Test 27/03/15 Silverstone National

We were at Silverstone today testing the newly rebuilt M88s for any issues. We had some pretty crusty old tyres from 2010 to use so were not expecting good lap times – it was really more to check everything was OK. We were a bit late turning up and then spent most of the first session finishing the car off. Mainly the ignition timing and a few other bits. We managed a few laps right at the end.
The car clearly had something amiss at the front as it was poor on turn in, had understeer and a tendency to grab the front brake. When we looked it over the front ride height had been set to about 60mm instead of the 42 we aim for! This can be explained by the setup being done at 9pm on Wednesday night in about 30 mins. With this corrected the car handled much better but I suspect as the driver the front left was still a bit light. Also towards the end of the day the front left was completely butchered and gave the car horrific unersteer going right. Going left through Brooklands it was a nice car showing the basic setup was quite good.
The biggest problem of the day was the intermittent coolant temperature sensore which defaulted to 128C. Not reassuring but when it did work it showed 90. Still a bit high.

Checking for bent valves after suspected over-rev

After compression testing the new car’s engine we found one cylinder giving a healthy 180psi compression whilst the other three were around 90psi. Not so good! The bottom end was relatively new so we turned our attention to the head and suspected the valves were bent. This was more than a hunch the car had a problem getting into 3rd gear which Michael and the previous owner had had trouble with. This will inevitably lead to over-revving on upshifts if not very careful.
If you over-rev (buzz) the engine the springs will not be able to close the valves quick enough for them to be out the way of the piston which results in impact between the two. It may only slightly bend the valves but that’s enough to lose compression. Moreoever the contents of the combustion chamber will end up back in your inlet and exhaust manifolds at the wrong time harming the pulsed flow.
Without vacuum testing equipment, Michael had to get innovative with his testing of the valves.

ELM327 ODB-2 Teardown and Review

We had a fault on the Ford Fiesta so we bought an ELM327 ODB-II scanner.
Michael tears down the ELM327 bluetooth ODB2 reader to see how much it costs to produce. He then attempts to set it up on a horrible Windows 8 laptop and gives up going back to use a Windows XP machine.
If you take anything from this video it should be that Windows 8 is crap.

30 Year Old Donor Race Engine

We bought an engine for the block and crankshaft which are the main parts destroyed in the Anglesey engine blow up.  It was sold as a low mileage engine that has sat in a garage for 30 years.  It was never going to be good.

In the video the engine gets dismantled to see what leaving an engine for so long does to it and it’s not pretty!  The valves in the head have rusted in to place and the engine had filled with silt and rust.  Good job we only need the crank and block which will have liners fitted.

Rusty valves
30yo Formula Ford Engine cylinder head with rusted vales
Rusty 711M
30yo Formula Ford Engine Block
FF1600 Block
711M Donor Block
FF1600 head
Donor Head
FF1600 head
Rusty Cylinder Head

ELM327 clone teardown/review

ODB2 Scan
ODB2 Scanner

The Fiesta, I unaffectionately mentioned in the engine blow up video, had the check engine light on (this happened before we put the dirty fuel in by the way!).  For £6 I decided it’s well worth giving one of these ELM327 ODB-2 scanner clones you get on eBay a go.

In the video there is a little teardown to see how they can make and sell it for just £6.  We find a surprisingly expensive chipset from Microchip (PIC18F and Microchip’s CANBus controller).  They could be fake parts as I’m sure there is big demand for these in China which would keep the cost down.  However, I suspect the reason they used these chips is because the stolen or open source firmware was written for the PIC18 and they didn’t have the skills to re-write it for a lower cost chip.  It also explains the use of a crystal oscillator!

Formula Ford 1600 Race Team Blog