Thursday, 4 September 2014

10 months on and 2000 miles

Having Fun

The Zero have been performing well, only a couple of issues which I will explain further down the blog page. I managed to get a steering cowl from EBay as second hand Ford ones seem to have disappeared of the face of the Earth. Fitting this retro cowl took a bit of modification, fabrication, and fettling to fit round the switches, key hole, and hazard button but in all looks 100% better than having wires visible.

Our Alex turned 15 and as a treat for all the help building the Zero, I let him have a drive in it ! Not on the road, but there is a local driving school which has use of an old car park at the weekends which they set out with cones and teach 14 to 17 year old's. So before lessons started he had half an hour on his own driving around the course.

An external view...

An internal view...

Petrol consumption

So the mileage has reached 2000 miles and have done calculations.

While on the track at Blyton Park, so giving it a bit of stick ? managed 24 mpg

On a spirited run out 28 mpg

Short local journeys with cold starts 28 mpg

A steady drive down to the Kit Car Show at Donnington via the motorway (sticking to 70 mph), then a steady drive back home via A & B roads with no real hard acceleration   31 mpg

So with a 6,5 gallon tank should get between 120 and 175 miles depending on the style of driving and leaving a reserve in the tank to get me to the next filling station.

Couple of issues

Had a dull rattle sound coming from the bell housing While in neutral ? depressed the clutch and it went away ? No rattle while in gear and driving ? Then after a few miles and when up to temperature the rattle disappeared all together ?  Further investigation led me to one of two things... the clutch arm or the release bearing. A quick trip over to see Richard at GBS confirmed one of my thoughts... the clutch arm.
Basically its a lose (ish) fit around the shaft and release bearing and possibly the clutch arm pin, and when things warm up and expand it can't rattle any more. Its not detrimental to any thing, just an annoying noise.

Next, and more seriously I broke down, and had to call the very nice man from The AA. (for those reading this blog outside of the UK,  The AA is not Alcoholics Anonymous, but the Automobile Association which offer roadside assistance when you have broken down)

What had happened is that the rubber "O" rings holding the gear linkage pins in had perished over the year and had allowed the pins to fall out. Then while selecting a gear the linkage fell apart, leaving me in gear unable to select neutral while in the outside lane of a dual carriageway, and with heavy traffic was unable to pull up in a safe position !

A long story, but to cut it short the roadside assistance turned up, took apart the transmission tunnel, located the problem, stuck a temporary nut and bolt in an got me going within an hour.

  Note to self... Carry some basic tools or at least have your mobile phone charged up to call for help ?

An update from the brake down...

GBS have kindly sorted out replacement pins and "O"rings, however the fix has lasted 200 miles so far, so I am carrying them as an emergency fix if the nut and bolt fail ? Think this will be a winter check and fix, but until then I'll keep driving the Zero and having fun.

Possible more permanent fix's to this issue from other Zero builders are...

High tensile bolts and lock nuts instead of pins ?

Replacement pins with metal clips not rubber ones ?

Use the rubber "O" rings as before but coat them with rubber grease to stop the perishing process ?

Use the rubber "O" rings as before but coat them with rubber grease to stop the perishing process plus cover the whole assembly with heat shrink tubing to seal it all in ?

If anyone reading this has any other ideas, please leave comments ?

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