Monday, February 27, 2012

Rockingham shake-down

Well, here she is (she? Not sure why I think my car is female)

McMillan did a checkover and flat-floor setup for me.

They gave me a long list of things which they needed to sort or that I needed to deal with, but it was all minor stuff. Perhaps the worst was that the throttle cable pulley on the throttle body was loose. New throttle body? That'll be £170 plus VAT, please. Stuff that, found a brand new one on ebay with no other bids, so I got it for £4.95 plus postage. Sometimes it's great having an obsolete engine :)

So now everything on my whiteboard was completed, with the exception of one of the "optional" items - fit new spark plugs.  Figured I'd do that just before the first race - might as well have them fresh as possible.

So I headed off to Rockingham for a shake-down track day. Went off for a first lap, darn thing wouldn't rev past 5,000.  Can you guess? Yes, the spark plugs were dead. Looks like water got down the plug holes when I was cleaning the engine - a common problem with K's. I replaced the plugs (fortunately I'd already bought the replacements), cleaned up the plug caps, and went off for another lap. No better. Rats. I pull in, thinking it's time to replace the coils and caps as well - but as I pull in it feels just a bit better. So I go out for another lap - and suddenly it's clear. I guess it was flooded from when the old plugs weren't working.

And that was the extent of the drama until the end of the day. It was a good day. Unlike most track days, the rules were simply "overtake on the left only". Which meant we were free to overtake in the corners, which avoids the usual track day problem of people in Evos or Porsches who hold you up in the corners then blast away on the straights, only to hold you up again in the next corner.

It was open pit-lane, and by around 3:30 I figured I'd had enough - the car was still in one piece and I was starting to get tired. Then I noticed some fluid on my passenger seat. Closer inspection showed it was brake fluid, leaking from my brake bias adjuster (or more correctly: brake proportioning valve). This is an expensive bit of AP Racing kit, and the failure can't really have anything to do with the rebuild. It's the second one I've had too - the first managed to fail in such a way that I had no braking at the rear - I'd wondered why I was having such trouble slowing for the hairpin at Spa!

Demon Tweeks will supply a replacement for £170 plus postage, but I really don't want to pay that much. Some wheeling and dealing is called for - but once that's replaced I'm ready to go at Donington on the 30th and 31st of March.

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