Wednesday, November 30, 2011

RANT - Car show, or NOT

Hi All,

Warning RANT coming.

Last year just after I got the car there was the annual car show but too late for me to enter, however this year I registered as soon as entries opened. I filled in all the forms etc and got the entry details a few days before the event.
Hmm it rains this time of year, so I sent them an email asking what was the plan and told no problem.
Turned up at the event tonight, lots of tents seems good.
Register and then got told to go and park out side !
Feck, no way I am leaving my car outside with the potential for rain, she is a car not a bathtub, so home I went.

Clear case of the normal organisational systems and not enough Wasta !
- Hard top and Wasta = Tent
- Convertible and no Wasta = Flooded car.

Welcome to the world of car shows !

Richard B.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Qatar Baja Rally

Okay sorry another non MG related post but it is still car related.

Spent the last weekend helping out a friend Ian as spanner monkey on his T1 Nissan Patrol rally car at the Qatar Baja Rally.

It was a trial even getting there due to logistics of getting the car there, getting up to plan Z before plan B came good at the last minute.

Therefore Ian managed to trailer the car from Dubai, across Saudi to Qatar. Shelia (Ian's wife and co-driver) and myself flew in to Qatar, the firs good omen showed when we managed a synchronized arrival passing Ian him in our taxi just 100 yards from rally HQ.

First day was prep / stickers and then scrutiniering, which thankfully the car passed with flying colours, then a couple of hours more tinkering and parked the beast in service park ready for the off.

The first stage, and the only stage on the Friday was a 6km special stage through the dunes, how due to various issues before departure it also meant that this effectively the first drive the car had had since coming out of the garage. Sadly this showed a significant problem with the power steering and the car limping back off stage.

The problem masqueraded as a blown return hose, however after much investigation and changing the hose it looks like the steering box is allowing pressure to pass so the pump return and the reservoir were highly pressurized. We managed to make a temporary fix and get the car into park ferme but alas significantly late.

The following day was the two proper rally stages.
Ian and Sheila set off well and I jumped in the service car with trailer to RV at the service halt between stages just in case. As the road crossed the track a bunch of service crews all waited to watch the cars pass, the order of passing was very strange which nobody could understand ! Anyway Ian went passed fairly early in the pack so fingers crossed going well.

Up to service and pop the hood and power steering hose has gone again ! sorry Ian no more power steering. However car holding up well and Ian's hands aren’t to badly blistered.

It also transpires that the road book is more of a hint than an accurate guide to keep you on the track, this has been causing lots of problems for all the teams so it is going to be a race of penalties !

Off they go for the second stage and I jump in the service car for the long drive back, then .... the radiator blows !

Out beyond the middle of nowhere so I send message to Ian and Sheila and start pulling the radiator, the bottom header is completely cracked so time to get busy with the araldite. Thankfully Ian turned up with a car just as I got is running again, however a few KM up the road it wasn't happy again so up on the trailer for the drive home.

As it was raining we were all very wet, cold and miserable by this time.

Then ..... Shelia calls from the Rally HQ with results . .. . wait for it . . . . FIFTH !!!
Result, Sheila had done an amazing job on the navigating meaning third lowest penalties no mean job given that even professionals were seen joining in circles !

FITFTH overall well done !

Here are a few photos.

The official team blog is here.

And a couple photos from of our other Dubai Friends who also got amazing results.

Dave Mabbs with Team FJ  (with help from a2b)

Mark Powel with Saluki Racing (from Saluki Garages)

Richard B.

Monday, November 14, 2011

New to Old - Voltage Regulator

Hi All,

As well as the fuse box and relay kit there was another goodie from Bits4Brits, a voltage regulator.

This is used to convert the twelve (and a bit) volts into a "stable" 10 volts for the Temperature and Fuel gauges. The original unit works of a coil of wire heating up and working a bi-metal strip creating a sort of on-off around 10V, not very good originally and after 40 years even worse.

Only problem is that the new unit is a modern IC and whilst it is still buried under the dash I wanted to still try and replicate the original so time for a bit of "adjusting".

This is the original unit.

The internals out and you can see the wire windings.

This is the new unit, not so period looking.

So time for a bit of surgery.

Good earth is important so the IC was pop riveted into the case.

Routed the cables out and crimped on new spades.

Job done !

I think it looks a lot better.

As always, any comments, questions or abuse welcome.

Richard B.

Next . . . . . . Giving the engine bay a clean.

Let there be light - Fuses and Relays

Hi All,

Another battle with the Prince of Darkness, the fuse box and lights / horn switching is one of the common failure points on the MG electrical system.
The fuse holder is weak and the clips corrode and loose tension and the large consumers (lights / horns / fan / wipers) are directly switch which is hard on the old switch gear.

Long time on list has been an upgrade, this means a change with more fused circuits, better fuses and relay switching for large consumers means brighter louder.
The common recommendation on the MG experience is to fit a Bits4Brits kit :-
So I got a parcel yesterday so out with the wire cutters last night.

This is what came.

Fuse box

Headlight / horn relay kit.

The old fuse box location.

Box itself.


See the state of the fuse box, most of these spades moved, let alone the corrosion.

Fairly simple plug and play.

All done !

Next the relay kit, sits adjacent to the horn.
A worrying rats nest of wires.

Yes, chock blocks and insulation tape, not a good sign but at least not just twisted together.

Bit more figuring out on this one, including the DPO bodge on the headlights which I fixed.

Also took me some time to figure out the horn was powered, not earth switched.

Got it all in and looks nice.

And proof !

I highly recomend these kits, great way to upgrade your wiring ! 

As always comments, questions and any other abuse welcome.

Richard B.

Next . . . . . Voltage stabiliser and then maybe re-wrap the loom to tidy up the wiring. 

Next onto the relay