Friday, 11 August 2017

Leaky Cobra and broken fan mount

Coolant leak

I have had a coolant leak for some time from the thermostat housing. Unfortunately there is no drain point in the system, so a hose needs to be disconnected. Messy!

First I drained down the system and removed the thermostat housing. This was cleaned up where it mated to the block. Next I applied Hylomar blue sealant to the mating surfaces. After a bit of fiddling I got the thermostat and housing back in place, bolted up and filled ......... but it still leaked. So I repeated the process. It leaked again! So a glass of wine was called for.

After relaxing a bit, I thought of three reasons why this may be happening - the thermostat was not being correctly aligned, the bolts were too long and not allowing the housing to be nipped up or both.

So the next day I checked the bolts and sure enough one was not going in to the block far enough. The bolt was shortened a little to allow it to screw in fully.

Next I fit the rubber thermostat gasket in to the housing, using sealant in the recess where the rubber gasket sits. Then I put two tie wraps through the top of the thermostat and threaded these through the housing. I located the thermostat in place, making sure that the pressure release thingy was in the correct place (there is a recess in the rubber seal). Next I fixed the tie wraps around a bolt to secure the thermostat in the right place and so that it could not be moved whilst fixing. Sealant was applied yet again to the clean mating surface, before the housing was offered up and bolted in place. The tie wraps were removed, the hose reconnected and the jubilee clip tightened. The system was then re-filled gradually, making sure that no air was trapped (tip - get the front of the car higher than the back). Success!
Thermostat housing re-fitted
Radiator fan

Whilst messing about stopping the leak above, I noticed that two of the fan fixings on the driver's side had broken after only 1,200 miles!
Broken fan fixing. Tie wrap can now be seen below it.
What I should have done was to fit tie wraps as well to help stop the mountings moving. I have ordered new fan fixings to replace the broken ones. Guess that is the problem of such a big fan.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Damper set up

Andy at GD will set up your new GD suspension at no additional cost. My car is a Euro so should only need the dampers setting, as the rest is set as part of the rolling chassis build. The car drives well now, but does 'float' a little over crests in the road and also feels a little unstable particularly at speed on the motorway, which does not instil total confidence when pushing on. The dampers (or shockers) control oscillation of the springs and keep the tyres in contact with the road. So this is what I needed to sort out to address the minor handling issues.

I didn't really want to take the car to the factory, as it is a 2.5 hour drive each way and I have no weather gear to combat the vaguaries of the British summer. A quick call to Andy and he explained the way to adjust the dampers and that it should correct the issues above. The dampers are set using just one knob for both the compression and rebound. If I made a pigs ear out of it, there is no real harm done as it can be corrected!

Andy knows the feel of the cars and the changes needed to correct the symptoms. It also depend on the weight of the driver, passenger and junk/tools etc carried in the boot (if a lot of weight in the boot you may need more clicks at the rear). He suggested that damper settings of around 4-6 clicks clockwise are likely to be about right, but that I may need to amend this to my preference. No change is required to the spring rates or toe. However, for the track more clicks may be required e.g 12/13!

The first job is to set the ride height. Mine is set to clear local speed bumps (see a previous post).

Collar for ride adjustment can be seen here
This is achieved by adjusting the collars up (using a C spanner) at the bottom of the springs.
The lower the car the less it will roll in corners (lowers the centre of gravity) and the better it will handle, but the car is more likely to come into contact with speed humps (legal limit for a speed bump on a public road is 4" I think) or raised road surfaces/metalwork - so you have been warned!

Next I needed to back off all four dampers fully (they were set to 5 clicks at the factory) - turning the knurled knob fully anti-clockwise, so that the knob will not turn any further (don't force it). You should be able to do this with the wheels on. The knobs are at the bottom of the dampers - on the inside at the front and on the leading edge at the rear.
Front nearside damper knurled knob (faces away from wheel)

Rear nearside damper knob (faces front of car)
Then turn the knob, say 6 clicks clockwise (which is one full rotation of the knob). For road use/touring you do not want the car to be too stiff or it will be uncomfortable and thump over every road imperfection. I set mine to 6 clicks. With 7 clicks it handled well but was a tad too hard. If you have a roll bar fitted the setting is likely to vary

Now the good bit. Once adjusted, test the car on your favourite road 😆. If it is not quite right, further adjustments can be made. Extra clicks will firm up the dampers, backing it off will reduce the damping effect. Note, this is not the spring rate, but the speed at which the dampers move and allow the car to roll in corners, control the car over undulations and dive (or not) under braking.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Wet passenger legs!

We had a drop of rain on the North York Moors Cobra Club run. If we went fast enough the rain went over the top of us, unfortunately I had not sealed the windscreen stanchions properly and it dripped in to the passenger foot well. Not too bad as it was on to the passenger's legs and not mine!
Gap down side of stanchion let water in

In addition the rubber seal of the windscreen had a kink in it, so GD had supplied a new one without the fault.
Kink can be seen in photo above
So I had to remove the screen. This is a time consuming job, as you need to remove the sun visors, mirrors, wind wings, centre bracket, before unscrewing and lifting out. But a tip, remove the passenger under dash tray and one of the bigger gauges on the dashboard. Now you can get your hand in to remove the nuts holding in the central screen bracket. This is a lot easier than removing the whole dash!

Whilst the screen was off I re-did the drivers side stanchion sealing. The escutcheons needed removing to do this job properly. The new rubber seal went on easier with some Vaseline to aid sliding in to the channel on the under side of the windscreen.
Stanchion re-sealed
New rubber seal without the kink!
So, hopefully dry legs now. Not that it goes out in the rain .... well it is not planned anyway!

Monday, 7 August 2017

North York Moors Cobra Club run

North York Moors

Arranged by Mike Hammond, the North York Moors Cobra Club run was superb.

Cobras on Saturday morning outside the hotel
Left to right my car, Noel Hirst's GD, then Simon Smith's AK

Not sure what a gathering of Cobras is called
We only did the Saturday, bailing out at Malton. A great hit with a fabulous turn out of Cobras and members/partners. It was amazing going through the towns and villages, a long line of Cobras really turned the heads and the cameras came out too.

I thought that I had "done" the area, but Mike had chosen some great sweeping roads with tremendous scenery that we had not seen before. The only negative was a shower, and the Cobra doesn't do rain, but go quick enough and the rain goes over you. Except I found a leak, or rather Carol did, in the passenger foot well. So a job to do next. Hopefully next year Mike will sort the weather too!

My car back fired frequently on the over run and made the sheep jump, so Noel Hirst Christened it the 'sheep banger'. Not sure that was a compliment! I will ask Dave from Canems to look at the ECU settings.

Harewood Hillclimb

The following day I took Russell Naude up to Harewood in the Cobra to see the racing and some old rivals of mine. Good to see real racers on the hill and in the paddock. Cars ranged from Austin Healey 3000s, through Caterhams, Subarus, Peugeot 205s, Minis, Elises to a multitude of single seater race cars. One of my old rivals, Dave Banner, took fastest time of the day in his OMS.

There was also an event for the Fueled Society, with some nice custom cars on display. Good crowds and a great way to end the weekend.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Just topped 1000 miles!

The Cobra is now ready for its first oil change after 1000 miles. I needed to do this before the Northern Cobra Club North York Moors Run at the weekend.

Almost 5 litres of  Mobil 1 and a new K&N filter from CarPartsForLess were used. The new filter, an HP 1007, has a 'nut' fitted to aid removal, however it is a little longer, but when fitted it is still above the lower extremity of the exhaust so should be ok.

The front of the car needed jacking up to get at the oil drain plug and the filter. A plastic carrier bag helped to catch the filter and the oil from the filter and an oil drain can caught the old oil.

The new filter rubber ring was coated with engine oil and the filter was partly filled before it was fitted to help with the process. After pouring the new oil in to the engine, it was allowed to settle before checking the level with the dipstick. When it looked to be at the correct level, the engine was run for a few minutes to circulate the oil, before finally topping up.

Job done!

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Cobras go to North East

Mark Turnbull had invited me up to his house in Sunderland. Keith Akerman joined me. So two Cobras travelled from Yorkshire to County Durham to see another Cobra being built. What a fabulous day we picked  - wall to wall sun!

First we got to Marks and kicked tyres. Looked at his grey Gardner Douglas 427 Cobra. Admired his four post lift. And compared notes on how we had gone about building our cars.
Another Cobra being created
After we were Cobra'd out we went up to Tyneside to see his new home. Well the building site that will become the Turnbull's new residences. Mark's family have also got a number of these apartments too! He is doing some consultancy on the building, including moving quite a number of staircases to free up the main views of the Tyne. Rather him than me.
A couple of the staircases
Just look at that view!
Then Mark took us back to Sunderland and bought us fish and chips. At this point Keith's car decided to run out of fuel. Luckily he had a can in the boot. Petrol in tank, fish and chips in a carrier, we made our way to Roker marina. After boarding Mark's vessel (he is a record holder in the North Sea - caught the biggest shark ever caught here!) at the marina, we settled in to lunch. Yummy!
Captain Turnbull. What better place to eat fish and chips.
After food, we returned to Mark's house where friends and family descended on the Cobras. A bit more tyre kicking, mickey taking and photos, before it was time to leave for home.
Traffic jam at Chez Turnbull with Keith's Cobra
Not wanting to run out of fuel, we filled up at a nearby filling station. A nice lady in a Merc Pergoda let us out in to the traffic (it was Michelle, Mark's wife - she had managed to evade us during the day).

The two Cobras drove impeccably and got us home safely, despite heavy traffic and some suspect driving from others (including a Porsche driver who obviously had something to prove to himself).

Saturday, 20 May 2017

GD open day at new factory

I met some great folk at the new GD factory in Grantham on Saturday. Some I had met before, others I had talked to or corresponded with, others were totally new to me and some had used this blog. Loads of people attended. What a nice group, with the same or a similar interests.

The weather was good in the morning, but it chucked it down in the afternoon. I had checked out the forecast for the journey and had decided that the tin top was a much safer bet. And a good choice this turned out to be. Some lucky folk had demo runs in the sun, whilst others got soaked, not that this spoiled the day - at least for me!

The day had been organised by Meena and Andy at GD, with a lot of help from Sue and Larry of ClubGD. Staff and family had been roped in to help and those who attended were met by a mouth watering selection of pastries, biscuits and drinks. Just what was needed after the long journeys.

Here are a few photos from the day.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

New wheel!

Well I have finally got round to getting a slightly bigger steering wheel. I have gone for a 14" (previously a 13") premium grade leather traditional style, with nicely polished and radiused edged spokes. The wheel is flat, rather than semi-dished and has a slightly thicker rim and was bought from Scarborough Racing Developments.

The only issue was that it was a 9 hole fixing and the previous wheel was a 6 hole fitting. The advice was to temporarily fix the wheel with 3 bolts through the holes that still lined up, then drill the remaining 6 holes through the boss. The steering wheel was then fixed with the 9 countersunk fixings screws, washers and nylocs provided, putting the central circular ring supplied in place. An easy upgrade!
New steering wheel fixed

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Stoneleigh National Kit Car Show 2017

I didn't take the Cobra to the show for various reasons (none to do with the car), but I still went to Stoneleigh.

Here are some photos of the Cobras from the Cobra Club at Stoneleigh:
Mark Clayton's AK nearest the camera (only the second day out!)
The DVLA must have made a fortune from the XX60BRA brigade.
Here is Simon Smith's AK (SS 60BRA), next to Noel Hirst's black and rather battered looking car
(someone ran into the back of it on the forth day out, ouch!)
Love the red and black car
Note Keith Akerman's GD (the cream one) with the billet wood bonnet prop
On the GD stand this beauty caught my eye, it is a MK3R (that is a MK3 with the big arches).
A real show stopper in my opinion
GD even got a mention on the Chris Evans breakfast show, following the kit car show!

The next day I went to the National Motor Museum at Gaydon. Loads of cars there, mainly from the British Leyland line. A few got my attention, including FAB1, a sparkling pink number:
Thunderbirds are go!
And some others from the past:
The F Type concept that got away. First seen by me at Curborough on a photo shoot

Monte Carlo winner in the hands of Paddy Hopkirk. Those were the days!
Mark Webber's F1 Jaguar (now Red Bull F1)

The first ever Jaguar E Type undergoing restoration
... and a Le Mans winning D Type
And for those Strictly dance fans:
Morris (not linked to the car) men, with traction engines in the background

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Photos of the car

Couldn't resist a few photos!




Friday, 7 April 2017

Stripes - changed my mind!

Cobra stripes

Today I had vinyl wrap stripes applied to the Cobra by Expression Car Wrapping in Baildon (see link below on the right and speak to Jamie). I have been going to have stripes, then not, then stripes, then not etc. You get my point - indecisive!

So I have finally made up my mind and gone for two broad metallic grey stripes (a sort of gunmetal) with a metallic red (more burgundy really) pin stripe on each side. The red matches the leather stitching and the carpets. The stripe measurements are taken from Superperformance website (which is approved by Shelby) and fit between the wiper spindles, the roll hoops and the reverse/fog lights (total 360 mm). The red stripe is 6 mm, then there is a gap showing the body colour (white) of 5 mm, then a grey stripe of 152 mm and then a central body colour gap of 25 mm. It is almost the same as I envisaged in June 2015 (see post)!

I took the car down in the morning and removed various things at their workshop such as the wipers, screen, number plate light, boot handle etc. I had removed the Cobra badges and sun visors in advance. The car was then left with Chris at Expression.


In the afternoon, after the stripes had been applied, I went down to fix the various parts, before driving home. It even looked good stripped down!

Here is the finished job. Very pleased.



So why have I changed my mind? Well one of my daughters said that a Cobra without stripes is .... well not a Cobra. She is the one who said that I drove it like Miss Daisy by the way! You would think that I would ignore her because of comments like that.

Anyway, if I change my mind again (which I don't think I will), I can always have the stripes removed!

Steering wheel

There is no power steering on the GD. I have fitted a 13" steering wheel and this makes it a bit heavy I think, so I might change it for a bigger diameter wheel at some stage (still leather).