Getting back on track

July 24, 2011

Life tried to get in the way for the last 12 odd months, but we’re back. The priorities this time aren’t major engineering overhauls, but reliability issues and tidying up. It’s not like us at all, but here goes.

There were some issues last year when I drove at Phillip Island (I was too lazy to blog it. Sorry) where the car would boil at the end of a run as I was coming into the pits. Solution: replace the nearly kinked rad hoses with some nice mandrel bends. Julian did the honours with his newly honed Tig welding skills.

Soon to come, a floor below the radiator to force more air through the fins and not up from under the car. Hopefully that forces enough air past the water  to keep it cool on the warm down lap and in the pits.

It wouldn’t be a Fiat if something didn’t fall off on the track. In my case,it was in the pits where I rolled the drivers side window down and it refused to roll back up. It wasn’t a race stopper at the time, but it was pulled apart after the weekend and hasn’t put itself back together yet. A job for today maybe…

The throttle cable will get some love, neither we nor the scrutineers were particularly happy with the way our exposed throttle cable spanned half the engine bay. The current setup only allows about 1/2 the pedal length under foot before the butterflys hit the stops. So we’re looking at some ways to protect the cable and adjust the pull ratio to get the right balance.

Also on the cards, a massive anderson plug to give us some more juice to crank her over. Then we go racing again!

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Solid

August 1, 2010

There have been a few days on the machine tools recently to convert all the suspension bushes to rod ends and spherical bearings. The old rear a arm bushes looked like chewing gum when they popped out, it should tighten things up nicely. Further details to come when we have ironed out the kinks and it is on the car. Cant wait!

Phillip Island…

June 10, 2010

We got there in the end…well I got there in the end. Dave was unfortunately committed for the weekend so he left if to me to do our first shakedown run in quite a while! The weather didn’t look to crash hot heading down to the Island with grey skies and sideways rain. Once the car was off the trailer, the weather had thankfully decided it had rained enough and would be happy blowing a bitterly cold wind.

A quick scrutineering session where the absence of headlights was questioned…and out onto the track.

Over the next few sessions the track dried out and I slowly remembered how to drive. Apart from a the crummy Fiat windscreen wiper coming loose when barrelling over Lukey Heights and a less than confidence inspiring brake pedal…we seem to have a bloody good car.

The motor now makes good power, pulling strongly past the redline in fourth and the grip with the new Kumhos is superb. It proved it’s corner speed against a few well prepped clubmans, just not having the same pull as a 2l out of the corner. Something to aim for.

The last session was cut short by an unfortunate ‘too many tubes in one empty thinners container’ excuse for a catch tank we had. Some degreaser and a rethink of our catchtank config will sort this for next time.

Thanks must go once again for John for lending us his trusty trailer and tyre tools and also to dad for coming down in the crummy weather with an esky full of lunch.

An afternoons work…

May 2, 2010

We better find an afternoon before May the 30th to complete the following, Phillip Island is beconing!
  • Bleed Brakes
  • Header Wrap
  • Carb Heatshield
  • Boot Lid Pins
  • Change front Towhook to fabric loop
  • Battery and Tow stickers
  • Pump Jets – Downsize
  • Swap Ignition system?
  • Wash
  • Nut and Bolt Check
  • O2 Sensor

Autobella 2010

February 21, 2010

Autobella

The FIAT Car Club of Victoria held its annual concourse, and we invited ourselves to attend.

Bianca. Competition category winner Phil Buggee's orange Punto Diesel is in BG

We’re lucky we didn’t have to drive the 15 kays to Como Park because we were fouling plugs even getting onto the trailer. This is a car that does not like to idle. Theories of cause could possibly be due to oversized pump jets or the dizzy arrangement. We will be able to isolate that soon if we move to a Megajolt system which would allow us to control our spark a lot more accurately and send bigger sparks into the cylinder. It will also give a more reliable spark at high RPM. There will be no movement on that front until the first couple of track days prove that the plugs will be a problem. There wasn’t so much as a mutter when it was running properly on the dyno. so we’ll see.

My pick for people's choice

It was nice to see so many Italian classics, including this Stirling Moss Masarati, which sent grown men running in its direction. Also-rans include a fleet of Ferraris, Lancias and a few Alfas.

Stirling Moss Masarati

Although we didn’t exactly bring home the silverware, there was some encouraging interest in the car. Comments about our preparation were positive, and hopefully this will translate into reliability and consistency when we finally hit the track.

Julian, Sam and Andy

The only thing missing in the end was stickers to make our X look like a proper racer – ‘home brand’ racing obviously doesn’t win the judge’s vote. Phil Buggee’s orange Punto Diesel ended up winning the competition category. It was by far the most prepared (and probably most raced) entry, but being a fairly stock diesel, it was a bit boring when compared with some of the other modifications and older exotica in attendance.

Next stop, Phillip Island.

Jetting

February 14, 2010

As promised, our jetting for twin Dellorto DHLA 40, emissions version.

NOTE: This will probably NOT WORK well for non-emission spec Dellorto or Weber sidedrafts on a similar engine.

Idle: 65 (this must be around the 45 mark if you run non-emissions series)

Air Corrector: 150

Emulsion tube: 7772.11

Main jet: 130 (probably needs to be 135 or so. Gets a little lean on high RPM)

Engine: SOHC 1300cc head worked with larger valves and mystery cam

1 1/2″ headers, 4 into 1 exhaust, 3″ secondary, high flow muffler

At the moment, got 35 degree of advance dialled in. The dizzy-less Megajolt ignition system is currently being perused as an alternative.

Industrial espionage is probably not an issue for 30 year old technology. If anyone has thoughts or comments on these figures, we’d love to hear from you.

New Lid

February 14, 2010

Spent another arvo in the shed, and came up with some good results.

We’ve decided to ditch the Arbath style bootlid. It weighed about 10kg, and somebody once claimed that cutting 5 kg was equivilent to adding 1 horsepower. Rough rule of thumb I know, but 2 extra horses never go astray. The back half of the boot will be a fibreglass version of the normal bootlid. This will also allow the engine bay to stay a hell of a lot cooler. We’re going to try and get some glass wrap for the headers to keep the carbies cooler as well.

Al mesh and Al frame

Julian has tracked down some bits to put together a sensor array to log useful (useless) data. A bunch of small solid state temperature sensors and a milspec potentiometer which will be used as a throttle position sensor. He’s planning on passing the sensors through an ardwino and into a palmtop computer. I’m sure he’ll write more about it as it comes together. It’s good to be doing things that aren’t going to put the car on block for months if they all go pear shaped.

Next week is the FIAT Car Club of Victoria Concourse. We plan on attending with Bianca in tow, so come and say hi. It’s always nice to meet a fan…