Sevenman's TVR (was SAAB) Blog

February 24, 2012

Outbraked by a Ford Focus… and a visit to TVR Power

Filed under: Uncategorized — Administrator @ 5:03 pm

We spent some of today in the Tamora at CAT driver training at Millbrook. We had rearranged our performance driving day from earlier this month when snow stopped play, and today we had perfect dry weather.

Millbrook is a great place with an impressive variety of facilities. The driver training day uses the mile straight for braking and brake / swerve, the high-speed bowl, the handling circuit, the Alpine route, and a big skid-pan with lots of coloured circles of different diameters to follow.

It might use other parts too, but our day ended sooner than we would have liked.

As the TVR doesn’t have ABS, we used a Ford Focus to practice some ABS braking / brake & swerve techniques before doing some threshold braking. We then swapped to the TVR which, until now, I have always driven fairly steadily and have not locked up the brakes.

The first stop resulted in a big cloud of tyre smoke as the rear brakes locked up, and the fronts did not. Same tyres front and back, running the same pressure. Further stops over 3 passes down the straight produced exactly the same problem and I was having to limit the braking force to avoid having the rears lock up. The deceleration the TVR could manage without the rears locking was less than the Ford Focus frown

This is not a stable car setup, and the brake test is a good thing to get done early in the day to check that aspect of the cars handling.

Colin discussed whether we wanted to continue with a car that was not handling properly, or postpone the day until we have the car fixed and then carry on from where we left off. This is very good of him, since it effectively writes-off 2 days of his time for our one day of training.

Before finishing, we went onto the 40m circle, and in both directions increased speed until the car started to lose traction. In this respect the TVR is set-up very well (thanks TrackVRoad) – it goes into very mild understeer when pushed, that can turn into slight lift-off oversteer, or can be balanced out with a bit more throttle.

On our way back we popped into TVR Power and had a chat with Jason. He noted that the rear pads were EBC Greenstuff, and it wasn’t clear what the fronts were since the back of the pads is not visible. A mismatched set of pads seems the most likely reason for the brake issues, given the calipers all look in good condition, as do the disks and tyres.

We also discussed the coolant dripping problem and, given its location and a quick examination, he was fairly sure it was the plastic ends to the radiator…

I now have a to-do list of new pads, new tyres, and new radiator before I return to complete my driver training. Based on what we have done so far, I am really looking forward to returning to Millbrook, and am grateful to CAT for being so helpful.

There were lots of interesting development vehicles going round Millbrook. My photo from the day is here.

More drips

Filed under: Uncategorized — Administrator @ 5:00 pm

Checking the TVR a day after parking it in the garage, there were a few new drips on the piece of white paper, and a small amount of coolant was visible running down the radiator.

Coolant on side of radiator

Drips of coolant

When I returned to the car after a week, there had been more drips, so 1/2 the paper was damp, but the coolant level has yet to drop noticably.

February 11, 2012

Wash and drive

Filed under: Uncategorized — Administrator @ 5:05 pm

Having bought an immaculately clean car from TrackVRoad, we had clocked up 1000 winter miles without washing the car.


Before washing

I don’t use car washes (a bad idea on a TVR anyway), and finding a nice day to wash the car, dry the car, and then take it for a good drive on dry roads, not covered in salt, to get rid of any remaining water before putting it back in the garage is tricky.

But today was a good day. We had already been out in the Mondeo in the early afternoon and the roads were dry and clean. When we got back, we rolled the TVR out of the garage and gave it a good wash.

The temperature was 0 C. Everything is trickier at this temperature. The extension lead that had been running the trickle charger was just that bit less flexible which made rolling the cable awkward. Same for the hosepipe.

I used my new car Autoglym shampoo, new microfibre wash mitt for the bodywork, new sponge for the wheels, and new Autoglym microfibre towel to dry the car. I would normally use a chamois for drying, but decided to give this a go. At first it was great, but when it became saturated it was harder to use than a chamois. I think the best plan is to get a chamois for 90% of the drying, and then go over the car with the microfibre cloth to finish off.

The car didn’t take long to clean, I am used to cleaning much larger cars. The wheels are fiddly though. On a nicer day I will take them off or spend more time, but given the cold conditions and the fact I wanted to finish quickly and start driving I didn’t clean the inner surface of the wheels. I sprayed the underside as best I could to get rid of any salt that may have stuck there.

I also opened the doors / boot and gave the exposed areas a clean.

After washing

No water seemed to have made its way inside, but the rear screen was a little misty for the first part of the drive.

When we started off, there was a display warning for an oil temp of 0 C which I had to cancel. Earlier in the day I had gone into the display computer and customised a display so that I had a large Speed (mph) on the left and equally large oil temp on the right. This is the display I will use for warming up from now on. On the left it also shows water temp, oil pressure, and litres of fuel remaining (I think) in small text.

The car started fine, took an extra second of turning over compared to normal. When it caught it ran fine, and soon steam appeared as the water on the exhaust manifolds evaporated. We went on a fun 40 minute A-road drive and the car behaved well. Water temps went up to 70 C, and oil slowly made its way to 60 and then stayed in the 60 – 65 C range.

Back home, the car was tucked up in the garage, and may stay there until the rearranged drivers day unless we have some more nice weekend weather.

February 4, 2012

CAT Driver Training – Postponed

Filed under: Uncategorized — Administrator @ 4:34 pm

Sadly tomorrow’s day out to CAT Driver Training has had to be postponed :(

We were both really looking forward to it, but after a very mild winter in which we have done 1000 miles in the TVR, it has finally turned cold and snowy.

We returned home at 16:15 following a trip to the very quiet shops in our Mondeo which is running proper winter tyres, Dunlop Wintersport 3D. See here for their use in France last winter.

The main roads through town are now covered. It isn’t a lot of snow, but because it is cold it has settled. Conditions are quite slippery, even with winter tyres. The TVR on its summer tyres would be dangerous.

Maybe it will all be gone in the morning, but it seems unlikely, and the snow is due to fall through the night to the east where the training is held (Millbrook).

Jo and Colin have been very good about being flexible with the date, and had been happy to leave it to today to decide what we would do. Hopefully the weather will be ok later in the month and we can do the training, which we are both really looking forward to.

For now, the TVR stays tucked up safely in its garage.

16:15 today - The TVR remains tucked away in the garage

January 29, 2012

330 miles – longest drive yet

Filed under: Uncategorized — Administrator @ 10:00 am

Friday was a very long drive up to TrackVRoad for some tweaks and checks to the car, then to Central TVR (also the TVR Power Bodyshop) for a quick fix to the underside of the front splitter.

The car spent its first night outside for many months, as it was parked on the driveway ready for an early start, but hidden behind the Mondeo.

The evening before I had used my new CTEK MXS3.6 charger for a while to make sure the battery was topped up. Hopefully with its cigarette lighter adaptor this will be an easier charger to use than having to use the bulky Anderson connector (working by touch since that side is against the garage wall). This charger will also do slightly more clever charging than my existing Halfords charger (which is still good and has never failed me).

Despite the weather forecast saying that temperatures would not drop below freezing, the gritter came down my road at 11pm, so the poor TVR had to have its first drive in gritty conditions.

A 5am alarm lead to a 5:45 departure equipped with some food and drink for the journey and a number of CDs. We had only experimented with music in the car once before, but because this was a long journey by myself I loaded up some fine country music to take with me.

Having moved the Mondeo, the TVR started quickly and I headed off straight away so as to not upset the neighbours any more than necessary. My wife said she could hear my go down our road, turn left at the bottom, down the next road, turn again, and then the sound finally faded. And that is driving at very low revs very gently…

Oil temp at start was about 6 degrees, and the car kept flashing up 5 degree (no need for gritting) frost warnings which dissapeared again before I could cancel them. This stopped after a couple of minutes.

By the time I reached the motorway the car was warmed up and I have found a nice balance on the heater (I am glad we did the fan setting fix), and with some music on I settled into a long 70 mph drive. Apart from an annoying section of 40 mph roadworks. The music was audible, I wouldn’t say it was great, and I had to turn it up fairly loud, but the new speakers worked well.

Following an easy drive up, I filled up at the Texaco garage at the edge of Clitheroe with Super Unleaded (28.5 mpg at that fill) and continued on to TrackVRoad, arriving just after 8:30.

Ouside TrackVRoad

TrackVRoad - Click for larger image

Richard was there, and I chatted with him, asking a lot of questions, until about 9:30 when Ian was ready for my car.

From the chat with Richard I ascertained:
– Changing to 225/40 tyres on the front could cause rubbing problems with light covers and reduced steering lock
– Ian’s suspension set-up is very good, and he knows his stuff
– I could put on a nice poweder coated rocker cover with no additional labour costs if done at a 12,000 mile service
– Silicon hoses are also easy to put on, but the jubilee clips will need checking afterwards
– Re-trims cost from £3800 for everything, getting cheaper as things are excluded
– For exhaust silencing, speak to Tim at ACT
– It is normal that, on a warm start, the revs rise to ~ 2000 before falling back to idle
– The car should go on and off ferries, I just need to be careful about approaching ramps at an angle
– The tunnel is good for ramps, but be careful with the wheels when driving down the carriages

Ian measured by TVR’s ride height and found that the front was 20 mm too low, probably due to suspension settling since new. The rear ride height was ok.

The car went up on the ramp and it seems to be a simple job to adjust the ride height. While it was up there, Ian showed be around the underside of my car, pointing out and explaining things, which was very useful.

The suspension settings that they use for the Tamora are:

– Rear Toe-in = 3 mm
– Rear Camber = 1.25 degrees negative

– Front Toe-in = 0 to 1.5 mm. (1.5 mm static changed to 0 mm when moving)
– Front Camber = 0.5 to 0.75 degrees negative

– Rake = 3/4 to 1 inch from back to front

Gaz Gold Pro - Rear

Exhausts looking to the rear

Looking towards the front - air intake on the right

Looking to the rear, anti-roll bar visible, air intake on the left

Rear underside

The damage to the front splitter

Asking Ian about the damage to the front splitter, he said it wouldn’t cause any problems.

Busy workshop

Having adjusted and re-measured the suspension, they offered to do checks on the car, which I accepted. In the 1000 miles I have driven it, there seems to have been no fluid use, and all is how it should be. They also took it for a test drive, and finished that with letting it idle to check the radiator fans came on – which they did. This is good, since I have never been stationary in the car for long enough to get the water temperature above about 85 degrees. I was very happy when the chap returning the car from its test drive said it was the nicest handling Tamora he had driven :o)

I had a look at some of the TVRs for sale while I waited.

270 bhp Caterham...

With all done, and after another coffee, I headed South into a big rain storm on the M6. This was quite heavy rain, but the TVR felt fine, and no sign of any leaks.

The weather cleared for a while and then as I entered Stourbridge it started to rain again. I filled-up again at the Shell station so I could get a tank of V-Power, and my fuel econmy for that bit of the drive was 29.1 mpg, a new record, despite some time spent idling.

If you drive to Central TVR / TVR Power Bodyshop, do not join their lane from the main road. This road was a mass of interconnected potholes the size of which I had never seen before. I picked my way through very carefully. Approach and leave from the other end of the road, even if it is a longer way round.

Adrian, who I had spoken to on the phone, was not there, but 2 other chaps helped out. They cleaned the front of the car, lifted it a bit, then masked off the paintwork and sprayed over the damaged bit of the splitter. They commented that it had been repaired before, and that they could do a proper job to make it as good as new. However, since it is functionally fine, and the damage is not visible unless you look carefully and from floor level, I plan to keep it as it is for now.

They did not charge for this quick bit of work, for which I am most appreciative :o)


Ready to paint

Not beautiful, but at least the fibreglass is hidden

With that done I finished the drive home, and for the last bit it wasn’t raining, so put the car awy with dry bodywork but probably a but damp underneath. I put on some heating and ventilation in the garage to help with this and kept that on for about 7 hours until I was sure everything was dry. The big storm on the M6 should have given the underside a decent clean.

Tucked away - blankets can go over tomorrow

The car had driven perfectly over the 330 miles, with some occasionaly bursts of acceleration. The ride is fine, the seats are comfy, wind noise is ok, but exhaust noise at motorway speeds is annoying, and then turning the radio up so I could hear music over it was probably a bit too loud. Not sure what I will do for very long road trips.

The car now really needs a wash, but I want to buy new washing kit to use on it to keep the paint as immaculate as possible. It is also going to wait until warmer / dryer weather before it gets its first wash and polish.

January 23, 2012

TVR Clearance

Filed under: Uncategorized — Administrator @ 11:22 pm

I measured the ride height before any adjustments are made, and after 800 miles of driving since the suspension was fitted.

I used a stack of DVDs, with some very thin DVDs to see what could be slid under the relevant part of the car. I then measured the height of this stack with a ruler. This is probably accurate to a few mm.

The measured heights, on an empty car with a full fuel tank, were as follows:

Centre of front splitter – 95 mm
Sill behind front wheel – 130 mm
Sill in-front of rear wheel – 136 mm
Rear diffuser behind rear wheel – 135 mm
Lowest point of exhaust / centre of rear diffuser = 163 mm

Front overhang from wheel centre ~ 77 cm (gives an approach angle of 7.1 degrees)

Given these are an empty car, add 2 people and the heights will be lower.


Filed under: Uncategorized — Administrator @ 2:57 pm

A few phone calls this morning lead to progress on a few fronts.

I had a chat with Chris from Centre Gravity about raising the TVR suspension, then corner weighting the car and tuning the geometry for my requirements. This was very useful, and progress will be written up here.

Following some e-mails with Craig at TrackVRoad, I spoke to Richard. The damaged fibreglass isn’t a problem if I use the car, which is good. I could spray the damaged bit with some stone-chip protection from Halfords if I wanted to. Their bodywork chap is not available on the day I am thinking of driving up, but they are happy to raise the ride height a little.

I spoke to the TVR Power Bodyshop, who are not too far from me. Adrian was very helpful, and thought he could cover over the damage while I waited for £5. I might try to see them on the way back from TrackVRoad. He also suggested that for £50 / hour one of their guys could raise the ride height, but TvR should have done that.

January 22, 2012

Scrape :o(

Filed under: Uncategorized — Administrator @ 5:55 pm

When we bought the car, Richard at Track V Road said we would scrape the front splitter.

For nearly 3 months we avoided this, until today.

An innoccuous-looking driveway central stone at a relative’s house caught the underside of the front splitter.

Thankfully, it didn’t catch the front, just the underside. Even so, it has gone through the surface protection and scraped away a little glass fibre.

Maybe something that can get patched-up at Track V Road if I make it there this week, which is planned.

Other than that, the car behaved impeccably. My wife drove it down on a mix of A/B roads and motorway, and I drove back skipping the motorway for more A roads, which was fun :)

My wife was driving when it scraped – she suggested I got out to look at it, I said it would be fine. I was wrong.

Only a couple of weeks until we do a course with CAT driver training – it should be very useful :)








January 2, 2012

2 more drives

Filed under: Uncategorized — Administrator @ 9:15 am

We have had some good weather over the Christmas break, so the TVR has been out twice more since Christmas.

Once with the Targe Top off and with a friend in the passenger seat who hadn’t seen the car yet, and then once with my wife driving the 1st half, and me the second the half of the drive.

The first drive was out through some country roads to visit a strange construction, which looks like a castle, but was built in more recent times to provide interesting landscape features for a local stately home (Croome Court).

The second drive repeated some of the same route, and included stopping off at a friends house. They have just bought a Monaro, so I thought I would bring the TVR over. The Monaro sounds likes it has been a bit of a tail-happy handful, whereas the TVR has behaved impeccably so far – but I am driving it carefully.

The TVR was fine on both drives, oil temps went to 70, water temps in the range 70 – 80, and oil pressures all looked good. I want a more accurate tyre pressure gauge to make sure I am not running them a bit firm (currently using the on-pump gauge), and I have a new tread depth gauge to test.

The weather was nice and dry, and there were decent levels of grip when using more vigorous acceleration / braking.

I am very much looking forward to our CAT Driver Training day, but it will not be for at least 1 month due to a lack of free time.

A few pics below.

December 10, 2011

Warm drive

Filed under: Uncategorized — Administrator @ 10:52 pm

Today might have been the last sunny day before Christmas, and it has been 2 weeks since the Tamora was out.

Last night was cold, and the roads salted, so we waited until mid-afternoon to give the roads a chance to dry, and for the salt to go (somewhere…).

The car had been on charge, and started promptly. Driving through town the temperatures of oil and water rose fairly quickly despite the 7 C air temps. We visited a couple of sets of friends, and then went for a blast on the open road.

Some small bits of acceleration, and a rev peak of nearly 7000 rpm. 2nd gear is over very quickly, and 3rd gear would be too fast for the public road, so I guess some track time is needed. Had the first bit of wheel spin (very minor) when going over a change in road surface at full-throttle in 2nd gear. The old tyres seem reasonably grippy, even in these cold conditions.

Keeping the roof on allowed us to stay toasty and warm :)

The car is tucked up in the garage now, put away dry and warm. Depending on weather it might be a while until it comes out next.

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