Archive for the 'Project Roadster' Category
Yeah, I’m sorry, this is one of those I’ve serviced my car posts. The only posts worse than this are “I washed my car and took some pics” posts. I’m sorry. But here it is anyway…
After 3 years of ownership I thought it was worth giving the Mazbo a good going over: New cam belt, water pump, fuel filter, oil, oil filter, air filter, coolant and so on…
Despite having done a few, and even one previously on this very car, I still get scared doing cam belts on twincam engines; I’m a push-rod and rockers kinda guy. Still the Mazda is pretty easy with lots of timing marks on it and not a lot of work required to get to the belt.
I did the pump while I was there too – dedicated I know!
Home-made crank pulley holder.
I did some tarting up too: Re-painted the cam lid and cleaned the bay up.
Done! It even still works, which is a bonus!
Then all the rain in the world fell out of the sky…
I washed it too, oh wait…
In between work and house moving chaos I took a day out to head down to Retro Cars HQ in Kent for a decent catch up, some office based shenanigans and a track day!
Firstly I have to own up on selling out; I took the Roadster…Maybe I’m getting soft but with a 4 hour each-way journey and an evening of track action I took the quieter comfy way out (if coilovers and a bucket seat is a comfy way out…)
The track day was organised by Motorsport Vision (massive thanks to Nick for the hook up!) and was held at Brands Hatch. Now I’ve never even visited Brands before, let alone driven it so I was suitably brimmed with fear and excitement as I noise tested, signed on and bagged a pit garage! Now the Roadster did qualify in the at least 20 years old “Retro” band, but compared to some of the entries I was pretty embarrassed. The quality and mix of cars was insane! I wish I had more time to run round with the camera but, well, I was having too much fun!
It was an open pit event so you could have as much fun as you and your car could take! I did about four fifteen minute sessions, taking Andy and Simon (as if you don’t know I mean Team Retro Cars) out for rides. Disappointingly they were pretty unshakable, though I’m sure there was some twitching doing on as we hit Paddock Hill bend sideways! Talking of the track…WHAT A TRACK!!! Paddock Hill bend is amazing; like a roller coaster: off the pit straight, on the brakes, down to 3rd, hang it out, straighten up, power on through the compression at the bottom (the Roadster sump guard was catching the ground at the bottom shooting sparks out the back!), then it was back on the brakes for the hairpin! The old girl did me proud, not only passing some more expensive/ better cars on track, but not missing a beat over the whole weekend!
The track action only makes up about 2/3 of these events for me. The atmosphere in the pits, the chance to chat to other drivers, check out the cars and catch up with the Sothern contingent gold plate the whole affair.
More pics can be found on the RSM FlickR Account.
Sideways @ Druids
Race car low
In another bid justify not buying a sensible car, I needed to up the luggage capacity of the Roadster; with having to carry photo gear, parts, camping stuff and, in the not too distant future, flat pack furniture I thought I better get a rack. I had toyed around with making something, but before I fired up the mig I came across these Hanirack inflatable roof racks. Yeah, I know, it’s not as cool as a Thule, but for the Roadster it’s ideal. Because it’s inflatable, it spreads the load over the whole roof and it rolls up neatly into a little bag which I can stow in the boot!
Yep, I’ve gone practicality mad….
Plus racks always look cool….
OK, fine. I admit it. I’m a sell out. I finally gave in and bought (not built ~ shame on me), a quieter pipe for the Roadster. Now I am aware this is a slippery slope, so bare with me while I try to convince you I’ve not lost the plot.
Old centre pipe Vs new side exit
You see, I have been toying with getting a ‘sensible’ daily driver. You know, something Diesel, probably an estate; comfy, economical and quiet. I have to drive 100 miles a day commuting to work on the motorway, so an open piped Roadster is not really the weapon of choice. As my eBay watch list filled with dull euro boxes I grew more depressed at the thought of a ‘sensible’ car. So…I decided to just keep the Roadster and make it a bit more every day friendly. Plus I’m moving house and I don’t want to piss off the neighbours everyday leaving for work at 6.20am!
So where was I…Oh yeah: I chose that particular system as the tail pipe was removable. This meant I could make my own and change it at my leisure. It came with this stupid 37″ bore bean can:
This swiftly went in the bin, and I began building a new one. I started with a Seat Leon Cupra Down-pie to mid section – a snip at £9.
I know what you’re thinking…Go BOSO?
Maybe not. Second WIP: up-sweep round the bumper…
No. Don’t like it. So I set about welding up the perfect angle
and hit it with some high-temp black
I’m really pleased with how it turned out and it sounds really nice; very quiet at low revs/ low load, but give it a boot full and it has a really nice rasp that makes you want to keep your foot nailed.
Except, now I had a problem.
Namely, the big melted cut-out in the bumper where the centre pipe ran. That and I didn’t have a fog light any more…
Luckily, race cars have all the answers: I made up a bracket and fitted a nice, subtle 50 LED FIA rain light; no rubbish looking low hanging fog light here!
As you can see it’s nice and subtle until you turn it on!
So that’s the latest. I’m pretty happy with where the car is now so I can focus on the KP and then the house move! Oh yes, I’m about 6 weeks away from having my own garage!
To top the sunny weekend off nicely, I took the chance to bin-off the hard top and go and burn some £1.18 a litre juice just for fun.
Next post: raising it up….NOT A CHANCE!
Leaving nothing to chance I cleaned up the new box and fitted a new I.L. Motorsport thrust bearing. On the basis it says Motorsport on, it must be good!
After fighting to get it back in (it didn’t want to play; Powerplant frame wouldn’t align, one of the manifold studs rounded, exhaust was blowing…and so on) I had it in for tea time.
A quick blast up and down the road and…IT DOESN’T WHINE! Or clunk, grind or do anything other than be slick, quiet and awesome! Massive result! On this basis I will endeavour to never post on here about changing a Roadster gearbox ever again (Roadster gearbox misery posts basically make up 2/3 of this blog).
Just got to wait for my new exhaust to come now….
Wait…What? Didn’t I do this last week?
Well it turns out not everyone on eBay isn’t as honest and upstanding as I dared to dream. I fitted up the new box and initially 5th and reverse were missing. Easy fix; it was just the detent spring. Luckily, I was able to fix it through the shifter hole, however the box had a bad whine, in every gear! Now the car is pretty noisy, so to be able to hear it, well, that’s how bad it was. And it’s been getting worse; I’ve been driving all week with ear plugs in!
After trying different oils and additives I gave up…and bought another one!
This time from a reputable breaker and it even has a warranty for two months! So, I’ve spent my Good Friday pulling the old (new) box out ready to fit up the new one tomorrow. Fingers crossed it’s a good one!
I think spending yesterday surrounded by slammed Dubs has done me no-good. By the time I got home, I was convinced the Roadster (the same Roadster I spend last Friday welding the smashed up exhaust on) was too high. So, this morning I decided to spin’em down a few threads.
In other news: new tyres (and a grainy phone pic)
And new brakes (and EBC pads). Grooved only this time; the holes bring nothing to the party.