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freeman41 3rd October 2018 14:58

Car Went Well
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Completed the rally over the weekend of 21st - 23rd September and covered just short of 500 miles. Car performed very well, lots of 3rd gear work through the back roads of the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors in the company of friends in a TVR Chimera, so pushed the car fairly hard at times.

Problem? No breakdowns, exhaust leak at the rear section and leak from pinion nose seal which allowed oil to drip onto exhaust, we had fumes coming into the cabin which is rather strange on an open top car.
The alternator pulley worked loose allowing the fan behind the pulley to chatter. This also allowed the key to move so no amount of tightening up cured this or prevented further damage.
The car under steered at times but with a 6 cylinder lump of cast iron up front and a light back end, no wonder.
The breaks worked well but old school motoring, think ahead, meant when I came through the bend the TVR was well ahead.
The car bottomed out quite a lot, so the coilovers need more adjustment. Also a rethink on the tyres is needed. On wet roads, especially roundabouts the back end would let go and the wheels would spin when setting off. The car was fully loaded with 2 people on board so not much chance of getting more weight over the back wheels. I reduced the tyre pressure to 25psi, this did improve things a bit.

I was very happy with the shakedown run and wished this was the start of summer and not the end.

Had to buy new alternator, shaft was worn with the pulley and fan rattling, pinion seal on order from Moss. A busy few days ahead.

Cheers Trevor

freeman41 3rd October 2018 15:10

Hopefully Right Way This Time
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Hemsley, North Yorks.

lancelot link 3rd October 2018 18:31

good to see another one out there ....enjoy ..

Mister Towed 4th October 2018 10:19

Nice, love the front scoop.

I switched to Uniroyal Rainexpert tyres, which are very soft and grippy, and experimented with pressures, settling on about 30psi front and 28 rear if I recall. That allowed spirited driving without excessive wheelspin or slip and slide from the rear, even in the wet.

I had significant understeer on mine, too, until I threw away the manual's advice on wheel alignment for the standard Vitesse, added a fair bit of toe-in at the back wheels for straight line stability and kept increasing the toe-out at the front wheels a little at a time until it turned in really crisply.

The car really handled then and felt very predictable, safe and was huge fun to drive. I had no issues with unusual tyre wear, either, as the car just wasn't heavy enough to cause any noticeable wear at all. My Uniroyal 175/80/14's tread still looked like new after 3 years and 9,000 miles of back road and motorway driving.

Anyway, nice to see another Spyder being enjoyed. :)

Barber 4th October 2018 19:00

Nice looking car. A 500 mile shakedown run was very brave, well done you.

Yorkshireman 4th October 2018 22:02

Looking good Trevor. Your braver than me my first runs will be 2 miles around the town.

freeman41 5th October 2018 15:11

Thanks all for your comments

David, I will PM you re tyres and settings if that is OK plus I have a Jensen Healey for sale so if I sell this I may buy a 1500 MG Midget I have been offered. You mentioned you have been working on a Midget, is this an MG or something else? Can they be tuned?

Cheers Trevor

Paul L 6th October 2018 05:10

Trevor Sounds like a great trip. :cool:

Was a waterproof jacket the only precaution/protection for possible rain?

My car has been dropping oil onto the exhaust for years. :rolleyes:

But this did lead to one of my favourite comments from a passer-by (I was stuck in traffic)

"It even smells like an old racing car."


Good luck with the tweaks and adjustments, Paul. :)

What was the general reaction to your car over the weekend?

Mister Towed 6th October 2018 08:54


Originally Posted by freeman41 (Post 97055)
Thanks all for your comments

David, I will PM you re tyres and settings if that is OK plus I have a Jensen Healey for sale so if I sell this I may buy a 1500 MG Midget I have been offered. You mentioned you have been working on a Midget, is this an MG or something else? Can they be tuned?

Cheers Trevor

Hi Trevor, the trick with tyre pressures and suspension settings on these cars is to make adjustments in small increments by trial and error, and judge the results by the seat of your pants until you like the way the car feels.

Remember that each of these cars is different depending on the needs/wants of its owner. I live in an area of fenland where the roads are very undulating due to the land subsiding under the road surface.

Over the years I regularly attended single vehicle RTC's involving high-performance cars, several Porsches, a BMW's, Audis, AMG Mercs and the like, that had been thrown off a back-road into the scenery due to their rock hard suspension failing to ride the roller coaster roads.

One Porsche Cayenne (being delivered to its new owner by the supplying used car dealer) had sheared off a telegraph pole at head height on a dead straight section of back-road before landing nose down in a ditch. The driver had little memory of the crash and couldn't understand how it had gone out of control so quickly until I walked him back up the road and we stood in the huge, cambered dip in a series of similar dips cambered this way and that, that had worked together to fling him into the air.

Due to that issue, I set mine up with relatively soft suspension, 170lb front springs with adjustable dampers set three clicks from their softest setting and three small and one large leaf removed from the (Vitesse Mk1) rear spring on standard dampers. Phil J, by contrast, has his set up much harder despite living in the same area, but he uses his for the odd track day and does like to go sideways.

My Midget is a '72 MG called 'Iris' -

The work I've been doing is effectively a recommission for the road after she was fully restored in 2006, but then put away in a garage for more than a decade, only covering 48 miles a year for the next twelve years to get to and from the MOT centre.

The work I've done includes replacing all fluids, fitting a new clutch, reconditioned dampers, greenstuff brake pads and a new propshaft as the old one was too worn out to save.

Being a '72, Iris should have round arches, Rostyle wheels, an A series engine and four speed 'box, but during the restoration she was fitted with square arches and pressed steel wheels with chrome hubcaps to give the appearance of an earlier car, and a 1500 engine with Spitfire overdrive gearbox for better cruising ability.

I've kept a log of my use and I've now covered 1,373 trouble free miles since June, at an average fuel consumption of 41.37 mpg. For a car weighing 685kg's she has enough power (about 65bhp) to keep up with modern traffic and for safe overtaking, while the reliability and frugal fuel consumption mean I'm going to keep this one as it is.

Midgets of all years can be tuned relatively easily, though. The A series can be enlarged to 1380cc and tuning parts and advice are available from any Mini performance specialist, while the (Triumph) 1500 engine can also be tuned to around 110bhp relatively easily should you want a very fast midget. The 1500 engine can be cheaply upgraded to about 85bhp for under 200 by having the very mild standard cam reprofiled to give more lift. Piper cams will reprofile your own cam to their 270 degree fast-road spec for just over 100, for example.

Anyway, good luck with your suspension settings and finding a suitable Midget. :)

molleur 6th October 2018 20:00

Very well described Mr. Towed! I have found similar results with a Series 1 pre-lit Westfield as well. Soft springs and hard shocks worked for me. Right on about tire pressures. Experiment until you find the best combo front to rear.

freeman41 9th October 2018 14:05

I got it wrong the photo in the square next to the Alfa was Masham and not Helmsley.

This is Roger my navigator, we are both ex-bikers so wet weather gear always a priority. He chose to wear a helmet which on reflection was sensible, especially in heavy rain or long journeys. Plus I was forever adjusting my cap.

When you do a shake down run always return on the same route you went out on. That way you can pick up any bits that may have fallen off.

The car created lots of attention and favourable comments. When we stopped in the square at Helmsley (correct this time) it was very busy and the car had a constant supply of admirers. One man who had a collection of Lancias was very interested in the car and was quite taken by it. He liked the shape and the build of the car. He stayed around for about half an hour chatting to our group. Another man also commented because we used most of the original running gear which is old (although the body style is probably 10 years older) we retain a period look to the car and he thought they must be collectable.

David P I love the second rear view shot of your car on the country lane with all the trees around. I could almost hear the car popping and crackling as it cools down. Solitude.

David thanks, when I sell the Jensen I feel a 1500 Midget will be a good wet weather companion for the Spyder.

Cheers to all
Trevor (Freeman41)

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