Thursday, June 18, 2009

Alcohol problem

Gerald the Herald's seldom left Moranbah since driving up from Brisbane last year. We go for regular blats out to the airport and back to warm the engine, but otherwise it hasn't left town since last July. So, I decided it was time for a holiday.

Sarina Beach

Sugar cane ready for harvest. No crop circles visible from this height!

We headed out to the coast and stayed for a night at Sarina Beach, a quiet settlement about two and a half hours from home. After a run on the beach the next morning, we headed north to Mackay to pick up the GT6's newly recored radiator. After Mackay, we headed north to Cape Hillsborough National Park and pitched a tent in the caravan park by the beach. I stopped at one point to photograph the Herald alongside one of north Queensland's iconic crops, sugar cane. When I was planning my move to Australia a few years ago, I'd visualised driving the Herald through fields of pineapple, only later finding that pineapple is grown further south. So sugar cane it had to be.

A byproduct of the local sugar industry is ethanol, blended into the premium fuel as "E15". Not being able to find the normal Premium, I decided to try the E15. The car ran well to Cape Hillsborough, the only difference being a hint of vapourisation after stopping for a few minutes, and slight pinking. Unfortunately, all wasn't well, and I returned from a walk on the beach to find fuel pouring from the boot. An old repair to the petrol tank had been dissolved by the ethanol, and I had to pull the tank out and drain it. The get-me-home fix the next day was an old 20L cooking oil drum with the old tank's pick-up pipe poked through the lid! And it did get me home, with roof down and windows open to control the smell of petrol wafting from the boot and carbs. The fuel tank will need to be professionaly repaired this time, and will be dropped off in Mackay next week. In the meantime, Gerald's asleep in the garage, all washed but stil with sand on the carpet. As always, it did well.

Pulling the tank out - oil drum ready to go in.

The morning after - sunrise on a tropical beach

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Just chop it in half!

No photos right now. The V8's front suspension arms were checked by a Certifier, who decided that the car should be built to 'heavy-weight ladder-chassis sports car' specifications, rather than medium-weight as Andrew, the suspension designer, had done. (Bollocks of course, the Rover V8 weighs less than a Triumph 6). What this means is that the arms will have to be re-manufactured with 4mm-thickness tube rather than 3.2mm... and then crack-tested again, as per the current arms. This also affects other cars Andrew's working on, so none of us are happy. By the time the V8 Herald is certified road-worthy in New Zealand it will be able to crush tanks!

The GT6's engine has been stripped down for measuring. The bearing sizes are all standard, so it had probably never been taken apart before. Some bearings are showing traces of copper, but overall are pretty good. I have a full set of .010 VP2s to fit after a crank grind. A set of cam bearings are on their way from Canley Classics, and I've ordered forged pistons and valves from Gareth Thomas. He tells me that there's a prize for the first GT6 to exceed 40mpg on 95 octane fuel, and another for the first to reach 150mph normally aspirated. Bloody 'ell!

I'd like to give a big round of thanks to Canley Classics. I ordered a new right hand floor pan to replace the lace-like original (the left is better). A floor pan costs £100, but Clare, the sales person, emailed to advise that postage would be another £170 due not to weight but length. I wrote back asking if chopping it in half would reduce the postal charge (I only need the front and rear wells), and to my surprise they did, and it did cost less! There aren't many places that even warn of huge postage charges, and few who are hands on and practical enough to do it. Thank you very much, Dave Pearson and the rest at CC!