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 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 Daryl Heasman on July 15, 2017 at 22:50

No James check where the hose goes on ,the casting is prone to getting holes in it

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)

Comment by Daryl Heasman on July 15, 2017 at 20:33

James check the thermostat housing  underneath ,they are prone to getting holes  on the underside  

Comment by James Doulton on July 15, 2017 at 20:10

Oh, No! Now there's another course, Daryl.

Last night it was a bit late to be running the Dutton, so today I replace the plugs, points, distributor cap and rotor arm because all of them were looking rough and then ran the car for a few minutes to get it up to temperature before doing the final stage of the head tightening.

Unfortunately, today I am getting water leaking for the front of the engine somewhere. I can't tell where it is coming from but it is coming up on the cam belt, on the inside (toothed side) and then getting sprayed by the cam pulley. I haven't touched the water pump in this episode, and it was replaced 3 years ago, but I can't think where else it could be coming from. Replacing the water pump gave me a bad back last time but I already have a sore back right now, before I've even started on that. I might have to get it done for me because I am supposed to be taking it to the Kitcar Summer fun day at Castle Combe next Saturday.

Comment by Daryl Heasman on July 15, 2017 at 0:36

A meal James ,I'd say more like a full blown 16 course  French dinner -:)

Comment by James Doulton on July 15, 2017 at 0:07

I have been making rather a meal of getting the car back on the road, even by my standards!

I discovered that I had assembled the engine with the cam 180 degrees out of phase, so I swapped the HT leads over. I had forgotten that I hadn't set the cam belt tension, but I think I got away with that one. Still the car wouldn't start. I tried for a number of evenings - it would fire half-heartedly and then give up and I'd flatten the battery, then leave it on charge for the next evening.

Tonight I peered down the carb (to check that there was fuel in the carb when I operated the accelerator pump) and there I discovered a small hex screw, which was jammed between the emulsion tube and the wall of the primary venturi. It is one of the 4 screws that hold the air filter onto the carb (I was surprised to see only 3 in place when I removed the filter a week or so ago when I wanted to pour petrol down the carb. I thought it odd that one was missing because I didn't remember that from before)

The screw must have been there the last time that I drove the car, which was at Castle Combe. I think I was rather lucky that the screw head was too big, otherwise ... well, it just doesn't bear thinking about!

This evening I discovered that the ignition timing was still way out. Once that was sorted then the car started. All's well that ends well.

Comment by James Doulton on June 11, 2017 at 19:16

So, with the pressure at work finally easing, I have finally had a weekend off. I finally got back in the garage this afternoon and picked up on where I had got to on the Legerra. I have been replacing the cam follower mounting posts for longer versions - they are 7mm longer. The problem with the standard ones is that with a high lift cam (where more metal is removed from the base circle) then the posts need to be screwed out further, leaving less thread in the head. This results in them working loose - which is what happened to mine at Castle Combe.

So after spending an hour or so finding my tools, I managed to replace the posts for 3 cylinders in the hour or so before my back was too sore to continue, it is quite a long reach to get to the engine from the side of the Legerra. Another couple of hours and I should have the car back together... just in time for another trip to Castle Combe!

Comment by Steve Kerswell on February 27, 2017 at 11:40

Then cover it up with the old oily rag trick :-)

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