that you can just ignore. Some insurance companies are a bit iffy with them - some won't touch them and some will apply a loading because of the Q. Generally this is in the mainstream world and the specialists that you would need to go to for a kit-car anyway take a more sensible view so in reality it's not a problem for us. As mentioned if you come to sell it you'll get less money than for a comparable car on an age related plate and some buyers will just dismiss it out of hand which limits the market. It confuses people when it comes to age-related anything (like emissions tests). If you can talk fast and be convincing this will generally let you swing things in your favour if it's advantageous that the car is teated as being older. My GTM is on a Q and on balance if I could swap it for a personal or age-related plate I would but it doesn't overly worry me that I can't. Iain
  11. I'd still recommend Clarksons. I did hear that he'd frightened you Mitch but I reckon he was working on a worst possible case scenario. Whenever I've had anything done there he's charged far less than I expected and he does know his stuff - admittedly only diagnostics or tuning and not actual "work" as such. Who did you actually speak to? Iain
  12. I'm not worried about my kit as it never went through IVA so there's little or no record of what it should look like under the skin or how it should/shouldn't be constructed so I've got a fairly free hand to make changes so long as it still looks like others of it's type and is largely similar underneath. My Focus however.... Is a rally car shell so fairly seriously different to your average Focus as are the mechanical components (it's drivetrain, suspension and whatnot are more Sierra than Focus). But the logbook and chassis number say it's an ST170 and until you look underneath you wouldn't know otherwise. I see an IVA looming. I can understand what they are trying to achieve with this type of legislation but I think the way they are going about it will have people looking for loopholes rather than trying to comply. I also agree with the comment about kids losing the incentive and ability to be tinkering with something in a shed rather than turning into pudding in front of a computer screen. Yes there are things other than cars or bikes that you can get your hands dirty on but how much more incentive is there when you know the end result is something you can get in/on and go somewhere to show it off? Motorsport is already to a large extent a preserve of the monied few and the track is going to become the only place you can drive your modified car or bike. Unless...... have we all seen the clowns riding mini-moto's somewhere they shouldn't? With no tax/MOT/insurance. Maybe it's time to join them? Iain
  13. OK I'm not going to make it to this one either. Hairdressers car has some "issues" that started with it being un-reliable and then a couple of small holes showed up at MOT time which on prodding have turned into ruddy great big holes that had been covered by a sea of filler by a previous owner (I suspect not the one who sold it to me but one of the ones before that). Sorting the running problems took me a while in the diagnosis so it's not going to be back on the road in time. Iain
  14. And willing to collect and them post a pair of brake calipers? They are new so not nasty rusty/crusty things that will leak brake fluid all over you. I was bidding on them on ebay and the seller changed the postage terms from free postage to pickup only and now he's not prepared to post them (dunno what's hard about wrapping them up and sticking them in a box). Obviously I'll pay the costs plus some beer/inconvenience money. PM me please so I get a prod if someone can assist. Thanks Iain
  15. I was waiting for bacon teacakes to be mentioned as I read through this one but the rest of Mitch's post overshadowed it.
  16. I've got one you can have but I ain't exactly local. If you're not in need of it just yet I can get it to little sister's house in Windsor in about a fortnight's time - that's significantly closer for you to go and collect it or there might be someone halfway that can do the honours in a relay. Iain
  17. I had a Cortina based S7 and the rear springs were silly soft. I suspect that they were actually progressive and that the low weight of the Hood meant they were only ever working in the soft area that would normally be compressed just by the weight of the Cortina at rest. I bought a set of coilovers from a Locost place and used the open and closed lengths recommended for the rear of a Locost but the spring lengths and weights recommended for the front. Sorry - can't give exact details as I just don't remember them. The coilovers were attached from memory where the bottom of the original Cortina shock went (think I needed a longer HT bolt). Instead of inclining inwards like the original Cortina shocks I made a re-inforcing piece that went all the way across the boot floor and picked up on some original members and the original upper shock mounts. The new coilovers now had something to attach to when they were set vertically. With the spring seats of the coilovers wound all the way out and the original Cortina springs left in place as well I found it just about perfect. Iain Edit to add - the donor for my car was an estate as I had an MOT for a white Cortina estate with the same reg number as the S7 amongst the paperwork that came with the car so I'd guess that they were estate springs.
  18. http://www.sebringsprite.co.uk/ In my opinion the fastback is pure sex - I know it means losing the top-down ability but just look at it! The engine is closely related to a Mini's and most of the tuning bits will fit. You've got an HIF carb and an alloy intake manifold but I don't think it's one from an MG Metro - it looks too goose-necked to me. Longer and straighter is better and you have more room than in a Mini. The block is different to a transverse A-series but there was an A+ version in the Marinas. I also think the Maestro 1.3 might fit - despite them being transverse they had a VW gearbox that was end-on rather than underslung so more in common with the RWD cars than the Mini/Metro. The Maestro intake is the best for torque but you'll end up with a massive bonnet bulge to accommodate it. If you need to mess with the engine I can recommend R.A.C.E. in Withnell - Jim knows them inside out, upside down and back to front. Give him an honest assessment of what you want from it and he will give you good pointers on spec. His work is very good but can take a while as the work he tends to do for the big rally boys takes precedence and is generally more urgent than someone restoring an old weekend toy. Iain
  19. The biggest non-Cosworth Sierra fronts were the 260mm vented discs but you need to be careful as the 2wd and 4wd discs and calipers apparently have different offsets. There's a nice easy upgrade to 300mm discs by using MkI Focus ST170 discs and MkII Mondeo calipers. You need to drill the holes in the caliper mounting lugs on the hubs out from 10 to 12mm. On a 4x4 I think you also need an 8mm spacer between the hub and caliper mounting lugs. A couple of washers will do the job but a single plate is a nicer solution. On a 2wd I seem to remember it just bolts together. Take any measurements here with a pinch of salt as they are from long term memory and subject to degradation by time and beer. I've got all the bits kicking around as this is my intended setup on the front of the Focus but I've got a GTM to get back on the road first. From memory the Cosworth 4x4 rear discs are the same diameter as the "normal" Sierra's rear disc but vented. The calipers are correspondingly just a wider version of the standard rear caliper so a Cosworth 4x4 rear disc and caliper is a straight swap for a normal Sierra rear disc and caliper (but tends to carry the Cosworth tax so Grim's mix+match setup is probably cheaper but wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if it even had the same part numbers). Iain
  20. I might have the 350s off you - will do some measuring tonight and let you know. Iain
  21. I used one of those when I had my S7 to cut the bonnet in half and add a length of stainless piano hinge down the middle (as mentioned a straightedge guide is a must). I also used it to cut the big oblong holes in the sides for the louvres I added. It's done umpteen other jobs since. I bought an air-powered one last year as it's less bulky and pretty much one-handed operation - Argos of all places was the cheapest source at the time. My only gripe is the thousands of razor sharp little crescents that you need to sweep up afterwards - you always miss a couple and either track them into the house on the bottom of your shoes or find them in the workshop the next time you are on your hands&knees getting something from under the bench or car. Iain
  22. ibrooks


    Those (or very similar) have been around for a while in America. Personally I much prefer the MEVX5. I think they do miss a trick by losing the soft-top. MEV apparently do a version of the MEVX5 that retains the soft-top which I'm very tempted by but I want to see one first - they have some photoshopped pictures on their website. Stuart Mills has also suggested that he could modify the roofline to incorporate a targa that could be stored under the rear window (sort of X1/9 style) which I could also be seriously tempted by but for the moment I've got two other projects to complete first. Iain
  23. ibrooks


    Over here - rust. Leaks tend to have been the culprit and they tend to be down to blocked drain tubes - the roof itself tends to be very good at keeping the rain out. Early 1.6 MkI's have a problem with the crankshaft that rears it's head when it comes to timing belt time (research short nose crank problem). Apart from that general condition - they are old so things wear out or break depending on how they have been used/abused. Hydraulic tappets can be a problem if the oil has been allowed to get dirty - sometimes proprietary engine flushes and new oil will cure them but sometimes they need to be removed and cleaned out (about £30 in gaskets for reassembly and time consuming but not hard). I find my late-ish 1.8 MkI underpowered. It's not really but they are revvy engines whereas I prefer low-down grunt. This has the power but I always feel I need to go looking for it up near the rev limiter. Iain
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