13 Apr 2013

The drive to Cars and Coffee was informative. The drive up was at an average speed of 65-70 mph, along with a couple of spurts to see how the car pulled. At 65 mph in 6th gear it’s running at 2500 rpm, just below turbo spool-up. The 110 mile round-trip consumed 3.5 gallons which works out to 31.4 mpg – which is impressive given its poor aerodynamics – but of course I’d like to think that some of that improvement is due to the various mods Midlana makes to the “Lotus Seven” shape.

The other good news is that the cooling system works… too well. You may remember the fiasco concerning the aftermarket thermostat housing, where the thermostat senses cold coolant instead of hot (and no, it cannot be flipped around.) It’s not just me; other users are equally annoyed with the unit and leave the thermostat out in order for it to work. I wanted a thermostat, so holes were drilled around the edge in order to let hot coolant circulate, only it appears I drilled too many. At steady speed on the freeway the coolant never rises above 53 deg C (127 deg F) with an ambient temperature of about 17 C. That’s crazy cold for an engine; both mileage and engine performance should improve by running it warmer. It means either modifying another thermostat with fewer holes, or blocking off part of the radiator. I vote for less holes since that way the thermostat is doing its job and radiator cooling capacity isn’t thrown away when needed, like when stuck in traffic. As a separate issue, Hondata, the Honda ECU company, states that “… The fan should be switched based on the water temperature on the return from the radiator – not by the temperature of coolant exiting the cylinder head…” I didn’t know that and wired it so that only the ECU (and I) can enable the fan. Adding a thermal switch means draining the system and welding a fitting onto the exit of the radiator, so it makes sense to do both mods at the same time. It also solves another oversight, that I didn’t put a coolant drain at a low point in the system.

Lastly, the actual drive up and back wasn’t all that much fun – let me rephrase that: I have new-found respect for our British friends driving small windy open-top cars on cold wet days, see the last picture. It provides fuel for thinking about wind wings, doors, tops, and leather bomber jackets.

About Cars and Coffee, Midlana was very well received. My thanks to Max and John for saving me a good spot (they weren’t kidding, getting there after 6 am means parking in the back.) I’ll let the pictures do the talking and you’ll see that sure enough, anything and everything shows up 🙂 Note the cop at the exit making sure to squash any throttle “exuberance.”