Minor niggles

The past week or so has been marked by various minor issues, all of which have been resolved, but each one of which has been a separate issue.

First, on getting the car out to go to the airport last week, it wouldn’t start.  The battery was fully charged (it had been on the trickle overnight), but the starter wasn’t managing to even turn the engine over.  With some time on the plane to think about it, I wondered if it could be a bad earth, which turned out to be correct.  The main engine earth from the block to the chassis (which bolts onto the passenger side engine mount) was loose, and as soon as that was cleaned and tightened all was fine again.  An annoying one, but pleased that I worked it out.

Then later in the week, on the way to Aylesbury, the speedo stopped working.  Completely.  I still had a backlight, but no needle or odometer movement.  Investigation behind the dash revealed nothing untoward – everything was still connected (except the trip reset, which I never use anyway because it’s manual).  So a bit of research needed.  The standard Caterham speedo works on an angle drive cable that connects into a flange on the rear part of the gearbox, so jacking up the car was needed.  Once located, it was very clear what the problem was – the cable was simple hanging loose.  Reconnecting was fairly simple, though getting the thread to bite was tricky initially as there’s quite a bit of lateral movement in the angle drive socket (I need to keep an eye on this).  Once on though and tightened up, all seems back to normal.  Once to watch, and check whenever I’m under the car, I think.

Last night, on starting the car – no tacho.  Some wire tracing this morning and a bit of unplugging and replugging revealed simply a bad connection to the main tacho feed from the ECU, so a pretty simple fix this time.

An instrument upgrade is in my mind at some point, either to SPA gauges, or more likely to the cheaper (and matching) Racetech ones.  It would be nice to have a speedo which reads somewhere close to reality, rather than under-reading by over 10% (according to my test GPS runs), and integrated shift lights on a replacement tacho sound an attractive proposition.  However, this would not be a cheap upgrade, or a straightforward one, given the configuration involved, and indeed the legal issues about the odometer.  It would be pretty odd to have a brand new tacho showing a few hundred miles on a 20 year old car, but it seems slightly questionable to ‘clock’ a new speedo to show the accurate mileage (though of course, given the time running with no speedo connection last week, those miles aren’t counted anyway!).  Not sure on the real rights and wrongs of this – some people say that as long as its all documented in the history of the car, then it’s fine – so I probably won’t be doing this anytime soon, and particularly not without some rather better advice.

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