Saturday, 29 December 2018

A Call to Arms

Continuing with the upgrades, next up are armrests. I was inspired by seeing some Caterham armrests - not only do they act as straps to hold the door against the side of the car, they also prevent water splashing up into the cabin.

So, first up was some measurements transferred to a sheet of 1.5mm ally (sorry, pretty rubbish picture):

The strange shape is because my drivers side door has a bulge for my elbow. This was then cutout and bent into shape, using a combination of Black and Decker workmate and plain old bending by hand (quite surprised it worked so well):


Then a layer of foam to protect my delicate elbow:

...and vinyl applied with contact adhesive:


A set of M3 stainless steel bolts (hopefully won't go rusty and look crud) with countersunk cups, through the door material and into the flange on the armrest and job done:


Not been out to test them yet but looks great, doors feel firm and they lift up easily enough.

I also replaced the side mirrors with some funky (read 'tiny') numbers:

I've also got a new gear knob and USB sockets to fit...all good fun...

Happy New Year to you all!

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Breakfast Blat

I had a great run out to meet up with the SKCC forum guys for breakfast at a golf club near Horsham. We met at 9am so I got up a bit early for a little  40 mile thrash which turned out to be awesome.

By some  fluke, I found a great couple of roads (must remember them for future) which were small B roads but not too small that you're worried about having space to pass cars. Traffic was light at 8am on a Sunday and I had a great time - Zedster sounded great, performed well and, most importantly, nothing broke or fell off!

Breakfast was nice, good chatting with other members and we've pencilled in a long weekend to Wales next September (I was already thinking of doing an earlier one by myself in April/May).

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Fully fLEDged

Spent a couple of evenings fitting the rear LED units. Like the front, these are all-in-one (tail, brake and indicator) and were a mere £65. They came with a cheap, plastic surround which looks ok from a distance but they may need changing one day. I bought these because the surround may be cheap but it was the only one I could find where it was cut at an offset angle so it fit nicely on the curved rear wing with no fettling required.

Compared to the old, blocky lights, they look great:

The wiring would have been pretty straightforward had I not conspired to keep getting it wrong and putting the terminals in the wrong slot of the plug. I had to take the damn thing apart about 3 times,  even cutting it off once, while lying on my back with my head in the wheelarch.

But the result looks great, i think:

So, as the contrived title of this post suggests, Zedster is now fully LEDd up, back and front.

Edit: actually, not quite true - the reversing and fog lights are still normal bulbs - doh!

Saturday, 24 November 2018

The nut at the wheel

Recently, i have noticed a little way-wardness with the steering which i thought was just the wet and icy roads in this weather. But then, on my way home from work, I realised that I had a good 2 inches of play in the steering. I took the wheel off today and realised the main bolt holding the wheel into the column was loose. Thankfully a simple fix (adding some thread lock this time) and hopefully a return to go-kart level of directness.

Having decided that I wouldn't commute in Zedster too often, I've done just that for the last week. A combination of my old bones getting too cold on my motorbike and a very squared-off front tyre on said bike making the early morning ride a bit hairy, means Zedster has been the transport of choice.

One new problem at this time of year is being blinded by cars in my rear view mirror, so I've bought some anti-glare film for the mirror - fitted tonight, see how it goes.

Finally, I've continued to have wiring problems with the right, front DRL and indicator - I think the the wire was simply too short and vibrations were separating the spade terminals. So, I've added several inches of extra wiring to remove the tension - hopefully it will finally be fixed.

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Wings and Things

With the headlamps now incorporating an indicator, I could safely get rid of the carbuncles that IVA required. I was considering just getting rid of them totally but i have a little problem with the wiring to my new headlamps. My fault but i seem to have a loose connection on one side and, occasionally, the indicator doesn't work. I've tried to rewire it again tonight so its hopefully fixed but I've decided its better to have dedicated indicators, in case of a repeat in future.

I bought some funky and tiny motorbike indicators and spent some time this evening fitting them and they look great - you can't see in the picture but they do that cool Kitt-style left to right motion:

The finishing touch was what i had planned to replace the indicators with - stick-on winglets:

They look pretty good and not bad for £5 - although I won't be surprised if they drop off on my first time out.

UPDATE: Yup, a couple did drop off but I think that was more because I knocked them with my feet. I like them so much, I decided to bolt them on, so they're here to stay.

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Memorable memorial

On a very wet Rememberance Day, I went on a short trip with the SKCC forum guys on their annual visit to the tiny village of Stopham for their memorial service. It seems the club members stumbled upon the service a few years ago, the locals were pleased to see them, so they go every year.

Although it wasn't raining when i got up at 7am, the roads were soaked and, every now and then, it hammered down but Zedster took it in his stride. I still haven't got straps on my doors, so water still sprays up and wets my elbow but otherwise, i'm dry and almost too warm with the heat from the engine. I took the drive more carefully because of the conditions but it was still good fun, with a few (intentional) rear end drifts on roundabouts being much easier in the wet.

At the memorial service, as a newbie, I had to place the wreath which was a tad embarrassing - 5 old boys in suits and medals and me in my trainers and blue kagul with wet patch!

Although there were 5 or 6 of the forum there, only me and one other turned up in kits:

Zedster was in a right mess when I got back, so much so that I even had to wash him - shock!

The new LEDs continue to impress, although the high beam is not much brighter than the dipped. But with dipped being so good, it's not an issue:

In fact, I'm so happy with them, I've bought a set for the rears as well - hope to get them on in the next week or 2...

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Lights and breaks

The LED units arrived so I set about fitting them - not complicated but fiddly and time-consuming.

The units are all-in-one; low beam, high beam, indicator and DRL and look pretty cool. The DRL needed a live ignition feed which I don't have at the front of the car, so I had to take the dash off and re-wire one of my gauges to add a wire on a live feed and then route that through the car along the existing loom to the front.

Removing the existing headlamp unit out of the bowl, I had to do a fair bit of re-wiring as I needed the indicator signal feed to go into the bowl and the new unit. The hardest part was removing the loom tape off the old wiring - that stuff is tough! But otherwise, it was very simple - the new unit fits neatly into the headlamp bowl with all the plugs and the little DC converter (?) the LEDs need. A final step was to change the indicator relay for a LED version, to keep the correct flash rate for the LEDs.

This is just the DRLs on:

When the indicator is on, that DRL flashes orange instead of solid white - very cool and bright. The low and high beam look pretty bright in the garage but not driven at night yet to tell how good they are.

The day after fitting these, I went on an early morning run with the SKCC forum guys, meeting up at Pease Pottage (services on the M23):

We then had a great 70-odd mile cross-country route which was a good blast UNTIL 10 minutes from the end. At the suggestion of someone on the French trip I did last month, I brought some RainX for the windscreen, to help keep the screen clear in light rain without wipers. Now, I don't know if I put the stuff on wrong but, at certain temperatures (around zero maybe), the stuff turns opaque and it kept doing it on this run. It was very scary - one minute all fine and then seconds later my screen is totally obscured! It was during one of these blackouts, while I was frantically wiping the screen, that I missed a turning and lost the others. I turned round a few miles further up the road and set off in pursuit of the others. And then, just before Ditchling, PING and my throttle goes loose. I managed to coast to a reasonably safe stretch of road, bonnet and pedal box off and confirmed that the throttle cable has snapped at the pedal (and you thought I'd spelt the title of this post wrong, hey?).

But a pretty place to breakdown:

With hindsight, it was a bad bit of design; the cable looped back over a straight edge so it was rubbing on every movement of the throttle - I'm surprised it lasted 4k miles. I couldn't work out how to rig it to get home, so I called the AA. After an hour, they guy turned up and took 30 seconds to jury-rig it enough to get me home- I have much too learn!

I'm too much of a tightwad to pay GBS £30 for a new cable and it had snapped just a few inches from the end, so after a bit of research, I found a nice hunk of metal normally used for wire balconies. A bit or re-jigging of my pedal box and voila:


So, with my recent disasters fixed, I'm back to a list of other upgrades/fixes:

1. Get rid of the ugly nosecone indicators. I was thinking of replacing them with slim bike indicators but I've also got another idea - I'll keep it a surprise, in case it turns out to be rubbish.

2. There is a (hopefully) minor issue with my engine idle; from cold, it's fine but just before the lambda sensor kicks in, the engine 'hunts' - revs drop to about 750 rpm and just before it stalls, the ECU seems to realise the problem and revs up to 1200 rpm. This is only happening since I re-did the timing - does the ECU need some twiddling?
UPDATE: this seems to have cured itself - maybe a bit of dirt in an injector?

3. Windscreen washer - no power to the motor so another dodgy wiring issue.

4. Door armrests.