Sevenman's TVR (was SAAB) Blog

June 24, 2009


Filed under: Saab — Administrator @ 9:52 pm

Well, it had to happen sometime…

After paying for breakdown cover for 9 years, I have finally used it.

Drive back from Llandow was fine, drive to Gloucester was fine, but drive back wasn’t :(

First thing I noticed was that the air-con wasn’t blowing cold. Quick check of the gauges, temperature is right up to the red. Look to pull over, and steam starts coming from the right-hand side of the bonnet, where the expansion tank is located.

Luckily only 100m to a big lay-by, so I pulled over and stopped the engine (which was running fine…). Some steam coming out still, so I opened the bonnet, and the coolant was coming merrily out of the cap on the expansion tank, pushed out by lots of steam from wherever the coolant was boiling. This coolant was then running down the road.

The radiator fan was whirring away busily

Coolant on road

Coolant reservior once the bubbling subsided – now rather empty.
Expansion tank

There seemed to be plenty of coolant in the system, it was just being pushed out at a rapid rate.

After a while the boiling subsided. I called Brittania Rescue with whom I have very comprehensive cover and a CSMA discount, and they were there in 25 mins.

I noticed some coolant also seemed to be leaking from the passenger side of the radiator, but very little. Could have been to do with the increased system pressure.

Radiator leak

Radiator leak

The chap loaded the car carefully


Loading 2

Loading 3

Then carefully strapped the car down.

Strapped down

And we were on our way home. Got it unloaded, and he helped me push it down the driveway.

Got home only about an hour later than I would have without the car breaking, so they did well. My gf also has good reviews of Brittania Rescue from when she had an unreliable V6 Mondeo.

Next stop – call to WMSS, and posts on Saab forums for advice.

Update – now being discussed on UK Saabs here

June 21, 2009

Llandow – Trackday Writeup

Filed under: Saab — Administrator @ 10:10 am

A good time was had by all at Llandow. Even the chap who slid his BMW sideways and backwards into a tire wall seemed happy. He had been pushing v.hard, and when he was behind me for a bit I was only able to get away slowly, despite having more than 2 times the power….

BMW crumpled

Other than that I think everybody esacped unscathed, a couple of minor mechanicals, one affecting a friend from last year’s Ring trip, but nothing that his mechanical skills (in this case electrical) couldn’t fix to get the car running again.

Jame being towed back...

But less of the negatives more of the positives.

We left home at 08:03, since Steve didn’t want people turning up early and queing when the gates weren’t open. As it turned out, leaving before 8:03 would have been good since I had to keep ramping my speed up, and went down the M4 a bit faster than I would have liked. For the last few miles I was followed bu an Elise (which I thought could be going to the track – turned out to be a marshall), and a much modified Supra, the Whiffbitz car.

Bit more noise on the drive down due to having less interior, but not much difference.

Turned up at 09:39, just in time for the briefing, which was the usual rules and regulations.

Stayed in the same group as last year (orange), so I didn’t need to change the sticker on my car :) However orange had gone from being the 2nd fastest to 3rd fastest group. That’s fair enough, since there is a high standard of driving here.

Unlike last year, there was much less spinning in the first sessions. I was amazed in 2008 by so many cars going out and spinning on their first couple of laps. Yesterday people saved their spinning to be spread evenly through the day. Much more sensible.

The fast group included people I knew from the Ring trip and Llandow 2008, such as :



James, now with modified headlight

Some cars took a different approach to cornering


In the second group, Steve, the organiser, was out, having fun with an Exige S:

The Scooby which I had encountered last year:

There was also an Ultima, which made a few on-track manouvers not recommended in the briefing:

One of the Supras started a fine tradition of spinning:
Spin 1

With the 3rd group it was my turn to head out and have some fun. I started at the front of the session, had no traffic catching me up, and after driving in a vacuum caught up with thseose who were let onto the track last, passing one Supra and following Jon in his MR2 until the session ended. This started the day as it would go on, with a lot of driving on a quiet track with nobody around me, and the occasional passing of Supras.

The car was running very well. V-Power with Octane booster was giving me some great boost figures, as good as I have seen before, and the lower-tread S03s, despitre being 4 years old were gripping well and I could get all the 2nd gear power down (if I wasn’t steering). With the weight saving I was hitting higher speeds down the straights (just over 100 this time), and with more practice I was braking later, especially for the chicane.

Pics are from the 2nd group session.

Starting 2nd session

Being chased by Supras - they didn't catch me


The group sessions finished off with the Green group, including the fast 318

After this it was open pitlane, but I didn’t go out before the lunch break, although a few did.


Si passing Steve

During lunch was wandered over to the adjacent kart track, where the Welsh championships were taking place. It looked fast.


And than back to the circuit.

Llandow sign

The Ultima left after a short day.
Ultima leaving

Some tried off-roading

I did a session, but encountered few cars other than one to pass, so came back in after not very long.
Open pitlane

A certain Supra did some more spinning
Spin 2

Two familiar cars tussled
Andy and James

A Saab did another session, again with little other traffic.
Saab out again

I backed off for a few laps to let Steve and Andy catch me, which they did
Steve and Andy and Saab

They went past, but then they both back-off to head in, so I was denied chasing them, which would have been short-lived anyway.

Strangely, in 5 sessions those were the only cars who caught me, and I had driven about 3 slow laps to let them close up.

A Supra spun again, moving the cone off its corner position, allowing me to experiment with using more kerb.
Spin 3

After some hard driving, Andy’s front-left slick tyre looked a bit the worse for wear, so he called it a day.
Andy's slick tyres

A Supra spun. Again.
Spin 4

I went out for my 5th session

And at the end of the day I changed back to my RE050A tyres, brakes looked ok, and after saying bye to a few people headed home at a steady pace, which a Supra crank and some engine parts in my boot for Steve.

Brakes coped - just

Plenty of rubber picked up on a rear tyre

Full set pf pics, all with the option for 10 Megapixel resolution here.

June 19, 2009

Wheel swap

Filed under: Saab — Administrator @ 8:01 pm

It took 40 mins to swap to my older set of wheels and tyres.

These are Bridgestone Potenza S03 tyres on my second set of Aero alloy wheels. The tyres are 4 years old, and have spent the last year in the garage, so are hopefully ok.

They are much more work than the newer RE050A set, and since they are at the end of their life I am happy to push them tomorrow, and then swap back to thre RE050A for the drive home.

I arranged the tyres such that, for each side, the tyre with most tread went at the front where they will get by far the greatest wear.

The RE050A that came off had the following tread depth across the tyres. All from outside edge to inside edge, in mm.

Front Left – 5.5, 5.5, 6.0

Front Right – 6.5, 6.5, 5.5

Rear Left – 6.5, 7.8, 8.0

Rear Right – 8.0, 8.0, 8.0

The RE050A wear measurements show a few things:

1) The wear that Llandow 2008 did to the front left tyre, with the outer edge significantly lower than the other tyre measurements
2) That the inner edge of the front right tyre was worn – I guess this might contact more when the car is cornering hard to the right and rolling lots
3) The rear left also took some wear on the outside edge
4) The rear right has an easy life.

The front left had the most obvious signs of getting pushed, and even 8 months after the first Llandow the effects of roll are visible

Front left tyre wear - RE050A

Here follows some pics of the tyres that came off…

Front Left
RE050A Front Left

Front Right
Front Right RE050A

Real Left
Rear Left RE050A

Rear Right
Rear Right RE050A

As for the S03 tyres that are going on, the wear levels are:

Front Left – 3.5, 4.0, 4.0

Front Right – 3.5, 3.5, 4.0

Rear Left – 3.0, 3.0, 3.0

Rear Right – 3.5, 3.0, 3.0

As you can see, they still have good tread on them, but 3.0mm is about where I start to think about changing tyres, and since these are 4 years old they don’t have much left in terms of age.

A quick drive with some acceleration and braking tests indicated they were still grippy.

One interesting point is that RE050A are:

Treadwear 140, Traction A, Temperature A

And S03 are

Treadwear 240, Traction AA, Temerature A

I had never realised the S03 had a much higher treadwear, but were also rated for greater traction. Interesting.

Here are some pics of the S03 tyres that are going on. I am sure they will look a lot less dusty once they have been driven on for a bit.

Front Left
Front Left S03

Front Right
Front Right S03

Rear Left
Rear Left S03

Rear Right
Rear Right S03

I also had a quick look at my brakes. WMSS had mentioned a bit of crumbling around the edge of the front pads, but it is pretty minor – Front Left
Front left brake

Front right also looks ok
Front Right brake

Rear brakes looked fine, here is the rear right
Rear right brake

With the wheel change complete, my work is done. Just need to load up in the morning with other tyres, trolley jack and a few tools, then it’s off to sunny Llandow!

It had better not rain now I have changed to these tyres…

Weight saving and spark plugs

Filed under: Saab — Administrator @ 4:48 pm

Last night and this morning I put my car on a diet.

No need for rear seats, parcel shelf, spare wheel, jack, and a few other bits and pieces.

Results of the diet are listed below, everything in kg:

Small Seat Base 6.9
Large seat Base 9.0
Big Seat Back 12.9
Small Seat Back 8.2
Parcel Shelf 6.1
Spare Wheel and Jack 13.7
Other bits and pieces 4.5
Seat belt buckles 1.3

Total 62.6 kg

This isn’t a huge amount, but should be enough to make an appreciable difference, both to acceleration and the load on the brakes.

After weight-saving

After weight saving

With this complete, it was time for the spark plugs. I haven’t changed plugs before, but I wanted to be sure that they were ok after the Ring trip and last year’s Llandow. That’s a lot of running at full power.

Had to look on Saab forums to see how the DI Cassette Connector came off. There was a red slidey bit, but I didn’t realise that if you slid it far enough (with the help of a screwdriver), then the connector just popped off. the picture below shows the red part starting to move, but it needs to go a long way right before the connector pops off.

Connecor partially released

Connector fully released

With that done the DI cassette had 4 torx head bolts at the top and lifted off.

Using a spark plug socket and some extensions I could get into the deep gap to unscrew the plugs.

DI cassette removed

The plugs all looked ok

Plug 1
Plug 2
Plug 3
Plug 4

I removed the plugs one at a time, fitting each new plug hand tight, then 1/2 turn.

I soon had 4 new plugs in, then it was back on with the DI Cassette.

Connector Released

Firing Order

DI Cassette

June 18, 2009

Mot & pre-Trackday

Filed under: Saab — Administrator @ 8:23 am

Once again I am joining the Supra owners for a Trackday at Llandow.

Since the Saab was coming up for its MOT, I thought it best to get this done early, to check the car was fine, and also to get the brake fluid changed.

The fluid had only been in for a year, but it had done 2 trackdays.

Took a trip up to West Midland Saab Specialists, and left the car with them while I went into the centre of Birmingham. I also asked WMSS about the difficulty I had in getting the filter off. They said they put them on hand-tight, and use an oil-filter wrench to get them off. Maybe I should buy one of those.

Had a phone call after a couple of hours to say the car had passed its MOT, but a couple of advisories.

1) CV boot gaiters were looking perished, so I had these replaced
2) They thought the pads looked low, but when they took the wheels off later they noticed there was plenty left on the pads, they had just crumbled a bit at the edges. I think that was Llandow last year, seems quite hard on the brakes.

With those points sorted, the car is in fine fettle and ready to go.

I went out of my way to fill up with V-Power, and also dropped some octane boost stuff in the tank as well. We shall see if the engine management adapts to make use of it :)

I also plan to:

1) Remove rear seats for the trackday to save weight, as well as emptying the spare wheel well
2) Change to my set of more worn S03 tyres on spare wheels (bringing my RE050A tyres and wheels down for the end of the day)
3) Change spark plugs as I have some spares, although I am sure the current plugs are fine.

I might update this before the trackday to say how that work has gone, otherwise it’ll be a post with lots of pictures on Sunday….

Powered by WordPress