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Thread: Green Machine - On the Road...

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    ***Euro-Nova Supporter*** Spacenut's Avatar
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    Green Machine - On the Road...

    OK, after all the trials and tribulations encountered over the last 7 years, the Green Machine is finally back on the road. What's it like to drive, now that the interior is completely different? I thought I would start a thread to give an idea, plus it is handy to catalogue all the observations/niggles as I come across them. Here we go then...

    First, the good stuff. The new driving position is good, with pedals, seat and steering wheel all more or less in line. Self-parking wiper is good, gearlever position is good. All switchgear easily accessible from the drivers seat when strapped in, including the Nav computer keyboard. Quartic wheel is great, although it pays to have the wheel in the straight-ahead when climbing in!

    Side window demister vents, even though incomplete, work well with the 51mm exhaust holes in the rear corners. Windscreen demisting is adequate, and the face vents can supplement the demisting in really heavy weather.
    only Pythagoras can save me now!

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    ***Euro-Nova Supporter*** Spacenut's Avatar
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    OK, some of the not-so-good stuff.

    I noticed early on that the angle of the tunnels around the secondary instrument displays is slightly too low for the seating position. This cuts off the top of the display. I did design adjustment of the binnacle angle, but the dash top cover limits the angle of adjustment. I may be able to trim the tunnels to suit the required angle.

    The tachometer is slightly pessimistic, under-reading by a couple of hundred rpm. I need to change the 100k potentiometer in the LM3917 interface for a 110k item to get more calibration range.

    Initially the dash display was far too bright at night. I tweaked the display brightness down a bit and it is now much better. The dash brightness controls also cover the main beam warning light but the other warnings, including the indicator warning lights, come on full brightness, day or night. The indicator tell-tales are a bit bright for night driving, if truth be told...

    Also an issue is the telecam brightness. I have this on a separate switch so I can leave the brightness at the daytime setting when the lights are on, but although the daytime brightness is fine, the night setting is still a bit too bright. Not sure how I can change the ratio of day/night brightness at the moment. Whatever the solution is, I will have to open up the CRT (again) to make component changes...

    The steering column shrouds that I moulded are too deep and limit knee-room under the column. This makes the brake pedal a bit more awkward to operate, although an emergency stop yesterday did not throw up any other issues. I think I will need to trim down the depth a bit.

    Unfortunately the convoluted path taken by the airflow from the heater onto the drivers side demister vent, plus the instrument pod top cover seem to have compromised the efficiency. It's the price you pay for aesthetics, and practicality obviously

    The additional insulation in the footwells has reduced the space around the accelerator pedal. Plus, the efforts I made to put weatherseals around the front bulkhead have made the pedal a bit more sticky to operate. An area for improvement I think...

    Side windows still do not have weather seals, which is not good news with all this rain...

    Likewise, the headlight covers have some experimental seals which are not 100% watertight, so water is still getting in and condensation is still forming. I am trialling a set of ducted laptop cooling fans to see if this will help (more details soon).

    Lauren
    Last edited by Spacenut; 24-11-2019 at 08:18 PM.
    only Pythagoras can save me now!

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    ***Euro-Nova Supporter*** Spacenut's Avatar
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    When I first got back on the road I noticed that the car was losing quite a lot of oil. Initially it seemed to be coming from a blanking plate over the redundant mechanical fuel pump aperture, so I made a new plate from 5mm aluminium plate and sealed it up good. Unfortunately the leaks continued. The next one I found was coming from the oil pressure warning light switch, which I replaced - all good, but still there was oil coming from the distributor shaft oil seal. I knew that the same diameter shaft (actually the same distributor type, albeit with a revised advance curve) was used on the Beetle, so Machine 7 provided the replacement seals.

    Now the engine is almost completely oil-tight, so anything that I am losing now must be being burnt by the engine...

    I fixed the electronic ignition in my friend's 911SC (Bosch Capacitive Discharge) and tested the repair using my own electronic distributor (Bosch JGFUD-4). This got me thinking about electronic ignition for the Nova (my 1980 engine is running the points distributor from my 1978 engine), so I have bought a suitable ignition control module and I am making a suitable heatsink. More news as it happens, but I have stripped and cleaned the JGFUD-4 so it is ready to swap out.

    The Alfa 1.2 Ti gearbox ratios are great! Synchromesh is also working well, always a weakness on these gearboxes. With the 15" wheels and 205/60 tyres I now have acceleration equivalent to that of the sportier Alfasuds and Sprints, so a 0-60 of around 8-9 seconds and 110 mph top speed. Not supercar fast but brisk enough for road use. I still have my Alfatune engine waiting in the wings if I need to get cracking. Given that I haven't been able to tune up my left hand cylinder bank (not sure if it is valve clearances or something more sinister), it may be time for the Alfatune to go in...

    Speaking of engines, I need to fabricate a closure panel between the engine bay and the adjacent battery compartment behind the driver, as quite a lot of engine noise is still getting into the cabin via this route.

    Lauren
    only Pythagoras can save me now!

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    It sounds like your having lots of fun now its back on the road, and a bit more fun tweeking some bits, indicator warning lights must be an easy one small relay during the day fed by N/C headlights come on fed by N/O with a resistor. Love your descriptive detailed posts keep them coming.

    Dirk

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    ***Euro-Nova Supporter*** BlueNova's Avatar
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    It’s refreshing to see a detailed account of a Nova on the road in amongst so many posts about construction/restoration, etc.

    However, it looks like you’ve just demonstrated that it’s not possible to ever truly ‘finish’ a Nova, or most other kit cars for that matter .... keep enjoying the journey and try to avoid having to do too many emergency stops!

  6. #6
    Nice up Lauren, the main thing is that its being driven! I'm jealous

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    Nice update, interesting to read - thanks

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    Well done

    Great update mate very interesting 😃

  9. #9
    ***Euro-Nova Supporter*** Spacenut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirk View Post
    It sounds like your having lots of fun now its back on the road, and a bit more fun tweeking some bits, indicator warning lights must be an easy one small relay during the day fed by N/C headlights come on fed by N/O with a resistor. Love your descriptive detailed posts keep them coming.

    Dirk
    I was actually trying to be clever, the LEDs are dimmed using a NE555 timer with a CR feedback loop to change the pulse-width. Unfortunately I had to fit a linear regulator to the instrument pod to clean up the conducted EMC from the alternator so that dropped the PWM supply voltage to 9V. Of course the indicator relay works at 12V and the tell-tales are driven from the relay. So I couldn't control them from the PWM in the end.

    At least I won't leave the indicators on by accident!

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueNova View Post
    It’s refreshing to see a detailed account of a Nova on the road in amongst so many posts about construction/restoration, etc.

    However, it looks like you’ve just demonstrated that it’s not possible to ever truly ‘finish’ a Nova, or most other kit cars for that matter .... keep enjoying the journey and try to avoid having to do too many emergency stops!
    Thanks Alistair - you make a good point about never finishing, but I think the reason for this seemingly endless "tinkering" is an important one - if this was a Lamborghini, or a Fezza, or some other exotic production car, we would just shrug and say "well, its not perfect but...". I've read enough road test reports to know that no supercar is perfect - in some cases far from it. However, with a kit car, particularly something like the Nova, which leaves so much of the detail work to the builder, the opportunity exists for us to try and get as close to perfection as we can.

    Of course there are limits. I don't think I will be messing with the dash layout, the demisting is as good as it can be and I will probably stick with a single speed wiper. But I will be making some minor tweaks to make life on the road more bearable...
    only Pythagoras can save me now!

  10. #10
    ***Euro-Nova Supporter*** Spacenut's Avatar
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    Of course the biggest problem with driving the Nova on a daily basis (particularly in the Winter) is night driving. The tunnelled headlights place the headlights too low to the ground, which limits their range, close range illumination is cut off by the tunnel floor and there is no illumination of the kerb or corner due to the tunnel sides.

    The latter inevitably leads to running wide on corners rather than risk kerbing a wheel.

    On top of this is the condensation problem in the headlamp covers, which takes time to clear.

    Of course pop-up headlamps are an obvious answer to most of the above, but aesthetically they do not appeal to me. So I will stick with the tunnelled lights and try and address some of the obvious issues.

    Headlamp aim is crucial - although the Green Machine sailed through the MoT on headlight aim, my first drive in the dark demonstrated how far from optimal the aim actually was - too far to the left, and too low, quite a scary experience, particularly with all the blinding oncoming headlights!

    I have had two good sessions setting up the headlight beams, latterly with a laser to establish the vehicle centreline and thus the lateral pointing. I have also fitted premium H7 bulbs which are slightly brighter than my Bosch originals. I have considered HID, but the scatter from the headlight covers will probably be excessive, even if the authorities were to turn a blind eye (HID installations are required to have headlamp washers and self-levelling suspension).

    We have talked about cornering lights before - a pair of small mini fog lamps faired into the front undertray and connected to the indicator circuit (via a speed sensor) or steering angle sensor is one possibility. But the big gaping black hole immediately in front of the car would be better filled with a pair of fog lamps in the nose, far enough forward to illuminate the kerb. Much simpler to implement than the cornering lights, they could be permanently wired into the headlamp circuit, or be switched separately.

    The other thing I have been working on is headlamp ventilation fans. First real test of this came today in torrential rain. Driver side headlamp cover was clear of condensation across the width of the vent (central 50%). This was using twin 40mm laptop cooling fans, each drawing 80mA. More details to follow...

    Lauren
    only Pythagoras can save me now!

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