First drive, and fixing niggles…

I have been able to drive the car around the block a few times to shake it down. I haven’t really been able to open it up, mostly because I am tooling around residential neighbor hoods. On my first drive I did open it up to half throttle at about 10 miles per hour in second gear and took it up to about 3500 RPM (red line is 6000). The rear tires spun quite easily. Clearly this car is going to take serious concentration to drive!

Driving it even around the neighborhood is very different from driving any production car I have driven. This car weighs 75% of the lightest car I have ever driven (1977 Honda Civic) and has 300% the torque and power of that car. The throttle is very sensitive and with the idle problems slow speed handling require a good deal of clenching! The steering is not twitchy at all, but it is as immediate as a motorcycle. There is no body roll at neighborhood speeds and it barely takes a quarter turn of the steering wheel to negotiate standard 90 degree turns.

The problems I have found during the limited roads test are that the alternator isn;t chargin the battery, I needed to shorten the steering rack track rod in order to get some toe-in (try driving a car with this kind of power to weight and TOE OUT, it is quite exciting!) and there was a strange noise from the differential.  I also am not happy with the way I attached the fuel lines to the engine fuel rail, that is being redone with some AN-8 fitting I had laying around, and the incomparable JB Weld.  Oh and it is too loud for my taste.

I fixed the steering today and aligned the car properly. It tracks like an arrow and it quite confidence inspiring. I still haven’t figured out what is wrong with the alternator. I double checked the wiring and couldn’t find any problems, so I will pull it out and have it checked at a car parts place tomorrow.

The noise from the differential was a but more frightening as it was clear that something was coming apart and in that area it is a recipe for death. I crawled under the car and found the the pinion was loose and had significant radial free play. I can only guess that when I put on the new yoke I didn’t torque it effectively. This was quickly fixed and a brief road test showed the problem has gone.

Then engine doesn’t idle well, this may be a known FI computer problem with the custom FI computer from Brunton. There was a firmware change that they implemented to fix it, and I may have to send in the computer for an exchange.

My inspection is next Friday and I feel confident that I can pass it, even with a faulty alternator.


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