OK so after a week there was still no sign of a leak so I popped the cam belt on and ran the engine up. Seems to be OK – drained out some water and refilled with coolant, one final bleed and it should be good to go.
With a few hours to spare I thought I would change the o/s/f damper. The rationale behind this is that the steering is a little heavy and I have swapped the whole damper, spring unit from the crashed TTR001 to TTR002 and the accident may have caused some damage to it. Before taking the one off the car I want to get a spare one ready, using a spare assembled unit I put the spring clamps on and remove the top mount then try and undo the pinch bolt that holds the damper in the hub -will it move? No, these are notoriously tight and my blow torch is at home so leverage is required. Wedging the damper under a Rover and with a bar on and a pole on that it comes out!
Now the damper is ready to go on I remove the old one from the car, spring clamps on and the top nut is off. Out collapse the top mount in bits – always nice to find something and it obviously got mullered in the accident. All back together with new top mount and damper and the steering feels much better.
OK so after walking away 11 days ago – its time to investigate the problem again. Dad my mate Ian and I look at the car its lost fluid while standing so we get a lead light and stare. Ian then spots tiny bubbles from where the new water pump meets the block, looks like there is an issue there.
The water is leaking out the pump seal and dripping out the bottom of the lower cambelt cover, and crucially over the back of the top of the pump making it fall on the thermostat housing. Further investigation proves the pattern water pump we fitted has pre-drilled holes to go on two locating dowels in the block. These holes are just too small preventing the dowel pulling through by a 0.5mm or so causing a gap and the seal to blow. Putting the old pump and seal back in place (these didn’t look too bad at all) and it fits much better so we’ll leave it for a few days and see what happens.
It’s the evening after the long day and we have a new inlet manifold gasket and install it, the leak continues – on further investigation it looks like where I change the thermostat housing the O rings have perished. That’s it, it looks over for me as with my daughters birthday events time for Donny had run out.
After receiving massive of support from my fellow race drivers and urging on from the wife I decided one more crack at it on the Friday night was necessary. Do or Die – as this meant there was no withdrawal from the race and the cost was there no matter what. Taking no risks O rings were ordered from Rimmers and a local garage to make sure some were on time (They all turned up) and a new water pump and thermostat was also acquired to be thorough.
First job was for Dad to clean up a nearly new water pipe and thermostat housing I have and fit a new thermostat while I swap the water pump out. We get it all back together and there is still a leak – removal of the inlet manifold proves the O ring has pinched at the top slightly when pushing the housing into the block. This is quickly sorted and we fit the car back up leaving the engine running. It is now 11pm and we decide to move the car back and we are aghast – there is a pool of coolant and a drip!
The inlet manifold is off again but we cant see anything wrong so we reseat the housing again fill up the block with coolant and no leak, so its on with inlet manifold again and there’s a leak! Its now 1:30am on Saturday morning and we are tired after a long week so that is it, the towel is thrown and Dad and I are very disappointed.
I shut the doors and walk away, a few days in Clacton followed by a long stag weekend in Marbella awaits I need to forget about this pile of junk for a few days….
So first of all apologies for not getting here for the past few weeks. The last two weeks before Donington were a manic rush as every trying to get the car finished ready for Donington. This involved getting the car home for a weekend to potter about with on the drive:
- Fit the rear boot pins and finish the bonnet pins.
- Change the master cylinder as it would not pump up the system.
- Fit the roll cage
- Fit the brake line clips and extinguisher clips
- Put on the decals and championship stickers
- Fit the harness
- Fit a new centre exhaust pipe
The car was starting to look complete although a tapping tappet was annoying me.
Bank holiday Monday was time for my pre-season run on a private road near Dad’s house – with the car loaded up on the trailer I drove it up the lane and the tapping turned into a knock and then with confirmation from Ian Woods the knock was a big end problem probably caused by the engine dumping its oil during the accident.
What do we do with 6 days until Donington – take a day off work of course for an engine swap!
8am in the morning and the plan for Dad and I was to get the donor 160 I have in the workshop, get the engine out of that and then remove the car from the workshop. Next take the engine out the race car, and put the donor engine back in. Finally, head gasket and timing belt change on the new engine and it would be good to go. Simple!
So by 12pm the donor engine was on the floor and the donor car parked back in its hole in the yard.
Next the the engine was back out the race car by 3pm when an hour long conference call had to take precedence.
By 10pm we were done and running – all ready to go home when we spot a pool of coolant under the engine and I think its coming from the inlet manifold gasket where I didn’t have a new one. Tomorrow eve is now required after a gasket acquired.