Clio is ready to go to Silverstone tomorrow. Fingers crossed we have a good day.
Can it be done ? Yes
Did I do it ? No
Had it not been for an issue with the coilovers that came with the car I would have pretty much been on the money at £3k.
However the coilover adjusters would not budge, despite some heat + WD40 and a lot of leverage they would not move. Unfortunately I had to scrap them or live with the ridiculously low front ride height.
I’ve driven the car now though and it goes really well so I’m happy I will keep it for a couple of years at least. With that in mind I opted for a set of shocks with both ride height adjustment and damping adjustment. This will give me something to play with on track to see if I can right royally balls up the handling. Getting into a set of shocks like this don’t happen for less that £700 so we are currently closer to a £4k track car!
Set myself a challenge this year to build a track car for £3k including the purchase cost of the car. The idea behind the project is to have a toy that I can drive to the track and have some fun, then drive home again. I also want something that I can put a spanner on and improve while at the same time increasing my knowledge and providing a hobby that has little to do with work.
The Mazda MX5 was pretty good for this purpose but lack one essential ingredient and that was power. After weighing up the cost of adding some power I came to the conclusion that it’s better to start with a car that has some balls and improve the safety, handling and brakes around it.
So I’ve sold the Mazda and started looking at alternatives, which quickly boiled down to a choice between a BMW 325ti Compact or a Renault Clio RS.
I had a word with myself about being stuck on the idea that I can’t have fun on the track with a front wheel drive car. How do I know this without trying it ? well I don’t so I thought I’d better find out for myself. The price of parts for Clios compared to BMWs help with this decision!
I looked around and for the budget I had in mind I was either looking at high mileage 182s or decent 172s that were obviously older. I figure less miles is probably better than the age of the car since the engine and gearbox have potentially more life left in them. Either way I narrowed the search to sub 80k mile 172 + £1200 and there are a few out there.
I punted an offer on one on eBay that was advertised as a “Project” and got it for a grand. It needs trailering home as it has no MOT so let’s see what a grands worth of 172 “Project” looks like when it turns up next week.
Way back in April this year I had a bit of cash doing nothing an I always wanted to own a 916 after watching Foggy winning on one for many years. Unfortunately it looks like I missed the boat on the 916 as the prices were very strong. So started looking at 996s and decided that the later bikes were a better punt for me. You get the later olins rear shocks and other improvements and the prices are still reasonable.
I got one eventually that had been imported from Japan. It had a lot of new service parts fitted by a dealer and I bought it from pictures only, bit of a gamble but it payed off.
They are full of character to ride. Brakes and handling are the best that I’ve ever ridden and once you get it past 4000 rpm it pulls like a train.
I solved the electrical issues eventually. What I believe happened is that I fitted an alternator that was correct for the year but not correct for my car. Seems that NA alternators were self regulating but NB alternators are regulated by the ECU. Since my ECU has been replaced with a mega-squirt I need regulation somewhere and I didn’t have it on the test drive that blew the electrics. So lesson learned and we are back on the road.
In fact the five has been round Oulton Park and Castle Combe since and worked well. Both these track days were wet though, especially Castle Combe but I pressed on and had a laugh once I’d gained confidence in the grip.
Clocked up about 80 miles round Castle Combe and similar at Oulton.
This all started with a noisy alternator bearing and a sticking starter motor. A starter was acquired from ebay and that’s fine but the alternator was the start of weeks of pain.
I got a new alternator from ebay which when fitted made some odd whistling and after a brief test round the block the car promptly died. Turns out that after having the new alternator tested it is faulty and pretty poor quality.
I had new bearing put in the old alternator and refitted it but we’re still dead. The 80 Amp fuse was blown so I fitted a new one and we’re still dead.
After a bit of testing it turns out the engine management fuse was blown. Fitted a new one and it blew straight away. The car is fitted with a DIYAUTOTUNE megasquirt. So not straight forward to diagnose but at least I can talk to the ECU with a PC. I took the ECU out and put it on the bench to test. All checked ok.
Then I go hunting for a wiring diagram. Eventually I found a really handy document which is here if you need one. Mazda+MX-5+Miata+2000+Wiring+Diagrams
Slowly working through the wiring diagram I isolated all the engine wiring loom eventually and the problem was still there. In desperation I hooked my meter up between the failing circuit and earth and disconnected every plug I could find one by one until the meter showed open circuit. Eventually I found the part of the loom that had the fault.
By this time the car is in lots of pieces and spread all over the garage floor.
Could not see anything obvious in the loom and then without finding anything at all the thing starts working. Now I don’t know what worse, having a fault to find or having it working and not know what the fault was 😐