Sunday, 8 November 2009

Engine Starting - the full story

I couldn't resist posting something last Sunday immediately after I got the engine started. Here is the full story...

With Mike up for the weekend and taking his full guidance we went through starting step by step.

First we connected up all the electrics apart from control wire to the starter motor. This included removing the aftermarket immobilizer that had been fitted to the Mazda. I didn't want starting problems caused by a faulty immobilizer!

We removed the HT leads from the plugs. Some water had got into the holes where the plugs go so we spent some time cleaning it all out with bits of rag around the end of screwdrivers. We had a problem trying to remove the spark plugs. The socket in my socket set was too large! It seems technology has moved on since I got my socket set in the late '80s; newer spark plugs have a smaller diameter. I popped round to a neighbour’s to borrow his. Mike was a bit embarrassed that he hadn’t thought to check the plugs as soon as we got the engine into the garage (i.e., about 18 months ago). Fortunately all that water hadn’t caused any corrosion, and the plugs came out easily.

With the spark plugs removed we connected the battery and turned the key to the position that turns on the ignition. The "Not Charging" light came on and we could hear the fuel pump running.

Next stage was to disconnect the rear loom connector (so the fuel pump wouldn't keep running) and connect the start motor control connection. We turned the key all the way round to the position to start the engine. This time the engine turned over. We only did this for a moment, as we realised the plug leads weren’t connected to anything, and it’s not a good idea to run the ignition system like this.

Stage 3 was to connect the spark plugs and earth them, with them lined up on the top of the engine:

We turned the engine over, and this time got a nice set of flashing lights from the spark plugs (and it's not even Christmas!).

We re-connected the rear loom and the starter motor and put a couple of litres of fuel in the fuel tank. We turned the ignition on, and this time the fuel pump ran briefly. Then we turned the engine over until the oil pressure warning light went out. We wondered if the fuel was feeding correctly, and then realised that we could smell the fuel vapour from the spark plug holes. So that was obviously working OK!

Final stage. We put new spark plugs in and re-connected the HT leads. Moment of truth, we tried the key and the engine fired 1st time. A cloud of black smoke was emitted from the exhaust, although less than I'd expected. The idle was a little low so it stalled after a few seconds. We tried again, revving a few time and ran it for a short time before turning off. It sounded really good. It was raining outside and the garage was getting full of fumes so we left it there.

I was amazed that after 18 months, a change of chassis and all my messing around with wiring it started at all, let alone at the first attempt.

Expansion tank

The expansion tank has 2 connections on it. The main connection at the bottom and a side smaller connection on the top side:

The main connection attaches to an adaptor then to a long "L" shaped piece of pipework supplied in the completion kit. I was confused about exactly where is should route but I found these 2 pictures in the pictures from Westfield's own build:

I could see they had a slight bend on the lower section that I didn't. Initially I'd thought it had to going to the round the carbon canister bracket but after seeing these pictures I realised it didn't. After a bit of bending:

I was able to make it fit.

There was also the matter of the top small connector on the expansion tank and the top connector on the radiator. There was some debate on various forums about if they need to be connected or blanked off. The general consensus was they needed to be connected but I discussed with Simon and Mark while I was at Westfield. The result was confirmation it does need to be connected but they don't provide anything. I got a couple of meters of 8mm fuel pipe off eBay. The only problem is there isn't a lot of spare room inside the nose for clearance. There wasn't a clear picture from Westfield's own build picture but here is the closest they had.

You can just see the small 8mm pipe from the top of the radiator and it has been cable tied to the larger coolant pipe:

and on this one you can just see the pipe looping off the top of the radiator:

Mine looks a bit more messy due to all the wiring.
You can see the pipe from the top of the expansion tank and the L shaped pipe running along the edge of the aluminum panel:

here is a close up of the tank, you can see the adaptor:

and here is the connection off the top of the radiator:

Exhaust - 2nd fitting

I had a problem with the exhaust that it was about 25mm out at the rear mounting (see post "Exhaust - trial fitting" dated 22nd September). I took the connecting section with me to Westfield when I was going for the bodywork and asked them if they could do anything with it. They bolted it to a wall, heated it up and bent it round a little.

Back on the car Mike had a go at re-fitting. At first it seemed to still be out but by wriggling it up and down he was able to get it to match up exactly. Now I'm not sure if they actually did anything at Westfield or if by rotating the various parts you can get it to line up.

The front section (you can just see the darker area where they heated it up):

the whole exhaust:

and the rear mounting, now the rubber bush isn't bent:

It had to come off again after trying the engine for the bodywork fitting.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Steering column

I fitted the newly welded mid-section and it was perfect. I had to slightly widen the standard hole they specify in the manual. I re-used the boot that came off the Mazda steering column. Here are a couple of pictures with the hole widened and the bolt holes drilled for the boot (with masking tape):

Sunday, 1 November 2009