Clutching at O2 Sensors

After Mallory and with an impending move of house in between Mallory and Knockhill I needed to be quick in diagnosing any issues and remedying them. A discussion over Twitter with fellow racer Alistair Rushforth pointed at the old cable I was still using so I purchased one of them and a new set of plugs to help with the rich running. I fitted the cable making sure it self adjusted properly and it felt good. Then after swapping the plugs I took a look at the O2 sensor. It was loose and bent (see photo) o a suitable new (to that car) anyone was installed. I packed a spare VVC solenoid just in case and it was ready for our trip north.

Mallory Park

Well – sorry for the long break in updates, been a busy summer as I moved house, went to Knockhill and had the annual family holiday. Its all been a bit manic.

Mallory Park was an enjoyable day, I like the track but the car let me down again. Qualifying went well and I was confident of a reasonable time and a 58.9 seconds was significantly faster than my last visit. However, it was last in class and Dad spotted the car was very rich and lumpy on idle. Race 1 and I had a great dice with Paul Croker taking him up the inside on Shaws then managing to keep him behind but then the slipping clutch gremlins appeared and wrecked the race. The middle section of the lap the clutch was slipping along the Kirkby and Stebbe straight’s then it eased off for the last three laps but that was the race run. Then the red mist was going to then descend and I over cooked it a few times through Coopers and then had a massive off at Shaws – Alexander Montgomery thought I was off out the circuit for Pizza! The Marshall’s found it hilarious to point to the track and mouth that its over there.

54 Race 1 28 Quali

Investigation didn’t show much and with little time , we plugged in the code reader, VVC Solenoid Fault and O2 sensor issues logged. Not a lot I could do but just go for race 2,  again the slipping clutch returned and I just had to keep out the way and limp to the finish. Must get this issue resolved before I traveled to Knockhill. Disappointing performance but the weekend was enjoyable and great to see Rachel and Lisa from ASSERT turn up with their families in tow.

Race 1 footage is on YouTube – pictures to follow.

Did get  to try my new Gazebo out though 🙂


Silverstone Write Up

Well MG Live was a good one this year, and also the first full race weekend for me in 2016. The car was ready to go with all the prep completed and I was looking forward to seeing how TTR002 would run at Silverstone – historically not my best track.

When we rolled the car off the trailer instantly we knew there was an issue, a puddle of gearbox oil in the drip tray after Dad had scrubbed the trailer clean. This appeared to be from the o/s driveshaft seal in the diff just weeping slightly which is annoying as I’ve just changed it. Looks like I may have damaged it when I pushed the driveshaft in aggressively last week. Its only a small drip so it wont affect the weekend and I’ll replace again in the next few weeks.

Qualifying on Saturday and there was a slightly greasy track as a heavy mist lay on the circuit early on. We had to push our cars to Scrutineering again and this is now becoming very tedious, especially for those of us with little or no help. One for the AGM we felt.

The Dunlop tyres were good in these conditions and I qualified 5th for Race 1 and 4th for Race 2, helped a little as John Gil was running in a newly rebuilt engine.

Race 1 and again a bad start letting me down and Paul Bryson through and Paul Croker as well shortly after that, setting in to my stride chasing down the Pauls’ I managed to catch up but there was no gap to pass. Keeping the pressure on to the last it was 6th and it was a fun race. Shame for David Heasman that his head gasket blew and he would not be back for race 2.

Race 2 and a better start keeps those behind me initially, but Paul Croker zooms past early on and Paul Bryson gets me at the Loop my nemesis part of the circuit. losing a bit of ground I then reel them both in when putting my mind to some consistent lapping. Pushing Paul B hard we catch Paul C and eventually both get through and Paul C then a lap later retires with fuel issues. Again pushing Paul B hard he loses it in front of me (later we find out on a coolant leak he developed) and avoiding action by Paul C and myself just before he retires sees us past.

I then know I have to put in lap after lap with no mistakes seeing Paul C slip away for a few laps its going well then as the tyres go off there is more under steer and I see Paul B coming back through to catch me up. On the last lap Paul B is right with me heading into the dreaded Loop and I fear he’ll pass, but two 190’s come through to lap and this gives me just enough time to go wide and recover then knowing I can lead Paul B to the finish line and 5th. A great race and fab fun.

IMG_2393 IMG_2409

Silverstone Prep

So the new Stage 2 clutch is installed into the car along with new driveshaft oil seals and in fact a new rear crankshaft oil seal as I was in there – all Genuine Rover parts after the fiasco with the water pump earlier this year.


Hopefully now the car will finish the race weekend OK, as I have so much to do on some of my other vehicles its ridiculous. Brands MG Trophy Highlights from MotorsTV are now on the 2016 season page if you missed them.

Gearbox Out

After the slipping clutch fiasco in Race 1, the gearbox has to come out. A pain but its been out a few times before s oat least the bolts will come undone. Once out the clutch while low is not as bad as it could be but there is a film of oil around the casing and it looks like the oil has come out of the o/s drive shaft seal in the diff. This is unlikely but with the rear gearbox bolt missing too could explain why its slipping and there is no sign of a leak around the rear crank case seal behind the flywheel.

A new stage 2 clutch and new diff seals ordered hopefully we can rectify this fault next week.

Brands Race Day 1

Ready for Qualifying and the track is dry and it looks like its going to stay that way for the day. The car gets through noise testing and performs well on the track I manage to qualify 4th in class out of 8  with a 1:02 so I am happy with that for the cars first run out in anger.

Race 1 and I get off the line poorly letting Paul Bryson and new guy David Heasman through – wheel spinning terribly for some reason. I manage to get past Paul after a few laps of being tucked up behind him then reel in David. After passing David I am full of confidence then coming down Paddock Hill Richard Marsh in his 170 spins in front of me. I am not about to write another car off just yet so I brake hard and Martin Webber passes on the inside and I end up chasing after him.

The car is working well and I feel I can catch him when all of a sudden every time I change gear the clutch starts slipping when changing gear. It gets worse over the final three laps and on the last lap Paul gets back through which is mighty annoying but the car does well other than that. Its not had a new clutch since I started so its probably due one now. I also managed a fastest lap of 1:01 which is a new PB at Brands so happy with that.

Photos 1,2 and 3 by Roger Martin and Photo 4 by Dickon Siddall.

Brands Testing 2016

I decided since the car had not been out of second gear since being put together I’d stump up and do testing on the Friday at Brands for the afternoon. Especially as I was only doing Quali and race 1 due to attending a Wedding on the Sunday.

Pre-Testing check found the n/s/r ABS wire rubbing on the wheel so both rear ABS wires were cut off. Test session one on the new tyres went well and I just wanted to shake the car down but its very hard to remember that and not push the car too hard. Half way through on exiting Graham Hill bend I missed a gear and span backwards off the circuit. The kerbs seem to vibrate a lot through the steering wheel and once back on track there was a lot of movement in the steering wheel which had come a little loose. Dad clocked me at a 1:02 which was in line with my fastest lap last year.

Second test session started after we tightened up the steering wheel and were subjected to a hail storm 10 minutes before starting. Not one to be put off by a drying track I went out to see what the Dunlop tyres were like in those conditions and to be fair their not bad. The track was pretty dry except for Clearways by the end and the car felt good.


A few more jobs

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.



Leak found (Fingers crossed)

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.

A non-stop leak causes failure

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.

2016 033001 Spare engine inlet manifold gasket change

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….