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Go Back   Madabout Kitcars Forum > Mad Build Area > Marlin Sportster, Cabrio, Berlinetta and Roadster builds

Marlin Sportster, Cabrio, Berlinetta and Roadster builds Enthused or Confused about your vintage Marlin build? Ask away here or show off your build.

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  #41  
Old 30th October 2015, 16:57
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yes, there is very little meat on that spigot, it's bang on 2mm deep but unfortunately there's not much room for more on the diff input side. I'll install tomorrow and see how things look. If there are still problems, I may have to just cut my losses and try a different manufacturer.

It's the same flange, I stripped the paint off before I sent it away. I did wonder about the scratches myself. The camera flash makes them look worse than they do in the flesh
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  #42  
Old 1st November 2015, 16:18
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I'm happy to report the modification to the prop has made a massive improvement. There is still a little vibration there as you pass 55-60. I noticed this while testing still up on stands with the rear wheels off so was worried that it was still going to cause a problem. Having driven the car around 30 miles today, by the time you hit 60 there are plenty of other more intrusive things going on like wind noise, watering eyes and oxygen depletion. I'm going to play around with the jubilee clip trick to see if I can find an imbalance. If I can work out where it is I can weld some metal on.

For a general running report:

- The car pulls very well once you get over 4000rpm but feels a little 'normal' up to that point. I think this may be a point of view thing and the inaccuracy of my backside dyno rather than anything to do with actual performance, I just expected to be a little scared, and wasn't. I think the swap to a 3 litre M50 stroker or something generally more hefty in the engine dept needs to move up the todo list

- my side light fuse has decided to reliably blow every time I turn them on so I need to track that down.

- my oil pressure lamp keeps flicking on at low rpm. I'll change the oil as I have some of that valve lifter cleaning additive in at the moment which may have caused the viscosity to drop too much. The oil pressure gauge generally seems to read low anyway so maybe I do actually have pump or sender issues.

- I had a weird 5 minutes where the electrics died on me. Turned the key and the LP pump started up. Hit the start button, the starter clicked once and then a few seconds later the pump stopped. No electrics at all worked for a minute or two while jump leads and jump starts were considered at which point, I tried again and it fired straight up.

- having the shocks set on 1/2 way stiffness is way to much for my spine. I'm going to set them back to nice and soft and jack up the rear a little. I'm sure for the track having this adjustment is great, but for the road, I'd advise just saving the money and buying standard dampers. I suppose the spring rate on the rear springs supplied by marlin (400lb) could be part of the problem too.

- I need to buy some goggles, sun glasses just don't cut enough of the wind out and at speed you're blinking back the tears. An intercom may also be on the cards. Oxygen masks would also be nice though maybe a scarf over the mouth would help there.

- no need for a heater. I found that although my face was cool my body was more than warm enough even on a cold, damp day like today (though female passengers do seem to disagree with this point). I am used to wandering around on the top of Welsh mountains with 40-70mph winds blowing and rain lashing my face in the name of fun, so this may also be a point of view thing.

- The aux drive belt squeals quite a bit at higher revs - I think this is minor misalignment between the alternator and the other main pulleys plus my totally unscientific tension adjustment method. I'm planning on getting a new smaller alt anyway so can look into this at the same time. I'm hoping to move it back to the nearside where it should be on the original fixing points.

- I need to look a bit harder at tyre pressures and toe angle. Since dropping the pressure to 23 psi and swapping to a few mm toe in, you have to very deliberately straighten up after pulling out at junctions etc and concentrate on keeping it in a straight line normally.

- though nice to look at, my dash layout is rubbish. Nothing is easy to glance at including the speedo meaning that at the moment, especially with concentration required to drive straight, all the instruments are essentially redundant. I'll leave as is for now but there will be a future plan to move things around a bit.

- my front wing stay minor mod seems to have made them rattle much less but I'm still getting way too many general rattles from the car. I don't currently have any spring rubbers on the rear which would help I think. A lot of it is probably just normal noises you are sheltered from in a production car but I'm driving with a nagging doubt in my mind that I've not tightened everything up properly.

- baseball caps and aero screens don't mix as I found out as soon as I hit 60 and had to turn the car around to go back and retrieve mine from the middle of the road. Driving without a hat isn't actually uncomfortable, you just have to remember to de-bouffant your hair at the end of the journey

Last edited by morris; 1st November 2015 at 18:12..
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  #43  
Old 3rd November 2015, 22:22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by morris View Post
For a general running report:

- The car pulls very well once you get over 4000rpm but feels a little 'normal' up to that point. I think this may be a point of view thing and the inaccuracy of my backside dyno rather than anything to do with actual performance, I just expected to be a little scared, and wasn't. I think the swap to a 3 litre M50 stroker or something generally more hefty in the engine dept needs to move up the todo list

- having the shocks set on 1/2 way stiffness is way to much for my spine. I'm going to set them back to nice and soft and jack up the rear a little. I'm sure for the track having this adjustment is great, but for the road, I'd advise just saving the money and buying standard dampers. I suppose the spring rate on the rear springs supplied by marlin (400lb) could be part of the problem too.

- I need to look a bit harder at tyre pressures and toe angle. Since dropping the pressure to 23 psi and swapping to a few mm toe in, you have to very deliberately straighten up after pulling out at junctions etc and concentrate on keeping it in a straight line normally.
Hi Ian

Your first impressions are very much like my own:

Performance below 4000rpm seems bland - I expected more, but over 4000 rpm and it feels lively, but very quickly hits the limiter: this is why I started to persue the M54B30, as it has significantly more low down torque due to the longer throw crank, bigger capacity, and the DISA which changes the runner lengths to improve low down torque.
Maybe you are sub-consciously comparing it to your 3.0 Tourer, or your M3?

My shocks are GAZ adjustables - the common concensus is run them on only 3 or 4 clicks above the softest setting.

Self centreing seems to be more of a black art than a science - I kept increasing castor, and found the self centreing worked better going backwards! Once I have had it painted and rebuilt it, I will have a professional wheel alignment set up to see how much self centreing I get.
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  #44  
Old 4th November 2015, 14:20
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I was expecting the acceleration to feel very similar to the M3 as the power to weight is very similar. I think because there is so much extra head room with the revs on the M3 you drive higher under normal conditions without realising. With the M50 you're more conscious of approaching the red line so instinct (and exhaust noise) makes you change up too soon.

I also wonder if my diff is having an impact here as it was from an automatic donor. RealOEM says it is a 3.15 but other sources (bokchoys.com) say 3.91,which should be much better for acceleration. I actually thought it was a 2.93. The M3 has a 3.62 so if mine is a 3.15 that could account for some of the difference. So many other factors though.

I think you're right about the extra crank throw on an m54, it will give greater low end torque which is the real thing you experience during acceleration.

Last edited by morris; 4th November 2015 at 18:56..
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  #45  
Old 4th November 2015, 19:58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by morris View Post
I was expecting the acceleration to feel very similar to the M3 as the power to weight is very similar. I think because there is so much extra head room with the revs on the M3 you drive higher under normal conditions without realising. With the M50 you're more conscious of approaching the red line so instinct (and exhaust noise) makes you change up too soon.

I also wonder if my diff is having an impact here as it was from an automatic donor. RealOEM says it is a 3.15 but other sources (bokchoys.com) say 3.91,which should be much better for acceleration. I actually thought it was a 2.93. The M3 has a 3.62 so if mine is a 3.15 that could account for some of the difference. So many other factors though.

I think you're right about the extra crank throw on an m54, it will give greater low end torque which is the real thing you experience during acceleration.
I swapped a 3.14 Sierra diff into my Cabrio, but found the M50 could not make good use of fifth gear - 85mph in a Cabrio is just too fast to be reaching the start of the power band! So I swapped back to my 3.38 diff. This seems better geared through the revs, and puts the m50 into a better rev band at 70-75mph.

A 3.62 diff would be a good choice to go with the M50, although it might become tiresome on a long journey. The ideal might be pairing with a ZF 6 speed with an over driven top gear (0.85:1) driving a 3.62. This would have sharper acceleration through the lower gears, but cruise nicely in 6th.

I am hoping (confident?) my M54B30 will be happier to operate at lower revs, and with higher torque will perform nicely with the 3.36 diff, making cruising much more enjoyable.

All good in theory.........................!
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  #46  
Old 24th November 2015, 22:02
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Quote:
Originally Posted by morris View Post
For a general running report:

- The car pulls very well once you get over 4000rpm but feels a little 'normal' up to that point. I think this may be a point of view thing and the inaccuracy of my backside dyno rather than anything to do with actual performance, I just expected to be a little scared, and wasn't. I think the swap to a 3 litre M50 stroker or something generally more hefty in the engine dept needs to move up the todo list
Hi Ian,
whilst pondering the design of my 'standard' BMW 328i exhaust system got me wondering why it is so complex. Why is one header to cat pipe 45mm diameter and the other 50mm? Why is there a crossover after the cats on a straight six engine? Clearly BMW have put a lot of design effort into this exhaust system. I guess performance, emission and sound are all factors they have to consider.
I'm wondering if your custom built 6 into 1 header and single bore Jetex cat is affecting your torque below 4000rpm?

Just food for thought and research on a cold winters night

all the best, Peter
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  #47  
Old 25th November 2015, 17:24
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The bit of the exhaust downpipes I retained for my M54B30 engine on it's stand is similar. The pipes are seemingly random dimensions and appear to be a mix of stainless and mild steel welded together. I noticed this when trying to decide where to chop them and weld in some off the shelf bends to make a short system for running on the stand.

I have wondered about my custom manifold. The length and internal dimensions of the pipes from each cylinder are the same as the original cast piece but the merge on the 2-1 part of the down pipes happens sooner than it did on the original and goes to a larger bore. The original M50 exhaust (below), being for an engine management system with a single O2 sensor, merged to a common pipe anyway, unlike later designs, so I don't think it would have a massive effect



I think the science behind exhaust design, header lengths etc is more about getting noticeable gains rather than causing noticeable loss. My E46 325 is two completely separate pipes all the way to the back and it similarly doesn't perform well until you get the revs up.

I think it's really just down to perception more than anything. The BMW straight 6s are known for liking revs rather than delivering low end torque. I'd just assumed that with the weight gone, that constraint would be magically removed. In most peoples minds it would still feel really fast, I just have high expectations. Like Mike says, I've probably just got used to the M3 but with the lack of rev range on the Marlin, it feels like you're having to rag it to get the performance out of it.

Acceleration vs noise will also have an impact as I'll be associating lower rev loud noise with what would normally occur much higher up in the rev range on a normal car so my ears are telling me it's time to change gear when I'm barely past 3000rpm. The (as it turns out) useless layout of my dash means I don't easily notice the actual engine speed either.

As I've only done about 30 miles so far, it's too early to call, I need to get used to it. The weather the last few weeks means it's been sat in the garage. Last weekend was dry enough but it was 2 degrees out of the wind so I had no intention of going out in that.
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  #48  
Old 26th November 2015, 16:21
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....hhmmmmm, I wish I understood the reasons for the different BMW designs.

So your 325 has two pipes with no crossover, my 328 has a crossover after the two cats and your M54B30 has a 2 into 1 before the two cats and then two separate paths after? (or is that a fancy crossover before the cats?).
It looks from that picture this system also has a smaller diameter pipe for the rear bank of three cylinders?
I guess as your planning to upgrade to the M54B30 anyway so this is probably an irrelevant discussion
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  #49  
Old 26th November 2015, 17:23
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No sorry, the photo is the original system for the E36 M50 325

The E46 M54B25 325 has separate pipes all the way back but with the pre-cats and 4 O2 sensors (pre and post for each bank) in the manifolds. It also then has post cats further down but no cross pipe, just a mid section resonator and the back box. This one is stainless all the way
RealOEM E46 325 Front Section (top pic)
RealOEM E46 325 Mid and Rear Section
I don't have the little vacuum valve that dampens the noise at idle

The E46 M54B30 also had straight pipes but without cats in the manifold so just 2 O2 sensors before cats under the car. These then go through the cats under the car and merge into one pipe that goes to the back. This one is a mix of weird size mild steel pipe at the front, stainless in the middle, then mild on the single pipe back. I assumed when I first saw it someone been doing some dodgy cheap repairs it was that untidy, until I looked on RealOEM.
RealOEM E46 early 330 front section
RealOEM E46 early 330 rear section
When they stopped using the weird air pump you see on some early E46s this changed to a system the same as my E46 325

The M3 has stainless all the way, proper 6-2-1 branch manifold with the pair of cats under the car with a balance pipe after the cats. It's separate pipes all the way to the back. Who knows what happens in the massive back box though before the four tail pipes emerge
RealOEM E46 M3 front section (bottom pic)
RealOEM E46 M3 backsection
The M3 retains the air pump from the earlier cars as not having pre-cats it needs to lean out the exhaust to get the cats under the car up to temp quickly on first start up.

It's this mix and match that leads me to believe they spent much more attention on noise levels, cost and emissions regulations than performance so my straight through 6-2-1 (but shorter) with a 200 cell sport cat and twin back boxes 'should' only affect top end performance in a positive way though it may well have moved the torque curve a little.

I wonder if the air pump would now be considered a 'defeat device'? It's certainly a waste of engine bay space.
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  #50  
Old 29th November 2015, 21:37
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Quote:
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No sorry, the photo is the original system for the E36 M50 325


It's this mix and match that leads me to believe they spent much more attention on noise levels, cost and emissions regulations than performance so my straight through 6-2-1 (but shorter) with a 200 cell sport cat and twin back boxes 'should' only affect top end performance in a positive way though it may well have moved the torque curve a little.
Sorry for not reading your original post correctly. BMW certainly liked to mix and match their designs.

I hope you get some nicer weather soon so you can get some more road testing.....
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  #51  
Old 3rd April 2016, 10:44
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Had my first real run with the car yesterday in a big 60 mile loop over the Black Mountains. The weather was perfect and given my lack of any heat shielding between the engine bay and cabin, I was quite warm the whole time.





I've settled into the car's performance now and it was as I thought, I just wasn't rev-ing the nuts off it and had spent too much time in an M3. Above 3500 to 4000 rpm it does really take off and the exhaust note up at high revs is beautiful, a nice pure howl. I also managed to find the limit of the tyres on some nice mountain hair pins and the car is so smooth and predictable drifting the back end out. You can pretty much steer it on the throttle in 2nd. I had one brown trouser moment where I came over the brow of a hill to find some twit driving up the middle of a full width road more on my side than his. Forgetting I had no ABS one of the front wheels locked up on the dirt at the side of the road but the car was still very controllable.

A couple of things that I could do with some help/thoughts on:

1. My water temps were 100 most of the time creeping up a tiny bit at speed in 5th. The sensor is in the head in the original location. This was odd because they should go down with the air over the radiator and the lower revs. I'm not having much luck finding a good guide for what the operating temp should be. I had 90 in my head. It may simply be that because I have no louvres in the bonnet yet, there is no where for the air to escape thus lowering the rad's efficiency.

2. My fan comes on at too low a temp. I think it was an 85C sensor so I'd like to raise that a little. It's on pretty much the whole time the car is running. It also is on full speed so I may either move to a duel temp sensor or wire in a resistor to slow it down when activated by the sensor with my dash switch giving me full speed.

3. I have a weird non start issue when the engine is hot. Not the normal "cranking but no start". I turn the key and the lifter pump starts, volt meter reads 12.X. You press the start button, the starter clicks once then every thing dies and there is no power at all. You turn the ignition off, remove the key and switch the ignition on again and the volt meter reads 0, the lifter pump doesn't come on, nothing. You wait a five minutes and it fires up first time. My initial thought was a starter motor issue but given the other symptoms, I think it must be a fault in the ignition barrel itself. It's just odd that it has only happened twice and both times when the engine is warm. If this does prove to be the case I'll re-wire a separate ignition switch and use the key purely to control the steering lock.

4. My little Odyssey PC680 racing battery truly is dead. I've had some problems with it self discharging even when not connected down to under 11V. I've spent some time over the last week manually charging with a bench supply but although you can charge it to 12.6V, it discharges disconnected within 3 days. A new one is on order. I'm assuming that this has happened due to my bad maintenance of it (leaving it connected with a slow drain for too long) but I may still try and claim under the guarantee as it's now done just 120 miles.

5. The car puts as big a smile on other peoples faces as it does the driver's.

Last edited by morris; 3rd April 2016 at 10:46..
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  #52  
Old 3rd April 2016, 15:27
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My M20 engine rarely goes above 80. I tjink louvers in the bonnet sides are essential to let the hot air out. Interestingly I get very little heat through the bulkhead - I think thats a sign....

I would also check the gauge itself. Its not unknown for them to be innacurate....

Cheers, Robin
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  #53  
Old 3rd April 2016, 18:34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by morris View Post
Had my first real run with the car yesterday in a big 60 mile loop over the Black Mountains. The weather was perfect and given my lack of any heat shielding between the engine bay and cabin, I was quite warm the whole time.
............
5. The car puts as big a smile on other peoples faces as it does the driver's.
Great to see you out enjoying your Sportster. You've got some stunning countryside to explore!
I guess we now know that old gearbox did work OK
And I assume your propshaft is nowworking fine?
I shouldn't worry about what temperature your gauge reads so long as it settles at a stable value and doesn't boil over at speed or in hot summer traffic.You might find the lack of louvres a bit challenging in summer traffic jams?
Do you think the 'non-starting' issue is related to the battery issue? If it has an internal thermal overload switch it might be cutting out and resetting when it gets cooler? Not that I know anything about these new batteries Next time it happens, try your headlights to isolate where the issue might be.
...peter
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  #54  
Old 4th April 2016, 18:52
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yep, Wales is not short on good driving roads. The gearbox is fine as far as I can tell and the prop seems sorted too. There's still a little vibration but I'm putting that down to stiff suspension, wheel fine balance and general buffeting at speed. It's not the most aerodynamic shape. Passengers don't seem to feel it but I'm very fussy about these things.

I don't actually think the issue is the battery. You don't even get the warning lights up on the dash and there would be enough power to manage that. My new battery is in the post so we'll confirm that soon enough. I think it must be a problem with the ignition barrel though why it only happens after driving the car for a while is very strange

I may check the calibration on my temp sensor and gauge. It may be just out a bit though they were a matched pair. Some of my gauges such as the fuel level have little adjuster screw in the side for calibration so I'll look into that.

I think you're right though Peter, it's not boiling over and staying pretty stable so may be nothing to worry about. I'll have to see if there's somewhere local that can do some louvres for me as a trip to Marlin is a bit far just for that.
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  #55  
Old 4th April 2016, 19:22
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Without being too alarmist, but is the alternator okay, sometimes when they are on the way out they can act like an electric motor and drain your battery even when the engine is off. Have you checked by disconnecting the positive terminal and bridging the battery terminal to the lead with your multi meter, you should not have a high reading voltage wise if you do it's time to investigate the drain. Check alternator output on tick over and again at half revs, if it's around 14.5 you're okay.
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Old 4th April 2016, 19:57
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yeah I looked at the alternator when trying to find the slow drain as I'd read that a dodgy diode in the rectifier circuit can allow current to flow the wrong way. By bridging the disconnected -ve battery lead and the -ve terminal with the engine off I picked up a 1 second fluctuating current draw of 5 to 25 mA . By a process of elimination, disconnecting the alternator, pulling fuses and relays etc I narrowed it down to the flasher unit. When I pulled that out it dropped to a steady 3mA draw that went down to 2mA when I disconnected the clock. I'm assuming that residual draw is the DME. 3mA would be fine but 25mA will add up really quickly on a little 16Ahr battery. I've since picked up a replacement second hand flasher on ebay only to be unable to recreate the problem which is a bit frustrating. In the meantime I'm pretty sure that is what has knackered my battery as the manual specifically says that slow long term draw will kill it.

My alternator belt is squealing a lot anyway, I think due to a small misalignment and poor manual tensioning. I've ordered a replacement mini 40A Daihatsu Charade alternator in pursuit of the holy grail of M50 engined Sportster owners - having the Alternator on the correct side of the engine. That may improve battery charging performance too.

Last edited by morris; 4th April 2016 at 20:02..
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  #57  
Old 4th April 2016, 22:14
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For less than 20 you can get a float battery charger, I use one on my car all through the winter without any problems, cheaper in the long run. Hope the new battery works out.
Phil
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Old 12th April 2016, 18:48
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I've finished installing my new mini 40A denso alternator and it seems to be sticking out a better voltage than the old one, steady 14.3 vs more like 13.5-14V on the old one. I haven't taken the car out for a proper test yet but but there are no squeals, chirps or sight of any misalignment so hopefully this will help with my battery issues.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/580680...n/photostream/



When I removed the old alternator it was a bit grumbly and free spinning so I think the bearings were on their last legs anyway. The idler pulley I had in there still feels nice and tight so I don't think that was a problem.

If the belt had been slipping a lot that could also explain my hot engine as the pump may not have been turning enough
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Old 12th April 2016, 21:24
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Looks like a err.... nice and snug fit. Hope it cures your problem especially now the weather is on the change.
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Old 25th April 2016, 17:41
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The alternator seems to be working nicely. It struggles a bit at idle when you have a lot of current draw e.g. Fan and headlights going but once over ~900rpm it settles off nicely at 14V+. I may look at ways of artificially raising the idle but apart from the fan dropping speed and the lights dimming a bit, it runs ok off the battery when you're waiting at junctions etc (or you can just blip the throttle a bit).

My other electrical problem with the non-starting is still apparent though. It happened on a stone cold engine yesterday so it's not a heat soak thing. I'm going to fit a stand alone ignition switch to rule out the ignition barrel. I've done some reading and this is the most suspect part. Yesterday, because it happened at home I was able to experiment and found that the voltage reading at the battery was 12.8V which was mirrored at the starter and alternator. You then turn the ignition on, the pump runs up and the warning lights come on. You then hit the start button, the starter clicks once and the whole system dies. At this point testing the battery still gives 12.8V but if you test at the starter and alternator you'll read 1.5V, not even enough to light the warning lamps. Then, with no pattern to what you tap, wiggle or tighten in terms of connections, you'll get the full voltage back. Try starting again and it dies. It took me 20 minutes to get it going from cold, started first time after sitting for 30 minutes when hot and then another 20 minutes of mucking around the 3rd time I started it warm a few hours later. It's all rather confusing really ...
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