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dherr
dherr HalfDork
5/16/19 5:09 p.m.

So been working a bunch of loose ends on the Spitfire, up until today, it has still not left the local neighborhood. Had to replace the starter button, found a much better one. I also installed high pressure lift cylinders to hold up the hood and hooked up the wiper motor.  

So took it out one more time in the neighborhood and decided it was time to hit the road and see what happened! So made sure I had my cell phone and took it out.

Went about 15 miles on backroads, no faster than 60, couple of first impressions.....

  • God this thing is going to be fast!
  • Twitchy handling, so looks like a professional alignment is in my near future
  • The engine continues to run better the longer I drive it, so the Nemesis is doing it's "self tuning"
  • small oil leak near the turbo, so glad I brought it back will get that fixed tomorrow and back on the road.
  • Tach is not working, but I remember seeing this in the Flying Miata manual for Nemesis as there is a setting to correct this, rest of the gauges work fine

It goes to the professional tuners on Memorial Day weekend, so now I know I can drive it there. Debating how to get it up to Carlisle this weekend, could drive it or may trailer it for Saturday

dherr
dherr HalfDork
5/17/19 9:11 a.m.

Good news and bad news..... So the small oil leak turned out to be the turbo oil return line is loose at the oil pan. I'll look at it over lunch, but it appears like the nut that retains the AN fitting has worked loose in the oil pan. If that is the case, I'll have to pull the oil pan if it won't tighten up frown 

As much as I wanted to get the car to the Import Show at Carlisle this weekend,  I also have an appointment with the tuner in 10 days so it really needs to be fixed as their schedule is booked out for over a month. The good news is I took the plunge and replaced the wooden hood prop with high pressure gas struts. I was certain these would not fit with all the inter cooler piping on my car, but surprisingly it all fits just fine. I should have done this along time ago, really works great!

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair MegaDork
5/17/19 10:13 a.m.

"nut inside oil pan" does not compute.   "welded fitting in oil pan" computes.

dherr
dherr HalfDork
5/17/19 10:25 a.m.

Agree completely. The pan is aluminum, but the AN fitting is steel and has an o-ring and retaining nut. Was not comfortable with it when I installed it and now it returns to haunt me....

nimblemotorsports
nimblemotorsports New Reader
5/17/19 10:48 a.m.

Nothing 'Rat' about this car, looks great, nice job.  

dherr
dherr HalfDork
5/17/19 1:31 p.m.

Thanks..... unfortunately my lunch time inspection means I am now pulling the oil pan. Not as hard as it is in a Miata, but still have to move a few things to get access to all the bolts.  Guess I'll need to see if I can get someone to weld on an aluminum AN fitting, as I just ordered one from Summit. That will solve the problem for good.

AWSX1686
AWSX1686 SuperDork
5/17/19 3:48 p.m.

Unfortunately I have not yet acquired a TIG welder or I would offer. My friend Blair in York has one though, if you want his info. 

dherr
dherr HalfDork
5/17/19 4:30 p.m.

Thanks Andrew, I'll probably just have to pay a local welder to weld it on. I have the pan loose, just need to lift the engine a little to get it to clear and then I'll see what I have to work with. 

TVR Scott
TVR Scott HalfDork
5/17/19 4:56 p.m.

In reply to dherr :

Bring it on over!  I'll buzz it in for you.

dherr
dherr HalfDork
5/18/19 2:03 p.m.

So one of the things about working on the same model of a car, is you learn from your mistakes. In my case, on my old challenge car, it was not built to be serviced easily, which was a big mistake. It get's old when you have to pull the body to get to the mechanicals......

So for my street car, I had really tried to make sure everything was accessible. Now on a Spitfire, it is much better than most cars anyway, but as I figured out things for the swap and built motor mounts, brackets, clearanced the body, etc... I tried to do so so I could service the car in the future.

It was put to the test this weekend, as I pulled the oil pan to fix the leak. This meant removing all the intake plumbing, exhaust, motor mounts and then lifting the engine to let me remove the pan. Worked out just fine and now that I have the oil pan out, I need to decide how best to fix the issue with the oil return plug. I ordered an AN10 weld on bung just in case, but after talking with a friend last evening, i decided to see if I could just drill the nut and bung for safety wire. Unless you all tell me differently, I'll safety wire this with some stainless wire tomorrow and put it all back together. Anyone see any reason not to just wire it up so it can't vibrate loose?

stuart in mn
stuart in mn MegaDork
5/18/19 2:19 p.m.

What will you wire it to?  There's a couple reinforcement ribs close by, I suppose you could drill a hole in one of those for connection to the safety wire.

dherr
dherr HalfDork
5/18/19 2:27 p.m.

I should be able to get the drill on the lower rib, good idea. So that keeps it from moving and nut from vibrating loose, so I should be good to go?

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
5/18/19 4:48 p.m.

Ah... Bummed you didn't make it here, but understandable. The weather this year was great and we had a decent attendance of Spitfires, although unfortunately neither of mine made it.

Hopefully next year will be as nice.

dherr
dherr HalfDork
5/19/19 9:05 a.m.

Thanks Ian for the picture. I was disappointed especially with such nice weather, which is atypical for Import Carlisle to say the least. Fortunately, I should be back on the road by tomorrow as I need to get 100 miles on the car or more by next Monday before it goes to the tuners. Great group of cars here!

dherr
dherr HalfDork
5/21/19 8:22 p.m.

So wired the turbo drain fitting into the oil pan, carefully cleaned and resealed the pan and reinstalled it on Sunday. Finished putting the exhaust and the rest of the car back together on Monday and tried to fire it up. Guess what, no fuel pump priming and no start. Posted on the main board last night as I have been through this before, new fuel pump, swapped all the relays, ran some new grounds. So today went through it again, finally wiggled the main relay and the fuel pump primed. So pulled and tested a spare main relay and plugged it in. Car fired right up. No oil leaks so should be back where I was last Thursday. I will drive the car the next few days and see how it goes as the autotune goes to work and builds me a more accurate fuel map before it goes to the tuner next week.

Agent98
Agent98 Reader
5/22/19 9:28 a.m.

loctite red for the nut? Like that option better than a piece of safety wire coming loose...

dherr
dherr HalfDork
5/22/19 12:46 p.m.

I should have taken a picture of it, no chance of it coming loose or the wire breaking off, it is not a stressed item, wired it to the stiffening rib in the pan, nut is now locked in place with no chance to loosen from the vibration. I thought about loctite but was not sure how well that would work in an oil bath, so safety wire seemed to be the best choice.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
5/22/19 3:31 p.m.

I think I'd rather have safety wire than red loctite. Seems it would be much easier to deal with when it needs to be loosened and removed.

When I think about it... out all of the cars pictured above, only 2 of them are close to original US spec.  Four of them have Euro spec HS-4 carbs, the first car in the row has a GT6 engine (set back to the 1500 position) and has EFI. The green car next in line has megajolt distributorless ignition. The red GT6 has port EFI and distributorless ignition. Only the white and the maroon cars are essentially as from the factory. The maroon car is a one-owner car who drives it to the show every year from NNJ.

Ransom
Ransom PowerDork
5/22/19 3:49 p.m.

In reply to Ian F :

That's awesome. I dig and respect restoration to original, and there's something neat about the old hardware, but with upgrades and modernizations you can truly have something that is super-cool, and not available by sticking only to the new or the old. And to me, something much more able to be used and enjoyed in most of the contexts in which I enjoy a car.

dherr
dherr HalfDork
5/22/19 3:58 p.m.

Not surprised to see how many people have done modifications in this regard. I too, respect the restorations to original condition, but these are typically not used on the street after all that work, which is a shame. In my case, my goal is a car that is as reliable as a Miata, but has the handling and style of a Spitfire. We will see if it meets the goal, but it would be great if this thing is something I can drive down to the Mitty some Spring without any concerns.  Will be out on a few drives tomorrow, wish me luck.

dherr
dherr HalfDork
5/23/19 6:06 p.m.

I swear the last 5% of the work is the most painful. So in working on getting this ready for the tuner, I noticed that the battery keeps needing to be charged. The NB Miatas have an alternator controlled by the ECU and it can be a pain to get it set correctly so the voltage is regulated properly. I was seeing less than 12 volts at the battery, so based on Flying Miata's recommendation to use one of the earlier alternators that have a built-in regulator, I swapped it for one from a 97. Simple process, alternator is a plug for plug swap, just need to change a few wires at the ECU and now have 13.8 volts according to the ECU, so good to go.

dherr
dherr HalfDork
5/29/19 9:04 a.m.

Car was dropped off at the tuner's yesterday as scheduled. Not sure when I'll see it back but when I saw he was building a turbo NA with a megasquirt, I knew I was in the right place. I am having him do a safety inspection, 4 wheel alignment and then get the car running properly with a safe tune on wastegate boost (so 6-8 pounds for now).  We can always come back for more later. Can't wait to see the dyno numbers!

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair MegaDork
5/29/19 9:30 a.m.
dherr said:

Can't wait to see the dyno numbers!

Nice work!  I’m also excited to see the numbers.  This is such a cool car, just “a neat old car with rims” to a casual observer, but a totally useful sleeper underneath.

dherr
dherr HalfDork
5/29/19 10:19 a.m.

Thanks, I can't wait to drive it when it comes back, but also will be really interested in seeing how it does in the local autocross. Spitfires were always good handling cars, and even on street tires, this one should be quite capable of some fast times. 

dherr
dherr HalfDork
6/5/19 7:51 a.m.

Shop called me yesterday. After the conversation, I am really happy I took the car to Adrenaline Automotive as Andrew knows his stuff. On the safety inspection, he ran down a list of things I was aware of that I will address when he returns the car (turn signals, lower radiator hose rubbing chassis, front pulley rubbing on steering rack, etc...) but he did find that my GT6 rear brakes were not working properly and fixed that since they had the drums off to do the inspection. With the inspection completed, he has confirmed the fuel map needs some work as it is running very rich at idle. He is going to work on the fuel map and brush up on the Hydra and hopefully the car will be tuned on the Dyno next week. Excited to have it back in the next week or two and on the road! Plenty to do to get it fully sorted but very close to being there!

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