Friday, 9 April 2021

The Pressure is Off

Well, maybe...a suggestion from Jon (ex-Emerald guy) was that my issue is fuel pressure, or lack of. Two possible candidates are the HP fuel pump and the fuel pressure regulator.

Based on the fact that I can hear the HP pump and it sounds OK, I thought I'd try change the regulator first. Rather than just get a new OEM Ford job, I went for an £80 adjustable regulator, which also includes a take-off to fit a fuel pressure gauge (£20). My thinking was that, with the gauge, I can then tell what the pressure is and if it is still low, I'll know it's not the regulator.

So, bought all this and then sat there, staring at my fuel rail, thinking, "how the Hell does this go on?". The answer, eventually, is, it doesn't!!! The damn thing just has a pipe fitting but I need an adaptor to fit on the end of the Ford fuel rail. The OEM regulator has this adaptor moulded on to it (the piece with the holes in it in the pic below), so I cannot re-use that:

And does anyone do a separate adaptor for Ford? Nope. I ordered the closest thing I could find in the desperate hope it might fit but it finally arrived from China (after 3 weeks) and it doesn't fit.

So that's £100 down the drain - I've just ordered a new OEM Ford regulator; thankfully, only £25.

I'm on holiday next week when it should arrive, so I'll fit it on my return and pray this fixes my issue.

Sunday, 21 March 2021


 So my starter motor not kicking in is definitely an electrical problem and it seems to be the wiring from my ignition switch, which I thought I has sorted out weeks ago. I know this because when I try to start and the starter motor just clicks, if I wiggle the wires from the ignition, the starter motor fires up fine.

So there is that and my hot-starting is still a problem - starter just churns away but nothing from the engine. Starts up first time when cold and also OK if I leave it 5 mins after a run but any longer and no joy until its been sat for at least 30 mins. 

Very annoying - research needed to find out what to do about it. 

Sadly, my Alps trip is off - looks like France won't be accepting tourists for a while. I've got a plan to have a little UK trip of my own in May/June instead - see how it goes. 

In other news, my 17 year old son passed his test just before Xmas and I had bought him a cheap, old Toyota Yaris which he loved - for 3 months. Then, he was given 2 extra days at work so he's been earning a vaguely decent amount of money and, obviously, he can't just save that money, oh no! So he started looking at better cars - long story short, he's bought himself (well, I bought it but he is paying me back) a 10 year old MX5. 

Yes, I'm a bad parent but it is SUCH an awesome car. For £3.2k, it feels like new, is beautiful to drive and my son is almost sleeping in it, he loves it so much. Weirdly, the insurance was £300 LESS than the 998cc Yaris? I just don't get it...

Today, with my help, my son changed the oil and filter - a surprisingly difficult job because we had to get the car up on my ramps to get to the sump and that was no mean feat. But he really enjoyed it - a future kit-car builder? Who knows... 

Tuesday, 9 March 2021

On the map

 I sent my map off to John Lamsley - he worked for Emerald for 15 years and has recently branched out on his own (Facebook group), so he knows his stuff.

He sent me back an updated map to try help with the hot-starting and it is better, although still not perfect - Zedster needs 2 or 3 cranking sessions to start when hot (but at least he does).

I have the feeling my starter motor is utter junk - it wasn't the cheapest to buy but not premium either. After much online reading about hot-starting issues (a common problem), an explanation for the lethargy of my starter motor became clear. When it is cold, it is ok but when it gets hot, it is a higher resistive load for the battery to turn, which is why it sounds half-dead when hot-starting. I guess that might be considered the battery (although it is new) or just the fact the starter motor is getting too susceptible to heat? There is an expensive brand of starter motor which has the condenser fitted internally, so it is supposed to be much less affected by heat.

Also, even when cold and it is spinning ok, just before the engine fires, the starter grinds to a halt. The engine then fires on the next crank. So the starter motor is being stopped by the engine compression or something?

I think I should cough up for  a decent starter motor...

Admittedly, none of this accounts for why the engine won't fire when hot. The map changes seem to have helped but they shouldn't be needed. Hot-start issues seem to mostly be an older-car issue where engine heat caused fuel to vaporise in the fuel lines (vapour lock). With an electric HP pump and swirl pot in the engine bay, subject to the heat, this could be my issue but why is it happening now, with the car 3 years old?

Another problem could be a leak, lowering fuel pressure but I cannot see or smell that. Maybe I should get a fuel pressure gauge installed and see if that is low? But then wouldn't that affect the engine running as well, not just starting?

Questions, questions....

Saturday, 6 March 2021

Swings and roundabouts and stripes

 Fitted the new lambda sensor and Zedster back to idling nicely. Annoyed that the sensor was so short-lived - may have to keep a spare in the car in case it goes while I'm  on a road trip.

I went for a short blast; lovely it was. Ever since I fiddled around with the throttle cable, Zedster just feels faster and zipping around corners, after months rolling round them in my land yacht of a normal car, is intoxicating; I'm literally giggling to myself like a kid. 

However, I then stopped for petrol and Zedster wouldn't start after filling up. I'm coming round to the idea that it is simply a hot-starting problem; the starter motor was churning over (although a bit lethargically at times) but the engine just wouldn't fire. I sat there for about 20 minutes, pondering, tried one last time before the AA were called and - kazam, fired up first time.

I'm going to ask Emerald (again - they didn't reply before) if they can adjust my map to help the hot starting.

On my return, I washed Zedster (first time in a while) and stuck a stripe I bought on the bonnet. I'd love to have enough cash to get Zedster painted but I just can't justify £1000+ for the job, so a £30 sticker it is.

Sadly, it's nowhere near the right colour, which I knew but I hoped it would be darker. But I do like it at the moment - see how I get on with it:

Saturday, 27 February 2021

Finally defrosting

 Sorry for the lack of posts - it's been so darn cold, I haven't been out to the garage much. But the weather finally improved recently...

So my electrical issues are maybe gone but I doubt it - however, Zedster is starting OK at the moment. But after a short drive, he wasn't idling very well; very lumpy. Connected up the laptop and it seems my lambda sensor is kaput - constant 5v being sent by the controller.

An email exchange with the Spartan controller company and they blame the sensor rather than the controller, which is probably more likely. So, a quick few minutes to remove the sensor:

That's what it looks like after 3 years and 10k miles - no idea if that is normal? New one on order and hopefully ready for a drive in the improving weather. 

In theory, our Alps trip on June 5th could go ahead, if the French come out of lockdown in the same way as the UK but I'm not holding my breath. 

Thursday, 14 January 2021

The Word Spreads

 Just a short post to plug my 15 minutes of fame (apologies, this is a horrendous website - lots of videos and click bait):

Zedster Goes Viral

It will be interesting to see how long that link exists for... :-)

Saturday, 9 January 2021

We have ignition...

 Lockdown boredom finally overcame cold and drove me into the garage, although with a little electric heater going, it was fine.

The plan was to try get the engine firing, something I have been unable to do recently. The problems feel like it is my starter motor and I have had the new battery on the trickle charger for the last 2 weeks - so imagine my shock when I test the battery and it shows 12.2V, less than the 12.5V I left it at 2 weeks ago!! I can only assume my trickle charger (it is very old) is kaput - wonderful.

So after some advice from my Alps partner, Graham, I decided to disconnect the starter motor and clean all the contacts. I was planning on doing the same to the main engine earth connection but when I tested the voltage from the battery positive terminal and a point on the engine, I was getting 12.25V, slightly more than across the battery terminal itself! I THINK this means my earth is OK, no?

After cleaning the starter motor terminals, it seemed to make no difference to the starter motor BUT the engine fired into life immediately. Either there is some weird circuit linked to the starter motor which affects something else (ECU, coil pack?) or I knocked some other wire which was preventing the engine start before. The only wire nearby is the crank sensor - is the connection dodgy? I just don't know...

Anyway, took the opportunity to go for a short drive to get car bits moving and oiled, and to test out my new camera setup. That worked pretty well - the quality isn't great but good enough for me and it is nice and stable. Also good to see that Zedster can still get his tail out, although not too tricky with the wet,, greasy roads out there at the moment:

Will be interesting to see if Zedster starts next time I try...