Tuesday, August 01, 2006

All Going Well in 'Bleak Mid-winter'

I’ve done a couple of things to the car in the last week or two … small improvements, but enough to make me smile.

The first thing I did was fit a Smiths oil pressure gauge … well according to the ebayer I bought it from it’s a "guage". (Warning: Misspelt ebay listings can save you lots of money). The day it arrived I bought a t-piece, to enable me to retain the warning light, and connections from Lionel Otto in Brisbane and fitted it the same day. They even gave me a free mounting bracket!

I suppose I wanted the gauge just for peace of mind, and you never know when you buy a 28 year-old car with no history what mileage the engine has done! The good news is that it’s reading well within "Kipping tolerances" (between 45-65 PSI @ 2,000rpm when nice and warm – this is assuming the gauge reads correct of course.

It’s ‘winter’ here in Brisbane, so the temperature gets down to 10 Centigrade in the morning. Weirdly enough BOB has been a bit sluggish at starting in the cooler weather. I had a think about this and decided it was unlikely to be carburettor related. I’ve got the richer BCM Dolly Sprint needles in the carbs and they’ve very recently been fitted and balanced, and I know the timing is good, plugs are new, etc. I thought back to when I fitted the electronic ignition and it dawned on me that the fitting required a ballast resistor and appropriate coil. Well, I had found the present coil (Bosch GT40) was working fine and had just left it. A trip to the car shop and purchase of a GT40R has made a huge difference, now however. We’re back to starting on the first turn of the engine, it pulls more rapidly and smoothly through the revs and now warms up in seconds … no more embarrassing stalling at the lights on a steep hill when cold.

A couple of weekends back we took a trip 100km north to look at the new patch of land my in-laws are buying so they’re nearer to Brisbane. It’s a great spot near the top of the hill with views of the nearby mountains and 20km out to the coast, and it’s very near some seriously good quiet and twisting roads! We took the dirt roads out and the mountain roads back for a round trip of about 200km (saw a Ferrarri 355 on the way back), so it was particularly good. To prove me right, it rained too (see earlier entry).

We went up the local 'mountain' roads last weekend - the car feeling fairly good - and managed to hold off two Porsche Carrerras that had been lane weaving and sparring all the way through town. We almost lost them completely when we got to the bends and hills which was a bit dissapointing. Coming back down the mountain there was some squealing on the brakes, though. Some biker has done a web-page showing the route.

We’ve had BOB a year this week. It's only done about 6,000 miles – paltry compared to the regular 20,000 plus I did in Triumphs in the UK, but it has been lots of fun. I still can’t believe we got such a good car for such a small sum. So far the only real problem I’ve had has been a split cooling hose (I’m touching wood as I type). I haven’t made that many changes to the car, but I’m pleased with what I have done … for the record:

Reconditioned distributor
Electronic ignition
Removed knackered old emissions equipment
Reconditioned carbs with BCM needles
Fitted ‘works’ gearknob (surprisingly, a vast improvement over the original fitment)
Witor exhaust (minus manifold) – thanks to Andy Thompson
Oil pressure gauge
… plus lots of little adjustments and fixes.

Things to come in the next year or two:

Improved brakes - pads, hoses and reconditioned Girling calipers
15-inch superlites (just to get Bancroft’s goat!)
Tubular stainless exhaust manifold
Diff. whine fix
Spin-on oil filter conversion
Holden Jackaroo (Isuzu Trooper) starter motor conversion

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