On Monday evening I decided it was time to fit the engine/reverse motor and needed to fit the chain first. So I fitted a new sprocket – after much deliberation I fitted one that gears me for about the same as I was at the end of last season. That was a bit too high for some circuits but I’m hoping a combination of my improved driving plus a more powerful motor should mean it’s about right. I’d already got a new chain via my trade account at M&P so chopped it down to length then on Tuesday got it rivetted on.
And then I was off to London on Wednesday not getting home till late on Saturday so that was it until Sunday. I was now very conscious of time pressure, the first race is now less than two weeks away. I’ve got no chance of testing before then and realistically wouldn’t have even if the car had been ready sooner. I also won’t have time to get it mapped. In the expectation that the car [b]will[/b] be ready for Donington I’ve booked the untimed practice session on the race day.
I fitted the engine/reverse mount along with the lower chainstay section then got the isolator and battery fitted and connected up. I connected up the remaining coolant hoses and refilled the system. Then it was time for the bits I’d been putting off – rewiring the engine bay to connect up the engine loom and all the sensors. With the new layout the oil pressure sender, oil temp sender and the fuel pressure sender are all close together so I made up a small sub-loom to connect them along with the water temp sender and connected that into the main loom via a 6 way multiconnector. With that done I could check that the dash worked and that the sensors were displaying correctly.
I then sorted out all the wires for the main loom side of the engine loom connector and got the terminals crimped and soldered onto that. With the starter solenoid connected up to both the isolator switch and the starter motor that was about it. At this stage lots of components were just dangling in the engine bay but I didn’t want to tidy them up till I knew everything was working. The time had come to try switching on the ignition. This was very undramatic as absolutely nothing happened at all. What should happen is that the fuel pump relay should click on for a few seconds, you usually hear the fuel pump while that’s on ad you usually hear the throttle butterflies move. But none of that happened. So reached for the secret weapon – the bike dash – and plugged that in and tried again. This told me that the ECU certainly was alive, it all lit up, the neutral light came on along with the low fuel warning light. Also there were flashing FI and ignition key symbols. So I nipped into the house to the Kawasaki manual and worked out how to display the fault codes to discover four of them on there – 35, 34, 56 and 67. 35 is “Immobiliser Amplifier Malfunction” so I wasn’t too pleased about that but the other 3 were trivial expected things, 34 is the exhaust valve actuator, 56 the radiator fan relay and 67 the oxygen sensor, all of which are indeed absent.
I checked that the immobiliser module was correctly plugged in which it was, then turned my attention to the key and antenna which I’d dismantled from within the ignition switch assembly. I undid the tape and tried turning the key round so it poked through the antenna ring from the back as I wondered if it was pushed in too far. This did the trick as next time I tried it the flashing key symbol had gone along with code 35 and I just had the 3 others.
So I refitted the oil cooler and filled her with oil then tried the starter button without having the stick coils on. The engine turned over but I didn’t get any oil pressure. I wasn’t terribly surprised as all the hoses were empty along with the cooler itself and the filter housing. I turned it for a little while but had really run out of time and the battery was starting to drain so I abandoned for the day.
On Monday evening I disconnected the oil cooler and filled it with oil then backfilled the feed hose. A bit of cranking with the oil filter loose soon saw oil dripping from the filter housing. With the filter tightened I was then seeing over 30psi just on the starter button. I then refitted the stick coils and tried starting her but the battery was a bit weak. There was a spark and the FI system is running so I was confident everything’s good to go.
But I was wrong! Spinning away but not firing. Fitted a new set of plugs but no better. Decided to have another look at the fault codes – there’s now code 23. Camshaft position sensor. That would be because it wasn’t plugged in. A few seconds later and she’s running with nice blue gouts of flame from the ports
On Tuesday I got the exhaust manifold fitted. My original plan was to get a new one made but in the end I haven’t had either the time or the money. The block and port dimensions are identical so it fits fine, it’s probably just losing me a bit of power. I then discovered I couldn’t start the engine. Immobiliser again, it seems the key position within the antenna ring is critical. I really don’t want to have to refit the actual ignition barrel so tried stuffing the housing with a big lump of blutac which seems to work OK.
Once that was done I refitted the reverse motor and made some mounting brackets for the starter solenoid and the voltage regulator along the top edge of the engine mount just above the reverse motor. During short stints in the garage during the week I got the rest of the wiring tidied up and refitted the exhaust manifold.
The Donington finals came out and I discovered I wasn’t in either the race or the untimed practice session. A phone call to the 750 Motor Club office confirmed that they hadn’t received either my bulk entry form which had been emailed in January or the form I’d faxed for the untimed practice No problem for the race as there were still spaces but the untimed practice was full.
On Saturday I refitted the rear undertray and the rear framework and silencer. I also fabricated some steel plates with welded on captive nuts to replace the M8 rivnuts in the rear aluminium channel the bodywork bolts onto. I discovered I had a problem in that the battery wasn’t receiving any charge although it was fine when I’d checked it at the first engine start. A broken connector in the rectifier outlet plug explained this so I found a similar female blade connector and soldered that on.
Sunday was then the big push to try to get the car finished and road tested as I was due to leave for London early evening for a few days. I had to completely replumb my breather system and catch tank. The ZX10, in common with the R1, tends to naturally breathe a lot of oil out and needs a system to return the oil to the engine. I’d spoken to Tony Gaunt and was planning to copy his system. The first requirement was to modify my catch tank to stick a hose onto the bottom of it to return the oil. It has an M6 bolt in the bottom to drain it so I removed that, drilled the hole out and tapped it to M10. I then turned down a short length of aluminium, threaded one end of it then bored it out and screwed this into the tank so I could attach a hose to it. I then had to find some way of mounting my catch tank as high as possible within the engine bay which proved quite tricky and took me ages. Once that was done I connected the gearbox breather via a tee piece with one hose going to the top of the tank as a breather and the other to the bottom with an inline one way valve to allow the oil to drain back to the engine. The breathers on the top of the cam cover were connected to the other spigot at the top of the tank. That took me till lunchtime.
I then refitted the rear bodywork which of course needed modification to accommodate the airbox. After making a cardboard template I took the angle grinder to the GRP and gradually trimmed the hole until it fitted around the airbox. This left only a thin strip of GRP across the front edge of the bodywork so I reinforced that with a strip of aluminium. In fact the airbox doesn’t protrude very much at all and doesn’t look anywhere near as bad as I’d expected. My original plan had been to mould a new bulge but it’s been too cold for GRP work and in any case I simply haven’t had time. I’ll get that done after the Donington race meeting. Here’s a pic of the engine/airbox, I didn’t have time to get a shot of the modified bodywork.
I refitted the clutch slave next then made a start on modifying the sidepods. In their wisdom the committee have decided to enforce a completely flat floor and despite their assurances that this wouldn’t affect existing cars (other than those they were targetting as pushing the boundaries of the aero rules) the new rule makes the sidepod floor immediately behind the front wheel non-compliant. So the fix was to fabricate some aluminium panels to cover the floor and provide a flat floor with a vertical surface in the wheel well. This took longer than it should and it was getting towards late afternoon before the sidepods were ready to fit.
I was getting very pressurised by now since I needed to leave the house at about 6:15 and hadn’t packed my stuff for 3 days in London. I got the sidepods refitted followed by the rear valance, then the bulkhead panels followed by the seat and harness. By the time I cleared the way out of the garage and got the car out onto the drive it was after 5:30. I got in to find the pedal end of the throttle cable had come undone so I needed to get out again and sort that. I then set off down the drive to find the clutch was out of adjustment and slipping too much so I got the car back up the drive to adjust that. At 5:45 I set off down the drive again to find I got into third gear and then couldn’t change down due to some problem with the gear linkage. So I had the car stuck at the end of the drive in gear. David helped me turn it round then I just had to drive it back into the garage and abandon it to have a quick shower and throw some stuff into a bag for my trip.
So, here I am in London. I won’t be home till late Wednesday evening, I’m working till 6:30 on Thursday and am in Cardiff for the day on Friday. Hopefully the gear linkage just needs some adjustment but I’ll need to do a bit of dismantling to get at it. The car still needs a few minor things doing like race numbers, a bit of heat insulation here and there and I need to upload a map to the Power Commander. I really hope I’ll get chance to get the car out on the road before the trek up to Donington on Friday evening but it’s all going to be a bit touch and go.