6 Sep 2010

Got a lot done, so much that this list is probably lacking:

Received the replacement ECU Interface module and the entire dash system now works – almost. Engine parameters now read(!), though of course some have to wait until after the engine’s started (more on that in a moment.) While parameters such as engine coolant and air temperature read and update correctly, throttle position is forever frozen at “26.” I know it’s working because the Hondata KManager app sees it just fine, yet the dash says “26” no matter what; gotta be an ECU Interface module software bug. Is it a big deal that throttle position doesn’t work? Well, no, but it is annoying that even with everything now correct, the product still isn’t 100%. I really have my figures crossed that the other parameters – like engine rpm – read when the engine’s started!

Finally pressure-tested the cooling system, and my coolant header tank had (cough) six leaks; some of them were virtually invisible, with the soapy water bubbling up out of seemingly-perfect welds, but it’s all good now. Also moved the coolant bleed fitting on the top of the radiator to better clear the nose. Replaced all the remaining temporary bolts with AN bolts with Nyloc nuts. Cleaned up the last of the loose harness wires around the ECU. Wired up and tested the radiator fan, adding wires to the thermal switch and ECU. This way the fan can be turned on with a switch on the dash, via the ECU, or via the thermal switch. Welding on a muffler support bracket.

So, where is all this heading? Well, the list of things to do before starting the engine for real is getting <em>very</em> short. The goal is to have the car at the dyno shop the week of 20 September, which I’m taking off, so it’s really happening. Things left to do over the next two weekends are: install rebuilt rear brake calipers, add remote brake master cylinders, fill and bleed the rear brakes, fill the coolant system, start the engine in order to set the clutch-stop (which can only be done with the engine running.) Check that the dash correctly reads all engine parameters correctly and adjust if possible. Let the engine warm up – for the first time – nervously watching for leaks. It appears there’ll be extra time left over, so as many rubber-lined clamps will be added to keep everything away from sharp edges. There’s also tying off the various lighting wires, making sure the ends are taped up so there’s no sparks.

In other news, I helped my buddy, Ron, with his genuine 1961 Series 1 Lotus Seven. It was a strange feeling welding a frame that Colin himself designed and perhaps even helped with, back in the early days before Lotus got busy. Ron said it has probably a 1300-something cc engine, packing about 60 hp on a good day (really.) He noted with some mirth that a modern-day 1-liter sportbike engine puts out roughly three times that. The car had been stored in a garage since the early 1970’s – about 38 years. Ron installed a new battery, changed the oil, dropped a hose in a can of fresh gas, and cranked it just to see what would happen – and it started! He planned a first drive today but I haven’t heard how that went.

Then there’s the small matter of how to get the car to the dyno shop. I can borrow Ron’s trailer, but it needs work in order to fit Midlana onto it (Midlana’s quite a bit wider.) There’s renting a larger trailer, versus the time spent reworking Ron’s trailer to work. We’ll see how much time’s available.