Thursday, 24 December 2009

2 Pounder

This is the famous and much sought after Culpin's Christmas Pie. Similar to their regular pie which itself is brilliant and featured previously on these pages (pic below). The main difference is this is the hand raised version using a VERY strong pastry. You could certainly kick this pie along the street without damaging it. I am a fan of both versions but Mr Culpin's reluctance to make the hand raised example through the year, because of time constraints, makes it all the more special when it does appear just before Christmas. I placed my order for a pair of these beauties a while ago and made a special trip to Uppingham this morning to collect them.


Sunday, 20 December 2009

Winter Tips 3

After a week of hefty breakfasts we at Diplo Hall find ourselves looking forward to a lighter meal on a Sunday morning. Pancakes with a slab of butter, a bottle of maple syrup and a rasher or two of streaky are a regular accompaniment to The Morning Service on the wireless. Today this little snack fills the gap nicely between the squirrel culling in the garden (from the warmth of the kitchen) and subsequent skinning and pinning out of pelts - perfect weather with a dry chill in the air.
We should of course take a lesson from our tree climbing friends and lay on a bit of fat for winter - this thick sub-cutaneous layer is built up around the vital organs above the hips and is just not present at other times of the year. Squirrel burgers for tea today then. MORE VARIETY !

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Winter Tips 2

If you're a twelve year old boy and you prefer sleeping outdoors, rejecting the relative comfort of a bed, duvet and a roof over your head - this time of year you need one of these. The igloo itself will keep out the chillest of winds. A hole pushed through the roof is a good idea for ventilation. You may also need a current army issue Arctic sleeping bag (superior to the Pattern 58), these are not only warm but pretty tough. When you do make it back to civilisation I thoroughly recommend some of Mr Culpin's plain middle bacon, a batch of scrambled same-day eggs and a jug of hot chocolate. MORE IMPROVISATION !

Friday, 18 December 2009

Winter Tips 1

Top tip from an experienced open car campaigner. Blow the snow off the seats etc before it has a chance to melt, a casual flick with a rag is all it takes and you're sure of a snug drive to work. LESS IS MORE !

Friday, 4 December 2009

Sat Nav 3

No 3 in the Sat Nav series has been prompted by the previous post and subsequent beer lubricated conversations on the subject of people who either can't or won't think for themselves. I was actually obliged last week to nudge a rep-driven Vectra into commitment at a local roundabout as the driver seemed frozen in some incapacitating trance by the electronic gadget stuck to his windscreen. I'm a map man myself and given half a chance I'll sort out where I'm going beforehand. One of the key principles to successful navigation is the need to know where you are at any given time, lose that thread and you make work for yourself. I was trying to render assistance to a startled delivery driver recently who's SatNav had let him down. Within 30 seconds it became apparent that he had no idea what county he was in, he would have had more luck locating himself on my road map if he'd been blindfolded and given a pin to stick in the page. I couldn't get any sense out of him as he stared in disbelief at the blank screen on his dashboard. His blind faith in the electronic gadget was so strong that he had let it take him on a 4 or 5 hour delivery run to God-knows-where, the minute it expired he was lost, not just unsure but utterly without any concept of where he was ! Amazing. A recent trip to Ireland prompted a trawl of the Diplo map library, armed with a 1900 Bartholomew's Road Atlas and a 1:500,000 J&B Touring map from 1963 smooth navigation was assured, a more up to date sheet from the car hire company filled in the missing gaps and I was able to decline the offer of a rental SatNav from Mr Hertz. If I really needed open-heart surgery or a limb amputaion I might consider handing responsibility to another, (I'd need to see references, would want to verify the quality of his shoes and maybe check on his tailor) but for anything else I'll be in control thank you, and that certainly includes getting where I want to go. MORE SENSE !

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Signs of Absolution....

... or "Diminished Responsibilities". We are blessed in this quiet corner of County Diplo with a generous smattering of fine churches and it seems that local pressure for the introduction of yet another rash of ill-conceived signage is endangering our enjoyment of one more. The approach over the causeway across the flood plane to the South of the village of Fotheringhay offers what has long been at the top of my list of the best church-scapes in the country - somewhat blighted now as can be seen here. The bridge we are being warned about is indeed narrow but by no means invisible so I simply do not appreciate the need for the sign. Over the years there have been accidents here but surely the bridge was not at fault, some people simply can't drive properly, have no concept of speed, no spacial awareness or have failed to think about what they are doing. Quite apart from aesthetic and environmental concerns over road signage I have another, far more serious beef - I believe we have an ever increasing bulk of the population who can't think for themselves and in producing all this guidance we are only encouraging them to switch off. There is an argument that we need to point out hazards to idiots but conversely it has to be said that the more we direct, the more we diminish responsibility. At the West end of Diploville there is a quiet primary school, just inside the 30mph speed limit, it goes without saying that when some half-sharp double glazing rep flattens a five year old who carelessly steps between parked cars at school-out time, his defence will be that he was "only doing 30 - that's the speed thing in'it ...". No comfort really to those scraping bits of bloodied grey flannel shorts and satchel off the tarmac. Quite obviously the driver's at fault even if " ..he just came from nowhere, jumped out he did..." - however the local authority have absolved him of all responsibility by telling him it's ok to drive at thirty.
I was interested to hear the discussions taking place on the wireless over the weekend around the decision to require parents accompanying children from a Cambridgeshire school on a short walk to some event to be CRB checked ! A few things'll result from this - volunteers with a criminal record may be deterred from helping, child molestators and other unsavories who've been clever enough not to have been caught will be happy, the school will be absolved of all responsibility because they've done their bit and the children will be at no more or less risk than they were visiting the un-CRB checked priest for tea and cakes after mass - marvelous. To go back to the narrow bridge - not many people have ever had a head-on collision with a closing speed of 60mph, many of those that have will not have survived, many that survived will have expressed surprise that their obligatory seat belt didn't stop them getting a bloodied nose, some will have sued the car manufacturer and no doubt some will have sued the local authority for not telling them that a 10ft wide bridge is not wide enough for two cars to pass. None of the above should concern us in the least - remove those who can't drive, read a map, change a wheel etc etc from the road, we could then get rid of all the signs, there'd be more pleasure in driving for those of us that can and we'd be able to enjoy some of our splendid countryside without bright red and yellow aluminium scars. MORE ACCOUNTABILITY !

Thursday, 26 November 2009


Not Alan Whicker's jet set, but that from an 18mm Kehin carb. Where to start ? Induction issues with the CB Special are well documented on these pages, and as part of the earlier attempts to get the creature to run properly a matching pair of carb refurb kits was ordered from the great David Silver Spares. The refurb kit includes a bundle of gaskets, o rings, float jet and needle, pilot jet, emulsion tube, main jet, jet needle, mixture screws etc etc - what it doesn't include is a needle jet for the jet needle to run in. What I have discovered is that the OEM Needle Jet Set from Honda (part no 16012-354-004) comprises both, crucial, matching parts - tolerances here are down to 1/100th mm so size matters. Needless to say the kit pictured above appears to be the only OEM part in the world and I need a pair !! I can think of a bunch of goodies that come in pairs and that's great but in the case of carbs for my project I'd be happier to run a single. In the same way that I really need two eyes to fully appreciate distance, scale, perspective and allow my brain to perform lightening quick calculations of on-coming vehicle speeds, my little twin needs two very clever, minutely detailed, perfectly machined, finely balanced, infinitely variable fuel metering and delivery instruments to enable it to run properly. It's not. MORE JET SETS !

Monday, 2 November 2009

IKB Top Up

It seems years since I've had a close brush with IKB, one is usually left heartened and impressed by the experience and of course it was only a few months ago that I trundled over the Firth of Forth and enjoyed a good deep metaphorical lung-full of his genius in the shape of the Forth Rail Bridge. A recent visit to Bristol demanded a couple of hours therapy in the old Great Western dry dock, drooling over the SS Great Britain. Couldn't resist this shot of a pair of 8" nuts retaining one of the main bearing journals of the gargantuan inverted V4 1000HP low pressure steam engine. The ship has just had a pile of money spent on her in an effort to halt corrosion - a false water level has been built in glass with a couple of inches of water slopping around on top giving the impression that the ship is afloat. A staircase takes you down "underwater" where a massive de-humidifying plant keeps the atmospheric humidity below 20% - in these dry conditions the salts absorbed into the old iron plates and ribs are prevented from causing any more damage - very trick and worthwhile.
This shot of the single screw merits inclusion as its design came about, like so many wonders, via the IKB Trial&Error department. Apparently the first design failed to cope with the power and staggering torque of the engine and had to be re-developed. Brunel's approach to problem solving was incredibly brave, confident, considered and ingenious but it's the sheer forcefulness of his efforts, his ability to actually get these projects off the ground, raise finance, cope with sceptics and just keep going in the face of immense problems that impress me most. I've bought a ticket for the SS GB and sent it to No 10 in the hope that Gordon might learn something about what we need to be doing in this country. MORE ENGINEERING !

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Bubble & Squeak Part 6

Just had six weeks salt-curing and we're starting the maturing process. This little critter will be wrapped in muslin and popped on the bottom shelf in the North pantry at Diplo Hall. Couldn't resist a rasher or two this morning. Delicious, albeit a bit salty just yet, the next three or four months should mellow that. MORE BREAKFAST !

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Whoops - All Gone !

Chef's Perks. August's five pounder from the expedition North has been eaten. Cooked on a fire of Ulmus procera Salis, this little critter was gone in minutes. Less is more - plain boiled new potatoes and a simple salad with a dash of Hollandaise and a slug of white Burgundy for accompaniment. My memory's clogging up a little but I reckon it'd be around '84/'85 that I excused myself from a quiet pre-dinner drink and stepped into the kitchen to prepare a beef stroganoff for a few friends around for dinner at Diplo Hall. Finding myself alone with two pounds of the most beautiful Hereford fillet, resting at room temperature, a pint of cream, half a dozen plump field mushrooms picked that morning, some delicate spanish onions, a basket of fresh spinach and a fine bottle of Cote de Rhone I got a bit carried away. It was perhaps half an hour later that an anxious, hungry and concerned guest came to join me and check on progress. Alas he was too late. Without so much as firing up the stove or touching a kitchen utensil, the lot was gone - I did my best impression of a puppy that'd been caught eating the furniture but to no avail. All's well that reaches the finish line etc and much Weetabix was enjoyed by all. As you can see there's enough fish left here to go around. MORE APPETISERS !

Friday, 2 October 2009

Tool Dependence

It was in 1983 that Tim Leatherman's several prototypes were eventually honed down to a first production model, the "Pocket Survival Tool" or MkI. I bought mine in 1989 over the 'phone having seen one deftly employed by Mark Walker securing a loose rose joint on the Caesar Special. My very rash impulse purchase arrived about two weeks later and within a day or so was in regular use. I reckon it's been pressed into service at least three times a day, every day, for twenty years. I love the fact that it's made in Portland OR and that its US REG TM of 1325473 is proudly stamped into the handle. On first sight it did occur to me that I might have spotted a short-lived gimmick - as soon as I had it in my hands I realised things were different, I think it was the pliers that impressed me most. They include a very tough wire cutter, a jaw that really bites and perfectly engineered pointy nose pincers. All of this before I even owned one. This particular model has a very useful double sided file which has been used for everything from tidying up ignition points, rasping a chipped tooth to save on dentist's bills and even fettling a bit of valve seat damage in an emergency roadside repair on the G3L. All the screw drivers are great - the PH hasn't lost its shape yet - and the can opener was whizzing round a tin of bully only a few weeks ago. The knife's good too and only Wednesday was employed in squirrel skinning duties. I know the "multitool" is all over the place these days for few quid but I've yet to see one come anywhere near this bit of kit. I actually paid a (then) massive £49.00 for this one twenty years ago but it has paid for itself many times over. I'm celebrating its twentieth birthday because I like tools that stay with you. MORE LONGEVITY !

Sunday, 27 September 2009

The Art of Speed

News of Chris Carr's record busting last week (367.382mph) caused me to wonder just how far this art can be refined. One of the biggest restricting factors in the battle for two wheeled LSR domination is the very tight space the power unit has to fit in - 28x18 inches by the rules. Power is what's needed, if you reckon on power requirements climbing at the cube of the speed increase sought you won't be far off. So for a 10% increase in speed we need a 33% (1.1 cubed = 1.33) increase in power - this rather crude formula assumes "all other things remaining equal", well of course they don't, developing more power will no doubt require a heavier motor, stronger frame etc etc and a few too many pancakes for breakfast could ruin things. In '56 a streamliner 650 managed a staggering 214mph with an estimated 80bhp on tap (another dirt track rider). Chris's speed last week is near as damn it 71.53% faster than Johnny Allen's 214.17mph - so: 1.7153 cubed X 80 bhp = 403.75 bhp. BUB racing have managed to get 500 horsepower out of this tiny compartment. It is considered desirable to run a "big bang" motor and take advantage of the power pulses, I guess traction is a massive issue given the single tyre footprint and the loose surface. I couldn't resist the photos (robbed from BUB Racing's website). 3000cc, turbocharged, four cam, 16 valve, methanol-gulping V4 producing 500bhp @ 8500rpm - AND - 400ft/lb of torque !
Some how the tidy shot of the component parts makes the engineering look very clinical and lifeless in contrast to the shot of the beast assembled and plumbed in - imagine the racket. MORE SALT !

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Land Speed Heroes

How time flies. BMF Tail End September show at Peterborough this weekend.Managed to get over there today to catch some ace Flat Track action..
As it happens Chris Carr wasn't racing today - BUT - he will be Sunday 11th October. Quite some legend in the world of oval racing and one time motorcycle land speed record holder (350.8 mph), Chris is a keen follower and supporter of the UK flat track scene. Come to Peterborough 8th October and enjoy philosophical chat about English beer and how to make your bike go sideways faster than anyone else.
Just found this pic in the archives, Chris Carr #4 at Scunthorpe last year, #54 Peter Boast in hot pursuit with #76 John Lee planning his attack ! MORE LEFT TURNS !

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Fine Tuning

CB engine rebuilt, new cam chain, valve timing set, clearances at 2 thou, ignition timing spot on. Fuel on, tad of choke, ignition on, kick - fires first swing, marvelous. After initial warm up run of five minutes we cut the ignition and went over the engine looking for leaks and loose bits. Satisfied all's well I took the bike for a blast up the road - at 1/2 throttle it all went horribly wrong - EXACTLY the same misfire as before !?&@?!!$£?@%!. Back to the carbs then. These are 18mm round slide Kehins. Basically at tick over you've got a pilot jet and mixture control to adjust, from tick over to 1/4 throttle the mixture is determined by the shape/size of the cut-away at the bottom of the slide, from 1/4 up to 3/4 throttle the tapered jet needle and the needle jet it slides in control the mixture, from 3/4 to full throttle you're running on the main jet. All these stages are adjustable, plus float height adjustment is critical. Add to this you've more than one of these instruments to synch and you have a rough idea of what's required - PATIENCE. Lets forget about atmospheric humidity, temperature, altitude, pressure etc. The carb parts on the bench are: throttle stop screw, pilot mixture screw, float valve seat, float valve needle, pilot jet, assorted main jets #88,85 & 83, jet needle, needle jet, emulsion tube/jet holder. The mini pocket microscope (50 X mag) is handy for reading jet numbers and identifying wear. Unfortunately ALL of the above parts are subject to wear and, in the science of fuel/air mixing, this wear is ruinous. Off to stock up Yorkshire Gold supplies and try and find some decent Turkish cigarettes. MORE VARIABLES !

Friday, 4 September 2009

Bubble & Squeak Part 5

Pink Fur Apple potatoes, Epargne pears, pork chops, rosemary and garlic all from the garden at Diplo Hall. Olive oil from Italy, pepper delivered by No 1 nephew from Zanzibar, salt from Essex. Marvelous. MORE HOME GROWN !

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Bubble & Squeak Part 4

There's a very clever little formula for calculating the weight of a live pig by simply taking a few vital dimensions. Whilst I was in Scotland Mrs Diplo got the tape measure out and reported that the little critters had reached the target 85 kilos a little earlier than expected. When I took them to Joseph Morris for dispatch last week they had such a delightful journey that I actually had to wake them up to get 'em out the trailer " we're here boys ...". I returned to pick them up last evening - all 270 lbs plus 26 lbs of snorkers worth. The van handled very well and by 18.00 hrs the freezers were bursting at the seams. Immediate rations of a few snorkers and some chops are in the fridge along with about 6 lbs of bacon curing in wooden boxes packed with patent Diplo curing mix. We're going to try half on a short cure/short mature so we can get stuck in in a couple of weeks, the other half is going for an 8 week cure and four month maturing stint. MORE RETURN JOURNEYS !

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Water With That Sir ?

Driving West from Marybank we follow a single track, dead-end road for nearly twenty miles up Strathconan. At a fork in the valley after six or seven miles, the road forces us Westward and we're now driving along the River Meig. The metaled road eventually peters out at Scardroy at the head of Loch Beannacharain. To get this far we've driven through some of the most beautiful countryside imaginable - and that's just the bits we could see through the rain. At one point the Meig is joined by a gorge-like valley from the North, Gleann Meinich. Tales of violent, gruesome clearances ring true, evidence of abandoned homesteads and livelihoods are all around and the place is really quite sinister.
The chapel here hasn't seen company for a while. Torrents of water spilling off the tops give up their hold on the ravines and become spectacular waterfalls because of the sheer volume. This particular chap (shot from 1/2 mile away) is about half way down the 1500 foot sheer cliff face of Creag Dhubh. From Scardroy the old East/West drovers road is very clearly evident. If you study a map you'll see it forging across the Glencarron Forest, faithfully following the Meig to its source. The pass/watershed is only about five or six miles east of the A890 at Achnashellach and from here a few miles to Loch Carron and the West coast. This great historic thoroughfare has been reclassified from byway to bridleway, rendering it unusable for the truck. Looks like we'll have to return another day and walk what has to be one of the most interesting coast to coast hikes. MORE DROVING !

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Toot Toot

This pic credit to Bill Navari. Enjoying a just-laid egg with my bacon yesterday at breakfast in the peace and quiet of the staff kitchen at Diplo Hall, my senses received a jangle - the wireless was calmly delivering news of the Jacee Duggard kidnap, a house-front interview with an enthusiastic neighbour - "..well, can't say as we ever paid'em no mind ....". Oh lordy, a train whistle - just a feint mournful chord, the smallest hint - yes, there it is again, louder now ".. he was kind'a weird, spooked me out a coupla times ..." unmistakable now - a short blast followed by much longer trailing sigh. Back to the studio, unfortunately, before we could really get into full swing and possibly enjoy the magical Doppler pitch change that tugs at the weakened heart strings and could have us reaching for the 'phone number of the Virgin booking desk. American railroads still have the magic for me, much as I enjoy the big diesel-electrics and their moaning "whistles", I can't fail to think of the big old steamers that were being produced in the '40s. I go along with enthusiasts of the UP Big Boys, very commanding stance and they had some spectacular scenery to run through making them the photographer's choice - this may be why we often hear of them as the "biggest" steamers. Well, not so, less photogenic and much less glamorous are the Alleghenies produced at the Lima Loco Works in Ohio. Probably most famous for their association with The Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad these 2-6-6-6 monsters where something else. They had a very grubby career hauling coal out of West Virginia, Eastwards over the Allegheny Mountains. Trains of 140 coal trucks with one header and a second loco pushing (just for the upgrade to a 2600 ft pass) plied this route from Hinton WV to Clifton Forge VA from '41 to '56 when diesel retired them. Lima built 60 (yes 60) of these for C&O, the first batch of ten in '41 for $270,000 each !!! They were specifically designed for the arduous climbing duties that were required of them - a massive boiler fed (at 260 psi) four cylinders of 22.5" bore, 33" stroke which drove twelve 67" drivers with a tractive effort of over 50 tons, the loco itself weighed 347 tons and at 40 mph was producing around 7,500 horsepower. The tender carried 25,000 gallons of water and 25 tonnes of coal. Can you imagine driving that ? MORE EFFORT !

Bubble & Squeak Part 3

Delivering the pigs for the chop last week got me thinking about bacon. I have previously blogged Mr Coales' fine product and I should perhaps remind you that the curing and maturing process takes 273 days.
As I sped down the 427 with the trailer clattering along behind, I realised that I wasn't going to be able wait that long. On the way home I diverted via Twywell and picked up some of the real stuff and present it here for your enjoyment. MORE MATURITY !

Friday, 28 August 2009

Fish, Beanz & Scaffolding

A few more shots from the recent adventure to "The North". Diplo Jnr was furiously snapping away from the luxury of the passenger seat of the Series. Still running on cart springs and hefty Avon Rangemasters the ride is not photographer friendly so I'm delighted he managed to synch the exposure button with the flat bits of road on a few occasions. I'm beginning to get concerned that we may never again see the FRB without scaffolding. In pre-health&safety days all this repair and maintenance work went on un-noticed with hearty Jocks and Geordies swinging from bits of hemp rope with tins of Red Oxide (massive lead content) clipped to their belts and brushes clenched between their teeth while they rolled up a quick smoke in a force 8 gale. Now all we get to see is a cheap Parisienne apartment block clamped to the side of the glorious ironwork. Just to prove we made the trip in the truck I include a shot of the Great North Road on the approach to Scotch Corner. The GNR is undergoing open heart surgery currently in an attempt to keep it from furring up, we've very few roundabouts left now and of course we only get to enjoy the full Scotch Corner experience if we turn off for the 66 - our trip was taking us on up to Darlington before heading in to the wilds of Northumberland on the 68, cross country to Edinburgh.
Otterburn seemed a good spot to camp, seeing as it mostly is Otterburn Camp, and not very much else. A splendid meadow by the river in the lee of a spur of the Kielder Forrest proved a great site. Fire lit upon arrival and snaggers straight on to cook. Standard Diplo outdoor fare when travelling light tends to be snaggers with a tin of Beanz !!! tipped into the pan at the last minute, quite delicious, garnished with a fried egg and washed down with a cup of Yorkshire Gold..The expedition North was all about getting to Strathconnan, 1/2 an hour North West of Inverness, where we would be hunting the elusive Salmon. We found one. This 5 pound fish is now in the freezer at Diplo Hall.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Chop Chop

Update on progress with the knife building operation. "Buffalo Bill" post a few weeks ago detailed the plan of attack and here, very neatly, is the finished product. Knife blank from Ray Mears with laminated handle comprising brass hilt, red deer antler, leather, ivory, leather, box wood, leather, box wood, buffalo horn. That's all I have to say about that. MORE FETTLING !

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Mission Accomplished

Just reporting in. General cruise at 50 to 55 mph, average fuel consumption a staggering 20 mpg, round trip 1042 miles. Sludgy fuel filter gave some grief when things got a bit hilly, whipped that out and ran filterless 'till a replacement was secured from a plant hire outfit in Muir of Ord (free of charge). Five minute job to refit and all's well. Expedition adventures and incidents to follow. MORE TRAVEL !

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Bubble & Squeak 2

Progress report on the Diplo livestock. 22 weeks of rummaging, rootling and lazing around in the mud and these two are piling on the weight, I estimate around 120 lbs live weight at the end of July. We're still planning on a finish date around October/November. From now on they really should be laying on some fat which is what we're after. This is a bit of Mr Coales famous bacon as blogged last year, salt cured for 13 weeks and left to mature for a further 6 months before being released from the vaults - absolutely heavenly ! I'm sure we'll not be able to get quite the fat content because the Tamworth/GOS is a leaner pig, but we're hoping to produce something similar. MORE TIME !

Friday, 31 July 2009

Cut Me Some Slack

CB Special ownership frustration levels have reached bursting point. Local scrap dealer calls at Diplo HQ once a month and I've been contemplating loading the bike onto his truck ! Shocking mal-combustion issues at anything over 1/2 throttle have been causing grief. Compression ? Balance comp test is holding 90 psi (as much as I could hold against the kicker) for more than a minute with no drop off. Carburation ? Complete carb overhaul X2 including comprehensive clean, float checks, new jets, needles, etc etc etc including up and down main jet sizes. No fix. Ignition ? Timing set, new coil, plugs, condenser, points, leads etc. NO FIX !!!!. Valve adjustment or timing ? Comp test rules out adj but re-set just in case, slight miss-time could be enough to cause trouble at big revs without kissing a valve - Off With His Head then.
Upon initial inspection camshaft is timed perfectly - BUT - cam chain looks a bit slack !?%&@? Could this be enough (low tech variable valve timing) to cause grief at high rpm ? With the head off I'm beginning to suspect the chain tensioner wasn't engaged following some earlier re-build (it locks up out of harms way for assembly and is released post-build.
Very un-honda looking grooves machined in the front of the timing tunnel happen to fit the profile of the timing chain perfectly !!!!!!! WOW - to cause this wear (and so quietly) the cam chain has been centrifugally flung about 25mm from its intended route ! I'm working on the assumption that this "adjustment" is greater at higher revs and is sufficient to advance the valve timing a fraction and give me an open exhaust port when we're really not ready for it.
You can see from the state of the uncleaned piston we've acquired a bit of carbon en-route which can't help. Damage to head indicates earlier valve or piston issues but should clean up ok. Variable valve timing Indeed ! MORE ALUMINIUM SWARF !

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Exhausting Repairs

General principal for running a series seems to be - carry spares and tools equal in weight to the fuel you propose to use on a given journey. Forthcoming trip to Inverness (and, hopefully, back again) is 1000 miles. At 15 mpg-ish that should take around 65 gallons or 482 lbs of fuel. Uncannily, my estimated stash of gear required (prop shaft, one road spring, several UJs, water pump, wheel bearings, hub, brake drum, assorted hub and pinion seals, steering idler, couple of shocks, equal quantities of EP90 and 10-50, large tool kit etc etc) could easily run to 4 or 5 cwt as the formula suggests. Perfect ! Is this why the military classification for the 88 inch series is "1/4 Ton Truck" ?
Failed exhaust system has been getting worse with use and I have succumbed to a complete new outfit (£30.00 from Paddock). Needless to say the three studs in the bottom of the manifold have been only two for some time and the old outfit was blowing here as well as in the pipe. An obvious opportunity here to fix this problem at the same time. To affect a satisfactory repair there is really no shortcut and the manifold needs to be removed. Once on the bench, a steady hand on the centre punch and 1/4" drill will see the old stud removed, hole reamed to 17/64 and tapped to 5/16 unf ready to take a new stud.
As you can see I very rashly splashed out a couple of quid for a new manifold gasket ! All's well that's finished etc etc. Start to finish about 4 hours work, couple of Izmir smokes, many cups of Yorkshire Gold and a huge amount of swearing - oh, stopped off for a couple of pints of Topaz on the way home. MORE PADDOCK SPARES !