The Day of Reckoning

After almost a whole year of faffing, it was time to actually drive the car properly. The week prior to Saturday was pretty torturous, massively nervous about the day. Had I tightened this properly, what about that, what if the new fuel pressure regulator wasn’t the same, and my AFR’s were way out, what if one of the naffing oil hoses burst, even after all the messing about, what if, what if.

Friday night I popped over to the unit and we loaded the car onto the trailer, treated the windscreen to a coat of Rain-x on the outside, and Fog-x on the inside. You know, just in case..

With my mind firmly set on the car surviving, I completely failed on the taking photos front. I also realised the only go-pro clip I had with me was broken, which meant no video footage either, doh.

The drive to the circuit was an odd one, for some reason I chilled out. My mood changed from, holy shit what if it fails, to, so what if it does. For a hobbiest, like myself, I’d done well to even get this far!

With the signing on/briefing formalities out of the way, Legend Stace, Chris, or Stace’s Dad, however you know him had arrived, along with Mummy Stace. Eileen offered me cake, whilst Chris set to work checking tyre pressure and the like. Eager to get the day started I made my way to the track entrance, and waited first in line for my three sighting laps. Steady away, the car felt good, and upon returning to the pits nothing was leaking, result.

After a quick check of everything once more, I strapped myself in and headed out for my first proper session. With just two cars on track it was a great time to get some heat into the new brake pads / disks (check), check AFR with a 3rd and 4th gear pull (check), and make sure oil pressure was good (check). With those out of the way, I picked up some speed, but after a couple of laps I could hear something wasn’t quite right. At first I thought it was rubber pickup from the used A048R’s I’m using, but one of the marshals flagged me down to tell me it sounded much more sinister than that and to go check it out.

Whilst impressed by the attentiveness of the Javelin marshals I began to wonder what it could be. This is where having Chris around was invaluable, we checked around the car to discover a worryingly loose tapered wheel bearing nut. Typically this was one of the few parts of the car I hadn’t touched, I also have no experience with tapered wheel bearings. Chris tightened it, as well as the other side and off we went again. Without having Chris around that might well have ended my day, I’m so thankful for the Stacey’s help from Day 0 of this journey/build.

A few more laps down, but my spidey senses were tingling, and every sound the car made was a worry. After a couple of more short stints, something just didn’t feel right. Time was pressing on at this point, so we checked over everything once more, and swapped the tyres front to back as there was still a lot of pickup on the ‘inside’ (anti-clockwise circuit) rear tyre. With that done it was time for lunch, and just in time for the heavens to open..

I sheltered in the van, and waited out the storm. As soon as the track ‘opened’ I jumped in the car and queue to go make sure everything was OK. Unfortunately, the rain had been so heavy the track was covered in lots of standing water. For the time being the track was closed, and with no end to the rain in sight, I started to wonder whether or not I’d ever find out if the car was OK.

An hour or so passed and the rain began to let up, the sky got brighter and Colin yelled from his car the track would be opening. Great, time to get some steady wet laps in..

A few steady laps turned into a few more quicker laps and the car felt great, the problem now was getting any heat into the oil and water. I struggled in the morning, but put that down to me going steady and the ambient being cool. But as I increased the pace, temps didn’t seem to increase, so back in and a short conversation with Nige he said to cover part of the oil cooler and go back out..

With that done, and a drying track I pushed on, gaining confidence in the car, and finally seeing Oil Temps in the 90’s. The car was great fun to drive, a little soft in places and the more used rear tyres that I swapped to the front started to go off a little, or at least that’s how it felt, the car became a little more understeery as the laps went on. But as a starting point, fun, pointy, and very easy to gather up if it got a bit waggy, all in all, confidence inspiring.

About to come in after a fairly lengthy session, an old school friend of mine who had booked on a Toyota Only day in his VX220 appeared in my mirror. I saw this as an opportunity to bench mark the car against something of a similar horsepower and weight, I let him past, then the chase was on.

The little grenade did well, and we were both evenly matched all over the circuit, as you would expect his car was slightly more composed through the quicker turns, but there was nothing between the cars in a straight line and through the slower stuff. The circuit had dried completely by this time as well.. It’s funny though, he keeps posting how nothing came close to his car, yet no mention of our little tussle 😆

I lost an indicator at some point as well, rescued by a marshal but pretty much scrap plastic now.. ah well. One final session to close out the day and take the chequered flag. A quick once over the car, and as instructed by Nige, I was going to check the plugs. But numb nuts here forgot the spark plug socket, so I didn’t get chance to do that, whoops.

Car loaded, minus drivers indicators, I said my goodbyes and drove back to Sheffield, dodging some localised flooding but with a massive smile on my face.

So, it works, I/We did it! Big thanks to everyone who’s helped, Stace and his family, Jebson, Matty, Nige, UB, Weeman, loads of folks.

I guess now the real work starts, as it get used more things will break. I already have a few things that need addressing..

– A weep from the brake T-Piece – Tempted to replace with braided hose
– Make a part/full shroud for my oil cooler
– A full once over of all suspensiony bits and rear brakes
– Coolant expansion tank filled at the end of the day, bit of a worry

But that can wait a week or two, I need a break from it all, and should probably spend some time with Katherine who I’m sure is feeling a little neglected. 😆

TL;DR; Day went well, no real dramas, yet and the car was fun to drive. :thumb:


Little Jobs

On Monday Stace helped me sort out an alignment with his “racing friend” Paul Roddinson. Paul was helpful and dialed in a couple of degrees camber up-front and made sure all the wheels were pointing in sort of the same direction. With a base setup sorted, I can go to Blyton, hopefully make notes (if the car lasts that long) and feedback for some corner weighting before it’s next outing.

Negative camber, yo.

I ordered some new disks and pads from Keri @ WMS late last week, they arrived on Monday ready for me to fit on Wednesday evening. Pretty straight forward, also gave me chance to secure the brake lines which I hadn’t done before and have a good check around that area. I opted for Ferodo Yellow pads to get me started, cheap and cheerful. Infact the disks and pads including delivery came in at less than £130, pretty decent I thought.

I don’t think pad sweep is optimal with this setup, but anything is better than the standard single piston calipers, so we’ll see how they get on. The back has pretty new disks and some Pagid road pads in there, aftermarket rear pads seem non existent for the Starlet, so they’ll have to do for now.

I also got round to fitting my TRS Tow strap to the front of the car, a slight bumper modification was made and it fits nicely.

When fitting this I noticed how exposed the oil filter was, now I don’t know if a stone or whatever might have cracked the filter casing, but I didn’t fancy finding that out, so ordered up some mesh and fitted that in the hole this evening. Gave it a lick of paint as well so it didn’t stand out quite so much.. Stainless steel stuff so hopefully it wont get too manky..

There’s a possibility it’ll get replaced with brake ducting anyway, but looks neat enough for now.

One thing I thought might come in useful was a sun visor, so that was next on the list. Such a faff to fit by yourself, especially when you buy cheap nasty vinyl like I did. But I got there in the end and it looks presentable enough.

One last thing, I may have bought a slightly bigger turbo, you know, just incase

It needs a rebuild, but it was cheap and useful to have on the shelf.

Post Dyno Alterations

After the car survived mapping, I decided to book a track day. It had always been my plan to take the car to Blyton Park, a local(ish) circuit, for a days testing. It just so happened that a Toyota only day had been arranged by Javelin for the 19th of July, leaving me 3 weeks to make my way through the long list of “little” jobs I had left to do.

Little jobs are always the things that take the longest amount of time, or at least so it seems! So with a bottle of one of my favoured beers (laugh all you want, it’s delicious) I got cracking

During mapping it looked to me like the actuator had made contact with the radiator some how.

This could well have happened at some point when I’ve had the radiator resting against the engine, but not wanting to take the chance, and having a small amount of room in front of the radiator to play with, I set about moving it a little closer.

Oh, I also fitted my air filter, not I’d posted about that. Fairly easy to sort and fits nicely over the restrictor.

You can see in that picture the gap between the slam panel and radiator, that’s much smaller now.

With those things out of the way I had some holes in the bulk head to cover up that used to route aircon / heater matrix pipes into the cabin. I had some left over carbon fibre from my door cards, so set about shaping some of it to cover the holes. I secured it with some sealant, and wished I’d done it differently given the mess I made, but they’re in now and pretty secure!

Dyno Day

Got about half way through this and like a moron, I managed to refresh the page losing all I’d written. Probably for the best, I’d waffled on..

Anyway, so I took the car to be mapped. One of the more nerve wracking days I’ve ever had, but me and the car got through it pretty much unscathed. It started with me towing all by myself for the very first time, luckily this went without hitch (oh dear) and I arrived with plenty of time to get the car unloaded and sit around waiting for Will to arrive so we could get cracking.

The first thing Will did was carry out an inspection of the cars cooling system, and after pressure testing it, we deemed that OK. Next up was a compression check, figures came back OK, not brilliant, but OK, even across all 4, but a little down at 160psi than the 180psi you’d expect from a box fresh engine. Next was a bore scope, which didn’t reveal anything untoward really, phew. It was noted that a spark plug or two were oily, suggesting oil might be getting passed the rings? I always knew the engine would need refreshing at some point, so not a massive concern, and something I’m keen to learn how to do myself.

With that out of the way, the car was loaded onto the hub dynos.

Once on their timing was checked and adjust slightly before a whiff of fuel filled the air. Numb nuts here hadn’t done a particularly good job of making sure all the new fuel connections were tight under the bonnet. That was sorted quite quickly, but we discovered a crack in my FPR. I really thought that would be the end of the day, and I was pretty down beat, especially given that I’d checked for leaks myself and not found anything. With my tail between my legs I trotted round to a hose place to see if we could get anything made up to get the standard FPR working. When I returned out of luck, Will had removed a similar FPR from another car and began fitting it to mine.

With everything checked and double checked mapping commenced

After a few hours, the car was mapped and made 140hp at the hubs. Slightly less than I was expecting if I’m being honest, but also on less boost. I had hoped to have seen a peak boost pressure of 15psi, but when we increased boost pressure, the gains made were pretty negligible, so it was decided to just run from actuator pressure of around 11/12psi.

Here are the graphs..



There is a possibility that with a more free flowing exhaust manifold and exhaust I’d make some more power, but this will do for now.