A standard engine was never really going to cut it, the old westfield was camm'ed, tuned, and torquey, it was chucking out around 175bhp of 2ltr loveliness...no way was standard 1.7 going to do it for me. Well, I'm pleased to say thus far I've been wrong. The shear revviness of the little puma engine is a delight, and currently full throttle acceleration runs are scaring me far more than they should. So, engine upgrades are on the back burner for now which is a nice surprise. It sounds good too.
Suspension and the mystery of the jumpy throttle
Sounds like the title of a Harry Potter book, but I assure you, the jumpy throttle and suspension are firmly linked and form a rather funny story...read on.
One of the gripes of the driving experience was that the transition from off throttle to 'a tiny, weenie' bit of throttle was to put it mildly, a bloody nightmare. The car would basically kangaroo down the road if you were trying to take it easy. A few emails to Northampton regarding the mapping, and there were a few thing to try. That was on hold while I tried in vein to solve another problem...that of a ridiculously stiff front end. I went down to 175lb springs, but that still didn't seem to make much difference. It was only when cussing about my wasted £30 on new springs I tried coming a further 2 clicks of the shocks. Now, in my defence, the Gaz shocks have in excess of 20 clicks from full soft to full hard, so I assumed (yes I know, assumption is the mother of all.............well, you know the rest) that going in at around 8 would be a good starting point. Turns out that on the J15, anything over 4 is rock solid!!!!!!!...opps.
Shocks now set with three clicks on the front, and my mysterious throttle jumpy problem disappeared, because it's now possible to keep your foot on the throttle pedal without it getting knock around from the stiff car. Now, having worked on a few cars in the past I consider myself to mildly knowledgeable of the problem solving process on car faults, but I never would of thought that changing my shock settings could solve a self diagnosed 'mapping issue'......you live and learn as they say.
Still undecided about this one...The car currently seems stiff even though I've gone down to 175lb springs on the front. It's really a track day that will decide if ARB's make sense or not. There is so much grip available that I've not come close to exploring the cornering ability, and thus can't really tell what the roll angle is on the limit......roll on suspension set up and a track day.
The aero screen is good, but I need to install a small clear screen atop of the aeroscreen (ever seen the tiny postage stamp size ones on the ariel atom?) just to brake up the air flow as it smacks you in the face, this will make the driving experience a little less 'frantic' all being well. On the same subject, I still like the idea of a front splitter of some sort, but nothing has jumped out at me thus far that would do the job...the search continues.
Other issues / observations
- Wing mirrors, with hindsight, I should have gone for something smaller than the current e-tec's. Fact is, the driver side wing mirror vibrates around and is close to useless anyway, so a smaller lighter mirror may be the answer. It's a shame, because the mirrors look good!.
- Wheels - They need to be black!
- General crap flying around under the front clam - I removed the make shift protection I put on last year, but reality is the front wheels really chuck up the grit and mud. The solution really is to construct something like I did on the rear clam...Thats now on the to do list
- Rev counter - the electric speedo is actually rather good (I wasn't expecting that!). But the rev counter at the top is just too small to see - The solution has been to install a shift light that sits on the steering column, and is perfectly placed to shout 'CHANGE UP' when the time comes
- Driving position - Even though I spent many hours on this, I could still do with a tad more rake on the drivers seat, just to support the backs of the knees a little and pull the arms out a tad.
What else has been happening...ahh yes, I was delighted to receive a call from Complete Kit Car (CKC) asking if they could run a 2 part readers car feature on my car...yes, my car...what a genuine surprise. By the time I post this I think the april addition of CKC will be out so I'm going to rush to the shops to get my copy. The first part is build related, and the second instalment is more based around the driving and finished article. But, they seem like a great bunch, and I cant wait to see it.....the front cover is on thier website ( so I hope they dont mind me doing an image cut and paste) and in the bottom left hand corner you may be able to see a little blue car with some 15 inch puma wheels holding it up :-). We also recently did a photo shoot, but don't want to give anything away until it's in print...Needless to say, I hope I can get a few of the prints.
Now, when am I going to get this first track day out of the way?............Until next time!.