With the Fury intact and requiring no major remedial work prior to the Birkett I had some time to move on with the BDN build. I bought a nice Machine Mart engine stand some time ago but hadn’t used it yet, so I made up some brackets to bolt the engine onto it using the rear mounts. With the mount bolted on David and I lifted the engine onto the stand. This made it much easier to work on and move around the garage, particularly since you can just turn it over to work on the sump. The engine has been languishing in a big plastic box since I got it and it’s the first chance I’ve had to have a proper look at it. I had seen that it was superficially very clean and shiny but I think Malc steam cleans them, now I could see all of it it’s clear it’s very low mileage, all the fasteners are pristine and the exhaust ports are very clean with almost no carbon, very similar to the Hayabusa engine I’m currently using when I got that.
The first thing I did was to fit the sprocket and reverse gear. The sprocket is the same number of teeth (17) as the original but is for a 530 chain rather than the bike’s standard 525. Brian has somehow managed to drill and tap the hardened sprocket to bolt the reverse gear onto it via 3 bolts. Once I’d torqued up the sprocket nut and bent the tab washer over I bolted the gear onto it using some threadlock. I then lockwired the bolts – Brian had already drilled the heads to take the wire.
Next up was to remove the original oil/water cooler to fit the oil cooler take-off adapter that I got from Andy Bates. The O ring was swapped from the original part then the adapter was bolted onto the oil filter housing. I then took the clutch cover off and stuck my set of heavy duty springs in there.
I rotated the engine so it was upside down and removed the sump ready to fit my billet sump. Unfortunately although Andy reckons the sumps themselves are done the laser cut baffle plates aren’t so I wasn’t able to collect them at Oulton as planned, he assures me I’ll have the sump during the next week.
I made a start on familiarising myself with the engine mounts. Ian has now done a PDF with sequential fitting instructions and a 3D drawing showing where everything goes. It’s actually a lot simpler than it initially looks. Still seems strange not to have welded tubular structures there though! Unlike the Fury I can’t assemble everything then simply drop the engine in as there isn’t space, I’ll need to get the engine in position and build the mounts around it. I don’t want to do this yet firstly because the engine doesn’t have its sump on yet and secondly because I want to get the chassis off the trestles it’s currently on and get it a bit nearer to the ground, experience tells me it’s best to do that before the car gains too much weight!
On Monday evening I got the chassis lowered down onto axle stands courtesy of some help from David and the engine hoist, it’s still relatively light and one person can fairly easily lift one end of the chassis. Once I’d got the stands as low as they’d go it was time to look at getting the straps on the engine to hoist it into the chassis. With the Fury it’s fairly easy as I leave the top engine mounts bolted onto the engine and they provide a nice secure fixing for the straps but with the ZX10 there are no such mounts so I had to find a way to loop them around the engine securely. Without a sump on it the engine was dripping a tiny bit of oil now it was turned the right way up but not much so I manoeuvred it into the engine bay. Initially I was worried the oil filter and cooler take off was going to foul the fuel tank but once I got a length of threaded bar through the top mount I could tip the engine forward to line up the bottom mount and all was well.
There were however two problems. One was that while I couldn’t get a 12mm bolt or stud through the engine lugs a 10mm was quite loose. The other was that although the front mounts appear to be an accurate fit there’s a small bolt on the engine that sticks out and prevents the right hand one from meeting up with its bush. I also initially thought that there was quite a bit of a gap between the engine mount plates and the engine lugs. A chat with Brian sorted that as he pointed out that the right hand engine lugs have threaded bushes and so are adjustable.
I turned down a bit of steel bar to find out what size the engine mounting holes were and had to get it down to 10.9mm to get it to fit in the holes in the engine lugs which is a bit of a pain. The mounting plates are drilled for 12mm bolts/studs so I got a lenght of high tensile threaded bar from Swansea Fasteners who surprised me by also stocking 12mm aerotight/philidas nuts, even though we reckon nylocs should cope with the heat OK it seemed a better bet to use an all metal locking nut. The next step was to drill out the engine lugs to 12mm. This turned out to be easier than expected but then revealed another problem in that the holes in the main engine mounting plates which are water jet cut from 6mm aluminium are about 3mm too close together. It’s easy to see why it’s so difficult getting the measurements right because the mounting lugs aren’t actually in the same plane fore/aft which is why Brian supplies a series of accurately machined bushes to get the sprocket lined up straight on the diff. It’s also possible it’s a mistake by the water jet cutter. After a phone call to Brian we decided to wait till I have the sump pan so we can work out which hole needs to be moved – we need to make sure the bottom of the sump is both clear of the undertray and is parallel to it.
The day before I was heading off to Oulton the diff arrived from Quaife. The QDF7R is their ubiquitous diff for chain driven cars and is very compact. It’s also a pretty tight fit in the large bearings that support it on each side, so I heated the bearing centres up a bit with the heat gun before tapping them on with a block of wood and the rubber mallett. Here’s a pic of the diff installed in the car, once I’ve got the chain on I can set about making sure it’s exactly square with the vernier calipers. I’m hoping the amount of adjustment allowed will be enough to cope with the different sized sprockets without having to remove links from the chain.
On Wednesday the dampers arrived from Quantum Racing. These are very beautiful and very light, 774g each according to my kitchen scales. They weren’t exactly cheap but at £1250 including VAT they weren’t vastly more expensive than cheap ones and appear to be very high quality. They’re gas filled which allows them to be mounted horizontally. They’re also custom built to the specs provided by Ian which included the sprung and unsprung mass, the motion ratio and the natural frequency for both fronts and rear corners. I was very keen to get them fitted to the car but the springs need compressing to get them on and I don’t want to risk damaging the finish on the dampers by manhandling them on with my usual armamentarium of woodworking vice and tie-down straps so I’ve ordered some motorcycle sized spring compressors from EBay and will wait for those.
On Friday work was interrupted by golf followed by a trip to Blaenafon to collect the spare engine from Tim Cheney .Tim’s changed his plans yet again and had a spare ZX10 engine he’d bought that he was happy to pass on for a very reasonable price. It’s a 2006 but I think they’re mechanically identical to the 2007 so should be a direct transplant for mine if need be. I decided it was worth the investment to have a spare for next season. It’s not as pristine an example as mine but is supposedly low mileage and should be fine.
No sign of the sump on Friday so I moved on to something else. It’s unseasonably warm for October at about 22° so I decided to get on with making the seat. I cut up some cardboard to blank in the cockpit – if you don’t do this the foam expands out and once it’s set you can’t get it out. I want to make the squab a bit longer and more supportive than in the Fury so I mixed up about a litre of the foam and slapped it in a wheelie bin liner and once it was foaming up sat in it. Here it is at the end of that stage.
While out in the evening I had a message from Ian – it seems the 7″ springs I’ve got are correct for the Spax dampers on the original spec sheet but they’re using 6″ springs on their Quantums. That explains the compression required. So I’ll need to order some more springs from Rally Design – I spoke to Brian on Saturday afternoon and he said to let me know what the loss was and he’d refund it.
On Saturday I made a bit more progress on the seat. After 4 stages of rebagging it and adding more foam I ended up with this. Yes, it does look pretty awful, but then they always do. By the time I’d spent an hour or so hacking away at it with my saw it was looking much more like a seat and I was pretty pleased with it. Another hour saw the cutouts done for the harnesses, for now I’m using the spare passenger harness from the Fury. By mid-afternoon the seat was ready for covering. I then became overcome with indecision, the plan all along had been to do the usual trick of covering it with gaffer tape but I was tempted by the idea of covering it with GRP. A check of Dan’s blog confirmed that that was what he’d done. I had a chat with Brian who had used tape on theirs but agreed that it’s a bit of a PITA as the edges start to curl then the glue gets onto your overalls etc. He was worried about the resin eating the foam but I have a feeling polyurethane foam is OK although it will eat polystyrene foam quite happily. We decided it was probably worth the effort to get a more resilient seat. Doing this means I’ll need to get a much better finish on the foam, they always end up with loads of defects and holes etc. So I’ll think about that tomorrow.