Dutton Kit Cars and their owners

I went to the KitNet track day at Castle Combe today in my Legerra. It was cracking weather and I had a good day. There were positives and some negatives. So starting with then the positives: My new tyres performed well and took 5 seconds off my lap times (down to 1m 35sec), I finally got the Legerra over the ton at 100.3mph on the straight, I met a load of nice chaps and did a lot of chatting plus, to round off the day, I drove it home at the end of the day. Two of the chaps were Duttons - but don't ask me their first names because I don't remember.

I spent all day yesterday preparing the car for today. I didn't manage to finish fitting my new seats so I had to revert back to the old ones. The new ones hold me better so I wouldn't have to brace myself in corners as I do now. With all of the extra grip from the tyres (Toyo Proxes R888R's) then the steering forces were quite a bit higher and it was quite a workout.

They say that racing improves the breed but it only served to find weaknesses today. I lost 2 of the bolts off my alternator, so had to grovel around under the hot and oily car. Luckily the organiser had a good selection of bolts in his support vehicle. (In the background of the picture you can see the Dutton brothers putting the remains of their car back on their trailer after hitting the tyre wall at Quarry)

I also had to remove the windscreen wipers because the wind was blowing them across the screen.

I had part of the brake light switch break off.

I also had a heater hose come off when I parked up, so I had to get the jack out again to remove the front wheel to get at it.

My day finished a little early when the car developed a 'misfire' which doesn't appear to be an electrical problem. So it now sounds like a Subaru. The 'misfire' didn't just happen, or I would have noticed the change, it just developed. I rather fancy that it got a little worse on the drive home.

It could have been worse: early on in the day I managed to get 3rd instead of 5th on the straight and saw the rev-counter returning from over 7000 rpm. That could have been a bit of a mess but it survived. I also found that I had to watch the revs because it didn't feel like it needed to change up until over 6500 (yes, that happened a few times).

So, overall it was a good day. I enjoyed the driving, the mechanic-ing and the racing. And I enjoy having the aches, up to a point. I am a bit concerned that my 'misfire' might be something more serious but that'll give me something to do over the winter.

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Comment by James Doulton on July 28, 2017 at 21:11

The Legerra passed its MOT today. Harrah! Then I broke the exhaust on a speed bump in a car park on my way home. Boo!

Now I need to fit extra bonnet fixings where the bonnet widens to stop it flapping up and down at 90mph, then fit my new Intatrim seats to hold me in place while cornering and I'll be ready for the next track day. Hurray!

Comment by James Doulton on July 22, 2017 at 18:45

Well, after a short spell on the hard shoulder to refit a heater hose, I got there on time. Lucky that I thought to take a gallon of water with me! The journey home was uneventful apart from the throttle not closing properly on a couple of occasions.

On the way home there was rain and hail but my windscreen wipers actually worked just like they should.

The only other issue was that my bonnet wouldn't close properly because it had taken a semi-permanent bend after being open for so many months. That meant that the catch didn't work and so the bonnet flapped a bit going past lorries on the motorway.

I didn't go out on the track because I didn't want to push my luck until I am more confident in the car. I did get a sound check though - I got 96dB, the limit is 100dB, so I'm on for the next track day on 14th August. Yay!

Comment by James Doulton on July 21, 2017 at 22:47

I eventually got the car back on the road a few minutes ago, just in time for the Kit Car Action Day at Castle Combe tomorrow (in the rain probably).

I made up an alternator bracket from a kit of bits on ebay, using my arc welder - I generally prefer things that I can do with my arc welder rather than my mig. Like all welding jobs, I had just about got the hang of it by the time I finished it! The good thing about the kit is that you can modify the alternator position to get the pulleys all in the same plane.

I also made up two bits of copper pipe using 28mm tube and Yorkshire fittings. This was to replace the lower water pipe between the pump and the radiator. I made it as two sections so that there is more flexibility, and because I couldn't imagine how to fit a single pipe, once it was made up. I used about 150mm of tube and 4 right angle bends, so it is mostly fittings and little straight pipe.

I took the car for a few laps of the estate to check that it was all working, ready for an early start in the morning.

It is only 3 weeks until the next Kitnet track day, so that was a really slow repair job. But now that work pressure is easing I should have a bit more time and energy.

Comment by Big Vern on July 17, 2017 at 13:10

Various versions of Pinto engine/base vehicle combo used various alternators and thus various brackets exist.

My mk3 Cortina and a lucas17acr which by modern standards is quite small but the mk3 Granada had a huge Denso unit and had to fit under the PAS pump while the P100 a bosch, all had different brackets and tensioner straps

Comment by Adrian Southgate on July 16, 2017 at 18:12

Mine uses the standard alloy bracket.

Comment by James Doulton on July 16, 2017 at 13:53

So the alternator bracket that is fitted has been modified as the alternator is obviously not intended to fit on to it. It is a cast alloy bracket. I have a kit of steel bits that are supposed to weld up to make a pinto alternator bracket, which means that I can make it so that it fits. I think I'll get out the arc welder and have some fun this afternoon.

It is all rather cramped in that area and it might be tricky to thread the lower water pipe through all of the obstacles but it has to be done - the rubber hose has been rubbing on the steering joint and will not last much longer, plus it adds friction into the steering, which is really irritating once you recognise it (it was noted at the last two MOT's).

Comment by Adrian Southgate on July 16, 2017 at 12:21

At least you found the problem. I moved the alternator brace to the fitting beside the pump so I could tighten my pump up fully, not sure that fitting is on all the varieties of engine block though.

Comment by James Doulton on July 16, 2017 at 11:17

So I got under the car today, would you believe that the bottom bolt on the water pump is hanging loose and only held in because the pulley stops it escaping? I have to blame the maintenance team!

I have had problems with the alternator working lose too. The fan belt isn't quite in line because the alternator sits a little forward. However, if it is in line then the belt cuts into the lower hose which is pushed forward by the steering rack. This might be a can of worms.

I have some 28mm copper pipe and solder bends that I hope to resolve this problem with but I hadn't wanted to do that now - it might mean removing the radiator, which was a tough job to fit in the first place.

Comment by James Doulton on July 15, 2017 at 22:13

I had a little leak from the thermostat housing when I first refilled the system but I tightened the bolts and that stopped it, so I think I'd see if it was that. So I fear that it is the water pump, again.

I've been out now to see if it is still leaking when the engine is off and I can't see any puddle under the car. I'll try it all again in the morning, and maybe remove the thermostat housing to see if I can see any holes.

Comment by Adrian Southgate on July 15, 2017 at 21:05

Thermostat housing as Daryl says or pump bearing seals (the little hole under the nose of the pump)

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